August 29, 2005

selling

I see a woman driving her new Passat at night on curvy open roads. Perhaps it cuts back and forth between a close-up of her face, smiling, and the car swooping around curves. Maybe there are some quick shots of her family and other things she cares about as they flash through her mind. And this music is playing:

VW happy

or maybe there's a rhythmic flashing of shots of VW owners standing next to their respective cars, gazing fondly at their rides. Now this music is playing:

VW 1.1

or maybe this instead:

VW 1.2

I gotta make a living somehow and this doesn't seem like such a bad alternative if I can make it work. Too bad the guys at the Minuteman VW service desk were not very pleasant when I tried to record their voices for this.

Posted by halsey at 11:24 AM

August 24, 2005

the inevitability of reduxes

As with my last song, I made a redux/remix of 'the inevitability of bugs'. This one has whistling.

Inevitability Redux 1

Posted by halsey at 05:03 PM

August 22, 2005

I made it

The century ride went very well. It rained hard for the first hour and a half, but everything got better during the day. My legs held up pretty well which is proof that eating and hydrating like a mad man is extremely helpful for extended physical exertion (who would have thought?)

century_bike_sm.JPG

Turns out it was only 102.9 miles, not the 110 as billed, but it was still a century. I got through in 5 hours and 45 minutes which put me at an average speed of 17.7 mph according to my handy bike computer. I have no idea if this is good or not in the larger scheme of things, but it was better than I thought I'd do.

Thanks again to everyone who made a pledge on my behalf. I didn't let you down!

Posted by halsey at 01:32 PM

August 19, 2005

it really does hurt your brain

Download: the inevitability of bugs

This song started out sort of as a joke. I was thinking I could just whip it out and have some fun with it, but as I got going, I began thinking about the broader implications, and ended up taking the whole thing a bit more seriously. Well, not too seriously, but enough so to make it a 'real' song somehow.
'Debugging' is, of course, a term used by computer geeks to describe the act of fixing their code. I often think that my life is a constant debugging process; trying stuff, seeing what works, fixing bad brain code, you know, that sort of thing. It's just the way it is. I am a work in progress, and I always will be.
So all the voice clips in this song come from the masses of wonderful people who agreed to help me test and debug my online recording system. There are plenty of 'testing 1..2..3..'s, but, as you'll notice, people had a little more fun than that at times. This whole process was somewhat painful, but it is working great now and I'm using it on the sidebar of my blog, as you can see. Give it a try sometime!

Do you know how to code?
not really, though I used to be not so bad at C way back in college

Why does the chorus start out being all wacko and screwed up and then gradually turn into something simple and easily sung by a group?
you figure it out.

who was in your sing-along?
people at Rob's house

do you wish they were more drunk?
yes

Does your brain hurt right now?
yes

client_nc.connect("rtmp://aevidence.dyndns.org/recordings/room_01");
out_ns = new NetStream(client_nc);
in_ns = new NetStream(client_nc);
Replay_video.attachVideo(in_ns);
??

YES!!

Is that really a harpsichord?
yes

I always thought you were cool, but I guess not.
you learn something every day

Posted by halsey at 11:47 AM

it really does hurt your brain

Download: the inevitability of bugs

This song started out sort of as a joke. I was thinking I could just whip it out and have some fun with it, but as I got going, I began thinking about the broader implications, and ended up taking the whole thing a bit more seriously. Well, not too seriously, but enough so to make it a 'real' song somehow.
'Debugging' is, of course, a term used by computer geeks to describe the act of fixing their code. I often think that my life is a constant debugging process; trying stuff, seeing what works, fixing bad brain code, you know, that sort of thing. It's just the way it is. I am a work in progress, and I always will be.
So all the voice clips in this song come from the masses of wonderful people who agreed to help me test and debug my online recording system. There are plenty of 'testing 1..2..3..'s, but, as you'll notice, people had a little more fun than that at times. This whole process was somewhat painful, but it is working great now and I'm using it on the sidebar of my blog, as you can see. Give it a try sometime!

Do you know how to code?
not really, though I used to be not so bad at C way back in college

Why does the chorus start out being all wacko and screwed up and then gradually turn into something simple and easily sung by a group?
you figure it out.

who was in your sing-along?
people at Rob's house

do you wish they were more drunk?
yes

Does your brain hurt right now?
yes

client_nc.connect("rtmp://aevidence.dyndns.org/recordings/room_01");
out_ns = new NetStream(client_nc);
in_ns = new NetStream(client_nc);
Replay_video.attachVideo(in_ns);
??

YES!!

Is that really a harpsichord?
yes

I always thought you were cool, but I guess not.
you learn something every day

Posted by halsey at 11:47 AM

August 17, 2005

contributions

I just found this post in draft form from a while back. I never really finished it, and I suppose in some ways, it still isn't finished, but I made a few edits and I'm posting it anyway because, well, I haven't posted in a few days and maybe someone will enjoy it. I think I stopped writing before because the argument really wasn't too cogent, but what the hell...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almost everyone contributes to society in one way or another I think. Usually this contribution is primarily motivated by personal gain ahead of societal gain, but nonetheless, society often benefits from the acts of individuals. But these individuals often don't get compensated for their contributions. In fact, they shouldn't always get compensated financially, though the pride and bragging rights are certainly an alternative and valuable form of compensation.

The person who installed lighting on the road through an open field leading to his hotel benefits by increased access and a safer environment, but I, as I drive by, benefit from the beauty that these lights have created in an otherwise entirely dark expanse without paying a dime for it. There are clear mutual benefits to creating beauty in this world without insisting on being financially compensated for it, but our law-makers seem to be forgetting this sometimes.

What about architecture? It is easily argued that beautiful architecture is more beneficial to society than ugly-ass buildings. And I would guess it costs more on average to build a beautiful building than an eyesore. Thankfully their are individuals and institutions that believe this sort of public service is valuable, but sometimes it seems to me that we are moving in a direction of micro-payments being automatically deducted from our bank accounts every time we look at the Chrysler Building.

I believe in copyright; I believe that those who create should have protections in place set by the law that enable them to profit from their hard work and creativity; but I also believe very strongly that these protections should have limits. What if everyone refused to create beautiful things unless there was a guarantee of financial compensation? Is this what we want our society to turn into? One where spontaneity and inspiration are stamped out in favor or pre-planned litigation and negotiation? I find this to be incredibly depressing, but sometimes I feel like we are moving towards this.

We already live in a society where FOX will categorically refuse to let 4.5 seconds of a Simpson's episode be ancillarily used in a low budget documentary about Wagner's Ring cycle stagehands without receiving $10,000. (btw both Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons, and Gracie Films, agreed to the film-maker's request) So what happens? Big money wins, of course, and the film-maker is forced to deflate a poignant and telling moment from his piece by digitally inserting something without a $10K price-tag. That sucks. And it makes documentaries not documentaries. It seems that in many situations 'fair-use' has come to mean 'whoever has more money can dictate what gets used where and how'. Yuck.

How is it fair that Walt Disney built a large part of his media empire on the back of the Brothers Grimm, but now, through the power of the strong lobby, the Walt Disney Company still retains the exclusive rights to Mickey Mouse and other icons which in earlier times would have already entered the public domain? They benefit from the public domain, but are doing everything in their power to not contribute back into it. This is deplorable behavior. It embarrasses me that our copyright laws are being twisted to allow this sort of thing to happen. The framers of our constitution made it clear that after a reasonable period of time, creative property should become the property of society as a whole to be built upon and developed and remixed etc etc. This is the lifeblood of our creative culture and sadly the brakes are being put on this train that has propelled America to the forefront of creative expression over the past several hundred years.

Personally, I am just beginning to embark on a lifestyle that will require me to be financially compensated for creative products. I have left my well-paying job for a large corporation, and I am now attempting to sustain myself by writing and recording music and involving myself in a variety of related projects. I do not know exactly what direction this will all take me in, but I am very excited about the prospects. I am proud to be adding my little bit of beauty/culture/whatever you want to call it to our society and I will do it for as long as I can afford to (probably longer). But despite the fact that my ability to continue to create is directly correlated to my ability to be financially compensated for creating, I still feel very strongly that creative property rights should be limited in the name of the greater good.

What would happen if some institution had the power to decide who could and who could not perform any of Mozart's music? You can surely see the political implications that this sort of power would enable. And what if only certain groups that agreed with the ideals of the official Shakespeare Copyright Enforcement Agency were allowed to perform his works? Would this be censorship? I'm not sure that's the right word, but it would no doubt be a major restriction on artistic progress.

OK, enough ranting. I'm amazed you made it through. Let's hope enough energy goes into changing the direction we are headed in before we come to a grinding halt.

Posted by halsey at 06:33 PM

August 14, 2005

pedaling and processing

Before I go on a bike ride, I like to 'load' my most recent song or whatever music I am working on currently, into my head. Then I can use the time on the bike, when I can really achieve focus, to 'process' this music and internalize it to the point that I come up with new ideas without even really thinking about it. It's all about the physical rhythm of the biking mixed with the repeating of the music in my head. I guess I just need focused processing time and this is a good way of ridding myself of physical and mental distractions.

Yesterday I learned, however, that when I become totally dehydrated by riding 65 miles in 95 degree heat and 99% humidity, it takes all physical and mental effort to just keep going. No extra cycles for music processing. I couldn't move for like an hour after I got home, I was so drained. It shouldn't have been this way, but my BIG mistake was not bringing enough water with me. Once you get dehydrated, it's too late to just drink at that point to catch up. You body is already mad at you. I will never do that again, but thankfully I recovered pretty quickly.

Posted by halsey at 01:01 PM

pedaling and processing

Before I go on a bike ride, I like to 'load' my most recent song or whatever music I am working on currently, into my head. Then I can use the time on the bike, when I can really achieve focus, to 'process' this music and internalize it to the point that I come up with new ideas without even really thinking about it. It's all about the physical rhythm of the biking mixed with the repeating of the music in my head. I guess I just need focused processing time and this is a good way of ridding myself of physical and mental distractions.

Yesterday I learned, however, that when I become totally dehydrated by riding 65 miles in 95 degree heat and 99% humidity, it takes all physical and mental effort to just keep going. No extra cycles for music processing. I couldn't move for like an hour after I got home, I was so drained. It shouldn't have been this way, but my BIG mistake was not bringing enough water with me. Once you get dehydrated, it's too late to just drink at that point to catch up. You body is already mad at you. I will never do that again, but thankfully I recovered pretty quickly.

Posted by halsey at 01:01 PM

August 11, 2005

sing it, baby!

I am writing a new song right now whose chorus rivals the catchiness of 'a song to my spider'. It's actually really simple and standard, but the words are clever (I think) and the melody is such that you just want to sing along. In fact, this is so much the case, that I have decided that I need a group of people to sing the melody for the final chorus all together, all having fun and hootin' and hollerin' too. Anyone interested?
Being a hermit, I am not often in the company of groups of people who want to sing for me. I think that if they were all half way drunk, that would even be better. How do I create this situation?!

Posted by halsey at 09:26 AM

August 09, 2005

remixing the news

Here's my idea:

I want to become the 'musician-in-residence' for NPR News for a week. I want to take the voices that read the news and use them to create snippets of music that will be played as interludes during Morning Edition, All Things Considered etc. And I want to do this almost in real time so the pieces you are hearing on the radio contain clips from the news that happened on that very same day.

If that didn't make sense, here's what I'm talking about:

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

Posted by halsey at 01:14 PM | Comments (1)

August 08, 2005

century

Well, this is not a music post, but is important nonetheless. I have signed up for the Mount Washington Century Ride which will take place in two weeks up in New Hampshire. The ride is intended to raise money for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center.
If anyone wants to contribute to my efforts and spur me on to 110 miles of cycling, that would be great. Unfortunately, they are not terribly technically advanced and therefore do not have an online donation system set up. So just email me if you are interested and we'll figure out a way to collect the cash at a later time. Pledges need to be made this week as I need to mail them in prior to the ride itself.

110 miles is a long way! Wish me luck.

Posted by halsey at 10:56 AM | Comments (1)

August 06, 2005

eventually...

I continue to hope that at some point someone will want to license one of my songs for a commercial and pay me boat loads of money.
And it's actually pretty fun to remix parts of my songs into little 30 second capsules.

Pretending Redux 1

Posted by halsey at 12:31 PM

August 04, 2005

audio guestbook

In case you did not notice, I have added an audio guestbook to the sidebar on the main blog page. Now you can tell me what you think whenever you feel like it.

If anyone wants to test it out, please feel free, as I can always use a bit of debugging.

If you experience trouble, you can check the Troubleshooting page.

Posted by halsey at 02:15 PM

August 03, 2005

my true rockiness

Download: Pretending To Not Exist

I wrote the lyrics to this song this past winter while I was on a walk in the woods behind my house right after one of those huge snowstorms we had. I was the first person in the woods that night, so I was breaking trail the whole time. The moon was bright so I didn't need a flashlight and everything was totally quiet with the muffling effect of the snow.
As with much of what I write, the inspiration for this one came from a split-second image I encountered. I guess I was just trying to re-create it in words because it was so remarkable.
I forgot to bring paper and a pen, so as I was writing the words in my head, I was getting more and more nervous that I would forget them before I could write them down. I probably did forget some, but replaced them with others when I got back to the house. It all came out pretty much at once with only a few edits happening along the way. This only works for me when I am still in the moment; still have the feeling in me; still have the catalytic image firmly lodged in my head. I feel very lucky when this sort of thing happens. It isn't often, but I do whatever I can to take advantage when it does.


So what's the poem about anyway?
I'm not really sure, to be honest.

You really like those woodwinds, don't you?
Yes!

When did you record the voices?
I recorded some at my cd release party in Portland, ME, and some at my cd release party in Boston. And one straggler happened a couple weeks ago when I realized I needed another. I had no idea what I was going to do with the recordings initially, but I felt there was something about the words that would make for a good song, so I asked people to read them anyway. I like collecting and adding to my coffers so I have lots of choices as I enter into a new song.

Did your readers have trouble reading any lines in particular?
Interestingly, over half of the readers read the line that became the title of the song incorrectly (this is not the title of the poem). It is amazing how the forces of socialization and correct grammar can overcome words written in black and white right in front of you. Yes, I actually meant to write 'pretending to not exist', not 'pretending not to exist'. What a difference.

Do you like whispering?
it's a secret...

Posted by halsey at 09:08 AM

August 02, 2005

wooden

I have decided that the bass clarinet is just about the coolest instrument ever. Actually, I have a sudden and quite intense love of all woodwinds right now; especially those that inhabit the lower registers.

For those of you who don't believe me regarding the bass clarinet, go check out Evan Ziporyn's This is not a Clarinet, and then just try to tell me otherwise...

Posted by halsey at 09:30 AM

August 01, 2005

money makes you famous

Eliot Spitzer's fight to end payola has been making progress, though it's far from over...

"But in the end, even within the tighter restrictions, the major labels simply have more money and manpower to wheedle programmers into adding their music to broadcast play lists."

Payola or No, Edge Still to the Big

"Payola restricts access to the public airways; only artists whose labels are willing and able to pay get played. Listeners who might enjoy something else won't hear it from stations on the take. And when fans go to the record store, they'll find that payola has driven up the price of CD's."

The Price of Fame

"like it not, every popular song you've ever loved has reached you via some chain of pay-for-play machinations"

Broken Record

Posted by halsey at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)