Archive for the ‘aliens’ Category

TYME TRAVEL AGENCY ANNOUNCES VACATIONS THROUGH TIME!

November 4, 2010

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Jon Steinmeier demo – “Our Universe”

August 29, 2007

Greetings, aficionados, and welcome to the Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode VI!

Continuing our junket deeper into Detholz! terrain, today’s installment comes from Detholz! keyboardist, Jon Steinmeier.

Jonny joined the band in 2001, replacing original Detholz! keyboardist, Rick Franklin. He was brought to my attention originally by a mutual friend, and after attending his senior composition recital, where Jonny conducted his own music and played piano, drums, and many other instruments all flawlessly and with mind-blowing precision, I knew he was the only choice. He’s one of those sickos that can play any instrument he happens to pick up– and play it well.

Since that time, he’s been an asset in Detholz!, as one of the band’s three drummers (both Andrew and Ben are also drummers by trade). The rhythmic precision and virtuosity of his playing, as well as his vast understanding of writing/arranging, have had a huge impact on the band.  (Not to mention his “signature sound,” otherwise known as “Das Papiertone.”)

Detholz! is Communist in nature- each of us plays an equal role. Still, if any member of the band deserves the MVP Award, it’s Jonny.

Since joining Detholz!, Jonny’s now in high demand in Chicago, and has played with a wild assortment of characters, from Mavis Staples, the international soul star, to Mucca Pazza, a 30-piece maniacal marching band. He has his own songwriting blog, jonsteinmeier.wordpress.com, and for many months has posted an original “Song of the Week” at jonsteinmeier.com. Jonny also teaches drums, voice and piano (in no particular order), so for any of you aspiring Chicago rawk folk, here’s your chance to study with one of the greats!

Over to you, Jon…

our universe

welcome back kids! today’s Song of The Week is about OUTER SPACE and LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS! what fun! it’s called “our universe,” appropriately named after the National Geographic Picture Atlas by Roy A. Gallant published in 1980. i grew up with this book, and i got REALLY excited when i saw it at a church yard sale in Bedford, Massachusetts a few weeks ago and bought it for a dollar fifty or so.

on page 44, Mr. Gallant takes us on an “imaginary safari to real places faithfully described” to see what crazy creatures there “never were.” this section was always a favorite of mine as a kid, with artistic renderings of alien life on other planets. If you have this book handy, i recommend looking through this section to “understand” the lyrics of this weeks Jon Steinmeier Song of the Week, a Detholz Blog Exclusive, appropriate called ” our universe.”

WORDS

ok, i feel like i should make sense of these lyrics for you, although part of me would rather hear what people get out of them first (as usual), these are convoluted enough that i’ll go ahead and dig in. each verse of this song describes a different planets lifeform(s) through the imagination of Roy Gallant. verse one is Jupiter, verse two is Pluto, the B section is Titan, verse three is Mars, and the second B section is Venus. THEN…i whistle. that’s really it. i generally find lyrics that don’t make “sense” to be quite entertaining and potentially funny, especially when presented in an otherwise serious sounding context (see my blog for more on that), and “our universe” is ultimately about some combination of imagery and this strange, country character. i imagine it to be a song written by Roy Gallant, that he sings to his star gazing kids on clear nights, hoping to one day be able to see if this theories on alien life were accurate.

here are the lyrics:

ON JUPITER YOU’d BETTER STAY UP HIGH AND
JELLY BLIMPS DON’T SURVIVE THE SWORDTAILS
POINTY DIVERS

WE RADIO GREAT THOUGHTS AND BOUNCE THROUGH THIN AIR
WE’RE OUT AT NIGHT WE HATE HEAT BUT LOVE OUR
E LEC TRIC I TEEE

WHAT IF
STOVEBELLIED BODIES
BURNED UP THE AIR AND
ATE THE ICE

NOW MARS HAS WHISPER THIN WINDS DUSTY CANYONS
AND DEADLY ULTRAVIOLET RAYS
MARTIAN WATERSEEKERS PROBE FOR
POCKETS OF ICE AHHHYEAH

OUCHER-
POUCHERS KEEP SHIFTING
EVERYTHING MELTS HERE
WE EAT ROCKS

———————————–

i HIGHLY recommend looking at the pictures from said book as you listen. they’re far more interesting than this song.

MUSICS

i had a conversation with mom recently, about the song of the week project, and how ideas can sometimes run thin, and she recommended a goal of writing a really “simple” melody and just keeping it simple. not over-arranging, but really just going for good melodic material. i loved this suggestion, and sat on my back porch with guitar, coffee, cigarettes, and paper and pen while the carpet guys cleaned our weekly basement flooding. i wrote the melody down in solfege syllables and rhythms to remember it as i went, and eventually played around with chordal ideas later. i tried to keep this song pretty straight ahead melodically and harmonically, and really just thought about,

A. satisfying movement in the melody, and

B. character.

i ended up with a melody i’m pretty happy with, and a character that just didn’t ask for much arrangement. simple works best in this case i think. after the verses, i went ahead through the form one more time with two part whistles, and tried to vibrate my whistles a bit to sound like theramins. that, with a spaghetti western level of reverb, helped to bridge the character combo for me.

old west star gazer meets star.

thanks for listening.

if you wanna here this one live, swing down to millennium park tomorrow afternoon at 2pm for a kids show jeff thomas and i are doing. i’m interested to see what the kids think. i have a feeling they’ll just sit and stare.

(ed. note – Keep those comments coming, and see you next week!)