glitch25: (Default)
It is strange to be in a situation where I both feel too old and yet too young. We decided to head out to see a local hot club band playing up in Lake Forest Park, and one of the things I noticed immediately was that most of the audience is 10 or several more years my senior. For this sort of music, and lots of jazz and other things I go to see, this doesn't necessarily surprise me.

I remember when I went to see the Dave Brubeck quartet when they passed through Albuquerque not quite 30 years ago. I was 18, and most of the audience was at least 40 or 50. It was interesting watching these older guys clutching their vinyl hoping to get an autograph. I found it cool that I was interested in the band at such an age, and I didn't care too much that I didn't know anybody my age that would have appreciated it. We all definitely enjoyed the concert, and we each got our turn meeting Dave back stage. :-)

Along those lines, I noticed that there is a 20-something group here that looks to be having a grand old time dancing and otherwise really enjoying the music. It is fun to watch them, and they also make me feel a little old. Old in that I was too shy and too wound up in my head to have these sorts of experiences when I was that age, and while this old dog can still learn a few new tricks, I feel like I have a lot less disposable time in my life than I did back then. Funny how that is.

Sometime in the future, I think I need to find a dance teacher that will give me some extended one-on-one time. We tried dance lessons at one of those weeknight classes they have at one of the dance studios with a dozen or so people, and while they were ok, they are kinda rushed, and I found it embarrassing to try and dance with a partner (particularly when we'd switch it up beyond the person I came with) when I really didn't have a good grasp of the steps. I felt like I was wasting their class time stumbling through. Maybe ultimately I wasn't, but I remember having a rough time with that part.

Things to plan time to do. :)
glitch25: (Default)
So much to say!

First, a grateful appreciation to comcon and to the participants of this really awesome filk convention. I had heard it was a special place to be, and I was not disappointed. The feeling of community and love of music is what filk is all about, and FKO demonstrates this with excellence.

I ventured out to the land of the north both to experience FKO for myself and to support my sweetie who was Interfilk guest this year.

When I arrived, I was really not feeling well. Flights are not my favorite thing. Less about being in the air, and more about being in a seated position for longer than a few hours. And well.. the rigmarole of what is modern air travel with a dollop of foreign country rolled in. Arriving to a hotel that was in the midst of construction with very prominent smells of the outgassing carpet and paint was very overwhelming.

We had dinner that night in the hotel bar, and began to watch familiar faces trickle in, and I got to meet several more faces that are now familiar faces. :-) Just a taste of more to come.

Friday was particularly hard. In spite of extra sleep, and not having much on the responsibility plate but some early rehearsals, I was really having a hard time coping. I tried really hard to keep it contained, and for any of you that might have had it rub off on you, I truly apologize. I was definitely not wearing my best face. :/

Saturday seemed to improve some. Sound check, rehearsals, more concerts including my sweetie's Interfilk concert. More faces. Some new, some old. Some old faces that I hadn't met until now.

Concert was a decided success, and I enjoyed being part of it directly with some drums as well as supporting Shawna for the rest. She did an amazing job and I think we all had a lot of fun with it.

One thing that didn't improve was the fact that all that dust and out-gassing was reviving what was the remnants of my chest cold that was just settling down prior to the trip. So that was a struggle. Likely not contagious. Probably mostly allergies. I seem to have lost any immunity I may have had to local allergies and I keep getting pounded pretty hard by this year. No fun.

I think I finally reached a relaxing place by Sunday. Heart filled with lots of music and love and peoples. I'm sad it took so long, but I'm happy I got there.

Highlights include getting to share the stage with so many wonderful people and getting to cheer on Shawna. Also watching Sunnie get conscripted for lots of other concerts and circle bits or was that volunteered with zeal? :-) Details. I loved all of the guest concerts and one-shots. The Hall of Fame induction dinner and honorees. The Interfilk auction! Hanging outside with the HAM hounds learning a little bit more about radio. Meals and gatherings with friends and family.

I think it is reasonable to assume that if we can swing it, we'll be back next year. :-) I'm already researching flight cases for some of my gear. :-D
glitch25: (Default)
Something I do a lot at work, or when I need to kind of shut out the outside world and focus on something specific is pick a piece of music I like and play it on single-track repeat over and over and over and over again.

Typically it is a track with a driving beat. I think that part specifically appeals to my inner metronome. Driving beat, familiar melody. Lyrics and genre are unimportant. I typically don't "hear" the lyrics too much. If I do, they become part of the white noise (probably closer to brown noise knowing my preferences for these things), and I don't generally internalize them.

I have lots of musical tracks that I gravitate towards, and I've started creating a playlist of just those tracks that I will put on single-track repeat and play and play until either I get tired of it, or want something else, and then I hit skip and go to the next one. Generally, I'll hang on one track for hours. Sometimes I will keep the same track for days at a time.

I decided I wanted to write about this to see if anybody else does this specifically. Not so much a rolling playlist, but a single musical track or two that get played on repeat for a long stretch of time as a sort of zen meditation thing. :)

Brains are awesome. :-D
glitch25: (piano)
Howdy do! I finally have more topics than time to write about them. I've been keeping a running list using Checkvist (really nifty web based list maker, btw) of things as I think of them that I'll want to remember to talk about . I've got a few piling up, so I thought I'd make time to pull the ripcord on one of them

Today's entry is about the bass. Specifically that I've been learning to play bass. Last year, I saved up my pennies and purchased a Kala U-Bass which is a bass ukulele. I figured that it was more portable and versatile, and I think I made a good decision. The thing is, I never played bass before. So I've been learning what I can and playing around with techniques and such. It's been really fun. This bonus round, I picked up a well-recommended portable bass amp that pairs nicely with the U-Bass, and I've been having a lot of fun.

One of my favorite things to do to practice and to learn more musicality of the instrument is to find YouTube videos of songs with the bass removed and learn to play along. There are bunches of those types of videos for nearly any purpose/genre/instrument you can think of, and I find them to be a very useful resource. My favorite are the ones that include the chords. As for bass, the easiest bass line to play is the root of the chord, so these help me learn my way around the fretboard, and I can start to see patterns in the progressions. The tuning of the bass also lends itself well to popular chord changes. And while my bass lines are not always too interesting, I'm learning my way around playing 4ths 5ths, and octaves and venturing beyond that. I know my next major step will be to learn the scales of those chords so I can get more comfortable with walking bass lines and other creativity.

I often realize that with piano as my first instrument, my musicality suffered a lot. These is no challenge to make in-tune pitches. There is technique to dynamics, but for the most part, anybody can walk up to a piano and play middle C, and on an in tune piano, it will always be a C. Most other instruments require considerable more technique to produce just a pitch, much less a nuanced pitch. I think that makes me very spoiled. On the flip side, it may have helped contribute to my fairly good ear for pitch. I know it also have me a leg up on learning chords and also on learning limb independence which has been helpful with learning drums.

Drums, bass, accordion... Probably some woodwinds or reeded brass. Yeah. I like making music and I love learning how to play. It is becoming one of my favorite ways to create and express myself.

What new thing are you learning these days?
glitch25: (piano)
So something that has been on my mind lately... something silly. I'm assuming you guys know about misheard lyrics. Things people sing along to songs that are totally not the lyrics to the song. Some songs are ripe for those opportunities, and others are just far reaches.

I've been noticing opportunities for misheard lyrics that could only exist in the last decade or two.

For example, in Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar Over Me, the line, "Livin' like a lover with a radar phone," which almost itself sounds like a misheard lyric, kinda sounds like "Livin' like a lover with a red iPhone".

Another I noticed recently was Earth, Wind, and Fire's Shining Star with the line, "Shining star come into view," which sounds like "Chinese laptop interview".

Have you noticed any potentials that could only exist in the now that wouldn't have existed 20 years ago?
glitch25: (Default)
I've been following Karrin Allyson for quite some time now. I think I fell in love from some cuts I heard on KPLU many years ago, and when I noticed she was stopping at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, I would do what I could to stop by and see her.

She's an amazing artist who has a deep passion for music. Watching her perform is epic and magical.

She's a consummate pianist, and when she isn't sitting behind the keyboard, she surrounds herself with amazing and soulful talent. You can see the depth of the connection she holds with her fellow musicians on stage, and it is beautiful to watch them create music.

I highly recommend seeing her if you can. I make it a point to do that as often as I possibly can.

Here she is with Rod Fleeman on guitar, and Todd Strait on drums.

glitch25: (Default)
I want to say it was Tony Fabris that helped me down the Leo Moracchioli rabbit hole with Leo's awesome metal cover of Stayin' Alive. As is often the case, I took a deep dive, and am now a big Leo fan.

Beyond being a killer metal rocker and putting together some brilliant metal covers, Leo runs a music studio in Norway called FrogLeap Studios.

His videos are fun, his covers are insightful, and he really has a passion for what he does.
Find him here with this Christmas classic:

glitch25: (Default)
I realize I've been updating Facebook with my daily holiday music picks, but it might be nice to post them here as well.

That does mean I'm catching up with 8 of them today. So.. um.. well.. :-D

Danny Fong does nifty multitrack vocal videos of himself and his brother and sometimes his other gig mates. I got blown away by the version of Scarborough Fair he did that you can find with a little digging.
But since it's that time of year, I'm planning on posting nifty versions of holiday songs I find. Or ones that might be sentimental.
Here's Danny doing a time-split classic.

I'll hide the rest in here... )
glitch25: (piano)
As a growing musician and performer, one of the things I've been learning to take to heart is the idea (one shared by lots and lots and lots of performers) that there really is no substitute for hard work and long hours at the craft.

Being that music is not how I sustain my financial well-being, I take that to mean that my long hours of practice and study are not consecutive. But all the same, I have been making a regular effort to put in time into my musical studies. Even if it is 20 minutes here or there.

I think one of my frustrations that I'm learning to overcome is the fact that I feel so far behind. I have the privilege to spend time with LOTS of very talented and incredible musicians of various flavors, and I get to regularly witness the fruits of their labors and I sometimes take certain things out of context and get frustrated with myself that I feel like I have so little to offer and so much work to do to be even a quarter of the musician that these people are.

It's stupid, really. Most of my musician friends have been playing their instruments and performing since they were young kids. Presumably non-stop or at least in and around it to some degree. They have put in their time (and still are). It is useless to compare myself even trivially since I have not had all that time put in. My dedication is relatively new, and even though I came to the latest table with some skills (guess those years of piano lessons weren't a total waste!), I still have lots of time to put in. But I still have to remind myself that it doesn't make me less. It doesn't mean that what I have to offer is valueless.

Beyond that though, the comparisons at all are still useless. I am on my own musical journey. It is a path unique to me as are the paths of those friends of mine. As with most things, the goal is less about how fast I traverse the path and more about how much I absorb along the way. And I feel fortunate that I've been regularly given a lot of nifty things to absorb, and that my journey of late has been pretty damn awesome. :-)

Along the lines of hard work, I recently reminded myself that it is useful to not get too focused on any one thing for too long within the greater whole. By this I mean that I have been working on a piece I started some 20 years ago. I've talked before about the fact that by in large, I had learned most of the piece except for about 16 bars of a middle section that for some reason, I never made the time prior to learn. Up until recently, when I would start to play it, I would just stop when I got to that point. But over the last year or so, I decided that with the availability of a keyboard and space to sit down every day, I was going to knock out those 16 bars and finally finish something that I started so long ago. And little by little, I have worked out that little section, and can mostly play it reliably. Unfortunately, what I realized the other day is that I had stopped putting in time to play the REST of the piece, and when I tried to play it end-to-end, I struggled with the rest of it. XD

It isn't all gone or lost. But I definitely need to put in time to play the whole thing now that I've come closer to mastering the missing middle bit. And that aside, there are a few other little spots that need polishing up.

When I chose Gershwin's Prelude #2 so many years ago, it was because I really enjoyed Gershwin, and of the three, the second seemed the least technically challenging. I would say today that I still agree with that assessment, and it has been fun getting to finally pull it all together. It also means that I've actually willfully decided that I'm up for more challenge and want to tackle one of the other two.

That, and there's this Rachmaninoff piece I've been really wanting to put to bed. And maybe a little Chopin. And definitely more Beethoven.

To say nothing of Brubeck, Corea, Hancock, and then all the other little things I want to pull together.

And that's just piano. There will be more drum stuff too. And guitar. And mandolin. And definitely violin.

Like any other impassioned musician, I'll be putting in time until I'm dead. Good thing the genes say I should be around for a long long time. :-) I'm gonna want it!
glitch25: (Default)
Well.. they tell me today is the end of the long summer. Long relatively speaking since I know summer back home lasts into October. Honestly, summer HERE sometimes lasts into October, so while the sun-worshipers are lamenting the changing weather, I'll accept that it still is likely to get hot again before it stays cold for a while.

On the flip side, I'm not arguing the change today. I was up early and refreshed. Out of bed and moving much earlier than I usually do. And got to work at an unusually earlier hour for me. This change, for however long it lasts, is definitely a good thing for me.

Timing-wise, it seems like a lot of other little things are due to transition too. Little things with the organization of the house and how we're doing things. I recently picked up a new entryway bench that will make better use of some space where we've otherwise stacked junk. Things in the kitchen have been shuffled a little, and we're making progress continuing down the path to make things a home.

It is kinda frustrating feeling like I've lived where I am over a year now, and we're still having to re-arrange and unpack.. and pare down. I guess it feels like there should be a better routine about how things get done and how the business of getting settled in works, but I forget that that sort of thing takes years... sometimes years and years. Maybe I'm impatient to do other household things. The carousel is itching to turn, and some things have spent too long packed away.

Along those lines, I finished up my new art project (new to me, anyways), and will have some time to devote to other things I want to do. I think I want to get back into book binding for a bit. I need to perfect some of my techniques, and I want to get better at it. I have a few projects in particular in mind, and it should keep me busy for a while. :-)

There are also several games calling my name, and while my laptop seems to be struggling on it's last leg, I'm not ready to toss it, so we'll see if I can get it behaving again. I had a funny realization the other day. I was doing some stress-relief gaming (computer mode Jedi Knight 2 in capture the flag mode with 7 compy players), and I realized that my 15 inch laptop screen, in my lap, is about the same visual field as our flatscreen (for which I briefly considered hooking up to). Make me chuckle. :-) Resolution of the TV is slightly better, but it really wouldn't offer a lot at this point. Maybe when we pony up for a sound bar soon. I need to get back into Skyrim. And Fallout and it's cousins are calling to me.

Speaking of gaming, I wandered into Godus on Android. I've been a fan of Molyneux's early works with Lionhead, and Godus kinda sounded like it had a similar vibe. I hadn't dug into the controversy about the PC version and what looks like the melt-down that happened since trying to get that game out the door. But the Android version seems interesting enough, and I'm enjoying it in bits so far. It will be interesting to see what comes of it. And the PC Beta. Not sure I want to pay into that one yet. Maybe some day if the company Molyneux left behind finishes it off. Either way, it will be interesting to see if Molyneux can work his way out of his self-dug hole and get back to the business of making interesting games.

As a tangent to gaming, I have been focused lately on appreciating movie and gaming soundtracks and have fallen in love again with Jeremy Soule. I had the pleasure of alpha testing Total Annihilation back in the day when I worked for Humongous Entertainment, and his score there has always moved me. So it was no surprise that when I got into the Elder Scrolls games, starting with Morrowind, that after loving the music, I discovered that Soule was the one scoring those. His scores are so evocative.

I've been looking at a piece from Guild Wars 2 (a game I'd also like to get into) that I'd like to gather some troops to cover. Here is one take on it. It is a beautiful piece. :-)

More music is definitely in the list. I'm researching drums and keyboards and other fun things to add to the musical section of the carousel. I need to devote time to continuing to practice and to learning new things. and i should make a dent in that list of covers I've been meaning to do. :-)

Now with summer slipping away, it means I can use the oven again. Baking will be coming back. Along with good cooler weather comfort foods like stews and the like. I'm excited!

Time to shift gears and launch into the next little bit. Coming along for the ride?
glitch25: (amazement)
So the proverbial carousel has been turning again, but She's lost a lot of momentum. I'm not one for making specific year-beginning resolutions mostly because anything worthy of a serious change should happen any time of the year and not wait for one day of the year to start. But it seems like a good time to review progress thereof of continuing efforts. :-)

Before Christmas there were plans for bread again, and while that hasn't yet happened, more to get it happening has happened in the last couple weeks than has the prior year. I'd like to take advantage of the cooler weather, and my gorgeous live-in sweetie is very much on board for knocking out some Reinhardt love. Scheduling is a thing though. Most of the good bread recipes take at least 2 days. Sometimes more. So we'll see how that goes.

A lot of the living room shuffling has happened, and we're in a better place than we've been since we've moved in. Once Christmas stuff is out of the way, I think we'll be in a great place to consider being more social! The music room is coming around, and regardless of organization, I've been huddled over the keyboard practicing and otherwise busting out bits and pieces of things. I've gotten a little driven to complete and perfect some of the older pieces I had worked on years ago, and I also have a whole lot of new stuff on my musical plate. One of the upcoming goals is to get more stuff recorded (mostly as an exercise in recording than necessarily a desire to have it heard), but that will require some more work with the DAW and building comfort in using it all. I also foresee more equipment purchases since we could use a couple of good mics. Fun stuff overall though. I'm pretty excited about it!

In terms of arts and crafts, I've made some more headway on my t-shirt rug. For those that were around when I started it, this is a large piece I decided to make that is essentially latch-hook but with strips of t-shirts. It is really hard on the hands, but I've had fun with it. I have a lot more work to do with it, but I'm hopefully that I can make a dent soon. Eschewing technology in favor of the artistic when relaxing for the evening is difficult some days, but I think I can work on making that happen periodically. I also have plans to get some more journals bound and I'm looking forward to stepping into some new binding styles and maybe even some paper-making to go along with it.

More cooking and food in general is planned. My poor cooking blog has gone sadly dormant, and I need to find ways to revive it. The loss of a favorite restaurant this year will have me deliberately making effort to master some of my favorite New Mexican dishes so as to not feel so homesick for the food. This will include things like tamales, carne adobado, and a nice pot of posole. :-) And there will be more non-New Mexican faire as well including dabbling in spirit-making to include some lemoncello and limecello! I'm looking forward to keeping the kitchen hopping.

One of the things that will also be taking up time is school! Back in for a couple more quarters to finish up my Cisco certificate, and I imagine I'll be testing in Summer. Should be fun, and it will be helpful for work related things. I've kinda enjoyed it, and am looking forward to learning more over the next several months.

There are lots of other things always on the carousel, but I think these will be my focus for a bit. Time and spirit willing, I'm sure I might also pull out a few less-attentioned things periodically just to shake off the dust, but I always say when it comes to my life and my personal enjoyment of it, I'm never bored.

Hope the new year treats you all well, and hope you have some fun things that you are otherwise involved with or will be soon.
glitch25: (Default)
Popular music for me is a funny thing. For as long as I can remember... as long as I've gotten to enjoy movies, popular music has taken an association to movie soundtracks. Music in movies is one of my favorite things, and it is no surprise that my favorite American composer scores movies. Along with scores are the tracks that get thrown in, either for ambiance, or effect, or sometimes there is a collaboration between artist and composer to write themes that make up a pop song but also lend to allusion and form of a score too.

One example I think of with that is Don Juan deMarco. Bryan Adams' "Have You Really Loved a Woman" gets torn apart and reconstituted into a really nifty score for the movie. It was written for the movie, and while the movie itself left a lot to be desired by many, I really enjoyed how the score developed.

In general though, score and added music live together but separately in a movie. And I find that those songs/tunes stick with me in their association to movies. Too many examples to count, but typically when I hear a song on the radio, particularly something from the 60's, 70's, and 80's, since most music collaborations go for established music, I know the movie where I heard it. Sometimes, the movies lead me to the music itself, and getting to broaden my tastes and my collections is one of my fun past times.

For example:

The Breakfast Club -

Playing By Heart -

Shawshank Redemption -

Scent of a Woman - - though this one is in other movies too

Fast Times at Ridgemont High -

Road House -

Ferris Bueller's Day Off -

So so many more. But you get the idea. :-)
glitch25: (Default)
I have always had a fascination with musical covers. Generally I like them when they stretch the genre, or even when they fall into whole other genres.

Hayseed Dixie falls into this class. I always imagine them sitting next to Tickle from Moonshiners somewhere in Florida sucking on a jar of his finest.

Sometimes, I'll obsess on a tune, and go hunting for covers of it specifically. That tends to be interesting.

Lately, I did that with a tune called Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock. For those at least dip a toe in the jazz world, you may recognize it out of this version where Herbie does what Herbie does.. :-)

More covers here! )
glitch25: (memories)
I was walking down the hall off to do something in the server room, and as I was going, I started whistling some old thing. Something stuck in my head that just decides that moment to peek out.

This time, it was "That Naughty Waltz", which is a waltz written in 1919 by Sol P. Levy. It was my grandmother's favorite, and when she was able, anytime she was near a piano, she would play it.

Bit of history though. My grandmother was second generation Mexican American and one of her claims to fame was her ability to play piano. As a young adult, she made extra money playing piano for the local silent movie house, and she also taught piano and music theory in Spanish to various locals in the predominately Latino communities in southern and eastern Texas where she lived. She apparently attempted to teach my Aunt as well, but oddly enough, not my mother. My aunt had no passion or interest in it, and my mother was wildly attracted but completely un-nurtured. Family dynamics are interesting.

As you might imagine, finding an online recording of a waltz that was popular 90 years ago is an interesting thing. There are some youtube videos of people playing old 78rpm recordings. But this was a little better. It is a medley of other popular waltzes. That Naughty Waltz begins at about 1:18 and continues to about 2:27.

Miss you, Grandma.

glitch25: (Default)

And if you haven't already seen them, if you dig around on Smule's youtube channel, you'll find videos of their Magic Piano for iPad and their Ocarina for iPhone as well as their Glee and T'Pain apps. Interesting stuff!
glitch25: (piano)
So every now and then, I sit down to a piano and tinker. Depending on the mood, I drag out a trusty piece I've learned (or learned enough to play for a little bit) and play around with it.

Something I forget is that not many people know I play (inasmuch as I do, since really, it's been ages since I've done anything with it), so I surprise people now and then.
Read more... )

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