“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.
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.
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.