Well here we are in the final week of 2017. As I look back on the year, I realize that I’ve made a lot of music, and watched almost no TV in 2017. I don’t regret it. In fact, I hereby resolve to do the same in 2018. However, I feel like I’ve done a really half-assed job of promoting the music I have created this year. I really need to step up to the plate on this because I have a lot more music in the pipeline for 2018. I hope you’ll take the time to listen and that you find some of my music interesting. You are welcome to listen to, and download, all of my music, for free, any time you like, at my music blog, www.electricearthmusic.wordpress.com, but allow me to present to you, dear reader, the gift of music this holiday season.
Not that long ago I told you about my new album, Vintage Startraveler , and the synthesizer I built from scratch, the GeoSafari Modular Analog Synthesizer. Since then, however, I’ve released two new videos featuring music from the album. These videos feature old footage that I found in The Prelinger Archive, a collection of movies and videos in the public domain. I turned the final cut on the album, Black Hole Energy Field, into the soundtrack to The Visitor, the story of an animated alien who gets frightened away by some Cold War era government propaganda. This alien originally starred in a weirdly religious driver safety film made by the Methodist Church, called Stop Driving Us Crazy.
Native Planet draws heavily from an old, sci-fi film titled Assignment Outer Space. The movie had terrible dialog, but exactly the kind of space footage I wanted. Intermittently, you’ll see shots of me, at the controls of the GMAS.
In addition to building synthesizers, I also enjoy creatively rewiring, or circuit-bending, electronic toys, and turning them into weird musical instruments. One particular toy, a Casio ML1 toy keyboard, has proven quite precocious. “ML” stands for “Magic Light.” This one-foot-long keyboard has a tiny two-octave keyboard, and red LEDs light up under each key when you press it.
While probing the electronic brain of this toy, I discovered several contact points that, when momentarily bridged, cause the ML1 to malfunction in such a way that it spontaneously composes its own original music. When manipulated in this way, the ML1 generates complex original musical themes that repeat, but change in subtle ways that evolve over time. The ML1 has it’s own aesthetic, a Merzbow meets Super Mario kind of vibe that takes some getting used to, but I find the ML1’s music quite interesting and compelling.
It was an honor to collaborate with the ML1 on the album we made together this year. I feel that Post-Apocalyptic Noise Fields for Active Listening barely scratched the surface of our musical potential, and I look forward to collaborating with the ML1 more in 2018. For now, here’s a video I made from the track, ML1 Quartet from our new album Post-ApocalypticNoise Fields for Active Listening. I titled the video “The Supreme Joy of Spontaneous Creation,” because of the short audio clip that starts the video. I created the video collage from a collection of TV commercials, a military training film and an anti-drug propaganda movie from the ’60s, all from the Prelinger Archive.
What’s ahead in 2018? You haven’t heard me play didgeridoo for a while, have you? Right now, I’m working on a new didgeridoo album that I’m really excited about. I don’t know what to call it, but here’s a couple of videos that’ll give you an idea of what’s ahead.
Thanks for reading and listening!