Tag Archives: aerobic

Kickstarting Sadness And Companionship

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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1749889331/johnny-unicorn-exercise-album-and-subsequent-tour

I am finally finished recording my exercise album, “Sadness And Companionship.” It just needs to be put together and promoted, and that is why I’ve started a Kickstarter project. I’ve already sent out e-mails and made a number of posts on social media about it, but I think it’s time to make a blog post about it.

My goal for this album is fairly simple: to create a piece of music that can accompany an aerobic workout, but that relies on different musical tools than that which we’ve come to expect from workout music. In my own personal experience, I’ve had moments where I’ve been into techno music, but most of the time I want to listen to music that has lots of complicated parts and interesting concepts. But when I want to put on a piece of music that does a good job of keeping up with the increased heart-rate of an aerobic workout, that complicated music usually doesn’t work. The relentlessness of a techno song seems makes it perfect for exercising. But music with a lot of dynamics is not ideal. A Gentle Giant song might be very energetic, but out of nowhere it can suddenly switch to a harpsichord/recorder section, and throw off your workout completely.

So I took up the task of creating a progressive rock workout album. This way, at least one album would exist that could at once get my blood flowing non-stop for thirty minutes and keep my brain engaged in the way that I like. I think I succeeded in that. I also added a couple of remixes to the album, so it wouldn’t be so short. Those remixes are not really for exercise purposes, though.

Sadly, I have some negative associations with exercise. It all started in fifth grade soccer. That was when the other kids started actually being concerned about whether they would win or lose the next game. I enjoyed running around a field kicking a ball, observing a few rules of the game just to make it a little more challenging, but when these kids started getting competitive, it was an immediate turn off. so I quit. In sixth grade, I was forced to go to a swimming pool, where we had to get naked in front of everyone and then put on shorts that were way too short before being marched out to a pool where we were made to…I don’t even remember. I can’t remember the swimming part of those experiences, only the standing around in those ridiculous shorts. Actually, I remember diving. With eardrums like mine, going into water head-first is frightening. I don’t remember doing anything in high-school gym class, either. I remember kids coming up to me and pretending to throw basketballs at my head but at the last second catching them so they could make me flinch. Most of the time, they were never any worse than that to me. I remember being required to sign up for gym class one year, but not being allowed to sign up for art class (because I was already in band).

I’m not saying that these things bare the full responsibility for turning me sedentary. I’m just trying to give you a little background on me. Whenever I hear sports commentators or sports terminology (like “hustle up”), whenever I see a television screen with some green arena with a bunch of white lines all over it, or whenever I just look at a pair of sneakers, or the material that basketball shorts are made out of, I shudder a little. But I don’t want to be that way anymore. I want to overcome my fear of going outside in sneakers and shorts. This exercise album is part of that larger project to adopt a more active lifestyle. At this ripe old age, I’ve begun to realize just how fragile the human body is, and how important it is to keep it running smoothly for as long as possible. I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to do before Death finally closes its icy fingers around me.

Do you feel that way too? Maybe this is an album that you would like. Please pledge on my Kickstarter page. Remember, no amount is too large. And this is no donation. When you pay money, I will be doing work for you. I’ve already promised to do a whole lot of visual art so far. I’d like to write more songs for people. If you’ve ever wanted to have your own theme song, now’s the time to act. I have a less expensive “jingle” option, which means I’ll write a short radio jingle for you. It will be essentially a 10-15 second catchy melody with your name in it and brief lyrics about how great you are. You can put it at the beginning of your youtube videos or on the outgoing message of your voicemail system.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1749889331/johnny-unicorn-exercise-album-and-subsequent-tour

Anyway, thanks for reading this. I have to go stretch now.

-John

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A new album approaches rapidly

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First, open this song in a new tab and listen to it while you read:

http://soundcloud.com/johnnyunicorn/sadness-companionship-remix

I know I haven’t finished giving you a day by day account of my last tour (way back in February), which is one of the reasons I keep neglecting to blog. But that has long past, and though I cannot remember the events with enough clarity to describe them to you in detail here anymore, I can assure you, that second week was amazing. I’m sure a lot of stuff happened…I recall a lot of driving around at night and a lot of unhealthy eating that was sure to stop after returning home. I remember lots of colors…but the color blue not so much, despite the fact that, to replace the paisley pants a fan bought off me in the parking lot out side the Ruby Room in San Diego, I bought a pair of blue sky-pants. I think it was because of all the warm lighting. Also, most of the colors I remember were dark, even though we slept through most of the nights. I remember wishing the vehicle were roomier. I remember in L.A. the drums fell apart, but we kept playing while my friend Chris, another drummer, saved the kit. I remember a really cool jazz rock band.

I hope that satisfies any curiosity that someone might have.

Now, if I’m right, you’ve arrived at the keyboard solo (and of course, if I’m wrong, you haven’t). This remix you’re listening to was designed with a dual-purpose. Since the album I’m releasing is a thirty minute aerobic exercise album, I thought it would be nice to include some more material, for the sake of having more material (I may have felt less inclined to do this if my last album weren’t nearly 80 minutes long). The second purpose is because the “exercise album” constraint I gave myself didn’t allow me to explore certain musical elements I otherwise would have. Plus, I just really like doing remixes. I never do it because I never prioritize it. But it’s fun. If you are a musician and you have any raw tracks you’d like to send me, I’ll do a remix.

The only thing in this recording that’s the same as the album is the vocal track (which has been severely cut-up). Everything else was put together step by step, using bits of the vocal track and trying out different basslines and drum beats underneath it, until a basic song was constructed, and then I went back and added synthesizers and guitar.

I’m aiming to release the album before the end of the year. The album is entitled “Sadness And Companionship.” It has two songs: “Sadness” and “Companionship,” each a little under fifteen minutes long. The compact disc and downloadable release will contain the two remixes. I am also working out details of a cassette release (which was the reason I did this project in the first place).

So, enjoy this remix, and please imagine what the album might sound like. Thanks!