Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deep, Light, and He Can't Help It

I tried to not write this blog post, but I couldn't. Of course you could, you say! You've got free will!

Nope. It sure seems that way sometimes, but I think this is an illusion. A very convincing illusion, but an illusion nonetheless. My friend Craig Collins explains this heavy concept with his usual light touch in this excellent blog post. Not that he had any choice in the matter.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cool Sounds (John & Lisa)

In addition to the "movie music" mentioned in my post about driving Europe, I've written a few other songs in the last few weeks, but nothing is quite ready to post. I need to get into my basement studio and finish some of these songs! It's too easy to start new songs and do partial demos on the iPad with GarageBand and all the various cool synths and other music apps now available. I shouldn't complain about too much inspiration, but the problem is not enough time and discipline to finish things. The good news is that thanks to these tools on the iPod Touch and iPad, I can write and record even when I travel, which was never very practical before.

I've also enjoyed music from other people, most notably the new John Mayer album "Born and Raised," which is great. Last week I saw cool concert in Boston, featuring Lisa Hannigan, an Irish singer-songwriter I've admired since I first heard her singing with Damien Rice some years back. Lisa was co-billed with an American singer-songwriter, Joe Henry. I was not familiar with his work and really didn't enjoy his part of the performance. But Lisa was wonderful. She performed most of her recent second album, "Passenger." I took a few videos, three of which are posted on YouTube: "Knots," "Little Bird," and "Passenger." The picture above is from Lisa's performance on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts (pictured with her guitarist John Smith, who was also quite impressive at the Boston concert). We were in the fourth row at the Paradise, pretty nice seats but not quite as intimate as NPR's library.

Driving Europe

Wow, my last blog post was April 29. I guess I've been busy. I've been on a couple of business trips since then (Taiwan and a trade show in Frankfurt), and the trade show trip was followed by a fun vacation with my wife, driving from Frankfurt to the south coast of France, then along the coast to Monaco, then through Italy and Switzerland to Interlaken. Finally we drove back to Frankfurt with a stop in Berne for lunch. We did about 8 days of driving. The (literal) peak of our adventure was the Jungfraujoch, heavily promoted as "the top of Europe," with a train station, observation center, and restaurant close to 12,000 feet above sea level. The weather was great and the view was magnificent (example above).

We took a lot of pictures and video clips, and on the flight home from Frankfurt, I used GarageBand on the iPad to create some instrumental soundtrack music for three short "slide show" videos that I later edited with iMovie on the iPad. You can see these videos on YouTube (note: choose HD or 720p in the YouTube settings to view these with full resolution):

Driving video - the whole trip in 2 minutes 20 seconds with fast music.

Europe sights - a bit longer and more relaxed with pseudo-classical music.

Jungfrau "Top of Europe" train ride - a pseudo-Romantic adagio. I was going for majestic to try to match the Alps. Almost 3 minutes.