Category Archives: Songs

New Instrument

Behold the Akai LPK25!

It’s a MIDI controller; in response to user input, it generates MIDI signals for other devices to use. This one sends its signals down a USB cable into a computer. And that’s all it does – it makes no sounds of its own. It exists to tell other things to make sounds: things like a copy of Cakewalk Music Creator, for example.

I can’t play piano, but I’m going to learn enough to amuse myself. Here’s one of my first attempts.

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All of the sounds here are from the software-based synthesizers that come with Cakewalk. Technology is amazing.

I’m still shit for coming up with chords on the fly, but I can pick my way around a scale once I map out the notes.

Amusement achieved !

Field

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Artist’s Statement

By exposing the flatness and debating the topsoil, “field” removes all ambiguity from the geography and indeed sows seeds of quiescence where later flowers of combinatorial analyses will wilt in the sun. Through this fluoridation and catechism, the uniquely rotund and confloundering ministrations embolden the frisson (and at what expense!) of a single guitar talking to itself across time. And realizing this, then we look down. We have come to the stream running through the middle which is the hydration and the sewer and the catheter, the mouth, the blood, the rectal dispensation, and dipping our naive toes two by two into the muck, we discover the leeches, the manifold rotifers and the pastoral pleasure of “field”.

Somn

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Sleepy adventures in A harmonic minor.

|-----------------------------
|-----------------------------
|------------------------1---2
|------------0---2---3--------
|0---2---3--------------------
|-----------------------------
  Caug       Bb5           F         E          Am
|----------------------------------------------------------
|----------------------------------------------------------
|-------------------------------10---------9---------------
|-----7----------9-10-9------10---------9-----------7---7--
|---7---7------8-----------8---------7------------7---7----
|-8----------7----------------------------------5----------

Start Your iPods

Random three, described.

  1. Guided By Voices – Motor Away. A great band. This song is one of many on its album which make you think that these guys can toss out these ridiculously great pop songs which would all be top-40 hits in a sane and just world. Except that they’ve recorded the songs to sound as radio-unfriendly as possible, because Fuck The System! or Artistic Vision! something, so they linger in obscurity by their own choice because Gimmie Indie Rock! or whatever. But then, their later albums are as slick as possible (produced by people like Ric Ocasek!), and the songs just as good; and the albums went nowhere.
  2. Sonic Youth – The Sprawl. The “Sprawl”? No. This will always be the “Come on down to the store” song.
  3. The Men – Oscillation. A nice indie rock jam. Reminds me of early Feelies, or Yo La Tengo, or even fieldfresh.

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Play along, if you dare.

Stars Falling On NC

Here’s a longer series of star pix. This was taken over multiple nights, with different lenses and exposure times. All stitched together…

Song is “Even The Simplest Things”.

The video is actually in HD, and does look better in hi-res, full-screen.

Nestless Egg Syndrome

Let’s listen to … me!

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You’re welcome.

This one’s 5 years old. But it took me till right now to notice how heavily I leaned on Belew / King Crimson for the sound. Oh well, there are worse influences to have.

Powdered Spider

Greetings to thee, guest

Today I bring you a song about a black and hairy and villainous spider; now a dead, dry and dessicated, pulverized and powdered spider, named Carl. This is his song, though it was not written to honor him – for he was a thoroughly dishonorable sort of spider: dropping down onto heads and shoulders at inopportune times, casting webs across doorways, lurking in shoes. A horrible creature. But he died, then dried, then was crushed to dust on our cold hard floor. And this is his song. His memory. His cruel, once-goo-filled memory.

Well, no, not even that. Really, it’s not about Carl, or any spider, or anything at all. But songs need titles, and this song’s title is “powdered spider”. So be it.

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Mike

(a repost from 2007)

Once upon a time in Rochester, NY, in 1991 or thereabouts, there was a young man with a 4-track recorder, a guitar, a drum machine, and a bass borrowed from the guy across the street. And one winter’s day this young man cobbled-together a weak-ass little funky song without words or title. It used the FUNK1 program on the Alesis SR 16 drum machine, but other than that, it had no soul and no reason to exist. But there it was, nonetheless, on that cassette inside the VistaFire 4-track recorder. And there was a track left over, unused.

That night, the young man and his six roommates journeyed down the road to an unassuming place called The Salty Dog, where they drank Genny 12-Horse and ate scores of chicken wings: three different kinds, including a batch of garlic-parmesan wings that were surprisingly good. They drank a lot. Their uproarious laughter filled the bar. In time, they left the bar and went back to the apartment, for it was late, and they were full, and out of cash. It was probably a Tuesday.

Shortly afterwards, back at home, the young man and the other young man with whom he shared the basement were in said basement, eating potato chips (because they were young and they were drunk, they forgot they were so very full, just minutes ago). And then the young man saw the 4-track recorder, cued to the start of the song from earlier that day. Inspiration struck! He put on the headphones, selected that empty track, pressed record, picked up the microphone and started, dear reader, to sing, drunkenly. Though he had no ability and no right to be doing so, he could not resist – the muse could not be denied, you see.

First, he sang the customer guarantee from the back of the Wegmans potato chip bag, embellishing a bit where it needed more oomph. Then he sang about the young man he shared the basement with, Mike, the future dentist, who was sitting on the stairs, not sure what was happening. Mike, who could not then hear the music (and had not yet heard it at all), was puzzled, insulted and probably a little ashamed at what he was witnessing; and yet he was amused.

Then the young man sang of the rest of the roommates: Steve, Doug, Audrey, and the rest. Then he dropped the mic and lost his train of thought. With thirty seconds left to go in the song, the young man did what any reasonable man would do in his situation; he obeyed the muse! Dear reader, he picked up that microphone and started to sing again! He sang, in that shaky shaky voice of his, not of guarantees or his too-numerous roommates, instead, he sang of good things! He sang the delicious potato chip and buttermilk pork chop recipe from the back of the potato chip bag! Inspired, and yet barely comprehensible despite its brilliance. And then he finished it off with a kiss. Mike sighed at the pathetic spectacle and sarcastically chided the young man, “Now that’s a rap!”.

But, Mike’s derision could not erase what had just happened; the weak little song that should never have been born became the Smaller Animals classic, Mike. And here on this web page, I present it to you so that you can hear what true inspiration sounds like.

The young man has not drunk Genny 12-horse since.

Here’s some spackle