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subconscious vs. instincts

March 20th, 2014 1 comment

I woke up yesterday with an idea for a new part of a song. I sang it as best I could into my phone. Last night I transcribed it just as I imagined it, and added in a few new layers. Tonight I flushed it out even more and got it pretty dialed in. After a couple of listens of the whole song, I decided I didn’t like how the new part integrated in the song and deleted it.

I put 2-3 hours of work into this. The result was pretty faithful to what I had envisioned, which is rare for me. Yet, I don’t see it as a waste of time. It feel significant. I’m proud that I saw it all the way through and then was faithful to my instincts. It also makes me feel more confident about the original idea that I had before.

I also know that I will totally forget about this experience in a year from now – hence this post. Some of the work that I pour into these songs does not move them forward. It can be frustrating for sure, but it doesn’t drag me down the way it used to. Not all my ideas take me where I want to go, but I believe it’s worth finding out.

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Lessons from the past decade: Number 4

January 13th, 2014 4 comments

1. It’s crazy challenging to be a professional creator
I know a few professional electronic music producers. These are people who have more talent, attention to detail, knowledge, and discipline than I do. They all have multiple jobs and hustle to make money. Its crazy challenging to have a creative pursuit be a source of income. You will mix a ton of stress in with your passion. I made a choice to make music a hobby instead of my profession about a decade ago. That was one of the best decisions I ever made.

2. Facebook likes does not equal happiness
In the last few years I’ve discovered the joy of not caring if more people discover my music. While I would be unsatisfied if I didn’t have an audience at all, I do not believe I would be happier with twice as many facebook likes. I just feel grateful that there are people out there who care about my music. That is sustaining enough. This is another advantage of not requiring music to be a source of income.

3. Hating your newest release
I usually feel lousy about my latest album by the time I release it (though I may not admit it publicly). I am totally burnt out on it, and all I hear are the flaws. I’ve talked with other producers who have experienced the same thing. So if you go through this, then you might be doing it right.

4. Making music is a lot of detail work
The emotional component that I’m capturing when I compose a track happens during a handful of hours. It probably takes a hundred hours to complete a track. When people react emotionally to my music, they figure that I was feeling deeply when creating it. The reality is that the majority of the time is it more like a puzzle that I am trying to put together. I’ve learned to enjoy a puzzle though.

5. Find a mentor
A high level goal for the past 5 or so years is to find a mentor. I feel so incredibly lucky to have found one. It is a paid mentorship, and it is the best investment I could have possibly made. To have someone your respect listen closely to your music and provide concrete feedback is amazing. You need to be at a place in your life where you want to hear criticism and things you should change though. You need to disable your defense mechanism and then sort through all the feedback at a later time.

6. Shortcuts are important
Even though I spend far less time working on music, I’m probably almost as productive as used to be. I learned lots of shortcuts. I’m not afraid to use tools like quantize and doing lots of note manipulation after playing something that felt like there was some juice in it. I usually limit a music session to moving some aspect of a song forward. It makes me feel like I’m always making progress.

7. Find the silver lining
Due to life circumstances, I took a 9 month break from music. It has been awesome to re-discover songs that I haven’t listened to from 9 – 15 months. There’s a gift there. Making an album is really hard. It was like someone handed me a bunch of mature ideas on a platter. This makes it simply joyous to work on these songs.

8. Bad ideas are part of the process
Remind yourself that trying things that don’t work out is not a waste of time. When you find yourself frustrated about a project, put it away and do something else creative.

9. See the forest
Don’t get so lost in the minutia in the track that you forget the feeling you are trying to capture. Most people won’t care about the minutia.

10. Lighting is important
It’s really important to be able to adjust the lighting in your studio. You want to set the right mood for music time.

See all my lessons posts

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miles tones reflections

November 2nd, 2011 5 comments

I’ve never had such a positive experience finishing up an album as I did with this one. Not setting a hard deadline for finishing the album was an excellent decision. It eliminated the element of stress from the tedious and time consuming process of finishing up the tunes (final mixes and mastering). I made loose goals along the way so I had something to aim for, but didn’t feel bad if it took longer to achieve these goals. My free time has diminished greatly from my pre-fatherhood days, so I really wanted to make working on tunes a fun outlet as much as possible.

My drive to promote my music has greatly diminished. I used to spend a lot of time sending out cds and emails to outlets for consideration. I very rarely got any response. It can be fun to share my work with other people, but its also a labor intensive process with a lot of rejection along the way. At this point, a decade in, my music has found some of its audience. There are people who care about it, and that’s pretty sustaining to me. Of course I hope my audience continues to organically grow.

My favorite part of making music is when ideas are flowing well and starting to coming together. It’s not when I’ve finished a track / album. It took 6 or 7 years, but I did eventually learn that it’s really more about the journey then the destination.

I pour myself into these songs. It takes more time then I care to admit. The tracks on this album took many different directions before they were finished. There was a ton of content that was written and removed. Many times I had to remind myself  that trying things that don’t work out is not a waste of time.

All I used to create these songs was my computer, a mixer, two MIDI controllers, a mic, and speakers at slightly uneven heights (and a LOT of software). My recording room is completely untreated, with a tile floor, glass windows, several bikes, and a couple large plastic baby toys that need to be passed along. The recordings always sounded good enough to me. Thank goodness there are tools like RX and Melodyne to clean up my recordings though. I did outsource the some of tricky instrument recording though – thanks very much to the internet + skype.

In the past three years I’ve become aware of what an amateur I am at producing, mixing, and mastering music. I’ve attended workshops with Carmen Rizzo and Rena Jones. I have learned that there is a huge amount of knowledge that I’m lacking. They all have very strong opinions over what gear and software you should use, how to treat your audio, and to never self master your music. If you listen to one my tracks and then of their tracks, you can hear the difference. I don’t think of this as a failure on my part – I just know that there is a lot more to learn, and that later in life I hope to learn more about my craft.

I’ve been making music as general fuzz for over a decade now. I no longer feel the burning need to prove to myself that I can make an album. I also have no intentions to stop creating music. General fuzz has become such an important part of my identity. I hope to create music for the rest of my life, and in theory, I have a lot of time left. I do need to try vary the course some though. I’ve got to try working in different styles and collaborating with different people, so that I can grow as a musician. I need to also take breaks from music, and allow some time for inspiration and motivation to brew.

Releasing an album is very exciting for a number of reasons. One aspect that I have only become aware of recently is that it acts as snapshot of my life. I can now listen to my previous releases and remember what was going on at that time. It’s also something concrete which represents a step forward in my path as a musician.

Most importantly, I’m proud of what I made. So far I have no regrets about the album, which was my ultimate goal. I felt that way after “soulful filling”, and I learned that it was worth aiming for.

Also, this moment brought everything into alignment.

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“miles tones” released

October 21st, 2011 No comments

miles tones cover art

With great pride and pleasure I’m releasing my sixth general fuzz album, “miles tones”. As always, it’s available as a free download off my website: http://www.generalfuzz.net.

Its been over three years since my last release, and during that time I became a grown up. My 1.5 year old son now takes center stage in my life. There are many musical references in this album reflecting the anticipation, arrival, and development of my son during the past few years.

This album turned out to be sort of a companion album to “soulful filling”. It has that same mellow vibe and melodic sensibility. I’ve decided to attempt to release albums with a more consistent vibe, so all my latest mellow tracks ended up on this one. As a result, the next album will have significantly more bump to it.

I was lucky enough to work a whole mess of truly amazing musicians in past couple years. It was an absolute honor to have Audio Angel, Josh Clark (the guitarist Tea Leaf Green, a band I have seen 20+ times), Ryan Avery, Phoebe Jevtovic Alexander, Jesse Ivry, Emiel Stöpler, Shakiban, Peter Medland, and Ryan Hughes in my “studio”. I’m particularly grateful to Ryan Avery, a stellar violinist and electronic music composer, who generously came over to my studio many times to help flush out some tracks. If you dig my music, you should definitely check out his – its in a similar vein to mine.

I decided not to make any CDs for this release, since its wasteful, expensive, and, really, its sorta pointless in this day and age. I’m always very grateful for donations, and the money always goes directly back into my music. I’ve added 4 awesome new “locked” bonus tracks to my website. If you send me a donation, and I’ll send you all 7 locked tracks. It’s like a whole bonus general fuzz EP. I also built a “song unlocker” on my website to incentivize folks to spread my music on the internets. If you simply post my website anywhere on the internet (facebook, twitter, google+, blog, etc), let me know, and I’ll unlock a bunch of tracks for you.

Many thanks to Chris Brown, Nora Barrows-Friedman, Dave SG, and of course my incredible supportive wifey, Stiners “the pants” McGee.

The album art was a photo taken by Sophie Thouvenin.

I do very much hope you enjoy this release. Feedback of all kind is always welcome.

Thanks so much for listening.

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There can be only ONE!

April 3rd, 2011 1 comment
Little JBalls is no longer 0 years old. This has been, by far, the longest 365+ days of my life. His too, by definition. The transformation from oppressive larvae to little boy has been astonishing. I now belong to the not-so-exclusive club of people who have experienced the magic of watching a child become aware of the world around them. The dues are pretty steep, but membership has its privileges.

I’ve learned I could operate on much less sleep then I imagined I could. I now see both danger and wonder in every new environment. Silly noises consistently punctuate most of my actions. I’ve never done so much dancing in my living room before. My life is basically not recognizable to my pre-child self. It’s not like I can’t remember what my life was like with out him, but I can’t imagine my life without him. The thought of leaving him for two weeks (which I will do this summer) makes me feel sad and empty, so I plan on filling that void with delicious alcohol.


Little JBalls now points incessantly. He’s able to comprehend a little bit of what I’m saying. His first word is “dog”, and we hunt them with ease on our street. He will select a favorite book from his box, I will sit down cross legged, he’ll crawl into my lap, and we’ll read it 4 times in a row. He’s very generous with hugs, especially if he hasn’t seen me in 30 minutes. He loves to spin. When he wants to go out side, he fetches his shoes, and sometimes ours as well.

I reached an unrealized parenting milestone when I was talking on the phone and a squealing naked baby came zooming past me.

He also had his first ear infection. This was the first time I heard his serious pain cry. My concern for him was overwhelming. It broke my heart, and I wanted to do everything in my power to make him feel better. After several poor nights of sleep, he woke us at 5:30am, and my very first thought was “thank goodness he let us sleep in an extra half hour”. Thats a thought my old self couldn’t comprehend.


His first birthday party was held at a local park. In typical Krudden fashion, it lasted for 6.5 hours. On his actual birthday, we spent the day trying to make him as happy as possible, and I believe we succeeded. It was a wonderful weekend.


In the last 30 days, we’ve had visitors for 21 of them. Stina’s parents came for almost two weeks, and celebrated Jasper’s birthday with us. It was a great visit, Stina and I caught up on some sleep, and the house now has a built in spice rack. We got out to see Trey Anastasio at the fox with Rachel. We even had a funtastic night out sans JBalls in Sausilto. I took the ferry out from San Fran after work for gorgeous view of the fog rolling over the GG bridge, met up with Stiners, and begin raging when my feet were on solid ground. We were asleep in our hotel by 9pm.
Tom came in for quick visit from Seattle. Gail and Dan flew in from Maui for a education conference, and they stayed for a few days at our place. I got an opportunity to talk with Gail about Graham’s passing, and that re-opened some pretty intense feelings of loss. There was a 45 minute window when Gail and Dan left and my sis-in-law appeared from Boston. Then Dr. Doug  joined us the next day. I do love me some visitors. JBalls takes a while to warm up to all these strange people.


And Haber learned to point too!



I’ve put in some hours in my studio on some general fuzz tunes as well. I had my first recording session with a professional classically trained vocalist, Phoebe Alexander. That was a pretty fascinating experience. She notated the music I send her to listen to, and proceeded to hit some wicked high notes. Color me impressed.
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Music Production Musings 3

December 13th, 2010 2 comments

Unlike the last two “lessons” post, there is no unifying theme to these ideas. These are just random thoughts that I jotted down over the last year while I was working on tunes. Hopefully you can find something useful in one of these savory thought nuggets.

1. Instant inspiration

When I need to work on something fresh, I’ll take a song that has already been somewhat fleshed out and start a new unrelated song section using the same set of plugins. I might keep a drum part or bass line from the original song to use as an anchor, and I’ll try and build something new in one or two sittings. Since I’m “restricted” to the plugins already in the track, I’ll spend no time patch/plugin hunting. The entire time I’ll just be writing music. It’s most often a cathartic exercise, and occasionally I’ll write something worth keeping. I could either fold this new part back into the original song, or use it independently.

2. Focused song writing

When I’m trying to write a new melody line for a tune, I’ll create a loop in a song section and start jamming. As soon as I play something interesting I’ll stop recording and drop whatever I just played in the section. I’ll tidy up the bad notes and off rhythm, and then play around with the notes in the midi editor. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m an abuser of quantize. I used to just jam on the loop for like 20 minutes and then scrub through the entire recording until I found the interesting ideas. This new approach is way more efficient way to make progress on a song (though maybe not as fun as the endless jam approach). I may do several passes in a section to see if I can create a few different melodies, but I often stick with my first idea and move on.

3. Fermenting

As of late, I’m letting finished songs sit idle for long periods of time – like 6 months to a year – before revisiting them. Then I’ll have fresh ears, and am much more willing to modify (and hopefully improve) the song. Similarly, it’s fun to go through unfinished songs that I haven’t looked at in a while and re-evaluate then. Often I find a single section in one of these songs that I think is strong, and throw the rest of it away. I might try to meld this section with other cannibalized song sections. I love the challenge of trying to connect two unrelated song sections together – transposing sections to related keys and trying to find a way to make interesting transitions from one section to another.

4. The hustle

The vast majority of opportunities for your art are not handed to you on a silver platter. When there’s a musician I want to rope into playing on a track, a producer that I really want to meet, or whatever – I find a way to make the connection happen. It’s showing up to gigs early or staying late after a show to make an introduction. It’s knowing when a person of interest is going to be at a place and finding them. It requires good timing, confidence, humility, and friendliness. Like anything important, there’s the risk of failure. In the long run, you rarely regret trying, where you will almost always regret not trying.

5. The whole story behind the music

I recently had a recording session with a violin player that I thought went really well. Upon reviewing the material, I found that I wasn’t happy with the way things were recorded – the phrasing and dynamics of the recorded parts didn’t sit well with me. I initially got depressed since I thought I had wasted my time. Later, I remembered that the recording session was necessary to clarify what I wanted the violin parts to sound like. I’m confident that during subsequent sessions, I’ll record the parts the way I want them. I’ve been through this experience many times. It just takes a lot of time and patience. Listeners to my music have no idea how many failures and changes I made to these songs before they hear them. Moreover, they don’t care (and I don’t blame them), much like you don’t care about the many edits I made to this post. Looking back, I don’t remember the painstaking hours I spent obsessively tweaking my tracks.

6. Letting tunes ferment

When I released my last album (Soulful Filling), it was the first time I had no lingering doubts about a release. Almost two years later, I still feel the same way, which is sort of astonishing. I know I’m not going to be able to do it with every release going forward, but I now know it’s a goal worth pursuing. Currently I have a dozen or so tracks taking shape with a similar enough vibe, so I started mentally assembling the track order of a new album. When I looked at what would comprise the next album, I knew that I wasn’t going to feel as good about it as I had about Soulful Filling. So I removed any tracks that I had doubts about from the track list. I can always release them as bonus tracks. Of course this advice could easily be taken too far. There’s no need to be paralyzed by quest for perfection. The goal of an artist is to constantly grow and improve – so I’m not hoping that this next album is the best album I’ll ever release. My goal is to release something that I believe I will have few regrets about a couple years later. Set your bar high, but not out of reach.

7. Making progress

Previously, I mentioned that I always iterate through tracks to reduce frustration. Another thing to add to that is that when I open a track, I always try to either add or modify something before closing it. This helps me feel like I’m moving it forward, even if I abandon it later. Unless I’m really in the zone working on a song, a music session will last about 20-60 minutes (my free time is pretty limited these days anyways). I’m pecking away at these tunes, but I don’t care. I used to get so lost in my obsession to produce music that I forget I make music because its fun and emotionally fulfilling. Its important to not to lose sight of this.

8. Self mastering

I’ve self mastered all 5 of my albums. I am by no means a mastering jedi – infact, I’m quite an amateur, with almost zero training in the subject. I sent out my second album to get mastered and was totally unsatisfied with the result, so I figured it would be better if I just did it myself. Its a terribly painful and tedious process, and I’m not very good at it either. The best thing about mastering your own tunes is that I inevitably always find mistakes in the mix along the way. This is invaluable. So even if I send out my next album to get mastered by someone who knows what they’re doing, I will always do a first pass so that I can hopefully identify all the mistakes in the mix.

9. Ableton Live

Little magical musical accidents sometimes occur in Ableton Live. As soon as I have a set of clips that are working well together, I lay them out in the arrangement view. I’ll create a loop for this section in the arrangement view, and then add new parts back in the session view. By default, the last clip recorded in live will playback when I hit play in the arrangement view. When I move to a different section of a song, the last thing I recorded will automatically (and non-intentionally) play in the new section. Occasionally it will sound inspiring (though never spot on). So I’ll investigate, reorganize the melody and rhythm of the clip so it works in the new section, and BAM, new unintentional part to the song that may even help connect two sections together.

Please let me know if you found any of these useful, or if this post reminded you of other lessons you’ve learned along the way. . .

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Shedding some Armor

November 18th, 2010 4 comments

When I was growing up back east, I had a very hard time accepting feedback from other people, especially my parents. I was particularly defensive when it came to my ideas, which was probably to compensate for how emotionally fragile I was. Over the years, I have dialed back this defense mechanism since it turns out that other peoples ideas can be valuable. By which I mean, worth money. For example, Garbage Pail Kids was not an idea I came up with, and that guy was laughing his way to the bank when I was 8 (and deeply defensive).

I’m currently nearing the end of my second paternity leave. This was very different then round 1, since Jasper has developed into a little dude and we have a nanny 3 days a week. Knowing full well that I was going to have some time to work on projects during this leave, I tried to come up with a challenging computer project that would force me to learn some new mad nerd skillz.

The initial idea came to me when I was last in Newton, and I attempted to explain it to my dad. He had some feedback, which I initially rejected. I later mulled over his words and happened upon some shiny useful nuggets which somewhat reshaped my initial idea. This is a hard learned technique I picked up from surviving a long term relationship. More over, I realized I could get more nuggety goodness by sharing my project idea with lots of other people and seeing what they had to say. So for the first time in my life, I actively solicited lots feedback from tech savvy people. The rewards for this approach have been bountiful (in terms of  insightful ideas, not cash). The trick was to be open to all feedback, and take my time evaluating what people had to say. I believe this to be the most valuable thing I’ve learned during developing this web application, which has nothing to do with all the intentional computer learning that I set myself up for.

Now that I’m finished the first pass at this app, I’m really interested in the feedback that my beta testers have to give. Instead of being bruised by negative feedback, I’d like to see if I could use any of this  information to improve the app.

The basic idea behind the app is a general fuzz song unlocker, where people earn the right to unlock bonus songs by promoting my music. It’s  a little ironic to spend so much time and energy building something that I know my fans will actively dislike. Almost all my previous music was free to download before – how could I have the nerve to make people jump through hoops to get new stuff? This is the advantage of being slightly more established then I was a decade ago – there are at least ten people across the globe who are willing to do a little more then nothing to hear unreleased tracks.

I had a relevant conversation with Stina at dinner. She was talking about how amazing our friends wedding website was. When I asked, she admitted that she hasn’t taken the 5 seconds to write them an email telling them how much she liked it. We consume, and rarely provide feedback to those who produce. I’ve already fully come to terms with this behavior. Therefore, I’m trying to incentivize people to take that easy extra step.   It’s an interesting idea which may not work at all. If nothing else, I had a really fun time building the app (I had almost forgotten that I actually enjoy programming), it’s a very solid piece of code that I can add to my resume, and I’ve internalized a valuable life lesson.  That is, money is good.

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Waking the General

July 13th, 2010 7 comments

One of the major fears I grappled with during Stina’s pregnancy was that my musical self would become seriously diminished. Now, on the other side of the baby fence, I’m relieved to find the fuzz fire still burning. While life is certainly fuller, its not going to be a Herculean effort to carve out time to make sweet love to my keyboard.

I’m in an interesting place with my music. I have 10-11 songs in my pocket – some finished, some on their way. Instead of kicking into high gear trying to finish up the album, I’m attempting to soak in the satisfaction of being flush with songs. In the last few years, I finally realized it’s more about journey then the destination, and the journey is a lot more fun when it has clear direction.

I’ve also been working on a secondary album – one that will be a bit of a departure from my previous releases. I’ve been working on some far more aggressive songs. It’s been super fun to crank the speakers and rock out. I’ve always had a love affair with quality aggressive music – Metallica,  Audioslave, the Crystal Method, etc. These new songs will most likely alienate my core audience – so I’ll need to strategize how to release it. One idea is to release it under a different pseudonym, but it seems a shame not to capitalize any fan base that I’ve built.

My fourth album, Cool Aberrations, spanned from super mellow to some somewhat uptempo. Like all my previous albums, it was really just a snap shot of all the songs that I had been working on at the time. After releasing Cool Aberrations, I decided that I wanted my next album to set a chill vibe and maintain it. Its amazing, and frankly surprising, to say two years after I released Soulful Filling that I still have no regrets about it. It came out exactly the way I wanted it to. I can’t say that about any of my previous releases. I doubt I’ll say that about my next one, but it’s a nice goal to have.

In the past two years I’ve also written a couple of fun mid tempo tunes. So I’m trying to determine whether I should put these tracks on my next album (like I did in albums 1-4) or spin off yet another album of mostly midtempo tracks. I go back and forth on this. It’s a little stressful for to think about, so I’m trying to coax the decision to be more playful then stressful. Should an album be a snapshot of my current work, or should I continue to try and maintain a vibe? I’m not sure. This next album won’t be as consistent as Soulful Filling regardless of my decision. That’s fine. It’ll take a listener on a fine melodic journey.

Another thing I’m also considering is changing my tag line. Currently, its “lush melodic instrumental electronica”. While that’s as succinct a way I can describe my music, its not very targeted. I’ve discovered that my fan base is largely comprised of folks who enjoy new age music/lifestyle, which is kinda funny since thats not my bag anymore. I certainly listened to a fair bit of new age music when I was a teenager, but that was 20 years ago.  Anyhow, I was thinking of trying to capitalize on that fact, and change the tag to something like “new age 2.0″. I was originally thinking “new age evolved”, but Stina thought that sounded condescending to new age music. Anyhow, it’s just another idea to kick around as the album coalesces.

Recently, I’ve seen a bunch of studios of artists that I admire. They are all chock full of synths, analog tape machines, and other electronic music gear. I get by quite nicely with a computer, two midi controllers,  and a mic. Here’s a picture of my studio in our east bay house. The posters extend all the way around the room. It’s a little ironic that I’m such a live music fan yet I produce and compose very precise electronic music.

Anyhow, I’m definitely interested in any feedback you might have on album composition or tagline ideas. . . .

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Wedding Music

January 1st, 2010 1 comment

What with ’09 being the year of the weddings, there were a couple opportunities to stretch my musical muscles for the betterment of magical nuptial time.

Dave SG is an amazing friend. He also made our wedding cake. He asked if I would compose the processional for his wedding. I was truly honored (slash payback is a bitch). He also requested that it should be performed along with his friend Andrzej on guitar. After struggling with a couple different original tunes, I ended up adapting Dave’s favorite general fuzz tune. I think it came out quite nicely. I may revisit it down the road. I’ve named it dragon fly, after the theme for his wedding. Download it here.

Lars is also an amazing friend. He asked me to DJ his wedding. On my birthday, he made me a mix cd which included a random track discovered at the nursery school where he works. It is song about Lars, who fights off dragons and needs to eat lunch. It is a very cute acoustic track. Lars was lukewarm about playing the track at their wedding. I spruced it up a bit and slipped it in during dancing go booyeah time. It amused me to no end. And now you can hear it too.

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Luck + Preparation = Sweet Butter Pie

November 23rd, 2009 No comments
I’ve been a fan of Jon Hopkins for a year or two now. I discovered his music when someone said I sounded like him, which now I take to be a huge compliment. Earlier in the week I saw he was going to play in SF, and figured I should catch him. He was opening up for Roypsopp, whom I’ve never heard of. I checked them out online, decided they were sorta fun, and figured I’d go pick up a ticket at the show.
On Thursday morning, I discovered that the show was sold out. Ropysopp is far more popular then I realized. I checked craigslist, saw many people looking for tickets, and figured it wasn’t going to happen. No big deal. I was sorta checking craigslist every hour or so, when I ran across a post selling a ticket for face, but the buyer had to pick it up. I was downtown with no car, figured it wasn’t going to happen with the demand for the ticket. I wrote the buyer, got the address, google mapped it, and saw it was in the far south part of the city. There was no way I could get there fast. Google maps introduced a new option to see what your public transportation options, and upon clicking it I learned there was a bus that left from right in front of my building, and the line ended at the exact address of the selling. And the bus left in 3 minutes. So I went for it. I dropped everything at work, ran downstairs, called the seller, jumped on the bus, and headed to south san francisco. Sure enough, the bus dropped me off at the exact location I needed to be. I found the seller, bought the ticket, and because we were at the end of the line for the bus, the driver was smoking a cigarette, and I was able to get back on the same bus to bring me right back to work, just in time for our weekly social gathering. Booyeah.
Then off to the show, which was at the grand. I hate the grand. Security made a huge stink over my metal water bottle last time I was there and the sound is generally terrible. It turns out that the Warfield bought the grand, security didn’t care at all about my water bottle or laptop, and they’ve put in an entirely new stack of speakers since I’ve last been there. I got there right when Jon Hopkins took the stage, and his set blew me away. The way he adapted his mostly mellow musing to a dyanamic, occationally bombastic, live show was inspiring. His setup was all tactile and no laptop, so watching him deftly trigger and manipulate tracks was fairly engaging, which is unusual for this type of music. The light show brought it home. I was really impressed, which is no easy feat with my extreme electronic music snobbery. My only complaint was that it was too short, under an hour, but thats what happens when your the opener. For a sold out show, it was really empty, which was fine with me.
There’s always a voice in the back of my mind that when I go to a show like this that it would be perfect if I could meet the artist, do a short speil and a cd handoff. The likelyhood of this happening is almost nill, since the artist has to be milling around in the audience and I have to capture their attention. After Jon’s set, I scoped out the two areas that he was most likely to appear, and lo and behold, I saw him appear from the stage door. I asked him if he knew about echoes, and it turned out he just recorded a living room concert from them a couple weeks ago. Holy perfect. I did my self promotion thing, made the connection, and felt on top of the world. I don’t expect anything to come from these connections. They rarely do. It was just that it an unbelivable feeling to accomplish really unlikely goals. I just felt completely intune with the universe – that special combination of luck and prepardness.
I have to admit, Royskopp didn’t reel me in. They place got jammed, hipsters were everywhere, and it just wasn’t my scene. They do write some fun music though. I stayed for an hour and then bailed, hoping to make it home before Stiners went to bed. I got home in the nick of time, putting a cap on a perfect day. After tucking Stina in to bed and saying goodnight, I felt like the luckest guy in the world.

I’ve been a fan of Jon Hopkins for a year or two now. I discovered his music when someone said I sounded like him, which I now take to be a huge compliment. Earlier in the week I saw he was going to play in SF, and since he hails from the UK and I’m on my show bender, I figured I should catch him. He was opening up for Royksopp, whom I’ve never heard of.  I checked them out online, decided they were sorta fun, and figured I’d go pick up a ticket at the show.

On Thursday morning, I discovered that the show was sold out. Royksopp is far more popular then I realized. I checked craigslist, saw many people looking for tickets, and figured it wasn’t going to happen. No big deal. I was haphazardly checked craigslist every once in a while, when I ran across a fresh post selling a ticket for face, but the buyer had to come pick it up. I was downtown with no car, so it wasn’t realistic with the demand for the ticket. I called the seller, got the address, google mapped it, and saw it was in the far south part of the city. There was no way I could get there fast. Google maps will now plot your public transportation options, and upon clicking the pub trans link I learned there was a bus that left from right in front of my building, and the line ended at the exact address of the selling. And the bus left in 3 minutes. So I went for it. I dropped everything at work, ran downstairs, jumped on the bus, and headed to south SF. Sure enough, the bus dropped me off at the exact location I needed to be. I found the seller, bought the ticket, and since we were at the end of the line for the bus, the driver was smoking a cigarette, and I was able to get back on the same bus to bring me right back to work, just in time for our weekly social gathering. Booyeah.

Then off to the show, which was at the Grand. I hate the grand. Security made a huge stink over my metal water bottle last time I was there and the sound is generally terrible. It turns out that the Warfield just bought the Grand. Shockingly, security didn’t care at all about my water bottle or laptop, and they’ve put in an entirely new stack of speakers since I’ve last been there. Issues magically resolved. I got there right when Jon Hopkins took the stage, and his set blew me away. The way he adapted his mostly mellow musing to a dynamic, occasionally bombastic, live show was inspiring. His setup was all tactile and no laptop, so watching him deftly trigger and manipulate tracks was fairly engaging, which is unusual for this type of music. The light show brought it home. I was really impressed, which is no easy feat with my extreme electronic music snobbery. My only complaint was that it was too short, under an hour, but that’s what happens when your the opener.

There’s always a voice in the back of my mind that when I go to a show like this that it would be perfect if I could meet the artist, do a short shpiel and a cd handoff. The likely hood of this happening is almost nil, since the artist has to be milling around in the audience and I have to capture their attention. After Jon’s set, I scoped out the two areas that he was most likely to appear, and lo and behold, I saw him appear from the stage door. So I went up to him, chatted about venues in the city, and I asked him if he knew about echoes, and it turned out he just recorded a living room concert from them a couple weeks ago. Perfect. That gave me a fantastic license to do my self promotion thing and make the connection. I  felt on top of the world. I don’t expect anything to come from these connections. They rarely do. Its just an unbelievable feeling to accomplish a really unlikely goal. I just felt completely in tune with the universe – that special combination of luck and preparedness.

I have to admit, Royskopp didn’t reel me in. They place got jammed, hipsters were everywhere, and it just wasn’t my scene. They do write some fun music though. I stayed for an hour and then bailed, hoping to make it home before Stiners went to bed. I made it back in the nick of time. After tucking Stina in to bed and saying goodnight, I actually felt like the luckiest guy in the world.

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