This is Not a Song – Fresh 2022 Re-mix



(OMG do I ever wish I’d replaced my ancient ‘cans’ sooner)  ;o)

So, funny thing, my back is twisted into a pretzel, my time-tapping foot was twitching in my sleep last night (and may be in spasm by tonight), every one of my fingertips is raw, and the associated muscles along my forearms ache like they haven’t done in years. Add all of that up together and what do you get? I feel like I’m twenty years old again – seriously!

Don’t mean to say that my body would have been showing these standard mileage complaints – back then I did a ton of yoga every day, and I played some of something musical daily also – often several of several.

The reason I find myself weirdly buoyed is the result, not the collaterals – I wrote and recorded a new song from a standing start in a day! This may sound like an odd thing to be so delighted about, four minutes of crooning ought not to take ten years to plan (though sometimes…). What’s cool is that it’s been years since I accessed this skill-set so effectively, I was starting to think I’d lost it.


Go big-screen and crank the headphones, if you got ’em.

This one looks purdy and sounz sweeter!

Back in the 80s, starting with an old top-loader and a steno machine, moving to the immortal “Blaster bounce” and finally four-track cassette, I loved to record in my literal basement studio, and had friends old and new over all the time to play something that neither one of us had played before, and wouldn’t ever have tried, except for the way our ideas combined. I also had the world’s coolest landlady in those days – she didn’t just not mind the noise, she opened a bottle of wine for my Friday night free improv sessions and took a comfy seat near the air vent, where she could best enjoy her own private concert.

The music did not absolutely always work – and even when it did, some of the prettiest results were wild and very far-out, rather than songlike in structure. But the days when I had a pal over and they wrote lyrics (or sometimes hunted them from Bartlett’s familiar quotations), while I programmed a drum pattern and set up a few nifty sequences for us to play around atop, and we finished the day with a brand new (and often surprisingly catchy) recorded song, are some of my lifelong favourite creative sharings. Also good to know I can still tap this rich vein solo, when Murphy so allows.

I do have much weirder stuff (to be sure) and also much more deliberate stuff (this is just a ‘systems check’ for a far more complex tune that I hoped might be half as peppy as this one turned out to be spontaneously), but I’m always especially delighted when the thing just seems to click. Best to bow and smile and say thanks universe!

My dear feckless bass was especially forgiving, considering my years of cruel absence (and much as I do like cowbell, I say more ocarina on everything!), fun to get the xaphoon out again too. Clarinet and trumpet call next – much overdue. Time for another proper tilt (and fun with mutes, to be kind to sheltering neighbours). Fretting the bass didn’t hurt while I was doing it, but covering all the holes on the tenor recorder afterward (with swollen fingertips) outright hurt! (first ever hunt for an award of machismo-points for recorder playing – you have to give me that much, at least). ;o)

Most important of all though was Catherine, who listened to an early mix and called me on what I thought were “emotionally compelling” (raw and overstrained) vocals, and had the nerve to throw a bucket of cold water on my initial excitement, so I’d go back and do the groove and the surprisingly bright lyrics far better justice.

One day (and a half an hour of extra vocal tracking later, in case anyone wants to accuse me of cheating) and the whole thing is utterly transformed. There are my old sweet harmonies again! Huzzah!

I feel like dancing – and once I’ve fully recovered, may just do exactly that! Or more likely, I’ll get straight into even more trouble with sound, and build those musicles calluses and embrouchures back up into shape again.  Life is too weird not to drink deeply!

Cheers folks – sincerely hope you enjoy the not-song in good spirit and good health. Lots of love from our groundhog bolt-hole (which a woodchuck definitely would) to your warm nest and family.

Paul Snyders

Toronto – 2020

I am always curious about what you are thinking

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