The Longest Time

4 01 2014

Have had this song in my head for the past few days. Why don’t people love Billy Joel more?

Ólafur Arnalds

6 04 2013

Got introduced to this guy today, and he’s pretty cool. There’s one piece on his album here that is really sad, but I don’t remember which one it was, so I’ll have to listen for that again.  Anyhoo, check it out!

Writing like Fiona Apple

14 01 2013

I’m in the process of writing a song (lyrics so far) like Fiona Apple, particularly like “Left Alone”, on Idler Wheel.  I feel weird about it because it’s not like anything I’ve written before, and the fact that I haven’t written a song in so long is a bit of a daunting task.  At the same time, I want to show my classmates that I’m actually a deep songwriter.  It goes back to my older songs, and how I wonder how I ever wrote them when I can’t even churn out a song now.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.  Wish me luck.

The Hardest Part

29 12 2012

It happened again.  I “got” another song, and it just broke my heart when I sang it because it`s exactly how I feel and it`s what I`ve always been struggling to deal, especially this month: loneliness and feeling like people just let go of me, and I take no part in it.

I still wonder what it`s all about.

A Thousand Miles

25 12 2012

Happy Xmas, Xmas people.

The Swan — Camille Saint-Saëns, Godowsky version

6 11 2012

I first heard this version of The Swan in the Chinese film, Secret, and thought it was just a specially arranged version of the piece by Jay Chou.  The version of The Swan in the Secret piano songbook is much simpler and not that version, so I naturally dismissed any sort of hope finding that version (and transcribing it or learning it by ear would take too long as it’s complicated).

Last week, I somehow stumbled across this Godowsky version of the piece, and lo and behold — it was the same version!  I’ve yet to obtain the sheet music for this version, but print off or find it somewhere and learn it.  It’s been a while since I learned to play anything new… I think this would be a fun one.

“Fuck You / Till You’re Gone” — Gabe Dixon

28 10 2012

I just discovered Mr. Gabe Dixon via an episode of Parks and Recreation, and I gotta say, I wish I could improvise and play like him.  To me, he’s the blues version of Jamie Cullum, but a bit less crazy/eccentric.  If I had the choice to either learn how to improvise or play Classical music, I’d pick improvising.  It’s just so much freer and way more impressive to me.  I’ve been trying to improvise more, and it’s really difficult sometimes.  I will probably never be able to play so free and fearlessly as Gabe Dixon or Jamie Cullum, but alas.  It’s times like these when I think my ARCT Diploma in Piano Performance means shit.  Which it basically does anyway.

Fiona Apple setlist

25 07 2012

Saw Fiona Apple in concert for the first time last night, and it was.


To say the least.  The videos on youtube don’t do it justice.  Nowhere near it.

I wrote down her setlist as she played.  Surprised at how many songs she played from When the Pawn… especially after the release of her new album (which is awesome).

Fast as You Can
On the Bound
Paper Bag
Anything We Want
Get Gone
Sleep to Dream
Extraordinary Machine
I Know
Every Single Night
Not about Love

It’s Only Make Believe (cover)

She didn’t talk much to the audience, which is a shame because I would’ve loved to hear her speak more.  Also, she re-interpreted “Not About Love” by screaming angrily “This is not about love/’cause I am not in love!” at that part, which was pretty surprising.

Anyway, awesome awesome show.  And to top it off, I got my seat upgraded from all the way in the back of the balcony, to row 18 on the floor.  Yeah!

The Dead Kid Detective Agency — Ch. 1 audio score

29 06 2012

I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time (since I completed it last year), but haven’t gotten around to it until now.  I took a Children’s Lit class in college, and our final project was one we created ourselves.  It was left very open to what we wanted to do; I decided to write some music for one of the novels we had studied in class.  Here is the description of my project, and a link to the music on youtube.

All the text is from Evan Munday’s book, The Dead Kid Detective Agency, and obviously, I do not claim to own any of it, although I would certainly like to claim to be able to write so wittily.

“Think Like a Child” Independent Project

As a fan of movie soundtracks, I thought it would be fun to write some music for Evan Munday’s The Dead Kid Detective Agency.  I found that the book had a good mix of emotions and moods (ie. scary scenes were still humorous and light) as a book for young readers, which could be reflected in a diverse sound.  A movie soundtrack is, I find, largely underrated in the effects it has on the audience: it can enhance the atmosphere of scenes, making the film feel creepy or funny or whatever the desired mood.  Music can also manipulate audiences’ emotions; we cry when we hear a lamenting violin over a break-up scene, or feel scared at the sound of low murmuring instruments.  Music can even increase our adrenaline during a high-speed car chase with loud horns, like in Inception.  Since movies have the advantage of a soundtrack to enhance the film, and since readers imagine characters, settings, and actions while reading a novel, I thought having music playing while reading or being read to would also enhance the reading/storytelling experience.

Although I intended this project to be played in the background while someone would be reading to a child, I also realized that the readers of Dead Kid might be of an age where they may no longer be read to (ie. between nine and fourteen).  However, the music would still work even for those reading the book silently, as it would play in the background, and would, hopefully, enhance their reading experience.

I picked three scenes for which to write the music: the beginning, in the middle (when October meets the dead kids for the first time), and the end.  I thought the beginning and end of the novel would serve as good bookends musically, where I could use the musical theme in two different ways, to show how October changes throughout the novel.  Therefore, I had the opportunity to pick another chapter in the book on which to write, and ultimately picked a scene that I thought was supposed to be the spookiest, yet one of the most interesting and revealing chapters in the novel, which contrasts with the other two scenes I had picked.  As such, I tried to incorporate the spookiness and fear which October feels when she sees the ghosts by, first of all, writing the music in a minor key, and second, by accelerating the tempo of the music until it climaxes and slows down again, just as October realizes the dead kids are actually kind of cool and that there is no need to be scared of them.  The tone of both the chapter and the music changes when October wants to be friends with her new acquaintances, which I thought would also be a good contrast between the previous spooky scene.

Lastly, I decided to narrate some of the story as a guide to where the music was supposed to follow.  This incidentally made the project seem more like an audio book with music, which was an interesting revelation, and another possibility for the use of this music.

Untitled song

23 05 2012

Was playing this song earlier and I really dug it, which doesn’t happen a lot with my own songs.  I should probably get on recording this and my “album” sometime.


Here lie the fragments of a broken yesterday,
and the soul of a boy cursed to live it.
“This is a headline in my mind,” they all would say,
as the ties begin to curdle and they mutter, “I can’t forgive it.”

Salty hands, wiping down the rivers on your face
before shoving them in pockets hoping no one sees.
Must be comfortable living in that little bubble,
and when I turn around to wave all I get is your back to me.

Blink once, and I’m still here.
And once again, you’re too near.
I wish we could disappear
from this town.

Black and white, the only shades that appear to you.
My heart is just a pawn in your little chess game.
Stare as hard as you want, but this ain’t no magic mirror,
and in the end when I’m gone all you’ll have is yourself to blame.

Blink once, you’re still here.
And once again, I’m too near.
I wish we could disappear
from this town.
From this town.

If there’s a place that exists that we can finally go,
Take my hand, we’ll board a train, or we’ll never know…

Blink once, and we’re still here.
And once again, everybody’s getting nearer.
I wish we could disappear
from this town.
Or we’ll never know.