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Program Notes

This five song suite focuses on the very thing that delayed its completion: distraction. Percussion was done by Andrew freaking Maguire and recorded by Carlos Arredondo at New, Improved Recording in Oakland, CA. The rest was written, performed, and recorded by yours truly, at the Oakland Hall of Congress. I am grateful for the skillful mixing and editing of Rich Lamb. The album was mastered by Shaun Morris at Headroom.

Very special thanks to Tony Monte, Jonathan “J-Potz” Potter, Rich Lamb, Bijan Sharifi, Kevin “Puppet Master” Van Vechten, Nora Merecicky, Slim Mittens, and of course, Rebecca.


World Wide Web:

My foot literally fell asleep when I was searching my brain for the next lyric. I had insisted that for once, I keep the computer turned off while writing. To be fair, I am a very slow songwriter. So it may have actually stayed off for a couple hours. But by the time I got to “It seems that I’ve fallen, and I cannot get up.” Facebook and email had returned to the background. But hey, I still finished the song, didn’t I?


You Could Be A Pervert:

I wrote this song a week or so after moving from Brooklyn to Oakland. I had been chatting (online) with my friend Charles Latham, who is an excellent songwriter, about the irony of my admiration for so many musicians who in complete contrast to myself, have been greatly influenced by intoxicants. Charles suggested, “you could be a pervert,” as a common thread, which I in turn, thought would make a great song. So we had a race to write it. Much to my surprise, I won.


Bag of Stupid:

I could just be self-conscious, but I feel like very few people who are close to me have actually come to understand that this “musician” thing is not only what I’ve done with my life, but what I intend to do with the rest of it. My incredibly wonderful and loving wife does understand, however. This makes me all the more self-conscious. There is a point at which this turns to self-doubt. That is where I try to draw a line. There is no greater distraction, more damaging, useless, and dare I say, stupid as self-doubt.


Bad TV

I gave up television aside from The Simpsons and Saved by the Bell (I know, right?!) when I was in high school. I had to make time to practice bassoon! What time was left went to being with my friends. I don’t get to be with them so much anymore. When I do, I am miffed by the need for any sort of planning to take place in order for it to happen. I find myself watching more TV, enjoying the drama that maturity suggests we should avoid. I’d rather have my friends back.



Around 1700 an Italian instrument maker named Bartolomeo Cristofori developed the clavicembalo col piano e forte (harpsichord capable of playing strong and soft). Until that time, keyboard instruments (so important to composers) were not capable of playing with the same sort of dynamic range as other instruments. Over the next few hundred years, the instrument became known as the pianoforte, fortepiano, and eventually just piano. The piano as well as other instruments evolved to have an even greater range of dynamics as composers took full advantage, writing great symphonic repertoire. There are after all only three main characteristics of a sound wave: frequency (pitch), contour (timber), and amplitude (volume). It makes sense for a musician to employ all of these.

Over the past several decades, musical technology has made great advancements in terms of controlling pitch, timber, as well as recording and amplification. Despite this, however, dynamic contrast has actually decreased. The engineers I have worked with and myself have all struggled with finding the right amount of compression in recording. In other words, it is very hard to make a record that preserves dynamic contrast and also has enough “loudness” to stand a fighting chance on any radio station or even someone’s personal playlist.

Also, this song is about public discourse. Enjoy!

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