Sweet melodies and lo-fi beeps and boops get me every time, so I’m stoked I came across Emma Winston via the Uses This website.
If you’ve been keeping up lately, you know I’m getting back into music writing a bit, so of course I’ve been trying to learn how other people are making music.
I write about 90% of my music on a Teenage Engineering OP-1, which is a kind of synthesiser/sampler/sequencer/miniature-four-track-workstation hybrid with its own teeny-tiny elf-sized speaker and a 16-hour battery life. It’s made by some awesome nerds in Sweden, and I lived on baked beans for a month so I could buy it and I don’t regret having done so for even one second. It’s amazing, and addictive, and limited, and powerful, and inspiring, and it goes everywhere with me.
Ran into an old friend of mine recently, while they were home for the holidays. They’re a full time musician these days, playing for a pretty prominent indie-rock band, which is awesome. I played in two bands with this dude when I was younger.
But in our early 20s, while me and some friends ran off and got married and bought houses, this friend was couch-surfing in random loft spaces in Brooklyn before loft spaces became big money. He was just making music with friends, and got to tour a bit here and there.
“Lots of veggie lo-mein,” he told me, of that moment in time.
Now, some 15+ years later, he makes music for a living.
I think one of the things I appreciate so much about this song by VULFPECK is how close this feels to falling off the rails at any moment. Of course it’s a perfect take, and they most likely went over the song 18,320 times, but the degree of difficulty here gives me goosebumps.
I am an absolute sucker for the use of old-timey samples.
The horn lines of ‘Charlie’ are a mixture of a sampled saxophone I played into Ableton and an instrumental I found online. What inspired me when beginning to produce this song is that opening radio sample. It was from the 1950s post-war America period; Stepford wives, brand new kitchen appliances, the “American dream”. Charlie is a tongue and cheek homage to that period. Those vocals are snippets of an out take recording I made of Georgia van Etten just hours before she was to board a plane to the UK to live indefinitely, the lyrics don’t actually make sense!
Shirley Manson tells a story of a man from the Garbage camp, being upset with her for having the nerve to hire her own lawyer. Her realization in that moment is wonderful and you should listen to the entire interview.
Search, find, discover, rebuild… whatever you have to do, find your nerve. Know that you’re fabulous, your feelings matter, and you’ve got the right to take care of yourself.
That this music is stuck on cartridges played on ancient video game consoles is a shame. I hope these songs never disappear.
The goal of the project is to expose listeners to the musical masterpieces that have been overlooked – mostly because of the 16bit instrumentation.
I haven’t stood next to an ocean in awhile. The last time was in NYC, with some booze, and dancing to ‘Party Hard’ on my phone.
Just recently got to see CHON and LITE (from Japan) as Asbury Lanes in NJ. Great area. Good food, coffee, record shop. The venue had its own diner, with $4 tots and plenty of good adult beverages. It was just a two band bill (the best), an entirely instrumental affair, and it was (I think) sold out. I really liked the energy from LITE, and the crowd overall was fantastic. Rock ain’t dead.
Not metal, but totally metal. Dark, moody, and ‘Under the World’ absolutely infected my brain for this entire year. You don’t need 500 words from me to tell you about it. Click play for yourself.
My friend Jaci made a sweet playlist over on Spotify: HOUSE PARTY JAMS, THE PLAYLIST. It’d be a shame if such sweetness like this was lost to the never-ending stream of Twitter, never to be discovered again.
I was on Xanga in the late 90s. Then started a music blog in 2001. In recent years most writing I’ve done has been in the orbit of online marketing, social media, and such.
There was a time before all that when making music was most important. Playing the bass, dabbling with creating more music on the computer, I even put some music on Bandcamp at one point.
Where did I lose that? It’s not just that I know how the sausage is made, both from the editorial side of things, and also the label and publicist angle. For whatever reason, I see the doom and gloom of it. My naive zest from the 90s gone. Not in the sense that I thought I was going to “make it,” but just that child-like joy in “just” making something to make it.
Creating for the sake of creating, and not for some external validation, press, or east coast tour. My mind keeps taking me there, as if without those goals what’s the point. I don’t know how to pluck that from my thoughts.
Lately I’ve been forcing myself to open up Abelton Live and create something each day. Not to write full songs, and think of an album, or plan who will produce my EP – very far from it. I just want to rediscover that creative habit again, and honor the muse again.