Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bim Bam Audio Branding

When the San Francisco-based Jewish educational resource provider G-dCast decided to re-brand as Bim Bam, they invited me to provide a musical arrangement for a new bumper to preface videos and marketing content. Here's what we came up with together:

I'll have more details on our collaboration in a future entry. Thanks for checking this out!

More corporate/ branding work by Mike Hallenbeck

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

What Jen's Been Saying In Her Sleep, April 2016

A heaping helping of sleeptalk form my wife Jen this time around. Ellipses indicate long pauses or followup questions of mine.

Lots of analysis of my behaviors, competence, and intentions, or rather of some upside-down, funhouse-mirror version of me. (Though we don't quite get to the hostility level of a couple of years back, when comments like "Oh God, now you're here" were not uncommon.) A few quotes sound like those of a very confused Dungeon Master, and several utterances are shot through with an Emersonian imperative to self-reliance.


= = = = =

"You came here. Yeah, you win."

Jen: "A jewel garden."
Me: "What grows there?"
Jen: "Seeds."
Me: "What kind of seeds?"
Jen: "Democratic seeds... you don't know where the cat is."

"Yeah. Whatever the hell."

"Hey! How do we get into this room?... You just have to figure out how many points you're getting by how much you're winning, and then you just keep on keeping track."

"Yeah, it's like a favorite conversation you could be having with yourself."

Something about how "the kitties all have their own houses"

"That's about all there is about..." and then something about a "slide show"

"You have three heads."

Jen: "Yeah. Go ahead and do that."
Me: "Do what?"
Jen: "Whatever it is that you do."

Jen: "You should stop talking so much."
Me: "About what?"
Jen: "The little link you can click on."

"Yeah, you're done counting. You're counting the number of zeros after the first one. That's your own issue... that's what way you know you're talking about. You're like one little cartoon character. You understand this... yeah, there's all that stuff happening here. You just need to grow your own flowers... You think you have it all figured out... you're made out of all these different pieces. Different pieces of ideological components."

"Do you go out and do something? Like go to a store, or a mall, or a museum? ...You were sleeping before I got here, too... Just think about it."

"You don't know where you're going after this... did you remember your toothbrush?"

Jen: "You're walking alone in the snow."
Me: "Where am I going?"
Jen: "I don't think you know. You're lost."
Me: "Where should I be going?"
Jen: "Iowa?"
Me: "Why Iowa?"
Jen: "There's lots of people with farms down there... There's lots of people there..."

"It's you again. Did you make the secret club? ...Did you make it with your friends and neighbors? They might have a little person made out of dough. That's the extra one that it comes in, and that's the plain side of it... And we could all be there. I think we'd all be there. Some of us might still be here. We could have a lot of things."

Jen: "Yeah, you have your own little fenced off area."
Me: "Where?"
Jen: "I'm gonna get to that... Yeah. You need to keep your own slides."

And our grand prize winner this time around:

"You're breaking up the big banks."

Friday, April 22, 2016


Plenty of 1980s Top 40 music has slowly mellowed into the "not so bad" category; Prince's, though, stands in the rare company of charting artists (with Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and a few others) whose work has really stood the test of time since that godawful decade.

I'm thinking here primarily in terms of composition, a realm where Prince truly shone. At an incredibly young age, he'd absorbed an astonishing range of musical styles and could employ their various tropes at will-- with a flair that eludes most musicians for a lifetime. Prince has often been derided as a gifted synthesist without anything original to offer. But I'd contend that his songwriting often achieved a deftness in league with the Stevie Wonders, Sly Stones, Lennon/ McCartneys, Hendrixes, and Joni Mitchells of the world-- in other words, he not only copped the styles of these artists, but matched their compositional prowess as well.

The multiplicity of his inspirations suggests that Prince's work was, in fact, all about blending and blurring. His privileging of androgyny and multicultural imagery mirrored a music that didn't just transcend stylistic boundaries, but declared them irrelevant and dissolved them altogether. This recombinant approach not only shed new light on the potential of American music, but on the potential of America itself. All of which, at the time, America sorely needed (and still needs).

I'd planned on spending part of this post geeking out on stuff like how cool it was that he'd often save a fancy programmed drum fill for the very end of a song, almost at the end of a fadeout-- but to hell with that. At its glorious best, Prince's music is a celebration-- an invitation to welcome joy into our hearts. It's hard for me to pick a favorite track, but I think "Mountains" will do:

Thanks for the music, Mr. Nelson. U made some wonderful things.

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Junior Birdman Audio: New Studio Is Here!

I'm excited to announce that my new studio Junior Birdman Audio is up and running! I’m looking forward to providing voiceover recording, sound design, custom music, and mix for storytellers in all media, only now in a cozy professional space at the heart of Minneapolis' Northeast Arts District instead of in the spare bedroom of my house! Please like it on Facebook for updates, and feel free to get in touch for a studio tour and more info.

Upon moving in, I've hit the ground running with several projects: a branding bumper for an educational resource provider, sound design for a training app by an e-learning developer, a sales video for a medical device manufacturer, a cartoon bound for the festival circuit, and dialog edit/ FX edit/ ADR/ walla recording for a feature film. More info as it arises, and many more exciting projects in the works. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Erik Bauersfeld, R.I.P.

Those who know me well are quite aware that “Return of the Jedi”’s Admiral Ackbar holds a special place in my heart. This certainly does not render me unique, so it’s in good company that I mourn the passing of one who gave him life.

This entry of The Onion’s AV Club
— which, I guarantee, provides more insight than I will— details the life and career of actor Erik Bauersfeld, the voice of Ackbar, who died recently at 93. One noteworthy aspect of this occasion is that it informs me that Mr. Bauersfeld did indeed exist— I could be forgiven for thinking that actor Tim Rose, who donned Ackbar’s cephalopodian visage in “Jedi” and, delightfully, in “The Force Awakens” as well, also provided the dear Admiral’s voice.

But no! It took two men to tell us that it was, in fact, a trap. And I appreciate them both for the work they did to make it happen. Rest in peace, Erik Bauersfeld. And thank you for your work.

Mike Hallenbeck / Junior Birdman Audio home page

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Memes, April 2016


I guess these first two from the Jimmy Fallon show, which I don't usually see so it's been up to social media to throw 'em over the wall to me. It's a pretty simple premise: cut up newscasts by Brian Williams to make him unwittingly perform rap songs. Thus, his "cover" of "Rapper's Delight":

"Baby Got Back" also gets the treatment:

And so on... there are fine versions of "Bust a Move", "Gin and Juice" (highly recommended), etc. But I'm sure you can find those on your own.

I have a lot of sympathy for whoever had to sift through all those newscasts to find takes of Williams saying all that stuff. I mean, there's software to make all that easier, but it still must be pretty arduous work.


This enterprising soul re-dubbed Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" video without music, cutting in realistic sound design elements and creating one hell of a creepy video in the process:

Thanks to Jason Schumaker for hopping me to that one. It reminds me of some more favorites. The "Star Wars: A New Hope" throne room scene, stripped of music and re-scored using only sound effects and dialog elements, results in a document of the awkward and dull event it would have been had it actually happened:

The Bowie/ Jagger "Dancing in the Street" video given the same treatment:

And I just discovered this too... man, this one is amazing.

However these people manage to find the time to do this stuff, I can only hope they continue to find it.

Mike Hallenbeck home page + contact