Seriously, this one is brand new. I wrote it during the last two weeks. Since it’s a Valentine’s Day song, I wanted to get it posted today, so I only had time enough to whip up a dry, bare-bones “demo” mix. As usual, it’s published under a Creative Commons license, and I’ve added it to my music page and my lyrics page (separate from my ever pending album…my still pending album…yeah, I know).
Anyway, I’m pretty proud of it. Here it is! Enjoy! (Oh, and hint: it’s not really about Valentine’s Day.)
I mean it. I got a tremendously time-consuming job about two years ago (quite suddenly, in fact) and decided to put my entire life on the backburner for a few weeks. The weeks turned into years, and the years turned into eons, and before I knew it, I had shrunk away indefinitely into a placid, meaningless hermitude.
So what? Shakespeare made them up all the time, and everyone just loves him. Shut it.
Anyway, I swear I’m back now, and this time for good, though I suppose I should mention that I do still have the aforementioned job and thus will not have the time to post random filler garbage twice a week. I will post when I actually have something to post, but rest assured, such circumstances will only increase in frequency in the near future. I have a good few bits of news up my sleeve already (and that includes new songs!), so stay tuned, chums.
Oh, I’ve made a few changes to the music page. Most notably, I’ve begun to greedily demand compensation for my efforts. No, but really, the more money I can make with my music, the more time I can make for my music, which means more of it for you more often. There. That’s my sales pitch. I’m done now.
I’ve also tweaked the mixes slightly in ways that are not even worth mentioning.
The good news is that the downloads are of better quality now and come in a variety of formats for all of your silly needs. Soon enough, I’ll even have tasty physical CDs.
All right, so it’s one thing for a kid to have an amazing level of mechanical skill, but Billie Tweddle is the absolute definition of genius in my mind. She is yet another singer-songwriter, singing about heartbreak and what have you, and she does it really, really well. I mean, this is real poetry, folks – some of the best use of language I’ve ever heard, I think. Seriously. There is some kind of twisted level of depth achieved by this here girl, and on top of it, her voice is friggin’ polished, as is her ability to express herself through her performance in general. And she’s twelve. She’s TWELVE, for God’s sake! Aaaaarggghhh!!!!!! Shoot me right now in the face! Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!! Seriously, you should watch this.
You see what I mean? You see? I give up. I quit. Okay, not really. I think instead I’ll just drink heavily for several days to get my bearings and be on my way. You take care of yourself, too. Bye now!
Yo. I wanted to share this video because of the strangely profound effect it has on me. For me, this video represents some kind of eerie depth of reality that inspires in me a weird combination of feelings. There is a feeling of strangeness – I feel slightly uncomfortable, but in a good way – mixed with some sort of simmering excitement and and at the same time, peaceful warmth – like I feel whole and complete.
I think this response has something to do with the series of spiritual experiences I had about ten years ago. I also did a lot of reading back then. One of my favorite authors at the time was Lewis Thomas, a guy who wrote a whole bunch of essays in the seventies on the topic of biology. He wrote one essay entitled “The Music of This Sphere,” in which he celebrates the sounds life on Earth makes, observing that more than anything else, creatures love to make noise. From here, he draws an analogy to music, suggesting that if we could hear all the sounds life’s creatures make all at once, it would sound like the most incredible musical composition we’ve ever heard. After first reading this a decade ago, I was standing outside the woods one summer midnight while hanging out with some friends, and I was just listening to the noise of the insects emanating from the mysterious blackness of the forest, imagining a great symphony, with each species as a different instrumental section. The experience was really something.
I was high at the time, of course.
You see, music is really magical for me. I’ve thought about this a number of times. There’s something really unique about music. I mean, there’s more to it than just “really cool sounds.” The experience of listening to the sound effects in Star Wars is very different from the experience of listening to a really good piece of music, even if there are no lyrics. We feel “moved” by music. What the hell is that? I mean, neuroscientists tell us that our brains are wired from birth to appreciate music, and even more fascinating is the fact that the most ear-pleasing pairs of frequencies happen to be perfect mathematical fractions of one another. Music is it’s own animal in the human experience. There’s nothing else like it. Because of this, music is a surefire way for me to tap into spiritual feelings.
Now, I know that most bird formations will probably not sound pretty when translated into musical notation, and I know that if we actually heard the biosphere’s collective noise, it would probably just sound like static, and I know experiences influenced by The Sweet Leaf should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Scientific skeptics will surely explain away all of my feelings whilst rolling their eyes, but I’m not so naive that I haven’t already considered such explanations, and quite frankly, as atheistic as some of my song lyrics may seem, scientific skepticism is one of my great pet peeves. I don’t see any value in what seems to me to be a dogged effort to strip magic from a reality which is full of magical things, magical things which we’ve renamed with “proper” words, like “electromagnetic energy” and “sinusoidal plane wave frequencies.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I see music, math, and nature line up like they do in this video, I get the staggering feeling that I’m witnessing a glimpse of reality in its totality, rather than in little bits and fragments like we usually experience. And that centralized, holistic, and fundamental truth of all reality is how I personally define God, in contrast with the bearded old man in the clouds.
So, yeah, it’s God on YouTube, I guess.
Also, there’s this:
Try to imagine a wedding that this band wouldn’t ruin. If you can, you have a better imagination than I. 2:07 to 2:24 is my favorite.
Hey, here’s a really good song from upcoming New Zealand singer-songwriter Alayna Powley. It’s called “Seeking Happiness.” Check it out! Oh, and you can find the lyrics here.
Pretty neat, eh? Yes, I thought so, too. Oh, and sorry for my extra-lame internet presence as of late. I think I’ll be able to put up another YouTube video this week, and in about a month’s time I’ll be in super active mode with a super-radical recording space which I’ll probably show you in a video or something. Ooh, look! A good weekend! Have it!
All right, remember that really great bluegrass band I posted about a few weeks ago, The Henhouse Prowlers? Well, these guys are even better. And they’re, like, 10 years old. Jesus Humphrey Christ. I watched this video two or three times, racking my brain to try to figure out whether or not these kid’s heads were somehow photoshopped onto some adult’s torso, only to see another performance of theirs on Letterman. You may have seen this because it was a big YouTube hit a year ago, but in case you haven’t, I thought I’d share. Watching it was a pretty surreal experience for me, like some sort of eerie, twisted dream. Why do people like this exist? Are they trying to make me look pathetic? I mean, when I play the guitar, there is a persistent, lingering fear that every single one of my plucks will miss the strings entirely, my awkward, contorted fingers trembling and aching from the crippling effort of producing simple chords. Where do these…these…infants get the gall to embarrass me like this? I think they need to be thrown in prison. Enjoy.
I think my favorite stuff on the internet is this sort of thing. This kind of creative effort that really reaches into multiple media to create something that nobody’s ever seen before. I’m not saying this is the only guy in history who’s ever done anything like this, but I’ve sure never seen anything like it before. What’s awesome about it, though, is that we’ve all seen the individual elements of it many, many times. Everyone has heard songs, and everyone has seen card tricks. But when the two are combined in such a clever way, it amplifies everything that’s impressive about them individually. It helps that the song’s lyrics are already clever and allude to playing cards, and it helps, of course, that this guy is already amazing with his sleight of hand skills and his inventiveness in crafting his tricks. But when the two are joined into a single act, it has this exponential effect, and the vision to harness that is what makes this guy really brilliant.
I’ve always thought that was the essence of creativity, really. Not to create something out of nothing, which I think is impossible anyway, but to take different familiar elements and join them in a way that is unfamiliar and yet somehow seems completely logical and even inevitable. I think when people try to just be “original,” they sacrifice their audience’s ability to connect with the art. The audience needs to see something familiar in order to understand the art, and so they can have a frame of reference with which to recognize and truly appreciate what’s “new” about it. They need to contrast the new with the old.
It also makes the art more impressive if the audience can see the challenge the artist overcame. If I invent something completely new, like, say, a Goolakfa Brump, nobody will be impressed that I’ve created such a thing because I had no boundaries against which to struggle. It took no effort to create it because I didn’t have any rules by which I had to abide in order to create it. I made up my own rules. But if I start with two already established things, like two different film genres, and combine them, I have to follow the conventions of each and make them line up in a way that fits and even makes it seem like they were supposed to be together all along. If I can achieve that, people will be really impressed because they will recognize the challenge of what I did. In that sense, art is more like a game than people realize, I think.
Okay, that’s Matt’s philosophy lesson for the day. Happy Thursday, everyone!
Sorry for not having posted anything in almost a week, but I’m still losing my mind from my new sleep schedule. Also, I will soon be working frantically on fixing up a new house, so I may not be able to post as much of my own stuff in the coming weeks, but try I must! It’s a good thing, though, because with the new house, I’ll finally be able to really get some recording done, and you should see a good deal more output from me pretty soon.
For today, I thought I’d share a really fun video I got to take part in. My friend Dan submitted this video to a film editing competition in which contestants were asked to use footage from three separate Nicholas cage movies to creatively edit together a single movie trailer for a silly, nonexistent, new Nicholas Cage movie. The source footage was taken from the films Raising Arizona, Face-Off, and Ghost Rider. Dan decided to go for a 1960s-style James-Bond-type trailer for a fake sequel called Archer: The Second Helping (if you haven’t seen Face-Off, the protagonist’s name is Sean Archer), and he asked me to provide the voice over, so I tried to do a cheesy, old-school movie trailer voice. You know, Mid-Atlantic accent and everything, although I didn’t have time to properly learn the accent, so I sort of faked it. Anyway, I think Dan did a really good job with this. I know he put a lot of work into it, and apparently, it paid off because he won second place. Hellz yeah. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!
No video of me today. I’m starting a night job tonight, and I’ve spent the last few days trying vainly to adjust my sleep schedule, an effort which has left me in a grotesque state of enduring zombification. There’s no way I could possibly smile for the camera or sing today without looking and sounding like a chain smoker on morphine. I could have covered “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang, and you would have shot yourself in the bathroom immediately after watching the video. So instead, here are a couple of really neat YouTube videos by other people that you probably have not seen but really should…
I want to know how long it took them to do this. I wish they’d done the whole song, but it’s absolutely delightful either way.
I don’t think I even need to say anything, other than why in the hell do these people look so goddamned bored? This is so unbelievably cool!
Right. So, I would like to submit these two videos as further evidence in support of my argument that the two best things that ever happened to the universe are human beings and the internet. Unless you wanna add The Lord. I’ll accept that. But he was technically human, so I’m still right. Oh, I also really like spiders and whales, so those can be honorable mentions, I guess. And puppy-dogs. And candy. And birthdays. And sex. And birthday sex. And Fred Rogers. But he was technically human. Okay, I should probably stop there.
Wait, why did I put “birthday sex” and “Fred Rogers” right next to each other? Christ, I need sleep.
Back in college, I was fortunate enough to take part in an embarrassingly amateur 007 film spoof, quite perfectly entitled “Once Is Never Enough.” It was oodles of fun, and I was commissioned (at a rate of zero dollars and zero cents per hour) to write the title song, which was even oodlier in terms of funness. It’s rather silly, so there’s that. Anyway, I thought it would be kind of fun to throw it up on YouTube for all to hear (by “throw up,” I mean “stream,” not “vomit.” And by “stream,” I mean “broadcast digitally via the world wide web,” not “urinate.”) I’ve never thought of myself as someone who is very good at deliberately mimicking musical genres, but I must say I’m pretty proud of just how well this turned out as far as sounding like a James Bond movie title song (at least musically. I know the lyrics are over the top). Well, go ahead and enjoy, why don’t you?