Author Archive

Here Comes the Ocean…

It has been just about a year since my first EP, Sombre Hombre, went out into the world. I recently put out a second single, Ocean, itself a cover of a Velvet Underground track that Lou Reed performed several times with VU and also in his post-VU solo career. Every version on record is a little different, and in some (such as the Loaded session) the drums are quite sedate, in others Moe Tucker creates a crashing frenzy; in addition, every version I found had different lyrics.

I fell in love with the song while reading the recent biography of Reed, Lou Reed: King of New York. I was listening to a lot of VU and Reed recordings while I read the book, and for some reason “Ocean” hit me really hard. I became obsessed with the idea of doing a cover that was heavily or even exclusively synths, just as an exercise, but also as a way of spending a lot more deep time with the song. As I began to flesh out my own version, I found that although the synths were fine, the song really needed more texture and contrast, and I ended up playing in some electric guitar and bass as well. The core is the cymbals and heavy toms, especially in the latter half of the song, where the waves snatch you up and throw you around and around and slam you down on the sand, all in a seething roar of surf. I put it all together alone, hand-pasting drum samples, playing a few different synths, trying to figure out which lyrics to use. Finally I went into the studio of my friend Gal Bushy and had him supervise the vocals and he put them through a vintage amp and generally worked his magic on the mix (especially on the thunderous drums).

While I was able to easily license the cover through DistroKid, which distributes the track to the usual streaming platforms, when it came to releasing on BandCamp, I discovered that BC has a no-covers policy. There’s probably some way around it, and the license I arranged through DistroKid conceivably takes care of the concern, but I didn’t feel like risking it. If BandCamp is not going to take care of paying the license holders when I sell a copy, then I don’t feel right posting it there, even if nobody ever notices.

I have quite a few musical projects underway right now, and I recently took a small workshop in indie music marketing in order to take steps toward finding some more ears to listen to my tunes. It seems to be working. But in the near future, I’ve got a special track to release for Halloween, and another that will be coming out in time for the holiday season. And a full LP that I’ve been working on with local producer Ryan Pollie, which is steeped heavily in Americana, psychedelic folk rock, and general weirdness. I need to write and record a couple more songs and then the album will be complete…but I’ll start releasing singles before that. We have a handful just about ready to go.

I would like to say “Watch this spot” but honestly, who blogs anymore? And who reads blogs? If you want to check in on my projects, you can find me on Spotify, YouTube, Bandcamp, and the like…I’ve been operating under my own name to keep things easy. I did just create @marc_laidlaw_music on Instagram, especially to correlate with the promotions I’ve been running.



The 37th Podcast

Hitting your favorite podcast platform today, a fresh interview I did with A Book & Its Author.

The most amusing this about this is that this turned out to be episode 37 of the podcast, which, well…

Back in the ’80s, before I wrote THE 37TH MANDALA, I was already obsessed with the number 37. Writing that book helped me get the obsession out of my system, but until I had done that, in the mid ’90s, my weird interest in it just grew and grew. At some point, I was contacted by a pair of brothers, college students, who wanted to interview me for a little literary magazine they edited called CRIME CLUB. The Oxoby Brothers and I had a few fun exchanges in the course of which I ranted a bit about 37.

A few months ago, Marc Oxoby got in touch, wondering if I might remember good ol’ Crime Club. Of course I did! And he has been conducting a literary podcast for…36 episodes so far. Marc and I arranged to do an interview over Zoom, to which he has appended a few other items of sonic interest, including a reading from UNDERNEATH THE OVERSEA.

You can find the podcast wherever you find podcasts, or simply right here.

Sombre Hombre EP is Out

My first EP is out and available in the usual places. Released through DistroKid, which gets it to Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube Music, etc. I also posted it on my Bandcamp page. Wherever you find it, you should be able to give it a listen for free, and only plunk down $ if you think it’s something you’re gonna want to keep listening to.





Baby’s First Livestream

The Twitch livestream mentioned in the previous post did in fact take place, and since livestreams don’t hang around, here’s my piece of the show preserved for posterity on YouTube. Details and caveats are listed in the description. I enjoyed doing it, and the room for improvement is infinite. I’ll also think differently about how to write music that is meant with live play in mind.

Right now all three tunes for the “Sombre Hombre” EP have been mixed, and in addition we’ve got final masters for the Mort Solár EP (the first of two planned for this year).

When I started playing around with music in 2020, I figured it would be at least three years before I was doing anything worth subjecting other people to. So, I’m on schedule basically. Meanwhile, there’s a lot of terrible early stuff preserved here, like a musical livejournal of my first experiments.

Twitch…Twitch…Signs of Life

Those who don’t obsessively stalk me may not be aware that most of my creative energy for the last few years has gone into music. Studying, writing, and now some performing. One of my goals for 2023 was to take the first steps toward playing live (or livestream). I’ve done some extremely unkempt jams on my YouTube channel, both solo and as Man #2 of my two-man band Mort Solár, but so far all of my music has been desktop stuff. The above show is going to be played in a remote secure location (my friend Matt’s garage), without use of a DAW…just me and some electronic musical gear. We’re not expecting many people to tune in, I am new to Twitch, but this is going to be the first toe in the water.

I’ll be performing all three songs from my upcoming solo EP, “Sombre Hombre,” as well as a couple older tunes. And by performing I mean I will be singing along to instrument versions, since I cannot actually play the musical parts live…they were all created in the lab. The EP will be out later in the year.

For that matter, we’re now in the mastering stages of Mort Solár’s first two-song EP. More on that later, if in fact I do start using this blog again. Stranger things have happened.

For all updates musical and otherwise, here’s an assortment of my various current links:

Bruno Dumont’s Top Musical Numbers

  1. The funeral song in Li’l Quinquin. Impossible to ever imagine anything shaking it from the top spot.
  2. I probably shouldn’t number these because they’re all so great. And also I’m undoubtedly forgetting some. So let’s not say this is a comprehensive list, but maybe just a reason to watch some Bruno Dumont movies.
  3. The young Jeanne’s songs in Jeannette: The Childhood of Joanne of Arc
  4. The reprise of the funeral song in Li’l Quinquin, at the actual concert.
  5. Is there a musical number in Coincoin and the Extra Humans?
  6. The whole reason I’m writing this thing: Just watched Hadewijch, after years of having it my queue, and there are two fantastic musical numbers in it: An outdoor show with accordion, sax, electric bass and guitar, that just builds and builds, and reminded me how these are some of my favorite things in Dumont’s movies; and a performance in a church that is beautiful and charming.
  7. I haven’t seen all Bruno Dumont’s films yet, so there might be other musical numbers that I haven’t encountered. Doesn’t seem likely there’d be one in Hors Satan. I own Joan of Arc but haven’t watched it yet…have seen no indication that there’s any musical spectacle in there.
  8. Does Slack Bay end with a big musical number? That final scene on the beach…maybe?
  9. I’m glad I didn’t make this a Top Ten.

A Christmas Beat-Em-Up

I am unseriously looking for partners to help create my A Christmas Carol meets Dark Souls beat-em-up. It’s pretty simple:

Jacob Marley’s ghost shows up and gives Scrooge his challenge. Jacob then stands aside, but remains to sell potions and items throughout the night.

As the three ghosts appear, Scrooge fights his way through each set of memories, gaining precious stats along the way. At the end of each memory, must beat the spirit who presides over that stage—past, present, and future. (In the simplest version, he just fights the three spirits, ignoring the memories.)

The final boss is Tiny Tim, who can summon such minions as Bob Cratchit and Jesus.

There’s a secret level boss after you successfully beat Tim: Goose Boy. If you defeat him, you get his Christmas goose.

Or maybe I’ll just use this in a story, making games is a pain in the ass.

Twitter’s Loss Is My Blog’s Gain

Just now I was wondering, what if there was an episode of Spongebob where it turned out that Patrick’s full name was Patrick “Starfish” O’Brian, and it turns out he had written all the Aubrey/Maturin novels. I was also thinking about a movie called A MAN CALLED SCROOGE, where the ghosts appear to Scrooge like a series of escalating boss fights and he beats the shit out them one at a time and finally goes toe to toe with Tiny Tim.
He beats the crap out of the post bossfight Goose Boy for good measure.
Bad Robot is right down the street, I should drop in. For them, I think I would package it as A VERY CLOVERFIELD CHRISTMAS.