BLOG: EXCITING UPDATE EDITION

I’ve been neglecting the ol’ blog lately, and for this I am ashamed. I shall cut a switch and lash myself with it as a suitable punishment.

While I haven’t been updating the blog, I’ve been doing other things and keeping busy in the real world. Here’s what’s been up:

  • Took a trip home to see my parental units
  • Learning the ropes and finer points of busking
  • Breaking my back landscaping
  • Played a fun 2 hour set at the Cottonwood Market, possibly the best place ever to perform
  • Caught a groovy show by one of my favourite bands, Zeus (For fans of classic rockesque new music)
  • Found out I’ll be opening for Fish & Bird on June 1 and quickly got a band together to back me

I’ll be playing another market on June 13 here in Nelson on Baker St. I think Nelson might set a record for markets per year per capita, but I couldn’t be happier about that. The markets are filled with friendly awesome people, and great local food and crafts. Good things all around.

Also, the big news on the horizon is that I’ll be performing as part of a summer tour with another musical act, but I don’t want to say too much right now before details are solidified, so please check back every 45 seconds for updates. Thanks.

Godspeed!

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A Song Inspired by Clive Wearing.

Last year I was reading the book “Musicophilia” by renowned Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, which deals with several fascinating effects that music can have on the brain of healthy, regular people, and also on the brains of those who have suffered some sort of disruption to their normal state of functioning. One such tale was of a man in the UK named Clive Wearing, who was living a real-life version of the film “Memento”, where he couldn’t form any new memories and his short term memory would reset in roughly the time it took him to blink an eye. Here’s a video of Dr. Sacks talking about Clive in greater detail.

Poor Clive was sent to live in a type of support home, as he was obviously unable to care for himself, and one of the coping mechanisms suggested to him by his doctors was to keep a journal which would hopefully allow for some memories to ‘catch’ and stay with him. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned and his journal was filled with page upon page of entries like “I have just woken up”, which would be crossed out minutes later and replaced with another entry that would read “Disregard previous entry, I am now awake”. The man was in a constant state of feeling as though he had just woken, and he would say that he felt as though he was dead – totally devoid of feeling and past.

There were two things in his life that did bring him joy though, his wife and his music. He could remember complicated pieces of music and could play them easily from memory, and once the piece was over, he would be sitting at the piano unsure of what he was doing. The bright spot in his days would be when his doting wife would come to visit, and Clive would shower her with affection every two minutes saying something along the lines of “You’ve come to visit me!”

I found his story to be tragic, yet somewhat hopeful. Even in his state of nothingness, he still had his love for his music and his love for his wife. I was inspired to write a song for Clive, and in one afternoon I whipped up a rough draft of a song for him. I’ve sat on it for a year now because I didn’t really think it was ready, and although it is still in quite a rough form, I think now is a good time to share it. You can listen to the song here on my Soundcloud page.

Godspeed!

It took all of my power to resist the “Star Wipe”.

Ahoy ‘Hoy,

Well, I’m unemployed again. I had a very short stint working at a ‘loans til payday’ type place that made me feel like my self-worth was somewhere between toilet bowl residue and Pol Pot, but that’s all over now. What to do to fill my time now? Shamelessly promote myself of course!

I took the videos of my year-end showcase at Selkirk and chopped them all up into their individual songs, and put them up on my youtube channel. Despite the nagging voice in my head telling me to “Star Wipe all the things!”, I included nary a one – a decision that is still haunting me. I had a few people asking me if I had a recording of my song “Honeybee”, and while I sadly do not have a high quality recording of it just yet, hopefully watching this video while rubbing honey all over your body and “stinging” yourself with thumb tacks will provide some level of satiety.

Please enjoy, and Godspeed!

Real sounds sound really real.

I uploaded a song to my soundcloud profile today. It was one that I wrote and recorded for an assignment in my Composition class, and one where I placed a special limitation on myself. Before I went to Selkirk, I had never really recorded using MIDI or virtual instruments, or sample libraries or any similar voodoo. Basically, everything I had ever recorded had come from real instrument or real person, but that all went out the proverbial window at school.

When I started school I bought a cheapy little M-Audio MIDI Controller Keyboard, and I managed to learn how to chicken-peck out a few tunes on it, but the most overwhelming change to get used to was the fact that I now had thousands of sounds at my fingertips in ProTools (the recording software I use). Whereas before I had to choose between playing my guitar or banjo on a track, I had now had to choose whether the song should be played by a Bouzouki, Shennai, or many other strange instruments I had never heard of and couldn’t properly pronounce.

Another issue with MIDI stuff is that it just doesn’t really sound like the real stuff, unless you’re paying through the nose for some top-notch sample libraries that Yo-Yo Ma endorses. In the sample libraries that come with ProTools, most of the orchestral type instruments sound pretty god awful and beyond fake, and it can be frustrating when you know you’ve written something that would sound great being played by real humans with real instruments, but it comes out sounding like one of those annoying birthday cards that play a warbly tune when you open them.

So for this project I decided to return to realism, and use only real life, tangible instruments.  As a result, it sounds a little rough and ragged, but I think that’s a quality that I enjoy. I think that MIDI instruments and sample libraries do have their place, but I think I’d like to dabble in some more ‘real’ recording again soon.

Visit my Soundcloud page and have a listen to “Another Day At The Paper Factory”.

Godspeed!

The Shine Shack is fully operational.

I’m lucky to live in a beautiful spot in Nelson, with a back deck so pimpin’ it makes the Hanging Gardens of Babylon look like a dingy sewer in Trenton, NJ. There’s a little hut (not a big Hutt) on the deck that I’ve always wanted to turn into a little music space, but I also have this crippling motivational problem where I like to watch Gordon Ramsay clips on Youtube instead of actually doing something productive, so the music shack dream never came to fruition.

Until now.

The catalyst for the transformation from storage shed to music shack was the addition of my new roommate, the multi-talented and 5’3″ giant of a man Edward T. He moved in at the start of May and is more motivational than the lovechild of Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey, and almost single-handedly set up the music shack which has been lovingly dubbed “The Shine Shack”. I’ll hopefully be spending a lot of time out in The Shine Shack over the next few months working on recording an EP or full length album. I’ve got a lot of really talented musician friends who I’d love to have on my recordings, so I’m looking forward to collaborating with them and making something special. Here’s some pics of the space, and my muse, who resides on the roof and wards off evil spirits.

I’ll try and keep all my loyal readers (according to the analytics on WordPress, 2 people read this – Thanks Mom and Dad!) updated with the progress on my album, and perhaps even post little snippets of the the songs, if they’re not marred by the sounds of car horns, traffic, and rabid pigeons that will inevitably bleed through into my recordings. Stay tuned.

Godspeed!

David Lynch would be proud of these gals

Ok, so it’s only the second post on this blog and I’ve already grown tired of trying to talk about myself, so I’m gonna take 5 on my own ego-massaging and promote one of my good friends, Lindsay Pratt, aka “Prattatat”, “Prattlesnake”, or the ever popular “You Sunk My Prattleship”.

I met Lindsay at music school when we both had to show up two weeks early to take the “prep course”, which is basically where they send all the kids who don’t know anything about music – at all. We then got to play together in the Songwriting ensemble, which is where I got to see what she was really all about; Brilliantly hilarious lyrics and a tremendously soulful voice. Not to mention one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, with just the right amount of filthy humour. And big boobs too. We played a couple of shows together as part of a thrown together posse we called “Plaidinum”, and the shows were a hoot. I sincerely hope I get the chance to play with her again soon.

Mitch, with the wild Prattlesnake

Lindsay moved back up north after the first year of school, and formed a band called “Twin Peaks” with her superfriend Naomi. These gals are writing witty and catchy tunes with gorgeous harmonies, and I for one, am a fan. So I was ecstatic to hear that the girls had made it through to the Top 10 in CBC’s contest Tracks On Tracks, where they’re sending one lucky band to Toronto by train, where they’ll get a spotlight in the NXNE festival. If you only vote in one online contest per decade, make this the one and vote for Twin Peaks here.

Godspeed!

Back To Life, Back To Reality

The bubble has burst. My gestation is complete. The warm, soft, soothing home I’ve been in for the last 2 years is gone. I have been forced out, kicking and screaming into the real world.

Well, that’s perhaps a bit over dramatic.

I’m referring to my time in the Contemporary Music and Technology program at Selkirk College, where over the past couple years, I’ve had pretty much the best time of my life. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again: If I had unlimited time and resources, I would spend the rest of my life at music school. But alas, the bills, they must be paid. And so after a brief hiatus, I’ve returned to the world of self-promotion via blogging.

I hoping that this site won’t only be used to shamelessly plug every little thing I do, and that I’ll also publish a few ramblings and musings while I’m all jimmied up on what could possibly be expired Alphagettis (which is, indeed, my current state). So please do check back often to see if I’m still alive, and to keep up to date with all the hot Tall Cans news (THERE IS NO NEWS TO REPORT NOW – REMAIN CALM).

Godspeed!