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Profile Information

  • Real Name
    James Russell


Artist Settings

  • Collaboration Status
    3. Very Interested
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Composition & Production Skills
    Arrangement & Orchestration
    Recording Facilities
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (List)
    Acoustic Guitar
    Vocals: Male

ubernym's Achievements


Newbie (1/14)

  1. What! I didn't know I was your arch-nemesis! I'm not prepared for that kind of responsibility (I don't even have a goatee or a skull-shaped island or anything)
  2. Wow, it's been almost two years since the last writing compo for me...maybe it's time. Don't hold me to it, but the month's young yet!
  3. Please note that the following statements are in relation to "popular" music, which is defined as modern music, typically with a singer. I'm not including concert music (i.e. classical/chamber/orchestra/etc) or jazz music in my comments, because I think that it would be unfair to compare Britney Spears to Miles Davis, or Nickelback to Kronos Quartet. There is a certain amount of high-mindedness associated with "non-pop" music, and we're not having a conversation about that right now. The mechanics of listening to music are universal, but the reasons are not. Justifications of individual taste are rarely helpful, because each of us has a unique perspective. For example, I have a friend who likes a lot of different pop music, but the common thread that ties all of his likes/dislikes together is whether or not the music has a charismatic singer with compelling lyrics. I also like a lot of different music, and my friend and I have many similar likes. The key difference is that I'm not as interested in lyrics and singers as he is. Sure I appreciate them, but because I'm a musician and because I'm a hobbyist in music production, my reasons for enjoying a song extend beyond good lyrics and into the realm of production values, arrangement, instrumentation, etc. I look at the whole picture, and I can enjoy a well produced, well played song even if the lyrics are shiny and vapid. My friend cannot do the same, however he can enjoy some pretty terrible guitar playing and even worse production values if the singer has something interesting to say. Is my approach to music enjoyment better or more accurate than my friend's? Not even a little. He has some very good arguments for why lyrics matter so much, and I think I have some good arguments for why arrangement and production matter so much. It doesn't matter. The material point is that we're both thinking about why music matters to us, and that we've considered the reasons we enjoy it. Nobody is right, and nobody is wrong. Music is firmly an aesthetic choice, and the factors which play into our personal enjoyment of a song are as individual and unique as our personalities and the histories which formed us. I am a musician, and can enjoy music in many forms simply for the sake of its musical qualities. My friend is a writer and a poet, and he appreciates music with a literary keen to it. My wife is an actress and a singer, and she enjoys music of the theater above all else. My dad was an aspiring filmmaker when he was a kid and is such a movie buff, and he loves movie soundtracks and any kind of music that paints a cinematic image. My brother-in-law is very athletic and loves to dance, and he tends to enjoy any song with a driving beat. Another friend of mine is a seriously good guitar player and he really loves jam bands and guitar jazz. Most visitors to this site are or were serious video gamers at some point and we enjoy hearing interpretations of musical themes from our favorite video games. Live and let live, and if you think that some genre of music or the majority of offerings within that genre are irredeemably bad, that's fine. You're entitled to that opinion. If you start judging people who listen to something of which you don't approve, and you start calling those people names just because they don't like the same music as you, or because they have different, maybe even more superficial reasons for liking music than you do... do you really think you're accomplishing something by riding the high horse?
  4. ...He was going through a divorce at the time and drinking heavily...? I don't know it's plausible
  5. According to wikipedia: ...which is pretty lame, and I'm glad they changed it. Also, I'm about 8 hours in and its awesome. I personally like the new localization. It seems in many ways more mature and subtle. Oh man I haven't had this much fun in ages!
  6. I bought it. Funny thing, I've never bought Chrono Trigger in any of its other iterations. First time I played it was when I borrowed it from a friend. Second time, was on (ahem) a SNES emulator. And then I played it on my brother's PS1. Even on the emulator, it felt..not quite right, and the PS1 version load times were irritating to say the least. So for me, $40 for one of my all time favorite games is well worth it. Now we just need to convince the powers that be to release a Mother trilogy on DS. I'd gladly pay $100 for that.
  7. Great job everyone! I also appreciated the critiques, and only feel bad that I never had time to vote. Being a new father with two jobs is a little hard on my schedule. Blue.Nocturne: I noticed you had a problem with a chord that was a little dissonant. If only I had time to fine tune this piece. I sent it in as a pretty rough draft. It was one of those chords that sounded really great stretched out across my piano, and it didn't really translate well into strings only. I should had added some other instruments to layer the chord better. I also appreciate the more technically-minded comments about EQ and reverb. Always helpful! Even though I didn't get to vote, I would have voted for Maquis as the winner. That piece was excellent! Gave me chills, and fit your description very well. I read the story to my wife and then she listened to the piece and it actually brought a tear to her eye. That's good writing! I also agree that there wasn't a bad egg in the basket for this theme. Great job everyone. I can't wait for the next theme (hope I'll have time) and I hope we get this much turnout next time.
  8. Heh, yeah I actually thought about calling it "Blue Nocturne" for fun. I ended up originally titling it Water Nocturne, so credit needs to be given to Abadoss for coming up with the more interesting sounding "Aqueous Nocturne." Hopefully this is abstract and unique enough that we get a lot of participation!
  9. From the Keith Jarret performance I mentioned. Reading the comments on youtube, I guess I'm not the only one who was moved by this piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO9si26qB0s&feature=related
  10. I'm a sentimental sap. At least when it comes to books, music and film/plays. Though I rarely cry when real life is involved. When it's real, the tragedy of it is to overwhelming for tears and I just get quiet and numb. My family ridicules me for this. But oh man, if I had a nickel for every time a song has made me cry, I'd have like $13.50 or something. I tend to cry in movies if there's a certain convocation of music and the moment. But if we're just talking individual pieces of music, here are a few that stand out in my mind the most: 1. Appalachian Spring, by Aaron Copland. But it has to be the fully orchestrated, full ballet version, not the medley suite version most people know. There is a big damn difference. I first heard this piece on a plane from Denver to Dallas. There's this moment right at the beginning where the winds are building on these add9/sus4+4 (or something) cluster chords and there's some solo violins drifting over the top... I was visibly weeping in my coach class seat. As soon as we landed I bought the CD. That was about ten years ago and it's one of my favorite recordings still. 2. Leonard Bernstein's Mass, by Leonard Bernstein. At the very end. I listened to this whole broadway style catholic mass, which was full of all kinds of shocking and offensive lyrics. It's this journey from religious ritual into debauchery (and the idea that the two are not far removed from each other to begin with) and then back into faith and hope. And it's that moment at the end when you think that people are way to messed up and that they've ruined everything and then this child starts singing, and everyone joins in this very simple, very hopeful chorus. I cried like a baby. 3. Keith Jarret's performance at La Scala. So Keith Jarrett is this great jazz pianist who occasionally does these all-improv concerts which are recorded. One time he's at La Scala in Milan (I think it's in Milan) and he's doing his thing and there's this moment of intensity followed by utter musical bliss. I remember I was sitting on my best friend's living room floor while listening to this, trying to hide my tears. I also have an album of christmas carols sung by the Cambridge Singers which usually chokes me up, and Arvo Part's works are quite emotionally disturbing to me. Also when my wife and I saw the musical version of Little Women, and there's this part when the sickly, soon to be dead little Beth is playing the piano and singing this stupid song about going to the bay or something but the whole setup of it just dissolved us both into blubbering idiots. Carousel made me cry too. Again at the end, when the deadbeat dad is up in heaven realizing what a moron he was. It's so sad! I'm barely scratching the surface here. I'm a big crybaby. Don't hit me!
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