Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DJ J.B. - Batter my Heart

My nearly month-long blogging silence has a reason.  I could appeal to the three-week class I was teaching in May, or the writing I've been doing, or the increase in running mileage.  And while all of those are true, none of them are the real reason.  I find that no matter what else is going on in life, there is usually a bucket of time available for staring at a computer screen (what else are you going to do during those first three quarters of NBA games?!).  It's just that my "staring at a screen" time has been taken up with other things besides blogging.

I mentioned a while ago that I'm now the owner of an iPad.  Perhaps one day I'll reflect and write about how that has changed my life in a more general sense.  Today, though, I'll admit to one very specific change: it has brought me into the world of creating electronic music.

It started fairly innocently, goofing around with Garage Band and the fun little beats you can make with its percussion app.  But that is fairly limited and gets old after a few measures.  So with the help of son #1, I graduated to BeatMaker 2, and then had to add Audiobus to be able to import sounds from other apps like Animoog, Magellan, and AmpliTube.  I'm still scouting vocal processors.

Anyway, I've started into what could be my musical magnum opus by taking old famous prayers and mixing them into my new groove.  I'm finding that making songs is like writing an article in that you're never really done, but at some point you stop working on it.  The first of my songs has reached that point, so I've decided to inflict it upon the readers of this blog (if there are any left).

It turns out that you can't upload an audio file into Blogger, presumably so I can't pirate music to the throngs who follow this site.  So, son #3 (who knows about such things) said he could work around that problem by putting it into a "video".  And that has the added bonus of being able to write the lyrics on screen so you can understand the sometimes difficult to understand vocals with their olde English and heavy filtering (remember I'm still looking for a vocal processor that is compatible with Audiobus).  Son #3 is also responsible for donning John Donne with a pair of Beats to set the tone for what you should expect.

Speaking of Donne, he's the author of the text of this first remixed prayer: one of his Holy Sonnets called, "Batter My Heart Three Person'd God".  My kids first thought the metaphor had to do with what you might do to a fish filet before frying it.  No.  Batter, as in pound.  It is a prayer for God to stop taking it easy on us so that we might really come to know him.  My favorite line is the last: "I'll never be chaste unless you ravish me."

So, here we go.  This song was completely composed on my iPad (with the help of a little gizmo that lets me plug in a guitar and bass (I'm also not happy with the in-app bass amplifiers at my disposal yet)).  It sounds best in headphones.  Let me know if you think I should quit my day job and go on tour with Deadmau5 and Daft Punk.


Socrates43 said...

I liked it. I don't know about quitting the day job, but I'd be interested in hearing more. : )

J. B. Stump said...

Thanks DW. I think the next one is St. Patrick's "Corslet" prayer. But no promises on how soon. I can't control when the techno-muses strike.

Sam Ochstein said...

Loved this! Jim, you are a true artist! (but don't quit your day job as a philosopher!)

David said...

The video doesn't work any more but I'd sure love to hear this. Do you still have the file somewhere?