Ebook Tie-in to “Incandescent Life”

One of songs recorded by Undead Monkey features in the novella, Joshua Mansfield and Sheri Zod by Ainy Rainwater, who is also known as Gymshoes, the songwriter. A number of my backlist books are now in print as ebooks, including the aformentioned book which includes a number of song lyrics. As this is an older book, not many of the songs I was writing at the time I wrote the book were songs I was still playing at the time I formed the band. But “Incandescent Life” is one. You can stream it or download it from the sidebar (or from archive.org). The ebook, Joshua Mansfield and Sheri Zod is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBookstore, Sony, Kobo, Smashwords and other ebookstores. You can find my ebooks (at present there are four ebooks available) by searching “Ainy Rainwater” in your favorite ebookstore.

About the Joshua Mansfield and Sheri Zod:

This whimsical short novel is a story about choices, about what happens (for better or worse) when people step off the beaten path. Joshua Mansfield and Sheri Zod journey through a fantastic, allegorical American Southwest accompanied—or led—by totem animals or spirit guides. At first they both seem to be finally escaping the life of an older “career” student, but the apparently chance finding of a discarded letter initiates a quest to find out what happened to a pair of lovers, Joan and Karl, thirty years earlier—a story which increasingly resonates with Joshua and Sheri.

Along the way they meet ghosts, sad machines, baffling art, mirages, mysterious figures in a literally petrified forest, a hostel for lost souls, and a cafe for lost dreams as they search for what happened to Joan who ventured off the beaten path a generation earlier. Instead of a travel journal, Joshua writes stories in his notebook, creating interrelated allegories which are as real as the strange world they travel through. It is a journey both inward and outward as Joshua and Sheri are both in their own way “lost souls” navigating the shifting sands between odd cities in a world which is magical, futuristic, and anachronistic, but recognizable because there is an underlying truth to it. In flashbacks we see that being adrift is for both of them uniquely tied to their drive. What—if anything—can finally anchor them?

As mysterious encounters and the discovery of clues, artifacts and magical objects increase it begins to look like the universe is trying to tell them something…or perhaps Joan is…

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For more Gymshoes music (while you’re waiting for new Undead Monkey music) see GymshoesMusic.com. For more about me and my ebooks (and a little bit of everything else) check out A Truant Disposition, my author website. 😀

Getting the things done for the four ebooks to be published has taken a lot of time, but I now hope to be doing more Undead Monkey music soon!

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5 August

Sella-relevance

Many years ago I wrote a song about the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant, called “The Sellafield Bakery”. It was recorded and released as part of Life and Death. You can stream it in the sidebar. Today it’s been announced that the MOX plant is closing in the wake of the Fukushima disaster/crisis in Japan. Though the song pre-dates this particular plant on the Sellafield site, you can read my original post about how I came to write it which is, really, the most relevant thing about the song. If you’re curious about the whole Sellafield-thing, browse the entry in Wikipedia. The section on environment and health issues is particularly relevant to the song as it contains details on the incidents that have sparked protests—and also problem areas (eg: “Dirty Thirty”) which will need clean-up and can continue to impact the environment in the future. Wikipedia also has a section on other artists that have written music about Sellafield or been involved in protests (which I haven’t). I’ve never been involved in the movement to close the plant: the song was inspired by people who were involved, which now that I think about it is sort of odd inspiration. I still really like the song, but it’s only ever been played “live” for friends because most people in America have never heard of this particular environmental issue on the other side of the pond. I can’t even claim that I’m particularly knowledgeable about it, but it makes a good song. As someone who writes fiction as well as songs, there is always the attraction of a good narrative device, a good story. Though, of course, in this case the whole point is that there is nothing good about it and the lovely lullaby-like nature of the music contrasts with darkness found in the lyrics.

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3 August

Halloween Soundscape

I (Gymshoes) have released a full album of music for Halloween.  Halloween Soundcape is available through Snocap on my Gymshoes site or my myspace profile.  Normally, I don’t post about solo projects here, but I figure anyone listening to a band called “Undead Monkey” might be interested in spooky music.  😉  Enjoy!

—-Gymshoes

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25 September

Moonlight Banana logo

As you may have noticed by the new art in the header, we’re trying out a new logo.  🙂 New tees and new wallpaper will be forthcoming (assuming we like this concept well enough after we’ve lived with it a while). 😉

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9 July

Undead drummer

It looks like Karl Geisler is going to have some time to do the internet band thing again. He’s “Dr. Karl” now, btw.  😀  (Congrats!)  He’s limbering up his fingers and will be joining the Undead.  Welcome, Karl! 😀 Make yourself at home…or at the very least make a monkey out of yourself.   😉

Gym

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21 February

The State of the Undead Monkey

Since the band is taking on new people all at once, I thought I’d post a general message to my bandmates, with any luck covering everything they want to know in a mildly entertaining fashion. 🙂

Let’s see where we are right now: “Sellafield”—which was the final song for the previous project—was released the first week in January. Hock and I are finishing up “College Street” which needs vocal, possibly new effects and final mix. I’ve recorded vocals (because Marty told me to “sing the hell out of it”) but if they don’t work he may do them—or he may tag one of the new Monkeys. 🙂

George currently sort of in-between home studio spaces, having discombobulated his home studio and not quite yet being to the point of combobulating it again. (Something you new Monkeys will have to get used to: we make our own vocabulary.) 😉 In short, Liquid can still make noise, but probably not as much noise as he’ll be able to make in the future. Likewise, Buzz is a part-time Monkey ’cause he’s found himself in a real-life band and is also still in thrall to his new Harley. 😉 At some point we’ll all be up to full speed and the planets will align perfectly and we will rule the world by making beautiful noise all together and at full volume. 😉 In the meantime, do what you can whenever you can; encouragement and suggestions are always appreciated even if a particular song isn’t one you’re actively involved with. 🙂

Undead Monkey is a collaborative band. The idea was for me to have a band name under which I could make “real” music with lyrics and vocals (which most of my Gymshoes music doesn’t have). However, I’m not comfortable being the only one “writing” songs in Undead Monkey which is one of the reasons I’ve gathered this brilliant (or at the very least creative and twisted) group together. Another reason is that you all can sing and I don’t fancy hearing the sound of my own voice all that often (those of you who have on occasion been subjected to my scratch vocals are probably giving a hearty “Amen!”) 😉

I encourage you to upload any unfinished songs you have to the Undead server and post blog entries about them on the Undead Blog. Since the name of the person posting in the blog isn’t shown on the main page for the Undead Blog, check your name in the categories when you post a new project, so we’ll know who started the project! It’s also nice if you sign your posts. 🙂

Discussion and collaboration on the songs happens on the blog in the comments to song threads. Files aren’t linked; we just post the file name, and maybe the directory. Each song has its own directory, though there are also other directories such as FX, ooo-ahh, and Misc where assorted files are stored. FX is self-explanatory. “Oooo-Ahhh” was my Christmas present to Marty, (though all of you may want to dip into it), and Misc is where we’re dropping orphan tracks.

The Ongoing Projects page also has a running list of songs, fragments, and orphan tracks. You can edit the page to post your project name there as well.

Songs are released as they’re finished. The previous batch of songs had a project (aka “album”) name. I suppose after we’ve gotten a few more songs in the works that we’ll pull an album name out of the air and tag the next batch of songs as well. 😉 When finished the songs are tagged with credits, license, etc and uploaded to archive.org where they can be downloaded or streamed. Full credits are posted there. (And I do mean “full”: check out the credits for the Christmas message.) 😆 Full liner notes (in addition to credits) are posted on the Undead website.

About licensing: we use what I call the “don’t screw with the music” CC license. 😉 It requires attribution, allows no derivitives (that includes putting it to video), and the songs can only be used non-commercially. In short, downloading, listening and file sharing is OK, but nothing else is allowed without permission from the Monkey. Archive.org allows us to tag every song or project with the appropriate license.

Browse the Undead Blog. If you have any questions just ask. 🙂 All of us collab well together and get on well together. Let’s make good music and have a good time! 🙂

I’m looking forward to hearing what we come up with in 2007! 🙂

Gym

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31 January

Site reorg

For the past few days I’ve been working on reorganizing the site—in addition to implementing the new theme and header. (Thanks Marty!) Everything is still here! I’ve just consolidated things to make the site easier to navigate, less cluttered and better organized. Whereas before we had liner notes on both the Download page and on individual song pages, now we have all the liner notes for each project on a single page—and links on the Download page instead of reams of redundant text. The Download page was too long…and would have become unmanageable with many more songs added. Likewise, the sidebar was OK with only 4 or 5 songs listed, but what about when we’ve released a dozen—or two dozen? The reorg gives us room to grow. 😀 The Download page is now compact and concise, with everything you want hear/read listed and linked by project.

What about individual songs? Well, songs we’re working on will still be listed on the Ongoing Projects page and in the Undead blog. Any songs we release that aren’t yet assigned to some named project will get their own temporary page until we slot them into an album/project.

Look around the site, familiarize yourself with the new layout. We’ve got one more song on the Life And Death project that will be released this week. Look for new songs we’ll be working on to be posted here soon, too! 😀

Gymshoes

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2 January

Happy Monkey Day, Marty!

With Ronnie’s birthday the 21 and mine the 28th, we suggested Marty pick a day so we could all celebrate birthdays together. He chose today. Happy birthday, Marty! 😀 Party, party, party! 🙂

Gymshoes

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23 September

Talk Like a Pirate Day

As Ronnie reminded me in a comment…next Tuesday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. 😀 It’s only fitting that we should mention it here since the site and band name was derived from the second Pirates of the Carribean movie. (“Where is that monkey? I want to shoot something.”) Arrh! Shiver me timbers! Pieces of eight! Gold doubloons! Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum!” 😉

Gymshoes

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14 September

Do You Hear What I Hear?

A lot of our discussion seem to revolve around mixing and a couple of times it’s been noted how different songs sound depending on what you’re using to listen to them. IMHO, we will never get a mix that sounds good no matter who hears it or what sort of earphones or system they hear it on.

I’ve been through all this before when I first started making Gymshoes music. I mixed everything, was delightd with the mix, burned it to disk, put it on the stereo in the living room and was horrified at how it sounded. It was then I discovered that my soundcard wasn’t rendering the bass range accurately; there were all sorts of low booming digital artifacts that I’d never heard before. 🙄 OK, so I mixed it all a gazillion times, waste more disks listening to it on the stereo, get it the way I want it there, play it on two other people’s stereos and…you guessed it. It didn’t sound as good as on mine (and I don’t have a real high-end stereo, either). 🙁 I’ve got a digital music player now and earbuds. Again, everything sounds slightly different when it’s compressed and pumped through the earbuds. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, always different. Needless to say different on the car stereo, too. 🙄

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that you can’t mix a song so that it sounds exactly the same no matter what device it’s played through, no matter what format you use (CD, mp3, Wmv). You try for a balanced mix and have to know when to quit fiddling with it because it you mix it to sound good on one player, you can screw up the mix for another.

So, why don’t I notice this with all my albums? Uh, I do—if I stop and really think about it and listen to it. The difference is that I automatically accept and mentally compensate for, say, U2 songs sounding different depending on where I play them. Well mixed on the stereo, not in the car, kinda U2 “lite” on my mp3 player, etc. With my own songs, I’m listening very critically and evaluating every time I play them, no matter what I play them on. I’ve sort of trained myself not to notice how mp3s don’t don’t sound as good as my stereo—for everyone else’s music, but for my own music I hear every single difference from one player/earphones/speakers/soundcard to the other. 🙁

What I suppose we need to go for is a consensus mix for songs. Go for the mix that sounds good on the most devices/speakers etc, to the most people. If we try to mix songs so that they sound the same no matter where we play them, we’ll drive ourselves crazy.

Gymshoes

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14 September