Backtrack: One Hot Genie

Backtrack is a series devoted to backtracking to tell short stories about songs I've written.

Back in 2007 I was hired by a mobile developer to write 16 one minute loops of general MIDI music for a puzzle game. Over a span of about three months I wrote the tracks, which are pretty much all over the map. The only commonality was direction from the client to make them somewhat dancy.

This particular track is probably one of the better ones of the bunch. Given the requirements, I took the opportunity to use my favorite tool at the time, Tabledit, (MIDI Guitar Tablature Editor Software) to create all of the music. This was one of the very first game-related projects I ever took on, and the experience helped at least somewhat in getting me interested in writing for games in general, even though the music was never actually used by the client, and I never really got to play the game while it was being developed. It may sound like a bit of a horror story but at the time I was happy enough to get paid to write music (and I try not to forget that!)

After years of dormancy, these tracks made their way onto a release called ’Limeade Grin’.

Backtrack: Fun With Marbles

Backtrack is a series devoted to backtracking to tell short stories about songs I've written.

In the fall of 2005, I was planning a full-length album of video game covers, tentatively titled ‘The Distance Between Start and Select’. Being obsessed with the idea of everything being 'epic’ at the time, I wanted to dedicate songs to entire games, trying to incorporate all of the themes that I enjoyed. One such game that more or less got that treatment was “Marble Madness”, a wonderfully tricky puzzle game where you had to roll a ball through obstacles on an isometric grid.

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It came out on a few systems but I had the NES version growing up. Naturally there was a lot of nostalgic value in the music for me, and upon revisiting it later I was surprised at how heavy the music was. One part of the track I put together I gave a Tool treatment, which I think sounded pretty cool. This track started as three individual ones for the various levels of the game, respectively, in TablEdit.

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TablEdit is Guitar Tablature Software that happens to be great for doing multitrack MIDI arrangements. It was my number one resource for writing out music and initial ideas for a very long time. I still use it from time to time as it’s an extremely fast way to write music, using the computer keyboard entirely to input your notes. Kudos if you can figure out which part of the song this is!

Back in 2005, my music was quite different from how it is now. It’s funny to listen to this now and point out all the silly things that I would never do now. I mean, just listen to those super athletic tom fills in the beginning! Blasphemous fun. Still, I think it’s easy to see where the evolution came from. I’ll get more into my roots and the evolution in other posts. As well as a super underrated piece of software called Garageband.

The track is called 'Fun With Marbles’ because I had a lot of fun making it! Also because it wrongfully leads people to believe it’s about that old schoolyard game.