Thursday, April 22, 2010

About the Songs, Part I

Track 1: I Love You
I wrote this song back when I was Music Staff Head for Aggie Awakening #86. It was the theme song for that particular retreat, and it was based on the Scripture readings for that Sunday; the psalm reading was Psalm 23, which we leadership members all took to heart during the leadership process. The lyrics are interesting in that the first verse and chorus are told from the perspective of a human person praying and praising God, while the second verse and chorus are told from God's perspective to that person. Also, the song says "this is my Awakening", which is cheesy, gimmicky good fun on a retreat called Awakening. This was also the first time I'd ever sung in three-part harmony with myself (at the breakdown near the end of the song), which is quite an interesting experience.

Track 2: Silver Coins
This song is all about God's call for us to do good works in the world, and about overcoming the fear, discomfort, and trepidation that often try to prevent us from doing those things. I was praying one day and reflecting on a passage in Scripture that jumped out at me, Matthew 25:14-30. It's the parable of the silver talents, of the servants who, in different measures, succeeded or failed to bring the gifts they were given to fruition and bring more back to the king. I thought it was interesting that one of the names for the coins in this story is "talents", and that just like the servants in the parable were called to use their talents (as in money) for a good purpose, so we today are called to use our talents (as in gifts and blessings) in the same way. Silver Coins also contains a little bit of my own unsureness as to what exactly my calling in life might be, and in the song, I ask the Lord to "shut me up" so that His will can be done.

Track 3: Run-On
I wrote this song in about 20 minutes, in just a complete burst of Holy Spirit-ness. As the song relates, I had been praying and reflecting one day on heaven, and what it will be like when we get there. The Book of Revelation tells us that we will be singing, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!", and we'll be singing that forever and ever. It occurred to me that this is pretty much just the greatest run-on sentence ever, so I wrote a song about that, and as irony and the Holy Spirit would have it, the song ended up being one big run-on sentence itself. The little "run-on, run-on, run-on love" part at the end was something I improvised while playing the song at an open mic to make it more relatable and allow people to have something to sing along with, and I guess that worked out pretty well. Looking back on this song, it was definitely the Holy Spirit writing it and not really me, because it's much too clever for me to have come up with all that, especially the whole part where I stop, say "never stop", take a breath, and say "never take a breath". I couldn't come up with something like that if I tried. Gotta be the Spirit.

More to come later...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Release Day!

Well, hello, fine citizen. You have, whether you know it or not, stumbled upon the blog of one David Casper, a musician of sorts who does not frequently describe himself in third person but is indulging in it for at least this sentence because it makes him giggle a bit.

Anywho, as of now, my very first album is up for sale on www.reverbnation.com/davidcasper (click "Visit Store" when you get there to see it/hear it/buy it/hug and kiss it/bake it cookies). The title of the album is Awakening, and I do believe the individual tracks and the album itself need some explanation, or backstory, or whatever you want to call me talking a bit about them, so here goes:

The Album
This album is an interesting achievement because it is essentially a one-man variety show with guests. I wrote the songs, bought the recording gear, found a quiet spot to record, played all the instrument tracks myself, laid down a good 80-90% of the vocals myself, mixed it, produced it, did whatever needed to be done to it. Of course, with a putz like myself behind the wheel, some things came out in ways with which I'm still not satisfied, but overall, I like the way it turned out. Coulda been better - but it coulda been a heck of a lot worse, and I'll stick with what I've got over the alternatives anyday. In recognizing the current state of music, especially with digital distribution selling many more singles than albums, I decided not to go for a unified-sounding album, but rather to make each song stand alone as something one might want to listen to. We'll see if that plays out well or not. Also, there are some mistakes on the album - some noticeable, some not - but I left some of them in intentionally. I wanted this album to be a little bit raw, rough-around-the-edges, not-quite-perfect, because I don't like it when things are too glossy and candy-coated.

As for the title, I decided to call it Awakening for several reasons. One is that the Aggie Awakening retreat program at St. Mary's in College Station, Texas has had a huge impact on the formation of this album, as have other sister Awakening programs at other schools. I Love You and In the Moment were both written for Aggie Awakening-related purposes, and the Litany of the Sacred Heart was partially recorded at University of Dallas' Crusader Awakening. Another reason is that this album is really the awakening of my career as a Christian musician - the beginning to something to which there is hopefully no end. It's the end of my college career and the start of the real world for me, and that's kind of a big deal. A third reason is that I really want anyone listening to this music to be awakened, to be revitalized, to have some new experience that they haven't had yet with Christian music. It's not typical praise-and-worship fare. Most of this stuff is more for listening than for singing along (so, of course, I had to buck my own trend and put a song called "Sing Along" on the album), so hopefully whoever listens to it gets something out of it, a perspective that they didn't have before. Saint Cecilia, pray for us!

More to come on the individual tracks later...