The day after we say the Prodigy I was cruising around on my favorite computer music forum and people were singing high praises for BTs new album. Now, I’m not a fan of BT – I find his music way too poppy and cheesy, though I have lots of respect for his technical abilities. I went to the BT website to learn more and saw that he was playing at the Red Devil Lounge on Monday night. Well shit. I bought a ticket right then and there.
Thus, last night, I found myself at the Red Devil Lounge. I hadn’t been there in like 6 years, when I was moonlighting as a bonus keyboard player for El Pulpo. Its a small place – capacity 209 – so I was surprised they’d have big names like Thomas Dolby and BT playing there. Turns it was the first night of their tour, and it was sort of an open rehearsal, where they could get all the kinks out.
It was an interesting crowd. Mixed ages – older folks for Dolby, younger for BT. It wasn’t sold out. I hadn’t ever heard of Dolby before, but at least half the people there were big fans. Dolby went first. During his first song, everything crashed, and there was 5 minutes of silence as he got his equipment back in working order. His sound was very 80’s – using old school synths and drum machines. Having never been exposed to his music before, I can’t say I was the biggest fan. He definitely had the talent and a voice to match, but the arrangements of the songs were a little hokey for my digital tastes. I might enjoy more after repeated listens and some lyric analysis. Maybe not. His intersong banter was entertaining though.
BT went second. He didn’t get going till 11:15, which was pushing the Monday night crowd to the limit of patience. He brought two additional musicians with him, and recreated his new album “The Binary Universe” in its entirety. Let me say, I was beyond impressed. It was his masterpiece. Its a gorgeous, lush landscape of sounds and beats. Much to my delight – no vocals. It was his opus. Needless to say, I will be picking up a copy.
He works at a level way beyond my musical capacity. Through out the set he played many keyboards, a cello, guitar, xylophone, and couple other instruments. The compositions were incredible. It gave me perspective on the difference between a producer like him and like me. It isn’t discouraging – I grew up in an environment where everyone was a better piano player then I. It was inspiring, and spurred me to think in a grander scale for album cohesiveness. Anyhow, it was worth the price of admission. I now have great respect for BT.
I ran across a really cool IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) album on the internet. This dude, Resynthesize, released his debut album “Heart and Soul Direct” for free on the internet. Its a bit of departure from the melodic downtempo music that I write – its very beat focused and uptempo. I think it kicks ass.
On our last trip to the grocery store, I ran across the best thing since coke in a bottle. Now, I love me some coke in a bottle. More then I should. It’s only 8 oz of soda, which is perfect for me. It also comes in a kick ass glass bottle. Its crazy expensive, though. So I only get it every so often, as a treat for a being a kick ass human being.
Now they sell 8oz coke cans. OMG. That rules. Little coke grenades.
My Tday week started kinda funky by having a large mole removed near my left nipple. There’s not a whole lot of skin between my mole and my rib cage, so they removed a hefty chunk of skin. Thus I walked around all hunched over like a 80 year man on Tuesday, much to the delight to Stina and Dave Patry (who arrived on Tues).
On Wednesday, we were to meet Stina at the JCC to see her place of work and eat at the adjoining restaurant. Dave and I entered the JCC, walked up to the front desk, and were immediately accosted by a woman: “Are you here for an Event?” and in the same breath “Are you two Jewish?” I stood there rather shocked, as Patry mumbled “not me”. By the time I stammed out “um, I’m jewish” she had took our measure, realized we weren’t good candidates, and quickly departed. Apparently they were having a Minon, and needed 10 jews to make it official. The JCC made a big first impression.
Dinner at 415 was tasty though. Absolutely incredible sushi. Not cheap though.
Haber was hosting the annual Thanksgiving. Stina decided to make two types of Mac and Cheese, two types of Pecan pies, and an Apple Crumble. Dave made spinach cheese square and I made Yams. I had the easiest Thanksgiving ever – I cowered behind the stitches on my chest, and did almost no cooking and cleaning. It was also our
smallest Thanksgiving ever – 13 people. It was wonderful. Too much food. Too much good food at that. Haber made an amazing turkey and stuffing. Pure Joy. And he has a Wii to boot. Wii tennis is fun.
On Friday we returned to Ft. Funston for Thanksgiving Round 2. That night Dave and I made our way to the Fillmore to see the Prodigy. The Prodigy kicked serious ass. Liam, the Prodigy duder (who was surrounded by racks of keyboards), put together a righteous band – a drummer, a guitarist, and two MCs. I’ve seen many a front man try to rile up a crowd with various degrees of success. The main MC for Prodigy was one of the best I’ve ever seen. The sound was perfect. The music selection was great. I saw two things I’ve never seen at the Fillmore – the front of the crowd had a security setup to stop people from getting on the stage/crowd surfing. The other item of newness occurred when the MC came down into the crowd, to the back of venue, and stood up on the sound duders mixer podium to deliver some “turn the pitch up – smack my bitch up” action. Rock. It was a short, but quality show. I was pumped.
So besides the mole removal and getting sick on Thursday, it was a great week. Dave and I discovered the joys of multiplayer Worms on the DS. All week long. It was great having him around. We look forward to seeing him near NYE.
Well, last week was a really freaking productive musical time span. I had three different artists over to record, I finished up a couple tunes, and I finalized the sale of a commissioned song for a documentary on shark conservation. Hell yeah.
I also started taking a look at the track listing for the upcoming album. I was really struggling with one song – it just wasn’t going to fit cleanly. After listening to it I realized that it really didn’t fit in the album at all. Its a song that has something like 7 to 8 different sections in about 6 and a half minutes – no mean feat. It took a fair bit of effort to write and mix down due to its complexity, but fortunately I did it so long ago that I’m able to let it go.
I have such emotional attachment to music I’m working on. I definitely lose the ability to judge the worth of a song once I’ve committed to finish it. After a while, especially if I’ve completed some songs in the meantime, I can look at it a little more objectively. So, bam, just like that. Off the album. I feel good about it.
Not to let a completed song go to waste, I’ve added it to the bonus tracks on my website. So, enjoy a new general fuzz track while you wait for the new album to wrap up. The song is named “baby steps”. I was inspired by PVision’s recent commitment to baby steps of self realization.
Hans and Heather had met up with Stina and I for the flash dance – it closely emulated their natural habitat. Across the street was the old/new mall that I’ve never set foot in. Heather led us to the insane food court (you will easily spend $10-15 on dinner, but it’ll be pretty tasty). We randomly bumped into Zack and Amanda down there. Heather treated us to a Beard Papa pastry which was beyond tasty. Custard was everywhere. I was down with that.
We met up with Rachel to catch the final show of Killing My Lobster’s latest run – KML Faces the Music. It was directed by Andrew Bancroft and the musical director was Olive. It was by far and away the best KML show I’ve ever seen. It was definitely chock full of Olive humor – very self referential and over the top. It was hysterical. The performers were freaking amped, possibly cause it was their last show of the run. The show revolved around Bay Area culture, and it was done almost entirely in song. Apparently they’re going to do a second run in January – I highly recommend you see it if you missed it this run. . .
Amandeep from deeptrouble hosted another one of his kick ass flash mob dance parties on Saturday. This one was next the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market. It was farily amusing to have a dance party that totally obstructed the sidewalk.
There was even a girl doing some badass hula-hoop dancing.
When I was about to leave I stopped by to thank Amandeep for putting this on. He asked who I was. I said General Fuzz. He said that someone else had already introduced themselves as General Fuzz. Huh?
Well dude, whoever you are, I ask two things:
1. If you are going to take my name you had better spread the gospel of my music.
2. Whenever, wherever, I will be ready for a breakdance battle to settle this once and for all.
On Friday we made our annual trek to the Palace of Fine Arts to see the Hip Hop Dance Fest. I always leave with my jaw slightly unhinged. Its usually like 12-14 different dance troupes doing some seriously choreographed numbers. Most of them are from the bay area. A lot of them are high school students. Ever since it upgraded to the Palace of Fine Arts they always import a couple acts from outside California. We saw a trio from France that was insane. One guy, The Human Toy, dislocated his knee while performing and kept going – we learned about this after the fact. Unbelievable. Its seems that each year they are pushing the boundaries of the genre. This year we saw some seriously stylized ballet like hiphop, some over the top sexuality (which is often not present at all in these performances), and a tripped out ninja posse that I would prefer not to rumble with. It was great.
I got the most surprising email I’ve ever gotten to my general fuzz account. Let me share it with you:
Hello, I have a question regarding track 1 Dream Together on the General Fuzz album. The underlying melody seems almost identical to the theme song on the 80s game Starflight by EA/Binary Systems. Is this song influenced by this theme or actually embed it into the song itself? I have this ability to pick out certain tunes and would love to know if I’m right.
Dream Together / General Fuzz
Starflight 1 Theme Song
Huh. It turns out I’ve never heard of this game. I sorta hear the similaries, but I’m not feeling “identical” It was nice of him to link the song though.