Ground Rules for a Whisky Tasting

Ground Rules for a Whisky Tasting

With a head full of stones and a heart full of sand, I have returned from the Highland Park Record Club. The goal of this gathering was to establish that music and whisky are good friends, maybe even cousins: They both have dynamic personalities that unfold over time; they both are hard to do well; and both warrant repeat drink-listens. We were curated from the creative class and dispatched to a members-only basement where bookshelves swelled with thick hardcovers recounting retrospectives at the Whitney Museum. There were dark, overstuffed couches, and a gas fireplace with a thick glass pane in front of it that offered the dance of light with none of the extraneous by-product of actual fire. There were bowls of nuts with honey notes that whispered from the back of my palette, “How did you get invited here? You’re a fraud.” But I’m not a fraud, I whispered back to my nuts, within earshot of a vinyl technician who scratched garage rock into Plexiglas 45s on a vintage lathe. I am an aficionado, in that I have awakened next to empty bottles of Highland Park and hit play on recording equipment to hear a song that I couldn’t remember I even recorded. So. I’m a pro at this. It’s really something, to hear a song for the first time and know it’s you singing. It’s as close as I may get to inhabiting Keith Richard’s body. Scotch people, I report the following: Highland Park 12 remains a standard bearer, the one you’d hand the Olympic torch and let run down your gullet with trust, even pride; Highland...
Design Observer Podcast: “What Design Sounds Like”

Design Observer Podcast: “What Design Sounds Like”

In the new Design Observer podcast, The Observatory, Jessica Helfand and Michael Beirut discuss highlights from the “What Design Sounds Like” symposium. My contribution was “Dancing About Architecture” – the interplay between sound, architecture, composition and meaning. I spoke and spun J.S.Bach, AC/DC and FKA Twigs. I think it made sense. Other stories include: • It’s Nice That’s Rob Alderson on TED and Design Indaba • Roy Choi • Sindiso Khumalo • Interactive videos by Yoni Bloch: Like a Rolling Stone; Pretend to Be Happy • The Christmas party scene from Kramer vs. Kramer • CBC on Spocking the Canadian $5 bill Bonus: Check out Lena Dunham’s concept for a graphic design web series featuring Jessica and...
Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon Campaign

Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon Campaign

Read Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon Campaign on Cuepoint. Amanda Palmer is good people. No, she’s great people. She came to a songwriting class I taught at Yale, and opened her heart, mind and soul to my students. She tweeted to her fanbase and for one slice of a second, we trended on Twitter. (I did not get the screengrab. Dammit.) Now she’s got a Patreon campaign, and I think the experiment will prove fruitful for her. As I write, she’s up to $20k per piece of content after just one day. So. Fruitful. In short: Meet the future of the tip jar. Appraising Amanda Palmer’s New Patreon...
“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

“What Design Sounds Like” – A Design Observer Symposium

I’ll be doing this on Saturday. Amazing lineup. I’m honored to have been included. My contribution is “Dancing About Architecture” – the interplay between sound, architecture, composition and meaning. I’ll be talking, playing, and spinning J.S. Bach, AC/DC and FKA Twigs. Despite that, I’m fairly sure it will make sense. The SVA Theatre is located at 333 W. 23rd street, between 8th and 9th avenues. Directions can be found at svatheatre.com tix: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-design-sounds-like-tickets… Tweets at ‪#‎WDSL‬ For more about Design Observer:...
The Sometimes Platinum Window

The Sometimes Platinum Window

My experience auditioning for a record label. Dedicated to anyone who has done something weird. I reminded myself that there was no one to ask for permission. I could play solo, and write the words I needed to say. I could record, live tight, and strip my life to its essence, with its familiar silence and the weight of everything being exactly where I left it. I could go on without anyone, but I didn’t want to. What I wanted was a team. Everyone wants a team. Even dogs group together in the wild. https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-sometimes-platinum-window-43a71a2c24e8 This is the latest from “The Solo Show,” my ongoing collection of essays, playlists and stories. Check out the growing library and follow along here: https://medium.com/@mikeerrico   The Sometimes Platinum...
Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor.

Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor.

“Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor.” “Don’t throw your guitar down the staircase and tell me you’ve written a new song, because the artist in me will agree. The problem is only that there is no criteria by which I can inform or instruct you on that impulse, so that would be an example of something that falls outside the scope of the course. Informally, perhaps over a crisp ginger ale, could we talk about whether the staircase should’ve been carpeted? Or whether it’s a sonic metaphor of 20th-century iconography colliding with the noble architecture of the Federalist style? Could we title it something snappy like, “The Wisdom of the Staircase,” or “Soundtrack to ‘Nude Descending a Staircase’”? Oh, sure. I have all day for stuff like that. I am, after all, the one who assigned a book of blank pages.” Hi. I’m Your Songwriting Professor. BONUS: Last Songs on “Albums” Playlist “The real truth is that I love the last songs on albums, the ones where the agendas and obligations lift like the dampers of the piano, allowing all creative strings to vibrate at once. This is when the artists reveal themselves, tell their inside jokes, and foreshadow their ambitions.” – From “Hi. I’m Your Songwriting...
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