Handmade zombie

My just-turned four-year-old drew this zombie at preschool today.

He's been playing Plants vs Zombies a bit recently but, still, it's a little unsettling for him to bring a corpse home from school. He does a good dragon.

The Cocoa Bird

The fishes are from this David Foster Wallace piece BTW.

On being aware

Reading this commencement address by David Foster Wallace means his view of life takes on a certain poignance with the knowledge that he killed himself. Reminds me how rich Cobain's lyrics in Nirvana songs also seem, the declaration in 'Come as you are' that he doesn't have a gun.

Anyway, this commencement address is interesting because I think DFW identifies something very fundamental in the idea that being well-adjusted should be as important as being educated.

His gentle mocking of the format of the speech is a cute introduction but the content is loaded with musing I can relate to about getting through modern life. I've kinda dropped out of it a bit recently and there isn't much to encourage me to get back into the rat race.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

"This is water."

Playing beat-y bo'

A busy week remixing has been capped off with two remixes of a dubstep tune, after yesterday's wristwatch remix went in that direction.

This first track didn't feel dubstep enough, but then the follow-up felt too dubstep.

Anyway, it's fun finding how much of a different spin you can put on a collection of samples.

This next track is a sample of a wristwatch ticking, which I recorded for a Disquiet Junto project.

A wristwatch sample was then used to make sounds resembling kick drum, percussion and a bassline through using a chain of effects. These were quickly arranged for the following track.

And another remix was my JBroid Pink Death Coronial Inquest mix, bringing a total of four remixes this week. The week before I made two remixes, so that's quite an improvement -- in quantity, anyway.

Old tent / new synths

Song about burgers

Gotta love the Youtube community

Fitering of senses

Scott McCloud captures the fitering of senses in this frame from Making Comics (2006 p.35) and I've been thinking about it. There was a study I read about that demonstrated that people were influenced by sound when thinking about the condition of their skin.

So this experiment demonstrated something of the filtering process for me. By exaggerating the higher frequencies that were heard by the subjects, they influenced how they heard the sound of their fingers rubbing together and assumed they had dry skin.

Citation needed obviously but it fascinates me that audio can influence tactile sensation. Again I'm reminded of the view attributed to Steven Soderbergh by Tim Callahan in his introduction to Lost Dogs. In film audio provides context for the visual information.

Taste of summer

Above is the track Le Rondo des Sirènes by Joachim De Lux, which was made available for remix last year.

Below is my interpretation, visualised with a simple video.


Saw the above photo on Facebook, dunno where it comes from but I like the message.

Another interpretation of the function of music comes from this marimba packaging I photographed:

Lenticular compositions

This is cool.

And the angled-perspectives show it continues to surprise.

Wonder how it'd look through 3D glasses?

On spirituality

The other day I asked Who made God? and when I answered I didn't really finish my view of the subject, mostly because it was a four-panel comic inspired by some Japanese manga I've been reading:

(It helps if you read it in the Japanese style, right to left.) Anyway, the train of thought started earlier, as you can see in my sketchbook diary entry on 13 January.


When I shared my entry around the topic got a couple of responses on the Ninja Tune Forum, a corner of the internet I've been frequenting for more than a decade now.

George Lazenby wrote "God exists outside of space and time so the question doesn't really make any sense."

Erg responded to this that "That's just the same as saying God doesn't exist, IMO."

To which Lazenby replied quoting Einstein that "The difference between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

My own opinion is that God is inside us and only exists through belief -- literally within a person's head.

Maybe I should see if MRI scans show particular parts of the brain are stimulated when thinking about God? Because I'd be happy to point to that region and see religion.

There are some very persuasive views for supernatural powers but I'm happy to let people power their own religious discourse. This is an idea that allows me to reconcile my Quaker upbringing with my atheism because I believe God is a little corner in my consciousness. Quaker meetings are pretty cool and I really like their focus on reflection. Sometimes I like to visit there but usually I nurture my spiritual self in other ways.


Edit: My view seems similar to one just put forward by Y Front: "I think faith is the upward emotion that stems from a kind of schizophrenia. Proof of his existence denies faith and therefore is a paradox. God is not just a singularity but a collective expression of many consciences and hope."



There's some wicked dancing in this video and the overblown excess of it is something else to behold but, ultimately, it's a testimony to the vision of one of the 20th century's most successful musicians.

When Jackson's death was announced it occurred to me that for many this meant he could be remembered for his work rather than the later controversies. At that time I was thinking more of the following though and up until recently it had also been Thriller -- and this is a cute version -- but Ghosts outdoes that and one wonders if that wasn't the intent.

The miming is ordinary but that's another great step for modern dance.

Who made God?

"Dad, who made the universe?"
"Some people say it was made by God."
"Then who made God?"
"Some people made God."

Edit: Don't miss the discussion on spirituality this started.

Joke from my son

My eldest told me this joke he's developed, though it seems I've written it differently above.

His version goes:

A guy goes to his doctor and says "I think I need a new bum".
The doctor asks why and the guy says "Because it's got a crack in it".

Scott McCloud on comics

Lost Dogs

Among the graphic novels I've read this morning was Jeff Lemire's Lost Dogs. Lemire has recently been getting rave reviews for The Underwater Welder, which I read yesterday and am thinking the reviews might've hindered my appreciation of it because I preferred this story.

Lost Dogs has a story that reminded me a bit of the film Gladiator but the setting is Edwardian or Victorian. The thick ink brushstrokes have a kinetic energy and I really liked the minimal colour palette too.

The foreword by Timothy Callahan has stimulated a bit of thought for me. He cites Steven Soderbergh as saying "audiences will put up with poor picture quality as long as the sound is clear, but a crisp picture and problematic audio will turn off even the most eager viewers."

As an audio nut who hopes to work on video productions this pleases me but it was employed to suggest that for comics, the role of lettering "can help even the most chaotic sequence of images seem readable" and Lemire goes on to write that the lettering was redone for this re-release of Lost Dogs.

It's something of an issue in the sketchbook diary I've been keeping because my handwriting is usually sloppily inscribed and then the speech bubbles often clip the words too.

Seems keeping this diary is becoming a great way to appreciate the work that goes into creating a comic. When I started reading Kochalka's sketchbook diaries I was often critical of how uninteresting some of the panels were to me, but now I've started my own I know that some days just don't provide interesting material.

And I'm also realising the necessity for activity in the panels I sketch because my most recent entry has a series of scribbles showing my head while I relayed some thoughts I'd been having. Maybe I need to keep a diary and a sketchbook diary?

Dumb jokes

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To get to the other side

My son observed this is a dumb joke just now and it led me to muse that an equivalent 'knock knock' joke would be:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Somebody who?
Somebody who is knocking on your door


Here's my sketchbook diary from Saturday when I recorded and manipulated an ice cube in a few cups to create a short song.

It was a hot day, just 0.4C short of the highest temperature I've experienced (back in February 2009 when there was a fortnight of maximums over 40).

Back to work

Another panel that grabbed my attention today, this one from Boy in my Pocket.

Most of me is very grateful that I won't be returning to an office tomorrow but a small part, probably some part of my consciousness that has been colonised with the morals of our society, does feel that I should be working full-time as that's expected of me.

Gingerbread Girl

Read Gingerbread Girl this morning and I really like this panel above. It reminds me of a line Sharon Stone told Rolling Stone (no relation!) that you shouldn't sleep with anyone with more problems than yourself.

The graphic novel itself was engaging, beautifully drawn and a clever twist on the mystery format. One of those narratives that take the familiar path of genre fiction and use it to tell a new story. As usual, I don't want to give away anything so I'll stop here and say READ IT!

Tales of Woodsman Pete

Just been reading Tales of Woodsman Pete with Full Particulars by Lilli Carre this morning. It's full of whimsical short stories about Pete and Paul Bunyan and it's the first comic I've read by a woman this year!

This detail has been one I've returned to a few times and giggled. Reminds me of a girlfriend I once had who stole a pair of my underwear and I wish I'd mounted her.

Whistle not to be blown after 8.30pm

There's something of a circuit bent style to the dashboard of the Leeton Lions train.

Sketchbook diaries

Previously I mentioned my eldest likes James Kochalka's work -- well, now Oscar is joining me in keeping a sketchbook diary.

When I was reading the Sketchbook Diary volumes I thought I noticed some improvement in the style of visual storytelling and that's what I'd like for both of us.

Sketchbook diary

James Kochalka is a name that seems to jump off my bookshelves at present, which seems appropriate as I can imagine it as the sound of a spring-loaded leaping toy.

Through my patronage of Top Shelf Comics' annual sale I've amassed a small collection of Kochalka's work without realising it. It wasn't until I started reading his Sketchbook Diaries that I noticed he also wrote the graphic novels my son has been raving about.

Now I've read four volumes of Sketchbook Diaries and I'm inspired to start penning a small comic each day too. I'll see how I go in 2013 and might share here if I come up with something good.

P.S. I'm surprised to discover Kochalka has just finished his sketchbook diary.

Top 10 posts in 2012

Like last year, here's a list of the top 10 attractions in 2012 on this blog:
  1. /
  2. /2012/03/march-into-archives-human-traffic.html
  3. /2012/03/march-into-archives-duke-ellington.html
  4. /2010/09/always-do-your-best-friend.html
  5. /2012/06/omnomnomivore.html
  6. /2010_07_01_archive.html
  7. /2012/03/march-into-archives-internet.html
  8. /2010_03_01_archive.html
  9. /2012/02/who-will-cry-for-walter-white.html
  10. /2012/01/dj-food-action-figure.html

And the top 10 attractions in 2012 on my other blogs (but mostly the Bassling one):
  1. /2011/11/how-to-make-contact-microphones.html
  2. /
  3. /2010/10/wired-lab-workshop-with-stephen-omalley.html
  4. /2009/06/zombie-attack.html
  5. /2009/06/wired-for-sound.html
  6. /2009_06_01_archive.html
  7. /p/diy-contact-mic.html
  8. /2009/06/rat-skull.html    
  9. /p/stephen-omalley-oren-ambarchi-workshop.html
  10. /2012/08/reasons-to-date-bass-player.html

Sounds of 2012

One of the highlights of 2012 has been getting involved with the Disquiet Junto project, who this week posed an interesting exercise.

I've selected 12 five-second segments of recordings from throughout the year based on when different files were exported (which seems to be a bit different to some of the links below).

Here's some context for each section:

The year opened with me procrastinating on finishing my album For 100 Years, which ended up being released in July. On the day of internet protests about the SOPA I remixed a video which Google had alerted me to because it had something resembling Bassling in the title. It gave me a big buzz when the guy I remixed saw it.

This track was my third attempt at remixing Waipukurau Park and had been mostly completed in December when I edited the video but my files show I worked on it around this time although it probably wasn't finished until closer to July.

It's been maybe three years since my cousin Chris died but I still think about him often and this track is one example. Early in 2012 I had the idea of recording an EP of solo bass and I'd been thinking about Chris because he helped me buy my first bass and encouraged me to play it.

This comes from a short mix of Skunkhour tracks I put together around the time I posted about the mix of INXS tracks I made for the project, which is cooler so I'll post the video I made for it here.

A recording of a jam on circuit bent gear and guitar pedals that I titled as an Outkast cover on Youtube.

Another jam with circuit bent gear and guitar pedals, as well as bass and theremin.

2012 was a milestone year as a musician for me and this was a great month with the release of my fourth, fifth and sixth albums.

As well as a great article on my album in a national magazine, I was invited to improvise with some great Wagga Wagga musicians.

Finally able to distribute the mammoth three-hour immersive audio recording of 'the wires' I'd finished in 2010. Dunno what people will make of it, I deliberately didn't master it so that it'd be background noise but that's probably part of how I experienced this otherworldly instrument.

A recording of a Fisher Price clock using my new contact mic.

This Dinosaur Park remix was one I mastered for...

Another 100 Years, an EP of remixes I released to coincide with my exhibition, which followed on from the album. The track heard here is actually the first park remix I made at Waipukurau Park in 2011.

Seems I'm back in a slump again but hope to finish my For 100 Years DVD. The audio here comes from one of the remixes I'm working on using the DVD cover/instrument developed for the release.