Archive for October, 2008

four years later

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

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

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

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. 

Enjoy.

albums page!

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

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.

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