Here's a little mini interview with me about the preceding track in iOS Music And You.
Here's a little mini interview with me about the preceding track in iOS Music And You.
Just learning my way around a new library (Garritan's World Instruments), I did this in half an hour this morning. Because, you never know when you'll need a full recorder ensemble!
I'm still on my archive.org old 1950s educational film short kick. Here's a new song inspired by one of the films, along with the film re-edited as a music video. The original film meant to teach kids not to be afraid, but seriously -- what kind of lesson is that to be teaching our kids nowadays?
This isn't a real song, just me messing around for an hour or so with some synths and a new channelstrip plugin (TeamDNR's Mixcontrol). If you like repetitive robot music, then you might enjoy this.
There's never been an easier way to learn the "Pater Noster"!
Here is a delightful instrumental / percussion amuse-bouche to whet your palate. Nothing too profound here, just playing around with various percussional timbres, whence the title.
Just migrating the ol' podcast. New music will be arriving shortly!
Sorry about the lack of new music these past two months. I've been focusing on learning how to draw comics, and you can see my first self-directed learning project here: "Ulysses The Undead".
No synths this time (a first for me)! Used only the instruments pictured above (plus my voice and our kitchen wok-lid as a gong, not pictured): ashiko hand-drum (djembe like), kosika shaker, tambourine, box drum, mbira/kalimba, bamboo saxophone, and some weird bamboo/reed whistle. I used ample instances of Celemony Melodine to keep everything in tune (and repitch a few notes), and looped some of the parts a bit (and the 4-on-the-floor "kick" is the ashiko pitched down roughly 5 semitones). Most were recorded with an SM58, my voice with my CAD-M177. The reverb is a cave impulse in Cakewalk Perfect Space.
If you're offended by this, you're not wrong.
I realized this past weekend that I hadn't done a two-minute rock opera yet about a mechanical engineer who steals a tank. So I fixed that (there's a General Dynamcs tank plant near Detroit that we used to drive past whenever we'd visit our grandparents, so that's the Michigan connection).
Here's my attempt to do an old-school-style baby-maker (extended slow jam) in an age of embryonic stem-cell research. I think it's one of the longest pieces I've ever done.
It's a traditional evening prayer chant for Advent in Latin ("Creator of the stars of night"), done here as kind of a downtempo lounge-core thing (Chantcore?). I used Sonik Synth, SampleTron, SampleMoog, ReTank loops, and Alchemy.
Fun with some new loops, mercifully short.
I'm going to post some odds and ends from this year, things I haven't posted yet. Starting with this one from February's KVR contest. We had to do a cover of a tune written by another KVRian, in this case, S.HUSH, who is a hilarious songwriter. I used an effect on my voice (CloneEnsmble), multitracked 8 times, with some ambient crowd noise, and a marching band beat I did in Battery 3... it's weird, but maybe convincing in its execution. In case you're curious, the original was a Mellencamp-esque rock tune.
A little anti-redistributionalist Calypso for you! I play the ukulele on it. Enjoy!
This song was written to award the top pledger for the quarterly Catholic and Enjoying It Tin Cup Rattle pledge drive, Irenaeus. The idea was that I'd write a song about whatever topic he chose. One of the options given was "How about a generic liberal pro-abortion Catholic politician (a la Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius, etc)?".
Playing around with some new effects today, needed a vocal line, so got our six-year-old son in front of the microphone and said "Come on, then! Sing something!"
Nothing is more depressing than reading an inciteful blog or forum post, having the perfect reply, and then being denied because either the poster has closed comments for that post or because you've previously been banned (for being right, usually).
It's new music! Inspired by current events! It's longer than 2 minutes!
Dr. Apostrophe X and The Kornhole Krew present:
Well, I thought it would take a few more weeks, but apparently three days is all it takes for Amazon MP3 and Lala to post your new album on their websites for listening (LaLa gives you the first listen for free) and purchase. iTunes, Rhapsody, and eMusic, it seems take a bit longer.
Here's another from our poking-around-on-my-harddrive file, a requiem for the Sega Master System.
Going through the hard-drive looking for some stuff to clean up for a possible future release, and found this experiment (probably messing around with the Jamstix demo), from July, 2005.
Song #75 on our 100-song odyssey is a collaboration with the eminent 1-2-Many, who is a fixture on the KVRaudio.com website, particularly in their monthly song contests. Collaboration may be pushing it a bit because all I really did on this one was write some words and sing them -- he did all the music writing and production, so it was quite a nice break for me. I think it came out really well.
Since I guess we're on the retro tip, here's another old song; this song is possibly from late 1998 or early 1999? I can't remember. It was done "live" (though multitracked) to my Roland multitrack recorder which could do formant shifting, which explains the vocals. I never really intended this to be Barry White or the Chipmunks, I just needed a name for the project after I'd recorded it.
Here's an oldie, from 2001 (right after the "Robot Love" era). It's about all those people who pretend to be cops... that's right, they are "Fake Cops!" A lot of time has gone by between this song and now, so you'd really think my music would sound better today than it did then. You would think.
...in which our singer recounts his final moments inside the eye of a tornado (it's a Midwestern United States thing, you wouldn't understand). Lyric here.
I'll be posting the version of this new tune with vocals in a day or two. In the meantime, enjoy it in all its pristine, unbesmirched, Moog-tastic goodness.
Song #70 on our 100-song journey is from early, 2003, when I found myself laid-off. It's named in honor of Michigan's Automated Response Voice Interactive Network, aka. M.A.R.V.I.N., who cheerfully greeted me every other Friday to confirm I'd been looking for work. As for the piece itself, it's kind of a jazzy-funky instrumental tune done with an old music program that came bundled free with Computer Music magazine. Listening to this one again after so many years, for all of its low-fi grunginess, it's really one of my favorites. It reminds me of a time when (like it or not) I had a lot of time and attention to give a piece.
UPDATE (02/19): I've tweaked the mix a little to make the vocals stand out a little more (maybe too much -- yes, I've heard of EQ, but there's no time to fix that now).
One of the rare pleasures of working on music so randomly over the years is that once in a while, while searching for something else, you happen across a file in your working directory entitled "Huh.wav" and when you pull it up to give it a listen, you have absolutely no recollection of ever working on it. It's even better when that tune is kind of neat.
Yeah, I shot the freak.
Always Ever Only Just
Here's an experiment in found audio (the recitation is from Archive.org, and the ambient cafe sounds are from Freesound.org). Computer Music magazine's resident monthly musical gestalt writer, Rachmiel, had this to say about this piece:
A few years back, the Center for Disease Control approached my free-jazz quintet, "No Boundaries", about doing a little project for them to raise awareness among preschool-aged children about the dangers of infectious disease.
I've begun to re-enter the monthly contests at KVRAudio.com. Here is last month's submission. I have to apologize in advance for the inappropriateness of some of these tunes, but hey... maybe you'll get a chuckle out of one (or more) of them.
Here's another new one for you. It's a Phreakbox dance remix of the Sock Monkeys' instant classic "Everybody Poops".
After a long break, it's time for Song #60, and it's a new one. With the coming of Spring my musical mojo is starting to thaw and I have a couple of new projects I'm working on. One of which is Phreakbox, which will be a more minimalist sonic experience than I've recently attempted. Anyway, enjoy this simple tune.
In honor of the Feast of the Epiphany comes another track from the ill-fated Christmas project. Like most of my interpretations of classic hymns, this one received the complaint that the melody is not brought to the foreground enough. My typical response stands: when I interpret classic hymns, I like to give them a more impressionistic interpretation, as opposed to a literal one. For the intended project, this also may have been a little too... well, just listen for yourself.
This is another demo I did for the Christmas Project That Never Came To Be. I don't know who wrote this song (I think it's in the Gather hymnal), but I did the arrangement (including some additional lyrics for the bridge section), and in my own humble opinion, it's probably one of the best arrangements I've ever done (especially considering my set-up at the time). Actually, listening over the early mixes for this just now, I actually had a funkier arrangement that I liked a lot better (seriously, some pr. It was probably too funky. Anyway, here's the one I did and recorded some rather Barney-esque vocals for.
About four years ago I was asked to start work on producing some tracks for a Christmas CD. While the project never really came about (some of my arrangements were a little... ahead of their time), I've recently discovered on a back-up drive some of the tracks I was working on at the time.
I'm back! And I bring a new tune. This tune is actually a collaboration with the excellent Rockstar_not who, in addition to coming up with the concept of the piece (an entry into kvraudio.com's September "geography-themed" contest) wrote and sang the lyric. Basically the good parts are his. I contributed some wacked-out, late Friday night vocalizations and the "Motown Mash-Up" rhythm track. Enjoy it or don't. Just never for get we come from a land shaped like a hand.
I did this song in August of 2004. It's difficult to say what it's really all about (if you have any guesses, let me know!). As near as I can figure it's an anti-protest, anti-"progress" song. You can also read into it (or out of it?) some of the baby-boomers' reaction to 9/11, which is why I'm posting it today. Regardless, I'm rather fond of how this came out, production-wise.
This song, written for the August, 2006, kvraudio.com contest, is a statement on our culture's obsession with teaching everything didactically, as a set of instructions, instead of teaching by showing or doing (which is how all of us learned to tie our shoes). It attempts to show the frustration on the part of the instructor when the pupil can't follow the confusing instructions (though they are technically accurate) and the defiant resignation of the student (mad props to 'Xander for the collab!), in both asserting and conceding that he'll never tie his shoes, provided with that method of instruction.
Greetings! We're back with another song for you, this one in honor of and to get you in the mood for tomorrow's Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
Well, that was a fine break. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Now we are back and in honor of the truly unbearable weather outside Whimsey HQ, we have this buried gem from Summer, 1997, when we found ourselves chained-up in an apartment with no air conditioning for three weeks over the hottest period of the summer with only a copy of Jamiroquai's "Travelling Without Moving" CD to keep us company. Somehow, we pulled through and we suspect you will, too.
It's song number 50!
Here's an evocative little tune I put together - judging from the file details - in September, 2003. Not much to say about this one, except that it's now track #49 in our one-hundred song journey.
I recently uncovered a hidden trove of audio I did in Spring, 2003. Many of the tracks are unfinished (some tunes I look forward to getting back to someday -- provided I can track down where all the little audio bits wound up when our PC died that summer), but a few I actually managed to complete at the time. This is one of those tracks.
Our second "Buried Folderol Week" concludes with a short tune from (I'm guessing) 1997. This is the result of another one of those situations where I was up too late during my college years and had half an idea for a song and so fired up the four-track and put some stuff down. In this case the results were not particularly... good. But maybe you'll find something endearing about this track, who knows.
I guess it's time for another Buried Folderol Week here on the old Cacophonous World (you in the back! stop groaning!). This distinctive piece of buried folderol comes to us directly from Autumn, 1996. My setup at the time was the Roland JV-1000 synth, an old Roland phrase sampler (which I sold on Harmony Central the next year), an Alesis SR-16 drum machine, an SM-58 microphone, my trusty Yamaha four-track cassette recorder, and a fictional character: the quintessential Lounge Lizard, Mr. Straight Shots (nee Straight Shotz). Anyway, this was all done "live" to four-track, including the various vocal layerings and sound effects. And yes, I guess I had been listening to George Duke's "Reach For It" before I wrote this one.
My weblog recently celebrated it's fifth anniversary (though it's kind of weak now). Around the time I started the weblog (2001), I wrote this tune in a kind of Lionel Richie/Commodores groove. The whole "I want a boy..." section was taken from some random girl's weblog. My co-worker at the time had found it and she and I both agreed it was just about the saddest thing we'd ever read, so it fit the whole pathos of the tune. I never really got around to finishing this tune up, but the lack of polish maybe fits the subject matter.
Let's take a trip back to the early 1990s when everyone was techno-ing up a storm. I did this track a couple of weeks back for a KVRAudio contest and when I played it for the host of The Catholic Cast podcast, he said he'd like to use it there as well. Consider this a sneak peek for when that podcast does eventually return.
I know "Weird Jazz Week" was last week, but I just remembered this song and wanted to slip it in. I did it in September, 2004, for a kvraudio.com contest where the theme was to create a song using only one instrument. While this is what I technically did, perhaps this wasn't directly in the spirit of the competition.
It's song 42! Time for something extra special: the first song to feature our son who provided not only the ferocious roar but (obviously) the theme and subject matter of this song (by virtue of engaging in the aforementioned activity but also in needing to reminded that monsters are not always to be feared -- though I guess it doesn't help that I taught him about grues to keep him in bed). It may be lame to admit that there are some of your own songs that you really like, that you're really proud of how they came out, but this is definitely one of those.
I did this tune in early 2003 when I got my first "ROMpler" (a virtual instrument which plays instruments which have been sampled but to which you can't add your own content), Sonik Synth (one). Anyway, I wanted to see how faithfully I could emulate a Jazz quartet (and string section). Unfortunately, to some ears I strove to such a degree for authenticity in the trumpet part -- simulating some detuning due to an uneven flow of air through the instrument -- that at some point it goes a little way flat and the trumpeter sounds less like Miles Davis and more like the mortally wounded bugler in Sonny Giannotta's 1962 comedy recording "Last Blast of The Blasted Bugler" (my parents had a record of that and played it for me when I was a kid; if you're familiar with the recording you'll realize that explains an awful lot. If you have a digital copy of that recording, long out of print, please email me).
Time to let the Professor pick the theme.
Our second "Buried Folderol Week" concludes on the same note it began: that of incredibly rare favorites (of mine, anyway) made with found or sampled audio. This Friday's tune is one of my favorites and it actually came together in an interesting manner. It's no secret that I consider Deep Space Nine to be the best television series of all time, and it was my companion through most of High School, College, and then my first forays into the Real World. I learned a lot from Captain Sisko. Anyway, towards the end of season five, I believe, I was up late at night and the show happened to be on and since it was an awesome episode (the Dominion's all in a snit because Sisko mined the wormhole with cloaked, self-replicating mines) I decided to put a microphone (the ol' Shure SM-58) in front of the television's speaker and record some of whatever Captain Sikso was saying (in this case it's a great exchange with Jeffrey Comb's Weyoun character).
To kick off our second Buried Folderol Week (which features songs which use samples that are, shall we say, hopefully covered under the fair-use umbrella), we've got a real rare treat for you: "The Pirate Movie Song" which I did as a present for my (then) fiance back in 1999 using samples from one of her favorite movies.
Another song written and performed by our neice, but this one was done five years ago. Enjoy!
This song was written and performed by our neice, KK, for her mom this past Mother's Day. All I did on this pretty much is work up a sparse arrangement (consider this a demo; though there is one interesting bit of trivia here: the bridge section contains my first-ever played guitar part) and record KK singing in our spare-bedroom studio. Anyway, my rushed production work not necessarily withstanding, I think this one came out pretty good (and yes, a lot of that is due to the fact that an actual singer/songwriter wrote and sang it).
Does Kyoto have a subway? If it does, does it sound anything like this? I don't know the answer to either question; I've never been to Kyoto and the way things are going I probably never will. Put this song on loop playback and just chill with it for a few minutes.
Every evening here, in Summer, as the days grow longer and there is the need of such a thing, the Time For Bed Truck makes its rounds around the city letting all of the children know that it's time to march off to bed. Tonight I stuck a stereo microphone out the window as it drove by.
"Unmitigated Disaster Week" concludes (a day late, naturally) with this deservedly forgotten gem from August, 2004. A former co-worker once told me that in the UK "knock me up" was slang for asking someone to visit you (just like "ring me up" was slang for asking someone to phone you). I have no idea if this is true, but it sounded like a good chance to exercise some house-oriented double entendres.
Yes, I realize it's Tuesday and I'm a day late posting the first song of this week. But, sometimes, when you try to do art, things go horribly wrong. This week, then, honors those rare moments when despite my best efforts things don't go exactly as planned, the train jumps the tracks, and what you're left with is a catastrophic trainwreck. Yes it's "Unmitigated Disaster" week.
The first part of 2003 really sucked and I guess this song was in response to that. This may be one of the songs I go back and re-record at some point, but not tonight. Oh, this also wraps up our first ever Synthpop Week here.
I declare this week to be SYNTHPOP WEEK!
While searching my hard-drive in search of this Friday's tune, I came across this buried gem.
Based on cryptic download stats, this song remains popular after it's conception in November, 2005, as a KVRAudio contest entry (the theme was "Easy and Cheesy in the Retro Lounge" and, against all odds, it won).
Another song for the Easter Season (I suppose). This is a Catechism Rock song. I really must do more of those.
Happy Easter! In honor of the day, here's some Synthpop/Gospel for everyone, straight from 2003.
I think this track would fall into the realm of self-parody if I hadn't spent so much time on it. If this tune were on the WB it would get a TV-14 DSV rating, so protect your kids.
Retro Robot Song Week (well, the first one of them, anyway) wraps up this week with "Tuesday Morning at the Robotics Factory", one of the first Dr. Apostrophe X songs from 2003. I kind of like it. Anyway, a brand new, really warped robot song will be posted here Monday, unless I think better of it, which I probably will, and you don't want to miss that.
There's just one week left for me to complete my submission to the 2006 Pieces Of Flair Robot-Song-Off so while I work hard on that, I've declared this a "Retro Robot Song Week" (or something, use your own imagination to come up with a more clever title). Today's tune is off the Robot Love album. Buy your copy today from any number of fine CD and online music stores.
This Friday's tune, wrapping up our eleventh week here in the Cacophonous World, is "Shaker Funk". This tune has been described as "'70s Cop Show Theme meets 'Lord of the Dance'". That description seems accurate to me and the tune itself was already long overdue when I recorded it in 2003. Enjoy!
One of the more common themes in my music, when I'm doing what I like to think I do best, that is, is the elevation of the common or the mundane to an uncommon or slightly more revered state of being ("Shelly", "Coloring Monsters", "60 Ton Whale" -- though the last one does it kind of irreverently I guess). This song is one of those songs.
Before you get too excited about this, an instrumental track from Decemeber, 2005, I should explain that it was mostly done as a demo track. I won a copy of Garritan's Jazz and Big Band software and this was my first attempt at using it (it can sound a LOT more realistic as evinced by the demos on Garritan's page). Anyway, I'm going to be playing with JABB a lot more in the future, but I kind of like this track, too, anyway.
This track, from 2001, is about Missionaries (of a sort). It's some of the finer songwriting I've done (though some disagree) and was mostly written to answer a challenge from my High School band friend, Moses, who was upset because on the whole "Robot Love" CD, I used not one 4-7-3-6-2-5-1 chord progression.
Cop shows and cartoons about animals who solve crimes and are in bands were big in the 1960s. Also big were shows about ghosts and witches. D-list animation studio Banarama/Hibernia thought they'd do the industry one better and create a hip show for kids about a dead monkey who plays the marimba and solves crimes. They even got Charles Mingus' brother Billy Mingus to write and perform the theme song (with out of work lounge act Robbie "The Throat" Vertulli on vocals).
January 1, 2001: Food Network shows a 24-hour marathon of the Japanese culinary battle show, "Iron Chef". Aspiring songwriter Victor Lams, basking in the warm glow of his recent CD release, watches 18 hours of said marathon, stopping only long enough to visit KMart for more blank videotapes.
We wrap up an unusually weird week with an unusually weird song. I did this track, judging from the last modified date on the file, August 18, 2003 -- two days after Amin died. I'm not from Uganda, but by all accounts Idi Amin was a real bastage.
Professor Whimsey's Logbook: June 12, 1927
This is probably one of my more "commercial-sounding" tracks, which should tell you something about the overall commericial appeal of my music. This is an instrumental (I've been doing a lot of singing here lately, figured it was time to post an instrumental) in the smooth-jazz vein.
New music today! This is the first of a new series of songs about the Love Hive. What is the Love Hive and why should you care? Over the next few weeks we'll explore more of the Love Hive and its philosophy. Stay Tuned.
There is not really that much which can be said about this tune other than it was inspired by true events.
Our first Buried Folderol Week concludes with this rare gem from 1996. When asked in college what my ideal job was, I would often reply (and still do), "lounge lizard". Sadly, the closest I've ever come to realizing this dream, aside from that time I played piano at that one bar in Brugge, was when I would lug my keyboard to the Not Another Cafe in Ann Arbor, Michigan, or to the monthly Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Coffe-House Night at Hillsdale, College. Becuase I had a keyboard and no one could stop me, I would often perform there. I would usually start off with this tune, much to the bewildered stares of the three or four people who'd gathered there, which left me with only 179 additional minutes to fill with my own unique "musical-wallpaper"... until Casey showed up with the rum, at which point the rest of the mucial ambience would kind of degress into mediocre Charlton Heston impressions (and the bewildered stares turned into vacant chairs).
We kick off our first ever Buried Folderol Week with a trip all the way back to 1995 (or 1996 - I'm not sure of the exact date but it was definitely after Stevie Wonder's "Conversation Peace" came out, from the sound of things). I had occasion this past weekend to dig out my old 4-track cassette recorder and Big Box O' Tapes, just to see what was on them. I had almost forgotten, in this age of Digital Audio Workstations, how much fun it was to work with audio tape. And yes, I'm being sarcastic.
This song first appeared on Catechism Rock! last year, and you can read the entire saga of how it came to be by clicking on that link. One of my shorter, but more cherished creations.
For this Monday's song, we take a strong left turn into uncharted territory (for me anyway): the remix. "Have You Dug His Scene?" was, I believe, my second attempt at a remix, brought on my repeated listenings of the second Verve CD of remixed jazz classics. The remix is no Brazilian booty-shaker, granted, but perhaps you'll get your groove on to it (and perhaps you won't. It's free. What do you want?).
For the second tune of the week we turn the pages all the way back to September, 2003, and a cheerful little Goth tune. I forget exactly what provoked this tune. Anyway, here it is in a slightly re-imagined form (I went to re-master the track and realized I'd misplaced my harpichord samples when I upgraded FLStudio, so the whole thing has been updated a bit). The old version is still available somewhere online, though, if you want to hear the differences. Have an enjoyable weekend!
This, one of my longer songs, is a sort of homage to Parliament/Funkadelic keyboardist extraordinaire Bernie Worrell. This is also about a couple of friends who broke up as I was working on the song and still were relying on each other for technical support. I also worked in a call center, which has a lot to do with this song. From March, 2001.
This song, ostensibly combining the 1980s style of Hall and Oates with Frank Zappa's "Valley Girl", which was originally composed and recorded in 2003, and which clocks in at just over a minute, is based on everyone's favorite Wes Craven film from 1986. I saw this movie on Channel 20 out of Detroit when I was in High School and it really terrified me. I think some of that spirit of terror manages to come through in the song. Enjoy!
For the first tune of this week, we have a completely brand-new tune that I just now put the finishing touches on. It's a dreamy electronic-type piece (and at four-minutes, it's relatively long by my standards) which expresses some of the frustration one feels when reading Google news all day (not that I or anyone I know actually does that). Katie came up with a couple of "AisFors" when I was running a little short without having any idea what nefarious purpose they'd be used for, so I guess I'm forever grateful to her for that.