A Duet of the Bizarre and the Abstract
est. circa 2001
I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Ahren since High School. This person, this peculiar and inventive theater kid made such an impression on me as I tried to find my footing in those days. There is no doubt in my mind my creative life would be catastrophically duller and unfulfilled if it weren’t for this incredible human being. Whenever I look back on how we started our creativity, I discover new eureka moments that still inform how I collaborate and make art today. Ahren has always been a true hyphenate; a tech theatre guy, performer, musician, designer and curious creative soul. From our early days performing interpretive duets at Speech & Debate tournaments in high school, or acting at our Shakespearean finest our Senior year, to really committing to a long-distance songwriting collaboration with our band For The Benefit, we learned to trust each other and pushed to ask bold questions of each other. Since then, Ahren has become a brilliant set designer, visual thinker, and multimedia artist for the stage. I am so wowed by his work that it’s so rewarding for me to have experienced his progression from such an early time of exploration. Time flies, and so here we are, almost two decades later, continuing such a wonderful friendship that inspires me more by the day to bring my best to my work as well.
Thank you for all you’ve given me and all you continue to bring to my life, dear friend.
THE PRESENT: A SMALL PROJECT ABOUT A ROBOT
A short while ago, we rekindled our creative interaction with a flashback project I thought could use another stab. A final stab. In 2005, I wrote a story song about a character named Prometheus, a robot with an existential dilemma to solve. Back then, the version I did left a lot to be desired, and I didn’t get around to creating the visual component needed to fully flesh out the character. So looking back, I thought, this could be a good starter project for Ahren and I to freely explore and design without expectation. I hope to bring more details to this page as developments arise!
[POOR PROMETHEUS] TIMELINE
2005: I wrote the song in 2005 based on a childhood character of mine called Captain Condor, who was a loyal robot betrayed by humans and left to ponder his dramatic purpose. I eventually recorded the song and released it under the Cultured Animal album, “Headphone Music for Nowhere People.”
End of 9/2020: Ahren and I had a few chats to discuss potential short form projects.
10/2020: Settled on [Poor Prometheus], a robot’s tale that would give us a strong visual for Ahren to play and build upon.
11/2020: The 2005 recording of the song leaves a lot to be desired. I recorded the vocals on my old eMac (hella old and you could hear my AC going too, jfc). Re-did the vocals in early November after finding the original garage band files. Reached out to my musician friends Dane and Dust to potentially record a new bass line and add completely new arrangements to the existing synth, vocals, and beat. We’re working on that now!
11/23/20: Ahren send me the first minute of rough animation. The pacing, the look, and overall tone of the piece are set. Ahren’s a visual master and you will be able to see his unique point of view on full display with this piece!
December 2020: Sporadic communication due to holidays. Dane, like a musical machine, took the original surviving tracks from garage band 2005 file and really swung for the fences, in the best possible way. So thrilled for this reinvention. Ahren created more layers to capture the look of the world and character. First team meeting scheduled for January.
Early January: Just met today via Zoom. It was a complete joy of mine to bring two best friends of mine from two different parts of my life to collaborate on this project. We discussed the roadmap to get this beast done, and Ahren will be working on completing the rough visuals to better prepare the sound mix and musical arrangements. Really getting a sense of the gravity and intensity of these two talents coming together to bring this character and world to life. Can’t wait for everyone to see this!
Late January: Animation is mostly locked. It’s a beast of a piece so it will take a little while to render, but the design is looking phenomenal. The three of us are currently trying to finalize the vocals and lock the musical arrangement for the piece. Stay tuned!
FOR THE BENEFIT
Just a few songs for old times’ sake…
MORE TO COME. STAY TUNED!