Flat.io and Composer Quest

A few months ago one of my favorite podcasts ended. I was actually on Composer Quest a few times as a guest, and the host even stayed with me for a night during his World Tour. All in all, Charlie made a very cool thing, and I’ll miss it.

Before it ended, however, there was a challenge called the Composer Quest Olympics. Six events, each one with its own Olympic event theme. The second event was called Table Tennis, and I got paired up with a guy named Jared Coffin to compose something in a back-and-forth manner, just like table tennis itself.

The finished product is here:

However, the initial seed was done in Flat.io, which is a great tool and works like Sibelius on the Web. They recently started allowing you to embed your scores in a neat little iframe, and so I can share the rough origin of the track (that is, without the improved timing, instrument, and effects).

Fly Like Venus Album and Gigs

The sweet rock band I’m currently in, Fly Like Venus, is getting more legit everyday.

News The One: we’re currently recording the final track of our first album. It’s kind of the power ballad of the whole thing, and so has a nice quiet beginning that gets rocking later. Once that’s done we can send it off for mastering, and then we’ll have something to show off to everyone who hasn’t been holed up in a garage once a week for over a year.

News the Two: we just played a show at a friendly little bar in town and rocked their doors off. I feel bad that the first two songs were a bit out of tune, which was largely my fault, but I think we made up for it. Not used to doing these kinds of things, so I’m off my game on the “playing live” tip. In fact, I’m going to get more practice very soonish, because we have a couple gigs lined up in the next few months (and a few more in the works).

News the Three: a new live video for “Scenes from My Window” appears!

How I Didn’t Finish the 2017 RPM Challenge

The RPM Challenge is an annual, um, challenge to make an album of music in a month. That’s 35 minutes or 10 songs, whichever comes first. I completed it once in 2010, which was when I made my first album of both music and lyrics.

Each year after I’ve thought about doing it again, but either couldn’t find the motivation or inspiration. For some reason, though, this year felt different, despite knowing I didn’t really have time or ability. I logged in, said I was going to do it, and then…did not. I got a few lyrical ideas jotted down, and even recorded a couple sketches, but nothing legitimate materialized, and it sucks. Musical projects usually get priority, but the style of music I was intended to do (folk with lyrics) was too ambitious for me, and it would require actually recording myself, which requires quiet and focus, and not just zoning out in Logic with headphones for hours.

Alas.

It never feels good to say you’re going to do something and then not do it. Thankfully, there’s no penalty for not completing the RPM Challenge, except that I don’t have more music to add to my body of work, but that’s OK. There’s still lots of back catalog to go through every now and then, and Fly Like Venus‘s album is almost out!

Gray, a short album by me

THE ANNOUNCEMENT

I have a new album of music out. It’s a 5-track EP called Gray.

THE DESCRIPTION

The genres range from faux alt metal to funk rock to piano pop to moody synth rock to orchestral ballad. There are defined melodies and lyrics even (check Bandcamp or your media player’s lyrics tab), but I didn’t have time to record them, so you’ll have to sing them to yourself where you think they fit! Production time on the album has been going on for many months, as usual, but it felt finished to me, so the Internet now has it.

THE DETAILS, IF DESIRED

The subject matter is a mix of personal reflection and abstract stream-of-consciousness. No idea where they really come from, except my own head and its influences and inspirations.

For those who want a little more detail, though, I tried:

  1. Totes Plents Parks – a phrase uttered by my wife, probably due to something parking-related. Sometimes we just all need some space, and there’s no better way to convey that than with loud rock music and a weird title.
  2. One Bark and a Couple Murfs – inspired by the family dog. She barks, as lots of dogs do, but she also “murfs”, which is kind of a closed-mouth balance between barking and growling. We sometimes joke that she gets a “case of the murfs” if they become frequent. Some upbeat funk rock seemed to exemplify her in these moments.
  3. Polygonal People – this phrase came up in an online chat with some friends, but its actual origin is now lost on me. My best guess is that we were talking about video games, and 3D modeling of people. In real life, we’re not made up of polygons…but we could be.
  4. Ruse – just a cool word that goes with a track that has a unique sound and vibe. I used a new Native Instruments synth to get the main rhythm part, somewhere between an organ and a distorted guitar moving to and fro.
  5. Humble Obscurity – originally the album was going to be called this, but it felt a little too showgazer-ish, since I often feel like as a musician that I live in obscurity, but must remain humble about it, because my life is pretty good even if I never became a hotshot rock star or film composer or whatever. The big, emotional orchestral sound is something I’ve tried to emulate for many years without entirely being successful, but I keep trying.