Archive for the 'Music' Category

Albumin’: David Holmes Presents: The Free Association

January 2nd, 2024

Album cover for David Holmes Presents: The Free Association

New year, new thing to try for maybe a few days!

I realized with my recent Apple Music year in review (no Spotify, sorry but I like having a music library, I’ll keep reveling in my vestigial millennial obsession with owning things thank you) that, beyond a sudden surge in orchestral songs playing in the background for online D&D games, my music listening has dropped off a cliff to almost nonexistent in the past decades. There’s lots of reasons for this, among them: an upswing in podcast listening (itself vastly reduced now that I don’t commute), watching more streaming shows during downtime, and my wife and I having differing musical tastes resulting in least common denominators like Disney soundtracks and Christmas pop songs dominating any remaining music time. I like discovering new music but have always been terrible with the “discovery” process (I haven’t turned on a radio on purpose in like twenty years).

So in an effort to revitalize my listening habits before I get so stuck in my ways that I’ll just keep grumbling about what passes for “oldies”, I’ll do what the last few generations of Internet users do best and gamify the act of music listening itself. Gonna make an effort to listen to entire albums, with a mix of mainstays in my music library plus newcomers (would even take a recommendation if folks have any), and write up my brief thoughts here. This may make things worse! Let’s find out together!

Kicking off this project with a Dave Holmes jaunt, when he broke from his tradition of composing Ocean’s franchise soundtracks and filling the album with movie dialogue samples to guarantee a worse listening experience, and made an album of original tunes with lyrics and what sounds like a full band, the eponymous Free Association. I love his scores, but this change-up was exactly what I needed from him back in the aughts, and this album remains a regular fixture in my music library. I only recognize one song carried over from his past works, “Paper Underwear”, but even just having this instrumental without George Clooney piping in was a godsend. The instrument samples are sometimes a bit crunchy and repetitive (we can still judge aesthetic choices), but I’m always happy to run into any of these tracks in a shuffle, so actually sitting and giving the whole album a listen was a delightful treat to kick off the new year. It’s a quick listen and I happily recommend it to anyone who has fond memories of the heist movie boom and wants to feel like they’re smoking cigarettes in a back room and planning to rob a casino (or if you want to actually do the heist part, I don’t know your life).

While writing this, I realized that the track list changed some time between me buying this CD and it ending up on streaming services, both with a new song order and a song replacement! It’s wild to me that something I try to reference from my past isn’t locked in place like a time capsule but can change based on, what? Song licensing? Did Holmes make a whole-ass different track (“Sugarman”) as a single back in the day and later on a whim just decide to kick out “Somedays”? For accuracy’s sake, here’s the album as I have it in my library:

  1. Don’t Rhyme No Mo
  2. (I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart
  3. Le Baggage
  4. Free Ass O-C-8
  5. Somedays
  6. Everybody Knows
  7. Pushin’ A Broom
  8. La Dolce Vita
  9. Paper Underwear
  10. Whistlin’ Down The Wind

I’ll avoid uploading the song for fear of copyright strikes and legal actions (amazingly things that can happen even if a song exists nowhere on the Internet for legal purchase or stream), but there’s a sample on UMPG Songs for reference. I’ve grabbed Sugarman and the “new mix” of Wooden Heart (I hear some more prominent organs and a general up-pitching, but maybe someone with a better ear has more thoughts) to add to my collection.



January 11th, 2013

Over a decade ago, I used to (via Zelda Comic) host a collection of songs and ditties I’d created in MOD tracker software (and later, a Mac OS 9 version of Logic), little covers of video game tunes mostly but also some original music. However, a major website overhaul resulted in the song page and all associated music disappearing. Some readers asked me where they could find music I had written. My response at the time was simply that I didn’t feel the songs were related to Zelda Comic, hadn’t found an appropriate new home for them, and for the most part was a little embarrassed of my lack of musical prowess demonstrated in most of those tracks. Almost every song I’ve ever composed (except for a track on OCReMix’s Hedgehog Heaven compilation album, but let’s not talk about that) was stricken from the Internet.

Since then, a few developments have occurred:

  • SoundCloud started existing.
  • I’ve got a hankering to archive old songs again, regardless of perceived quality.

My SoundCloud account can be found here: Right now it only has a silly kazoo cover of an amazing web series theme song, but I’ll soon be uploading other tracks from days of yore, including a soundtrack I made for a for reals computer game! Maybe even new songs eventually?? We will see.

So stay tuned I guess!


Internet Carols (and a resolution)

January 2nd, 2011

Happy New Year, The Internet!

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. And sorry for an apology that followers of my works hear all too often. A lot’s been happening in my life lately, but I hope to make up for my varied absences with my New Year’s resolution of MORE BLOG POSTS OMG

What will this result in? Hopefully more frequent updates on this blog (and other projects)! When I decided on this resolution, my first thought was to post something daily, but I have a feeling that would get rambly-cluttered and also insane, so my current goal is one blog post per week. I may not always have major projects to discuss, but at the very least I’ll keep all my faithful readers appraised of goings-on like a good blogger should.

Which brings us to my first blog post of 2011, wherein I discuss: Internet Christmas carols!

For the holiday season, Blue decided to make video Christmas carols for her favorite websites. Seeing that this was an awesome idea, I humbly offered my assistance at sprucing up the videos with vocal accompaniment and jingly bells, with iMovie providing the picture-in-picture magic. Here are our collaborative results! Continue Reading »

More or less a given thing

November 11th, 2010

For Week 27 of her weekly song project, Blue performed I’m A Believer by The Monkees. And so did I! In Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers attire!

I even remembered most of the words! I’ll copy her credits blurb wholesale now:

Also for full credits: the image at the beginning was from Edgar Wright’s film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, which is on sale in DVD/Blu-ray on Tuesday. The music was from Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. The comic itself is the AWESOMETASTIC Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and the pixel skull shirt was designed by Diesel Sweeties creator R. Stevens!

Also as a reminder, I made the artwork for her album, Infinity Right Now, which is totally out now!

Go buy some!


Infinity Right Now

October 30th, 2010

Remember Blue? Of course you do! She played the webconcert live at my apartment back in September, and it was made of pure awesome. Well for the past few months, she’s been working hard on not-so-secret projects, and now all that work has come to fruition in the form of a brand new album!

In addition to having excellent songs about stuff like webcomics (including Dinosaur Comics, Questionable Content and Girly!) and Mathnet and people named John(/Jon), this album features special artwork by yours truly. The musician has been faithfully rendered in a Chrono Trigger-style sprite, which can only further enhance the already-intense levels of awesomeness this album already emanates. Here’s the cover:

(when you buy the album, you get the cover in EVEN HIGHER RESOLUTION. If that’s EVEN POSSIBLE)

Infinity Right Now is available RIGHT NOW from Blue’s Bandcamp page! In addition to the twelve official songs, there are two actually-secret bonus tracks, and if you buy during the brief pre-release period, you get a not-secret extra-bonus even-bonusier track!

Go pick it up already! And tell all your friends about it, so that they’ll pick it up and tell all their friends about it and so on! They might end up retelling you about it too. Don’t feel too bad about that, it’s statistically likely that you’ll appear more than once on the Friend Continuum.


Webcomics Webconcert LIVE! at Mario’s Apartment

August 31st, 2010

Have I told you about Blue? I probably should have mentioned Blue sooner. Blue is the guitarist that plays over at HELLO, THE FUTURE! She sits on her dining room table and plays songs about webcomics and Mathnet and feelings into her webcam for all her fans to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Last month she did a Webcomics Webconcert via Ustream and played live OVER THE INTERNET, and it was made of amazing!

Why am I talking about this obviously awesome Internet musicianista? Because I’ll be hosting her next Webcomics Webconcert at my apartment!

She’ll be flying to California in September to attend w00tstock (oh geez, have I not blogged about w00tstock either? I’m rapidly losing my blog cred), and while she’s in town she’ll be doing another live performance from my apartment!

“How,” you ask, “how can I ever hope to attend this epic event when I am nowhere near Mario’s apartment?!” Well it just so happens that this Webconcert will be streamed OVER THE INTERNET JUST LIKE THE OTHER ONE from my house to all of yourses!

All you need to do is jump on the Webcomics Webconcert Ustream page on Saturday, September 18th at 6pm Pacific Daylight Time. I will also have an open invitation to any of my friends that live sufficiently locally to attend, and we’ll all go get dinner after the show!

While you’re waiting for the big event, go watch Blue’s past performances and get sufficiently pumped!


Ganbare Goemon soundtrack coming to iTunes! Maybe some other stuff too

May 15th, 2007

Konami has signed a deal with Sony BMG Music Entertainment to bring their entire back catalog of video game tunes to all major online music stores. This is awesome! Of course everyone will shout out their usual squeals of “Ooh, Castlevania on my iPod!” and “OMG METAL GEAR SOLID”, but I’ll take my Legend of The Mystical Ninja any day over those other chump games. Ooh, and Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble In Wackyland had some fine tunes as well.

Which Konami songs would you buy up at $0.99 a pop? That’s right, I’m soliciting comments! Like some kind of blog comment whore. Here’s a list of the games they’ve made over the years. I’d certainly enjoy the occasional ORION.78 (AMeuro-MIX) when shuffling through my library. Your turn.

(courtesy of Playlist)


Cylinders Make The World Go 'Round!

November 20th, 2005

Whether you’re a fan of cylinders, or just casually acquainted with the notion, check out the UCSB‘s Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project. They’ve got over 5,000 recordings ranging from the 1890’s to 1920’s transferred from Edison cylinders, all available for download in MP3 (cleaned up) and WAV (uncompressed, but also not touched up, so they’re pretty staticy) format. Pretty hot stuff, considering it’s all free to download (from what I understand, Edison cylinder recordings are all in the public domain). Get going!

"He does it, he says, to raise awareness of suffering children."

September 16th, 2005

My boss came in a few minutes ago to ask a question, and overheard the music a-comin’ out of my iTunes. The song was “Corsair” by Boards of Canada. She told me it sounded awful.

I’ve never made any disparaging remarks regarding the choir music or Christian standards she plays in her iPod! Her musical preference is her own, and I would never apply some kind of higher-than-thou stance if I didn’t care for her tunes.

I don’t know, that just bugs me. I like ambient music! It makes for nice music to play in the background as I get work done. I guess I’ll just have to respect her opinion, but there are nicer ways of saying you don’t care for something.

にてもにつかない / ふたごのきみ / どうしたんだい / くつひもさえ / もどけっぱなしのまま / うわのそら

August 30th, 2005

My latest project is playing through my collection of songs which are either unplayed or unrated, and in doing so rate or play them as the situation dictates. I have 3,223 out of 8,372 songs which meet one or both of these conditions, so my work is cut out for me. But so as to keep it more like idle music-listening and less like hard labor, I throw random gems into the Party Shuffle.

I think it’s definitely bedtime when I start regaling you with anecdotes about my very boring music-listening habits. Peace out, world.

Stef, hope you’re enjoying life on the open road. Miss you.

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