Barcamp 2010: The Musical

I've been thinking about what I wanted to do for Barcamp this year. I was chatting over lunch today with this week's Coworking Wednesday participants about how I wished there was something different I could do. Something collaborative and break the mold of what an unconference session should be. I mentioned music stuff and @whatevermatt mentioned a drum circle. I thought about that a while (at least 2 to 3 minutes) later that day (today) and thought I'd see if I could pull something off.  So here's an attempt to get a jam session rocking at Barcamp.

So here's a call to all Barcamp participants who have access to any kind of simple, acoustic, portable instrument that is jam-able (hammered dulcimer, Roland 808: maybe not so much.  Think hand drum, acoustic guitar, rain sticks, stand-up bass, iPhone, didgeridoo, you get the idea.)

And don't worry, I already talked to @lasertron about a way to do it so speakers don't get upset: she suggested to have it at lunch!

This is informal, and it'd be cool for as many people to join in who are willing.  If you have any extra gear at home that might be appropriate for this, bring it!  I'll bring what I have as well.

Tell your friends!

Lost and Found: A video experiment started in 2006

In 2006 I was diligently working on my (still unreleased) new album "The Longest Post". With that I decided to create a couple music videos both as an experiment on if I could make something fun, and to have a visual way to distribute some songs. A couple apartment moves later and the hard drives with the music videos were lost.

Until now. In October, 2010 I found the hard drives while cleaning out my music studio and decided it was time to show them to the world.

They weren't completely finished, however. But a couple nights of some polish and fixes made it so the first, "Got Skillz?" could be released. And here it is.

Some things of note: You can tell it's from 2007. Old school web pages and apps. You see an old version of YouTube complete with a greasemonkey script changing the background color of it running within an old version of Firefox.  I was running a lot more extensions then than I remember.

Also given the lack of resources as far as what video I had to work with I experimented with using the game/app/world of "Second Life" for some of the character stuff to emulate the "party in the computer" vibe.

The video "Got Skillz?" tells the story of the party inside the computer. The song says "Get off the floor, and get on the net. The dance you see there is unbelievable I bet." and the video shows it to be true.

It also mocks the world of rap music by itself being a rap song, but showing how the character of Real-ity doesn't belong in the ghetto with the homies and would probably just find the nearest computer and get online.

See below for a "behind the scenes" video from when I was working on this originally (February 2007).

Check out facebook.com/pages/Real-ity/192311904989 for updates and new tunes. And as always gabekangas.com to see what Gabe is up to.

The video

Real-ity - Got Skillz?

"Behind the scenes, February 2007"

Weekly Song Recommendation: Mark Mallman - Mother Made Me Do It

I haven't done a music recommendation post in a while.  It's certainly not weekly, but I'm not changing the naming.  I don't know, stopped feeling inspired, I guess. Well fuck if I don't feel inspired now.

I've always been a fan of Mark Mallman's.  It started, like many of artists I enjoy do, seeing a show of theirs without knowing who they were beforehand.  This is a prime example of the Gabe Kangas music/movie introduction theory.  It is as follows:

Don't miss the previews.  One of the new movies may be your new favorite movie ever. Don't miss the opening act.  You're going to the show anyway and they may be your new favorite band. Don't just go for the opener.  The headliner may your new favorite band.  You're there anyway.

Simple enough.

That was in Chicago.  Last fall I was in Seattle and Mallman happened to have a show at a club there a night I was free, so of course I went.  Loved it like the first time.  Grabbed the newest cd.

And then all was quiet until this weekend.  Mark Mallman presented Marathon 3: The 78 hour song.

Live from The Turf Club he played music 78 hours straight.  Him, along side his 400 page binder of lyrics he had prepared, rocked it.  The backing band would change every hour, and aside from ~1min bathroom breaks (while the song continued via the band) and the time a doctor pulled him off the stage (he sprained his ankle... and that whole not sleeping for 78hrs thing) he was on stage playing his song.

I can't really recap it in all its glory, since I wasn't physically there.  But through the magic of Twitter and the live video stream of the event I was pretty invested.  But if you're at all interested check out the liveblog via CityPages.  Here's a photo they took:

But I must say, watching this thing go down was a firsthand ticket to a man's journey into madness.  While his first couple days of 24/7 rocking looked like they didn't take a toll on him, this last day I could no longer decipher the genius from the madness.  His banter with the band started to consist of "I weigh 600 pounds, I think I'm going to die.  This isn't healthy."  He had a conversation with his dead grandmother.  He talked to his guitar player about going to Bennigan's to eat, but realized they were out of business.  It just kept getting weirder.  His voice was going out as time went on and I wasn't sure if he was going to make it the full 78 hours.  I mean, look at the guy.

But he did.  And it was awesome.

So in the honor of a man who when asked why he would do something so crazy replied with "because", I recommend you check out this song from his "Live from First Avenue" album, the first album of his I got.  I like it because it has that live energy that I experienced this weekend remotely, but... you know, coherent.

If only everyone loved their craft so much they wanted to see what the extreme of it consisted of.

Mark Mallman - Mother Made Me Do It

Status on my album, or whatever

So i've pretty much had the freedom now for over a month to work on my music whenever I want to. There's a problem though, an a rather large one. I don't want to. There's just too much going on, and i'm unable to focus on a large project like that at the present time. It's really bothering me. I mean, there's no timeline, so there's really no problem. It's my own thing, and there's nobody chomping at the bit to listen to this stuff. But I think it's good, and I really want people to hear it, I just can't get myself to finish it. I'm a really different place now than I was not so long ago in so many ways, and it's really difficult to try to force yourself back into that mindset.

I don't know, I know breaks from this stuff is good from me. History has shown me that when I leave my music for a duration of time I come back to it with a clear head and I look at it differently. Generally when you work on anything for a long time you start caring about the details and not the big picture. And that's always true in projects i'm involved in.

So hopefully soon I can figure out what it takes to get back in front of that desk and finish this stuff. There's so much to come i'm really excited about.

Img 8765

See, i've even started wiring things up!

Man, it's SXSW time already? How time flies. I'll sure not be busy.

It's been a whole year already since I hadn't gone to SXSW 2006 and it's time again for me to not go to SXSW 2007. I don't have my hotel all booked and my flights are not ready to go. I won't be arriving in Austin tonight.

I'm really pumped about the panels that are scheduled, I can't wait to not see them.

Did you see the lineups of the bands? It's going to not be like my own personal woodstock, i'm pumped. I'll probably not meet up with Robert Scoble tonight after no drinks with Mark Cuban to discuss no business ventures. I'd tell you the details, but there are none.

Anyone else excited about the keynote by Pete Townshend? The Pete Townshend? I am! I won't be there with bells on. I might even not live blog it.

Phil Terrone is doing a Keynote on the 11th. Phil did the first podcast I ever heard, and is possibly the reason I listened to the second. It's quite symbolic for me to not get a chance to meet him.

So ladies and gentlemen, welcome to South by Southwest 2007. I hope you enjoy it as much as i'm not going to.