My first take on the "Album A Day" challenge

Tom7, also known as Tom Murphy VII, has been challenging musicians to create an entire album in 24 hours. Consecutive hours, that is. In other words, this challenge is an excellent source of sleep deprivation and a great way to avoid doing things I ought to be doing instead. So I thought to myself: one day I simply must give this a try. That day was today (and yesterday). I proudly present my first Album-A-Day: You Vs. The Others.

I’d been contemplating creating an AAD since I first heard of it (which was a long time ago), but now I actually sat down and did it.

I deliberately didn’t listen to any of the existing AADs so that I didn’t have any pressure to reach any particular level of quality. I just went with pretty much all ideas that popped up in my head and made them into something longer than a minute (well, with one exception).

I started out at 10 pm (that’s yesterday, obviously) and it went pretty well. After a quarter of the allotted time was over, I already had eight minutes worth of music finished. Especially after the first song, I was rather impressed with myself. I wouldn’t have expected to be able to accomplish this much in this little time.

At 2 pm I took a break that ended up lasting until about 6 pm (I decided to get a bit of sleep after being awake for 24 hours in a row). At this point I had five songs finished, totalling at 14 minutes and 17 seconds. When the break ended, I spent about half of the remaining time lazing around recharging creativity and the rest writing the last couple of songs. I grudgingly had to include a purely instrumental (and completely improvised) song of two minutes and ten seconds to make it before the deadline. Well, that’s life.

Take it out for a test drive

Since I don’t care for exceeding my traffic limits, I have uploaded the songs to the Internet Archive. You can listen to them using some black Flash magic, or download them from the Internet Archive details page.

You Vs. The Others by Jan Krüger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.

Please note that the Flash thing below uses MP3 files of Some Quality, so you’d better have a broadband connection.

Data about the album

  • Title: You Vs. The Others
  • Total time spent, including breaks: about 23 hours and 40 minutes (from 2008-04-19 22:00 to 2008-04-20 21:40 CEST)
  • Authors and participants: me and myself.
  • Recording gear:
    • Yamaha MG 10/2 (miniature mixing panel)
    • Studio Projects B1 1″ condenser microphone
    • Sennheiser E835s dynamic microphone
    • REAPER 2.201, a really cool multi-track audio sequencing application
  • Instruments:
    • Voice (mine. Repeatedly.)
    • Guitar (nylon and steel acoustic)
    • Samplers (Cockos ReaSynth & ReaSynthDr and E-MU Proteus X LE)
  • Full length: 20:02 (according to media player) or 20:01 (when I add up the numbers myself). Barely qualifies!
  • Average length of songs: 2:13 (standard deviation: 0:45)

Now for the individual songs. Yes, the official track numbering does start at zero.

0. Take Your Time

This isn’t actually the first song I wrote, it’s the third. Apart from that, this list is in chronological order. I thought some sort of intro would be nice. It’s supposed to add a bit of perspective to the overall album, so there is a reference to the AAD challenge in it.

  • Length: 2:01
  • Took me: 90 minutes
  • Lyrics

1. Go Alone

Sometimes, you have to do things yourself. Outside help is a great thing but not if you’re going to lord your accomplishments over others; then you must work alone.

  • Length: 3:37
  • Took me: 4 hours
  • Lyrics

2. Feature Creep

The nightmare of every programmer. There are no fixed requirements and suddenly you’re supposed to make your software do everything on the fricking earth. By the way, feature creep can occur in songs, too.

  • Length: 2:29
  • Took me: 4 hours
  • Lyrics

3. Until The End

Atheists. Pesky buggers. How can they honestly believe something that isn’t what I believe? I know I’m right! I always am.

  • Length: 3:53
  • Took me: 90 minutes
  • Lyrics

4. Going Down

A bit morbid perhaps.

  • Length: 2:28
  • Took me: 30 minutes (plus time to get the creative thing going)
  • Lyrics

5. Sucks To Be Them

Why not flaunt it for once? Just because they’re unhappy doesn’t mean you have to be. And you can make them even more unhappy by telling them so in the smuggest fashion you can muster.

  • Length: 1:37
  • Took me: 8 hours and 20 minutes (subtract the huge break and lots of laziness and it’s 1 hour 20 minutes)
  • Lyrics

6. Cake

I defeated GLaDOS and all I got was this lousy song. Warning: contains spoilers for a certain video game.

  • Length: 1:34
  • Took me: 1 hour
  • Lyrics

7. Improvised Right Padding

Nothing to comment on, but without this one I would never have managed the 20 minutes requirement.

  • Length: 2:10
  • Took me: 2:10 times two :)

8. 23 Seconds

“Why not cut it as close as possible and still mess with some people’s heads?” I thought to myself. 23 seconds indeed.

  • Length: 0:23 (oh, really!)
  • Took me: 5 minutes
  • Lyrics

There is no hidden bonus track. There can’t be. I would have run out of time.


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