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OK, this is a downer. I didn’t really have the time or privacy to record a holiday album this year. I got a job and we had family in town up until we came down to Orlando for xmas. But, I did find some time to devote to xmas music.
First up, some friends and I played a couple of xmas songs live at a cookie-party. We played some of my songs from previous xmas albums. It was a bit of a mess but well received at the time. There’s video of it here. The original versions of the songs are in previous xmas albums or download just those two here.
Next, I spliced together a couple of songs as jokey holiday tunes. The first is a “Holiday Medley” taken from songs using the word “Holiday”. 36 songs thrown together in 1 minute and 15 seconds. The song can be heard here, downloaded here, and there’s video explaining where the samples come from here.
The next song was something I assumed had been made 6-7 years ago, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online. It’s basically just the Dead Kennedy’s “Holiday in Camodia” with rap-verses from “Holidae In” (The song by Chingy featuring Snoop Dogg and Ludacris) in the instrumental parts.
That song can be listened to here and downloaded here.
I came up to see “The Gates” one weekend when I lived in DC. I knew nothing about it or the artists involved, but it turned out to be something pretty cool. They put 7,503 orange ‘gates’ around the walkways of Central Park and hung orange curtains from them. It was a simple concept, but executed on such a grand-scale it was inspiring and made you happy that cities are willing to take a chance on Art every now and again.
Obviously NYC got something out of funding it, I DID come to NYC to see it, but there were no guarantees and yet it happened.
Unfortunately, the name “The Gates” reminded me of the black-metal band “At The Gates” so I couldn’t help hearing their songs in my head as I walked through the windy, chilly, inspiring landscape.
For those of you that couldn’t make it to NYC, or into my head, here is a video I took while there that might help show what it was like.
I realize sad times and accidental puns aren’t a perfect combo, but I hope it stirs something in you, the way art is meant to. Enjoy!
Growing up, my dad loved Amiga computers. He knew they were better than everything else out there and he wanted to take advantage of everything they could do. He bought a Kawai keyboard and hooked it up to the computer to show how the computer could play the keyboard through MIDI cables. It didn’t see a lot of use, but it was cool. I liked playing the Kawai because it had a cool wammy-bar type joystick on it. I would sit and bend notes and play the trumpet part from “Garfield and Friends” all day.
Loss of Energy
6-7 years after the company went bankrupt, my dad shut down his Amiga and packed it away. I asked for the keyboard and took it with me up to DC. When I turned it on I noticed the sound was distorted and the drumbeats would often stick or disintegrate while playing. I checked the batteries in the back and they were leaky and gross. The condition only got worse as time went on, so one day in 2006 when I was staying home sick from work I decided to record some songs that tried to take advantage of the keyboard while it’s Idiosyncrasies were still somewhat controlable.
My voice was weak but I was driven. I grabbed some lyrics I had written in college notebooks and margins of work papers and massaged them into 3 songs and a cover of a friend’s song. At the end of the day I was generally happy with the results, but not quite satisfied. It had a magic but it had plenty of flaws. I decided to let it gestate until I figured out what I wanted to fix. More likely I was just waiting until it was long enough ago that I could post them and say “Thes was a long time ago!” to cover any embarrassment. It’s my way, sometimes.
I took those 4 songs, added two other songs that were one-offs I had posted before that fit with the feel, and here you have it: Keyboard’s Last Stand An EP of sortof sad songs with low-mixed low-key vocals and walls of warped keyboard sounds made by a sick man and a sicker keyboard. The cover song is “Exterminata Beat” by Emperor X.
End of Days
Enjoy it in good health, and toast the dear Kawai keyboard which will probably get a Viking burial soon.
This year’s Pumpkin Beer Tasting took place at a new Year’s Steve party! We greeted 2009 with a series of pumpkin beer tastings, one-on-one, interbiew-style, with me and a pal. 13 Pumpkin Beers, 13 pals. Good times. Here’s a sample!