My Songs

Time: 2:12

Lo-fi MP3 (1.5 MB)

Hi-fi MP3 (3.0 MB)

This piece features harmonized flute lines (played by our daughter Jorie) with guitar backing. This was my first attempt to write for an instrument that I don't play, so it was definitely a learning experience (flute players need to breathe, who knew?).

Click here for background information.

Hans Heilman: Electric/acoustic guitars, bass guitar and MIDI piano

Jorie Heilman: Flute


Time: 4:58

Lo-fi MP3 (3.4 MB)

Hi-fi MP3 (6.8 MB)

This piece is a more rock-oriented tune, with a good measure of lead guitar work and a dueling slide guitar section in the middle (around 3:00).

The only relevance of the title is that the day I started writing it was Groundhog's Day. Also that, phonetically speaking, "Punxsutawney", could be considered to be a blend of "punk" and "pentatonic".

Hans Heilman: Electric guitar, lap steel guitar, bass guitar and synthesized percussion

"Rising Up (A Journey)"

Time: 6:36

Lo-fi MP3 (4.6 MB)

Hi-fi MP3 (9.2 MB)

This is the first song that I recorded - a journey through three different musical landscapes, bracketed by opening and closing "bookends" of vocal harmony.

Click here for background information.

Hans Heilman: Vocal harmonies, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, bass guitar and synthesized percussion.

"Little Compton Summer Sunrise" (written by George Peabody)

Time: 2:19

Lo-fi MP3 (1.6 MB)

Hi-fi MP3 (3.2 MB)

My friend George wrote and recorded this as a solo acoustic guitar piece and gave me a copy of his recording. I was taken with the beauty of the song and, as an experiment, I decided that I would try to add some accompanying instruments.

I wrote some harmonized lap steel slide guitar parts and multi-tracked them (the "poor man's pedal steel"!) as well as adding some light bass guitar.

It was an interesting challenge to try to write parts which would complement the acoustic guitar but still remain in the background, letting it be front and center.

George Peabody: Acoustic guitar

Hans Heilman: Lap steel guitar and bass guitar

Ideas in Progress
      These recordings represent ideas which are still being worked out (think of them as pasted-together rough sketches, in which I am focusing on developing the song ideas, not on performance or technical recording quality).      

Time: 2:00

MP3 (1.4 MB)

This fragment is an electric song with a sinuous funk-based bass line. The lead instrument is my lap steel slide guitar, with a lot of distortion. To get the very long sustain on the slide guitar parts heard here, I used an EBow, an electromechanical device which causes a guitar string to vibrate without touching it, allowing infinitely long sustained tones.

The eerie "whistling wind" effect, which starts around 0:45, was produced by multi-tracked EBow-driven slide guitar parts fed through a phasing effect.

All in all, I feel this fragment is a promising start and I now I need to figure out where to take it from here.

"Scarab Snaking Downstream"

Time: 5:46

MP3 (4.0 MB)

This is a full-length song -- I am relatively satisfied with the song structure and flow, as it is represented in this pasted-together recording, and hope to make a quality re-recording of the song in the future.

My foundation idea was to have the song flow along, ever-changing, always in motion. My visual image for this song (and inspiration for the title) was a sequence in the film "Rivers and Tides" (a documentary on Andy Goldsworthy, an artist who uses materials from nature to make site-specific works) where a long chain of leaves he has constructed flows down a rushing stream, curling and snaking wonderfully.

The scarab reference in the title was largely for alliteration (and because I have a beautiful iridescent glass scarab paperweight sitting on my desk).


Time: 1:42

MP3 (1.1 MB)

This is a short fragment that is an experiment in building up layers through looping. Its foundation is an odd-time-signature percussion sequence I developed.
All recording was done on a Boss BR-1600 digital recorder and mixed with Audacity (a free, open source application).

© 2017 Hans Heilman