Out of My Cocoon

Alleged Artist musings, 1st of May edition…

In the spring of 2002, I drove from the East Coast to the West Coast over the course of 5 days to start a new chapter on life. It was amazingly my first foray into truly being on my own. Unfortunately, I rebounded into another situation, despite being warned about such by the other half of that situation. The good news is, it ended with no lasting repercussions. The better news is, it started me down a healthier path, albeit still lined with future mistakes. Part of that healthier path was, frankly, getting my life back.

By the spring of 2004, after I had moved back home to Colorado, I was living with my mother again while working to get back on my feet. I had continued employment through all of these moves, so I was extremely fortunate there. I was also on anti-depressants for a short time – and I do believe that helped. Before long, I moved to a studio apartment in downtown Denver, my new friend Juan got me connected with hockey again, and I started to re-establish the home studio. Juan and the group of guys I met through hockey are my closest friends to this day. Just getting out and doing something turned out to be a bigger needle-mover than anything else for my psyche, and it fed back into my motivation to restart Tastiera.

At some point that summer, I wrote a song called “Butterfly”, and I matched it up with a piano progression I had been carrying around in my head for a couple of years. When I first heard the finished product, I literally cried. The only other time that happened was just a few days ago, when I first heard the updated “Voyager“. The latter was just realizing the passage of time between vocal tracks on the same song. The former was a raw emotional release. And so that album was titled: “Release”.

As my official reentry into music, “Release” was very basic. Basic musical components, no backup vocals, and a general “don’t make it complicated” feel. “Butterfly” is the opening track and an perfect example:

From a technology standpoint, “Release” was another game changer. Even during the Tastiera “Dark Ages”, I had occasionally dabbled with the new computer software that was becoming available to revolutionize the way MIDI could be used. Cakewalk was the initial product I worked with, and it later evolved into Sonar. Those ended up being my primary tools from 2003 through 2008, later to be replaced by Apple’s Logic software starting with the “Hear Bead Rag Guns” album in 2011. These tools are simply incredible, and they continue to get better over time. I’m blown away by what is possible today compared with when I first started, or even compared with when Tastiera first went silent for a while. One of the major advancements was that all of the “instruments” were now part of the software, which opened up a whole new world of available sounds. My keyboard became just a “controller” for those sounds. Today I have a full-size, 88-key board from M-Audio for just that purpose.

“Butterfly” is not just the opening track on “Release”, it’s the opening track on “Origin Story Volume 2”.

For the updated version, I used Izotope’s RX tool for vocal isolation and dropped the volume of that part of the mix slightly. No noise reduction was necessary, since I no longer record to tape. The only other thing I did, which is true of all the other songs on “Origin Story”, was to rebalance the EQ in Logic and apply compression at the end using Audacity.

One key line from “Butterfly” is “as I fly away from you and out of my cocoon”. I wasn’t done making mistakes, but I was back in the world again.

LYRICS

When I looked at you, I felt so warm
When I looked at me, I felt so cold
Knowing what I could do makes me feel so young
Knowing what I’ve done ’til now makes me feel so old

I have to shave twice a day, so I don’t see the specks of gray
And think of how many I gave you, wrapped in my cocoon

Can you tell me, is that the Sun – I want to swim in the sky
Spring is in the air – so many summers have passed me by
It’s time for me to live as though one day I might die
God won’t waste wings on this butterfly

I have to cry twice a day, so I can laugh and feel okay
As I fly away from you, and out of my cocoon

Can you tell me, is that the Sun – I want to swim in the sky
Spring is in the air – so many summers have passed me by
It’s time for me to live as though one day I might die
God won’t waste wings on this butterfly

Can you tell me, is that the Sun – I want to swim in the sky
Can you feel the springtime in the air – no more, no more summers have pass me by

God won’t waste those wings on this butterfly

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