Sonic Scrapbook

This slice of basement-made soul doesn’t feel finished. But with the apocalypse predicted to begin today,  I figure what the hell,  I’ve run out of time. Consider it my celebration of the Rapture.

So This Is How The World Ends

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Another quick and dirty basement ditty, named in honor of events which transpired in the Middle East during its creation.

Let’s All Meet in Liberation Square

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This is actually more than a scrap. It’s a song I wrote awhile back when I was playing in The Ernies. We recorded it, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with that rendition – we pushed the pace faster than we normally played it live. (Although, having just given it a fresh listen, I’ve decided it has worn well.)


This basement version has a different, more claustrophobic vibe.


Her Heart’s Not In It

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Here’s a cheesy slice of disco funk that came to me over the weekend:

What Happens Now?

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Almost decided to drop this one altogether, but something about it stuck with me:

(Chewing On a Stale) Stick of Gum

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I put this one on the shelf when I left for Thailand a couple weeks back, thinking it was all done except for a title. (These are scraps, after all, nothing grand, and I risked tweaking this to death.)

When I played it for my son Ben (pictured) his assessment was supportive but blunt. It needs a bass track, he said. He has a great set of ears and he was right; I even knew it before he said it, but had avoided doing so because it had been a couple years since I’d picked up a bass and even though it’s the first instrument I taught myself 35 years ago, I feel clumsy playing.

But I added a simple bass track when I got home, and it really added some heft. That, along with one of my favorite parts of the trip, inspired a title:

Riding a Pachyderm

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Another cinema-inspired title:

M. Tati Visits Tijuana

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This one feels like it has sort of an Ennio Morricone vibe going:

Spaghettini Western

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(I’ll get back to photos eventually.)

OK, I haven’t posted anything in awhile. I’d like to say I’ve been busy, but that isn’t really true; preoccupied has been more like it. Distracted, at the very least, from the photography that has dominated my posts for most of 2009.

Last fall I finished a looooong project – years in the making, really – transforming my basement from a turn-of-the-last century dungeon to a…well, I guess it’s kind of a middle-of-last-century warehouse. It’s never going to be anything fancy, not a rec room, home theater, wet bar or anything like that. Just a place for the utilities, laundry and work bench.

But I did carve out a space for a glorified closet where I can play guitars and other music machines without bothering my wife too much. I’ve got a little ProTools set up there for playing around.

I haven’t composed a full-on verse-chorus-verse song in years. And I might never again. But the new basement set-up is conducive to creating song fragments, which I’ve done a bit of for the last couple months. None of them are very polished. In fact, the flaws make me cringe. But what the hell, I figured I’d post some of them here.

The first I’ve called

Hong Kong Hip Hop Shop

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You might recognize the title from a photo I posted earlier from a place I saw at a Hong Kong night market.