Posts Taged music

Drums are Legion, Murders are Spatial and we drink to the Apocalypse

So the world keeps burning and I keep being here, spinning my tales in whatever shape or form the world allows me to. I’ve been obsessing over spatial structures in songs and stories. Some works of mine have been released into the wild.

Upcoming, is a workshop presentation at Ars Electronica. I premiere a short audio theatre piece called “No One Died”. I’ll pop it up at some stage when it’s made its rounds. The premise? Well, there is none, “No One” Died remember…well that’s one point of view, until you move around to find the truth of the tale. This is an audio tale you must move around to find out the truth about. Written with the very curious, inventive and awesome scriptwriter Michelle Mead

Well if you are at Ars Electronica by any chance: my workshop details are here:

What’s it got to do with the apocalypse drinking song I keep alluding to? Well…the mechanics of this piece drive my lyrical portion.

Earlier part of the year was me obsessing over cats, thunder and gods to create this piece called “When the rain god sings, Storm Lions are born”. It’s a fun one, and I had a ball working with Taikoz and Ryuji Hamada. The piece premiered in NIDA. A glimpse of it here

It was a bit of fun and hair tearing in equal measures as I was obsessed with the idea of having a solo artist “play” an orchestra in real-time. Yes – this means no more counting to any kind of backing track, the rich track is actually triggered live. Luckily Ryuji Hamada and Taikoz are just the sort of awesome musicians and awesome dancers and movement artists to humour all the experiments needed to make it all happen.

More details here:

Over and out for now


Error 404 series – metal also…june july updates.

Error 404 – Metal

Lots to report but first…another Error 404 feature. This was due last week, then there was too much on. So here it is…one day late (technically on time if we consider international clocks)

Here’s a double feature of Error 404. There was a challenge laid down that I never actually EVER did metal. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a legit attempt…but points for trying eh? Also, I don’t think my throat likes metal too much.

Again since it’s part of my error 404 page a random refresh on a page that does not exist on aka will/might play this version to u.

Here is Error 404 metal  in English (Russian)

AND Russian. Special tks to my little brother Zhihao for translating it to Russian and teaching it to me. I only hope I’m intelligible. Here’s to possibly badly pronounced  Russian.

Note: Domovoi is a Russian poltergeist of sorts. I thought it made sense to feature local monsters with every translation rather than try and translate the kraken.

This month’s round up

It’s been a busy month. The joys of freelance composing is that one minute you could be lounging about biting your nails and being anxious about people getting back to you about jobs, then in another instant ,a few things that you say yes to suddenly reappear with deadlines from hell.

I no complain. It’s joyous. But after a few all nighters and working through weekends since late last month, I’m sitting in the sunshine a bit to catch my breath before plunging back in….tonight. The forecast is that I’m probably going to be swamped until the end of the year. This is a great thing.  For now, right this instant… this is me furiously catching up on blog posts, promised releases etc etc. Gotta air that composer brain a bit.

This month’s highlights? One of the scores I had to write was particularly watery and bendy. So I got it into my head that maybe I should sample instruments immersed in water and write the entire score with whatever I can pull out of the water — so to speak.

I’ve been having a little bit of fun investigating underwater recording. (hydrophones) . Here’s a DIY method, (recommends condoms)  but I ended up using balloons…I believe it’s the same effect. I recommend the ones used for animal balloons. Normal shaped ones aren’t a particularly good fit. (so to speak)


The director (Luke Marsden) is a helluva good sport and was coerced into helping with recording. Welcome to low budget film making. Here’s a wok scraped underwater recorded with SM58 underwater.

It did occur to me after that maybe there was some risk of electrocution after the fact. Ah well!  For Music and SCIENCE! (I did double bag the mic)

Few other projects I’ve been working on too with differing levels of insane sound and music experiments. I love it and can’t wait to tell all BUT I’ve been sworn to varying levels of secrecy so that’s all I can report. At least for now. Single release of Twisted Tales end of this wk. Expect something wintery. The land of OZ has been freezing over a bit.



Day 3 Song Summit (Final) – Meet the Publishers

Dear Minions
Last post from the Song Summit. Took awhile because of the rabid rabbits.

Day 3 – SS3

Big Day. Actually no. It’s been a big couple of days. The house looks like a bomb shelter. Meanwhile, a furry beast also in the fridge that was once a tofu is now calling me “Ma”

My study is a glitter of CD cases and papers from multi-press kit creation.

Meet the publishers

Last day at the song Summit and there’s nothing more distracting than the impending “Meet the publishers” speed dating session coming later in the day.

Not looking forward to it and looking forward to it to be over. It’s a strange feeling.

We’re meeting publishers.

1430 hrs and there’s a horde of songwriters/ musicians/ managers in tow. Time to meet the publishers. We’re told this:

Here’s the room with the publishers. Wait till you are called. Sit in your designated chairs meet your designated publishers.

You cannot choose your publishers, You cannot choose your seats, You have 5 minutes, when the bell rings. You must go.

And no, you there, you signed up too late. You must leave, this forum is full. There’s no room for you. Next.

No you too. Look people, if you don’t have your name on this list you cannot enter, the publishers will not see you. No…no exceptions, please make way for those on the list.

Yes…that goes for you too.

You enter the publishing room and it’s an awash of activity. There’s a long line of about 20 publishers sitting in a pretty little row. All waiting for you to tell them that you are the next best thing. Yes you rock, yes your songs are going to make everyone millionaires, and yes, my dear…

You have 5 minutes to make me believe you.

So Lee and myself are at the back of the line, we watch the others approach. We watch the others leave. We watch people being shuffled….and we get shuffled along. It’s all an automated system. To a pitch we go.

“You remember your pitch?” says Lee. “Yeah I remember. I’m fine, yes…don’t worry. We’ve rehearsed this…well sort of.”

So I watch. On the publishers’ tables the CDs stack up. Each little piece of plastic holds a world of hopes for a musician who wants to make it. What’s making it anyways?Such a vague romantic notion that is probably popular because it’s vague.

I’m pretty specific about what I want from this. Right now I want my album finished, and I want it out and about into the hands of music supervisors who will then put it in films. No I’m not shy about telling you I want to monetize my music. Then I want the music to travel to places…and me along with it and make a whole heap more music. I want to work with people I’ve long wanted to work with (I have a list) and I don’t just mean musicians. Then I want to make more music and create until my fingers bleed into my zithers and I melt into my keyboard and my drums. I want to meet my minions hug them all and tell them thanks very much for making this happen. Then I want to make some more music.

I want to be paid a decent wage for my craft and then make some more music until my body no longer twitches and I am ash. That’s what I want. I don’t know about making it. I just want to make music…lots of it and leave behind a pile of nice sounding notes and hopefully some appreciators who will continue humming the songs when I cark it.

then if there’s music in the afterlife….if there’s one…Well…I’ll see you there.

what’s your version of making it? What’s their version of making it? I wonder? Is it the same? Or is making it a vague idea for most that never looks good on close inspection and people just ask other people to help them make it because it sounds nice and it sounds like a plan?

So it’s my turn and I realise I only have 5 minutes. All social filters go down. I’m no longer shy and I’m no longer interested in telling you that I might be good. I tell you that I’m very good and will get better. I tell you that these are the things that are happening for the album. Yes, the deals surrounding the album are unique and you’ve never seen this before. I tell you that…yes I write to briefs and yes I’m a bloody fast songwriter, I really really do write in most genres. Yes my music video is mid creation. Yes I work with great film people, check out my last film clip. I’m a fast writer and I’m good and I tell you that what’s holding me back is the resources to record.

That’s why the album’s taken so long…because we want it to be good. Yes, amongst many things this is where you come in and this is what I;d like you to do….we don’t have much time. Oh yes…and since you ask, this is where we are recording at the moment and of course we would like to meet with you further if you are interested in hearing more. Can’t give you the full picture…we don’t have time, it’s your move after this.

I’m trying not to listen to Lee’s spiel as he’s pretty pitching the same thing to another publisher just beside me. We don’t have time, it’s a mad dance. In Lee’s words we talk fast, we listen fast. 3 minutes into time everything slows because I’m a fly in an uber fast capsule and it speeds up again as I make sure my contact details are in my album.


the bell goes off.

Don’t call us we’ll call you.


Please don’t drag your heels.

Make way for the next.

Out you go. I’m sure you made a good pitch. good luck

There just like that…it was all over.

That was officially the end of Song Summit for us, needed 2 glasses of champagne to calm things down a notch since the neurons were firing in uber time and that wasn’t a good thing mentally in the long run.

Lee had managed to chuck a short meeting with the legendary Sebestian Chase to talk about a few things to come. It was good to finally meet Sebestian in person, and even better to see that this is a person who really didn’t believe in all the doom and gloom currently sprouting about in the panels. Good…actually Great. What a bloody breath of fresh air. The music industry is dead my arse.

We’ll show you.

Day 2 – Song Summit (Songwriting highs and lows & impt minion missions)

Stephen Schwartz – Writer of Colors of the Wind is going to review my song as part of a panel.
Good GAWD.

A little admission, Colors of the Wind was just about sparked the moment when I decided I’d have a crack at creating words to music. I remember how much I liked the imagery of that one song and how I listened to the disc till the plastic melted. (Or it could have been the high humidity in Singapore) That…and Lion King’s soundtrack….which led me on a one way ticket to a lifetime love for world music….and a teenage crush on Hans Zimmer.

There I said it, I have Disney beginnings…

So seeing the man himself and knowing he was going to listen to some creation of mine was a quiet and internally very loud moment of “ohmygodohmygodohmygod” followed by “I’mgonnadieI’mgonnadieI’mgonnadie!!!!!!” which then culminated into “Oh hey! here’s a pillar I’m going to hide behind this beautiful architecture…did I tell you how much I love architecture?!!!”

Of course, I wasn’t really forwarned that part of the listening to the music panel meant that you had to sit a metre from the man himself on stage and that you were going to have to have a very public conversation with the man himself about songwriting.

Stephen was very kind. The song up for review was one called “Disconnected” I had recently had it remastered and mostly always had a very soft spot for it. The tune was mostly liked, he liked the poetry in it, loved the verses (thank u v much) questioned some of the word choices and encouraged some thoughts about the choice of the chorus .

Some which I agreed on but will not change, some which I disagreed on,…and will not change…but it was good to hear where how it sat with his ears and how he’d actually like to hear the song again and some more. That broke my happy metre.

There were other things he brought up about the song that made me rethink some songwriting decisions but mostly, it wasn’t bad and the man was gracious and kind and probably understood that right then, I was squirming like a nematode under a microscope.

More importantly the song survived. I didn’t feel like I needed to destroy it in the end which is also an uber step forward for myself as a songwriter.

It was nice and warm and fluffy to hear that my process of songwriting was somewhat similar to his where he mentions that he first writes the titles to songs, then works out the stories then writes the songs….my newly cerebral songwriting methods salute his very cerebral songwriting methods.

My only regret was that somehow the recording got wrongly sampled by those running the panel, and Stephen got to hear an awful recording where my voice that got pitched up an octave as a result. I only wished he got to hear the better version, but heh…I did the other songwriters whose vocals got chipmunked by a wrong sample rate. No matter, I sent a ninja his way and who promptly delivered my CD into his hands. Hope he gets a listen.

Sacha Skarbek’s songwriting panel

I enjoyed the panel. Good to see the writer behind many songs I try very hard to hate…but cannot. For an idea he wrote “You’re Beautiful” with James Blunt. Though it got killed to death by overplay in then end, that’s really hardly his fault. I remember liking it before gross repetition killed the love.

Sacha came across as a little bit of a shy performer although it seemed to me that he had a bloody good voice and a rollicking sense of humour. I was enjoying his panel quite a bit…until….he announced that he was working on the soundtrack for Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby with Starsailor.

I am Yunyu’s broken heart
I am Yunyu’s seething green serpent of envy

If you slow motion the reading of this sentence, you could probably pin point the exact moment my heart split in two

Because lullaby is one of my favourite horror/comedy story. Read it here.

and I want to write the culling song that features in the tale.

I already hear the culling song in my head…except I promise no one dies, though the effects might be convincing..

and I believe that when it comes to death put to music, I have a little bit of an authoritah on that.

No matter. I’ll get there. I’ll finish the bloody album, get the word out, then badger screen people to use some of my dead people music.

Still it hurts…because I want to write music on Lullaby.

Meanwhile…yoohoo Sacha. Can I write a culling song with you? I’m great at death, I would have loved to speak with you, but post panel, it seems most panel speakers are harder to seek than unicorns. I’m not sure where they go, and I was looking.

So there, Sacha, if you google yourself and find this, I want to write that culling song, I also want to work with you and learn from you. Meanwhile I’m sending the word out on how to bloody hell find you…so I can write THAT culling song.

I has your website
I see your management contacts … and will write to your gate keepers or keymasters.
but I rather write to you. Artist to Artist. Songwriter to songwriter.

Minions, if you know Sacha Skarbek, send on my love, and my need to write the culling song and that I want to work with him.

Minions…you has mission. Find the man.Find Sacha. Find him with your twitter, ask your friends, ask your enemies, send for your psychic pets, post on facebook. send word. Now. Get his email, get his number.

Find Sacha Skarbek.
Find him.



Go Now.

Fly my pretties…fly.

can you tell I’m obsessed?…with the culling song?

Delayed Broadcast from Song Summit and outside of Supanova

So Song Summit. I had received questions from mates at Supanova about how it all was ranging from a smart arsed “How was Hill Song Convention?” to a more demanding/scary “Where are you?! Why are you not here at Supanova????!!!HELLOOOOO???!!!”

This is rather the first year I have missed Supanova. The fact that it’s held on the same weekend as Song Summit peeves me greatly because Supanova is my once a year all time favourite gathering place where I catch up with my all time favourite human beans.

All was not lost though, I managed a dinner catch up with the beloved Coolshite guys who essentially do a very good job hosting supanova. Great to see that everyone was well and had projects coming up

In case you don’t know in all the other times of the year the coolshite guys host a pop culture podcast that reviews all things in the film, tv, literature, comics universe. If you haven’t been there already, you should check their work out. I’ll know if you didnt. 🙂

Bruce from Coolshite, who is so very clever with wordpress, gave me a crash tutorial at a pub involving napkins and pens. Napkins….ah the very fabric of civilisation I’m telling you.

Snuck a 7.45am breakfast with the lovely and talented Marianne De Pierres about a secret project we both hope to be announcing soon. Good to see that she’s been well, her hair is now purple (it was pink last month) and that her humorous crime fighting novel “Sharp Shooter” is doing well on the Angus and Robertson charts at #1 under the non-scifi pseudoname of Marianne Delacourt. Check her work out here

Her usual hunt of science fiction novels are Dark space was a fun read for me.

So on to song summit…

Song Summit is a music industry gathering hosted by APRA | AMCOS + the NSW Government. 3 days of music commerce stuffed full of songwriters, agents, managers, publishers and labels. I thought it might be good to share this with the minions of what goes on backstage…the stories are long so I’d do it over a few posts.

The first night was was mainly celebratory with lots of speeches, claps and I find myself perking up at Peter Garrett’s speech about the visual arts Resale Royalties scheme. I thought it was a novel idea that basically says that if you were Van Gough and you sold your sunflower painting for a mere 5 bucks first round and it sells for 20 mill later. Well you get a cut if you didn’t cut your ears off and was still among the living.
Read more
That’s promising…and a reason to keep breathing Nothing to do with music on a cursary look,but if you did write your music on paper and that got traded around abit, I’m imagining that this would apply somewhat?

I had spent the night before coding CSS (or attempting to) so by 9pm my neurons had pretty much congregated into a large, throbbing purple boil just above my hippocampus and leaked out through my ears. The “no longer news” doom and gloom speeches about the music industry didn’t really help. Early home time. I need energy for the next 48 hours. Maybe that’s why they put red bull in the gift packs. Thoughtful but I have to keep that ox bile away from me. I’m already a stranger to sleep. More on the next day coming up.

The dusty altar of spiders

Ahem * steps gingerly onto the dust invaded altar of spiders* . I’m back again.., after the distractions and the nest move amidst all the mayhem that is life.

Hope you are all well, dear minions. Much has happened on my end, as per the last post. After failing in an epic battle of sonics with the Von Trapp family that used to share spidey’s balcony, the spiders have promptly uprooted her 2 by 3 metre tardis of a studio and left her matchbox apartment to seek quieter ground. Oh I also forget to mention that the final clincher was when the landlord wanted to remove spidey’s alien repelling aluminium foil on her studio windows. This let too much sunlight in and rendered all of spidey’s muses unconscious or foaming at the mouth. (Either which was a huge mess to clean up after).

{Ok…in short my studio window faces a very sunny zinc roof and I have no blinds, so unless suntanning eyeballs and getting cataracts was the latest fashion trend…}

Fast forward into 2 months later…

Finally settled into what was a very chaotic move where there was NO INTERNET but now I’m all happy settled and thought my minions should know. 🙂 (pretty pics in a bit!) All this and I had a writing deadline for another music project that I can yet mention. ( No it’s not my album…)

so some miscellaneous updates at which I shall be as brief as possible:


Getting there. Still a secret. Don’t curse at spidey. She’s done with her writing….it’s the other non writey album bits that take time…
Same goes for gigs as well, no shows until the new tunes wail their way into existence.

Non Album updates.

– some projects of interestingness in the world of Sci-fi/ Fantasy which can hopefully be announced maybe…I’m still keeping fingers crossed for this one.

– sketching idea bits for a 3rd album – because this is what you do when you’ve done your writey bits for the second album and you are basically waiting for everything else to catch up.

– Back to regular blogging. Aiming for (in the midst of still recording and video clip logistics) one blog post a week. Yes, your royal madness will be disciplined and write on her alter once a week from here on end. To show that I mean it, I’ll be telling u about my next post everytime I post one :). There. Let’s see how long we can keep this up this time …

Coming up

– Before the return to blogging I decided that the first order of business was to clean out how my wordpress was broadcasting (ie crossposting) entries to the ever growing number of social networking sites that is growing way way faster than mutant hydras of mayhem. — The fact that I am also on, possibly, a dozen other networks other than myspace and facebook is making things generally unfunny now.

So for the benefit of those who face this problem, or similar, consider the next post a is public service one – albeit wordpress centric – because wordpress has all my base. I spent a precious week researching plugins and testing what works and then another week getting it all running, I decided that noone else should have to go through this again.

Internet time is fun time, not painful test monkey time.

Coming shortly… Everyone is everywhere – How to shave time off crossposting blogs and status on the internets…because this is becoming a more urgent issue than shaving personal ape hair.

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