A podcast and blog looking at the good, the bad, and the WTF of western movies, country songs, and that sort of thing. [more inside]
Yet another 0.999/1.000/1.001 phase music thingumy. For reasons unknown this comment popped into my mind today, and having some spare time, I did the next best thing.
In hopes of supplementing my income while looking for work, I decided to release (via Bandcamp) a collection of recent lofi recordings I've been producing to wile away the stressful lonely hours since my divorce when I'm coping with separation anxiety over my kids and the stress of my recent personal financial crisis. "Lofi Hero" collects one-offs, demos, and various spontaneous rough recordings I captured on my mobile phone while developing songs for a larger studio effort with other collaborators that I hope to be able to release later this year or early next, depending on what the challenges of my financial hardship and other responsibilities permit. [more inside]
a 25-minute EP of harsh, occasionally listenable ambient drone. [more inside]
In The Air Tonight drum fill for 1 hour 10 minutes except it's tripled and one is played .1% faster and one is played .1% slower got a good reception when it got posted to the Blue a few days back, so I did the same thing with the Amen Break. I think it works.
Every February, I try to make a new musical instrument (in the loosest-possible sense) every day of the month. Nearly all of them are documented in photos and/or video. I just finished the tenth year of instrument-a-day. [more inside]
I have used a TV holography system equipped with a high-speed camera to capture the motion of waves on a Caribbean steelpan (also called a steel drum) at over 10,000 frames per second. The movies that come out of the measurements are really interesting to watch, because they show the build up of energy in the different notes of the steelpan. What we need is help in classifying the images, because this is something that cannot easily be done algorithmically right now. We would love to have people who are interested in science, music, or especially the science of music come help us out!
The band I'm in - Cultural Amnesia - have just released an album of instrumentals called Super Whippy. Stylistically all over the place - from pseudo-movie-music to progtronica to electronica with all sorts of peculiar stop-offs on the way. There's also a video for one of the tracks: Prod Butt Prod.
23 years ago I was in a band in North Texas named Transona Five. [more inside]
I keep talking about songs to sing at protests, right? Well, here's a list of things that more or less seem to go over well, which I am currently curating and tweaking to hit the songs that seem to be most useful for the most people marching today. I'm aiming to keep this list relatively lean at under 50 songs so that it's a little easier to find something that works at any given moment, because existing lists seem sort of bloated and hard to organize. Works best if you have a paid version of Spotify that can use the "up next" feature to pick and choose what gets played when, and also maybe a portable bluetooth speaker. [more inside]
An eclectic mix with a creamy center of acid techno in response to the inauguration. Music to inspire and enrage. [more inside]
The only music podcast hosted by a person using text to speech. [more inside]
I figured it might be nice if there were a video for this holiday classic, and thought maybe you'd think so too. [more inside]
As many of you know, I play the ukulele. I got a public performance license for the MBTA this year and set a goal to play at all 63 of the T stations with performers' areas between now and 28 May 2017. [more inside]
So I decided to make a list of Advent Calendar of Holiday Songs on Tumblr but then I found a silly web app where I could create my own and now I'm sharing it to give a little joy to 2016 maybe. [more inside]
Autumnal, melancholic E.P. from Cultural Amnesia, at Bleak, Bandcamp and all four tracks on YouTube - I, II, III and IV
MusicMessages! is a collaborative step sequencer for the iMessage App Store (iPhone, iPad). Using the simple and (hopefully) intuitive interface, you can punch in a few chords or a percussion line and send the message off to your friends, who can then make their own changes and send it back. Five instrument layers and over 40 MIDI instruments are available to use. Bonus: if you have an iPhone 7, the note buttons respond to pressure and "pop" like bubble wrap with the help of the Taptic engine!
My first book of poetry is being published by a small press. I drew the cover art, and then decided that I should also record myself reading every single poem. (Remember this AskMe?) But I didn't want a simple audiobook. So I composed and recorded original music for every single poem in the book and posted the resulting mega-album to Bandcamp. Then I made a little microsite for the entire project.
Magically translate AskMe song recommendations into Spotify playlists (it takes a minute or two). [more inside]
Have a new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar? Wish it had a really tiny fiddly two-octave keyboard? Then this is the program for you! Fully polyphonic, choice of all 128 sounds from the General Midi orchestra. Here's a demo video.
For one fleeting moment in the summer of 1989, college radio, MTV, classic rock, and the avant-garde intersected when The Ordinaires, a nine-piece orchestral art-rock band from New York City, summoned the ghosts of ‘70s stadium-rock bombast with an infamous cover tune. And after a decade surviving near-death experiences and religious condemnation, the band was about to face its most formidable obstacle: itself. This is the story of a time and a place never to be repeated, in which an unlikely group of people made a most unusual noise. These are Nine Views of the Ordinaires. (59m) [more inside]
I've mentioned The Gallows Ballads Project on Metafilter previously. These sheets were sold at public hangings in Victorian London, and each contains a set of verses describing the condemned man's crime and punishment. Now, I've made an hour-long radio documentary on the project, which London's Resonance FM put out as a Halloween Special last night. In the programme, I tell the true crime stories behind eight of the goriest ballad sheets I've collected and play some great new performances of these century-old songs by modern musicians like The Jetsonics, Pete Morton and Elsa "Bride of Frankenstein" Lanchester. I think you'll like it.
I've just released a full-length album with the label Usonian Records, digitally and on limited edition 12" vinyl. Here's what they have to say: "To our ears, Hieratic Teen sounds something like the record you'd get if you locked someone in a boiler room for 10 years with only My Bloody Valentine's Loveless to listen to, then let them out, gave them an assortment of synthesizers, and told them to score Logan's Run. But far from being a purely aesthetic exercise, within the fuzzy, sonic beauty of the record's half-broken, warbling synth melodies, distortions, hissing, and undulating, analog depths; an unmistakable human feeling is being communicated. And it keeps pulling us back in." [more inside]
This is a 1 minute trailer for my short story/cello/electronica show. I'd be interested if people wanted to know more after seeing it.
My first Twitter bot project! I trained a Markov chain generator on ~2500 Guided By Voices / Robert Pollard song & record titles, and set it loose to generate fairly believable GBV song names. Song titles from the wonderful Guided By Voices Database.
I'm one of hundreds of musicians and singers who are part of the "Doctor Who Fan Orchestra", a virtual orchestra where each person records their own parts. Everything is organised and assembled by Stephen Willis, who deserves most of the credit, aided by a small group of volunteers. The rest of us just make music. Linked is our latest piece ("Donna's Suite"), but there are nine previous ones to listen to. [more inside]
New E.P. from Cultural Amnesia. Two accompanying videos - Core Values, which is track one of the E.P. , and a slightly perplexing [introductory keynote video].2
I have released a new album centered around my favourite sounds presented as dense sound fields. The results range from ambient to noise to abstract, with source material like field recordings, noise, and classical music. [more inside]
An update on what we've been up to at The Media Show, including an interview with the head of punk label Kill Rock Stars and arguing with a puppet version of Richard Stallman. [more inside]
Philip Random’s All Vinyl Countdown and Apocalypse (aka the 1,111 Greatest Records You Probably Haven’t Already Heard) is the rather extensive playlist (with links) of a series of Randophonic radio programs which were broadcast from 2011 through 2013 c/o CITR.FM.101.9. As the name suggests, it's a countdown of a lot of great, odd, generally not well known pop-rock-psyche-funk-dance-country-western-world-noise-whatever music (1965-2001). [more inside]
2009–2011 was the eternal summer of balearic pop and chillwave and escapism. Come take a dive with me into the short-lived indie/balearic/chillwave/dreampop/garage bubble of the recent past, with this 40-track youtube playlist.
Every few hours, this Twitterbot picks two random artists, then pairs them up with a random song to cover. The result is a randomly generated duet that doesn't exist...but totally should.
I analyzed 50 years of country music lyrics to show how much they've changed.
In the spirit of #keepmefiweird, an old cover I did of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt, guest starring an Amiga 500 (well, WinUAE, as I couldn't get my own running) on vocals. Why? Considering the tone of the song, I decided to go the exact opposite direction of Johnny Cash. It's a machine almost doing an almost Shatneresque take on a painful, regretful song. (Also: you see that spike at the end? It's loud. You've been warned)
Radical creative collective Hungry Bitches Productions (who I am super pleased to write for) are currently selling tickets for a three day concert run of our new musical, Americana. It's showing in Theatre Royal Stratford East, London, and to promote the show, we have released a music video (linked above) and a single from the show (on spotify). If you live in London, please have a look and see if you want to come along. If you live elsewhere in the world, please enjoy some cool free music.
My husband and I play the music for this speculative fiction audio drama, in collaboration with a crew of local writers and voices. The story is set in Boston and on the T, but involves an assortment of highly fictional plot arcs (cryptozoology, secession of the Red Line to form an independent municipality, etc). Given the T setting, the idea was to have the soundtrack music sound like buskers such as you'd encounter at the T stops. This is your chance to hear "Charlie on the MTA" performed on Irish concertina.
AKA An Exploration of Korg M1 and Wavestation Sounds. A somewhat old /odd project of mine, where I mess around with VST versions of those two machines without any further effects, instruments or samples. 7 track, 24 minute EP, name your price (free without strings attached) [more inside]
The Smoking Moon is an album by Toby Vok, with an accompanying science fiction novelisation by Ted Vaaak. All available for the great price of free (or more, if you so desire). [more inside]
A year ago, in the course of taking a writing course from the inimitable Shira E, I found myself assigned with making music as well as writing poetry. I bought a MIDI keyboard and some software and taught myself how to use Ableton Live, Logic, and a host of iOS music apps. The assignment included posting the music I made, and I felt shy about posting under my name, so I created a musical alter-ego, Reverend Honeybeard. After the class ended, the Good Reverend seemed to want to live on and soon was making an experimental/electronic/ambient album, posting in his oblique way to Twitter and Tumblr and now composing/recording and uploading 1 song a day every day for the month of March 2016.
VGR2016 is an ongoing 5-way blog envisioned as half a way for a bunch of UK-based friends to keep up, half an excuse to replay and review old video games, and half World Domination. The third half is the charm. We also feature both Music and Opinions.
A deep dive into how abuse by higher ups in the music industry is both an economic and social issue, and how our perceptions of those in power can bias us against supporting victims. It touches on two recent cases of shady and sexually abusive behavior from two record label heads (Calvin Johnson of K Records, Michael Gira of Swans) and the #freekesha movement. [more inside]
Killer Songs (radio doc): Billy Bragg, Dave Alvin, Laura Cantrell & others discuss their favourite murder ballads.
I spent much of 2015 interviewing musicians for my new book Unprepared To Die: America’s Greatest Murder Ballads & The True Crime Stories That Inspired Them. Now I’ve used the audio from those interviews to make an hour-long radio guide to these gory, facinating songs. Contributors include Billy Bragg, The Bad Seeds’ Mick Harvey, Dave Alvin, The Kingston Trio’s Bob Shane, Laura Cantrell, Jon Langford of The Mekons, Ralph Stanley and his son Ralph II. Resonance FM here in London gave the show its first airing last week, and has now archived it for your listening pleasure on this Mixcloud page. [more inside]
I built a solid body electric guitar from scratch and wrote a rather long, detailed account of the process. Only partly a how-to, I wrote about what was required, what I learned, mistakes I made, and what I'd do different next time. [more inside]
Composer's Sketchpad is an iPad sequencer-ish app for quickly jotting down musical ideas. In brief, the app presents you with a giant pannable and zoomable canvas that you can draw musical notes on. I wanted to create a modern take on sheet music, but without any of the legacy limitations; as a result, you can start each note at any time and bend it to any pitch, giving you the ability sketch out expressive solos and complex rhythms with no extra effort. (You can also turn on time or pitch snapping if you like.) Navigation, editing, and playback are carefully designed to be as frictionless as possible, and over 100 different instruments (as well as a percussion set) are available. Your music is saved automatically without any limit on the total number of sketches. Apple Pencil supported! [more inside]
Watch out! Listen! BAD GUYS FROM VIDEO GAMES somehow joined up to form a 90s boy band. I just wrote, composed, arranged, and produced their entire debut album. In Big Bad Bosses - Power Overwhelming, caricatures of Bowser, Ganondorf, Sephiroth, and Dr. Eggman sing honest, soulful songs about how even their terrifying fury can't protect them from the big questions in life. It's been #1 on the iTunes comedy charts for a week, and I couldn't wait to post it to MeFi Projects! [more inside]
1995 was also an incredibly important year for the scene we've come to call “Chrindie,” for Christian indie rock. Much has been written about the weird world of contemporary Christian music, but whatever you think it is , you’d be surprised by how many genuinely great Chrindie records were released twenty years ago. [more inside]
Wonderful Christmastheme is an album of Christmas music by members of Theme Music, a Facebook group in which there is a theme posted every two weeks, and members of the group -- who range from professional musicians to non-musicians singing into their phones -- perform songs that fit the theme. It turns out quite a few Themesters like Christmas music. [more inside]
Cultural Amnesia is group I've been in since 1980. We just released an album of new material (Bad Meditation) and released for download an EP that came out a few years ago of tracks from the early 80s (Still Hungry). And there are videos. And we redesigned the ancient website. [more inside]
After ten years, more or less, since putting together an album of my music, I've spent six months polishing off a new one, and so I've taken on a new name - Hammerfest by Milford Progress Association is up on Bandcamp. Give it a spin if you like warm noisy ambient drone. Find it on your favourite streaming service soon.