new song: “The Sprawl”

Recording

Lyrics

Tough times, weak minds
I’m running through this city and I know it’s my time
Analog waves (carry the) information exchange
Visions that rush me at breakneck pace
Gotta fly below radar, run beneath the camera eye
Gonna tell the truth and run

Someone sits down to say grace
Someone fronts it to save face

Instrumentation

Except the vocals, this is all synthesizer, particularly employing the Kaossilator Pro+ (with and without an electric guitar’s distortion pedal). I also used one of Garageband’s arpeggiators (“Bass Wave Cycles”), and two of Garageband’s AI drummers (“Jasper” and “Max”). Garageband’s “Natural Vocal” and “Fuzz Vocal” filtered my voice.

draft lyrics – 6 May 2019

New lyrics, about someone I care deeply for:

Proud mother bright smile tense
No security badass relaxed
Chaos, bad coffee, the flow of draft beer
No security just sweetness
No security but choice

Proud brave mother tremulous composed
No reverence cool poise
Grace, resistance, and a flow of turbulence
No reverence but a strong passive bearing
No reverence just grace under fluorescent lights

Speak this language of friendship and pursuit
Speak this language of love
We seek redemption in all our verdicts
…in all our drinks
…and in all our profanity
We seek redemption in all our hope
…and in all our sincerity

Proud brave mother tremulous composed
A gentle tension and a moving release
Grace under pressure and another long night
How I dreamed of holding her tight
How I dreamed of holding her

Speak this language of friendship and pursuit
Speak this language of love
We seek redemption in all our verdicts
…in all our drinks
…and in all our profanity
We seek redemption in all our hope
…and in all our sincerity

Ships that pass in the night still pass
…and we can keep passing

Axis Evil featuring Napalm Fatale @ the Che Café – 24 January 2019

My performance with special guest Queen Mab playing the Kaossilator Pro. I’m using a seven-string guitar and trying new embellishments in the guitar parts, especially in the song “Voice in the Distance”:

new song: “3Jane”

Lyrics

Growing a new philosophy
is it grand design, or subtle folly?
The serpent was anything but…
…but this was an engineered forest,
its fruit a postmodern delight

Recording

Explanation

Wrote this sometime in the late 1990’s while working through my gender dysphoria (and identity and bipolar disorder in general) as a young adult. It is about humanity’s ability to hack everything, including our bodies. Changing one’s sex is a postmodern experience from a certain point of view, and it might be complete folly (but I don’t think so).

Artifact is nature.

I think starting my life as a man and becoming a woman at 39 was by God’s design. Don’t think any serpents are whispering in my ear.

Live Performance

Headbangers’ Ball

I just took a random sample [1] from the pool of 1980’s “Headbangers’ Ball” episodes [2], and counted the ratio of woman-fronted bands to man-fronted bands. The result is 2:29.

References

  1. “Headbangers’ Ball – Best of 1988” – Aired 7 January 1989
  2. https://www.headbangersballunofficialtributesite.com/episode-database

how to be a rock star

Lesson One

Stop caring about what other people think of you.

Lesson Two

While nervousness proves a real, honest challenge, never let it show!

Lesson Three

Make it look easy.

Lesson Four

Be prepared! Strings break, equipment fails, batteries die, and sound systems and room acoustics often suck. Be prepared!

Lesson Five

The show must go on!  No matter how depressed or anxious you are, perform your absolute best!

See Also

this is transgender music

axis evil

fans control the music: using AI to measure fan enthusiasm at EDC

We invented technology to enhance the fan/performer connection. Vote for Team Ambience at EDC!

DJs and more traditional musicians require realtime audience feedback during performances. However, often we cannot see our audience—their movement, their facial expressions, etc.—during shows due to stage lighting. Therefore we cannot gauge their enthusiasm, and therefore cannot alter our performance to respond.

We at Team Ambience invented a means for measuring such audience enthusiasm using a video camera and artificial intelligence (AI). Our solution reports mood metrics and summarizes crowd movement directly to performers’ phones. (Many musicians, myself included, perform with an iPhone connected to our mic stands).

We developed our prototype from scratch while attending the Amazon- and Intel-sponsored “Hack Till Dawn – A Deep Learning Hackathon: Use Machine Learning to Revolutionize EDC Festivals” event last weekend. At this hacking competition, teams competed to win tickets to the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) by developing AI technologies designed to improve fan experiences at large music festivals. By strengthening performers’ ability to “read” the audience in realtime, our invention definitely enhances the fan experience by enabling performers to better craft their shows according to audience sentiment.

EDC will feature Team Ambience’s (our) solution, along with those of two additional winning teams, at three kiosks positioned throughout the festival this coming weekend. Fans will vote on their favorite idea—we certainly encourage you to vote for us!

Demonstration

Reading Audience Facial Expressions

The first video below shows us presenting different facial expressions to performers. The phone in the lower right reports our mood:

Zooming in on the phone application itself, note the change as the music changes:

Reading Audience Movement

Is the audience jumping, are they swaying? If so, how much? Consider the following video [1]:

From this we measure audience movement intensity and report it:

Additional Applications

The audience metrics described hold value not only to performers, but also to venue owners, booking agencies, and artist managers. We provide a business dashboard for such stakeholders:

Furthermore, as a composer/performer, I envision creating an AI that composes and improvises with me on-the-fly using audience feedback.

Technical Details

We used the Amazon machine learning stack, along with a DeepLens camera:

AWS DeepLens

We could not have achieved this without a complimentary AWS DeepLens camera (thanks Amazon!). This wireless video camera contains a dedicated machine learning chip, along with preloaded algorithms. Furthermore, you can add your own algorithms. The whole solution is tightly integrated with the rest of the AWS machine learning stack. Click on the image below to go to the DeepLens page. (Disclosure: I am an affiliate marketer for Amazon).

References

  1. I apologize that I do not know the source of this video.

“cool” as information flow

“Coolness” is a measure of creative information’s degree of flow through a social network.

Individuals merely channel and contribute to this flow as it progresses through such networks, they do not contain or retain coolness within themselves.

However some individuals prove more receptive to the incoming information and more effective at transmitting it forward than others, and we often label these people as “cool”. But this focuses attention toward the wrong place—the individual—where in reality coolness only resides in the experience of its movement through the network’s nodes.

And when the network consists of many such open, creative people sending signals back and forth, we accurately describe the network as cool.

It’s a jam session. Whether I’m working on a collaborative science project or improvising with a rock band, it’s a jam session. Creative information flows through the network of participants—and we experience “cool” through the exchange.

Grrl on Grrl Podcast interviewed me!

Today my interview with Grrl on Grrl Podcast came out!  We discuss, among other things,

  • The science of gender identity
  • The music of Axis Evil
  • “Ladylike” behavior as a source of personal empowerment
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Psychosexuality
  • Model minorities

Big thanks to June Owatari of Grrl on Grrl Podcast for working so hard to put this together! The music presented during the interviews may be downloaded here.

 

make an intent board

Optimism is a skill.

A simple exercise that strengthens your focus and direction involves creating an “intent board”, also called a “dream board” or a “vision board”. These serve me well in life!

Basically, you make a poster, or in my case a Pinterest board, called “Intent” and fill it with images that speak to your goals, values, and dreams. Then you review it every day for inspiration! The images you select may include photos, clippings from magazines, drawings, or anything else you can imagine.

For example, my intent board (below) shows everything from vaginas to fiber optic dresses to cyberfeminist propaganda to geodesic domes.

What you believe and what you focus on creates your reality. (I won’t back this statement up with psychological or spiritual arguments today, just run with me here…). Intent boards clarify goal-oriented beliefs, convincing you of possibilities. They help focus you.

While I don’t expect to—or want to because it would be too much to healthily manage—gain everything I put on my intent board, it helps to review the full scope of what I like as I work to target my actions. An intent board not only helps you enact conscious goal-seeking activities, but it teaches and pilots your subconscious such that you diminish the likelihood of sabotaging yourself in the process.

If you create your intent board using poster paper, I recommend updating it at least yearly as your values and goals evolve. Pinterest provides the advantage of unlimited space and an easy way to search for images. If you use Pinterest, I recommend altering the descriptions of any pins you add to describe your intent, rather than keep the expressed intent of the original image source. In other words, make the image “yours”. (Note that some Pinterest pins do not seem to let you alter the description).

And remember there exists no wrong or right way to do this!

Setting An Example

To demonstrate, feel free to check out my personal intent board below. You’ll identify many concepts (e.g. spirituality and music) expressed among the images that I touch upon with this blog. (Only a portion is shown below; click here to see the full board):

two years and seven love songs (with lyrics)

Axis Evil, the musical arm of this outreach effort, turns two years old this Valentine’s Day. As the project music started out of romantic frustration (with the song “Talk”), I thought I’d post the seven love songs I have written in the last two years. Also, I intend to reference these as a group in later posts.

Recordings

Lyrics

Stunt Double (You Will Always Be My Friend)

A stunt-double in your epic tragedy
Driven by this deep, vacant irony
Walking that thin line
Between faith and absurdity
Between a vision and a thousand exits
But I’ll keep running alongside you
I’ll keep running alongside you
And you will always be my friend

Please read my letters
Please understand

You can drive from your fortress
You can drive from your distance
but just drive
please just drive
because you already drive my heart
and I’ll keep up alongside you
I’ll keep running alongside you
And you will always be my friend

Please read my letters
Please understand
Hold me accountable
Maybe even hold my hand

Please hold me accountable
and maybe even hold my hand

Nice Girl

I’m not in love, but I like the idea
Not infatuated, but I’ve got that feeling
Just enough to keep me in pursuit
Just enough to keep me in pursuit

I’m not in love, but I like the idea
It’s a relief, and a new anxiety
She’s a nice girl, and I want to find out who she is
She’s a nice girl, and I want to find out who she is

She’s a nice girl, and I want to find out who she is
She’s a nice girl, and I wonder what secrets she keeps
She’s a nice girl, and I want to find out who she is
She’s a nice girl, and I want to find out what’s in it for me

You Can Drive the World

I’m a gentle discontent
Ready for poise
Ready to please
Ready to gain advantage

I’m bold discontentment
Ready to light something big
And this world is not enough
So let’s make a new one

My agenda is to fuck you
My agenda is to drive you
Decent and kind
Loving and responsible
And you can drive the world

I’m gentle release
Disguised as pressure
Disguised as peace
Ready to gain advantage

I’m bold release
With no loss of composure
No loss of grace
And this world is not enough
So let’s make a new one

My agenda is to fuck you
My agenda is to drive you
Decent and kind
Loving and responsible
And you can drive the world

With no loss of grace
No loss of composure
You can drive the world

Talk

If I’m loving and kind, then why am I so pissed?
Acceptance would be much more noble
Moving on so much more mature
But instead I’m gonna throw… throw a lyrical fit:

You say I’m brave and nice
Why won’t you talk with me?
You say I’m honest
So why won’t you talk with me?

If I’m loving and kind, then why not make amends?
I tried to reconnect
Tried to reach your point of view
But now I just don’t get it
Now I just don’t get it

You say I’m brave and nice
Why won’t you talk with me?
You say I’m honest
So why won’t you talk with me?

What is the point of love that goes nowhere?
What is the point of love that goes nowhere?

I just want to talk with you…
I just want to talk with you…
I just want to talk with you…
I just want to talk with you…

Waste

I’ve had better days
This one went completely apeshit
In shock about how much was wasted
In shock about how much was lost
I’ve had better days

Trying to turn the page
Turn the mind
Turn my imagination
Trying to turn the page and walk on by
But I can’t turn my heart

This hope seeks recognition
Connection, resolution
And it’s more about the love I want to give
Than that I want to receive

I’ve had better days

It’s when you pray for a better resolution
But don’t care what it is
And you’re appalled at how much was wasted
And desperate for what was lost
I’ve had better days

Trying to turn the tide
Turn the mind
Turn the outcome
Trying to turn this thing around
But I can’t turn my heart

This hope seeks recognition
Connection, resolution
And it’s more about the love I want to give
Than that I want to receive

Unrequited love is such a waste
Unrequited love is such a waste

I’ve had better days

Prayer (Say Nothing Again)

I just want to say nothing again
I just want to say everything again
But you won’t listen anyway
But you won’t get it anyway
So I’ll just say nothing again

I can’t let her go right now
So what the fuck do I do?
Trying to find a way to leave the situation
Trying to think of every way to get her attention

‘Cause I just want her to stop ignoring me
And if she’s not going to talk with me
I need you to explain what’s up
I need you to explain what’s up

I just want to say nothing again
I just want to say everything again
But you won’t listen anyway
But you won’t get it anyway
So I’ll just say nothing again

Maybe it’s slightly obsessive
But its probably real love
And I just want to share it with her
And I just want to spend time with her

So I’ll just give you the finger
And say nothing again
But I really want something new to happen
Really want you to explain it to me
Really want you to explain it to me

I just want to say everything again
I just want to say everything again
But will you listen? I know you get it
But will you listen? I know you get it

So I’ll just give you the finger
And say nothing again

Pearls To Swine

I gave you kindness and respect
You threw it back in my face
I cast you my pearls
You ground them into the floor
Now I just want to stop wasting time on you
Now I just want to stop loving you

But how can I walk away from how I feel?
How can I choose not to care?
How can love go so badly?
How can love go so badly?

This is not who I want to be
Stuck with feelings that go nowhere
Stuck in a tired pattern
Casting my pearls to swine
Now I just want to stop wasting time on you
Now I just want to stop loving you

But how can I walk away from how I feel?
How can I choose not to care?
How can love go so badly?
How can love go so badly?

This is not who I want to be
This is not who I want to be

draft lyrics: “Polite Rebellion”

Not a threat but an observation
I’m going to care about you
whether you
like it or not

Not a threat but an observation
I’m going to love you
whether you
like it or not

this girl does not rest easy
does not go gently
does not play dead

this girl will not rest easy
will not go gently
will not keep this deafening silence
she will not keep this deafening silence

How many wounds will you inflict,
by allowing me to say nothing at all?

Not a threat but an observation
I’m going to care about you
whether you
like it or not

Not a threat but an observation
I’m going to love you
whether you
like it or not

this girl does not rest easy
does not go gently
does not play dead

this girl will not rest easy
will not go gently
will not keep this deafening silence
she will not keep this deafening silence

This is my polite rebellion
and I’ll keep finding ways to say it all

new song: “Stunt Double (You Will Always Be My Friend)”

Recording

How I Recorded It

I recorded this in my RV using GarageBand and a USB audio interface, pictured below. Played with a guitar slide and ran the resulting signal through GarageBand’s sitar emulator to produce the ghostly, bluesy sound.

Lyrics

A stunt-double in your epic tragedy
Driven by vacant irony
Walking that thin line
Between faith and absurdity
Between a vision and a thousand exits
But I’ll keep running alongside you
I’ll keep running alongside you
And you will always be my friend

Please read my letters
Please understand

You can drive from your fortress
You can drive from your distance
but just drive
please just drive
because you already drive my heart
and I’ll keep up alongside you
I’ll keep running alongside you
And you will always be my friend

Please read my letters
Please understand
Hold me accountable
Maybe even hold my hand

draft lyrics: “Gutter Priestess”

Mystic in a concrete kingdom
Sensitive and ambitious
A live-wire and its conduit
Bold and powerless in transmission

Mystic in a concrete kingdom
We dwell in grandiosity
In this existential wasteland
We dwell in poverty

Light up your Joules per second
Eject your free energy
Spike that ball and give it to me

Priestess in the concrete patriarchy
in the gutter
in your mind and in your ego

Priestess at the concrete interface
at the resistance
at the critical nodes
We drive the New Girls’ Network

Ignite your Joules per second
Transmit your free energy
Spike that ball and give it to me

prophetess of Diesel and blistering entropy
reckless information and persistent decay
beacon of persuasion and persistent connection
spike that ball and give it to me
spike that ball and give it to me
spike that ball and give it to me