We Make A Little History, Baby

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Tonight I went to an open mike in London and saw a man get up and perform “The End Of The Innocence,” one of my favorite songs when I was a kid.  The guy gets up and says, I wrote this song a while ago, and Don Henley bought it off me to play on his album.  And proceeds to sing.
My landlady is giving an impromptu singing lesson downstairs, at midnight, to a man who sings Indian-inspired folk music.
I am working on a secret project for Amanda Palmer.
I just got back from  Dublin, and Belfast, and Edinburgh– to the Fringe Festival, which was fantastic– saw lots of friends, had lots of wonderful late night conversations, and the very deep realization that I am happiest when my life is moving at some sort of trapeze-act-circus pace.
Tomorrow I meet with musicians to do something that may well end up looking like rehearsal.  And the next day.  And the day after that.
I am really excited.  And exhausted.  And happy.  And well aware that I am well overdue in posting a new song, and all I can offer is: soon.  Very soon.  
I have plans for my next album and I haven’t even made my first one yet.  And ideas for a music video.
Do yourself a favor and go out on the internet and find yourself a copy of Nick Cave’s The Ship Song.  Play it late at night. Preferably while in someone’s arms.

The Beauties of Sleep

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I slept a half an hour or so last night– up till 8am, slept for a bit, then up and running again. It’s that wonderful, devious devil of guarana: sneaks into my blood stream and decides, yes Olga, you must write music, and now, the dawn be damned!
…honestly? I don’t mind.
Here’s the minute version of Great Escape– the whole song is written in my head already, but I like the idea of these truncated poems before the finished story appears:
Olga Nunes – Great Escape
Lots of stories to tell– I danced with 2000 people in Trafalgar Square and am now a Guinness World Record Breaker. I also got a sad phone call telling me that my bees have been swallowed by my own granddaughter. (Though I’m told that, hopefully, the Olga bees may be reborn come next winter. I’ll take that as a good omen.)
And, lastly, lastly, thanks to all of you who voted! Feather will be up, all finished and shiny, for your hot little hands. (And maybe, if I’m lucky, with a few extra surprises to go with it.) I’m going to Dublin next week to frolic and sing and generally soak up the music off the streets of Ireland, which will be wonderful. (And maybe enough to distract me from the sadness of a thousand tiny bees changing their names…)

Sneaky Minutes

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I took last week off from writing songs– and then I cheated and wrote a song anyway. I’m not sure where to put this yet; I probably have to make a new section under Music for all the one-minute songs. But, until then! Here’s the minute song for today! (I’ll be putting up a full song by the end of this week, too.)

Different Mistakes

The Thirteen Minute Album

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June is over! And with it, the Minute Minute Songs. The entire collection– I’d say it’s a thirteen minute album, but it clocks in at about eighteen minutes and 70 seconds — can be listened to over at here, or alternately, you can download the entire not-really-but-almost-thirteen-minute-album here.

I have learned so much from doing this– staying up most nights till 6am, making so many mistakes, and having to roll with it. The little collection of songs has a lot of bits that are the equivalent of pencil sketches: eraser marks here, a note there about how to color it up a bit.

So what’s the next step in the world?

Here’s what I’m doing. I’m going to keep making Minute Minute songs, but now they will be part of the Minute Minute Incubator. It’s where little baby songs crawl around, see if they’re ready to stand on their little two feet. If they are, well, lucky them: I make them into full-grown real songs, just like they were visited by the blue fairy.

But I need some input: I’ve set up a poll. Let me know what your favorite songs are, from most to least, and every week I’ll take one from the top of the list and turn it into a full-length song.

You can go vote here!

I Want An Army Of Gramophones

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Hurrah! I have eleven of thirteen total wee baby songs done at Minute Minute Month! When June’s over I’m going to put up a poll to figure out which songs should become real live flesh-and-blood-longer-than-a-minute songs– so if you want to help me American-Idol-style vote for who gets to stay and who gets booted from the little song stage, pretty please sign up for my mailing list:


(Or add me on MySpace, or Facebook, I’ll be posting there too.)

You can also hear the beginnings of a little ghost musical that I pitched in vocals for, over at Two Minutes. So, terribly, terribly fun. I have this vision that there will be a bunch of these, and then artists will make paintings based on it, and there will be an art show with gramophones on little tables, each playing a different song. (I mean, did you even realize how cheap gramophones are??)

When Ghosts Play Piano

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I was recording the Wednesday Minute song late, late last night. Moving little bits of notes around, I clicked on one of the tracks and a chill went up my spine.

“….Elaine?” I typed to her on AIM. I can always rely on her to be my partner-in-insomniatic-crime. “My computer has just started playing music. That I didn’t write.”

She teased me. “It’s learning.

Then I sent her over the track my computer was playing, of its own accord. “Olga?” She said. ” Get out of the room. It wants to eat you.”

You probably think we were overreacting, right? Turn off the lights. Put on your headphones. And play this: Ghost Track 1.

Now there’s no hidden mystery checkbox in Garageband that says when you click on an instrument that it will play creepy death march music. I know. I checked. But then I clicked on another track, while writing my song, and the computer ghost started writing counter-melodies: Ghost Track 2.

And it kept getting weirder: Ghost Track 3.

There’s got to be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this, right? Right?

Ghost Track 4.

After about thirty minutes of this, I found the perfectly reasonable, logical, sensible reason as to why my computer was playing ghost-written music.

My piano had started playing itself.

Across the room, my little piano keyboard had set itself off into “demo mode”– you know, every keyboard has one. The button that suddenly starts playing a cheesy generic drumbeat that you can play along to. And my piano had turned itself on, and was playing silently in the corner, until I clicked on a track: suddenly my piano was playing through my laptop, angry haunted music through whatever instrument I had selected. So the valuable lesson I learned last night, boys and girls, is that a drum beat interpreted by an Indonesian gamelan sounds like the end of the world.

Give a listen to my very not-haunted-I-promise Minute Song from last night: Tent City.

Two Things

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The lovely Uriel Durán has put up a feed for this blog on Livejournal. If you have a Livejournal account, you can add the feed here.

Secondly, the also extraordinarily lovely Belinda Casas has made a video for one of the Minute Minute songs, Feather. (It’s got video she took of me while I was visiting her house in Los Angeles.) You can see it here, hurray:

(And one last thing, which doesn’t count as an item list , not really: I’m still working on Monday’s Minute Minute song. It will be up very very soon!)

Theory To Time, Minute To Minute

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Today, tonight, I’m exhausted– and I spent probably all of two hours on Little, Thing, Round. (It’s a round. About little things. 😉 )

I’m averaging 4 hours a song, but I only took two for this one. Part of taking the extra time is making sure that the vocal take works– that I sound the way I think I should sound. The less time I spend, the more likely I am to leave in the missed notes that make me cringe. And it’s okay, really, because you know what that is? Me making a mistake. And letting myself make a mistake. And not hide under the bed when it happens. So all in all , that’s okay.

(For the record, by the way, I skipped last Wednesday, because, well… honestly? I started forgetting what day it was. Oops. I’ll make it up with an extra song before the end of June.)

I was talking to my friend Elaine, about the photographs I take, and how she sees a through-line in the pictures I take. She can tell that my photographs are, well, my photographs. Postulating that there was a common language shared in the way I write and in the way I take photos. We meandered onto some other subject, describing something I saw walking around, and I said: “It’s hard not to fall in love with everything when you’re looking so damn closely.” Elaine said to me, “THAT’s your signature, Olga. That’s your thread, right there. The line criss-crossing everything you’re making. That one sentence.”

Minute Minute Month. Go check it.