SYMPTOMATIC is my first full length album. This LP is the soundtrack for a science fiction fantasy that’s playing exclusively in your imagination, featuring sound FX sequenced into dance floor beats over video game melodies. It’s the perfect score for writers working on action scenes. Stream it here or buy it on Bandcamp.
This rant is for anyone who took an English literature class course and still didn’t loose their passion for writing, for anyone who can read something without having to search for a hidden meaning, for anyone who thinks that symbolism should come secondary to a good story. Continue reading Clarity is Cool (Audio Blog)
Writer’s block doesn’t always come from the lack of inspiration. Sometimes it comes from the abundance of inspiration, from having too many ideas to choose from. It’s hard to know which ones will leave you with a sense of accomplishment, and which ones will leave you feeling spent. Why invest the time, if the time is going to payoff?
Writer’s block is a fear of failure. If you never try you’ll never fail. The trick is to get yourself to try without realizing that’s what you’re doing. To grift one of those stories out of you and onto the page.
This 13 minute audio blog runs through all the cons I use to get the job done.
(Download the instrumental version here)
The instrumental version of Grift the Words Out of You is the perfect background music to write to. There are layers of ascending melodies stacked over ambient synths, with a rugged a trip-hop beat. The blog entry itself mentions The Cure’s Pictures of You. That song rubbed off on the soundtrack. Depeche Mode and M83, rubbed off on it too for good measure.
This is an idea that originated on Twitter. The Tweet went:
#YouKnowYouAreAWriterWhen you’re never going to have a good alibi for where you were on the night of…
— Drew Chial (@DrewChial) May 22, 2013
Turns out a lot of writers have had this thought. We’re a solitary lot. If some flatfoot thought we looked good for a crime they’d be grilling us for awhile. We’re the red herrings that are mistaken for piranhas. They’d see our calm demeanor as a mask to hide our neurosis. They’d see our quiet manner as a smoke screen for an underlying rage. They’d peg us as self-involved sociopathic narcissists.
They wouldn’t be too far from the truth.
Under the harsh interigation room lights, they’d make us tell our stories. They’d ask where our ideas came from. They’d ask, “What do you mean you let your characters tell the story? Do you hear voices? What else do they tell you to do?”
Tread very carefully when answering their questions. They’re not fans and you are not at a reading.
Tell them to check the date and time stamps in the meta data from your document files. Tell them to interview all those poor souls you’ve pushed your story on. Get your beta readers on the line, tell them you’re going to need a whole lot of feedback to get you off the hook for this one.
This is my fourth audio short to feature a soundtrack. These pieces are heavily influenced by the Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe a radio dramas from the 80s (worth your time).
I’m digging the contrast between the jazzy upright bass and the haunting ambient synth. It’s like beatneck poetry scored by Aphex Twin.
Now it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take you for a stroll through the graveyard. Disembodied fingers walk the scale of a harpsichord, unearthed from the basment of an old manor, clogged with cobwebs, detuned by time.
Top that off with some knee slapping, finger snapping percusion.
I’m really proud of this piece. I’ve listened to it way too many times already. Continue reading The Writer’s Alibi (Audio Short)
This is a video poem shot on my iPhone. A study in low light, lens flare and auto focus. I was looking for a visual component for my audio short Curbside Noir. It needed something to match the somber tone of its music and the spirit of its monologue. It had to be dark. It had to paint the world in silhouettes and shadows.
When it rained on the walk home, I took advantage of it, bobbing from entryway to entryway, hugging the storefronts. I cupped my fingers into a tarp over my phone. Then I let the storm put on a show.
Drizzle swarmed the street lamps. Headlights set the air aglow. Droplets turned everything into a reflective surface. Puddles tinted the street a shade of amber, light mirrored in the asphalt. I shot what I could before the rain water could trickle through my fingers. Forgive me if my white balance is a little off.
Waves mounted the curbs. Tide came to the boulevard. Little rivers flowed down the sidewalk. My shoes went for a dip. My jeans weighted my ankles. Water had pooled in the rolled up denim. There might just be a tad bit of motion blur.
Trees argued with the breeze. Leafs fluttered with the thunder. Branches swatted at the night and my video is all the better for it.
Enjoy it with the blinds closed. Continue reading Curbside Noir (Video Short)
Quitting smoking introduced me to a new side of my personality. There was a thunder cloud where my aura ought to be. It drove my nails into my palms at the first sign of conflict. There’s Dr. Jekyll, there’s Mr. Hyde and then there’s Sir Nicotine Withdrawal. Guess which one would win in a fight?
I found myself grinding my teeth at the announcement of each new homework assignment, gripping the desk, like the Hulk preparing to launch a car into a building. I saved my short supply of nicotine gum for just such an occasion. These anger attacks weren’t justified by any slight against me, they just were.
This got me thinking about the nature of anger, how I’m predisposed to feel it, with or without cigarettes.
Sometimes my Subconscious Mind just observes something, a song or a fashion trend, and says, “I hate that.”
My Conscious Mind says, “Care to explain why you hate that? Could you show me the data that brought you to said conclusion?”
My Subconscious frowns, shakes it’s head, a child who didn’t get the toy he wanted. He says, “I hate it therefore you hate it. We both hate it.”
My Conscious Mind sighs. His exhale whistles through his teeth like a tea kettle. He says, “You don’t know a thing about the thing you hate, but you want to make up both our minds for us.”
My Subconscious nods, “And I’ll keep bring it up until I get my way.”
This 2 minute audio short is about that internal arguement our conscious minds have with our subconscious, our super-egos with our ids, our brains versus our guts. It’s the 2nd audio short to feature haunting music and won’t be the last. Enjoy! Continue reading The Baseless Hate (Audio Short)
This is a soundtrack for those moments when you’re stuck in limbo with just your impotent rage to keep you company. When you’re pacing back and forth on the same street corner. When you’re caught without an umbrella and you just soak it all in. When its pitch black outside and it suits you just fine.
This is an internal monologue for when the bad guys leave you in a pit of snakes. When you’ve got no traction and you’ve got to claw your way up. When life doesn’t bother to give you lemons. When it just squeezes you dry. When the hand of fate presses you down into your lowest possible moment. The one that comes right before the revelation that you either have to make a change or be changed.
This too will pass, but you’re the one who’s stuck with the mess it leaves behind.
This is your pain in black in white, emphasis on the black, on the Rembrandt lighting, on the shadows it casts. This is the alley where they catch you. Where you make your last stand. Where fedoras are helmets and trench coats are security blankets. Where you’re puzzled but never quite defeated. You’re an artist with a brush up your sleeve. It’s time for you to make some outlines on the sidewalk.
This audio short is about that film noir attitude seeping into our lives, empowering us to stand up to each and every son-of-a-bitch that comes our way. This is the first of my audio shorts to get its own score, a haunting piano melody, infused with synths and a subtle beat. The piece needed this haunting soundtrack to bring you to that dark alley, where you’re surrounded by thugs. Pain and its henchmen, here to collect their debt.
Pain has already made such an awful mess of our lives. Let’s make a mess of it. Continue reading Curbside Noir (Audio Short)