Monday, February 28, 2005

Music - Fast Forward To Present

So it is Feb 28th - end of a wild month for Geek Rhythms. The cycle started with a news story "Geeksta Rap" in San Jose Mercury News on Jan 27th. Our sales rank on Amazon website that morning was 231,392. Starting 7:00 am that morning the traffic on website was up 50 fold. We ended that day with the a sales rank of ~950. Our lowest rank was #460 which remains our best rank thru the end of this month.

So through the month of Feb, Geek Rhythms has been covered by more than 50 news papers and been on 3 radio news items including NPR. Incredible - this is way more than I had anticipated when I started the project. The plan was to just make some quirky music something about my Engineering school experience when talking in technical terminology was fun - I would learn a new term and try to connect it to an everyday event - and in the process commit it to memory. So there were thoughts on "Free Energy of Social Change" and "Entropy of the Summer vacations" and "Do Loop Deja Vu" and numerous other random thoughts. And a thought somewhere that these musical musings might be fun for few other engineers, and might even make some students decide to pursue engineering.

Meanwhile there have been people I have had the pleasure of hearing from - Joel Leonard who writes songs about maintenance crisis in US. He has had numerous performers sing the song in Funk etc. We are working on giving the song a Hip Hop make over and get a band to sing it. So one of these days, it will be released for your eager ears...

I also heard from Fred Hall IV of Univ. of Alaska , who has also been writing Geeksta Rap to encourage kids to go into science and engineering. He has taken his message to serious conferences and we might even take our work to the annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Leann Yoder of Jets has always been a big supporter of this work for it's educational potential as has benn Celeste Baine of EESC.

And many others who dropped in a line to just say they were thrilled with the idea of science and engineering getting attention.

Today our rank is ~ 4000 - 7000 which is great considering there is no major news story out. We have spread through the blog world - good reviews and bad are all part of the attention we have gotten. So listen in and decide for yourself

And the beat goes on ........

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Making The Music

I flew to India to help complete recording on the four songs we had been working on. I landed in Delhi around July 6th. Starting next day, I spent full days at Rikki's studio, listening to the tracks and asking changes to some parts of the songs, we re-recorded some words to make them clearer. Jasz had also made his time available to make things go smoothly. Then came Brennon, he is a quite an unassuming guy. He came in sat and listened to the tracks for Geek Dreams and started strumming his bass guitar and the effect was immediate. It added that extra depth to the song. He did the same for Free Energy - very different songs and he smoothly blended his track into the song, that it seemed like it was always part of the original plan. Annette joined in last and after a brief introduction she went into the recording room and her voice filled the studio with amazing lightness. I would love to do a solo song with her sometime in the future. She has a very special voice. Her vocals transformed the song Enjoy The Ride completely. As all this was going on, I was struggling through my jet lag - so I was effective only half the days, while Rikki and everyone else put in long hours to meet my tight schedule - I had only planned for one week in India to wrap it all up. We decided to add in my vocals to the song Enjoy The Ride and after agreeing on a suitable interrupt point for the third vocals (other than Jasz and Annette), I got to add mine in. Five takes for 5 words was quite an experience and it did make me realize that singing will never be a career option for me.

We celebrated the completion of all recording activity with a sit down dinner - it was the night before my final departure. Rikki was mixing furiously and still had ways to go. I wanted to bring back one mix with me. So on my way to the airport, I picked up the mixed version from Rikki with a promise that a final final mix version would follow before the end of the month. I still had to figure out how to produce the cds.


First Posting

Yay !!!!!!

Geek Rhythms moves to blogosphere. The website I have used to convey my existence so far is woefully dated. Yesterday I met with Neil, to start working on bringing it to 21st century.

Meanwhile the experience of conceiving, making and bringing Geek Rhythms to this point has been an interesting journey. When I first spoke to Laura, back in Dec 2003, about my idea for making Hip Hop or rap music for engineering, I had no idea how it all would come together. I had originally intended to only make the music for myself, more an exploration of the idea. And so I spoke with Rikki, who became my music producer and much more for this album. We auditioned Jasz to be the vocalist - I liked the 18 yo EE freshman from the start. He has great energy and enthusiasm for all musical experiments. I wanted this project to be sort of like my second PhD, something created, something explored, where success in the endevour is not guaranteed or even necessary, the process is important. And on I went with the process, writing lyrics - trying to make technical terms fit n' rhyme. Then came the musical briefs - a new term for me. Rikki wanted them to set the mood for the music and Jasz needed them to set his vocals. I had a thirty thousand feet idea - cool music, hip hop beats..."go for it guys", we'll see what comes out of this. So with this inspired direction, Rikki and Jasz put together the first scratch for Geek Dreams song. Jasz added his touch with "bow down when you see me down town". After that as I wrote the lyrics, I sent them to Rikki, and he and Jasz poured over them, twisted and rearranged them to fit the music and sent me back a scratch. I listened and asked for changes here and there. The process continued through May 2004. It was June when I asked Rikki that we need to wrap this up. And so we moved to another phase, cleaning up the tracks, recording and rerecording some sections a word with right inflection can take hours to get to..