Jonathan Denmark Makes Hip Hop Blush

Jonathan Denmark Makes Hip Hop Blush

My good friend Jonathan Denmark just got some press coverage from LA2DAY for his concert this Friday in Los Angeles.

I have written a few of the backing tracks for his set, including for Great Dietitian, which is available in the iTunes Store.


Something is afoot

Dan and I have just had a pun battle. Check it out!


Garlic Hamburger Spinach Salad

Start with a seasoned hamburger patty. The one I used was from Whole Foods and was covered with crumbs of onion, bell pepper, garlic, and parsley.

Cook on a grill. I used one of the tabletop ones that grills both sides at once. Well-done works best so that it’s a bit crumbly.

Make a bed of spinach on your plate.

Toss some sliced pepperoncini peppers over the spinach.

Lightly cover the spinach with a garlicky Italian dressing, then spread some flaxseed over it so that it sticks to the dressing here and there.

Take the burger patty and cut it into chunks, and spread over the salad.

Crumble some white cheddar on top, leaving the chunks fairly big.

Serve with some crackers. One great choice is “Everything Flatbread” by Passport which adds even more garlic and seeds to the mix.


I found this ring


So a few months ago I lost my Olin College class ring.

I figured I’d find it eventually, given that the last place I had seen it was in my apartment.

Last night I was doing laundry, when I heard clinking in the washer. Thinking it might be the ring, I dug around inside for awhile, realizing that I’d need to use a wrench to take off a bolt so I could remove the piece blocking the clinking object.

When I went over to where my tools were, I found my ring sitting right next to them.

The clinking object was a quarter.


New site for my music

Tonight I put together a website to showcase some of the music I’ve written over the years. Until now, all of my music has been available only in disparate locations across the web.

My new page uses Yahoo!’s excellent and easy-to-use Javascript Media Player, so you can just click the little play button links next to each track.

Check it out at!


Now I Really Have A Game Boy

Back in high school I discovered the music of Virt, a video game musician who back then was using Impulse Tracker to simulate the sound of the NES. Some of my favorites was his “Classical Favorites” tracks, available from his chiptunes page, albeit in tracker formats.

At the time, I was spending a lot of my own free time writing music with Impulse Tracker, so I dabbled a little bit in faking NES music, in my “LOFI” series, with some pleasing results. This was back around 2000 or so. I never quite got back into it, sadly.

Later on, I discovered 8bitpeoples, a musical collective of chiptune artists. I went to their Data Destruction Tour in Boston and got to talk to and admire the music of Bit Shifter, Nullsleep, and Covox. I wrote a little bit about their music in a post for alwaysBETA.

Anyway it’s been a couple years since then, and I’ve been excited to find out that Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, and crew are performing a showcase and debuting a documentary at this year’s SXSW festivals here in Austin. Needless to say, I got pretty stoked.

This revived my long-standing desire to get one of the handful of different Game Boy cartridges that people have made for writing chiptunes. The one I’d wanted for a long time is named Nanoloop, and I’m glad to say that I finally bit the builet and bought an original 1989 model Game Boy and the Nanoloop 1.3 cartridge!

For my first song, I took one of my old LOFI tracks and spent a short amount of time trying to mock it up on the actual Game Boy, to see how close I had come to simulating the real sound.

The results of this experiment are found in LOFI2. Compare with the original LOFI2, and please keep in mind that there are a lot more restrictions with using Nanoloop and a real Game Boy than I had in Impulse Tracker.

After a couple days, I put forth a little bit more effort and wrote my first completely new Game Boy track, Goof Step. For this track, I kept things simple by only writing one pattern for each of the four available channels. I merely turn them on and off at strategic times to create the structure of the track. I’m pretty pleased with the results, and soon enough I will pursue a more ambitious and complete track.




Update on First Logic Song

Jonathan Denmark has added vocals to the song I wrote in Logic earlier this week.

Check out ”Auto-Reverse” at his website, and expect to hear more about this project soon.


Writing my first song in Logic Studio

A couple weeks ago I got the new Logic Studio, Apple’s professional-level music writing software.

I upgraded from Logic Express 7, which was almost three years old when I bought it. The polish was definitely lacking, and I got many headaches using it.

Before that I used an even older OEM version of Cubase LE that came with my PreSonus Firebox. The Firebox is an excellent piece of equipment but the old Cubase software is even more atrocious in this day and age. I got some good work done in it but it took a lot of work.

So, long story short, I’ve been training myself with the 73-page Getting Started manual for the last few weeks. After that I might delve into parts of the bundled 1000-page manual for Logic Pro 8 and the 660-page manual for its bundled software instruments and effects!

Today I decided to try my hand at composing something real. I screwed around by layering a Bitcrusher distortion and a stereo Chorus on top of the “Hollow Pad” patch of the included ES E (Ensemble Synth) software instrument.

For drums I took one of the stock loops, Analog Drum Machine 52, and looped it under the stock Compressor with the “Toms Strong Compression” patch and under the SilverVerb reverb unit with the “Room” patch.

Overall, it’s a bit repetitive but it took only about an hour to throw together. Enjoy!

Grant Hutchins – First Logic Song


Warning Forever

Recently Austin (the person) and I have been playing Warning Forever, an innovative freeware video game for Windows that had a small wave of interest a few years ago.

Warning Forever is a “Shoot ‘Em Up”, or shmup, which means you basically fly a ship around the screen and shoot at enemies. What makes Warning Forever different is that there are only boss enemies, one at a time.

On top of that, after beating one enemy, the next enemy evolves defenses based on the strategies you use. So if you find it easy to attack the front of the enemy for a quick kill, the next enemy will have a beefed-up front section. Thus you are encouraged to start with strategies that you are not good at in order to build up the enemy’s more useless defenses.

All in all, this game evokes many of the qualities I find important in a game: replayability, challenge, and direct feedback. Perhaps most importantly, the game takes a simple concept and lets it shine without muddying it up with over-designed details.

Give it a shot sometime.


Campbell’s Soup

Warhol's Campbell Tomato Soup

I’m a big fan of Campbell’s Soup.

It’s simple, easy to make, and as American as apple pie. And more importantly, there are more varieties than I can even comprehend.

I like to grab a random soup that I’ve never tried before and take the plunge.

About a year ago I tried Pepper Pot Soup, which apparently is a popular soup style in Jamaica that was traditionally thought to have been invented during the American Revolution when Washington’s army was down to just beef tripe and peppercorns.

Sounds disgusting, eh? It wasn’t so bad, but it did take a bit of an open mind.

Right now I’m trying out Golden Mushroom, which is a savory creamy beef stock soup with lots of mushroom pieces. I think I like this one a bit better.

Anyway, the can of soup is a staple of the bachelor life, and offers better nutrition and selection than something like ramen, so it gets my seal of approval.