New Exotica Band // New Record in the works // japan tour

I've got a new band I've started with producer / drummer / friend Robin Macmillan doing exotica music. It's something we are so stoked on. We've been talking about doing it ever since I got back to New York last July and it's finally happening next week at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn. If you're not familiar with exotica, I highly recommend checking out this site: http://flashstrap.blogspot.com. It is the blog of Evan Crankshaw who is a writer / artist / dj over at wfmu. He writes extensively about exotica on his blog and there's tons of great music to check out as well as collage art. But a simple explanation would be that exotica is an American style of music that was popular in the 1950's/60's that romanticizes Polynesian, Oriental, and Latin-American music fused with jazz. It's pretty loungy and is generally orchestrated with flute, piano, vibes, and lots of percussion, bird calls, and jungle sounds. Think tiki styles. Some of the popular exotica artists back in the day were Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, and Juan Garcia Esquivel to name a few. So basically Robin and I gathered some of our favorite musicians  and will be doing arrangements of really cool exotica music.

Which leads to the other thing I wanted to mention here. I've starting writing and arranging music for a new record that I'm hoping to record in late May / early June. Not much to say about it except that it will be leaning a bit more in the El Dorado (my second record) direction but mostly latin and actually done in a pro studio for once.

And if you're in Japan, I'll be on tour out there from February 7th - 19th with a piano trio. I've played Japan several times but never as a leader before, always as a sideman. I'm really excited about this. We'll be playing  jazz clubs in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Shizuoka and some other spots I don't know of yet. And my brother will be joining us towards the end of the tour after which we will spend a few more days in Tokyo. It will be a very memorable trip.  I'll post the itinerary on the tour page hopefully by early next week.  

 

new record releases

This past Tuesday, my latest record entitled "LoCrasto" released. I'm so happy to finally put this thing out. It's been way too long. The songs were all written between 2008 and 2012, so for me, the material sounds dated and old. But hopefully for you, its fresh. Either way, its out now. A little background on the history and making...

I pulled the compositions from a pool of songs I wrote in my apartment and studio, and got a band together. I wanted to do something more live than the last record, which was mostly just me with drum machines. El Dorado made it hard to perform in public and it never really felt right live. That record is mostly a vibe anyways. I love the way it turned out, I just wanted to go in a direction where I could perform live because, well, I love to play live. So I got my band together and started booking gigs around town. We did shows for 6 months and went into the studio and did the record. I had it mixed shortly after and then went into a 2 year ordeal of doing some remixing and not having money to finish it to eventually having some money to start to finish it, and finally getting it mastered and sent off for pressing.

(Disclaimer: this next paragraph is about gear and sample rates. Feel free to skip.)

We did the entire record to 1" tape at our studio in Brooklyn, which sounds awesome. There was also a small amount of drums and bass tracking over at Studio G to a fancier 2" machine which also sounds great. After tracking, Pete came over and did the transfers from tape through his badass burl converters at 192khz, which is a high sample rate for audio. As a result, it sounded like it was coming off the tape machine while it was playing in pro tools. We also bounced everything at 96khz just to be safe in case Pete's computer would have issues processing at 192khz. We of course had to AB the 192 to 96, and I must say, the difference was astounding. I wasn't expecting to hear a difference but it was there alright. At 192, there was so much more depth. It sounded analog. There was none of that brittle high end with low resolution in the mids and lows that digital seems to produce. 96 sounded like an mp3 compared to 196. Unfortunately only a few of the songs from the record ended up being mixed at that sample rate. It just takes too much power on the program and computer. And that's my nerdy audiophile geek out for those who like that kind of information.

I'll be back in New York in July and am shooting to do a show there in August. In the meantime enjoy the tunes posted here on the site and if you'd like to buy a copy, just hit up my bandcamp page. There's a link on the home page of this website.

April Scores

I've been laying low the past few days. And partying a bit with my brother. After 11 awesome days on the road with Nir, Josh came to Garland and we did some piano and synth dubs for a new record he's working on for his band, Lapland. The songs are so good. Sooooooo gooooooood! The guy is a genius. If you haven't heard his last record, it's a work of art. It was nice to see him and have him here in my Texas world. The day he split I started working a construction job at one of the climbing gyms my brother owns. That was 2 full weeks of long days, lots of dust, bondo, saws, and testosterone. It was fun but I'm glad its over. And the gym looks way cool now. Then it was 2 days of rest. I actually worked on piano. I haven't practiced the instrument in over a year. It felt great and terrifying at the same time. I'm focusing on making that a daily thing now. Even if it's just for an hour...

Today, I'm jumping back into a film scoring project I started last summer but got put on hold. As you probably didn't know, I dabble a bit in scoring music for films. I've been working with this awesome film maker in Columbus named Nicholas Bushman. This is the third movie I've worked with him on. More on that as it progresses...

New site // cancelled show tonight

Howdy and welcome to my new website. These are my letters written to you. Please feel free to write me back. Even though this is kind of one sided. This section really just acts as a blog but the term "letters" kind of romanticizes the whole thing. The word "blog" is just kind of ugly. Anyways, take a look around, say hi, listen to some music I have posted. Much more will be added soon. On a side note, I was scheduled to play with my band tonight at the Twilite Lounge in Dallas but due to bad weather, tis cancelled. We'll probably be back there in May...

cheers

fRaNk