Friday, December 5, 2014

"… And They Were Given Seven Trumpets" [A Soundtrack for the Close of the Age]

[UPDATE: December 5, 2014] Make that twenty plus four. Sorry to say that Amazon has since nixed offering .mp3 samples of CreateSpace audio, so even that short appetizer is now gone. 

Meanwhile, tonight the UD chorus will be performing a selection of Christmas music, the narrative interludes for which yours truly contributed the text, with frequent quotations from Scripture and a previously published poem based on Matthew 2:1-12, which can be found in The Just, Quiet Wind (p. 12). Twenty-four years after my first "music only" recording (instrumental but for the Apostles' Creed), this "words only" contribution. It will be fun to hear what the readers do with it. Perhaps if you are in the area you can come to Heritage Center at 7:30PM.

[FIRST POSTED: December 5, 2013] "It was twenty (plus three) years ago today," … I went into the studio (Woodland West) and recorded this "... And They Were Given Seven Trumpets."

The title is a quotation of Revelation 8:2. It was inspired by an extraordinarily robust, even beefy, trumpet patch on my Yamaha SY-77. Unfortunately, you don't catch that sound on the MP3 sample, and until I migrate over to Bandcamp or something, sampling auditors have to make do with Amazon's short snippets.

Meanwhile, rhythmically speaking, the drum track with its meticulous fills is nicely augmented with the four-mallet vibes. OK, the vibes are also a keyboard patch, but having played in a high school jazz band once with a guest vibraphone player, it only made sense to me that a realistic vibe patch begged an equally realistic use of the same. A musicologist friend of mine, on hearing this piece, said, "The vibes make the track." More recently, someone commented that the "register" reminded him of Rick Wakeman's synth-based work from the early seventies. As for me, I like the way the classic Yamaha DX-7 Rhodes patch (overused though it may be) takes over after the break—a pleasant sound to stabilize matters after the disruption and atop the resumed driving beat of the HR-16 drum "kit." Oh, and I do always enjoy the hair-raising burnouts.

I'm happy to say, it still rocks.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Harmless helicopters

There was a guy walking on our roof yesterday, leaf blower in hand. His crunching footsteps overhead got my attention, as did the gobs of autumnal debris that came sailing out of the gutters onto our deck. This happens every year. This year, though, he kindly blew the stuff off the deck as well, so the subsequent sweeping would not be quite the chore it has been in the past. As I heard him make his way toward the kitchen side of the condo, I ran to the sink and watched as he sent a great plume of maple seeds flying, a tiny, silent invasion force of harmless helicopters drifting down, down, down, three stories to the wooded creek below. It was beautiful. It reminded me of my dad, whose architectural logo—on business card, letterhead, and sign—was the maple seed.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Nothing new under the sun

Even for the great poets and songwriters of our times, poesis is imitatio. As Bob Dylan reports, in describing his own process of composition: "My songs are either based on old Protestant hymns or songs or variations of the blues form."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Phenomenal Llama goes to press

OK, it's not music per se, but it certainly has its musical elements. File this, rather, under poesis.

A Phenomenal Llama: A Tall Christmas Tale for Children of All Ages is now available at Amazon in print:

... and Kindle:

Bulk discounts are available for purchases of six (6) copies or more through the CreateSpace store. For more information leave a message at A Phenomenal Llama's FaceBook page.

Monday, April 29, 2013

As promised: a conversation with Ashley Ormon on poetry

In honor of National Poetry Month (April), see my exchange with Ashley Ormon, editor of Proverbs and Wisdom, and author of God in Your Morning. Our discussion of poetry and of my little book, The Just Quiet Wind, continues in her print magazine, In the Light. Order a copy to support this winsome and avid advocate for Christian poets and writers.