fallen empire

A new TRB song is available.

the rage box - fallen empire

Well. It’s been long enough.

Today marks, among other things, the release of Fallen Empire, off the forthcoming TRB album of the same name. Target release date for the album is in March of 2014.

It’s taken a long time to get this album done, because it is both deeply personal and deeply sad. Sadness and anger are what I use music for, I channel that energy into trying to make music that captures the feeling, and I feel better as a result. The good news is, I haven’t had an overabundance of sadness or anger of late. So, this has taken a while. Closure and finishing what I start are both important concepts to me, though, so I am going to see this thing through.

The goal from now ’til March is to get the entire back catalog on SoundCloud, as well, which is where an early draft of this song has lived for the better part of 3 years.

for just one second

A new TRB song is available.

the rage box - for just one second


the first new thing in a while

A new TRB song is available.

the rage box - this is a nightmare

this one’s been kicking around for a while, really the first original post-Too Little Too Late piece of work that has been completed end to end.

Many film directors shudder when they learn that someone has played their film in something other than its original aspect ratio. 4:3 pan-scan Airline cuts that are altogether something different than what they created. It is in this spirit that I encourage you to listen to this on something that isn’t tinny laptop speakers – good solid headphones being ideal.

It has occured to me that this cooincides with the anniversary of September 11th, the end of Nine Inch Nails as it has been known, and all manner of other things happening right about now. I have no idea what to say about any of that, but it has occured to me.


Remix: MC Frontalot’s Braggadocio

A new TRB song is available.

the rage box - chilladocio

So, I have been accruing materials to do some remixes for several years now, and I always end up backburnering them in favor of other projects. I finally finished one a couple weeks ago, and here it is. It’s a chilled out take on MC Frontalot’s “Braggadocio.”

I’m putting it up in advance of seeing Front at PAX 09 in a few weeks. I tried to submit it via his site a couple times, and ran into some PHP bugs. Given that the last one posted to his Open Source Beats project page was the end of 2008, I’m not optimistic that it’ll happen any time soon, even when I got it to go through. So, I’ll put it up here and keep trying to get it listed on the official site.

It’s nothing special, but hopefully will get me on the road to finishing up a couple of the other remixes I have in the pipe – some from video games, an Imogen Heap song, and more.

too little too late is now available

A collection of material from 2005-2006 is now available. It is called “too little too late.” The full page for this album, with downloads, is available here. It’s also available for streaming or download at Jamendo, with all the other albums, here. I’ll be making a giant “Download Now” button to retroactively add to these pages, so I’m not burying the lede quite so much.

Most of the songs on this album have been available via the blog and this site for a while now, though there is one super-duper-secret, previously-unreleased bonus track, hiding away at track 11. This secret track business used to be much easier to do on CDs, and I refuse to do the “2 minutes of silence at the end of the last track, then the secret track” route, as it annoys the crap out of me. So, it won’t be a surprise, but there’s an extra track called “Train” that I have never put up anywhere before. The rest of the tracks have been painstakingly edited, tweaked, and remastered for this release, and I’m really happy with the result.

This is the first album where I am actually pretty happy with it all the way through, and had reached a basic competency with the tools I use, and I think it sets a new bar of quality and complexity as compared to the others. As a result, I will be using it to branch beyond my site and Jamendo, as my entrance onto some additional sites like Magnatune and TheSixtyOne. I’m also going to enter all 4 albums into the podsafe music network.

I’ve spent a couple days trying to figure out what to say about this album musically and thematically, and I keep getting into long diatribes or cryptic two-line blow-offs. Suffice to say the emotions behind it, the art, the title, everything is complicated and multi-layered, and not likely to be of huge interest to anyone that isn’t me.

There’s one more album in the works: a back catalog collection slated for before July 2009. Sadly, this will be the oldest and most terrible of the ole catalog, and one I’m unlikely to put up anywhere aside from this site, for completion’s sake. We have twilight and sundown covering 2002-2004, too little too late covering 2005-2006, and the outlier of a room of one’s own, contained in 2008. The remaining release is the “everything before”, covering stuff from 1995-2000, and I’m mainly committed to finishing it because I designed album art for it over ten years ago.

As the licensing page states, you’re pretty much free to do whatever you want with it, as long as you aren’t making money off it.


sundown on sunset drive is now available

A collection of material from 2003-2004 is now available. It is called Sundown on Sunset Dr. The full page for this album, with downloads, is available here.

All of the songs on this album have been available via the blog and this site for a while now – so this is nothing particularly new, though for this album they have all been tweaked and remastered.

If Twilight is a collection of B-sides, this is the album they belong to. The songs for both of these albums were created when I was living in Athens, GA, and the title of this album is a reference to the fact that I lived off Sunset Drive. The title track was the last song I made before packing up all my equipment to move away. It was a sunset to a long and formative period of my life and a period in which my music made huge leaps in quality. I started taking it more seriously, and learning more than fiddling around, and it paid off. It is also the period in which I posted it on this web site for the first time.

I had promised this album as a companion to Twilight before the end of the year, and I just barely made it. December 31st. UPDATE: I now realize that I never published this entry, so here is it Feb 10th, and unless you follow me on twitter, you’d have no idea that this got done under the wire. Alas. 

For those keeping score, the total number of albums jumped by 3 this year. There are two more albums coming in the first half of 2009: a collection of hilariously bad old stuff, from 1995-2000, and a collection of songs that I’m genuinely somewhat happy with, from 2005-2007. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to some new material and some remixes as well, but I’ve become pretty focused on getting the back catalog wrangled, so I can really move on to new things and not dejectedly poke at past work.

Anyway, this one’s got some decent ones on it. As the licensing page states, you’re pretty much free to do whatever you want with it, as long as you aren’t making money off it. 


four years later

It’s almost Presidential election day.

After the last election day, I made a song to express my utter frustration with the results. I didn’t publicise it too much, and in fact deliberately didn’t comment much on it on its release post, because artists mixing in politics seldom goes over well. Also, I was simply numb and dejected.

I think that with this coming election, maybe I will elaborate on it, though, because this year’s campaign has brought up a lot of the same passions as 2004’s did.

In 2004, when I made this song, I was still in disbelief at the series of events that had put George W. Bush in office in 2000. Whether you believe the Supreme Court acted properly, or the election was outright stolen, or somewhere in the varied and enormous in-between, it was certainly not a traditional election. It was not how we have practiced democracy to that point. The electoral college and the courts were never so heavily prominent.

I was never particularly enthusiastic about John Kerry as a candidate. He finally won me over from “meh” in the debates, but I was not passionate about him, and I simply hate the idea of being one of those people that votes against somebody. I’d much rather be for somebody. That said, over the four years he’d been in office I had come to despise everything Bush did or stood for, so I was in a pretty serious state of desperation, not to mention disbelief that the country was once again so bitterly divided, and not seeing the nonsense used to divide them. In place of discussion about real issues, reality took a backseat to political narratives.

One of these issues close to me was the utterly dishonest and poorly executed war in Iraq. 

I absorbed political coverage like a sponge in 2004, and watched the election night coverage, as I had in 2000, well into the wee hours of the morning. As I did so, I became more and more despondent – not because a guy I was only vaguely on board with was losing, but because it meant a blank check and a percieved pat on the back to a man I utterly despised, and this time, the true voice of the people wasn’t in question.

Bush was winning. For real. He’d used deplorable tactics to excuse and distract from his terrible record, would doubtlessly (and lo, has) commit far more blunders and jaw-dropping abuses of the country, but he was getting a clear majority of the votes. The people had spoken, though I still am completely baffled as to why they chose the way they did. 

This put me in a bit of a state of mental chaos, as I have a fundamental bottom-line take of “whoever wins according to the system agreed upon at the outset, that’s the winner, done deal. Quit whining.” Having so many decry Bush over the years as someone who didn’t meet that requirement and snuck into office, I thought surely that after adding botched judgment after botched judgment to his repertoire, he would end up even more on the deficient side of votes, and this year we would make sure the office wasn’t hijacked. That he was winning for real absolutely floored me. He didn’t need to sneak in this time, he was being invited. By sixty million people.

I went into a pretty deep diversionary bender to try and distract myself from what I viewed to be another 4 years of grinding my teeth every day, and a missed opportunity to finally have some release from that. 

Towards the end of this bender, as the outrage and despair faded, the mantra shone through. He’d won, legitimately (as far as vote counts) this time, and it was time to stop whining. So, my rage and frustration gave way to a profound sadness, for the troops and those in need over the next four years.  I couldn’t keep hold of that, so I tried to vent it off into a song. 

It’s called “four more years.”

The lyrics are an abuse of soundbytes by our forty-third president, which I rationalized using in that the judicious use of damaging soundbytes was one of his more successful depraved campaign tactics.  I outlined what I considered to be his fearmongering, profiteering, duplicitious, irresponsible and divisive nature and effect on the country, and capped it off with my conflict: that despite all this, the will of the people must be heard. The lyrics:

All of us want peace
but resolutions mean little without resolve

We seek to protect Iraq’s natural resources
And ensure those resources are used to threaten the American people

The game is over. We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary.

To fight
and destroy

because our country is a battlefield
and a better quality of life will fade and die away

And we go forward with confidence
to implement the roadmap
and to reach that goal. 

The work ahead is demanding
because we trust in the power of human freedom
but the voice of the people must be heard 

<crowds at the Republican National Convention cheer “four more years”>

DIck Cheney: Thank you! 


4 years since I created this, and I’ve gotten way better at doing this evocative audio stuff – yet I still feel the sadness that went into composing this as much or more than I do some of the more recent material, where the tools didn’t get in the way.

That sadness proved to be well founded – over 3000 military dead since the election, botched catastrophe response, economic meltdown. I’m going into this election hopeful, though, because I have someone to be for.  It’s this difference that made me really want to explain where I was in 2004 in further detail. And with national polls hitting 10 point margins, and completely unprecedented early turnout, I’m hopeful I never have to make a song like this again.

twilight is now available

A collection of weak B-Sides from 2004 is now available. It is called Twilight. The full page for this album, with downloads, is available here.

All of the songs on this album have been available via the blog and this site for a while now – so this is nothing particularly new, though for this album they have all been tweaked and remastered.

This process took far longer than I would have liked, as I kept trying to tweak the original mix, and test it in every possible usage scenario, and buff every little bit into a perfect state of 1 or 0. I’d probably still be at it, were it not for this eerily and fortuitously timed post by the venerable Jonathan Coulton, on inadvertently releasing a mono mix of something he spent forever being a perfectionist about:

I’m sure I sweated like crazy over the stereo placement of this or that element during the mixing process, and then I just plastered over all those details with stucco, and turns out nobody really cares. Not even me, apparently. This is a lesson that I learned (or rather, failed to learn) many times over the course of Thing a Week: that thing you’ve been working on forever, buffing and polishing to get to that last 2% of excellence? It’s done. Finish it and move on.

So, in that spirit, I’m finishing this and moving on.

As the licensing page states, you’re pretty much free to do whatever you want with it, as long as you aren’t making money off it. 


albums page!

I’ve wanted to sort the stable of songs I have up here into albums, polish them up, and post them that way for a while now, and that effort has finally begun. Each album will have a proper track order and cover art and such, instead of just hanging out in an amorphous list.

To this end, I’ve created an Albums page, which allows for easy browsing of the album material, while the unruly downloads page and this blog continue to display everything as it is completed.

A Room of One’s Own was created as a full album, so it’s already up, and Twilight, a collection of demos and B-material from about 5 years ago will be available shortly. 

There are 2 more TRB albums that will be available by year’s end, each featuring actual full songs, each roughly covering a block of years (2005-2006, for example.) Another album of B-sides, demos and rare material from before 2003 will be coming, but may not be complete in 2008.

a room of one’s own, week twelve

A new TRB song is available.

trb - week12

And with this, the experiment pretty much ends. I have artwork on the way, and I have to decide on the order of tracks and such, but the week to week grind is done – 10 tracks in 12 weeks. This will be the final track on the album, whereas the others might get rearranged for optimum in-sequence enjoyment.

This is called “One Last Dance.”  It has a fake glockenspiel and fake acoustic guitars. If I may once again borrow a sentiment:

“Our music is sampled, totally fake
it’s done by machines, coz they don’t make mistakes”

–KMFDM, Sucks

No doubt about it, I suck too. It’s been fun, folks – watch this space for the downloads and such in the future, as well as a self-flagellating post-mortem on this whole experiment.

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