A Musical Interlude

As part of the gradual and continuing process of returning to the Scalzi.com site all the crap I took down when I changed providers, I am happy to announce the return of Music for Headphones, my album of mostly instrumental electronic music that I banged together a couple of years ago.

However, I am not merely content to give you the old, crappy, streaming Real Audio version that was up before; no, the new version features high-end variable-bit-rate mp3s, for the best sound quality while still nodding toward not punishing people with too huge a download (mostly). Also, I’ve added in an extra track which I haven’t put up before: “Don’t Stop,” which features a couple of samples from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Oh, stuff it, you snobs. It’s pretty good. I’d get in trouble if I was trying to sell this, but I’m not; this is non-commercial exhibition only. So have at it.

In any event, now all this music sounds better (or at least, less compressed) than before, so I hope you enjoy it. I’ll note that when I listen to these tracks, I tend to jack up the high end a bit, because there’s generally a lot of drumming and some of the high end can get lost. But I also tend to jack up the high end no matter what I listen to, so make of that what you will.

Here are the tracks, with links to the mp3s and some general comments about each:

1. Acceptance (5.85MB) — Possibly my favorite track I’ve done. It’s pretty simple and trance-like, and has some nice swelling New Order-y synths in it.

2. Transformation (7.33MB) — This one starts off very harsh and electronic and eventually becomes rather more acoustic and mellow; thus the title.

3. Why Don’t You Love Me (7.97MB) — A rather plaintive flute starts this one off; I think it sounds swirly and moody and a good aural approximation of what it feels like inside when you like someone rather more than they like you. One of the better ones as well.

4. Well Imagine That (5.42MB) — More ethnic flutes; more moodiness. Something about ethnic flutes and moodiness that just go great together, y’know?

5. Athena (3.51MB) — When Athena was three, I gave her a microphone and let her sing into it. This is what came out. She did all the instruments too! Well, no, not really. But maybe one day.

6. Don’t Stop (5.91MB) — I did it because I like Journey, so there. Also, it’s an earworm of a piano line.

7. Night Flight (7.97MB) — If I were writing background music for planetariums to play while they were doing exhibitions about the planets of the solar system, this is what it would sound like.

8. Clear That Up (5.47MB) — This is what I imagine it sounds like to walk home in the fog after a clarifying “discussion” with a paramour that didn’t end very well for you.

9. Kindertransport (8.43 MB) — The “kindertransport” were trains that European Jews put their children on just before World War II to send them to safety to England; the trains would take the children to ships, which would cross the Channel, and then the children would live with distant relatives or sometimes even strangers. Needless to say in many cases those children never saw those parents again. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to put my own child on a train like that, but this piece tries to evoke some of that emotion. I think this is probably the best composed piece I’ve done to date.

10. Converge to Merge (10.6MB) — I call this my “Stairway to Heaven” piece, and when you listen I think you’ll understand why. However, there are no bustles in hedgerows. Because that would be alarming.

11. Let’s Fly Away (7.84MB) — Yes, that’s me singing. Yes, the voice is heavily treated. The actual reason is to cover up deficiencies both in the microphone and in my voice, but as it turns out, I really like the effect; it almost sounds like a guy leaving a song on his lover’s answering machine, and I like that mental image. I’m not giving up my day job, but on the other hand, clearly I’m not embarrassed by the song, either. So there you have it.

I hope you enjoy Music For Headphones, because it’s probably the last you’ll hear of me here for at least a week: I absolutely, positively have to finish writing The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film this week or both my editors and my wife are going to murder me, and rightly so. So no more Whatever until it’s done. You understand, I presume, that this is meant more as an incentive for me than as a punishment for you.

Enjoy, and see you in February.

17 Comments on “A Musical Interlude”

  1. Thanks so much! I’m so glad you put these up after I asked. I’ve been sharing Acceptance with everyone since you posted it here last month, and I can’t wait to spread the rest of it around!

  2. Just a quick digressionary question, for my perhaps cold-addled brain. Why is it okay to post a list like this and how is it different from that peer-to-peer music swapping that everyone is so up in arms about?

    Not that I’m accusing the Scalzster of horrific acts of piracy. I’m sure he’s not doing anything of the sort…I just don’t know where the difference lays (lies?) (Lays, lies, I never could figure that one out) and am hoping someone can tell me so I don’t accidentally cross it some day.

  3. “Why is it okay to post a list like this and how is it different from that peer-to-peer music swapping that everyone is so up in arms about?”

    Primarily because I am the person who created these pieces, mostly out of royalty-free loops, and therefore I have a perfect right to post them if I want. The exception would be the piece with the Journey samples, but inasmuch as I’m not selling the piece, and also the sample used are only a very small part of the entire song (probably less than 10 seconds), it’s most likely covered by fair use.

  4. Ahhh…I see. So you can do this if it’s mostly your own artisitc vision or mash-up, but if you just copied a bunch of stuff off your favorite cd’s and posted the recordings for download straight up, that would be a no-no. Yes-yes?

  5. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, father of pangolins

    WOw! Good stuff! All this and he makes music, too.

    Did I mention I make the music, too? Electronical stuff, in fact. You can get 2 whole albums here at this link. My other album is “The Navigatrix Soundtracks” which is here. Both, I believe, are excellent.

    I am long overdue for getting the 2 newest albums out. But I’m getting there.

  6. Pingback: Edict Zero – FIS – EP205 – “Banisher” « Edict Zero – FIS

  7. Donna Leonard – Southern California – I like to write, read, knit, crochet, watch movies, watch way too much television, listen to music and play Drawsomething 2 somewhat obsessively, not necessarily in that order. You can find my irregular blog at: http://manicmeanderings.blogspot.com/ 3 kids: Twenty-three-year-old boy/girl twins, and a thirteen-year-old girl. 3 cats: fourteen-year-old female, three-year-old female, and a two-year-old male
    Donna Leonard

    Okay, so far, “Athena” is my most favorite track –but then I DO have 2 daughters (and a son), so it brings back those memories :)

  8. Mark W. Tiedemann – St. Louis, MO – Writer, photographer, musician (sort of), bookseller, opinionated observer, and a slew of lesser attributes not especially suitable for public scrutiny.
    Mark W. Tiedemann

    I missed this when you first put it up. This is really good. Reminds me a bit of Jeff Grienke. I would buy this.

  9. Shawn – Ohio, USA – Early to bed, early or whirlybird or something. Bored now, bye. Don't step on any Lego's 'cause it _Hurts_!
    Shawn T

    Added this URL to my ‘weekly’ bookmarks folder for later perusal.
    Note to self: shut down Flashblock and visit this page because several years ago all flash objects in a tab would start autoplaying, as would all of the flash objects in all of the other tabs. Bad for my ears, very bad for getting my computer to respond to anything other than a hard restart.

    I miss the Win95 taskmanager: ctrl alt del and taskmanager would show up and everything else went all stopped doing anything. = Task Manager used to be wonderful for when a program went evil.

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