“Mad Musical Experiments” is an on-going series where I plan to dump some of my more frustrating, interesting, or (I hope) good material.
As a musician, I am an amateur in every way; messing around with pre-rendered loops and filters, borrowing samples shamelessly from wherever I want, and trying to make stuff that expresses what I’m feeling at any given time – traumatic things, usually, things that resist being put into words.
Broadly speaking, my competence with Logic Pro and the kinds of sounds I wanted to experiment with have changed dramatically over time, so much so that it’s helpful to group the tracks into different time periods. I’d be dignifying them too much to call them “albums,” so let’s just call them “collections” instead.
Over the years I’ve named the collections *as if* they were albums, and they break down roughly like this:
1) *Funland* (2009-2010) – my first forays into music-making; sample heavy; batshit crazy; with an overall goal of making my music sound like it’d been filtered through a meat grinder.
Someone closer to me than I am to myself fell into a coma from which she would never awake during this time – which was what drove me to music. Since my heart had been through a meat grinder, so to speak, I needed to hear music that sounded likewise in order to really feel it.
I was heavily influenced by an album called Public Strain, a bizarre, completely unique masterpiece from the now-defunct indie band, Women. Since my loved one was a native of Thailand, I also used a lot of traditional Thai music and vocals (from Pichit Paiboon) as well. Toru Takemitsu, the films of Kurosawa, Kubrick, Tarkovsky, and Herzog, and David Byrne’s instrumental stuff also influenced the mood of Funland.
2) *The Ruins* (2011-2013) – a collection of songs inaugurated by Youth Will Not Endure, overall marked by increasing competence with Logic Pro.
I dialed back the insanity of Funland a bit and started to work on making things *slightly* more pleasing to the ear. In terms of my personal life, this was when I really began to grapple with my grief and what it had done to me – hence the name of the collection.
3) *Calypso* (2014-2016) – a collection begun after uprooting my life and moving to China.
The music reflects growing know-how with my chosen software, and a whole different set of problems than my previous efforts – notably, a disastrous Anxiety/Panic Disorder I developed in the Fall of 2013 and wouldn’t get properly diagnosed for over two years.
For most of that time, I believed I was about to join the departed on the other side of the river; thus, much of this stuff is about facing my own mortality. Everything sounds slightly more polished and intricate than the material on The Ruins, probably due to my desire to leave something “good” behind to remember me by when I died. Dark times.
4) *Alpha of the Betas* (2017-present) – this is my current run with music-making and very likely my last.
I only ever made music as a form of self-therapy and catharsis, and I only release it here, publicly, because others have expressed an interest in it. Maybe it will reach someone in similar straits.
That said, the music here is more purely about just sounding good to me. I’d begun to get my GAD under control with psychotropics, was feeling better, clearer in my head, etc., and so was able to concentrate on other things aside from applying tourniquets to staunch my emotional bleeding.
Hopefully, the above exposition should help contextualize what you’re listening to, as I’ve identified the year of composition and the collection each song belongs to in the intro to each video in this series. It may not make the music any better, but it does, I think, give it a meaning that even people who hate it can relate to.
Thanks for listening.
NOTE: This is one of the craziest tracks I’ve ever made – from the “Funland” era, naturally – when I was at my craziest. The immediate inspiration was an old Japanese flick called “Pale Flower,” specifically the way-ahead-of-its-time score by Toru Takemitsu (which you can hear snippets of at the end).
Apart from Takemitsu, I sampled vocals from Pichit Paiboon, some music from The Shining, some Thai violins, dialogue from Full Metal Jacket, and a drumbeat and bassline from (of all places) the video game Abe’s Exoddus.
Everything beautiful becomes hideous once it’s jumbled together with everything else; much like delicious food becomes disgusting when combined with incompatible but equally delicious food. It’s a Babel-esque lesson we’re all learning as if for the first time.
Thanks for listening.
CREDIT: All of my music is made with Logic Pro, using various loops and filters, editing tricks, and good old fashioned elbow grease.