Art Musings - Slow Rain

Another of Kasey Baker's paintings, in response to my piano musings.

Slow Rain made me think of a pen pal romance I had with a woman in Indonesia. We would exchange sweet and verbose letters, and pictures of our vacations. She sent a picture of herself floating up the Mekong river in Van Vieng during the rainy season.

Slow Rain

"It's gentler than a drizzle, but more than a mist... is it rain if the droplets feel like they are floating?"

Art Musings - Secret Treehouse Gang

Another of Kasey Baker's paintings, in response to my piano musings.

Secret Treehouse Gang reminded me of some innocents thinking they're sneakier and tougher than they really are. Cute. Kasey had fun with this one. She informed me that there was a secret message on the piece of paper, but that she wouldn't tell me what it was. I guess I'm not part of her gang.

Secret Treehouse Gang

"The meetings are planned by writing messages inside of paper throwing stars. No girls allowed."

Art Musings - Empty Circus Fields

Another painting by Kasey Baker, done in response to my piano musings.

Empty Circus Fields just mystifies me. There's this sense of loss but it isn't about grief, because there's that foundation that just silently is - what remains beyond what is transitory. This is part of the small town theme that keeps reappearing in these works. Press the play button to hear it:

Empty Circus Fields

"Small town circuses set up in big fields... when they leave, they take everything with them, but the fields remain."

New Newsletter Issue

For those that aren't subscribed to the mailing list (hint hint), a new newsletter is posted. Go check to see what you might have missed.

Art Musings - Rundown Playground

Here is another of Kasey Baker's paintings, done in response to my piano musings.

Rundown Playground is a playful little improv that also struck me as wistful and sad, with a touch of defeat at the end. I explored that a bit more when coming up with the caption. One interesting bit of trivia: Kasey is actually an architect by trade and has designed playgrounds. Press the play button to hear the piece:

Rundown Playground

"It used to be a nice playground. But the teeter totter's rusty. The swings have broken chains. There's probably broken glass somewhere."

New And Disappearing Songs

Well, part of the process of getting to know my own website is reacting to new information. I was so much in the mindset of having this be a site about my creative process and development of a jazz musician that I didn't think anything of posting recordings of me playing jazz standards, but it is evidently illegal (and I should have remembered that).

The songs still exist on the site, but just in unpublished (not public) form. I can of course send recordings of me playing to my friends. So I will eventually open up the site to memberships, and add my friends (which are most of you) to the list - that way they'll be available by request.

In the meantime, I have posted a new Piano Musing called A New Steeple. I've also posted another one of my originals, As One, to make up for the loss of the standards. I'll be using the Bits And Pieces podcast more for song ideas, roughdrafts, and other original material from now on.

More postings coming soon about the art/music collaboration that Kasey Baker and I are doing.

Strange Phone Calls and Ringtone Licensing

I just had a rather odd phone call.



"Hello?" Foreign accent. Caller ID said "Farias Pro" at 818-909-2262.

"Yes, hello?"

"Yes, is this... museworld productions?"

"Uh, yes, yes this is Museworld Productions." No one has ever called me for Museworld before.

"Yes, I am calling to inquire about ringtone licensing for one of your songs."

"Oh, really. Which song?"

"I Will Survive."

"Oh, you mean As One?" Odd, because I had just started working on a piano/voice arrangement of it and had just hit a breakthrough. Very strange.

"Yes. I am calling to inquire about ringtone licensing."

"That's possible. Can I ask who you're calling on behalf of?" She mentioned Farias, it was meaningless to me. "Well, let me give you a little more information. I'm Curt, I wrote the song. Did you find this off of the website? It's a personal website of mine." She sounded a little confused. "Oh, then did you find it off of ASCAP?"

"ASCAP, yes."

"Have you heard the song?"

"No, no I haven't. But your name is Curt? Curt Siffert? Thank you for that."

"Sure. Are you calling on behalf of an organization?"

"No, I am calling on behalf of my boss, Gustav (something). It's for a new company."

"Oh, I see. Well, licensing is a possibility. What did you have in mind?"

"Well, I am just calling to inquire about who to talk to about licensing. I have that information now, your name and number. So let me get some details together and we will call you back. Thank you so much for your time!"

"You're welcome."

No idea what that was all about.

Bits and Pieces Strategy

I launched and designed this site, but I feel like I'm still kind of kicking its tires and getting to know it better. One of the things I've had to think about is what kind of podcast strategy I want to have for the Bits and Pieces podcast. What music I upload, what music I don't upload.

This intersects all sorts of meaty philosophical songwriter issues that I'm sure I'll write about a lot more in the future. Whether to give music away for free, etc.

But in a nutshell, it's the question of what kind of music quality I want to upload. I see it in three levels:

  1. finished polished stuff, like produced songs - I definitely should do this to build audience, but it's hard to "let go" and actually make the decision
  2. roughdraft songs, reasonably good sounding arrangements and jazz covers/standards - I'll definitely be doing this, and already have, e.g. One For My Baby (since hidden for copyright reasons)
  3. more "in-progress" material, like snatches of lessons, things I'm practicing (and struggling with). I'm torn on this one because not everyone would want to hear it. But this is also sort of supposed to be a journal of mine.

So for now, I'm definitely doing the first two, but I imagine some of #3 might leak in from time to time.

I Take Requests

I've added something to the sidebar, a link to a Requests form.

One of the purposes of this site is to figure out a way to get people to encourage me to make more music. I'm hoping that eventually I'll market myself enough (and produce enough) that it'll basically be self-fueling, but in these early stages I kind of have to prod things along. So the requests form is just for people to request certain recordings - you want a piano improv to be about anything in particular? You want me to record a certain jazz standard? Make the request there.

I've already received one request since I posted the link, and it'll be a toughie...

Art Musings - Insects Crossing Ice

One of the things I love about having a public podcast is that you come across people who respond to the music in creative ways. An artist and I are starting a series of art/music collaborations based off of my piano improvisations. Kasey Baker is an artist and architect based out of Las Vegas, and is similarly interested in reactive and improvisational creativity.

This is her treatment of Insects Crossing Ice, a chaotic and skittering little improv I came up with about nine months ago. You can also hear it by clicking the play button:

Insects Crossing Ice

It looks like we'll be doing a series of these, and playing around with various ideas of how to package them. She's delivered a few more paintings already, but some are for piano improvs I haven't released yet, so stay tuned.

"Small creepy creatures trying desperately to cross something slick. They flail about, but eventually succeed with pride."

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© 2007 Curt Siffert. Some audio protected with a Creative Commons license.
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