Bringing the rain

November 21, 2011

Earlier this year I was in New York on business so of course I spent some time hanging out with my brother, codename “xourmas.” (We have a little duo when we play together called the Power & Mighty.)

He taught me a few cover tunes he had been working on over the past little while, and soon afterward I was back home in Cali rehearsing with the Kincaid and I introduced those two tunes to the band.

The first one is a tune by an obscure band called the Greenhornes called “There is an End.” The second is a classic psychedelic lovesong by the German band Can, called “She Brings the Rain.” The former has a lyric in it that goes “Spring brings the rain,” so I’ve always associated the two songs. (One other I’d also associate with these is Morphine’s “You Look Like Rain” – another one I’d like to learn some day.)

Anyway, TRK quickly recorded a few live takes of both songs and a few of them came out pretty well. We’ve gradually been putting up our carefully recorded studio cuts on our new Bandcamp site, but I can’t resist sharing these more off-the-cuff live demo takes, so here are a few more for our multitudes of fans:

(I consider these two recordings to constitute an EP that I call “Tribute to Xourmas.”)


This ain't no cocktail you buy in a bar

October 11, 2011

One of the songs I’ve been playing the longest with the Reuben Kincaid is an original by Dan Brodnitz aka Cecil aka Dan about prison booze called “Pruno.”

In fact, before the Kincaid even got together Pruno was one of the first tunes Dan taught me and that we played together, and it was one of the first songs I recorded myself playing with Dan, when I started to get the idea that this playing music together thing is actually pretty cool. At the time we were playing it on piano and uke but not TRK plays it in our current power trio format, with Dan on guitar (sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric), the Reverend So-Called Bill on bass, and myself on ukululu, of course. Vocals on the “I don’t want to be right” chorus by hillbilly leprechaun Samuel, who would himself never make or consume pruno.

Over the last few years we’ve played the song scores of times, usually with some major or minor flubs. The version I’m posting today is done in the slow epic/anthem mode, and has its share of clams, but is also a fairly representative demo of how we play “Pruno” today:

Pruno (demo)

UPDATE: Shared with the gracious permission of Dan Brodnitz!

Must-share flotsam: Dylan and the Band live

October 4, 2011

For your listening pleasure, this Bob Dylan and The Band 1969-1970 Compilation DVD:

Ukepalooza remixed

August 22, 2011

At long last, the entire Cheeses & Tequila set from Web Directions in ’10 is available, now with multi-camera intercutting and rockstar-like fretboard closeups!

'Leonardo' talk featured in August 2011 IA Institute Newsletter

August 11, 2011

The IA Institute reports that they added the slides and video from my keynote at the Italian IA Summit to the institute’s library, in the latest issue of the monthly IA Institute Newsletter.

UXLx 2011 video passes available

July 1, 2011

If you missed UX Lisbon this year, you can now a buy a pass that gets you access to more than six hours of video from the presenters, as excerpted in this UXLx 2011 highlights reel:

At just under €50, that sounds like a bargain to me. Check it out!

We are all Leonardo now (live) (recorded)

June 24, 2011

Video of my keynote presentation at this year’s Italian Information Architecture Summit in Milan is available on the event’s website (Video | Summit Italiano di Architettura dell’Informazione).

As it’s hosted on Vimeo, I’ll also embed it right here:

(V° Summit Architettura dell’Informazione – 1 from Italian IA Summit on Vimeo.)

I previously posted the slides from this talk under the heading My keynote from the Italian IA Summit.

UX Lisbon notes in Usability Talks

May 17, 2011

Claudia Oster took some keen notes and a posted a few great photos from the morning half of the main day at UX Lisbon this year, including a brief write-up of my talk, Playful Design, at Usability Talks.

'Playful Design' at UX Lisbon

May 17, 2011

Here are my slides from UX Lx. In the coming weeks, the video broadcast will be made available (for a small fee) at the UX Lisbon site, and sometime next year they will be shared freely in the ramp up to UX LX 2012.

Johnny Holland picks up on my call for tuneable experiences

May 16, 2011

Renowned interaction design zine Johnny Holland reported on my keynote at UX Lisbon, writing, in UX LX: Day Three

Moving on to playing in the musical design — he believes we can turn our users into maestros, as an expert Illustrator user is much like a musician! — Crumlish provided a range of analogies (frameworks set up the rules, you need a bit of chaos for creativity, as in jazz). However, for me, his utterly inspired point was that of creating tunable experiences: “You don’t need to create a perfect experience, but instead one that’s tunable.”