It’s been weeks since I last posted, and I’ve mostly been busy doing things other than writing music.
(Click on a photo either to zoom in or to see other photos like it.)
My friend Nancy moved from Boston to Florida to get married, and we had a successful surprise party to help see her off.
Afterwards Nancy, Hadas, Deys, and I played double-dutch jump rope in the cold Cambridge rain. Deys was the resident expert, a former double-dutch sporting team member, attempting to teach the rest of us. I’m proud to say I eventually got it, although I’m sure Deys’s turning (as it’s known) was compensating quite a bit.
Here’s me and the twins on one of the few occasions when I’ve held them both. How I miss them.
Calla (seen here with her mom, my sister Melissa) is trying hard to walk, even though she can’t quite crawl yet.
Here’s Easton at one of Colton’s lacrosse games on an unusually sunny day for this past May in Vermont.
And here’s my brother Arthur’s son, Alec, with one of his brothers, Sebastian.
This is my mom feeding Alec.
I got my bike fixed and managed to go on a few rides, including this great one around the lake in the height of spring.
Another really nice spring day I biked around Burlington taking photos until my friend Lauren called me to hang out by the waterfront, and this very outgoing child got us to play hide and seek with her.
My friend Leda (ghost girl from a few posts ago) had me take photos of this dead squirrel for her in various stages of decomposition. If you know me, you know it freaked me out. I like the squirrels and not so much the dead stuff. The undead, sure, but that’s different.
For bonus points, I also took photos of this science project that was in my fridge.
INTERMISSION: I think it’s good practice to have fun with your grocery lists.
Here’s my dad trying to fix his broken UFO with my brothers Arthur and Ronnie and Art’s godson, Patrick.
There was an art opening in one of the old warehouses on Pine St. in Burlington. The art was by the band Nest Material, a very good local improv noise band (hear them here), and they played in a closed off room and had their set piped into the gallery with monitors.
I wet to San Francisco to visit Lulu for few days, but I was a bit too sick to take many photos. Here are some nice ones, though. It was a fun trip – we ate a lot of food and walked around a lot, big surprise. I would very much like to go back and for once be neither busy nor sick.
Here’s my nephew Colton playing lacrosse. It was a short season, and I only saw one game. Brutal sport, lacrosse, amongst the more bloodthirsty of the heritage of those natives we had to kill with smallpox in order to colonize America. Even little kids get to fight each other with sticks for control of a hard ball that they fling with great force using atlatals.
I got an old disposable camera developed, and it turned out to have photos from my road trip with Jon last summer contrasted with photos from a snowy visit to Boston in January to see Steph. Check it out here.
Oh yeah, and I’m writing this from France. There is a bottle of cheap French wine in front of me, but it’s sealed and I’m without a tire-bouchon. I’m working and traveling and such – kind of a rerun of last September. Among other things, this time I’m planning on visiting Barcelona with Lulu for our co-birthdays. GeminiRadio is the travel blog, so look for Europe posts over there in a week or two.
It was rainy in Paris when I arrived.
So, anyway, here are a couple of songs that I wrote last fall. Recently, I’ve taken a break from writing new stuff to reload and render out my older songs. Rendering songs out is a good habit that I only recently picked up.
Title: Bruce Contra El Mal (bassMelody_01.flp)
Desc: A sparse, reverb-soaked song with a high hat and some explosions holding down the main rhythm. I know there is some very sophisticated dynamic EQ modulated by the volume of the high hat going on in that reverb, but you can’t hear it at all – it was an experiment in using the Peak Modulator tool in FL that at best adds some subtle texture. There’s a few seconds of silence at the beginning. Not at all mixed or mastered.
Pros: I’m really into crazy but short songs like this that that defy expectation, such as by having a voice in a different tempo than the rest of the song.
I really like the way this song uses fewer voices (so it’s not as cluttered as, say, How Ironic, Kathleen) but focuses on squeezing a lot of variety out of them in terms of sound and application.
I like the introduction of the new synth voice at about 1:05 and the way it plays well with the bass, which comes back to join forces subtly with the new voice. And I like how the song switches from competing tempos to cooperative tempos at this point, which effectively changes the overall mood.
I like songs with less melody and more focus on rhythm and sound, such as this one.
Cons: It really has a lot of reverb. Even so, it needs better mixing to set the voices in sonic space better.
It’s another one of those songs that doesn’t try too hard and accomplishes its goals just fine.
Title: Padawan v. Padme (Beat03_rez.flp)
Desc: An ambient-ish song with a consistent, repetitive rhythm. Buzzy noises. Made by running various parts of a drum pattern through a preset of the PSP 84, a delay module with lots of powerful parameters. Percussion -> Delay Plug-In = Tonal sounds. Not mixed or mastered.
Pros: I like the sounds, the way they evolve as they repeat, the way the bass seems to be trying to push through the distortion, and so on. I like the sudden outbursts of intensity.
I like the overall aesthetic, some kind of mysterious, moody computer error in the deep future, or what your alarm clock sounds like in your dreams when you’re too tired for it to wake you up.
Cons: For an ambient song, it’s too impatient. I tried, but it’s hard for me to let songs go for long without instigating some kind of change or motion. And for all that, it kind of fails to get anywhere. You sort of want it to do something different, like hold a note, for example, or otherwise move towards some other aesthetic, but it’s a one trick pony.
It’s pretty degenerate, in as much as it makes use of only one factory preset for one plug-in. This is the kind of thing where the musician feels cool and creative in exactly the way that the people who made the plug-in::preset intended.