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Music

“Without music, life would be a mistake”-Friedrich Nietzsche

 
 

Brain Maintainance (2015)

This track was written and performed by myself (upright bass, guitar, lyrics, and vocals) along with help from the talented composer, producer, and musician Kagan Breitenbach. The goal was to take a broad sampling of the information presented in my first year of graduate courses in neuroscience and present them to the rest of my cohort in a stress-relieving format. If you can pick out all the references, you’ll probably learn a thing or two about how the brain works. Kudos to Kagan for cleaning it up with his excellent recording setup, professional experience in mastering, and tickling the ivories. Check out more of his own work at Split Mountain Sound.

 
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The Mountain Top (2013)

On Martin Luther King Jr. day in 2013, I was listening to his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top”, his final and one of his most moving orations. Both Dr. King’s civil disobedience and Mohandas Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha made a lasting impact on me when I read about them as a young man. More importantly, they made an impact on the world and their work required intense mental, physical, and spiritual discipline that I was trying to understant. When I wrote this track, I was also training my body and mind for high altitude climbing in the Himalayas. I was reviewing a lot of the challenges, dangers, and approaches to successful climbs and outlined them throughout this hip hop track.

 
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Primate Fingers (2019)

If you have ever found yourself blowing air across the open lid to an empty 12oz beer bottle, you were probably greeted with a well-rounded tone of C#. Unless of course you finished a bomber 22oz bottle, in which case, the tone is closer to F#. Well, one night I found myself building the C# major scale and the F# major scale through volumetric displacement amongst beer bottles. It turns out the whole and half step intervals in these scales are equivalently represented by different volume intervals. Basically, the tone climbs higher the more beer you have in the bottle, and goes lower the more beer that you drink. Also the bigger bottles like a 64oz growler gives a deep bassy tone. I ended up recording these different tones and built a chord arrangement mapped to a MIDI keyboard. Pretty soon I was playing the beer bottles over a beat and learning accompanying guitar scales. It was a fun little science/music experiment and gave me a chance to practice scales with a lot of accidentals that I tend to unconsciously avoid. Of course no night of drinking, analytical measurement, and guitar playing would be complete without narration by my main man: David Attenborough.

 
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Bad Influents (2012)

I was influenced by more than merely my Uncle’s middle name “Evan”. Shawn was always very passionate about music and was fondly remembered by much of our family for his passion and silly sense of humor. His life was not without struggle, and his passing at a young age definitely left many of us with unresolved feelings about his short time and our own remaining time on this planet. I felt inspired at the time to write a song partly because of his influence on me. At the time, I was also working for a company that focused on filtering contaminated aqueous waste streams. In those experiments, the untreated “influent” stream would be passed over a column and we would collect the “effluent” stream and analyze it for various hazardous constituents like uranium, mercury, arsenic, lead, etc. Unfortunately, Shawn struggled with his own influents, but his influence on me was not lost. I hope to carry forward his passion for music in my own way. Much like a water extraction, I try to find the good in an influent and let the effluent pass on by.


More to come…

more to come…