Archive for November, 2007

theme one

November 27, 2007

welcome back.

i call this one “theme one” (click to listen) because i think of it as the first of a specific collection of “film music with no film.” i wrote it this weekend at my parents place in Missouri, on their piano, in a food coma.

i’ve been getting more and more focused on writing for picture, and at times when no picture is readily available, i’ve written a few things to mental pictures. this pieces mental picture isn’t as specific as some, but i think it leads the minds eye in a certain direction. while i was writing in MO, i started transitioning into entirely different music at the end of the piece, but in this case, chose and recorded and ending to it. in said film, it probably wouldn’t end the way it does in this case.  i dunno.


A. the main theme is presented right at the top of the piece, heard in the high voice of the piano…playful but with a bit of a “trouble in paradise” idea.

B. transition material darkens the character a bit, then redeems/lightens (“ah” vocals) the character a bit. this section acknowledges that something mysterious/questionable is abound i think.

A1. the main theme in a new key with slight alterations – a back and forth of light and dark ideas…using a whole tone scale at the end to add escalating tension.

C. transition/truncated theme brightens things up a bit, quoting the theme and creating a nice little “V I” to the end section. a “V I” (five, one) is basically a way to set up a new resting place, or harmonic “home” for the ear. it’s like the “amen” at the end of a hymn, with two chords (five/one or four/one) that say “all-done” or “your home” to the ear.

D. new material – we arrive at this “home” and slow the pace down. the character is tired perhaps, or contemplative. this section goes back and forth between light and dark versions of itself, nodding to that conflict still existing (whatever that conflict is). then, maybe the character falls asleep.

what do you think?

YOUR MISSION, if you choose to be awesome:

come up with a short narrative for this piece and post it as a comment. i have ideas, but they’re pretty open. i’d LOVE to hear yours.


beautiful ideas

November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving. 🙂

this weeks “song of the week nuclear laser beam audio assault spelling-bee bomb” submission is called “beautiful ideas.” (click for mp3)


firstly: this is a serious song. i jot down lyrical and content ideas all the time, on a piece of paper, or as a notepad doc. most of the serious ones get stuck on the shelf for one reason or another, but this one made it out. it’s about real life relationship stuff, stuff that’s been on my mind, stuff that…bla bla bla, a girl. tricky stuff though. i really don’t want to get too far into it because the person actually exists (human), and while the lyrics are (in my mind) complimentary, it’s a weird thing to have a song (or songs) written about you and talked about in this sort of environment. that being said, they are actually more ABOUT me (or sandwiches) in the context of this relationship. THAT being said, i will post the lyrics below…


foreheads speak a thousand words
but whatever happened to these birds
pretty eyes would never lie
but i might if allowed the time

fingers ran along my arms
charms often become alarms

history is bleeding now
wherever circumstance allows
beautiful ideas float
but water’s leaking in the boat

dinner plates of bread and cheese
never create memories

unless the best remembrance
is hope for hostesses company
unless you want them to
it’s up to you, it’s up to you

mother takes a spill
i’ll just take another pill

fantasy is duty free
all i think about is me

THE STORY: part two AND music

what kind of weird title is that?

i recently watched “stranger than fiction” with will ferrell, dustin hoffman, etc, and loved it. i loved that fantasy met reality in such a matter of fact way; with such a disconnect from the notion of absurdity. also, it’s a writers movie, and left me with a real desire to create a character and an atmosphere in a song. in a serious light though. i started into a song about a character i created dealing with one particular issue, and reminding myself a bit (in approach, not skill) of sufjan stevens, and the way he talks about john wayne gacy, jr on the Illinois record. BIG fan of that song. the lyrics i came up with are for another song perhaps, but i also came up with these, trying to combine the inspiration to get serious and things that i’ve been thinking about lately on a personal level.

musically, i wanted it to be “pretty”, perhaps a bit melancholy, but not sad. it’s really not. i think the main problem i have with the lyrics is that i’m not sure they express the “smile” that i was trying to combine with the “frown” on this one. well, i’m not sure about that. it’s late and i’ve heard it too many times to be objective anymore. but, the song isn’t supposed to be heavy per say, but prolly is a bit.


i like you. happy thanksgiving’s to all, and safe travles this weekend.

tune in next week for a song about chicken, written by a ham, recorded live from inside a turkey.

thanks for listening.



mailing list is here

radio poo pee REDUX

November 18, 2007

hey hey!

i mentioned in my last entry the idea of revamping/arranging the tune “radio poo pee,” this weeks “song of the week” exclusive creative catastrophe. here is it. i call it….(wait for it)…


i think it’s stronger now. i played more with the sound design, creating a little “get into the car, drive around, arrive, get out” sort of sound design, and i modified the music medly to include more song-time and less radio-being-tuned time. i like it a lot more. i also ditched most of the “guy in the car” talking bit, which i think helps.

SO…this is a first. this qualifies as the first revision i’ve done and posted in the song of the week project. i think. at least, the first dual-posting on this wordpress blog thingy in one week. wow. things are getting crazy over here.

obviously, i hope you like it.

i think it’s stronger. i’m happier with it. i’m also a little slow.

thanks for listening.

i’ve posted only the most recent version at, but you can still open the original version through the last post “radio poo pee” on this here wordpress dot com blogger thingy.


radio poo pee

November 17, 2007

radio poo pee

hey loves.

running a little late this week, cause friends and i were working on a video project for our friend steve niketopoulos, that we finished and presented last night at his suprise birthday party. super fun.

this weeks “song of the week” is comprised of music from the video.

i wrote and arranged a variety of little incidental musics, and a couple of themes that were more “out front”, and in THIS recording, stuck them all into this “tuning a radio” context. it’s fun to think that everything on the radio is my stuff, and by “fun” i mean “narcissistic.”

i tried to mix it so that it sounded like i’m in a car, driving, tuning a radio, and occassionally talking to myself. the outside sound is from a sound effects library and i just looped it. i then mixed it so that it sounds a little muffled, as it would from the inside of a car. the ambulance that you hear at 2min and 38secs or so i panned from right to left and faded out so that it sounds like it’s moving, both from right to left and AWAY. my “talking etc” vocals i left dry (no effects), cause they should sound like they’re right in your space.

the radio stuff is all mixed together with bits of the songs, bits of white noise, fuzz, interference, and different volumes and eq’s.

this is all an experiment in creating an environment, which i think i’m understanding better and better as i do it. but it still doesn’t sound the way i want it too yet. this one gets close to what that environment would sound like, i think, but it’s not there. i don’t think it PUTS YOU IN THE CAR yet. i’ll probably keep tweeking it over the next week or so and see if i can do that.

see if you can pin-point a couple pre-existing themes in the music too. pretty famous ones. 🙂

as always, thanks for listening!

have a great week.


mailing list is here


November 8, 2007


machinery” is this weeks trek into “song writing,” as well as working with HORN samples. this was a fun one. i’m pretty happy with it, although i could see myself re-writing the lyrics at some point. i like them well enough, but i feel like i never got that “thing” that i wanted, content-wise.


let’s start there. my subconscious loves to throw in some combination of days or weeks of real life material that i’ve been compiling, without letting me know about it before hand and just seeing if it works together in one way or another. in this case there was an interesting level of “meaning” that appeared to me after they were all written. the goal in writing them was more sound and imagery than meaning, but i ended up connecting a couple of dots in my head after listening to the “final” take.

1 . the smoking a cigarette imagery is just something i generally like, and in this case everytime it happens, it’s the context in which the character (me) gets contemplative…having a smoke and thinking on something.

2. references to motorcycles i think came in part from my friend nadia, who bought one this year, in part from the image of freedom associated with them, and i just loved the idea of jumping on one and leaving your “past” behind you. cinematically of course.

3. the reference to a heart attack is also something connected to adulthood, and maybe therefor “freedom” to me. although, i don’t consider this song to be ABOUT “freedom.” if anything, it’s about how a machine is supposed to operate verses how real life operates, and how sometimes the machine idea is really exciting to me in my “productive” states, and looking at a community of people as some sort of intelligent, organic machine. i love it. i have no idea if this makes sense. the heart attack though, is a personal concern of mine, for one reason or another. as is being “mean”, like in that same, first verse.

4. masks are probably a reference to a recent short play i did with sharon lanza, where we both wore masks and slowly (and brilliantly i might add) removed them throughout the show. but, as in the case of the play i think, the masks are symbolic of people’s “masks.” really though, in the context of this song, i think it’s a nod to how it doesn’t make sense, how we operate like machinery sometimes cause that’s what we know, or because we’re being task oriented and “productive.” we’re machinery in a different sense now. not really conscious of why we’re doing what we’re doing, but doing it nonetheless.  and that’s not always bad…it just is, sometimes.
man…i’m floating away into drug induced art philosphy or something here…

WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT…is loving creating things…and understanding that sometimes the “control” you have over what you create is limited, for any number of reasons, but that this can be a brilliant thing for the work, and for you (me) as a thinking person.

(sorry about all that – i just got abducted by aliens and they uploaded some sort of “artist statement” into my fragile brain to see if it made me hungry)



hip-hoppy dance beat – awesome

two basses, one midi, and one real, with an octave pedal for SUPER LOW time – awesome

rhodes – awesome

guitar – real, and key for the character

HORNS – ok, this was really the fun of it for me. i used different samples recorded at different times by different people, and worked them into hooks and hits, and tried to make them sound like one horn section. i think this worked for the most part, but if you listen closely enough, you can probably tell they’re all a little different (maybe i should keep my mouth shut). but this was really fun.

put your hands in the air.

thanks for listening!


mailing list is here

happy halloween

November 1, 2007

hey lovelies.

happy halloween

jonny is up to his ears right now, getting ready for the detholz “jukebox of the dead” show tonight, and the mucca pazza headline performance immediately following! jonny just found out the show sold out, which is super for him, and for YOU if you have a ticket. he’s also performing in a couple of scenes this weekend for Suzan Lori-Parks “365 Days/365 Plays” at “the side project” in Chicago, and also been busy getting used to speaking of himself in the third person.

SO…he was wracking what’s left of his fragile left brain for this weeks song of the week…and came up with “Happy Halloween,” a semi-scary and mostly just weird atmosphere/score track. jon always has fun playing with atmospheres and sound effects, and he told me earlier today that he had fun with this too, and that he’s me.


also, as a bonus track blog exclusive, he’s including a song that he wrote for the Maplewood Halloween Party last saturday, that was played right after MJ’s “thriller” in the dance mix. HEAR it HERE —-> “Mass Hysteria


thanks for listening as always!

everyone have a safe and happy halloween.