THE ARGUMENT

I was futzing around on the piano right before putting the kids to bed. I came up with a simple piano part. I liked it enough that I worked on it tonight and eventually fleshed it out into a song. From my brain to an MP3 in a few hours time!

I had a 4-track many moons ago (okay, I still have it) and I was so intimidated by it. I was so intimidated by recording music. I felt like I didn’t have the knack for it. But it really is quite easy for me now. That’s neat. And I like it. I don’t note the passage of time — it absorbs my attention completely.

Okay, here’s the song.

–> The Argument
As always, enjoy (or don’t)!

TANK GREEN TANK

Hey, I had another Saturday night with nothing to do, nowhere to go. Jesus, that sounds depressing. I almost don’t want to continue this blog post. Okay, I’m pressing on.

I made a new song.

I’ve had such hangups writing and recording music in the past. I have always sought other people to play with prior to writing any music. If I don’t have any bandmates, it’s really easy to not write. REALLY easy.

I have a motivation to write music now, in that I have agreed to record like a kazillion songs (or musical snippets) for a short film of a friend of mine, and he keeps on asking me about my progress.

I still think that writing and recording with other people is the ideal situation (magic can happen, sincerely), but I have not been in a band in a long time, and I don’t know how I would easily go about finding/joining one, mostly due to my busy schedule as a dad.

I had fun doing this one. Again, I have no idea if it’s good. I guess I think it’s good enough to share with you.

Tank Green Tank

As always, enjoy (or don’t)!

HELP

I don’t know if this is good. I think it is? I don’t know.

I do music so infrequently, I treat every new song I write/record like a special event. I wrote and recorded this on Saturday night (and a little bit into Sunday morning) for my friend Andy’s movie.

I’m not sure if he’ll use it or not. It’s a bit much, I reckon.

Help.mp3

As always, enjoy (or don’t)!

Barry & The Setbacks

Hiya!

I’m working on a series of webisodes with my friend Andy. We’re calling it Barry & The Setbacks. We have the first one almost done. We need to get the very last shot, and we need a theme song along with a nice little opening credits sequence.

I worked a few hours on the theme song tonight. I’m not sure if we’re sticking with this or not, but it’s a start. I like it enough that I’d thought I’d upload it for your amusement and/or withering-yet-somehow-supportive criticism.

The track is a little under a minute long, because it’s just going to be supporting the opening credits and such. I intended it to have a little maudlin, cheesy feel to it. Really, I meant to do that!

I have a verse or two for the song that I didn’t include on this version, so I might record a longer rendition of the song, probably a more straightforward pop kind of thing.

And yes, that’s me singing on the track, after I ran it through the “Helium Breath” filter on GarageBand.

Enjoy! (Or Don’t!)

Barry & The Setbacks

There Is A Band In My Computer!

So, I have been sitting on my ass and not writing music for my friend NOLA Andy’s movie.

I have no excuse. Well, I am kind of hesitant to dive in with technologies. I did some music some months back with Tim, where we were recording on a PC using Ableton, a piece of software that completely baffled me. (Tim did all the recording tech stuff.)

Now that the Splotchy household has a Macbook laptop, I thought I’d check out some software that came with it — GarageBand. So, I finally got around to fiddling with it (did I mention that I am also a notorious procrastinator?).

It’s a lot of fun to play around with stuff in GarageBand, and the application is pretty darned intuitive to use. I was able to use the built-in mic to record several acoustic guitar parts very easily — I’m sure some audiosnob would scoff at my using the built-in mic, but it didn’t sound bad to me. I ran the guitars through some filters, added a drumbeat and some handclaps, and voilà! Instant song!

Here’s what I did, if you wanna hear — it’s only a little over two minutes. I recorded the song with the intent of it being used for Andy’s soundtrack — something with a nice beat but which also wouldn’t overwhelm any accompanying visuals.

It’s in M4A (iTunes) format — apologies in advance if you’re lookin’ for an MP3.

Splotchy – Da Da Da Dah Dah

And Now I’d Like To Pass The Mic

Enclosed please find a small trip down memory lane, and a little freestyle blrapping.

blrapping – The art of rapping via a blog. Passing the figurative mic is encouraged. (not to be confused with blapping!)

Hey, I think I have coined a word that is more unpleasant to speak/hear than ‘blogging’! Kudos to me!

So, you may be happy to learn, I’m nearing the end of the musical novelties of Tim and myself. Shortly after we took the world by storm with our unique take on R.E.M., we turned our sights on the burgeoning world of rap. The song is definitely of its time — note the Tone Lōc-inspired “Lezzzzdoit” at the beginning.

We were actually trying to be funny at first, and then kind of liked how it was turning out, then tried to make the attempt a little more than half-assed (let’s say 3/4-assed).

Click on —> Bunkatania
Timeshare bider
Surrounded by spiders
And you always want to solve things
With your supercollider

Imminent danger
Everyone’s a stranger
And your only savior
Is away in a manger

Bunk is the word
So kick in the funk

Saturday drivers
Sunday survivors
And problems arise
From the reruns of MacGyver

Always been wishing
But your mind’s out fishing
And the guts of your goat
Have the hint of premonition

Bunk is the word
So kick in the funk-AY

Media hell shoot
They’re in cahoots
They make it easy
To be led by your manroot

Faceless ballet
Endless relay
You try to make sense
As you crawl down the hallway

You’ve got a word face
But it ain’t gonna last
Your future is present
And your present is past

Lewds
And Dudes
And Rudes
And Crudes
Take Their Broods
To Find Their Food
(Sears Roebuck Montgomery
Where they buy extra cutlery)

Bunk is the word
So kick in the funk
Bunk is the word
So kick in the funk-AY


Tim and I have a half-finished rap song we started recently. I think it’s actually turning out rather nice. We just have the backing tracks right now — haven’t done the rapping thang again, though we do have the beginnings of the lyrics written. I actually decided on a rap name for myself — King Lids. This was inspired by a visit to Burger King. But wait, stop! Allow me to introduce myself:

I’m King Lids
And I don’t wear a belt
I got more gold
Than Hanukkah gelt

Gold like onion rings
My rhymes are fatal
I grow rosemary, thyme
And hydroponic basil

And now I’d like to pass the mic, to my boy Tim, do anything you like!

An Ever-Expanding Universe

Music is very, very important to me.

In my life thus far, there have been several instances where my musical tastes have broadened, hit a plateau, then broadened again.

By plateau, I mean that I was enjoying music still, but I wouldn’t be listening to any unfamiliar music. Maybe I would come to the rather silly conclusion that there was nothing more out there, no more music that I could find to like, or no music that was worth the effort in searching out.

The last plateau happened when our eldest kids were born back in January of 2003.

This was a little different kinda plateau. It was more like all the sudden I had kids. I couldn’t necessarily play just any of the music I wanted. I couldn’t play Song X because its dissonance would make one of the kids cry, or couldn’t play Song Y because it had the word “motherfudger” in it — stuff like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I have played and still play a helluva lot of good music for the kids, but there *was* a limit to what I could play.

As I think about it, just the sheer upheaval that having children causes is probably the core reason why my musical tastes were put on pause. Yes, that last sentence rhymed. No, it wasn’t intentional.

So, my tastes languished a bit, until I started getting into music online. I feel that my exposure to unfamiliar music has grown exponentially with the use of the computer, and the use of a portable MP3 player.

In this post, I thought it would fun to share some of the songs I have only recently been exposed to with you, gentle reader.

Many of these songs are not new. You might know them, you might like them already, you might enjoy them if you give a listen. That’s the music player, over on the right. Pipe up and say something, dammit. Let’s talk about music, alright?

Long live music. Without further ado, here are some songs from my most recent taste-broadening. The links are just to the bands’ respective Wikipedia entries — the song “jukebox” is on the upper-right of the blog.

The Raincoats – Fairytale In The Supermarket
— from The Raincoats (1979)
Wow, this song is so damned snotty. I love it.

Boubacar Traoré – Duna Ma Yelema
— from Macire (2000)
It’s not in English. I have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s still incredibly powerful, even without knowing the words. Amazing guitar-playing, an amazing voice. It is the musical equivalent of melancholy, I think.

The Clean – Twist Top
— from Unknown Country (1996)
If I could be in any band, I’d be in The Clean. A pop band, but a pop band with great sensibilities, inventive musical playing, and the undeniable power of THE HOOK. “Three million people can be wrong, three million people can be wrong.”

Pugh Rogefeldt – Colinda
— from Ja dä ä dä (1969)
You won’t find this guy on the English version of Wikipedia. You haveta go on the Swedish one. This is such a pretty song, with a nice dissonant freakout at the end. Finding this artist was the equivalent of running into a movie theater to get out of the rain, only to discover a foreign film that affects you on a deeply personal level. And no, the foreign film isn’t dubbed in English, and it doesn’t have subtitles.

Can – Moonshake
— from Future Days (1973)
I had listened to German experimental bands like Faust and Neu!, but for some reason never gave these guys a try. Which was a mistake. Moonshake is a shorter, poppy song of theirs, but it’s all good, people. It’s all good.

We Look Like Girls – whap
Well, what the hell, I might as well as put a song recently done by Tim and myself, right? Tim and I have about ten or songs in progress, which are actually nothing like this one. But I like it, and I hope you do, too. No warbly vocals from either Tim or myself in this one! w00t, as the kids say.

The Finest Michael Stipe Has Been Engaged

Here’s another song, “Duck Bill M” that Tim and I did.

–>Click to hear
It’s being posted primarily for R.E.M. superfan Beth.

Tim’s on the geetar and the background vocals. I’m on lead vocals and the sound effect keychain.

We were both listening to a lot of R.E.M. at the time — mostly Life’s Rich Pageant, Green and Document. The music is an obvious swipe from Pageant’s “Swan Swan H”.

The song originated when at some point we got started talking about common words and phrases singer Michael Stipe uses, and spontaneously decided to compose a song as both a tribute and a gentle ribbing to his lyrical style.

Enjoy! (or don’t!)

Duck Bill M

I shaved my body hair
In my room
It’s beautiful to me

I can’t go anywhere
With outdoor plumbing
But I’m far too cold
To stoop to thumbing

This handle’s been frozen
In the ground
For a million years

I shrunk the world to care
And it’s not
A mean idea

This is the finest brand
Of mineral water
And though it’s dark and cold
I’m still hotter

This handle’s been frozen
In the ground
For a million years

Oh ho ho
Oh ho ho
Oh ho ho

I shaved my body hair
In my room
It’s beautiful to me

I can’t go anywhere
With outdoor plumbing
But I’m far too cold
To stoop to thumbing

This handle’s been frozen
In the ground
For a million years

Requiem For A Physics Teacher

Inspired by Coaster Punchman’s heartwarming tale of a teacher, I bring you one of my own.

None of this is made up. It’s all true.

I had a physics teacher in high school named Teddy Baer (pronounced “Bear”). Yes. I know. I don’t know how he made it to adulthood, either.

He didn’t have the witchy maliciousness of CP’s Ms. Lowmuff, but he certainly had his share of problems.

He was actually a shop teacher, who, probably due to budgetary concerns, was tapped to teach high school physics. I’m using the word “teach” in the loosest sense of the word.

I remember vaguely doing lots of quadratic equations, for purposes that elude me even to this day.

Mr. Baer had a habit of mispronouncing words, many of them being quite amusing.

There were enough of these that my friend Tim and I actually started keeping a list. Sadly, this list has been lost, but I still remember a few.

The all-time favorite of mine was him saying “Connecticut energy” instead of “kinetic energy”. He said this a *lot*. I actually got a detention a couple of times because of uncontrollable snickering.

Despite having some levity in the class, I would have much rather learned a bit more about physics — overall this class was a pretty big drag.

So, how did I exorcise the demon of Teddy Baer?

Why, with a song of course.

Click to hear –> Requiem For A Physics Teacher
I was just learning to play guitar, Tim was just learning how to play drums, and both of us were learning how to sing badly. Still, a nice song.

Here’s the lyrics, if’n you can’t understand our adolescent caterwauling.

Up there, It’s Mr. Baer
He’s gonna jump
He’s gonna jump

In a classroom far away
There lived a man who died today
Thought he was king of all equations
But he forgot about acceleration

Mr. Baer you got no hair
But we don’t care if you float on air
We think you’re such an awesome teacher
But we don’t if we should beseech you

Not to jump
Not to jump

Connecticut energy
Motary rotion
Can you stand
On Jupiter’s ocean?
(You know you can’t, Mr. Baer.)

All right
All right

Up there, It’s Mr. Baer
He’s gonna jump
He’s gonna jump

Watch Mr. Baer do the slamming wall dance
Does he know he’s got chalk on his pants?
He should be home, drinking his Coors
But instead he’s falling forty floors (Oh no!)

Mr. Baer you got no hair
But we don’t care if you float on air
We think you’re such an awesome teacher (Word!)
But we don’t if we should beseech you

Not to jump
Not to jump
Please….