Thursday, December 29, 2011

Begin Again (Ambient Rain Mix)

"On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops, and turns, and hugs, as if to say 'Well done. Well done, everyone! We're halfway out of the dark.'" - Kazran Sardick (Doctor Who)

Begin Again (Ambient Rain Mix)

Here we are: lonely, frightened little groups of humanity, huddled together in the darkness contemplating the meaning of it all. We gaze out from beneath this thin blanket of air, at the universe beyond our teaming bubble of life on this planet, and we furiously focus inward. We think of each other, of ourselves, of decorations, and feasts, and gifts and our respective religions and traditions.

Since the dawn of time, back even before humanity was climbing out of the trees and attaining self-awareness, there was the long, cold, scary dark and it came every year, and every living thing everywhere had to deal with it.

So what I'm saying is this: when I look around at this yearly collective freakout of mankind known as the "holiday season", in all it's insanity, I try to remember that it is not insane. 

This behavior is literally built into the blueprint of who I am; of who everyone in the world is. This isn't just how we get by.

Every year, when it's the coldest, and the darkest, we gather together the best parts of who we are, collectively amplify them, and scream out into the universe "we will not be intimidated!", or at the very least: "we will be distracted and make the best of it!"

Yeah, the consumerism and all that. It is a bummer. There are a lot of things in the world that are really very wrong at a fundamental level right now. Like everyone who is paying attention, I am fearful of what is to come in 2012 and beyond, but I'm not going to think about them at this moment. Instead, I'm going to do the distraction thing, but I'm going to chose to be distracted by the good stuff.

In that vein, I bring you this track.

The weeks leading up to Christmas saw an awful lot of rain in the Huntsville area. I often experiment with different recording techniques when it rains. The sound of millions of tiny rain drops creating soft little transients at random angles all around you is really quite a beautiful texture.

The rain sounds on this track were recorded on 12/5/2011 on a cheap little Sony hand held digital recorder like doctors sometimes use to make voice notes. It's not intended for fidelity, but what it does have is one hell of a built in compressor.

I took it down to the swamp at the end of my street during a light rain. Sheltered beneath the canopy around midnight, I just turned it on and left it for about 10 minutes, what it captured was ... well ... what you hear.

This track isn't a great song or anything. Its a few layered chords on a neat synth, some rain, and deep thoughts in the midst of the seasonal darkness.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Found My Sound!

"I left my harp in San Fran's disco" - Awful Punchline

Interruptions (Zombie Jazz Mix)

A year of beats started in February of this year. A cocktail of equal parts creativity, frustration, and (let's face it) narcissism. The whole process has been, more than anything else, a search.

Here at the 10 month mark, I think I've finally found something. Like sorting a pile of puzzle pieces and finding the few that fit together just right, and from there the rest of it starts to make since.

Beats, Trumpet and "The Smooth", are the pieces in question, and for me, they fit together like peanut butter and chocolate. This is it! This is the sound I was meant to be making; the genre I was meant to be working in. It just feels so right, I don't know how I could have been so blind to it all this time.

Embracing "The Smooth" has not been easy for me. Sure, I've tossed out a few darker things like The Song With No Name remix and Catharsis, but even these guys have an undeniable thread of smoothitude running through them. I've often complained, "no matter what I start with, it ends up sounding like an after school special soundtrack". I think the reason for that is because the smooth is gonna be there no matter what I do. It is apparently encoded in my DNA.

For me, trying to deny the smooth results in something forced, something residing in the uncanny valley of "almost but not quite".

Embracing the smooth and shaping it; attenuating the cheese quotient ... this is the only way to go for me. Understanding how the pieces fit together, I'm now ready to embark on the next phase of this musical journey, and I'm pretty excited about that.

I've got a bandcamp site, where I'm putting together what I hope will be my first honest to God album: "Brass Beats", which will feature more more beats, more trumpet and more smooth than you can shake a stick at.

So ... what is this track that snapped all the pieces together for me? It is, at it's core, a remix of Interruptions. I'd decided about 6 weeks ago to rework that song, write some lyrics to it, and generally see if I could make something a little better out of the idea. The only problem is that I never could get lyrics written past the first verse (which was pretty good, but still) ... I got frustrated with it.

On Tuesday nights, Victoria has a dance class. As the dutiful parent I hang around in the lobby for about an hour with all the other dutiful parents, reading magazines and the like. On this particular night, I had brought my laptop and a pair of headphones. I listened again to what I had so far on the Interruptions rework and basically just because I was killing time, I exported the whole thing and loaded it up into a sampler, then started playing around with it. By the time the class was over, I'd made the basic beat.

Later in the week, Victoria quit her band class at school. She did give it a real shot, but it just wasn't for her, unfortunately. Hey, at least I've still got one more kid to try and inflict band-geekdom upon (and don't you think I won't try, Andrea!).

The upshot was, she had a seriously nice rental trumpet being left regularly around the house, and it was only a matter of time till the old man picked it up and played it. When I did, it just gave up the most mellow Mangione tone almost effortlessly. That tone inspires "rise" era Alpert instantly. I was hooked.

It's not a mellophone, but it's got a larger bore and a shorter form factor ... kind of like a big pocket trumpet type thing. It's really nice, and it is now residing in my music room.

One thing has serendipitously led to another!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hippy Hat Powers Activate: form of Wobble Bass

"hey man, I mean hey man, I mean heeey man ... it's like ... far OUT ... man. Can ya dig it?" -Chong

Big Cycle Beat

I bought this hat from a gen-u-ine-bona-fide hippy last weekend at the Flying Monkey Art Market. Its probably been knitted from sustainably harvested soy cotton, watered by the tears of mother Earth. Or something.

I mean, it looks cool. At least I think it looks cool. Over the course of the week, I have observed it to impart what I can only describe as "Groovy Hippy Powers". From risky football picks, to insane musical inspiration, it's clearly all been the result of the hat this week. For instance: the wobble bass on this track.

It started out as this sample I made of a bamboo toy, which I also bought at the very same art market. The dude called it a "blingaling", and claimed it to be from an unnamed asian culture. Google's never heard of it. So I find that a bit suspect. That's it on the right. Basically you hold the base with one hand and slap the prongs across the outstretched palm of your other hand yielding the sound of Beavis getting excited.

I put that into Logic's ESX sampler and I slowed it waaaaaaay down. So it sounded like this. Stretched out in this way, you can clearly hear the individual transients created by the prongs slapping together. I added a little reverb to smear them out slightly, and I bounced it out to a file. Once the file was loaded up as audio, the waveform also clearly illustrated the prong slapping pattern.

slapping transients!
So what I did then, was I zoomed way in and sliced it between the zero crossings on the waveform, and looped it. The faster you loop it (i.e. the shorter the sample) the higher the frequency. Not exactly a new idea in sampling. I used to do this on my old Radio Shack SK-1 knock off in the 80's (about Andrea's age actually). You could sample a finger snap, loop it real tight and get similar results. Anyhow, I sliced up a pretty long one and looped it. It sounded pretty much like an idling diesel engine. Check it out.

ATTN Apple: not obvious
The next step was to load that loop up in esx and loop it. ESX's loop button wasn't at all obvious, so I offer this illustration as a public service. This column is hidden by default. You must open the "View" menu and select loop first. In any case, once you've got that, you've got your big, nasty farty pulse wave thing, but the pitches are gonna be way off. What I did was I inserted a tuner plugin on the channel strip and picked a random note that wasn't too far off the correct pitch, then I used the ∫course and fine columns to tune it until it was on pitch.

At this point the sound has a very energetic, sort of hissy high end. A vaguely 80's Atari or Nintendo NES type of sound. Like the world's nastiest humming bird.

It does not, however, wobble. The kids these days, they like "the wobble". Thankfully, "doing the wobble" isn't just a fabled dance craze from 50's, it's also super easy to set up in ESX.

The first thing to do of course, is to turn on the filter, and select a filter mode to your taste. For proper wobbling you're really gonna need the big 24 db low-pass. You'll want to pull up the drive and the resonance and play around with sweeping the filter around until doing so sounds cruddy and "wompy" enough for you.

Wobble can be achieved by running the cutoff sweeps from the LFO, tempo syncing the LFO, and sweepimg the tempo sync interval (1,1/4,1/8t, etc, etc) manually. Myself, I like to use the modulation (vibrato) wheel to do my sweeps.

So,  starting at the first arrow, set the LFO1 Speed from "Ctrl #1" (the mod wheel). Go to the next boxover and set the filter cutoff from LFO1. BAM! done and done! I embiggened it further by adding sub-bass, overdrive and compression. Slapped some drums and got to slicing and dicing and out came the track you hear.

All thanks to the hippy hat, really. It's clearly infused with funky vibes. Here's Another track using this instrument.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Center Of the Earth (Tokyo Mix)

This is the Center of the Earth

The Center Of the Earth (Tokyo Mix)

"Nothing you do in this world, should be for R.J. Reynolds or Pretty Girls you don't know" - Nebulous Advice

Yesterday was a long day, but a good one nonetheless. My brother Steven and I rode out to a little town in the middle of nowhere, just past Batcave NC (yes, that's really the name of the town). He'd found an old BMW on craigslist he was interested in, and we decided to take a road trip.

What a road trip it was. We got started about 8AM and decided to take the scenic route through the Appalachian mountains: the Cherohala Skyway.  Without reservation, or even a hint of hyperbole, I can say that this is the most beautiful road I have ever seen in my entire life It's like driving across the top of the world. I wish I'd brought a better camera, but even Ansel Adams could not do this place justice.

We took turns driving. The road is just littered with hairpin turns, so much fun, even in an SUV that we were half scared would tip over. I should also mention Steven had his iPod completely filled with episodes of "a state of trance". Listening to techno, driving pristine mountain roads in perfect weather. That's a pretty damn great day.

Hence my track choice from the vault for today. This is a house track I produced back in early 2007, from some vocal samples I took from It seems so appropos for yesterday, with it's house beats and deep lyrics.

We eventually found ourselves in the middle of nowhere at the home of an 80+ year old retired school teacher. He has an Apple orchard nestled in a little valley in the middle of this rugged wilderness. He had to be one tough old coot to live up there, but what a nice guy. He and his daughter were selling his grand daughter's old high school Beemer while she was away at college.

Steven bought it, and we took the more direct route home. Got back to my place around midnight, completely worn out, with a grin on my face, but really ... not wanting to take any more road trips for a while :-)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Song With No Name (Plurgid's Transformer Mix)

Song With No Name (Plurgid's Transformer Mix)

"Transform, and roll out!"-Optimus Prime

This is a remix I did for local heavy metal band RoadKill. This is my "Transformer" remix of Song With No Name, off their upcoming album "Refried" which should be out next month.

I did the orchestra and synth effects on the original album mix, and so it only seemed natural to pull the whole thing apart, and decimate it into a mangled glitchy dark electro thing. Especially since I'd recently figured out how to make make the classic 80's transformers sound out of just about anything. This is as Halloween-ish as I get, so enjoy the seasonal "flava".

If you've not had enough funky robots after this, check out the breakdancing transformers video (not my work but awesome).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Intravenous (Hospitals Suck 2011 rework)

"Rice-o-nators"[1] on the drums.

Intravenous (Hospitals Suck 2011 rework)

"When life gives you IV drugs, be sure to make samples" - Me

The sound you are hearing is a sample of an IV pump in a hospital room. I was connected to it at the time, as a result of an emergency appendectomy in 2009. The rhythm of it's little pin roller resetting is the basis for the entire track.

These are the things you do when you're a sound obsessed individual, out of your gourd on that good medical hooch, and you just happened to pack a mic and headphones with your laptop.

Any television executives who are interested in licensing this track as a title for ... I dunno ... let's say a show about adventurous doctors who are also comedic police and dramatic lawyers ... drop me a line, baby. Have your people call my people. Let's do things.

I made this track shortly after the hospital stay back in 2009, and I posted it on myspace. You can still hear the old version over there on the plurgid page, if you can find it. There were some things about that original mix I never cared for, specifically a really harsh hiss in the vocoded beat texture thing, but I left if up there and to be honest I'd completely forgotten about it until yesterday.

Out of the blue, Bill sent me an email last week mentioning it. I thought to myself "I should fix that thing, it was a pretty good track", and so that's pretty much what I had a blast doing the last few days. After I cleaned up the vocoder, then I thought "hmm, it needs some stutters and effects", then I thought "this needs drums", etc, and so on and so on.

Here it is, the 2011 re-work of 2009's "Hospitals Suck" a song that came entirely out of a cool sounding IV pump and the drugs it was putting in my system at the time, which made me think it sounded so cool.

[1] "Rice-o-nators" on the drums
I have found that the resonance of the toms on my drum kit creates a sort of crappy sounding reverb when hitting other drums, like the kick or snare. When it comes to crappy sounding reverbs, I prefer to add them at my discretion via cheap digital plugins, or home-made analog slinky-verbs, because frankly that's just how I roll.

I have literally no idea what the proper solution to this problem is. My guess is it's some combination of not having a crappy beginner kit, and tuning the toms correctly. Let's face it, I'm not buying a new kit anytime soon, and I'm for damn sure not going to kill my vibe by spending an hour tuning the toms.

Dig it sucka, make yo' self some rice-o-nators out of a couple socks and a few cups of rice. Hang 'em over the rim as shown. Kills resonance like raid kills roaches, mang!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Too Soon


Father's Day

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.  The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify them or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy.  How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people.  Because while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. And it's the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world who actually do." -Apple Marketing circa '99

I find myself sitting here tonight thinking to myself "holy crap, what are we going to do without Steve Jobs?", without a hint of irony. I never knew him, except through the companies he created. I never even worked for one of his companies. But the decisions he made at those companies were unlike decisions that could ever be made at any other company in the world.

Those companies came to define my reality, and the reality of the entire world.

Apple was to many in my generation: our Beatles, and Steve Jobs was our John Lennon.

The thing that made Apple special in those days, and to a lesser extent these days, was one simple thing: they gave a crap about quality. More than that ... it was the only thing they cared about. It was quality and quality only that mattered. Late deadlines be damned, profits be damned. It was insanely great or it wasn't shipping.

It inspired an entire generation of programmers, myself included, to be able to look past requirements and deadlines ... to look past the way things were and to see the way things could be, and to make that your vision.

This story from Apple's early days, when they were literally inventing the first macintosh, is one I've always found inspiring. It's more than the story of how they got some real primitive hardware to be able to do fast circles and rounded rectangles: it's a story about a workplace that values the creativity of it's workers, that is a fertile ground for great ideas to take root and blossom into world changing stuff.

In all seriousness. Is there any company left in America that is even remotely focused on building great shit anymore? I'm not sure what exactly Steve Jobs was at a technical level, but he must have been one hell of a manager ... and I haven't even mentioned Pixar.

Damn, damn, damn.  It feels like the tech world is on it's own now ... like the last grownup has left the building.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birthday Beats

Birthday Beats

"This is a narrative of very heavy-duty proportions." - Dr. Teeth

I couldn't have asked for a more fantastic birthday weekend. The show at the Madison Street Festival was a blast. The weather was perfect. My kids got to see me play, and they dug our show, except "Opossum" -- I guess having your dad's band belt out an ode to a dead opossum in the road is just a bridge too far for the Hannah Montanna crowd, LOL.

The only unfortunate aspect was that my actual birthday (Monday) was as horrible at work as the weekend was transcendent. But what you gonna do? I suppose Red Forman was right "if it was fun they wouldn't call it work".

Kelly got me the Wobble virtual instrument for my birthday (she's a pretty cool wife!). Not that I don't already have a descent collection of dubby nastification tools, but this one has a neat tempo sync'd step sequencer feature that one can use to drive not only arpeggiator style note sequences, but also (and more interestingly) all the virtual instrument's parameters. I played around with it a little bit last night. It's clearly intended for non-ninja type users, and I actually appreciate the limitation of that. What it does it does pretty well, and lets you get right to it. What it doesn't do ... well I've already got FM8, Reaktor, etc, etc, if I want to get nitty about my gritty. I put together this quick little beat just messing around with it out of the box last night.

Birthday Beats! There you have it!
We have a minimum of 1 birthday per-week in the Hicox crew until Christmas.
It's that most wonderfully (expensive) time of year.
Wub. WubWubWub ... Wuuuuuuuuuuuub.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Question Is Not Entirely Rhetorical ...

Do It in The Road

Lord Vader requests a drink from your lovin' cup
"The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the jam." -Hippie Vader

This is one of my favorite Beatles songs. I like it for it's absolute and complete lack of pretense.

It is minimalist and controversial all at the same time. Also it is perhaps the most cocky, outrageous statement imaginable. Bombast exemplified.

This is my band, the Thumbless Hitchhikers, playin' this one like butter plays toast. For obvious reasons, we will not be busting this out at the Madison Street Festival on Saturday. We will, however, be droppin' phat jams like ya mamma be droppin' air biscuits. Funky.

The Thumbless Hitchhikers
10.01: A Jam Odyssey
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Madison, AL
Gazebo Stage

Sunday, September 25, 2011

10/01: a Jam Odyssey

Big Cycle Beat

"I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do." - HAL

This Saturday, October 1, 2011 in the Gazebo at the Madison Street Festival in the heart of Madison, AL, my band, The Thumbless Hitchhikers, will unleash upon the universe, a vibe so groovy, it will bend the fabric of space-time, resulting in an incomprehensible barrage of light and sound.

Yes, my friends, it is 10.01: a jam odyssey!

I know in your mind you want it funky, so don't miss the show. Bring the kids, enjoy the food, beautiful weather, and local artists, and boooogie-ooogie-oogie with the Thumbless Hitchhikers in the Gazebo at 2:30 PM.

This track is an excerpt of an extended jam on "I know you rider". That song always wrings soul out of the ether when we play it, like it has some super natural aura that instantly connects with the jam-gestalt of the band. You can almost never tell where it's going to go, and this was one of those moments, when it really went somewhere special. I'd forgotten that we were even recording. There were mistakes, but it was really a special moment sort of accidentally caught on tape.

This was posted on our myspace page a few years and picked up by local radio station WTAK. We were so phyched, that we recorded our recording of ourselves jamming in the shed as it was played off the air. It was such a cool moment. The station had told us ahead of time, what night and time it'd be played, and we'd called everyone we knew to have them listen. I remember my grandmother called me afterward and said "it was very pretty", LOL ... good times.

See you at the show! I'm the dude playing keys :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Breakbeat Manifesto

Big Cycle Beat

"Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing." ― Salvador Dalí

You simply wouldn't believe the story of this song. It's pretty incredible.

In the spring of 2009, there was a particularly rainy weekend. I didn't have much to do, so I sat down in my music room and started making beats. I had a vocal on my hard drive that I'd downloaded from a site called back in 2007. It was this fella Ashwan spittin' mad knowledge. I'd always meant to do something with it, and so I put it on those beats. I recorded some acoustic guitar as well. Then I uploaded it back to ccmixter (because after all, sharing is caring). Then I forgot about it.

What happened next defies belief. It involves these scantily clad ladies and a Spanish language gentleman's magazine known as "Don Juan", who picked my music up off ccmixter and put it on their promotional video. If you don't believe me you can still see it on their website here.

Go ahead, I'll wait. Latin hotties probably warrant a click-through, yo :-).

So, from my spare room, to the internet, to a photoshoot half a world away. How awesome is that?

Also it got picked up by local radio station WTAK and was played once on their local "home grown" radio show about a year later. That's sort of a footnote compared to the hotties, y'know?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

There's a Distance ...

No Rebuttal (bridge between mix)

the bridge between
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” - Alan Watts

Today is the 10th anniversary of September 11th, 2001. With all the horror-porn floating around, and flag waving seemingly oblivious to all that has happened in the intervening decade, it's hard not to feel a little hopeless.

DNA gives me hope today. There is no statement so swiftly and widely derided in these times as this: "we are all connected, we are all one."

Any variant of that sentiment seems to dredge up visions of new-agey hippies navel gazing and living off the dole. It is, however an inescapable, concrete reality. There is absolutely nothing hand-wavy about it. You and every living thing on this planet are an assembly of tiny, self replicating machines, running on DNA.

You share upwards of 99% of your DNA with every one of the 9/11 hijackers, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Jesus Christ and Mohammed.

I was weeding the flower bed in my front yard a few weeks ago. I had really let it go, and the Bermuda grass from the lawn had creeped under the little divider and was growing up through the mulch. As I started pulling blades of grass, I noticed that I was merely tugging at an incredibly dense mesh of roots that permeated the entire garden.

This is the picture of humanity that I'll try to hold in my mind today, as I tune in to the first big NFL Sunday of the season. It's sure to be full of tear-jerky 9/11 remembrances, filled to the brim with the usual "us versus them" subtext.

It's been 10 years. Maybe we should not only "never forget" what happened that day, but also never forget what has happened since. If you don't believe the terrorists have won, you haven't been paying attention. We were always capable of destroying ourselves, and all those jackasses had to do was give us an excuse.

If only it was so simple to give us an excuse to love one another, to build, to give with open hearts, to make a future together, rather than separate.

As for the track, it's an oldie. In fact it is the third track I ever did and posted to the internet, way back, if you can believe it, in January 2007 using only GarageBand and duct tape. That's almost 5 years ago. As old as it is, that's still 6 years after 9/11.

It's about race, but ultimately it's about divisions between people, and the senselessness of focusing on those divisions and fighting over them. It seemed sort of appropriate for the day, to me.

As promised last week: more crickets. That's Ms. Vybe spittin' mad knowledge on the raps

Monday, September 5, 2011

We Could Do Anything

We Could Do Anything

our dreams would light the sky ablaze ...
"Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam ..." - The Impressive Clergyman

Kelly and I got married in 1998. I can't believe how thin I was back then. Life and Kelly's cooking have been too kind to me, to say the least.

In 2008, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. By then, my musical hobby had grown beyond simply making beats and remixing / mashing up vocals from the internet. I had bought myself a guitar. Bill had given me a beat up microphone and I intended to use it (an old SM-57 which is still one of my favorites). I even had some drum pads (actual drums would come later).

That year, I wrote Kelly a song for our anniversary. You, my internet friend, will never hear that song.

It was heartfelt, it was sincere, it was blessedly short, and it was awful. Though it did get me laid. But then it was our 10th anniversary, and we were headed to a ritzy hotel in Nashville for the weekend. The odds were kind of in my favor.

The experience of writing that song, the experience of Kelly telling me over and over again how much she loved it, and the experience of being immersed in the heart of Music City for the weekend took my desire to write songs and record them and planted it in concrete footers a mile deep.

I was gonna do this stuff because I loved it and I didn't give a damn if anyone else in the world liked it or not.

Actually that's pretty much still my attitude about it. Though like anything, it's more fun when you do it well and people actually do like it. What you're listening to is the song from the following year's anniversary in 2009. I'd gotten a little better at it by then.

It's still a little rough ... a lot rough. It's too short, there should be more lyrics, the auto-tune was unnecessary (but at the time it still seemed like a "fresh" effect), the song structure is a little random. The drums are so electronic, they don't groove at all. The inexplicable crickets (I have a thing for crickets ... which I will explore further in next week's post).

All that being the case, I'm still damn proud of it. That's me exhibiting the absolute limit of my musical capabilities circa 2009 and really putting my heart into it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Machine (Metropolis Rescore Project)

The Machine (Metropolis Rescore Project)

I am an eye. I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, I am showing you a world, the likes of which only I can see. -Dziga Vertov

This is my complete score synced up to video for the infamous scene the machine.

You might be tempted to see this part of the movie as cheesy. This seems a little over the top and prototypical to us today, because it actually was the prototype.

It's a great scene too. The thing I love most about the scene is that it manages somehow to evoke the drama of cascading epiphanies -- from the personal "oh my god I'm part of this", to the univeral "the whole world is wrong" -- in a visceral way, with no dialogue, and very limited visual detail.  Amazing stuff, and fun to write for.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Well Excuse me Mister, Excuse my Ignorance

Glass Ceiling (humans will you ever be mix)

humans will you ever be
Monsters and Demons bestowing in the basement of your universe: broken sons of night, anger, mortal fear, depression. Manuscript of stone ... cosmic accidents, unilateral actions and waves. It's all over now.

I tell you something I'm tired of, and that's failing at trying extremely hard to drop out and ignore politics. It is, as the picture illustrates, little more than a gigantic can of Manhattan style fish assholes.

I seem to be like the Forrest Gump of political talking points. Somehow fate always seems to place me within spitting distance of whatever the news cycle's current "ground zero" is.

When healthcare was a "debate", I was cosmically misdiagnosed with Crohn's disease  and found myself with a front row seat to almost every broken aspect of the system. When immigration was first the political hotness, I was trying to sell my house in Manassas, VA a town with (at least at the time) New Mexico style problem of illegal immigration. When the dotcom bubble burst, I found myself in a company swallowed up by WorldCom.

I was all poised to vote however I was gonna vote already and completely, utterly, and with reckless abandon, commence to not giving a shit.

That is, until the union at my company went on strike.
As an employee not in the union I'll be working mandatory 72 hour weeks for however long this lasts.

Oh yeah, the song. It's called "glass ceiling", It's got a bunch of samples I pulled off back in like 2006/2007, maybe. Its from the wayback machine for sure, but it sorta fits the mood.

I've still got a bunch of great stuff incubating in the queue, but who knows when I'll finally get a chance to finish anything, at this rate. First the derailed project rescue, now the strike.

Union's been on strike, he's down on his luck, it's tough. So tough ... but you know, you gotta hold on to what you got ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Door

We don't know happiness without unhappiness, gaiety without sadness, and happiness can only be felt if you don't set any conditions. -Arthur Rubinstein, (age 95)

The Door (Featuring Jen)

This song was written by my longtime co-worker Jen. She gave me the acapella in October of last year. So it took only slightly less than an entire year for me to finish it up. Let it not be said that I never finish anything!

Those understated yet rockin' drums are my bandmate and musical partner in crime, mister Bryan Bacon. That's Jen on the vocals and me on everything else.

Lyrically, it's some pretty dark and heavy, sincere and personal stuff. I know that writing this song was part of a larger process for Jen, and at first I was really daunted by the scale of the emotion. To be frank, I wasn't really sure I'd be able to crank out an arrangement that could be a reflection of the magnitude of what she was singing about, without it coming off as somehow overly produced or "fake".

I have to say, I think we pulled it off, and I'm really proud of this one.

Much thanks to Jen for trusting me with her song, and Bryan for putting up with me and doing like 10 takes :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spiritual Interlude

Spiritual Interlude (radiant fire sunset mix)

the radiant fire of our annihilation

"It's all mathematics" - Mos Def

Can we just please come out with some DNA error checking nanobots or something? I mean for chrissakes, it's 2011. We've got a black president, asteroids, tablet computers, and photo realistic videogames. At least according to Hollywood, we are living in the future, and I for one find the conspicuous ubiquity of cancer to be completely unacceptable.

It was now over a year ago now that I dealt with my thing. Of course, being a cancer survivor is like being a recovering alcoholic: it's always got that implied suffix "for now." The bastard always comes back like a bad check.

This time it's my aunt on my mother's side: breast & uterine cancer. Two years ago it was my uncle on my dad's side: lung cancer. Last year it was me (pancreatic), five years before that it was a different uncle on my dad's side, and a decade and a half before that it was my Grandmother on my mom's side.

W to the T to the F, and I'll say it again: we live in 2011, it's about time we got to fixing this biological tomfoolery.

I truthfully thought I'd put it behind me. Medically, of course, I have (for now, -- darkly ironic LOL --). But seeing everything happening again with my Aunt, brought me right back to that place I was a little more than a year ago.

So ... here's a song I did like forever ago.
And here's a post from my old blog that I wrote right in the middle of that crap.

-- old post follows --

The View from the Edge of the Abyss
4/20/2010 -- Vanderbilt University Cafeteria

It's a sunny spring day in Nashville. Mid 70's. A light breeze. A little chilly in the shade and a little sweaty in the sun.

I'm strolling leisurely along the mossy brick paths of Vanderbilt University. Hoards of promising young people are hurrying here and there, textbooks and backpacks in hand. They're discussing things that are important to them. French poetry, supreme court decisions, parties, friends, and cell phones are just some of the things I've overheard in the last half hour. The glaringly obvious question I can't avoid keeps gnawing at my mind. What am I doing here?

It's a raw answer to that question. I have cancer, and I've been injected with radioactive octreotide (which is absorbed by the particular type of tumor I have). Three hours from now, a machine will scan my body to insure an even distribution of the particles. Tonight I'll take a laxitive and purge the remaining particles from my body. Tomorrow they'll scan again and see what lights up. With luck, only the one spot we already know about on my pancreas will be visible. Barring that kind of luck ... well ... "we'll see" is the best I can say, but it won't be good.

I find myself standing on the edge of a chasm, and the view is at once both terrifying and breathtaking.

The view of human progress is simply staggering from here. As little a year ago, the technology to even detect this type of tumor at this stage didn't exist. 5 years ago, the surgical techniques that will (with any luck) save my life, were nothing but the twinkle in the eye of a graduate student. 20 years ago CAT and MRI imaging techniques were in their infancy. 50 years ago we were discovering penicillin, the miracle drug. 100 years ago, it was amputation and bloodletting.

Carl Sagan, I think put it best (and I'm paraphrasing): "Humans took a quantum leap when they discovered a way to store information outside the human brain, creating a permanent species-wide memory: the book".

And of course, today I find myself walking amidst the living, breathing embodiment of Sagan's conception. This university has been amassing and distributing the lump sum of human knowledge for 137 years, and that's young for an institution of higher learning, by European standards. It's utterly astounding what we have accomplished by simply writing down good ideas, testing them, keeping the ones that can be proven true, and passing it along.

Jesus is just alright with me, but so is science.
'Specially right now.
If you can dig where I'm coming from.

The thing is, for all the technology and knowledge we have, I'm still staring death in the face. Doing that changes your perspective on a great many things, and forces you to examine what it is that you think we, as humans, really are.

Truthfully, I just don't know anymore. My religion and my culture say that humans have an eternal soul. That when you die, everything that was you (your software as it were) is transferred to the great big database in the sky and in that way, you live forever in heaven (if you played by the rules) or in hell (if you didn't).

For a long time, I just took that for granted, but when you really have to look it in the mirror ... when you have to deal every single day with the fact that *unless something changes you will die very soon* ... well ... that forces a weird sort of objectivism. Here's the thing, there's just zero observable evidence for that, period. There is absolutely nothing in this universe (at least that we are currently capable of observing) that supports that hypothesis, whatsoever.

That's the problem, when you are trying to say to yourself: "well if it's my time it's my time, and I can look forward to the next life maybe". You're forced to confront the brutal fact that in all likelihood, it's just something we *wish was true*. Something we tell ourselves to ease the pain of our own mortality.

They say there are no atheists in foxholes. That is, as the kids say, "complete bullshit".

Finding myself, presently in the proverbial foxhole, or cliff, or chasm's edge (pick your metaphor), I can without a doubt, say that there have definitely been atheists here. I can't imagine a more human reaction, in fact. I can't say necessarily, that I'm one of them, but I have strong doubts that these spiritual things work exactly the way I've been told they do for my entire life.

Mortality is as much a part of being human as anything else, and I want to deal with this like a grownup, you know? So what if all we are is hardware, and when you turn off the switch we're gone? Does that make life less precious, less *sacred*? I don't think so. I think the opposite, in fact.

Just look at us, at all we are as a species.

We are staggeringly beautiful.

Just sitting here in the Vanderbilt cafeteria while writing this, I can observe: Sadness, Love, Compassion, Art, Music, Physical Beauty, Age, Wisdom, and Strength. The list could go on. I can observe people who stand out to me as particular examples of each of these traits, but without trying too hard, you can see each of these in every single human that has ever lived.

Each one of us irreplaceably unique; each one of us undeniably mortal. When the switch goes off, we lose an individual, but the web of humanity remains.

Even if religion has it wrong and there is no such thing as a "soul", we DO live on after death. It might not be "eternal" life, but in a very tangible way. We leave echoes in the human web, that outlive us. I'm sitting right here in one of the greatest accumulation of post-mortem echoes that I've ever seen.

Religion also gets one other thing right. Whether or not there is a literal afterlife, "Heaven" or "Hell" is what we leave behind us. It is the decisions we make, and "playing by the rules" has everything to do with it.

Look at the major religions of the world: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Bhuddism. They are of course, greatly different, but one thing they all have in common: rules to live by. By and large they share this theme: "be nice to people, and try to get along." From there, of course they depart rapidly, and ironically that's been the cause of a lot of war.

And maybe that's one to grow on.

If there is no afterlife, and all this talk of one is essentially a psychologically comforting fabrication, then what we have to live for in the here and now just skyrocketed. War: un-fucking-acceptable. Starvation: when we could fix it so easily? Poverty: why? Hate: who has time for it?

Here's a little story about the Hubble Telescope. They decided to find a patch of apparently empty space and point the telescope at it with the cameras wide open for a period of 10 days. It was an impossibly small section of the sky. What they found? Over 3000 GALAXIES, each containing more stars than there are grains of sand on the beach. This is known as the Hubble Deep Field (if you wanna read about it).

That's how big the universe is.
So, if I could live ten-thousand years, or just one day ... either way, it's a drop in the bucket in the big picture.

What counts is what I leave behind, and ironically ... that's not for me to judge, but for those that come after me.

And that, my friends, is the view from here.
Terrifying, and awe-inspiring all at the same time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I used to sparkle, like the midnight stars

Big Cycle Beat

a lonely reminder of who we used to be.
"everybody still wants to fly" - Prince

Today was the last launch of the Space Shuttle. We are spending billions a day in Iraq and Afghanistan on essentially ... blowing things up, taking sides in fights older than our own country and of course, protecting the profit centers of the well connected.

The space shuttle is too expensive. Never ending war is not. This, the last great symbol of our better aspirations; of our great hopes for the future, will pass too into the night, like so many others that have perished beneath the weight of cynicism, greed and apathy in the past decade or so.

There are technical reasons and they are real, I'm sure. But it feels to me like we're just giving up.

They say we're retooling our space vehicles to take us back to the Moon, to Mars and beyond. Perhaps, I suffer too much from the aforementioned cynicism, but I just can't imagine that happening. Yesterday, we were talking seriously about cutting medicare benefits to our senior citizens to protect our billionaires from a 1% tax increase. We aren't going to the moon ... but we're going somewhere, and it ain't good.

I'm still working on lots of cool new stuff, but none of it was ready for postage this week. As I thumbed through my archive of old tracks, I found this piece I did with  Narva9 on vocals circa 2008, that seemed to connect to my current mood regarding all this stuff.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Love is so easy

Big Cycle Beat

"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!" - Dr. Peter Venkman

I've got a ton of new stuff I'm working on, from an industrial/glitchy/metal remix, to a doo-wop thing that just came out of nowhere (yeah really), and of course the ever-present Metropolis re-score project which is coming along nicely as well.

I've got a lot of neat stuff in the works, but nothing new to post, so this week, it's a re-run, "diggin' in the crates" if you want to sound cheesily hip about it. This is a beat I put together way back in 2008. I was listening to a lot of Common and Kanye at the time, but I was more into the "chi-town soul beats" thing than the emerging ... whatever the hell it is that Kanye & copmany are doing these days ... art-pop-electro-fusion thing. I think this was more or less my take on that influence.

Also yes ... that picture is real, that really happened, LOL.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

You, In the Machine

Big Cycle Beat

"If you can't build a robot, be a robot" -Abe Simpson

I really love working on Metropolis. There's a surreal aspect to crawling inside the universe of a film older than my grandmother, and seeing our own world through the lens of it's view of the future. Seeing how accurate it was in some respects, is what takes it right into the spooky.

This is a quick bounce of an early version of my score for this famous scene ("the machine").  Got to finish some writing on this, then sync it up to the video. See also: Clockwork Daydream (Intro & Opening Scene)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Violin Beats

Violin Beats

"if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit" - some dude I stole that from

Disney World was a blast. Even though most of it was princess-themed stuff targeted at my daughters, I've gotta say I had a pretty good time.

As expected, we are now broke as a joke, so it's really amazing that  I managed to pick up a new instrument yesterday. I found that violin on the left, at a yard sale advertised on craigslist for $20! I couldn't believe it. It's a cheapie for sure, and it's missing a tuning peg and has a broke string, but for that price if it even makes noise, its a steal. So I ordered a new tuning peg (which I understand I'll have to sand down or something to fit it) and a new set of strings. I'm in about $45 on it now. Probably will need a new bow as well, but it does play.

I just LOVE the sound of it, and I don't even know how to play it. That's probably one of the reasons I like it so much. It's the exact polar opposite of playing sterile, professionally recorded string samples. It's wild, uncontrolled, raw, screechy, woody goodness that is just gorgeous through a  reverb.

Also it is hard as hell to play. I have a whole new level of respect for string players. For one thing there are no frets. It's going to take some serious learning to know where the various pitches are.

Even not knowing how to play it at all, and basically using the tuner to stake out where the two notes I was interested in were, there's an infinite number of articulations via the bow. Just super fun stuff.

The beats (and the synthy delay thing) were programmed by routing Wouter Hisschemöller's badass (and free) euclidian sequencer into Logic via the IAC Driver (which is really one of the coolest things to play with). Of course I put some slicing and dicing in with my new toy, Stutter Edit ... but I've got to say, I'm starting to get a little bored with it. It can do some cool things, but it's like hot sauce ... even a little bit can be too much. That's of course, not the case here :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Glass Beats (Disney Beatz)

Glass Beats (Disney Beatz)

Hold music from the future. Indeed, I am taking the family on what is, all things considered our first big family vacation in like a decade. We're going, of course on a pilgrimage to that mecca of media homogeneity and disposable consumer based culture: Disney World.

I can't say I'm not geeked up about it a little. It's gonna be a blast. I'll be so broke when I get home, it's not even gonna be funny.

Here's some spikey-clean retro-future type beats I've been working on. Need some "cool and organically alternative yet subtly ironic" lyrics for this and I've got a solid ... something.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sound Magic

Spider Sturgeon Minglewood

This 14 minute jam odyssey brought to you by The Thumbless Hitchhikers. It's not perfectly recorded, nor is it necessarily a technical wonder of musical sophistication. There are flubs and mistakes, and clipping and weird mixing. What it is, however, is stunningly beautiful to my ears; 5 regular guys pouring out their souls on a Wednesday night. Working out the frustrations of the day, and creating beautiful, soulful cacophony that takes you on a journey through it all.

This is my band. We do this every Wednesday night. It's a pretty damn great thing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hookah Beats

Hookah Beats

Some chilled out Hookah Beatz to take the edge off your Friday the 13th.

This crazy little guy on the right. If you get this reference, then you were probably one of my roomates circa 1996, and you know why he's here, LOL.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ginsu Beats

Big Cycle Beat

"be gleeful everyday. for being the best swimmer. among five-hundred-thousand" - some dude

Andrew Hicox is happy to be alive. It's just been that kinda few weeks, ya dig.

Tying to get that marching band snare line sound on top of some breaks on this. These loops will probably become something a lot better once I write some melody and lyrics on it, and fill it out some more. But I like it too, a little bit just the way it is. Kind of a stripped down, hyperactive ode to choppage: Ginsu-step is born. And so it begins ...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Interruptions (Demo)

This has been one hell of a couple weeks. We got hit with tornadoes, right in my neighborhood. Sucking the shingles right off of houses and planting them three counties over kinda for-realz tornadoes. Then we spent nearly an entire week without power, and watched one of our neighbor's houses burn to the ground from a lightning strike.

While all this was going on, we had two deaths on Kelly's side of the family. Kelly will be traveling to Florida for one of the funerals tomorrow. It's been, in a lot of ways an incredibly surreal and somber week. In other ways, though it has been nothing short of magical.

Last Wednesday, the day of the tornadoes was absolutely exhausting as wave after wave of storms came through. It was like a roller coaster of fear, culminating in that house fire I mentioned (everyone got out ok, thankfully), but it was one of the saddest things I'd ever seen.

Around a little before midnight all the fire trucks had finally gone and the power was out in the entire region. The weather had moved on, leaving a crystal clear sky in the chilly air.  It was absolutely, completely and utterly still. With the lights out in the entire city, the sky lit up like a celestial fireworks show. It was simply breathtaking ... such peaceful beauty after a day of unrelenting terror, all our digital umbilicals cut at once; all of us simultaneously disconnected from the matrix.

That was the other beautiful thing about the experience. It was like the entire neighborhood went on a camping trip together. I've lived here 4 years, and I didn't even know my neighbors until last week. With no distractions, we all crawled out of our respective caves and ... talked to one another. Children played in the streets instead of lapping up whatever half-assed treacle the Disney Channel is selling this week.

We had BBQs. Every night in fact and every breakfast and lunch, because with no power, you have an imperative to cook anything and everything you have on hand before it goes bad. On the first night it was just us and one neighbor, but it grew every successive night. We had over 30 people in our driveway and more food than a Southern Baptist pot-luck, the last night of the power outage.

Another less happy amazing moment was when I drove through Harvest this morning on my way to my one-year checkup at Vanderbilt. It's only 4 miles here (exactly) to what can only be described as a complete disaster zone. It looks like a bomb was detonated over there.

So anyhow ... this song is called "Interruptions". I wrote it last year, recovering from a major surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from my pancreas (a mighty scary time in it's own right). It was exactly a year ago, I came home from that operation in Nashville. What a year it's been ... cancer to natural disasters ... but all through it some truly amazing experiences.

Regarding the song ... I suck at drums. Just try to ignore them.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Mars Underground Metropolis Project

This seedy-looking woman is not who she appears to be. She is, in fact an identity thieving robot sent by wealthy industrialists to infiltrate a gang of union thugs by impersonating their leader.

This is Maria from the silent film, Metropolis.

I have taken on what is by all accounts an insane, and daunting project. The Mars Underground (my electronic side project with Bryan) is going to re-score this most iconic, inexplicably beautiful (and the more I watch it, the more I realize -- also prophetic in many ways) science fiction film from 1927.

This is our score for the title sequence and opening scene:

Yes, this has been done before. No, I'm not trying to jock Georgio Morodor's style. I just really, really like this movie. It's creepy in that old timey way, and basically this film visually articulates my relationship to computers perfectly.

This is going to be awesome. Music for the next scene is already half written. It's like the project has a will of it's own.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Apathy (or 'the seven lies'): video shenannigans

This is a song I'm writing called "Apathy" ... or possibly "the seven lies" (though I haven't worked out what exactly the seven lies actually are or their significance -- the turn of phase just sounds cool).

I did this whole thing last night at like 1 in the morning. Normally when I'm writing, I'll pull up Logic, set up some instruments, etc. I've found that approach to really be kind of a bottleneck for creativity. So what I did here was really simple ... I pulled up the mainstage rig I use for live gigs, and I plugged the output back into the line in. Then I pulled up quicktime player and just started recording. Then I'd play one back and record another on top of it. No edits possible. A little like overdubbing yourself on cassette back in the day. It was incredibly freeing, and the lyrics just started to come out of the ether.

Last night was a very good writing night :-)

Also about halfway in, I discovered it could record video from the built-in camera. Also I discovered you could do screen recordings. The rest is ... well ... there it is. Once I've got the whole thing written, I think I'll do the whole thing out like this (though I might use soundflower to capture multi-tracks in logic so I can go back and mix it, lay down effects, etc).

I love the immediacy of working this way though.
It's a very cool technique.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Boombox Snowday Remix

Boombox Snowday Remix

This week, its a Ma-Yo joint, creamy and tasty.

I'd hoped to have some more recent work to post this week, but alas life gets in the way of art, and you gotta do what you gotta do.

I've got a few tracks I'm really proud of in the works. One is a production for a vocalist friend from work, that is very dark and emotionally potent (and has an insane number of tracks, making it a real learning experience to mix). The other is a new Mars Underground track ... a project that is really starting to find it's feet (in my mind anyhow). Having a clear vision of what you're trying to accomplish is always a good sign. This is probably the most complete idea for a musical project I've ever had, and what's more, it's right in my wheelhouse stylistically. But in the mean time, I bring you this ... whatever it is.

The story behind this track is essentially this equation: + snow day + tequila + rebirth = funk
The year was something like ... jeez I dunno ... 2005/2006, maybe? It snowed, a lot that year in the Northern Virginia D.C. suburbs. We were snowed-in, in fact. There was no going to work (and this was before the days of round-the-clock telecommuting ... good old days, really). There was however lots of liquor in the house (aah I miss the days when my body could deal with alcohol too), and rebirth was now a free download from propellerheads. Also I had recently discovered that GarageBand was installed by default on our new mac-mini.

Beats, and syncing of Japanese hip-hop vocals ensued.

Even though it's not my best work, and it's really old and dated, I've always had a soft spot for this track. It's very sparse, and I think really managed to capture a certain playful enthusiasm I had at the time ("you mean this computer can record audio??!!").

Personal nostalgia I suppose.
I got no idea what these guys are rappin' about.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clockwork Daydream

Big Cycle Beat

This is a track that I cooked up last night with Bryan Bacon. We've been talking for some time about getting an electronic side project together under the name The Mars Underground. I don't know if that will necessarily grow out of this, but it's a pretty damn cool track, all the same.

I was going to make a joke and call this "chillstep" because it's basically chillout electronica, but I added the dubstep bass, because I just bought NI Razor, and I wanted to play with it. Razor can do a whole lot more than wobble basses, but it does make building really great ones stupidly easy. Anyhow, out of curiosity, I googled the term "chillstep", and sure enough ... there actually is a such thing. Proving again, that if synths and a drum machines are involved then someone, somewhere has described it by taking any adjective or noun from the dictionary at random and slapping "-step" on the end.

Sunday, March 20, 2011



"It's like mother nature is makin' sweet love to the breeze while all the little fishies groove on it" - Bender "Bending" Rodriguez

It's the first day of spring here in Huntsville, Alabama. It's that magical bepollen'd span of about 6 weeks between "I can't feel my toes" and "I just soaked my car seat with ass-sweat" ... and it is absolutely gorgeous.

I wrote this song almost exactly a year ago. As the name implies, it is a celebration of the returning yearly crescendo of life ... and being open to that in a particularly cosmic way. This is the first song I ever did where didn't resort to canned drum loops ... those are real drums, though I did cheat a little, by making my own loops :-)

Oh, also, that picture was taken from my front yard ... actually around the same time as I was writing this. It's not photoshopped, it was really that vivid. It was all the way across the sky. I do not know what it means, but I did write a song about it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day Zero

Day Zero

If you have the chance to be somewhere that you don't really belong, take it.

I've been lucky enough to have spent my entire life getting into one situation after another that I really had no business being in. The reward is always worth the risk, even if it only consists of having a good story at the end of the day.

This is a track called "Day Zero" that I wrote on Christmas Eve 2009. I get a lot of songwriting done around the holidays because (at least usually) I have a fair amount of vacation to "use or lose" by that time of year. It's a little uptempo meditation on new beginnings. It's a little old. I've had it posted on myspace for a while so probably if you already know me, you've heard it before. It seemed appropriate for a Monday morning, and apropos to some hot-mess I'm dealing with in my day job (for however much longer that lasts).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

bling! (ooh-aah-zooma mix)

Big Cycle Beat

This is more than likely the greatest hip-hop coffee mug solo of all time.

Christmas Break 2008: two bored kids + music geek dad + lots of free time = this.

So, what do we have here? This is one from the archives for sure, can't believe this was almost 3 years ago. Anyhow, well ... that's Andrea singing random syllables into auto-tune there. That's uh ... me ... dad ... singing "bling", "hooooo", "ooh", "aah", "haaaaaah", and "with my mind on my money and my money on my mind". That's all three of us doing hand claps, and overdubbed trumpet into a good ol' SM-57 ... the aforementioned coffee-cup ... random other stuff too.

I look at it this way: how many kids can look back on their Christmas break from when they were in elementary school and say ... well one year we made the craziest hip-hop beat with dad ... yeah. I'm either the coolest dad in the world or the weirdest. I'll take either. Or both.

Parenthood: I did it for the lulz, apparently :-)