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Larry Saklad / Blog

My Dilemma...

...at last count living with 18 songs, 7 of 10 published online, 3 to finalize for this long awaited album, Spellbound, including that titled song: yet there's no simple solution to completing release of both Spellbound & yet-to-be named 8+ more songs, many already performed at current & recent shows. ~ There was a time not long ago when I had such a back log of songs to do, never doubted I would release them as close to being recorded as possible, & then as close to their inception. Well now I find myself ahead of my release plan, & ready for an 18 song cd of 2 albums worth (remixes on constant rotation in my car)! ~ But wouldn't that overload you as listener? So I implore you, in this day-n-age when 3- 5 song EPs are the going fare, how would you feel about an 18 song grand CD release of what may prove to be a truly spellbound album called SPELLBOUND?? An epic CD without intention of full playback in one sitting, but some now, again later & again. ~ Ultimately I aim to give every song idea a chance to spring free on wings carefully painted, for tugging all your heartstrings; find in these words wonder, comfort, longing, joy, tears & love, in resonance with your life vibrations, melodies striking both familiar & fresh chords & rhythms. Maybe even rekindle how each of us feels back when pop music discovery is everything, how it draws you in deeper, one on one yet shared & reveled & sung together without a care! "Keep me Spellbound". ~ ps ~ 'course, you'll be the 1st to hear about my decision! stay tuned

Don't Want Fans, Seeking...

~ Don't want fans; seeking music appreciators thirsting for fresh original songs with a current sound, yet an ear to familiar rock-pop-folk foundations- a sound built on the history & soul of pop culture but looking toward the future, crossover ready. Lyrics describe both serious & light subjects, predominantly include elements of hope told personally with authentic words that resonate on many levels. ~ Most "fans" are all about the artist, their news worthy story, social status & laundry, in contrast to music appreciators who are more interested in the artist's creations & the impact on them in an emotional, intellectual & visceral way. Have the recordings faithfully captured all the innuendo of a live show, and visa versa? Pure gut level reaction that relies less on spectacle, more on connection thru artistry, words & performance, would be the kind of audience attracted to Saklad songs.

Sak-Lab Song Recipe

~ It's not that I haven't had these 10+ songs written, recorded and performed over some years now, since SAKLAD '10. But behind the scenes in what has been coined the "Sak-Lab" I have been learning the fine art of cooking up a song- not just the writing but also the production to wring out all the impact & emotion.

~ Yes, I had a huge learning curve plus it's only a "project" studio- most of my efforts are built "in the box", the point being I now needed to bring the songs full circle to fruition, and to be competetive in the pro market or no one listens. Sure, it started late '90s, a 4 trak porta-studio, ugh- having to stripe 1 trak w/ sync tone to play in time to synthesizers (midi), and I could get a guitar & 2 vocals (or bounced for 2 more)... Fast forward to '04 with a daunting bunch of songs (old & new) to record into Cakewalk, the strongest of which ended up on Yet2B '06 (an album I'd never listen to again & copies still), but the songs were dear.

~ Immediately, I set out working on the 2010 collection and performing everywhere I could- countless open mics & showcases. New friends included Wein (Wayne) Hsu, a gifted musician/ producer, instrumental in making Salt In My Coffee the brilliant recording & notable single still getting airplay.

~ So now, 7 years mixing my originals, currently w/ Sonar X1 (I know, PC guy, I build 'em), something has clicked recently w/ so much online learning from Dave Pensado, Home Recording, etc. It tickles me how good this "food" is tasting- this cook is maybe starting to chef! Yeh, nearly every day for this last year, I have been mixing & remixing, experimenting & fine tuning both my ears & these new songs- why finally I am releasing them, 1 every week, Tuesdays now thru March at least, Spellbound album to follow late Spring!

~ Some shows are now being added to perform my new album, Spellbound, the first comfirmed on Fri April 11 @ Dobbs (& friends Roger Silverberg +). Stop over http://sakladmusic.com for all the latest & do listen!

2014 begins...

...following our most successful celebrations of Alan Mann [rip] & song Christmas On The Block, both with WXPN's early support of our 30th anniv recording & filmed full house sing-along 12/22 at Dobbs on South St.

But no basking in the glory long, readying final mixes of now 15 songs, many played live this past yr, 3 just created- newest Only Always is special, being a live solo Kim De Meo's lyrics, but touches on our deepest universal pain of loss. Unfortunately well timed as I learn of another friend...

So, we have a plan, hope you all get on board as I release a new mix every Tues thru March at least!! Yes, starting with our even better All Of Sudden next Tuesday Feb 11, then Up On The Bluffs, What If. The "new" stuff starts coming in March- Leap Of Faith, You Said My Name, Don't You See & Oh Philadelphia '14. If all goes as planned, we should have the whole Spellbound album (& song by that name) soon after.

That's the short of it! And it's important because only after this can I begin sharing my very newest writing- already 5 songs and counting (one needs words) that are even more exciting & fresh, maybe even ahead of the wave, hoping! This is where I'm heading this year, looking forward.

*ps~ look for roots Reggae band Sacred Vibration shows, I'm keyboards since '12, Anthony Curry, Doug Grigsby +

Spellbound Album- New Rcdg Process

A newly conceived process I’ve recently been using recording my songs is now even a major part of their inception! Before describing the general concept let me state, I’m certainly not the 1st to adapt to the cutting edge of music creation, both in electronic sound creation and the processing of sampled instruments or anything recordable. But through out my piano/keyboard playing/exploration, sampling and sequencing have always been the common learning curve, even before digital ignited the whole landscape.

For most of the last decade I’ve been developing my recording and producing skills, currently finishing work on my next album (3rd), Spellbound, after 2 years of dedicated writing, recording, mixing, redo, redo. And as I looked for some more spice and character bits & pieces- sounds to play live also, I looked to expand my soft-synths collection- early on came across a few newest with built in sequencers, quickly adapted to 32 step rhythm patterns, usually 3 separate sound sources all triggered together while adjusting faders on all sorts of filter freq & Q, pulse width mod & other variables while recording these ever changing atmospheres at the tempo for specific songs, and retuned to that song’s key. Because of the extremely pulsed or chopped outcome, this sound is more akin to drums or electronic percussion, and I further decimate the original waveform, usually bitcrushing or grainyacking it, finally actually carving out chunks thru volume envelopes, etc.

How’s it sound? Listen for yourself to this unexpected result, Up On The Bluffs is the 2nd song adv released, posted below & http://saklad.bandcamp.com with what appear to be hand drums, but they’re not! I have done dozens even more adventurous and edgy, have even created a whole future song around this process with inspiring results, but my intrigue involves merging all this with my favorite genre- Rock, which to me, has become stale, holding too tightly to the classic sound, forgetting that once upon a time it was the cutting edge for trying all the “newest” ideas out. I applaud all the genres that have embraced & pioneered & championed the new sounds & this cause, to pave the way for us older statesmen of the music scene, but also for the masses of listeners who have embraced this very danceable stuff! So it is time, and ripe for the pickin’!

Is My Song Recording Finished?

_ So when is a song recording done- mixed & ready for the mastering & pressing + distribution? I asked this again earlier this week to see the responses since here I was again doing the umteenth remix of Up On The Bluffs for upcoming album Spellbound, yet knowing as I went about tweaking the sound of almost every track, this would be even better than last time. _ The easy answer to this question is never, but it avoids dealing with a very real challenge- every time I learn a new trick or try a new chain of efx, or address phase issues (oh yeh) after a troubling eq problem, I want to do it to all my previous recordings! So here we are, I keep pushing back the release date, more pleased than ever with the mixes of the 10+ songs (until next week when I need more snare here and tame the wild sub-bass there)! Not to mention, I still have some vocals & guitar work to do, more keyboards spice… and a sax, yeh… and no listening to the muse for new songs, NO!! _ I don’t believe there is a hard and fast rule to assess when an original song recording is ready, but I do know I get a feeling, not just the goose-bumps, but a sensing that it’s starting to jell, like when cooking- and you just smell this wonderful ripe aroma, right then it’s time to turn off the heat. Yes, a good analogy, because it’s really easy to burn eggs, for example, but just one moment before that, supurb! And then I play it for all my closest friends, critique cruelly you guys, I need the ass-whipping incentive to go back, you guessed it, and mix it again :) _ It ain’t done til it’s pressed, and I hope soon too!

ps~ further delays, all my final cd designs in pagemaker have been lost last month (computer glitch), now in the process of re-creating (possible re-design too)

Why Dine at My Songwriter Table?

~ In spite of wearing my influences like hearts on my sleeve, what I bring to the singer-songwriter table is so much more. Arts are my middle name, not just music or writing or performing, but visual, theatrical, photographic and sculptural all, and don't leave out parenting- possibly the most challenging but also rewarding of all talents.

~ So where do we draw the line on what's worthy of our attention, and however that line is drawn, why would anyone else be interested or inspired or find value in it? Certainly everyone has a right, even obligation to create content, whether it be to incite revolution against an oppressive state or lull us or our kids into peaceful sleep, to twist our insides tighter during a horror movie or to wring every last tear of joy over a long lost love, even just a memorable singalong to make us feel good.

~ Well, I for one, of all the art prescriptions, think a great song is the best medicine. Think of me as that mad scientist, perhaps sorcerer, concocting yet another finger to tickle you, another spice to burn your tongue, another incite to wrinkle the tissues of your brain further for definite yet unmeasurable benefit. But not in some sort of manufactured generic way; my writing comes from actual experience- there is no faking maturity or seeing the big picture in contrast to my naive youth. My art is a true composite of then and now, along with everything in between, and the realization that I'm always thinking about it, always, as my hardwired commitment. It can not be denied or ignored, and it puts all my trust back into your hands and hearts, along with God.

~ Just maybe this one ray of hope shines a light where there's still shadow and doubt, and how I do place my faith.

Thurs 5-31 & 6-7 full nights+ "Spellbound" CD news

Wow, a bug took me out of circulation almost 2 weeks- luckily our next show isn't til Thurs 5-31 Dog & Bull Brew & Music on Bristol Pk. We've had nothing but fun shows here and look forward to this coming one- 3 sets give a chance to stretch out, pull lots outta d' hat, have guests join. Ya gotta love the Hoegaarden on tap, and since I bring my sound feels right at home! And 1 week later- Temperance House in Newtown, we do it all again! further gig details http://sakladmusic.com/shows/

And the latest with the new CD (7 song EP), SPELLBOUND (also the name of the 4th cut, an adventurous edgy alternative rock song co-write w/ Kim De Meo)- am finalizing mixes everyday until they're right, but regardless, right on schedule (I think). Fortunately the lead off single is done- All Of A Sudden, to be released Tues 6-19-12. Shows thru-out summer will incl CD Releases leading to our official WorldWide Sept release (and yet-to-be confirmed shows...) stay tuned, can't wait to share~ Larry

@ The "New" Drawing Board for 2012

_ Once again my thoughts are being tested, my determination challenged, and my convictions conflicted with doubts. While writing and recording new songs, among my best yet according to recent responses performed live, I stand at the "new" drawing board for 2012, pencil poised to map out a plan of awareness, giving more chances than ever before, to share what inspires my soul, music- results of that love being my original songs. _ To plan ahead we must build on where we've been, so I take stock in the past 5 years, back to May 1, 2006 when I retired from USPS after 24 years to pursue my passion, and released my debut, Yet2B, 10/12/06. I applied everything I had learned about songwriting & performing & recording since age 6, proud to finally release 11 original songs to the public- later to learn of the countless errors I made both in the mixing and mastering. Yet the songs have been applauded live over the next years and are still viable, I needed to do better. _ SAKLAD was released 9/14/10, went thru many transformations & names, originally called MasterPeace appropriately, as most of these songs were about inspiration and was to be my very best effort. I am still proud of this album of 11 songs, and the many opportunities and doors it has opened, plus the countless chances to share multiplied. _ This past December '11 brought an amazing response to our new recording of Alan Mann's "Christmas On The Block" featuring Kenn Kweder bluesharp, including airplay XPN, STW, BZH, CHE, Z88.9 and online Michael Tearson's http://rtds.ca , Dan Herman's http://radiocrystalblue.net , Charlie Sylvestri's http://upcloseandacoustic.podomatic.com/entry/2011-12-22T17_41_43-08_00 and a memorable performance w/ Kenn Kweder @ Dobbs South St... _ ...Alas, I have come so far since 2004 when I wrote my first of the new songs that re-opened the flood gate to my muse ("The Voice") and set me back on this less traveled road. I should be feeling uplifted and hopeful as this new year begins, and I do, but I also have huge trepidation- my talents for music, the arts & the creative process seem to fall far short when it comes to promotion and marketing. All my life I carried the conviction, "create great music/songs and they would rise like cream to the top" so priority was to the process of songwriting & musicianship, not learning corporate strategies of monetization and SEO (suddenly scrambling and cramming to learn all I can with the other side of my brain). Surprisingly I find it interesting, even intriguing- I get into editing graphics & photos, designing posters & promo, writing press releases and blogs, I like wearing all the many hats. _ But at this rate, I'll be dead before any of this pans out into a profitable business- it has remained a labor of love and audience has dwindled, I play too many under-attended shows, give away too many cds, and expend an enormous amount of energy, time & $ for one purpose- to celebrate life carrying the torch of universal connection thru music. I still believe in the power of a song, and continue to cross my fingers- maybe this year... _ ...like my newest writing, "Leap Of Faith" baby!

Press Rel- 28th anniv New record Christmas On The Block

28th anniv new record Christmas On The Block by Alan Mann [rip '88] Former Alan Mann & The Free Arts Band member, Larry Saklad, has released a brand new recording of Christmas On The Block, both in honor of this legendary local favorite and to Alan's 28th anniversary of 1st release '83. Saklad was Mann's original piano/keyboard man who also released another recording of this song in '95, tracked & mixed @ Art Inst Of Phila, aired on Street Beat, then local show hosted by Cyndy Drue (WMMR, now @ WMGK); years later he felt it was overproduced and not authentic to the original, which this new recording aimed at correcting and succeeds, including Alan’s favorite- a 12 string Guild guitar! All that's missing is the second grade kids singing ala Mann's track.

The story goes something like... ... Alan Mann was late getting home to his girlfriend, and somewhere in West Phila-Overbrook, had a vision of the wonderful lights decorating a School For The Blind, feeling both the irony and magic of how that must be for those students, that "their's is the most beautiful Christmas On The Block", and had the whole song written by the time he arrived.

History and tradition have surrounded this folk song ever since it's first low-fi release and subsequent early MTV video, which also recieved full support from Yoko Ono, and had loyal fans' requests thru-out these passing years. But Alan never had the chance to produce a true studio quality recording of it before he was gone. Larry relays how (not two weeks before) Alan Mann spoke at length with him near 24th on Walnut, Phila, outside his mgr's brownstone, about re-joining the Alan Mann Band, that he missed piano... "Ultimately," states Saklad, "this has been a labor of love, and the only listener that really matters is Alan himself, who I can only hope is mighty happy about how this brand new recording turned out!" albeit 28 years later. You can find all related news at http://sakladmusic.com and certainly have a listen starting Tues Nov 29. Then on Thurs Dec 1, 8pm is the live show and debut of "Christmas On The Block" at Grape Room, 105 Grape St, Manayunk, Phila, when you can witness SAKLAD in concert w Bryan Cooper drums/perc, Kim De Meo featured vocals, and more guests for this special song, along with Roger Silverberg & Friends [NY, from Phila]. Also 12/13 Whiskey Tango Phila & 12/15 Dog & Bull Croydon! Everyone is welcome to sing along :)

11/26~ Ryan Schwabe [again] is mastering Monday for Tues release!! Mark Rogers of WSTW heard an adv copy, "Hey Larry, it sounds great! Very nice job" and will premier 12/18! 11/27~ Last night, met w/ Kenn Kweder 11/26 gig, recording his blues-harp in true mobile fashion- my car! added a really nice touch & spice, more hood feeling, thnx man! posted an out-take http://soundcloud.com/larry-saklad/kenn-kweder-out-take-christmas

12/12 updates+ live w/ Kweder @ Dobbs 12/11~ Michael Tearson- thanks for the Christmas on the Block 2011 CD, Larry. what a lovely piece of music! Some Christmas Songs You Probably Don't Know By Heart #1 (of 2) radiothatdoesntsuck.com. it'll debut on site stream 4 times Tuesday 9am 3pm 9 3am Wed. then avail on demand & free. great seeing you tonight (12/11)! song is next to last and spotlighted. RTDS - Radio That Doesn't Suck - "Format-free radio, or radio free of form!" Hi bit rate 192 Hi Def radio! http://rtds.ca