Posts Tagged ‘Leaving Babylon’

As my regular readers/friends/family members/acquaintances/co-workers/fellow Masons known, I am not much of a self-promoter. Oklahomans, a group I sheepishly sometimes admit I once belonged to, don’t like boasting and are sometimes almost pathologically polite and self-deprecating. A sometimes nice quality that keeps us from being Texans–that and a lack of ambition. Anyway, that’s why I create so much material and generally suck at telling people about it. I have this self-defeating idea sometimes that people don’t want to have art shoved down their throat, they want to discover it themselves, which in a way makes it partly theirs. I ought to know that’s stupid, since people regularly take the stuff forced on them by radio as if it’s good when some of it is worthless. And yet shoving people against the wall and saying “Hey, look at my stuff!” always feels to me like I’m being obnoxious, coercive, self-centered and narcissistic. It’s worse when I run into a person who has no problem bragging about his novel in progress, which is going to send him to heights of Olympian glory any day now, and I’m too sheepish to admit that I’ve written a few of them

That’s one of the reasons I let Stephanie do most of the promotion on “The Retributioners,” our hysterically funny if currently moribund Web show. But unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury in my novel-writing career, where I am forced all by my lonesome to look for agents and publishers in squeaky, mousy-voiced little query letters that rarely if ever show the sum of my talents.  I’ve started this process again recently after parting ways with my literary agent and I’m getting used to the rejections all over again. Do you remember the scene at the beginning of “Paradise Lost” where dogs are eating out the bowels of one of the fallen angels? That’s what it feels like trying to sell a novel, just in case you’ve never tried it. Every time I run into a little failure with my ventures, though, I do an honorable thing–I simply start a new project. A new song, a new book or a new screenplay–before the sting of the rejection can hit. Believe me, this shit is starting to pile up, and I’m starting to think that I’m going to drop dead with mountains of work that nobody will ever read or hear or see. That leads to a more self-defeating attitude: Well, maybe everybody will get it when I’m dead and in the meantime I’ll stay happily anonymous.

Stupid, I know.

So, in the interest of promoting myself again, I’m going to focus a bit on my music in this post. As far as I know from my odometer readings (?) on this here WordPress site, I get approximately ZERO hits on my music. Really! I count maybe five click-throughs in the past year total. Maybe the stats page doesn’t count right. Could that possibly be it?

My first reaction to this silence was that my music must suck so bad nobody is polite enough to tell me. I took it like I took all the rejection of the book world: I’ve failed to make an impression, time to move on. I know I can’t sing well and my production is off, and my time-keeping is also a little messy. I finally sent out one tune to some friends to get their reactions. I’d say I got four positive reactions and two lukewarm reactions.

Then earlier this year I played all my stuff for an actual musician who said that, barring my bad time-keeping on the drum machine (a pet peeve of his) my stuff was certainly worthy of hearing, if not nominating for a Grammy. Then another musician seconded that, and then a third. So I tried an experiment–listening to it from other people’s computers. Turns out, a lot of the time I couldn’t open the files, which required users to download QuickTime. Could it be that nobody even had a chance to reject my stuff?

So now I ponder: Do I dare ask you, my dear readers, who came here seeking comedy and or Republican-bashing, to listen to my music one more time?  If you are willing to, then I’m making the journey easier for you: I’ve finally opened up an account with Sound Cloud. This player is meant not just to share music but to be interactive–it allows users to make comments on parts of the tracks they don’t like. But the best thing for me is, it doesn’t require you to download files to your computer. You can just press the big, candy-like button here:

Leaving Babylon

In the interest of space and a clean layout, I’ve moved all these Sound Cloud files to a new tab on my home page, which you can see at the top of the menu or which you can click on here. (You can also check out my Sound Cloud profile page, but I don’t like it as much because I can’t control the format or song order.) Not all my music is on Sound Cloud, just 13 of what I consider the best songs. If I start getting some decent hits, then I’ll upload more of the music, and if I get a lot of hits, I’m going to start going into promotion mode–sending out free MP3 files with my complete album “Time Traveling Humanist Mangled By Space Turbine” to anybody who requests it. Here’s a sample of the art work, created by my friend Corey Sanders:

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To celebrate the end of military operations in Iraq, I suppose it might be apropos to once again offer up the song “Leaving Babylon,” by ER Salo Deguierre, a tale of intrigue set against our troubles in the Persian Gulf. It’s not an anti-America song, as some might surmise on first hearing. It’s more a look at extreme thinkers and how they so easily switch sides. Because, to an extremist, the content of his thoughts is not as important as his extreme feelings. I’m looking at you, Michael Savage, David Horowitz and John Voight.

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I must apologize, dear “Beauty is Imperfection” reader. I posted six new songs the other day, and advertised one that I don’t think was quite ready for air time. Though I won’t bore you with technical details, suffice it to say that I do the final mixing of these songs in my headphones to make them sound the best I can (with my limited technical ability). “TV Head” is a song I like a lot, and though I worked hard to make it sound good in actual speakers, I didn’t realize how much the song would be hurt by the thin bandwidth of an MP3 and the even more horrible degradations of the MySpace player, didn’t realize how the diminishing sonic returns of such formats would make my ditty sound really rank by the time it reached your tender ears. I should have given it an extra listen, and I didn’t. I’ve tried to fix some problems, but I might well take it down and futz with it a little before reposting. Sorry if you heard it and it made you sick. I guess it’s too much to ask you to imagine how it should sound.

Just when I was most disillusioned, I had dinner and wine with a new friend last night, an excellent musician named Christian who has really got music production down and understands audio engineering in ways I can barely fathom. You can check out his work with his band Montalfish here and see what I’m talking about.

Christian was very gracious to give my music a listen last night and tell me that, despite its flaws, it has some promise, and I’m grateful for some of the tips he gave me, mostly about my drum parts (not tight!)

But since that will take some time, and since I’m not as disappointed with some of the other songs on here, I’ve decided to share the next one with you anyway.

This one is called “Leaving Babylon,” and is a short story of political intrigue set to music. I should add that I created an alternate version of the melody sung by cats that, as far as I know, is the only recording my wife likes.

Leaving Babylon by ER Salo Deguierre.

“Leaving Babylon”
By Eric Rasmussen
Copyright 2010

He was just right out of college
On his first tour of Baghdad
Working for a private concern, a no-bid contract for his dad
His first assignment is to carry a suitcase filled with pounds and gold
A payoff for some Baathist Army to keep the locals in the fold

He was disguised inside a convoy when they hit an IED
He was blinded and left bleeding, an Arab boy helped him to see

For two months in a cinder block cell, the Arabs retrain him as their own
To hold the standard of the Sunni, fighting for the pan-Arab home
But he was carrying special orders, with that million dollar check
Embarrassing to the multi-nationals, the M15 marks him for death

He doesn’t even know his father
He doesn’t even know his name
He just wants to find some morals
In a world where there’s no blame

In business handshakes there flowers money
On CNN there flowers fame
But only purity of purpose
Can keep the borderline man sane,

He’s caught downwind of fair Bathsheeba,
her ablutions drove him mad
And he lost his moral compass
Lay her body in the sand

Swimming in her shallow kisses,
don’t know which God to call by name
So he raced out into the desert
Sackcloth ashes and a cane

Have you come to throw a boulder
And to strike Goliath dead?
Or could you wake up back at Dartmouth
With a co-ed in your bed?

Someone take me to the Green Zone
Call the Congress if you please!
Let me just talk to my mother
I throw myself upon my knees

As you lived among the Pagans
Did you lose your mother tongue?
Did you eat the heathen idols
As Bathsheeba drew her gun?

Someone take me to your leader
I don’t want to die alone!
How I weep as if for Zion
And for my imagined home

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