I've been a musician for a long time now (as well as making part of my living as a writer and editor), and I've made money from music for more than 15 years. In 2004, I started posting my original compositions on my website, and they've proved popular enough to put them together into an audio CD.
This result, "Penmachine Sessions," is my solo debut album, and compiles the first 14 original tracks I released during 2004 and 2005 on my Penmachine Podcast at podcast.penmachine.com (mostly funky instrumental rock, electronica, and blues). Since I started putting my tunes online, over 100 podcasters have played them as podsafe tracks, background music, or theme songs. I hope you enjoy them too. They feature me playing various instruments, including electric and acoustic guitar, piano, organ, clavinet, drums, and bass, as well as three tracks where I collaborate with one or two of my colleagues.
Besides making my own tracks, I also play drums and sing in a wacky four-piece British Invasion cover band called The Neurotics (theneurotics.com) here in Vancouver, and we perform in more sedate form (without the wigs and glittery jackets) under the name HourGlass too. In the early 1990s, I was in an indie band called The Flu, who released one album on cassette and toured as far away as Australia. More recently, I was hired to compose and record the theme music for the Business Jive podcast (businessjive.com). And I was one of the vocalists in the sing-along chorus of the Podsafe for Peace (podsafeforpeace.org) benefit song "If Every Day Were Christmas." In December 2005, I was interviewed briefly on Canada's CBC Radio about it.
All the tracks on this album use a Creative Commons license (Attribution-Share Alike 2.5, for the most part, see creativecommons.org for details), which means you can convert them to MP3 or your favourite digital format, file-share them, play them in your podcast, burn them to another CD, and so on without getting in trouble. I figure the more people who hear my stuff, the better, and if they like it, I hope they'll buy it. I continue to post new material at my podcast (podcast.penmachine.com), which you might like to subscribe to. Eventually the new tracks I add will probably turn into another album.
I also have a blog at www.penmachine.com, where you can find out what I'm up to, leave comments, or get in touch with me. You can even hire me to create custom music for you.
The tracks on "Penmachine Sessions," each between two and four and a half minutes long, are:
1. How Tall Jennifer Is - Soft back-porch acoustic, loud propulsive guitar, then back.
2. Hotcake Syrup - Sugary, head-boppin' power-chord drivin' music.
3. Stop Yield Go Merge - Bleeping synthesizers, a backbeat, screaming lead guitar, and an ominous string section.
4. Clouds or Smoke? - Bluesy space rock with a jazz beat.
5. Cold Cloth and an Ice Pack - Old-style funk-R&B combo jam.
6. Had a Plan, Had to Change It - Twin-guitar shuffle blues written for CBCers.
7. Pirilloponzi - Twang groove with words about email and love. Vocals by Chris and Ponzi.
8. Meltdown Man - Wild 'n' crazy, Brylcreem-and-burgers rockabilly guitar workout.
9. Fresh Snow in the Valley - Techno beats, echoing riff, synths, and lead guitar.
10. The Burning Moon - Spaghetti western down on the bayou: spooky piano, tremolo guitar, and organ over a stuttering beat. A collaboration with Simon James.
11. Pocketbook - R&B horn intro leads into groovy bass, Hammond organ, and drums.
12. Deep Cycle Discharge - Four-on-the-floor electronica pits a piano against hovering UFO sounds. A collaboration with Simon James.
13. Gronk Patrol - A slow march with guitars that bloop, twang, and scream.
14. That's No Dream - Happy funk guitar and organ in a convertible with the top down.
I'd like to say thanks to my wife and daughters for giving me the support and time to undertake this project; my collaborators, colleagues, and bandmates for their help and encouragement; and our families and friends for everything else they've given over the years.