New Recording – Sun of the Son

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here’s a new song I’ve been working on in my home studio. Enjoy!

At this point the mixing and mastering is done, except for maybe a tiny tweak or two. I no longer really have a separate mastering phase, even though I use a mastering suite that gives me alot of control. In practice I just use it for observing, cuz if I spot something I want to adjust it’s almost easier to go back the mix and do it on the dynamic compressor on the main out.

The major thing left to do is put some album cover art on it and package it up for sale on iTunes, Spotify, etc. Way back in the day when Event Horizon did the original version of this song, we put it out as a track on the album Son of the Sun. It was only available on cassette! I was hoping to maybe do something with the cover art for that, to update and recontextualize it. The cover featured an image of dragon, which I drew on the computer using Corel Draw. Very advanced for the day but probably doesn’t look too impressive now.

But alas, I can’t find it! It wasn’t in a drawer where I keep artwork from old projects of that kind. It wasn’t in a old box of cassettes either. The box only had tapes from bands whose names begin with G – Z. I don’t know where A – F are, but I’d imagine they must be in another box.

Anyway, I cut four renditions. The first is the full song, close to ten minutes longs. Then I edited into parts 1 and 2, each around five minutes long, inspired in part by the classic Isley Brothers song Shout! or maybe ELP’s Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression Parts I & II. When I was mixing I did it in sections, and each half seemed kinda compelling in it’s own way, with a sort of drama to the fade-out and back in again. The split is just at the start of the sax solo, so the two halves have a pretty different character, with the second half featuring the percussion solo and the “Big Rise” and “Big Riff” sections. Finally I did a “radio edit” of the first two and half minutes or so, thru the main theme and into the start of the solos.

Haven Street – An Evening of Jazz at Hayfields

My jazz group Haven Street is returning to Hayfields in North Salem, Friday December 20. It’s a very cool venue. Last couple times played there it was a summertime gig, outdoors on the patio. This time we’ll be inside. Should be great, festive fun. We’ll even learn a couple Christmas carols.

Hope to see you there!

Punkin’ Time Again

Every year we carve up a pumpkin for Hallowe’en. This year we did it a little different. I create a face using a bunch of post-it notes, just for fun. For a while it looked like that would be all we’d do. We didn’t get around to doing the actual carving until the afternoon of Hallowe’en day. Later after I finished the carving, I stuck the posties on the lid of my computer. I should mention that this year’s model featured a third eye for seeing into the Astral plane.

By time we got the orange gourd outside it was already dark so I missed the opportunity to take pictures. I went out the next day but the squirrels had already started nibbling on the fangs and eyeballs. We usually keep the pumkin around for a while, so this year I decided to document the squirrels’ progress over the next several days. Enjoy!

The Devil Is in the Details

We had a great weekend in Boston and OrigaMIT. We went up a day early, on Friday to take in the sights in downtown Boston. Michelle had never been there and it had been a long time for Jeannie and me. We started with the famous historical sailing ship U.S.S. Constitution, A.K.A. “Old Ironsides”. I’d never seen it before and it was pretty cool. Turns out in addition to famously surviving numerous battles on the high seas in the early to mid 19th century, the ship was actually the first vessel built by or for the United States Navy, one of six for America’s freshman fleet, back in the 1790’s in the Washington administration. As you’d expect the ship was full of lots of cannons and sailing rigging, technology from another era. And predictably ceilings and doorways were low, and got lower the further belowdecks you went.

One cool thing was the ship is still on active duty after 222 years. The museum is in fact an active Navy Yard, and the tour guides on the boat were sailors serving as the ship’s crew. They kept on referring to events from hundreds of years ago in the second person, as in “We won that battle…” At first this reminded me of sports fans rooting for their team, but I realized as American Navy Sailors they’re perfectly entitled to talk that way because the the continuity is real.

We had lunch in a nearby pub that was built in the 1700’s, where Paul Revere used to hang out. The food was great, enjoyed the chowdah. After lunch we walked over the bridge where Magnus Chase got killed and sent to Valhalla and into the old historic town. It was pretty cold and windy, below freezing, actually, for the first time after a mild fall so far. We saw the Old North Church, the slightly-less-old Catholic North Church, Paul Revere’s House and Quincy Market. We ended up taking a ferry across the harbor back to our starting point as the sun was setting. All in all a very nice day.

OrigaMIT, a.k.a the M.I.T Origami convention, itself was great. I always feel like I don’t have enough new stuff in my exhibit, and I hadn’t really done much folding since June, but in the last week or so I managed to jam out a few longstanding unfinished projects.

First was Two Intersecting Tetrahedra (a.k.a. Stellated Octahedron) w/ Color Change. This was a subject I had tackled several times in the past but was never satisfied with the result. So ended up going with a someone else’s idea. Beth Johnson has a model of this shape and was kind enough to send me her CP. Beth is not generally known for her single-sheet color-change complex polyhedra but her approach is great, with a clever twist fold to form the pyramids that augment the primary faces along with a hexagonal layout to accomplish the color change reasonably efficiently. I can’t help but think there’s a more efficient layout out there, maybe from a square, but so far I haven’t been able to improve on her design. Folding from the CP it was a bit of a puzzle, but once you understand it goes together nicely. Like alot of models of this ilk it tends to spring apart, but wetfolded out of the right paper it holds together quite well. I’m pleased I was a able to fold an exhibit quality model. Thank you Beth!

Next up, my Oliphaunt. This is one of my most complex models, barely foldable at all. You need to pick the right paper cuz it can get really thick, and you need to start with a large (50cm or more) sheet. A while back I found a really nice piece of paper, perfect for the subject. Only problem was that it was kind of soft, so I laminated to a sheet of gold foil for a stiffer backing. I got ninety percent of the way finished for OUSA last June. But it turned out the foil was not stiff enough to overcome the softness of the paper, and it was not wetfoldable either. So I had to set it aside.

Now alot of guys who do supercomplex models (everyone from Robert Lang, Brian Chan and Jason Ku on down) put glue and tape and metal armatures inside their models all the time. I’ve always resisted this even for common problems like countering the tendency for the legs to splay out (the issue with my Oliphaunt) or making a bird or other biped balance on two legs. I’ve always preferred to try and fix the issue in the design. But you know, sometimes you need a little help to get by. I ended up making a simple inverted U-shaped armature of out of an old handle for a Chinese food box, and taped it inside, and it was just the thing.

While I was at it, I had a nearly complete rendition of my American Turkey hanging around that suffered from the same problem. I taped a wire inside that and had another excellent exhibit-quality model.

So suddenly I had three great new models. Woo-hoo!

And, I almost forgot to mention I made a Giant Squid for the OUSA Holiday Tree at the Museum of Natural History. I made it from a semi-glossy sheet of dark red paper with a silvery backing. It looks perfect. The finished model is over a foot long. Talo says he’s gone set it up fighting a blue whale.

I taught two classes this year, teaching three of my models. Two of the models were new: my Catamaran and Speedboat. I designed the Catamaran last February at Origami Heaven after returning from a sailing trip in the Bahamas. I designed the speedboat sometime around OUSA in June. For this convention I diagrammed both. I had thought of them as both high intermediate cuz they only take 10 or 20 minutes each to fold, but the repertoire of folds and the 3D-ness probably lands them in the complex realm. In any event the class was full and went quite well, although it’s apparent that the Speedboat is not quite perfected: finishing it so it holds together is fussier that it ought to be. So there will another round of diagrams for that one in the offing.

The other class I taught was my Medieval Dragon III. This is a very old model. In fact, the original version of it was my first truly successful original design and dates back to the 1980’s. The base is half blintzed bird base and half blintzed frog base with a little preliminary base grafted onto one corner, borrowed from John Montroll’s Pegasus from his Origami for the Enthusiast book. Sometime in the early 2000’s I revisited it and enlarged the graft to allow for improved detail in the head and claws on the wings. Even though the folding style is dated, it has a great, classic look and is lots of fun to hold. To this day it’s one of the better dragons out there. The class was two hours and it was quite popular and everyone in it finished the model and did a great job.

In between teaching was alot of hanging out with origami friends: Adrianne, Robby, Anne, Michael and Richard, Talo, Brian, Jason, Robert, Mark and some new faces. All in all a long, exhausting but very fun weekend.

Next up: pictures!!!

Living for Giving the Devil His Due

Things are okay with me these days, but I’ve been pretty tired and burned out this week, with the cold and the dark closing in and all. Still objectively, rah yeah.

The gig last weekend went great. We had over fifty paying guests, so the band made a good chunk of change. More importantly the music was really on. We played all nine songs that are going to be on our next record. It’s just great to do what I think of as a risky song, maybe because it’s challenging to listen to, or has a slow grove, and to look up and see a room full of people totally into it, hanging on every note. Next stop: the recording studio.

This week we also hit a major milestone with the Global Jukebox and CityLore. Whew, man that was a ton of work.

And last night I finally got together with this dude Zeno, the guitarist looking to put together an originals band with prog and pop influences. There was a bass player, Robert, on 5-string fretless. We basically hung out and jammed some riffs and talked about ideas, no actual songs, at least yet. I’d say it was a productive session, worth exploring further. We’re gonna try and get together again when the drummer is available.

Tomorrow we’re headed up to Boston. A much-needed day off. OrigaMIT is on Saturday, so we figured we’d take a day and hang out in the old historic downtown. Michelle has never seen beantown, so it’ll be cool. So this evening I pulled together a bunch of origami, including finally finishing an Oliphaunt and a Turkey with wire and tape on the inside were it doesn’t show. I also folded a couple of Beth’s Stellated Octahedron, one with a color change and one without. The model features a clever twist to accomplish the color change. However, it tends to spring apart so ended up wetfolding them.