So with apologies for the length of this post - I like writing songs, I enjoy playing a well-structured piece, sometimes I can remember the chords and the words, and on certain magic occasions I don't even trip over the guitar solos. So call me an enthusiastic amateur. Anyhow, a couple of nights ago my eyes were opened by possibilities that I knew of but had never had a chance to play with myself before. I picked up a bass and started noodling on it, found a riff I kind of liked, thought maybe I should remember it for future use. Then I realized I was sitting in the third bedroom - er, my recording studio - right next to the computer, so why the F' not just record it? Um, right. So I fired up the board and the DAW software and the AdrenalinnIII, found an only-minimally-annoying drum pattern, tapped in the tempo, and recorded the bass part. Then I thought it might support a minor, mysterious, atmospheric keyboard part, nothing too tricky, so I switched on the little midi keyboard and dropped my default B3 emulator inline because it's easier than actually coming up with unique but useful keyboard sounds. I noodled out a part, hit 'record', and bollixed it up something fierce because I am absolutely not a keyboard player. But a couple of the mistakes were cooler than the part I'd figured out, so I rerecorded the track using the mistakes instead of the "written" part. And thank god for midi that lets you eliminate the fat fingered notes and move the other surprises back to the pitches they were meant to be. And hell, I am sort of a guitarist, so I couldn't leave out a rhythm guitar part. Not exactly counterpoint, but I tried not to play the same thing as any of the other parts. Nothing brilliant, but with a lot more distortion than I normally use since it seemed to fit. One bad timing moment, so I just dragged the offending chunk forward a few milliseconds with the mouse and hopefully no one'll be the wiser. And at this point, a couple of hours after first picking up the bass to kill time, I realized I had a song where none existed before. And further, it was a song I never would have "written", since it emerged from layers of sound instead of being created on a rhythm guitar as a platform for lyrics. My GF heard it and asked who it was because it's completely different from how I normally write and play. Last night I plugged in the ol' oil can delay, ran the amp to one track and the wet signal to its own track, and recorded my first ever recorded slide part through it. It should be readily apparent why I don't play slde in public, so, um, thank god for unlimited 'undo record' menu items... So the upshot is, I didn't consciously try to write a song, but one just kind of evolved. It won't win any grammies, I'll probably never even try to perform it live, but in the course of an hour or two, just playing with sounds and tracks, I ended up with something I thought was kind of neat. It needs work, probably needs to be completely rerecorded actually (lot of 60Hz hum throughout), but as a sketch of something, it makes me happy. Lyrics for it are accumulating in my head, but haven't fully established themselves yet. I'm not posting it for critiques (especially not the iron sharpens iron kind!), and not as a hey-aren't-I-cool back self-patting, but just as an illustration of what inexpensive and easy gear can do for you. I mostly use my recording setup to create demos to help my hypothetical next band learn the tunes, but as a creative tool it's really amazing what it opens up. I dunno, maybe you guys write this way all the time, but for me it's new and exciting. So anyway, here's the outcome (so far) - http://tempusfugitives.articulateimages.com/DHKSongDemos/Unravelling20080206.mp3 I think what camcorders have done for visual self-expression, cheap or medium-priced DAWs are doing for non-pro musicians. And I like it a lot.