I've had a restful day after getting back from two road trips. I got the good news today that I don't have to fly back out on Sunday night. I enjoyed the chance to eat a Maryland crab soup in a suburban country club, and the chance to see federal agency buildings with cool names like "Naval Ordnance Laboratory" written on them.
I am so taken, in general, with science and scientists. I have perhaps the most-watered-down physics degree ever awarded, with a kind of "special emphasis area" in English literature, but I sometimes look longingly at people who discover things, a path almost as worthy as people who help people.
I like the people who work in science writing and science fiction writing as well. I'd like to give a quiet "shout out" to my ambient music fan friend asphalteden, whose article on electronic music, science fiction and the music of the future recently got published in a magazine: and can be read right here. I must remember to write him my theory of non-western forms, alternative notations, and the ways in which our thoughts about music alter the music we make and hear.
I'm re-reading "The Chronicles of Narnia", and finding them an enjoyable read once again. I like the gently intrusive narrator form of novel. I'm looking forward to reading the whole series once again; perhaps I'll then tackle once again Lewis' other series, the "sci fi" series, although it is really allegory disguised as sci fi. I also must re-read Lewis' one great novel, "till we have faces".
I did a new remix at ccmixter.org, which is part of a "Secret Santa" game. A randomizer assigns one another artist to remix, and one then takes that artist's songs and make a new song. I drew Porchcat, who does really interesting mixes involving vocal samples, jazz inflections and hip-hop overtones. I was having a huge problem getting the mixes to sound like "Gurdonark", who is much more about odd drones and beatless oddscapes. Then I realized that Porchcat had this really cool beat-derived freestyle poem nobody had ever remixed, and it was the work of an evening to underlay it with a techno dance beat, add synthy sound effects, and create a workable new mix.
I was particularly blessed because the fellow who drew my name in the game was the moderator of the site, Victor Stone, who records for Magnatune.com records, my favorite record label next to my own "donationware" label, as "Four Stones". He took my odd ambient drones and remixed them into his own "groove soaked ambient chill", resulting in a great song. His work always reminds me that if I knew someone who was making a record, I'd tell them "use Victor as your producer", because he is the real thing.
Another artist today remixed me into a hip hop song titled, much as I title songs, "Bristol Sewer System" (although my own choice might have been "Bristol Municipal Water Treatment Plant"). It's a perfectly workable gentle trip-hop, so it's been a good day for remixing.
The current contest at ccmixter is the Remember the Name contest, in which one remixes a rap by Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda. I'm of that broad swath of humanity who thinks that Linkin Park is very good at what they do, but that what they do holds very little interest for me. Yet the ccmixter remix site has been besieged with fans posting remixes of "Remember the Name", some of which are wonderful and some of which are, shall we euphemize by saying, "not wonderful". But they are all fun, and fun is the goal.
"Remember the Name" is a perfectly workable song from that crossover range between hip hop and rock, which is a range I find quite interesting. Yet its lyric is one of those tired "70s style" bragging things in which the vocalists assure us that we must remember Mr. Shinoda's name because he is hard-working and dedicated. It has an unfortunate vocal riff about how his fame is x percent luck, x percent skill and x percent "dedicated power of will". I wish I had better mixing skills at hip hop/rock hybrids, because although I like (and yet find annoying) Mr. Shinoda's rap,I keep wanting to write a song that goes "60 percent bluff, 40 percent lame, I'm trying my hardest to forget his name!". I've got to find some samples where people play loud guitar and other samples where people say "yo" a lot, though, if my plan is to succeed. I am in one of my periodic moods in which I want to record a song in which I sing or speak, so I will have to focus on workarounds to get it done os that I don't sound like a cast member in "A Mighty Wind".
I slept too long this afternoon, but now the freeing up of my Monday schedule is like being a prisoner redeemed.
I'm going for a nature walk with bardcat tomorrow, which will be fun.
Tonight my wife and I went to Breckinridge Park in Richardson, which has a nice simple walking trail around a little park lake, which is relaxing indeed. I was disappointed that we do not yet have wildflowers here, as I hoped this weekend they'd come out in force. This was my second walk today, as I had taken Ted and Bea around our local park pond, to the delight of passing children. I love having dogs that love children--it's fun to watch the mutual delight. I did see a lot of "blue-eyed grass", the charming early prairie flower which is a tiny blue flower with yellow "eyes".
Tomorrow I hope to write a review of the CD which mystified13 sent me, a bit of field recording ambience I enjoy. Meanwhile, my little myspace page seems to be gradually attracting friends, as kindred electronic oddness recordists "friend" me, seemingly from out of the blue. I was wise enough to set up a user page, but to import a webjay of my music into it, so that I have all the benefits of having a musician page without the extra set-up hassles. My wife is taking courses in arcane software skills for the next few weekends, so I hope to go see shows by some of the cool folkie local artists I have in turned "befriended" on myspace.
I don't really have the interactions on that medium that I do here, but I like the "extensive network for the arts" aspect of the site.
I've been really working hard these days, which is both a great thing and a tiring thing, but I'm grateful to have the work to do, and try to count my blessings in beads of sweat.