There are all sorts of sounds that we can create. . . .tapping a pencil against a coffee mug. . .drawing a horse-hair bow across a tightly wound metal string. . .humming a melody. . .recording "found sounds" and playing them back in a sequenced manner. But when do sounds become music?Read More
Wow - another year has gone by. Here's hoping you & yours had a great one.
This year I'd like to say "thanks for a great year" and "merry Christmas" by extending the gift of an original composition. You're free to listen to the song in the embedded players below or download it (either the CD-quality AIFF file or the lower-resolution AAC file) and enjoy it anywhere/anytime.
You're also welcome to share this song with friends & family. The more the merrier.
This year's song is entitled "The Lamentation of Mr. Claus". Give a listen and you'll get the idea.
After working this year on mostly pop productions, it was fun to make something intentionally stripped down, lo-fi and pretty much acoustic. It features a kick drum, sleigh bells, upright bass, Fender Rhodes electric piano, blues harmonica (through a bullet mic & tube pre-amp) and vocals.
Merry Christmas. . .and have a great 2017.
Not long ago, when an entrepreneur spoke of selling food that was made from organically-grown ingredients - including crops that were free of pesticides and/or harsh fertilizers as well as dairy-products that were sourced from cows that roamed freely to feed on grass while fore-going growth hormones and the aggressive use of anti-biotics. . .well. . .to most folks, that was just some damn yippy-dippy talk. “Shhhee-ite” the chorus would commonly croon. “Ya long hairs are talkin’ nonsense. Don’t be foolish. This is Business, after all! Just get them ingredients at the lowest price possible - no matter the source - and maximize the profit”.
Well. . .
A couple of guys went ahead and embraced that silly, hippy-dippy mentality - a mentality that surely could not succeed as a business-model - and turned it into a massively successful company. You no doubt know their story by now - and have enjoyed their ice-cream. If you take a peek in my freezer, you’ll know I am extremely familiar with their ice-cream.
I had the pleasure of hearing Co-founder Jerry Greenfield speak a few years back at an AmEx Open forum for entrepreneurs on this very subject. I was especially drawn to his focus on the interconnectedness of things. . .suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers and neighbors. . .each one’s actions - each one’s successes - each one’s struggles. . .these all affect the others. The fact that he and Ben Cohen were able to fervently honor their beliefs, bake them them into their corporate philosophy and then into a successful business - this is truly inspiring.
Fast forward a few years and I hear from the folks at Crush+Lovely. They need a studio & engineer to help with some voice-over work for their client Ben & Jerry’s. Would I be interested? Well - hell yeah! And - as it turns out - not only was this for Ben & Jerry’s, but this was part of an effort to tell the story of B&J’s corporate values - what they do, why they do what they do and why that matters. Awesome!
In my studio, we captured the voice-over with Neumann U 87 Ai mic powered by Vintech Audio X73i pre-amp. That signal got a light treatment from an Empirical Labs EL8-X Distressor before tracking in Pro Tools.
You can hear the final edit and see the beautiful footage shot by C+L here on B&J’s website.
Oh - and find out where to get your free ice-cream cone here.
Nom nom nom!!!!
I was recently chatting with an old friend, each of us reflecting on the good fortune that we have often enjoyed - as well lamenting some of life’s near-misses. This conversation got me thinking back to this past winter’s awards season - the Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammys, TONYs and so on.
Naturally, the winners thank their collaborators (directors, writers, producers, fellow actors/musicians), the folks in their “personal operations” (agents, accountants, PR, etc.), moms, dads, spouses & kids. It’s at this time of year that I always think back to perhaps my favorite acceptance speech - one delivered by Tom Hanks for his performance in “Philadelphia” - where Mr. Hanks harkened all the way back to his high school drama teacher, Rawley Farnsworth.
Which got me to thinking. . . .
Mrs. Jane Pease was my 7th grade English teacher at East Junior High School in Tiffin, Ohio. She was a tough ol’ broad (don't worry - that's how she described herself). In her role as teacher, she was clearly determined (by hook or crook) to impart knowledge AND wisdom onto her students. I recall one spring day - seated in the back of her classroom as I steadily lost interest and got particularly rambunctious. Mrs. Pease had her fill of my disruptions and rightfully called me out, insisting that I focus on the task at hand.
My retort: "C'mon - really? English is my native tongue. I've been speaking it for over 10 years now. Why dedicate an entire period to it five-days a week? It’s a waste of my time! I've got it, already!".
Stoically, she replied: "Mr. Muñoz - in this life you have thoughts, ideas, wants and needs. Am I correct?”.
"You are correct, Mrs. Pease".
“Yes - off course, Mr. Muñoz. And you wish for these thoughts, ideas, wants and needs to be understood by others. Am I correct?".
"You are correct, Mrs. Pease".
"Language - young man - is the means by which we communicate. Language is the primary tool available to us to express ourselves. . .to be understood by others. So it is in YOUR best interest to make the most of this opportunity. . .so that you might be understood. . .and so you that you might understand others".
Opportunity? Huh? School - aside from the chance to see my friends - had often seemed a burden. But she was defining school as an opportunity! Ding! She rung the bell in my head and put me on the path toward knowledge. . .understanding. . .learning. From then on, I knew that I had to find the best teachers (within the school’s walls and beyond) and get from them all I could. It was on me. This is MY job. This changed my life.
Now, granted - no one is handing me a gold statuette - but it’s never a bad time to say “thanks”.
So - many, many thanks to Mrs. Jane Pease.
Is there someone that put you on the right track? Be sure to let them know.
It’s a bit tough for me to concisely describe C+L. They’re not strictly a Creative Shop. . .nor are they exactly a Digital Agency. And while they are partly those things, there’s a bit more to it. They create their own groovy digital products and content but also work with Fortune 100 companies, global nonprofits, leading arts organizations, startups, ad agencies and digital visionaries. Shoot - even a former U.S. President is among their clients.
No matter the client or project, these folks take a unique approach to developing marketing campaigns and the associated creative work. . .while also giving a good deal of consideration up-front to choosing those campaigns that are a proper fit for them, their philosophy and their approach.
Even better (for me, especially) - co-founders Matt Blanchard and Nathan Heleine are musicians. This presents a unique opportunity to operate on a deeper creative level while delivering top-notch production to their clients.
My contributions to their projects are often modest. . .but it’s always fun and satisfying. So. . .whether the session calls for voice-over recording, foley work, music mixing, sound-design or all of the above - time spent with the C+L crew is an opportunity to do good, challenging work. . .while having good a time doing it.
A hearty welcome to all of the talented folks at Crush & Lovely!
Keep an eye on this page. In upcoming posts, I’ll detail some highlights from past C+L projects. . .as well as on-going & new projects for 2016.
I am a maker of music. . .I am a veteran of both Madison Avenue and Digital Publishing. . .I am a conspirator with and enabler of others in their making of music. I am also a collaborator - using the power of music and sound to draw the full significance and meaning from clients' moving images. But what I am not is a blogger or social-media titan.Read More
We're two years on from Hurricane Sandy and the devastation along coastal NJ, NYC, LI & CT. While much has been done, much still remains.
Here is Dinny Keg's beautiful & poignant "Sandy" -
And from the The New York Times, an excellent video explaining the ongoing efforts to repair the infrastructure of the city that never sleeps - LINK.
Singer/songwriter Dinny Keg (aka Dennis Keague) is a native of County Meath, Ireland - but has called Long Island's Garden City home for more than 20 years. He has recorded on both sides of the Atlantic in legendary studios ranging from Sun Studios in Memphis to LA's Sunset Sound to London's Abbey Road. His music, too, has played on both sides of the Atlantic - on stations ranging from WFUV to the BBC. You can see Dinny play live - solo & with his band - in & around NYC.
All settled in with Doc Rich, Dave D., Steve-O, Ben, Brian, Kim and Empress Jenna at her Acura Stage Compound. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2014! So happy to be back!
It's been an amazing 2013 (a year that FLEW by). Lots of exciting events have come to pass over the last 12 months. . .and that is in no small part due to the support of the fantastically talented songwriters & musicians that have graced the studio as well as YOU - the fans of the music.
We'd like to say "thanks" for your support by sharing with you a track from the 2005 release "Xmas '05" featuring Tobias Gebb on drums, Jeff Bernfeld & Andy Speilman on guitars, Sloan Marshall on keyboards & yours truly holding down vocals, percussion & bass.
You can stream it below or download the full CD-quality song here.
When you purchase music from either/both albums, you'll not only be giving the gift of music, but you'll be doing a second good deed - since all net proceeds go to charity.
Again - thanks for all the love & support! Here's hoping you have a very merry Christmas & a peaceful & prosperous 2014!
It was shear madness on Pearl Jam's part - to protest the choke-hold that Ticketmaster had on touring bands by playing non-Ticketmaster venues in the summer of 1996. In NYC, that meant no Garden, no Brendan Byrne, no Beacon, no Yankee or Shea Stadium, no Giants Stadium. . . .the list went on & on.
So where does that leave a top-tier touring band that wants to play New York City? At Downing Stadium on Randall's Island - a small plot of land (technically part of the Borough of Manhattan) in the East River. To get there from Manhattan, one had to travel across the Tri-Boro Bridge and, once paying your toll, quickly take the 1st exit off (otherwise, you'd quickly find yourself in Queens or The Bronx).
Your $27.50 got you into the show. Being that it was general admission, your sharp-elbows and tolerance for pain got you a good seat (or - rather - a good position for standing). After opening sets from The Fastbacks & the then-unknown Ben Harper, it was on to the main event! Eddie Vedder kicked off the show announcing. . .
"We’re going to try something a little bit different tonight. I’m anticipating the songs to be played better tonight then they ever have been played, and maybe, I just have this feeling there’s going to be more songs tonight then we’ve ever played. OK having said that relax, it’s all about your ears, the air around you, enjoy yourself."
After a fairly mellow start, songs 2, 3, 4 & 5 of the set were "Go", "Spin The Black Circle", "Hail Hail" & "Animal " - which successfully threw the sea of arms, legs, hair, flannel & Doc Martins into a mad frenzy. From our POV roughly 30 yards from the stage, we could see security guards removing a steady stream unconscious fans from the crowd.
It wasn't long before Eddie was stopping the show. . . .often in mid-song. . . .admonishing the crowd. . .asking the mosh-pit (20-25 yards in front of us) to settle down (a kid had recently been crushed to death at Nirvana show in Germany and PJ was not looking for a repeat). The band would eventually fire back up. . .the sea of humanity pushed & swayed. . .and the mosh-pit would eventually get out of control again. Again, Ed would stop the show and let everyone know that if people were getting hurt, the band wouldn't be party to that and they'd end the show. . . .but if everyone could be cool & respectful of the people next to them, they'd play all night.
After nearly 3 hours of rockin', singin', dancin', howlin', thrashin'. . . .and at times fending for our lives (no joke). . . .we were toast. . . .but the band played on (at this point, they'd run through their catalogue & were pulling out cover-songs). Whew! Pearl Jam was still dishing it out but we could take no more - so we managed our way out of the crowd and through the stadium's exit while the band turned out an inspired version of "Baba O'Riley".The next day, we woke up to find ourselves to be battered & bruised. We could hardly move. . .let alone speak. But the balm that soothed our aches & pains was the satisfaction in knowing that we - with Pearl Jam - fought the good fight that night.
This Tuesday, I'll be at Philly's Wells Fargo Center with my brother Bob (with whom I attended the Randall's Island show), his wife Tory and my buddy David. On Tuesday, we'll be in Bob's employer's private box - with plenty of room to move about. We'll enjoy complimentary food & drinks - as well hot & cold running water. It'll be 17 years and a million miles removed from that show in September 1996. . . .but who knows. . . .perhaps I'll get a chance to slip down to the floor for a few songs, scream my lungs out, bang up against my fellow PJ-fans and maybe (just maybe!) relive a brief moment from that unforgettable day on Randall's Island.
Thanks, Pearl Jam! See you Tuesday.