Posts tagged music
New Music, a Full Free Movie and More

I’m well aware that it’s been a very long time since I posted anything substantial to my blog, but there’s a pretty good reason for it: I’ve been busy. Busy making cool stuff that I’ll be able to share with you in the future. Among that cool stuff is a book I’ve been very slowly but surely writing that should be of great interest to any creative people who have enjoyed my writing in the past. As I get closer to completing it, I’ll be posting various chapters and excerpts to finally have some quality new content for you. I’ve also been working on illustrations for a children’s book and lots and lots of music. But in the meantime, I haven’t wanted to half-ass blog posts just to have them. To paraphrase Ron Swanson, I only want to whole-ass stuff on this site.

In that spirit of whole-assing, I’d never waste your time with a new post without having something great for your enjoyment. As it happens, I have three things for you to see and hear right now.

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The Snowman: A Guitar Reimagining

While I dislike the commercial compulsion to push the beginning of the Christmas season so far back it essentially starts on Halloween, I'm hoping this piece of music I'm sharing with you is obscure enough that it won't be conjuring any visions of sugarplum fairies in mid-November.

I think I first saw The Snowman when I was in pre-school. I remember being captivated by the mesmerizing colored-pencil animation, the dreamlike atmosphere, the gorgeous music and, of course, the unusually heartbreaking ending. It's a faithful adaptation of the wordless children's book by Raymond Briggs that has always stuck with me, so I bought it on DVD several years ago. It's only as an adult that I can fully appreciate it for being the masterful work of art it is.

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The Zen of Film Scoring: The Sonic Palette

During my first week of procrastinating/working very hard on the score for I Hate You, I was naturally a bit curious to learn more about the methods and techniques of established composers. Spending time pretending to pick up tips from the pros was an excellent way to avoid the fact that I was freaking out about how the hell I would successfully pull this shit off. One YouTube video wound up being a big inspiration, but not in the way I had initially imagined.

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The Zen of Film Scoring: A Blank Canvas

I'm currently knee-deep in scoring a feature-length independent film. I think it's about time I started telling you alllll about it.

Several years ago I was working at the most miserable office job I've ever had in my life. Despite this, or maybe because of it, I made friends with many people I still talk to today, often about how shitty that job was. It was actually a hell of a good bonding experience—kind of like our own version of 'Nam, but we only suffered emotional deaths—and proof that good things can come from awful situations. One such co-sufferer was a gentleman (I use that term loosely) named Brad who led a team with me. We spent many hours playfully insulting our freelancers and talking to each other about the things we actually cared about rather than the work we were doing. For me it was music and this idea for a webcomic I had. For him it was a movie he was writing. I made him promise to let me score the film when it was done, whenever that may be. He agreed for reasons I cannot explain.

Fast forward to sometime in 2014 when I get a Twitter message out of the blue: Hello Sir Evan. You still interested in scoring my film?

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4 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Mean

Despite the contingent of hardcore fans who think I'm infallible, I am but a human being who puts his pants on two legs at a time and occasionally makes mistakes. For example, there have been several times where I've wildly misinterpreted the meaning of a song. It happens to the best of us.

Even though the beauty of art means we can each create our own personal meanings, there are times when people are straight up wrong in what they think a song is about. Sometimes it’s an understated detail they’ve glossed over, other times it’s something so glaringly obvious one can't help but wonder if English is their first, second or third language.

I’m singling out four oft-misunderstood songs in this post, plus a bonus song for people who like getting an extra free thing along with their other, already-free things. Here are some songs that you may never look at the same way again.

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How To Add Instant Energy to a Song: The Magic Beat

Years ago, I was listening to the radio when "Toxic" by Britney Spears came on. At the time I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about admitting I was into a Top 40 pop song, but with "Toxic" it was a different story—I loved it and felt no shame about that fact. There are many great things here: check out that funky-as-shit bass line, the chunky guitar part and how the chords in the chorus build tension with that chromatic descending progression the first time (forgive a few music theory terms here), then release with the incredibly satisfying flat-six-to-five the second time, for example.

But for me the infectiousness of "Toxic" comes down to one primary element, the backbone of the whole song: a rhythm I’ve come to call the Magic Beat.

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The Blurred Lines of Music Lawsuits

I got into a much more intense conversation than I usually allow myself to get into on Facebook recently over the Marvin Gaye vs. Pharrell/Robin Thicke copyright infringement lawsuit. I had similar conversations about the Sam Smith vs. Tom Petty controversy as well as an incident involving Lady Gaga (more on that later).

I care about this stuff because one of these cases sets up a worrisome precedent for musicians everywhere. Here's my detailed take on all three.

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Say I Ain't Old

The other day I heard “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer on the radio twice. It’s a song that I never skip over when it comes on; I very distinctly remember getting the Blue Album as a kid—it was the first thing I bought after I upgraded to a boombox with a CD player in it.

That was 20 years ago. That figure by itself is crazy to me, only because I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I was in sixth grade. But it got me to thinking about a much more interesting fact regarding the history of rock music.

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