Rough and Ready

[Warning: Extra-Narcissistic And Totally Shameless Self-Promotion Follows.]

So, yeah. I made a thing. It is a CD single. Achievement Unlocked!

Actually, because I am not Beck, it is more accurate to say that We Made A Thing. “We” includes Josh (who did every technical thing from recording to mixing, did a lot of the arranging, played guitar, did all of the art-directing, scheduled the other musicians, and was both generally and particularly awesome), Scott (who wrestled with drums for me), Vanessa (who rocked the bass), Andy (a whole horn section in the form of one rocking dude), and Hannah (the result of whose patient use of a paintbrush, some ink, and a stencil she had to cut out by hand is visible in the picture above. Also: She made a mushroom pot-pie that was simply to die for…). I wrote the songs, played the guitar, helped with the arranging, sang, and contributed violin and viola sounds. I may also have banged on a cymbal or a drum or something, but I think we replaced that sound with something else.

Go Team!

It is, naturally, a home-brewed affair from start to finish. We knocked this thing together in a rented studio space (a “studio” only by virtue of being called that by us and used for recording) downstairs from our favorite bar, and joined its various pieces on home computers. Josh and Hannah’s living room is (at the moment) full of computers and recording equipment. We recorded Andy’s trumpet parts at his house, out on his family farm. It is not a shiny, perfect, auto-tuned, primped and ideal thing; there’s some noise here and there, and we’ll probably be tweaking the mix again (and again…and again…) before the full EP release is done later this year. It is a small set of CD-Rs (limited edition! Only 11 exist! Get ’em while they’re hot!) burned with a computer, with cardboard sleeves (patriotic cardboard sleeves, according to the manufacturer who is Definitely American) that we sat up last night putting letters on. It has an accidental joke in German on the CD itself.

We made a thing, and it’s kind of awesome.

Even if it turns out that this little bit of art is only ever heard by twenty-five people, the important bit is not that they heard it, but that we made it. This seems to me to be the most important thing about it, as a piece of art. I’m not saying that its aesthetic value (whatever that may be — I mean, my Mom will probably like it, but I can’t vouch for anyone else’s taste) is irrelevant, only that ultimately, what makes it most valuable to me is not whether or not anyone else actually likeor hears it. What makes it most valuable to me is the process of its creation, and the people who made it. This whole project has been an experiment in home-brewed independent production, and it has been pretty darn cool.

I’ll probably post a digital version of at least one of the two tracks on my Soundcloud this weekend, so that maybe five more people can listen to it. That will be enough.

That will be very good indeed.


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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