If you are a fan of my music, by now you’ve probably heard of Captive Portal, the name under which my good friend Zach Bridier releases music. If not, let me give you a brief rundown: I’m featured on many of hissongs, last year he produced my album Retroflux, and we have played some great shows together, most recently in our band, Sunsailor. Zach has also been a major supporter of netlabels, internet record labels, as well as proponent of the recently started Netlabel Day. Over the past year, Zach has kept himself busy by founding and operating his Netlabel Archive, which aims to restore and archive releases from netlabels which have gone offline. This project is a massive undertaking, but he has already made incredible progress by restoring releases from nine different labels, with more planned on the way! He has also been very productive with his project Captive Portal, releasing four EPs in December alone! Last year was the first Netlabel Day, for which Zach released a remix of the song Keep You Safe by Fire to the Stars on a special release by the netlabel Mahorka. The second annual such celebration of netlabels is coming this July. This year, Zach has something even bigger planned: an entire album of remixes of his songs by some of his favorite collaborators and artists(also to be released on the Mahorka label). I was fortunate enough to be able to contribute a remix of the song Oak Bloke. For this remix, I added just a touch of my new clarinet playing to make the remix a bit more unique. My remix will be made available with the rest of the remixes on July 14th. On top of that all, today is Zach’s birthday! I’d like to say happy birthday to Zach and thank him for all the help he has given me with my own music over the years! Make sure to check out his music and his other projects. He is always up to good things and I would definitely expect to hear something from Captive Portal soon.
For at least four years now I’ve had a student clarinet I impulsively purchased from a friend for the low, low price of only thirty American dollars!! Now before buying it, and for a considerable time after, I had never played clarinet. Or any woodwind. I think the only instrument I’d ever played that involved blowing was the kazoo. But, hey! It was only $30, why the hell not? I played with it only a couple times. I managed to evoke waaayyyy more squeaks than actual tones and actually break one of the joint corks before putting it back in it’s case and behind my speaker cabinets, never to be seen again… Until last month, when I found it while cleaning/rearranging the room! This time I was far more determined to play well because I had a vision: a song called Blustery Day, which has been in the works for years. Clarinet is the missing part of the arrangement that makes this jazzy little 5/4 number work. Of course, if I want these woodwind tracks to sound even halfway decent I had to get to work. Honestly, rather than getting the broken joint cork on my clarinet repaired, I just wrapped thread seal tape around the joint. This has worked successfully so far, but I have to change the tape after dis/reassembling every few times. If I had more than one cork broken I’d definitely just get it fixed. Probably. With this makeshift solution, and my “clarinet stand”(Made from an unused mic stand and an old bathrobe), I began furiously practicing for hours each day. Initially this annoyed my dogs to no end, but now they don’t even leave the room when I start to play near them! If that’s not a sign of progress I don’t know what is. After hours of trying to sound out a halfway decent string of notes, I finally stumbled onto something I think turned out nice. Blustery Day is listed as the first song for my new instrumental release series Daydream Sketches, which will be out sometime later this year. Expect to hear some blowing soon.