The Sacred Ashtray Album
Perl and the Sacred Ashtray is what I call a "Musical Novel". It comes with ten songs, in the form of "song chapters". Being a middling singer and guitarist, I've attempted to record these songs. Here are the results...
I know, they are a bit amateurish. They have been recorded at home with my primitive recording equipment and even more primitive sound-engineering skills. Some day, if my novel does really well and I make pots of money ;-) , I may hire a recording studio and session musicians re-record them professionally.
Until then, do have a listen to these... they are not soooo bad.... ;-(
By the way, the album has been been uploaded to Sound Cloud. To check out the album on Sound Cloud, click here
Or you could just listen to the album right below.
Vocals and Guitar by yours truly on all the songs. Lyrics © Poltu. You'll find the lyrics in the novel - they form a part of the book. Someday I might post the lyrics here, if enough people ask me. I like to think my singing is clear enough that you won't need the lyrics - In that way I differ from Elvis ;-))
By the way, in case you are interested, I use a Fender acoustic guitar and for electric guitar I use a Chinese Fender Stratocaster rip-off. For recording I use Shure mics and an M-Audio sound card. I use Audiffix software effects pedals and record on my laptop. For mixing I use - yes, Audacity. Yes, yes I know - Audacity isn't for 'serious' sound engineers. But you know, I find it perfectly good and easy to use, and those fancy things like Qbase and Live-8 take up yards of space on my hard disk and, despite being a software guy, I never have been able to figure out how all those crazy buttons and dials work. Once you install a raft of third-part add-ins, Audacity is just as good as the big boys, and a lot easier to use. I find most 'experts' who criticize Audacity are either 1. using an old version, or 2. haven't installed all the add-ins, or 3. simply haven't bothered to explore all the features. I record in my bedroom which has pretty good acoustics, except when the neighbors dog is barking or they are having a party. I usually record at 8 PM, when the neighbors are at their quietest and the dog hasn't started barking (he starts post midnight).
This is the main Theme Song of the Novel. No, the lyrics have nothing to do with the plot... I found it very difficult to come up with lyrics about a 'real' Sacred Ashtray without descending into low parody. So I wrote a figurative song instead. Hopefully, someday when I'm a celebrated writer, all those greasy haired intellectuals will scratch their heads trying to figure out a relationship between the plot and the lyrics.
Perl's Theme: Come Fly with me
This song introduces Perl to story, at a point when she's feeling particularly displeased with pawing bosses and the male sex in general.
This is, of course, a woman's song, but since most of my women friends have foghorn voices and I can't afford to hire a professional female singer, I sang it myself, but adding conversational bits like 'I was talking to Perl the other day, this is what she said to me...' and 'And Perl said...' and so on, making it a kind of 'reported song' ;-) - in effect turning Perl's song into another of Hari's songs. I know, for a novel whose leading protagonist is a woman, her male sidekick getting most of the songs is a bit much. But what can I do... I'm a GUY, guys... ;-(
The song lyrics in the novel doesn't have these 'conversational bits', btw. They were added ad-lib while recording.
Someday, when I record this song professionally, I'd like to hire a woman chorus singer to do an echoey overlay when I'm singing the main verse.
This is Hari's song, before he meets Perl - when he's peering gloomily into the future and hoping for an angle to sweep out of the clouds and waft him away. An angle does come, in fact - right in the next chapter - in the form of Perl. But Hari gets more than he bargained for with this particular angel.
You Came Into My Life Today
This is Hari's song, the moment Perl enter's his life, swathed in sunshine and sweat.
Shirt's Theme: My Honey is a Hippogriff
This is hen-pecked hubby Shirt Pant talking about his beloved wife, Perl. Needless to say, his views on his wife are dramatically different from those of Hari.
Sweet Orangeade Girl
Ballu trying to get out of meeting his beloved's not so beloved dad.
Sweet Orangeade Girl - Alternate Version
Ballu - still trying to get out of meeting his beloved's not so beloved dad. No, Ballu doesn't sing the song twice. I set the song to two different tunes & couldn't decide which one to upload - so I thought, what the heck, I'll upload both and let the people decide which one they like. Tell me the one you prefer - I'll make that the official one & use the other tune for some future song. Both tunes are too good to throw away.
Kiss of Fire
Hari's reaction to Perl's violent "demo kisses"
The Eye of the Storm
This is Hari's Song, when he's plucking up courage to propose to Perl, towards the end of the novel.
This is actually my best song - one that I'm particularly proud of, but it doesn't sound terribly impressive in the recording. For the life of me, I can't capture on tape what I hear while performing it. Either I imagine it sounds better than it really is, or there is something wrong with the way I'm recording it. I suspect the latter, because people who've heard me play it live say it really is good. I'll have another shot at recording it some day.
Beer & Bratwurst
This is Rudolf's Song, when he's thinking murderous thoughts about his boss - shortly after Hans threatens to fire him like a cannon. Yes, that really is my voice - passed through a pitch shifter to take it down two whole semitones to give it that Oh-So-German sound. I must admit this is another song that hasn't come out particularly well. I'll re-record it some day.
Beer & Bratwurst - Heavy Metal Mix
This is an alternate mix I made for Rudolf's Theme - just for fun I remixed the guitar part with distortion, turning the folk song into a 'kind of' Heavy Metal number - although real dyed-in-the-wool headbangers will probably sneer at it ;)
A Song for Minu
This is a song I wrote for a girl I met at a tech conference, who sort of reminded me of Perl - the way I imagine Perl to be when I write the Perl novels. It isn't a part of the story, but it comes as a sort of extra at the end of the novel.
Shy Baba's Evening Prayer Song
This is my take on Prayer Song that Shy Baba's acolytes sing at the evening prayers. In the novel, I state that 'it was in some dialect of German no one had ever heard of' and that 'it's tune was vaguely reminiscent of a Bavarian Beer Drinking song' . Well, I've written the lyrics in proper Hoch Deutsch (High German) - my German isn't good enough to do dialects, especially unknown ones ;) And as for the tune, I've made vaguely similar to a very popular Oktoberfest song.
Poltu's Rock Solo No. 1
This is a quick rock solo I slapped together the first time I got my sweaty hands on distortion pedals. My 'First Ever' proper rock solo ;) No, it isn't a part of the Sacred Ashtray novel, but I've put it at the end of the album to have a rocking finish ;)