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Music

The Old San Juan (album release)

Album Cover showing the bottom half of an elderly man sitting in a cafe

All of the material on this release was recorded on an iPhone between 4/22/2022 and 4/30/2022 in Puerto Rico, with the exception of a guitar loop that was recorded in Baltimore on 4/22/2022. I brought the loop to work on with my iPad, and included it in this audio postcard as it felt like part of the trip to me.

The source material includes:

  • various vendors selling beer and food
  • a walk through Ponce
  • a distressed stray dog
  • street performers
  • the Atlantic Ocean at Castillo San Cristóbal
  • invisible frogs
  • a fellow traveler who snored continuously during a trip to the rain forest

Not a very thick album, but it conveys memory and feelings of the trip.

Categories
Music

Music to Hear Blindfolded, Vol.1

I’ve got some cassettes available from Scientifically Sound Records! This release is called “Music to Hear Blindfolded, vol. 1,” and it evolved from my “write music everyday” challenge for 2021.

Cover of "Music to hear blindfolded, vol 1," which shows a woman's legs propped up on a hotel wall.

This music and sound on this cassette is intended to inspire and/or accompany film and animation. Some of the audio was used in my videos.

Approximately 40 minutes in length, the tape is a mix of musique concrète, found audio, loops, and stuff I recorded at the Theoretical Audio Laboratory.

This will not be available on Bandcamp, and this will be a very limited release. All tapes are signed by me.

Volume 2 is in the works.

Cassette tapes on a table - Music to hear blindfolded vol. 1
Categories
Music

Punk Frockers

Punk Frockers

I made some graphics and music for the Punk Frockers community sewing podcast. The first episode will go live later this month. I think I’ll count this toward a track of this year’s RPM challenge.

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Music

RPM Challenge 2021

Following up on the 2021 make-music-every-day post, I’m declaring, once again, that I’m participating in the RPM challenge. What’s more, my daughter and my girlfriend’s son are playing along, too.

The RPM Challenge is a creative challenge to anyone to record music in February. We give you a deadline of March 1 to complete it by and then we host listening parties to celebrate. Any genre, any level of experience, anywhere. Thousands of records and tens of thousands of tracks have been made by people around the world as part of the Challenge since it was founded in 2006.

It’s fun, it’s hard, it’s rewarding, and it’s free to take part. What have you got to lose?

https://www.rpmchallenge.com/

To accompany the fresh new Website, RPM has expanded on the original requirements, which were to conceive and record an album in the month of February, start to finish. It doesn’t have to be good – just complete. Here, an album was defined as one 35 minute piece of music, or 10 songs. The new requirements are one of the following:

  • Single (1 track or 5 minutes)
  • EP (5 tracks or 20 minutes)
  • LP (10 tracks or 35 minutes)
  • Boxed Set (30 tracks or 100 minutes)

I love it!

I finished an album last year for the first time, and I reflected on that experience in the past 12 months. It was so valuable. I found new possibilities and ideas – and the constraint of having to complete the tracks really pushed me to find different processes, and think about how to produce material in a new way. I recommend this to anyone making music.

Categories
Music

2021

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I decided to challenge myself to write music every day in 2021.

One bad thing about the pandemic has been the solitude.

A good thing about the pandemic has also been the solitude. In the quiet, introspective stretches of this pandemic, I was able to discard some musical baggage and those things that no longer serve me, and find inspiration and, well, grow.

I spent parts of the fall reviewing music theory that I haven’t used since college. Back then, I was a drummer-as-frustrated-guitarist-studying-the-piano, because that’s what the college had to offer. I loved learning about music! I didn’t enjoy the piano very much, and a lot of what I learned faded away once I moved to Baltimore and got busy with Bazooka Joe. So, in the quiet space of this time, I gathered what old notes and textbooks I could find, and got to work. I’ve particularly enjoyed Steve Vai’s book, Vaideology.

I also did a deep dive into Ableton Live. I began using MIDI, making more expansive tape loops, samples, and developing better music with devices from Korg and Teenage Engineering. Good, powerfully enabling tools. So far, I’ve been experimenting and learning how to do things.

I set up some drums. I haven’t played drums regularly in more years than I care to admit. In fact, I can’t really play like I used to be able to. Funnily enough, I don’t want to play like I used to. Maybe I’ve out grown my drumming traits – I’ve certainly grown older. But, I’ve enjoyed playing in a way I haven’t in years.

This period in my life – the pandemic – has acted like reset for my interest in music composition. I’ve discovered new paths to explore, and only realized this evening that I should probably document that stuff here.

Okay, back the the challenge. To increase the chances of success, I set some parameters. Nothing has to be completed in a single day. If there is some task that needs completing in order to write a certain bit of music, that task counts, too. For example – maybe I would really like to record my furnace using stereo contact mics. But I have to make the mics, and then figure out mixer settings, amplification, and other “administrative” tasks. Or, I’d really like to use pedals X and Y to achieve Z, but I’m not sure how to do it. Spending productive time on these administrative tasks that get me to the point on recording the furnace in stereo or achieving Z with pedals X and Y all count toward the goal of daily music composition.

I’ve written some music every day in January 2021.