Stranger in a strange land.
For the first time, living outside of the US, I started to see what a huge lock media has on our lives.
I love media. But I think everyone should be required to take a class in video editing. When you learn about how easy it is to manipulate messages, you can start to understand or question why one would want to send particular messages to the masses.
Because I was no longer living in the only country I ever lived in, I naturally started to see things in a different light.
These ideas came to light when I started to sample my own drum playing at the local Shimamura Music at the Aeon Shopping Mall.
The store sold instruments, but it also had rehearsal space, so I would go down once a week and record my drums and the nice vintage Yamaha keyboard that was in the studio.
I was making samples and recording them directly to mini disc, which the room also came with.
Sampling from TV, movies and video games soon a bag of tricks was harvested.
These were all combined on the Dell Inspiron using Soundforge and Acid. Soon, I had another batch of songs.
When it came time to record the vocals, I did, but when I shared them with my good friend Shozo Takabuchi, he simply told me that the cadence was wrong and my vocal timing was way off.
I was incredibly angered when I heard his honest opinion, but Shozo was a music teacher in Japan who had retired to look after the local Kurashiki library. When I went to the library by accident to listen to some records, I met Shozo and we bacame good friends.
He was right about the vocals. I rerecorded every lyric on the album and I am glad I did. This album would have been much weaker had I got away with leaving those vocals the way they were. To this day, I scrutinize my vocals to this level.
Once the album was finished, I created the collage art and cd book by running the hell out of the school photo copier. I used black spray paint to paint the cds, then wrote "Ninja Karakuri" in Japanese Kanji on them in black.
I was fortunate enough to perform the album live at CBGB Japan (no affiliation with the New York one) as well as at a New Year's Eve party in Oakland at the Cloud Factory.