seven swans

I know this is the second post about Sufjan Stevens in a short period of time, but I just got Seven Swans, and oh man it’s good. I know I’m about 6 months behind all the really cool kids, but oh well.

Wow, what a great record. “Abraham” literally took my breath away the first time I heard it. The sacrificial ram / Christ symbolism really hit me hard.

Go listen to this guy’s records! Reviews from two different angles:

Review of "Seven Swans" at Pitchfork media

Review of "Seven Swans" at Christianity Today


After using Audioscrobbler for about a month and getting some tracks built up in the system, I have to say I’m really enjoying it.

I actually find myself checking my own page a lot just to see the trends in what I’m listening to. Kinda self-obsessed and weird, maybe, but that’s OK, I guess. One thing that’s a bit weird is that I find myself thinking “I wonder what Audioscrobbler will reflect if I listen to this…”. Big audioscrobbler is watching!

bvl @ audioscrobbler

I really dig the new features that I’m seeing now – Weekly Artist Chart and Weekly Track Chart. Gives a nice look at what’s being played.

One last thing I find interesting – it even tracks plays from a shared iTunes library. The Sara Groves record that’s listed pretty high in my list is actually on a friend at work’s iTunes shared library, and it still tracks me playing it. As a side note, I really, really like that Sara Groves record – she’s an excellent singer-songwriter with a literate, Christian perspective, and the record has really great production; some roots rock shades, some modern rock leanings, some stripped-down ballad-ish pieces – good stuff.

2004 “best of” lists

I posted this on the front page of chromedecay, but thought I’d also capture it here, too.

No year-end recap would be complete without some top 10 lists, and mine is no exception. The records here were mostly released in 2004 (though not all) and serve more as a way of recording what I was listening to, not what I thought the best 10 records or tracks were that got released in 2004 – this is an entirely personal, subjective listing.

Full recordings:

  • Ben Gibbard – live on KEXP (unreleased)
  • New Breed – Nine (uprok)
  • Dert – Fledgling (isolated music)
  • Deadbeat – Something Borrowed, Something Blue (~scape)
  • Flynn – In Like Flynn (illect)
  • Mars ILL – Pirate Radio (self-released)
  • Braille – Shades of Grey (hip-hop is music)
  • Telefon Tel Aviv – Map of what is effortless (hefty)
  • Ohmega Watts – Ubiquity 12″ (ubiquity)
  • illtripp – Dialog of the Downtrodden (illect)


  • Fat Freddy’s Drop – hope
  • Frou Frou – let go
  • Gaelle – give it back
  • Bebel Gilberto – all around (telefon tel aviv mix)
  • Ratatat – cherry
  • BT – the great escape
  • Enter the Worship Circle – beloved
  • Mars ILL – sunstep
  • Underground Rise – southern brutality
  • Procussions – freestyle from mass reality mixtape
  • manCHILD – freestyle from mass reality mixtape
  • Mat Kearney – bullet
  • Sara Groves – Jesus, you’re beautiful
  • Fred Hammond & Radical for Christ – You are the living Word
  • manCHILD & Adan Genesis – how it is (beatmart “best of the submissions
    vol. 1”)


I don’t really do New Years resolutions. However, I do have a few things I want to be more on top of this year.

One is updating this blog more often. Given that this is the 4th entry tonight, I’d say I’m doing OK so far. However, that really falls into a more general resolution to stay in better contact with people, both personally and regarding the projects I’ve been working on.

Therefore, here’s a little entry about the projects I’m currently working on.

I tracked vocals for Listener’s contribution to my ‘songs in the night’ project on New Years Eve day in the basement of Shameless mogul Brown. That was a lot of fun, and I think the track he’s on will take that record to a deeper, grittier place than I’d expected. It’s grown-up business for sure. I also spent a number of hours working on video ideas with him – I don’t want to say too much yet, but hopefully I’ll be contributing a video to one of his upcoming projects.

Also, I’ve been working out ideas this weekend for the title track “song in the night” for the ‘songs in the night’ project. I got the melody and a scrap of lyrics while driving a number of months ago, and after I put together a basic sketch of that in Logic, I found myself beatboxing along to it in the car. I called my voicemail, recorded the beatbox, and then dumped that into Logic, too, which gave a skeletal outline for the rhythm track. This weekend was spent refining the rhythm track and chords, and figuring out where it’s going. Fun stuff.

Now it’s off to bed, so I can get up in time to go the the fitness club I joined at the end of December (again, not really a resolution. Honest.).

top tracks of 2005 thus far

A few favorite tracks for 2005 so far (all vaguely centered around hip-hop, though only the Mars ILL tracks are really anything “purist”).

Mat Kearney – girl america (bullet)
Mars ILL – reach, flirt with fame (pirate radio)
Soul-Junk – Ungst Func Slag Collision, Hogging All The Islands

new baby, old music

We have a new addition to our family now: Hannah Elaine Van Loo. She’s 13 days old right now, and is a beautiful addition. I thank God for such an awesome new child.

Not at all related: I figured I would post links to a few unreleased tracks that have been sitting on my hard drive for a long time. They’ll eventually make their way into the dowloads section, but for now, you faithful blog readers, you get them exclusively.

Feeling Loverly [a downtempo instrumental from 2001-2002…hip-hop and dubbby in feel – 10.3MB mp3]

A rhodes jam [another dubby hip-hop downtempo instrumental from the same time period as “feeling loverly” – 7.9MB mp3]

bells and chimes rework [a glitchy, beatless piece I worked on without having a place to release it; there’s a part 2, but the rhythm track just doesn’t quite work. maybe someday I’ll finish it and release it as an entire piece…maybe. 3.9MB mp3]

The Shins!

You may have known about The Shins for years by now, but I’m just getting into them right now. Their record “Chutes So Narrow” is super good pop music (a friend @ work has it) and I’m checking them out live on KCRW right now (an archived Morning Becomes Eclectic set).

The Shins live on KCRW (from November 2003).

I first found out about The Shins from an article about them in Tape Op, my favorite magazine about music production. Producers of all stripes, take note – it’s an awesome magazine about music production for the rest of us (that is, those who don’t make records on $750,000 SSL consoles and $5000 Nuemann tube mics). Plus, it’s free for a subscription!

Tape Op – sign up today!

top 5 hip-hop tracks of the moment

New Breed, “Love” (from “Nine”, on Uprok)

Who in hip-hop drops a line like “And rock it til the hands of time on clocks stop / til the speakers get burned out by the power of my passion / til loving one man with all your heart comes back in fashion”? That’s Elsie, on “Love”.

Braille, “Hip Hop Music” (from “Shades of Grey”, on Syntax)

Classic production (love the horns!), makes me think of Pete Rock or DJ Premier in their prime.

Procussions, “Water’s Edge” (from “As Iron Sharpens Iron”, on Basementalism Records)

A beautiful closing to their full-length debut album.

Flynn, “Love is Dead” (from “In Like Flynn”, on Illect)

This is a bomb, it just explodes out of the speakers.

Dert, “A piece of forever” (from “Fledgling”, on Isolated Music)

Note: the recommended way to listen to “A piece of forever” is as loud as you can bear while driving in a car with the windows down. Subwooofers recommended but not required. This track is as good as anything Jay Dee has done, in my book; nice sample of the announcer from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders” album, too.

Plus, the full album is only $5 at CDBaby now!

Mutek wrap-up forthcoming…

Wow, there’s a lot of dust around here. Sort of like my studio before I started the massive clean-up effort that I engaged in immediately after returning from Montreal and the Mutek festival. I’ll put pictures up as soon as my new 4-space racks arrive and I get things neatly bolted into them.

Anyway, I’ll be posting a Mutek wrap-up soon, but for now, hold tight.