This is the latest collection from the RDO, and represents a departure from the previous work. This collection contains music that is more hip-hop inspired than previous collections.
“The Adventure” is an abstract concept linking all of these collected pieces together. The sequence of pieces is meant to represent a continuous journey through a night, mayhaps with various stops along the way, while both looking for, and knowing exactly where, the action is taking place. You know what I mean.
The album is now available for sale as a download, including the video!
The first track is a rarity. In fact, this might be the first available get together of the RDO. The music was composed as a piano piece when I was seventeen years old, and later orchestrated on synthesizers and recorded when I was in college. I had to rip it off an old cassette tape.
The second track, “Nursery Rhyme”, is one of the most popular RDO song of all time. Kids of all ages fall asleep to this one. It is designed to be played as a loop. You should really listen to it at least three times in a row for the full effect.
“Atonal Lullaby” is a corruption of the famous Brahms Lullaby. I created this while teaching a twentieth-century music theory course at NYU. Again, perhaps inspired by Charles Ives.
This little collection has some fun stuff. The title of the collection is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as the RDO doesn’t really do Rock and Pop. But this is our version of what these terms mean to the RDO.
The music is from 2006, a highly productive time for the RDO. I think I had just got a bunch of the Apple Jam Packs and this my first time trying out this new collection of software instruments. There is a slightly rough quality to these jams, because at the time I refused to use a click track or metronome when recording, so the rhythms have not been digitally quantized. I had hoped for a more “human” feel by working this way, but in retrospect it might just sound sloppy.
The second track is based a song I have used many times, including as the theme song for the Ratboy Genius (Chapter 9). The title refers to the time and date of when this piece was created – a twice in a century event for sure (once if you are on 24-hour time).
The last track eventually became the soundtrack for my fable “The Man Who Wanted a New Body”. This early video was an experiment where I was developing my video production techniques later utilized in the Ratboy Genius series. The story is original, and the drawings are mine. I always love mixing up heads and bodies from different characters, and I used that impulse to develop this fable.
Much later I made an animated video for the first track “Friday Night”. (Many of the pieces in the collections are named after the day and time I created them). This video was an attempt to create a virtual amusement park ride. (I later did much better with Chapter 6 from Ratboy’s Kingdom – his mountain roller coaster). The decorations for the ride were created with my drawings and characters. (There is even an appearance by what would become the Red Planet in the Happyman Series). Though the motion through the ride is not as smooth as I would have liked, I like the place and mood created here:
The second track, “Universe”, is a 17-minute, four-movement techno symphony. It remains once of the most ambitious tracks from the RDO, and features a lot of virtual guitar playing. (There is a guitar quartet leading the orchestra, and it is a blast being four guitarists at the same time). This piece is especially effective driving music. Blasting this in the car creates a great sense of wonder and adventure, even if you are just going to the supermarket.
I later created a video for the fourth movement of the piece. This was my first experiment in creating a hot exciting trance music video for my club kid fans. As this is one of the most watched videos on my YouTube channel, it seems the kids are digging it. The concept for this was an abstract depiction of some sort of sacred pagan ritual.
It was summer of 2004, and I was living in Brooklyn and completing my dissertation and NYU. Perhaps as a diversion, I began to play around with some new (for me) music production techniques, combining MIDI sequencing and digital sampling. I ended up with eight tracks timing just under 40 minutes.
I even made a little video for the first track, “Powell Comes Clean”. We were all surprised and not surprised when Colin Powell came out with the allegations that the information he used to sell the Iraq War to the United Nations in 2003 was basically fiction collated by the CIA from various questionable sources. Rather than to portray indignant outrage as so many Bush-haters were doing at the time, I attempted to turn this into thoughtful meditation illuminating the clash of forces that resulted in this fiasco.
Also notable in this collection is the first musical expression of the Ratboy Genius (the figurehead character of my cultural empire). Though first a musical piece, I quickly created my first (unofficial) Ratboy Genius video of “The Adventures of Ratboy Genius in Ratboy’s Kingdom”. This rare video doesn’t appear in the standard collection of adventures, and is something between a prototype and a pilot for the series. I didn’t know at the time how far I was going to develop this series. Though the character himself was not developed yet, you can see many of the locations that would later be used in the official series (Prospect Park, Brooklyn). For you Ratboy Genius fans, this is certainly a curiosity. (The soundtrack was used again for Chapter 2 of the official series).
The last track in this collection was created on July 4, 2004. From time to time I revisit the classic song “America the Beautiful”. I use this song to try to come to terms with my feeling of the state of affairs in this nation. At the time I was not overly optimistic about our involvement in Iraq and the Bush administration’s sacrifice of civil liberties and individual privacy in the name of national security. And listening to it now, I think I was probably inspired by Charles Ives.
The RD Orchestra is a semi-fictional ensemble of Me. I create and perform all of the parts in the music. Sometimes the music is premeditated, sometimes I improvise the parts against parts I have already improvised, sometimes a bit of both. The point is I try “to be” an ensemble of lots of different people with different personalities playing together and trying to make new music. The end result reflects my own personal musical style and language.
My primary musical interface is the MIDI keyboard (I play a Roland RD-300sx), using sounds and samples digitally manipulated on my Mac (software: Digital Performer, Logic, Garageband, Reason, Peak Pro).
The Orchestra was founded in the summer of 2004, and since then has created hours of music of all sorts of indescribable fancy, whimsy, pathos, joy, humor, and many other adjectives we bring to our comprehension of music. Thus far, the project has been a personal hobby and an outlet for my random musical creativity.