Extraordinary Independent Music

I’ve had a wee break from the daily grind at the college. It’s been positive and inspiring amidst a backdrop of world-weary realities. Music always saves me and this past month helped to reel me in from the nether regions of negativity to the shining light of sound.

Check out the music and buy this EP today. It is AMAZING! (Also, the artists receive all proceeds from sales on the first Friday of every month.)

Mixing the music on this EP for my friends Yoko OK and Dibson T Hoffweiler provided the amber orb of love and living that I needed to get through a difficult time. When you mix a song, you delve deeply into all of it. First as a whole and then break it down piece by piece, instruments, notes, voices…The goal is to “sweeten” every track and then blend it all together into a stereo file for listening and reaching wider audiences. I have not focused on other people’s music in a very long time, so this was magical for me. I’ve been recording and mixing my own songs throughout the pandemic, but have found that I lost the pop melodies I once conjured for a more dire and cacophonous (noisy) sonic palette. DTH’s and YK’s four-song EP showcases what can achieve in the digital world we live in: write and record music and lyrics separately in our own homes and have someone else mix the files all without ever seeing each other in the flesh.

An aside: in late 2014, Propellerhead.se (the software company behind the popular DAW Reason) created an ingenious way for people around the world to share music snippets on a site called Allihoopa using their free software (Take and Figure) combined with Reason. Read about it here. It worked for a few years and I met some amazing musicians around the world I collaborated with including a man in Transylvania who also introduced me to DistroKid. So, we musical types have been composing and recording in our separate spaces for a while. However, what DTH and YK offer in this EP is a glimpse of pandemic life (The Story, House of Hidden Life) and hope (Power Up). They are excellent songwriters whose pop sensitivity creates some of the best earworms I have had burrow into me in a long time. I sing Land of Lunatics out loud through the day and night. Another wonderful aspect of this EP is the collaboration with Yoko’s mom, Helen Oji, who provided the art for the cover. It’s a piece titled “Apparition” from 1995 and is perfect for the House of Hidden Life EP.

Last year, I was introduced to an amazing concept known as Bushwick Book Club. I saw a performance of the Oakland chapter (BBCO) in the Fall and loved it! This time around, I’m bringing my PA and some live sound students of mine. The students will get to practice the craft of live sound mixing and recording for the eight music artists who will perform their songs written in the theme of the graphic memoir recently ready by the group, “Charmed” by Trinidad Escobar. The show is outdoors on a museum porch in a park. Love this. Click for more details and to RSVP here.

Another amazing musician/composer and musical creative to give a shout out to is Marissa Deitz (suckercrush.bandcamp.com, and Music Every Week www.marissadeitz.com/music-every-week). Marissa hosts weekly themed songwriting challenges that have also helped me move through the mud of the past year requiring me to delve into my musical self weekly to submit a piece of recorded work to the challenge. One of Marissa’s explanations of a theme struck me as something that should be read and felt beyond the group:

I’ve been diving deep on recording an album lately, and I have some big questions for everyone this week!

History is told by the victor, and we are the heroes of our own stories. When we’re recording our songs each week, what are we capturing? What is preserved with the record we make, and what is lost? And when you’re writing music, what are the stories you choose to tell, and which ones go unmentioned? Why? Is the fidelity of your recording representative of “the work”, or is it a stand-in of some kind (for live performance, or for a future vision of a fully-fleshed-out arrangement)? Does recording expand your capabilities through multitracking or processing? How cool is it that we can time travel, edit, manipulate recordings? Is your recording process symbiotic with the composition process, or does it come afterward? How do you archive your work? Your life? Does your song live on your hard drive, in your memory, on the page with chord symbols, tabs, staves? A combination of multimedia methods? Can we ever represent our musical ideas in their truest, fullest form? Should we even try to?

(copied here with permission)

Music has saved me again and I’m happy to be able to help others polish their muse.

About danaj33

writer * department chair of Broadcast Electronic Media Arts and audio faculty at City College of San Francisco * music composer and producer * always in discovery mode, learning, living, loving, and laughing.
This entry was posted in Music, People, sound. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s