1st Prize! 8dio 2015 Stand-Out Contest
I was stunned, delighted, and deeply honored to discover that my piece, At Last Through Thinning Veils, has won 1st prize in 8dio’s annual Stand-Out Contest. The judges for the contest were Mason Levy (ex. Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Mat Kearney etc), Blake Neely (ex. Blindspot, Supergirl, Flash, Arrow etc), Jeremy Soule (ex. Sky-Rim, Guild Wars 2, Everquest etc), Jeff Pfeifer (Mr. Trailer himself) and David Newman (ex. Tarzan, Ice Age, Serenity, Galaxy Quest etc). They said some very complimentary things about my piece:
“One of the most outstanding compositions I have heard for years. Fantastic production with everlasting changes. Beautiful and original use of instruments. He gets the most Creative Award … blazing his own trails … different in the best of ways … keep an eye on this guy – he might create his own entire “genre” of music. Congratulations and thanks for redefining the idea of standing out!”
The piece represents a whirlwind presentation of the material that will be extrapolated in my next release. Stay tuned…
Beasts Of Elysium
Troels Folmann at 8dio asked me to make a demo for their new dubstep sample library. 8dio make fantastic virtual instruments; I’m a huge fan. A lot of the string work you hear on my tracks comes from their Adagio libraries. So, I figured, this is as good a time as any to try to make a dubstep track: an invitation, fresh sounds, and the genre is huge right now, but will fade soon. I actually much prefer the notion of “post-dubstep.” “Post-anything” allows one a certain genre-obliviousness – a perspective I find most fertile. So with dubstep, I figure: Let’s celebrate all the fun possibilities that the genre brought us – a new taste for wild synthesis, sound warping, insane low frequency techniques, and (imo) a bridge from the avant garde electronic music of yesteryear into popular culture. It has opened our ears. And deafened more than a few.
Now, I say, let’s breathe back some dynamics into this kind of music. Let’s create exquisite subtleties to complement the aurgasmic climaxes. After all, you really don’t get much bang for your back if it’s All Climax All The Time. I tried to invoke this sort of expanded dynamic range a bit with this track – while still staying within the genre as it exists now. I had fun making it. May it find its way to receptive ears…
Fantasy on Gymnopédie #1 – for Ken Hatt
This piece was composed for my dear uncle, Ken Hatt, the husband of my father’s sister, Susan. Ken passed away in December, 2012. He glowed. He was deeply kind and curious, and I remember him with a big smile on his face. Satie’s Gymnopédie #1 was one of his favorite pieces, and I wrote this fantasy for him a few weeks before he passed. I wanted to write music *from inside* the beautifully simple sound world that the original piece creates. I played the piece today at a memorial service for him in Victoria, B.C.
eO Balkan Brass Remix set from Brass Menazeri Final Show – The New Parish, Oakland 2/1/13
Last night, Brass Menazeri, the Balkan Brass band with whom I’ve been playing for the past 10 years, played its final show. We were joined by hundreds of loving fans and collaborators at The New Parish in the Oakland, CA. We played for nearly four hours. There were too many emotional high points to even make sense of it all. I’m filled with a deep gratitude for my fellow bandmates and all the multitudes of deliriously dancing friends we’ve shared moments with over these years.
Here is the DJ set I played in between the two Menazeri sets: 30 minutes of fresh Balkan brass remixes – including sneak peaks of some of tracks which will be released in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned – I’ll let you know when the individual tracks are available for download.
Although Brass Menazeri will not be performing any more shows, there will be several albums of material of all kinds – pure acoustic, remixes, and hybrid collaborations – all coming straight to an eardrum (or two) near (or in) you!
Until then, maybe this will help tide you over.
Only Light (Nest Of Wishes #3)
Love, the only beauty. You, the only light.
My offering to you in this moment – at this Turning Of The Page – is a simple prayer, refracted through a kaleidoscope. I allowed myself to embrace the bewildering, refracted perspectives of “all that is struggling to attain form” (i Ching Hexagram #3 – “Difficulty At The Beginning”). I encouraged myself to revel in the awe I feel for the raw fact of existence, hurtling through time… and that it keeps happening!
And these times are strange indeed. A few days ago, on December 20, on the eve of the Big Question Mark…
Freefall (Nest Of Wishes #2)
Sometimes you just have to let it go. In my last post, where I introduced Nest Of Wishes, I stated my intention to release music like a thistle gives its seeds to the wind – freely, without knowing what will become of it. Well, now it’s time to get down to it. I’m releasing a new song today.
Seedfall (Nest Of Wishes #1)
On September 13, 2012, while hiking in Tilden Park, I came upon a bunch of thistles that had just released thousands of fluffy, white seeds. They were covering the ground, clinging to the plants and being whisked away by the wind. It was an enchanting scene – like the forest after a fresh snowfall. I took a bunch of pictures. I thought about how many people would watch one of these seeds drift by and all the children that would run after one hoping to catch, make a wish, and release it again. Here I had found a nest of wishes.