Steampunk Cabaret, Mellow Lounge, and Glorified Spoken Word

A couple of months ago, when I didn’t yet have the Internet at my apartment here in Seoul, I went to a PC Room to check my email, and while there,  searched for anything related to AllThisIsMeaningless or C/Fe Records as I do on occasion.  I was rather surprised to see something new this time:  Re:Gen Magazine’s review of the C/Fe Menagerie.  I couldn’t help but to be pleased with the review overall, despite the three-star rating, particularly the comments on AllThisIsMeaningless:

The last artist, AllThisIsMeaningless, is the most genre-bending and unusual of the bunch and is most likely to either excite or confuse. Mixing indie rock, electronics, and cabaret-like vocals, AllThisIsMeaningless employs a seemingly intentional rough sound mix giving the impression that at least part of it is coming out of an old phonograph. This gives the work the strange feeling of new and old technologies clashing, like an aural interpretation of steampunk fashion.

Better than I could have imagined.  “Cabaret-like vocals?”  “New and old technologies clashing?”  “An aural interpretation of steampunk fashion?”  How could I not be happy with this review?

It is unfortunate to see The Still Lifes work characterized as “glorified spoken word,” but then I’m fairly certain Ikarus and Willem will take that as a compliment, and they’ve publicized their music as spoken word from the beginning, so it’s hard not to feel too badly for them.  I’m am a bit surprised by the lack of interest in “Sebastian Says, “Checkmate, I think,” if for no other reason than it is the best mixed track on the sampler, in my opinion.  Yes, I mixed it, but that’s beside the point.  It’s a cool track.  By the way, I’ve heard some of the stuff they’re working on (these guys are taking almost as long on their album as I am).  It’s still spoken word, but they seem to be ditching the noise for the most part for something more accessible.

As far as the comments on the MusiM tracks, I maintain that those tracks are far, far from John’s best work, and with everyone getting wet over these three tracks I  imagine their heads will explode when they hear his really good shit.

Read the full review here.

Foolish Fire

Some years ago, this video was made by Chen Lie in Seoul.  She requested the use of a tune I made around that time, inspired by the man-eating music box in a video game called Trapt.  Indeed, the first few notes are the same.

I recently found the video again and decided to share.

<p><a href=”″>Foolish Fire</a> from <a href=””>chen lie</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Tiltcast Tunes and the Death of MySpace

I was recently asked to write a short chip-tune theme for Tiltcast, a podcast dedicated to video games (if you’re curious, I also appear as a guest on episode 1.2).  You can hear “Pixel Dungeon (Boss Fight)” at the beginning of episodes as of episode 2.  I will also eventually post the slightly longer version of “Pixel Dungeon” on MySpace, just in case anyone still logs onto MySpace.

Speaking of MySpace, I will soon begin posting on Soundcloud and Bandcamp as well as updating this site to host new music.  As a result, I am considering ditching the once popular networking site altogether.  Furthermore, the “improvements” made to rebrand MySpace as a promotional site for bands, artists, and entertainers include more obtrusive advertising and the option to auto-accept friend requests.  And while the new profiles are admittedly rather nice, this option is checked automatically – particularly annoying considering how many of those friend requests are now bogus or hacked accounts (I deleted a few from my friends just yesterday).  It is easy enough to uncheck this option if you are aware of it, but as far as I can tell they do little to inform you of the change.  Of course, this may be my own fault, rarely reading about their updates, instead poking around and finding out for myself.  But that’s enough of that.

Instruments used for “Pixel Dungeon” include:

Many instances of YMCK’s fabulous Magical 8bit Plug

Micromoon from the much acclaimed Elektrostudio Analog Pack

Hijacking Your Fiction

The first album from AllThisIsMeaningless is a long time coming – five years, and arguably as many as eight or nine, the approximate age of the oldest song on the album, “Gate 36.”

The album will be made available in multiple formats.  CDs will be available in extremely limited quantities, and only after I am certain I have the money for them.  These will most likely be duplicated (CDR) rather than replicated in order to save costs.  I am doing this with a heavy heart, for though I love having a physical product, I hear the death knell for the CD.  I hear the beloved format I grew up with gasping its last breaths. 

I will be pushing downloads, some of which I will make available for free.  However, I am encouraging everyone to purchase custom USB drives, which will contain the complete album as well as numerous extras:  album artwork, extensive liner notes, remixes, tracks that didn’t make the cut, acoustic versions of tracks, and hopefully video.  I further hope that those of you who love me enough to buy it will also love me enough to share it with friends who are broke or have something against supporting poor musicians.   My goal here is publicity over financial gain.

In addition, as an advocate of paying for access rather than product, purchases of the USB drive will come first access to all songs and remixes for the following year (I may make it two years), as well as bonus content and preview mixes for the album after Hijacking Your Fiction, which I’ve already begun (I haven’t quite worked out the logistics of any of this yet).  The USBs will be more expensive than the CDs, but will be sold at minimal profit (likely no more than one or two dollars over cost, depending on the cost – I deserve something for my work and if you share it with friends maybe you can have them make donations toward your purchase).

Finally, I’m considering working out something with cassettes – perhaps if you send me a cassette (any cassette, really, though I’d prefer not to use one that is a copyrighted recording from an existing label) and return postage, I’ll simply record the entire album onto your cassette.  This will be time consuming, and nearly free, so I will not guarantee quality, fidelity, or even that a song won’t be cut off mid-way as the first side of the tape ends (If this happens, I’ll do my best to continue on the second side as close to that point in the song as possible).

In Google news, I’ve noticed that AllThisIsMeaningless can be difficult to find.  A year ago, as long as one entered the name as one word it would show up.  But now Google is too smart for you and it separates the words unless you tell it you specifically want to search for AllThisIsMeaningless as one word.

AllThisIsMeaningless is a deeply personal project, and I want this blog to reflect that.  I also intend to make greater efforts toward updating my other sites and to personally reply to everyone that takes the time to comment (something that has been incredibly easy thus far).  This site will also receive an overhaul.

Ultimately, it is about the music.  I only hope the music is worthy of your ears.

More updates should follow soon.

Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode

Yes, I know that is not really what KMFDM stands for, but this post is not really about them anyway – this post is about Depeche Mode, and how we should decidedly not kill them (we should kill Good Charlotte instead – are they still making music?  I can’t tell you what it is, but something about those guys makes me want to punch them in their mouths).

Depeche Mode is a band I’ve loved for a long time, but as of late mainly for their past work, as I’d all but written them off  in recent years.  Enter Scott, to introduce me to Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe, and by Jove, they are damned good albums – perhaps their best bits of work to date.  Erase from your mind what or who you think Depeche Mode are, and go buy these two albums.  I can’t get enough of them.  I’ve woken up with “Precious,” or “A Pain That I’m Used To,” or “Truth Is (You’re Miles Away)” or “Corrupt” in my head every morning for the past two weeks (and this morning I can add another to the list, waking up with “Perfect” – and the song hasn’t left me all day).  And it’s not just catchy hooks and riffs:  they are musically, technically and lyrically very, very good.

I recall my introduction to Depeche Mode, 1990 or so, when my eldest sister brings Violator to my room, and plays first “Personal Jesus,” followed by “Waiting for the Night” (one may argue that part of my particular attachment to Violator is due to sentiment – associating the album with the relationship I had with my departed sister).  Nonetheless, at the time I didn’t really know what to make of it.  “Personal Jesus” was a foreign, but “Waiting for the Night” fascinated.

It would be several years until I really considered myself a fan of the band (I actually have a hard time considering myself a “fan” of any band – but that’s a conversation for another time), but I have since collected a few other albums.  Unfortunately, though they’d done some decent music on the two albums following the near-perfect Violator (I maintain songs four through seven of Violator consist of one of the best mid-album track listings of all time), I never felt Songs of Faith and Devotion or Exciter really captured the, um…goodness (I’m tired and can’t think of an appropriately pretentious word or description) of previous works and I wrote them off as having their best behind them.  Until now.  This has been a reinvention of sorts, which Scott speculates was spurred on by the loss of keyboardist Alan Wilder (among other band problems, not the least of which being Dave Gahan’s heroin addiction and subsequent recovery), who felt that his contributions to the band had been substantially more than the amount respect and credit he received for it.  The process has been long for them, but worth it, in my opinion.  Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe, with few exceptions, consist of the things we love about music:   a nice balance of surprise and fulfilled expectation, and a sense of the ineffable come to mind, not to mention being lyrically apropos for my year.

These last two albums are just… good.  Damn.  Good.

P.S.  Please don’t kill Good Charlotte.  No amount of bad music is worth taking a life.