Still alive (still) and still creating music, however mediocre. Here’s my latest. Enjoy.
I don’t really have an excuse for not posting over the past few months. Sure, I get busy with work and all, but that’s not a real excuse since posting something (anything) takes only a few minutes. [I have been posting on Twitter, though, so go there if you want to hear my rambling, idiotic thoughts on a regular basis.]
But whatever. One thing I have been doing is creating music with my modular synth and my drum machine. Here’s my latest, a sci-fi orgasm of sputtering, spattering noise. Enjoy!
Our Luka died on March 27. She was about 14 years old. She adopted us back when we lived in an apartment in Redlands. She had been abandoned by some other family. She was the friendliest cat I’ve ever known, and she was also the smartest. She knew how to ingratiate herself with any person, and was more than willing to make a friend if it meant a pet or a snack. We loved her dearly, and she died peacefully in our bedroom surrounded by her toys and her kibble bowl. She will be missed.
I have been a Seattle Seahawks fan since 1976, the year that the team came into being. I was 8 years old; I knew next to nothing about sports, but I loved the city of Seattle because it rained all the time there (as opposed to where I lived, in Riverside, CA). Even though I never left California or moved up to Cascadia, I have been an ardent Seahawks supporter throughout the team’s nearly 40-year history. Yes, most of those years were miserable , but that’s the way of following a team: you endure the bad times so that the good times will be all the sweeter.
So this week is one of those good times: the Seahawks are playing in the Super Bowl! Like all the other Seahawks fans, I’ll be watching and cheering on the team on Sunday. Granted, I’ll be on pins and needles through the whole game hoping beyond hope that all goes well; to be quite honest, I’ll really be rooting for a rout (in the Seahawks’ favor, of course).
So I don’t want to analyze the game or the match ups. I don’t want to strategize about what Seattle needs to do to beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos. I don’t want to do anything that takes me away from being a stupid fan and cheering on my team to victory. So I’ll just stop here and say:
I didn’t do a Top 10 or Top 25 for music this year, in part because I didn’t want to and in part because I was focused more on creating my own music than I was listening to others. But looking through my iTunes library to see what I have been listening to, I notice that there was a lot of interesting music released (or re-released) over the past twelve months, including new music from two long-dormant names: My Bloody Valentine and Boards of Canada. Both of those works were quite good, especially mbv (I thought BoC’s was a bit too derivative of their older stuff, but then I haven’t listened to it as carefully as I could).
But the album that I listened to more than any other this year was UHF by Hacker Farm, a British artist who makes wild, crazy music from (apparently) DIY projects and scrap (or something like that). Yes, this album came out at the end of 2012, but I didn’t hear it until 2013, after reading an article in Wire and then ordering the CD from the UK. UHF is a messy, chaotic work that goes in all sorts of weird and wonderful directions, most of them sinister and all of them interesting. The tracks range in tone and style, from wild, sci-fi atmospherics (“Burlington,” which features a voice-over advertising a town that seems straight out of The X-Files) to V/VM-like noise collages (“Konrad”) to mutated pop tunes trapped in jars of noise and static (“One, Six, Nein” and “Grinch”). Throughout, the senses of foreboding and anxiety are mixed with a determination to fight back against the forces that seem to have crushed the spirits of those who would prefer a world that wasn’t dominated by drones, spies, and greed.
I had this album running in a loop in my car for most of the year as I drove around the city that I currently call home, a place that has been annihilated by the recession, a place with rampant poverty and unemployment, a place that (until recently) seemed to be on the verge of despair and collapse. UHF was a perfect soundtrack for such a world. That this is both the most depressing and the most hopeful album of the year says a great deal about the artist who created this and the world in which we live.
As I’ve noted here before, I’ve been creating music using a fancy Eurorack modular synthesizer for most of 2013. As a holiday gift, I thought I’d release some of that music via Bandcamp to see what other people think about it. So behold, Oook! I actually had several hundred different songs to pick from when creating this album, and I decided to focus on the most “sci-fi” sounding works, as I’ve been pretending to be a member of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop ever since I met Dick Mills back in February. I won’t say more; I’ll let the music speak for itself. Enjoy!