#rpm12 day 0: The plan

We’re on the cusp of yet another RPM Challenge. This will be my fifth year participating in the challenge, and my planned project this year should definitely be my most unique challenge to date.

As I’ve noted previously, this year I will be recording my album entirely using my iPhone. I will record some/most of the tracks into GarageBand on my Mac, and I will do further post-production with the Mac, but I’ll produce every sound with — or through — the iPhone.

As an added challenge for myself, usually I enter into a recording project with an overarching concept. This year, the only concept is that the iPhone is the instrument. Usually I come in with a clear set of song ideas or an overall compositional structure for an album, and quickly arrive at completed songs. (Last year, for instance, I had one song — “Spooncherry” — completely “in the can” by 4 AM on February 1.) This time around I am going to try to just record as much material as I can, in whatever form it may take, for the first half of the month, without working up any of it into a final state. And then I will spend the second half of the month sorting through the debris and trying to make sense of it all.

We’ll see.

I know I am not starting a revolution by making music on the iPhone. Plenty of people are doing a lot more with this than I am. I am just curious to see what I can produce. There is some precedent in my own work: I recorded the theme song to my podcast entirely on the iPhone (using the iPhone version of GarageBand), and earlier in January I recorded a 3-song EP on a Saturday afternoon.

It begins at midnight.

So long, Santana; the dream was already gone

Kirby Puckett rookie cardThere was a time in my life (I happened to be 13) when I was a huge baseball fan. I had the giant baseball card collection to prove it. I even chewed the nasty gum a few times.

My enthusiasm was richly rewarded in 1987 when my hometown Minnesota Twins won their first World Series. Life was good.

But eventually I moved on. My brief, albeit intense, interest in baseball (and pro sports in general) faded in high school, and although I still enjoy going to a game once in a while, it’s just too expensive and too corporate, and I’m too cynical, to sustain that kind of passionate enthusiasm. So when it was announced that Johann Santana was traded to the Mets, I barely even raised an eyebrow.

It wasn’t until I read Nick Coleman’s column on the matter that it really hit me what this means, especially in the context of the Twins’ controversial new stadium:

[W]hen you’re a kid, your town’s team manipulates your immature emotions in order to get you to tug on daddy’s sleeve and beg him to buy a pair of $50 tickets and a souvenir jersey so Dad can go to his grave knowing that his boy will remember him through misty eyes and support the next billion-dollar stadium proposal when the stadium opening in 2010 needs to be replaced a few years later.

He’s right. And he goes on to show just how trivial a slice of the pie, given the ludicrous sums of money floating around in the world of professional sports, Santana’s salary really is. It’s the stars like Santana and Torii Hunter that make a team like the Twins worth going to see. Which is where the money comes from in the first place.