albums
Underway
2006 Wonday
Compilations
1993 Songs to Sleep By
1997 Songs to Sleep By 2
2002 Sunday Sampler
2002 Dad's Picks
1999 Mix 1 (sy55)
2010 Mix 2 (triton vocal)
2010 Mix 3 (triton instr.)
SY55
1991 Archives
1992 College Collection
1993 College Collage
1994 The Hermit
1997 Where's My Muse
1999 South or Southeast
Triton
2001 In the Margins
2002 Renewal
2002 Re-treat
2002 Convenience
2002 Back Up
2003 So So
2003 So On
2003 So Long
2003 Baby Steps
2003 Baby Talk
2004 Schmocial
2004 Brroom
2004 Chuckadee
2004 Disco Hike
2004 Extra Extra
2005 Coma Pill
2005 Ourboretum
2005 Jaminy
2005 Padden Drift
2005 Gorilla Love
2005 Aminals
2005 Vegibles
2006 Fruitine
2006 Dignored
2006 Miner
2006 Mouseculine
2006 Yata
2007 Zipit
2007 Sixawon
2007 Halfdosin
2007 Whatcom Home
2008 What Roses
2008 Pho Kit
2008 Composed Pile
2009 Decomposed Pie
2009 Swaddlicious
2010 Lost Train
Soft Synths
2011 Out the Margins
2011 Redebut
2011 Reprogression
2012 Working Progress
2013 Tripico
2014 Aerosol Concrete
2015 Reduced to Clear
2016 Motions
2017 The Walking Dad

Track List

# title lyrics time download listen started recorded rating
1 Noodoodle - 10:32 download listen locally 2008-01-28 2008-02-02
2 Panning Foro lyrics 5:38 download listen locally 2008-02-05 2008-02-09
3 Brightens Day - 6:15 download listen locally 2008-02-11 2008-02-15
4 Boarded - 4:36 download listen locally 2008-02-16 2008-02-21
5 Reboarded - 3:39 download listen locally 2008-02-16 2008-02-28
6 Dictaphony lyrics 4:43 download listen locally 2008-03-03 2008-03-12
7 Loopless - 6:48 download listen locally 2008-03-13 2008-03-25
8 Drumentia - 4:50 download listen locally 2008-03-27 2008-04-02
9 Protein Shake - 4:03 download listen locally 2008-04-03 2008-04-08
10 Serenitea lyrics 6:40 download listen locally 2008-04-09 2008-04-15
11 Follow Down - 8:35 download listen locally 2008-04-16 2008-04-19
12 April Snowers - 6:45 download listen locally 2008-04-21 2008-04-23
13 Dirteen - 4:08 download listen locally 2008-04-24 2008-04-26
Total 77:12 play all locally album rating:

Notes

Pho (with a squiggly "o") is one of my favorite dishes. It's a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually with thin slices of beef and sprouts sprinkled on top. There are at least two good pho restaurants in town, but I've always wanted to make my own. Last Christmas I got lucky, receiving noodle bowls, chopsticks, holders, and different types of pho mix. So, now I have my own "pho kit". :)

Apparently, however, having the right ingredients wasn't enough. No matter what I tried, I never got my pho tasting anywhere close to the real thing.

The album follows similar lines. It's about trying (and failing) to re-create things that I like. Sure, a lot of Tripecac is emulative in nature, but these songs' attempts were more deliberate and blatant (like the pun in the title). By the end of the album I had given up emulating and just started exploring ideas that sounded neat. I actually like those songs the best. So as for the original idea, well... :)

Songs

Noodoodle

I wanted to start this album with an Asian theme, to fit the album title. So, I picked some "exotic" instrument patches, and tried to make it sound, well, Asian. However, it ended up sounding more like the usual Tripecac stab at trance or Krautrock. Oh well.

It's really long. I got tired of the original idea and wanted to strip it down to a simple rhythmic jam. I don't know how well that worked. The guitar was an afterthought, and I'm not sure I like it. I mixed it so low that you can barely hear it. And speaking of the mix, well, the mix is horrible. Double oh well.

The midi timing seemed a little off in the original recording of the song. I'm guessing there was a hardware glitch. Technical difficulties are abounding for me so far this year. Triple oh well.

A couple months later I re-recorded it, which (I think) fixed the problem. Unfortunately, I fixed it after I sent out the CDs to people, so it's unlikely that anyone will hear the "good" version, except for those of you who are viewing this web site. All one of you. Quadruple oh well.

By the way, the title is a pun on "noodle" and "new doodle". Real swell.

Panning Foro

The day before I started this I listened to a bluegrass CD my sister made for her wedding. I decided to have the next "ethnic" song be hill-billy. The first track I laid down was the [fake] banjo. I tried to keep the rest acoustic sounding, but I don't think it sounds very bluegrassy.

As for the title, we had recently watched a miniseries (Into the West) which talked about the California gold rush. I named the song after panning for gold (which is oro in Spanish). Hmm. Panning for puns is more like it.

I tried to keep the music simple and tuneful. A few days previously I had listened to some random Tripecac songs on my new mp3 player, and decided that my favorite songs were usually the tuneful ones. There are exceptions, of course (e.g., "My Old School"), but I think I tend to have more fun creating and listening to songs which have something to day, either lyrically or melodically. This one is an attempt at having a strong melodic identity. Well, at least stronger than the recent krautrockish jams.

The improvised lyrics have more to do with the previous song ("Noodoodle") but felt good at the time.

Lyrics to "Panning Foro":

in my room i got a kit that lets me make pho
in my room i got a kit that lets me make pho
in my room i got a kit that lets me make pho
in my room i got a kit that lets me make pho

noodle, noodle soup
super, super noodle soup
noodle, noodle soup
super, super noodle soup

  [repeat]
  

Brightens Day

G was talking about somebody getting a "Brightens Day Award" at work. I thought the title was funny, so decided to base my next song on it.

I initially wanted to make the song "bright", like the name. Light and happy, like a ray of sunshine. So I started with a pretty piano melody.

However, the delicate melody didn't fit my grumpy mood, and quickly grated on me. I then decided to make the song title "ironic". I kept the piano idea but immediately segued into a dark, droning instrumental groove. Bye bye, sunny organic whimsy. Hello, ominous robotic repetition.

To be "nice", I returned to the gentle melody at the end of the song, but by then you know that at the heart of every sunny person lurks a gloomy automaton.

Boarded

I finally bought a (used) floorboard to control the Pod Pro. It arrived on a Friday, and the next morning I tried it out.

This song started as a test to see whether I could get the Pod Pro, floorboard, SoundDiver, and Sonar all working at the same time. I improvised some guitar parts, and then later added some keyboard drums, bass, and EP.

The end result is clunky and bland, but also kinda moody, which I like. I kept it short, so it shouldn't annoy you too much.

Reboarded

I started this on the same day as "Boarded". I was getting bored with that song (no pun intended), and wanted to try something peppier.

This might be a little faster, but it still feels sludgy to me. My timing on the guitar parts wasn't very snappy, so it feels a bit out of sync, especially in the beginning. Also, the mix is really wimpy near the end.

Oh well. At least it's short. Very short. And I think I've gotten my guitar fix for a while.

So, back to focusing on the keyboard and (hopefully) writing actual songs!

Dictaphony

I wanted to see if I could emulate the speeding-up tape effect of the early Trex albums (e.g., Five Dollar Drummer).

Surprisingly, it ended up being more difficult in Sonar than with a real tape recorder. First I had to time-shrink each audio clip manually (for some reason it wouldn't shrink multiple clips at a time). Then I had to pitch-shift each audio clip. Then I had to adjust the project tempo (doing a little math to match the audio time-shrinking). Finally, I had to transpose the MIDI instruments to match the new pitch.

It was tedious, but a learning experience. I learned that "chipmunking" in Sonar is a pain in the butt, and that the end result doesn'tsound as naturally "cool" as it does on tape.

Also, if I sound grumpy (well, grumpier than usual), it's because this song took a whopping 7 days to finish. Yes, all that work for less than five minutes of, well, filler. Five minutes of scat. :)

Lyrics to "Dictaphony":

CHORUS 1:
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

  no no no no

VERSE 1:
  i'm gonna speed this up, i'm gonna make it higher
  i'm gonna make it faster, more exciting
  i gotta get the energy up, gonna get it up
  ok let's try it

  a long long time ago, i used a dictaphone
  to speed my vocals up, to make it all exciting
  but nowadays i use a computer
  and lots of effects effects effects effects

  a long long time ago, i used a dictaphone
  i sped my voice up, i got the energy
  i got the hyper, i was so hyper
  i was just a kid and the music was exciting

CHORUS 2:
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

  no no no no

VERSE 2:
  i have a question, a serious question
  will alcohol kill germs in the bottom of a glass
  i haven't had a drink in over an hour
  or maybe 15 minutes, i don't know

  but i have this question, and i'm wondering if the germs
  will be killed by the red wine that i pour the glass
  you see the bottom is cruddy, crummy, disgusting
  but on the other hand so are coffee pots

CHORUS 3:
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

VERSE 4:
  i have a question, a serious question
  i wish i could sing better but don't we all
  maybe when i was younger
  i used to practice to the radio

  oh it has been a long time
  since i tried to sing to anything else
  i don't drive in the car anymore
  and that used to be my own little stage

  that used to be where i mimicked
  the real singers the real bands
  i'd sing along to their tunes
  and when i get home i'd do the same in my room

  but these days i just pick up the guitar
  if i feel like playing along
  i don't bother to do anything
  i just realized i've got to pitch-shift the midi too, don't i

  am i getting old? am i a dullard?
  am i getting senile?  can you tell?
  am i getting old? is the music falling asleep?
  hello?

  am i getting old? where's the audience?
  how come i haven't sold a single cd?
  am i getting old? why don't i bother to write the lyrics out
  previously?

RAP:
  well here i go, here i go with the rap
  i'm gonna speed it up; that's the test of this song
  i gotta challenge myself and give myself tests
  my hope is to improve

  i've got nothing to say so i make artificial tests
  this song's test is to act like a dictaphone
  speed up the music and the vocals too
  try to make it sound like a little baby baby baby

  chimpmunk, i'm a chipmunk
  is my music a thing that sounds like a skunk
  like a skunk would sing and a sing a sing
  oh gosh travis, write your lyrics next time

CHORUS 4:
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

  that doesn't sound right
  that doesn't sound right
  no that doesn't sound right
  no it doesn't sound right to me

  [repeat chorus]

  no no no no no...
  

Loopless

The rule for this song was that I could not loop any performances; I had to play each pattern individually, "live". I wanted to see if this would make the music sound more like the stuff on In the Margins.

I don't think it worked. The song's not too horrible, but it doesn't sound trancy or jammy enough. There's too much going on, and too many bright major chords. In the Margins had a more minor keys, which made it feel subdued, bluesy, and mysterious. This song has no mystery.

Drumentia

We heard on the radio this morning that obesity contributes to dementia. So I wanted to make a song title with "dementia" in it. Gotta keep up with current events, you know?

For a rule, I wanted to see if I could make a song with interesting drum sounds. I had been listening to lots of old Trex songs, and wondered if I could emulate tupperware.

So, drums + dementia = drumentia. Yeah, it's forced, I know, but oh well. It was kinda fun to make it, so maybe it will be at least a teensy bit fun to listen to. We'll see.

The mix is kinda busy, bass-heavy, and muddy. Sorry about that.

Protein Shake

To counteract heartburn, you're supposed to have lots of protein. But it's not supposed to be the hard stuff, like beef jerky. It needs to be soft. So the ultimate is a protein shake. Yeah right... like I'm gonna have one of those!

Well, for this song, I wanted the music to sound "meaty". By that I mean with a sharp, dark, tanginess. So I added a reverse-reverb effect which sounds kinda dramatic in parts. Also, I made the groove 6/8, which will hopefully allow for a "jammier" feel than 4/4. We'll see.

Serenitea

We've been trying to reduce our caffeine intake. So we switched from coffee to green tea. Then we found out that green tea has lots of caffeine too. So we switched to decaf coffee. Then we found out that decaf still has some caffeine. So we switched to herbal tea. Or at least I did. Hooray for me. Hooray for tea.

Anyway, as for the music, well, I tried to make it very soothing. Serene. The mix isn't as smooth as I wanted, but neither is Flight Simulator X, yet I'm still able to derive enjoyment from that. So you should be able to derive enjoyment from this. Happy deriving!

Lyrics to "Serenitea":

tranquil, you feel tranquil
serene, serene

  [repeat]
  

Follow Down

I liked the last song ("Serenitea") but felt like it was a difficult one to follow up. So I called this song "Follow Down". Ha ha.

One thing I didn't like about "Serenitea" was the kick drum. It was too busy and prominant, and not thumping enough. So for this song I started with the kick, and then added more tracks only after I was satisfied with the kick.

Unfortunately, the end result is kinda brain-dead. There are some semi-cool bits in part, but as a whole, the song stinks. It lacks strong melodies, chord progressions, solos, or anything memorable. It's basically just a bunch of noisy thumping that goes on for 8 minutes. Ironically, after a few hours I got sick of the kick drum sound, so not even the foundation of the song makes me happy.

Well, the good news is that the shallow, annoying nature of this song inspired me to pick a strick, melody-based rule for the next album. The idea is to avoid "air-headed" songs like this in the future. Oh well, lesson learned. I hope.

April Snowers

For some reason, it snowed several times in late April this year, which is rare; usually it just rains. The day I started this song, we had a little flurry in the morning, and the day before we woke up to snow on our lawn. On that day, we took a long hike in the hills, drinking in the crisp air and marvelling at the snow patches.

I wanted to song to reflect that hike. It starts off easy and pretty (like our descent into Arroyo Park), and then gets tougher and, steeper, like the long climb up to 1500 feet. I think we peaked at around 1700 feet (after starting near sea level), and that's where we saw the most snow. It was a great hike.

Does the music capture the snow, or the hike? Not really. But that's okay. It's kinda catchy at times, and it sure was fun banging out these ideas, which distracted me from the soreness in my limbs.

Dirteen

This is the thirteenth song of the album with the "dirty" name. So that's how it came up with its name.

I wanted to end the album on one last, loose jam. The next album should be a lot tighter, so I wanted to revel in improvisational freedom once more.

As with most jams, it doesn't have much of a "plot", but it has some nice grooves and solos here and there. Musically, it's probably the "cleanest" (simplest) song on the album, which is ironic given the name. Anyway, not a bad way to end the album.