Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brown Rainbow: Down Here With Me

The latest session from Brown Rainbow, featuring yours truly on a few tracks. I play keyboards on "Universal Love Refresh" and "Mother Antonym", the little kid synth on "Private Label Terabyte", and I whistle on "Theatre Of Non-Color".

Hear/ download "Down Here with Me" by Brown Rainbow

"Improvisational collective" is perhaps a bit of a high-falutin' phrase to describe Brown Rainbow, and yet that's pretty much what it is.

Personnel on this release: Bryce Beverlin II, Charles Gillett, and myself. Trevor Adams provided the artwork, which I believe he created while we played.

Thanks for another fun session, fellas!

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hunter Fuel: Help fund our new album of WoW Hunter songs!

The long and short of it: I'm collaborating with eminent World of Warcraft blogger Frostheim (aka Brian Wood) to create an entire album of songs dedicated to Hunters-- his character class in the game. Please donate to our Kickstarter!

I have a great time working with Brian, and I love helping to create these songs and videos, but the fact is I'm usually too busy with paid work to put the time into it. So my wily cohort came up with the solution of making these projects generate revenue ahead of time.

Though I geek out on plenty of stuff, I don't play WoW myself. I think the graphics and animation are pretty cool though. Most of the time I have no idea what I'm talking about when I sing these songs. Frostheim, on the other hand, appears to have made quite a name for himself in the WoW community. There's even a Recovered Cloak of Frostheim named after his character, which I imagine is quite an honor. So I've been quite honored myself that he'd ask me to create some pieces with him.

I was originally recruited to help out on Brian's anthemic "I'm A Hunter". The music track and the lyrics were already together by the time I came aboard; my task was to set the lyrics to a melody, sing the vocals with the help of my wife Jen, and down mix the results. Frostheim cut together a video for the track:

At 849,743 views (as of this writing), this piece has been viewed by way, way more people than have witnessed any other work I've ever done. Apparently there was an audience out there for this stuff. We decided to try another video and offer another track as a paid mp3 download, to see if we could monetize the project. So Brian crafted the wry lyrics of "I Won't Miss You", rife with double entendres. This time I wrote the music myself, put togehter all the instrumentation, and sang all the vocals. The result was 2010's "I Won't Miss You":

"I Won't Miss You" was certainly well-received, though it didn't experience quite the runaway success its predecessor. The mp3 sold ok, but not enough to make it a viable revenue stream. We've tried to figure out why the two songs fared so differently. I think maybe it's because the first one worked better as a fist-pumping anthem that people could crank while they played the game.

Anyway, it was clear that in order to continue these productions we needed a way to make it financially viable as well as fun. So if there's still time, and you want to support our endeavor, please consider making a donation to our Kickstarter today!

Thanks for your time.

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Audiobook : Mrs. Dalloway

Strange, she thought, pausing on the landing... strange how a mistress knows the very moment, the very temper of her house! Faint sounds rose in spirals up the well of the stairs; the swish of a mop; tapping; knocking; a loudness when the front door opened; a voice repeating a message in the basement; the chink of silver on a tray; clean silver for the party. All was for the party.

--Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Mysteries of "Prometheus"

Like most fans of the xenomoprh franchise, I was beside myself with excitement over Ridley Scott's "Prometheus", wishing the days away between learning of it and getting to see it.

I tried to keep my expectations low. And my experience of the film so far has been... complicated. By now the widespread disappointment is quite evident online, and while I feel like the film has a lot of merit, I too found it poorly written, the characters thin, and the concept muddled.

I will say, though, that this article goes a long way toward unraveling the mysteries of this now-expanded universe.

But one enigma remains: Why, during one scene, do we witness Idris Elba's character playing a concertina which, as he relates, once belonged to Stephen Stills? What possible purpose could there be to this?

In pondering this riddle, my sole comfort arises from finding that no one else online seems to get it either. Perhaps some of the film's mysteries are simply beyond human understanding.