Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cat in a Bathysphere

The Hipwaders' drummer Nick Baca is an art teacher at a local High School and has seen many creative students come through his classes. One of those students, Anna Wagner, is a terrific artist, photographer and now music video artist. Here's here visual version of our song "Cat in a Bathysphere" from our last album, "Educated Kid".

After having become enamored with drawings of her own cat, "Rat Cat", and having seen her stop-animation line drawings of said cat tip-toeing through the tulips, we asked Anna to see what she could do with Rat Cat manning the controls of a bathysphere (actually a bathyscaphe which is actually much more navigational but didn't sound so good singing).

After extensive drawing and watercoloring, Rat Cat is ready for his/her (I really don't know!) closeup:

Thanks, Anna!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Well, from our angle. We're getting ready to back into the studio - here forward to be known as "Santa's Audio Workshop". It's actually The Hangar in Sacramento. Santa's Little Helper will be Robert "Flossy" Cheek, who'll be recording us and creating the proper festive audio mood.

We've got 9 original tracks that will celebrate the Christmas season. Yeah, we're not getting into that politically correct argument about "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holiday" and try and please everyone with Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Baby Jesus songs. This will be purely secular. I like everything about "the holidays". Sure, I like the Hannukah stuff - the principles of Kwanzaa can't be beat - and the Christian holiday tunes are top-notch. But boy-oh-boy do I like me my Santa Claus and the commercialism, too. I like the tinsel & lights and garish plastic decorations and the giant inflatable penquins and the crowds in the mall. I like seeing the rude frantic shoppers trying to finish up their Christmas shopping. Why? I'm not really sure. Probably because it reminds me of my childhood. It's like a circus that comes once a year and I'm that innocent kid who's fascinated by all the hoopla and magic. It's the time of year when you get in touch with the family and friends you've lost touch with throughout the year and remember why your friends are your friends and your your family.

So, come this Friday, I'm going to try and cram all those feelings into my head/heart/fingers and hands and create an audio recording that represents those feelings. Wish us luck..and a Merry Christmas.

As we wait the many, many months until "The Holidays";-) , here's a video from a telethon we performed at for on our local cable access station here in Vacaville. It's a great little town that has a wonderful downtown yearly tree-lighting ceremony and a very cool neighborhood called "Candy Cane Lane" where every house is exquisitely decorated.

The Hipwaders - "Here Comes Santa Claus"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy Belated-Birthday Felix!

Sorry man, but I've been kind of busy.

Hey, everyone. It's the 200th year of Felix Mendelssohn's birthday on February 3rd, 1809 and the whole world should be celebrating. And the reason we should be celebrating is for Felix's most righteous Christmas tune, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".
That's one fantastical tune that just comes blaring out in a triumphant fanfare to sing the praises of the...printing press?
Yep. The music is actually from Felix's "Festival Song", a cantata to commemorate Johann Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press. How cool is that? It's a secular AND religious tune. It's two tunes in one.

Now, you may think it's rude to refer to the great Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy as "Felix". But as the most popular Romantic era composer, pianist, conductor and painter, he was a celebrity. Like Cher, Bono, Charo, etc... he's deserved to just have the single name.
From Vienna to England, Felix was in demand and loved by people like Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Like every classical composer it seems, Felix was a child prodigy who started composing at 10 years old and composed his masterpiece, Overture to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream when he was only 17 years old! Whew! Talk about overachievers. No wonder he died at age 38 after a non-stop life of creativity.

I'm also fascinated by his sister Fanny, a talented composer and pianist herself who was unable to get her work performed as musical careers weren't considered proper careers for women during those times. Fortunately, he was able to present some of his sister's work under his own name. He always was very close to his sister (I have this mental image of them sittin' together at the piano crossing arms in a duet of "Heart & Soul") and when she died in 1847 he became depressed . Exhausted, ill, and distraught over his sister's death he died a few months later.

But, hey, we're here to celebrate his greatest accomplishment (for me, at least).

These kids can sing! Kidz Bop this ain't:

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - The Vienna Boys Choir

....roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news about this version:

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - The Fab Four