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.

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”:

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.

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.

 

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

draft lyrics: “Small Battles”

Dreamed of a fabulous city
couldn’t tell if it was God’s or otherwise
then I realized it wasn’t
that it very much wasn’t
and I stopped trying to build it

Let the adults die on a cross,
but give the innocent children the mark.

We are all influenced
even a Christian must tolerate that
or at least acknowledge it
sometimes its better not to fight small battles

Let the adults die on a cross,
but give the innocent children the mark.

I’m going to fight the Church and the State
and the Law and the Culture
because I only trust the Prophets
and I only trust the one that sends them
because I don’t trust myself
and I don’t trust the one that influences me

Let the adults die on a cross,
but give the innocent children the mark.

“distorted and out of tune” – a troll (sort of) gets it

I received the following response from a troll regarding music [4] I released recently:

The music is “distorted” and dissonant—and would sound “out of tune” to many who lack musical sophistication. That is intentional. A compositional choice.

And the dissonance intentionally speaks to the experience of feeling “out of tune” as a transgender person. So our troll is correct in his surface interpretation of the music.

But he fails to see where the problem lies. I assume that his interpretation is that the transgender person is “sick” in some way, compared to some standard of wellness that he and most individuals presumably meet.

But the transgender person is actually fine biologically and psychologically, as I’ve demonstrated in my scientific articles [1, 2, and 3]. So the problem emits from living within an unsupportive and hostile environment. This experience causes sickness in all individuals—a feature of being human, not a trait specific to the transgender population.

I sing these songs today so that transgender folks among future generations need not feel “distorted and out of tune”.

About “Axis Evil”

I perform as “Axis Evil“, the musical arm of my outreach work. Please follow the feed on Facebook and Twitter.

Update 20 November 2017

I further discuss the dissonant and distorted features of my music as it pertains to the transgender experience in my March 2017 post “this is transgender music”, which goes into far more detail than this text does.

References

  1. the science of gender identity (part 1: genetics)
  2. the science of gender identity (part 2: brain anatomy)
  3. the science of gender identity (part 3: psychology)
  4. the music discussed above:

lyrics: “Smelly Cunt”

I referred to this song in my recent post “a smelly cunt and a mission from God“, so provide the lyrics here. The piece comes from my debut album “City of God“. The post “this is transgender music” offers a detailed explanation of the lyrics.

Recording

Lyrics

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
but I still fear men in the dark
I’ve never had a smelly cunt
but I still fear rape in the dark

its not who you fuck
its not a caste, not abstraction
there’s no release from this, no algorithm,
no relief

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
so where’s my equal pay?
I’ve never had a smelly cunt
still I’m not a part of this “club”

its social abstraction,
genetic algorithm,
brain development flux
but I know its easier for you to assume I want attention

I’ve never had a smelly cunt
and I’m a better woman than you are