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Tom 7 album-a-day #27: Pro se? ick. (08 Mar 2011 at 00:12)
Hello. Welcome to my 27th album-a-day, called Pro se? ick.. Editor: Double period warranted because one of the periods is in the title and one ends the sentence, duh.

Tom 7 AAD #27: Pro se? ick.
AAD #27: Pro se? ick.


Thanks to new zip technology, you can now just download pro-se-ick.zip which contains all music! Surely the best way to enjoy music is to listen to it, but some context may help:

I made this one on March 6th and 7th, 2011, taking a vacation day. Realistically I spent almost two days on it, but probably still less than 24 hours. Since I am a bearded old timer I do not feel particularly compelled to follow album-a-day rules. I also violated the rule about not writing the material afresh, i.e. the plaintive version of Spring Break Pittsburgh 2006 wooo from AAD-20, but it seems topical since it is currently Spring Break 2011, wooo. -1,000 points! Spoiler alert: I'll argue self-defense.

I made my life extra difficult with this one by holding myself to modern standards, plus trying to minimize repetition in song structure, plus embedding multi-level puns and references and entendre, plus trying to use diverse and dense instrumentation. I think I succeeded, but I sure sacrificed some stereocilia. I also must say that while some songs are literal, not all songs are literal, and when I got stuck I preferred to go with the good line, even if it made it inaccurately dark.

Now just get zip or browse page!
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Anonymous (c-68-83-145-202.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.08.11 18:04:24
Haven't had time to listen yet, but let me say that providing the album in a zip file is a major step forward in your AAD distribution efforts. I'm being totally serious. Clicking those links was annoying.
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Anonymous (c-68-83-145-202.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.08.11 18:04:55
Also even though I had typed my name, that strangely showed up as anonymous. Let's see if it happens again.
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Chris C (c-68-83-145-202.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.08.11 18:05:12
Yeah, your name field is broken and stuff. (Chris C here)
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Chris C (c-68-83-145-202.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.08.11 18:05:48
I should stop spamming your comments, but now I am really curious about how this is happening. I think if I edit the name field last, it will work.
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Anonymous (c-67-186-6-86.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.08.11 19:38:04
Yeah, I agree. It annoyed me forever, but since I have limited disk space on my server, I didn't want to maintain both a zip and the individual files. I figured out a pretty convenient way to efficiently generate them on the fly. It's on the list to go back and make zips for old ones, though unfortunately I can not give you your link clicking time back.

I don't understand what's going on with the name field? It's possible that you got unlucky electronic countermeasures (designed to foil lazy html parsers by spammers) that somehow rendered that field invalid, though I don't think it's possible. What browser?
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Chris C (c-68-83-145-202.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.08.11 21:05:56
Using chrome here, but it hardly matters and I won't be offended if you just delete those earlier posts.

Listened a couple times through. There is a lot of good stuff here!

I love the melancholy version of Spring Break (it was already one of my favorites). I like get lamp and it does a good job of hitting the mood I'm in when I play text adventures. Also I'm doing the PAX East thing this weekend and it got me pretty excited for the chiptune concerts. Shameless meta-meta-song is catchy and cute. #losing is nice, but I'm not sure I understand it.

The song numbers in the notes don't agree with the album, but that seems to be a theme.
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Sontuk (75-39-112-19.lightspeed.rkrvoh.sbcglobal.net) – 03.08.11 21:22:38
Yay!
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fetjuel (vpn.omnigroup.com) – 03.09.11 22:54:30
Huzzah, I really like it. The cover art looks like an eerily accurate likeness. 27 is a lot of albums, sir.
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fetjuel (vpn.omnigroup.com) – 03.09.11 22:59:38
Sorry for double-posting, but I just remembered another thing to say. This album feels like a successful marriage of your old crazy song idea generation methods and your recent intricately clever lyric generation methods.

Also, I always love getting songs that are more than just acoustic guitar and vocals: backups, electric guitar, percussion, and synth all help make a song feel super fun.
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Tom 7 (c-67-186-6-86.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.10.11 01:37:49
Thanks Chris, Sontuk, jetfuel! I love album reviews.

CC: Looks like I am suffering from the same anonymity problem, in Chrome as well. I'll look into it; might just be like ancient illegal HTML since this web page is literally 10 years old. The songs appear in the notes in the order that I wrote them (at least, the order I started them), which is why the numbers are not the same as the album tracklisting. Often when I record a song I just put down some backing tracks but don't finish it enough to give it a name or even make it recognizable, so I need some kind of temporary way to remember which one it is. Glad you caught the reference to TXT adventures on get lamp; alas this disc's best entendres are too personal to be accessible to almost anyone.

fj: Well, yeah, it must be the facial expression and super tiny eyes that makes it eerie. :) 27 is possibly my favorite number (7 is too obvious right?) since it's my birthday. It's what I use on sports uniforms and stuff. But if you count three "Marm & Toc" AADs and two Taut Blue Quality ones, that's already 32! Still just over 1 a year for life, which I don't see why anyone would be impressed with that.

I really appreciate the positive words about the lyrics; that's probably the thing I'm most proud of on this one. I actually don't know what you mean by the old crazy song idea generation methods though... certainly there's been some change (maturation?) since AAD #1 but I feel like this cassette tape is on the same train as the last few have been. Maybe more dramatic twists than usual. Anyway I shouldn't cast question marks upon sentences that contain "successful marriage"; just curious.
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Adhesion (adhesionm.rit.edu) – 03.10.11 11:44:41
Wow, this album is great. #losing is a classic, doesn't even sound like the sort of song you would expect on an AAD just by the quality and density of the songwriting. I love how your arrangements are getting more and more elaborate, you can really tell how different (and probably not as interesting) it would be if certain songs were just guitar+voice. Plus some of the subject matter/lyrics being a bit darker/more personal is a nice departure from the more tongue-in-cheek or goofier fare of most of your previous ones. This album is definitely top-tier up there with Fake Mars, sk7 and Betrayal for me, great work.

Oh, also I just noticed some of the album pages are missing the links to all the other ones, actually a lot of them say "check out the links to the left" and there are none!! Oh no!!!
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Tom 7 (c-67-186-6-86.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 03.11.11 01:20:10
A: Thx dood. #losing is pretty thick and I did spend a lot of time on it, though ultimately I feel like it's thematically not real enough. I think the one I'll stand by the most is "Just a drop," at least among gloaming songs. Shameless meta-meta-song is the clear crowd favorite, and I'm warming to it. For like ten years I've deliberately tried to keep myself to really minimal apparatus in terms of songwriting (e.g. in hundreds of midi ditties only using square waves and sawtooth waves, and in hundreds of mic jams only using acoustic guitar and singing), with the idea that this would force me to develop skills in the essence of songwriting because I couldn't cover for gaps with texture and/or extended midi patches, but I think I'm getting over this ascetic lifestyle. Glad that is tickling fancies. Now if only I could figure out how to operate the recording devices...

Also: Fake Mars and BATKOC are among my favorites too, but I'm surprised to hear sk7 in the mix! "Sun beam melts ice girlfriend" is the only track I have no regrets about (and it contains one of my favorite lyric achievements ever), and though I like most of it, I would put #s 22, 24, and 26 over it easy, maybe some others from the 2X series, and definitely #13.

I guess I often have this reaction when people say "I like this" which is "why do you like that one and not this other one?" which may come across wrong. I actually love that people have different tastes for my makes and when it defies my expectations, and thanks for sharing them. It's like having your kids not do what you had in mind for them but still be proud, you know?

BTW Chris: Your comments were the lead-up to comment #10,000 (yours) so I could never delete them! Epic!
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Adhesion (cpe-69-205-69-21.rochester.res.rr.com) – 03.13.11 21:20:57
Yeah picking out sk7 is sort of a snap judgment when thinking about your recent ones, mostly on the strength of Sun beam, some new coffee, and theme from costco, which are all incredible songs in my mind. That assessment of the album as a whole might not hold up under closer listening/scrutiny. 24, 26 and 13 are definitely great too though, don't care quite as much for 22 but it's still pretty good. (And what about #17?!)

Also I think from the years of limiting yourself you've become a pretty damn strong songwriter, so maybe there's not much reason to do that anymore. "for craps sake you have already learned how to operate a recording device"
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fetjuel (vpn.omnigroup.com) – 03.15.11 23:39:07
I think the classic crazy song idea generation impression comes mainly from just two of the tracks, now that I analyze it. Shameless meta-meta-song does the thing where you make an obviously weak premise into a great premise by pushing it farther and farther until it's beyond any judgment of appropriateness. And Alto suxaphone takes a simplistic, gimmicky, self-referential musical/lyrical combo and wrangles it into something actually enjoyable. In that way, I think it reminds me of Masonry Jar and Not Doing Much, incidentally both from Spacewalk Underway.

I keep saying that some outside influence may cause me to finally do an AAD, and maybe this time I actually will, but probably not. But Garage Band for iPad is bringing the bar pretty dang low.

ANYWAY GOOD ALBUM
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Tadbot (65-78-35-8.c3-0.upd-ubr13.trpr-upd.pa.cable.rcn.com) – 03.16.11 19:53:20
One of the top 10 videos on videosift today is 'Futurama if it were an NES game', and I noticed that its soundtrack is composed of T7ES tracks:

[RICK ROLL DEFENSE TAG]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KaJr9EYFYg
[/RICK ROLL DEFENSE TAG]
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chrisamaphone (pool-71-182-248-63.pitbpa.east.verizon.net) – 03.16.11 21:39:38
i feel like i've missed my cue to stick up for minimalism, so i may as well agree that the more complex arrangements are fun. :)

#losing is the one that got stuck in my head after a pass-through, but i should give the others another chance.

also wtf lyrics
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fetjuel (198.151.161.130) – 03.30.11 14:04:15
More observations:

I love the way several songs don't follow traditional verse-chorus-verse structure. Do these count as "through-composition"? I find this sort of song to be underutilized and as a result more dramatic.

Is that live bass in Attorney-client privilege? Is that a first?
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Anonymous (96.235.41.115) – 03.31.11 10:02:46
Wow, all these comments to respond to:
A: AAD-17 I have a weird relationship with because for a long time I didn't have it on my phone, as I did not want to listen to it. I'm over that feeling now, but still rarely listen to it all the way through, except when I do an AAD marathon like on an international flight, in order to pass the time. I guess it sure does have some classics, like Based On Your Mario Kart Skills. :) And as for recording, I feel like I learn how to tell what's wrong with a recording (or that something is wrong) faster than I learn how to record well! A #losing battle!
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Tom 7 (67.186.6.86) – 04.10.11 20:37:37
fj: Alto Suxaphone is definitely a throwback, made with real sugar. I'm glad you enjoy it; that's the first one to enter my usually-skip list.

tadbot: Nice find! A bunch of people were asking about the music on that video, so I may have acquired new fans by setting them straight.

c: thx! Yes, in my opinion, other songs can compete with #losing, so they are worth a chance. And sometimes I have actual emotions, it's true.

fj #2: Good call. I have been trying to do this ("through composition" is a good name for it though I had never heard that before) deliberately on recent albums. I've always been a fan of short songs, mainly because I find repetition boring. But I found it's more fun (and challenging) to make songs that don't repeat by virtue of having many points and unusual structure. So thanks for noticing. :) It's electric bass played through a pod, but definitely not the first time. It's also on #losing, Shameless MMS, and on earlier albums as well (I think the first one was Blast Child or The New F-Zero?). Love the bass but I seldom feel like I have time to add it.
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