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Monday, December 23, 2013

Unorganized Ghost In The Machine



So, anyway, on my essay Perfect Pitch, old comment-friend Dave from the wrong coast asked:

Whoa that was amazing. Know what I really really want for Christmas???
Use Me, by Bill Withers
Not the dude, the SONG. Nice little stretch for the boyos methinks
I'm betting on the 10 year old and I'm putting $50 on the table.
By Christmas. 2013.

Professor D
Fretboard Kinesthesiologist 
Well, as usual, be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

The little feller's mysterious abilities range further than President Math, and Perfect Pitch, and being the Greatest Ten Year Old Drummer in the world. He likes computer programming, and electronic music.  His older brother put a copy of FL Studio on his work computer, in order to edit the rough tracks they use on YouTube videos. Our latest purchase for the boys' videos, made possible by the generous support of my readers, was an input/output digitizer. It allows them to record up to sixteen separate signals at the same time, turns each of those feeds into digital signals (microphones are analog) that can be directly inserted into a computer for mixing. They used to have to do it one or two tracks at a time. It wasn't cheap, but it was well worth the money we spent.

FL Studio was free. The little feller figured out that you could compose electronic music on it. He started sneaking into his big brother's room early in the morning, putting on headphones, and monkeying around with it. He looks quite comical in there, the big hemispheres of the headphones on his little head, and the big screen full of virtual sliders and knobs and so forth on the screen in front of him. He looks like a mad scientist on his day off.


It's a sequencer, and drum machine, and noisemaker par excellence. And that little boy can play it like a Stradivarius, getting all sorts of noise out of it. He's composed dozens of fairly long pieces of electronic music, all by himself, with piquant names like Zither, OS, Don't You Dare, Petrified, Iowa, Bismarck, Prism, Maps Of Salem, #45, That's Correct, Acid Reflex.  According to him, they're "Acid House, Brostep, Complextro, and sometimes Trance." I'm old, so they're all Kraftwerk to me. They are all between three and seven minutes long, and coherent and interesting.

So Dave bet on the ten year old. Dave bet wisely.

[Remember, it's not too late to download an mp3 of Unorganized Hancock's Generic Christmas Song at Bandcamp; only 99 cents, or any amount you'd like to give. And Merry Christmas!

6 comments:

julie said...

Ha - that was great! The Little One has gotten much better on vocals.

If I might humbly add a smidgen of constructive criticism, I would note that in a song like this, and especially when the singer is such a youg'un, the tendency is to try and replicate the original inflections. But really, it's almost impossible. What works better, and sounds better, is if you first understand the basic, underlying and uninflected notes. Then, think about the phrasing and what you're singing about. If it means something to you, then when you're singing you'll naturally put in your own inflections and they'll sound right, because you mean it.

And actually, to my ear that happened more often than it didn't in this song; I mention it because it's something I've learned over the years, which unfortunately nobody ever taught me, and would have been helpful to know a lot sooner than I figured it out.

That aside, the video was great; very creative and fun. It reminds me a bit of the video for "Money for Nothing."

Oh, and before I forget, Merry Christmas, Sullivan family!

Anonymous said...

thats great, the kid is cute and now we want him to do the same song again, this time closer to our old folks version. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

OMG that was the most AMAZING thing I saw all year- as always UH provides real value for my hard-earned entertainment dollar.
Another great UH year and so looking forward to new surprises in the next-
Merry Christmas!!!

Yer Pally Pal Dave

Anonymous said...

Boy this vid just doesn't get old

Hey if you guys ever DO do an old-folks version would it kill ya to put a guitar solo in it???

Much as I hate fusion guitar solos even that would be acceptable

Kathleen M said...

Clever stuff!

Dinah in Missouri said...

Your boys are amazing! And, the Little Guy pulled it off. Merry Christmas to all the Sullivans....with thanks and appreciation. I do get my money's worth here every time!