First Day of Spring: New Rainmaker tracks

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox.Β  We’ve had a lot of rain this spring already (unlike last year’s drought which started early), so I’ve been making new field recordings for the Rainmaker project. To “ring in spring” I had some fun playing in the rain with kitchen mixing bowls for about a minute of ringing raining percussion. Not to everyone’s taste, but it was fun! πŸ™‚ Of more general appeal is “Lazy Rainy Day”, which is nearly five minutes of nice fat rain with some distant rumbles of thunder. If you listen closely you can occasionally hear a blue jay calling in the background. “Ringing In Spring” and “Lazy Rainy Day” along with other Rainmaker tracks can be downloaded free from the Downloads page. Splash into Spring and enjoy! πŸ˜€

ThunderDog

This is it. “ThunderDog” which is now on the Download page will be the last rain track for a while. I have other projects to work on—and I don’t want to tempt fate by working on Rainmaker during hurricane season. πŸ˜† LOL This track is a study in contrast: the rain is very quiet, light, soft, but the thunder is really crackling. So much so that it spooked the dog who can be heard to give a few barks near and far on the audio, as she moved back and forth, to and fro, in agitation at the storm. The occasional bark isn’t a big part of the audio, but I think gives a context to the storm, makes it less like a sterile recording in isolation. There is a danger of monotony with a project like Rainmaker. All rain and all storms don’t sound alike, but they’re similar enough that often what makes a track stand out are the non-storm elements, like frogs, birds, dogs, cars. It create a world in which this rain is happening. I’m still sifting through previous years of of field recordings and hope to bring you more free tracks (see the CC licensing restrictions on the Download page) either in the fall or next spring.

In the meantime I’ll be working on that long ambient piece I mentioned some time back as well as a couple of book manuscripts. My author website and blog is updated more frequently and is a bit more general in subject matter than this blog and I encourage you to pop over and take a look. There will be a certain amount of overlap but most of the material will be new because I blog there more often than here. So add A Truant Disposition to your rss feedreader.

Bad Timing & Far Worse Disasters

I have the worst timing. Last year I released Sand In My Shoes, a sunny, beachy album around the time of the Gulf Oil Spill, when no one was going to the beach! This year I’ve been working on the Rainmaker project again because we’re in a severe drought, but the same anomalous weather conditions that have caused an unprecidented drought here have caused massive flooding elsewhere. While we’re—figurative speaking—“dying” down here, people are literally dying elsewhere. The most recent episode in the rampant freak weather is the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been to Joplin, went through there on a family vacation when I was a kid. It was sunny, people were friendly. Now there’s a dark could over Joplin and some of the friendly people have been killed, injured, and lost everything.

I can’t stop the disasterous weather. I can’t change it, no matter how many rain tracks I listen to. The storm I was waiting for passed over us dropping only a light rain, not even enough to measure, though parts of Houston got more. I’m giving myself one more week to produce another rain track, then hurricane season will be upon us. I’ll not tempt fate after that. This same “bubble” that’s not allowing rain to reach us will push hurricanes away, too, but with the freakish weather I expect it won’t last and we could go from drought to flood.

I have many times urged you to give to the Red Cross. People need help. You can’t control the weather. Most of you can’t be there, in person, doing disaster relief work in areas which have been hit by floods, tornados (or hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc) but you can support the people who do this good work and support the people who have lost their homes—and to a great extent their lives—by giving to the Red Cross. It’s the best organization for providing rapid response with food, water, and shelter when a disaster hits. And lest you fall prey to “disaster fatigue” because it seems like something terrible is always happening somewhere, remember that someday it could be you who’s getting wrapped up in a blanket by a Red Cross worker.

Even if you don’t live in “tornado alley” or near a flood-prone river, or on an earthquake faultline—even if you live in the dullest, safest place on earth—you could still find yourself personally grateful to the Red Cross. A friend of mine, in my hometown, once mentioned that when a neighbor’s house burned down the Red Cross turned up immediately to help them. When you see apartment fires on the evening news do you ever wonder what happens to all those people who are standing there sobbing and shaking in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on their backs? The Red Cross—that’s what happens to them. There are other organizations that help, too, many of which are faith-based non-profits, but these vary from community to community (and if it’s a community-wide disaster they’ll be hit as hard as everyone else). The Red Cross is everywhere. They’ve been doing disaster relief longer than anyone else and they’re damn good at it.

(My EP A Tropical Depression still—always— benefits the Red Cross. Available from most online stores. I would urge other artist to do albums and gigs benefitting the Red Cross.)

Big Rain

The sky has clouded up, but the 3 month drought hasn’t yet been broken—at least not at my house! Today I’ve released another free rain track, “Rainmaker”, which is just a monster track. Over 15 minutes long, with rain turning into a sudden downpour around the 9th minute. That’s not an edit, folks! That’s real! πŸ˜€ So click over to the Download page and grab some big rain!

The Rainmaker Project

I’ve added a new free download of a rain mp3 on the Downloads page! Some of you may remember that I do field recordings and have been intermittently working on a project of recording rain. So, I’m working on the files and will be releasing more as I get them sorted through and edited.

We’re in a severe drought here in the Houston area. We’ve gotten 1/5 inches in the past three months. (Less than that at our house.) Flooding is more typical of spring weather. Someone passed on to me today the stat that we’ve gotten the same amount of rain as the Sahara this spring. So much for living in a wet, tropical, coastal area. (sigh) I love rain, having grown up on the Texas Gulf Coast, so the drought has driven me back to work on the field recordings. For a while I was recording them faster than I could review and sort through them, so I’ve got a lot to listen to.

The project now has a name: Rainmaker. The previous field recording on the Download page has been renamed— both title and file name, but “Treefrog Rain” is the same file and “Pitter-Pat and Peeps” is the new track. I’ll be releasing another wonderful (and very long) track next week. I’m going to keep working on the rain files until we get rain and I can start recording again. πŸ˜€

So head over to the Download page and get yourself some cool rain. πŸ™‚

Free Rain!

I’ve been meaning to let you in on one of the projects I’ve been working on for the past year, involving field recordings. In the spirit of immediacy (since I should have done this sooner) I’ve uploaded one of my most recent recordings of rain (and frog!). Just under 3 1/2 minutes, it’ll be a refreshing break when the heat and drought of summer sets in. So click on over to the Downloads page, scroll down to the freebies and grab some free rain. πŸ˜€

Rain Suite

Hello, everyone!

Rainy Day Music We’ve had a lot of rainy days this summer which has inspired a couple of new pieces of music. Or one new piece. Your choice. The piece is divided into two sections, each the length of full song. You can download both pieces (“Lowering Clouds”, 5:07 min., 9.37 meg. and “Sweet Rain”, 5:49 min., 10.6 meg.) separately or download the one long piece (“Rain Suite”, 10:56 min., 20 meg.) in which the two pieces are joined with no fade out and a bit of extra instrumentation. While I wouldn’t call the music ambient, it’s also not pop, rock or dance. There are some crunchy bits, some rhythmic bits, some melodic bits. Think of it as mood music for an overcast rainy day. I’ve had this project on the burner so long that it’s seen me through a number of rainy days. It pops into my head when the skies darken and distant thunder rumbles. As always, you are hearing the music before I officially release it. I’ll release the new music to the general public September 19th.

At the time I was composing this we were having normal rainy days: it’s coincidental that the final mix and release of the music fell around the time of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I’m working on new music that is related specifically to these events.

If you haven’t already…Please contribute to the American Red Cross. You can make a donation by credit card using this secure form on their site: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation-form.asp. Select Hurricane Disaster Relief from a list on that page. Or you can call them at 1-800-HELP-NOW. (1-800-435-7669). Please mention Hurricane Disaster Relief when you make your contribution. For more donation options go to: http://www.redcross.org/donate/donate.html where the Red Cross has options for donating spare change, stock, inkind products, & airline miles. This page also has information on tax deductions, companies who make matching donations, etc. Scam Warning: There are numerous e-mail/website scams involving disaster relief efforts, including some that are purportedly “Red Cross”—and look legitimate. Always check the URL. If it’s the Red Cross it will be www.redcross.org. Never send personal or financial information in an e-mail.