About the Album
I Like the Chords is an energetic electronic music album blending dancefloor-friendly EDM and pop, dubstep, synthpop, and downtempo meditative drums. As with Love More Visibly, bouncy bass lines and vocoded melodies make plenty of appearances.
It covers a range of themes, including getting in touch with various aspects of our humanity.
Alongside brand new pieces, the album features remastered or expanded versions of a few previous works. It also includes instrumental or melody-free versions of several tracks, and an extended dance mix.
Also see my YouTube channel for videos from this album and others.
The album’s opening track, “Be Free,” is intended to put you in touch with whatever makes you feel alive and free. It is also a tribute to ecstatic dance. This form of expression, which I discovered less than a decade ago, has indeed led me to places of physical, spiritual, and emotional ecstasy.
Ecstatic dance facilitators often utilize “waves” in their sets, taking participants on an energetic roller coaster between states of gentle, slow, open, and flowing energy and peaks of denser and more punctuated staccato energy. You’ll experience some of that in this song, where an extended spacious intro lulls you into a trance, and then gradually lifts you into a serious groove.
As I was composing “I Like the Chords,” my spontaneous and more planful, detail-oriented parts came together in really interesting ways. Some of the lyrics popped into my head at 2 or 3 in the morning, at which point I simply recorded and went with them--even if they didn’t all make sense. Then I spent much more time tweaking vocoder sounds.
At one point it felt like it wanted to be a sexy song, but then it became more about just having fun and not being overly serious all the time.
The music video also reflects a meeting of spontaneity and planning. For example, there are a few parts where I’m pedaling a bicycle flying through space. I’m still not sure how that concept popped into my head, other than as a natural byproduct of really liking bicycles. But actually making it happen in the video took some planning and persistence.
“Reclamation” is about rediscovering what you are most passionate about, and living a life that integrates that.
While the song has no lyrics beyond the intro, the video includes a few inspirational messages.
It took a bit of courage to dress up in leopard print tights and dance in the video, but I had a lot of fun doing it. I hope this inspires you to take a risk, small or large, leading to fun and rewarding experiences.
“You Are the One for Me” is a simple but bouncy love song. I hope it gives you lots of warm fuzzies, and inspires you to express yourself to those you love and care about.
On one level, “In This Moment”is about sharing deep physical intimacy. On another level, it’s about regularly taking the time and effort to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically present.
How much of our lives do we live in the past and future, rather than the present? How much time do we spend in our heads, without being fully present in our bodies? As the song reminds you, don’t forget to breathe.
“Facing My Shadow” is an important reminder in a world where we highly curate our presentations of our lives and selves to others. We all virtue signal, attempting to show others our most honorable and lovable actions, thoughts, and personal qualities.
However, we are also animals. We have dark sides. We can be very emotionally reactive. We easily fall into “us versus them” warfare. If we honor and accept the parts of ourselves that aren’t so easy to look at, they’ll cause less trouble than if we try to deny that they exist.
“Midnight Adrenaline” somehow reminds me of a theme song for an action adventure or mystery show. I enjoy the contrast between the slower-paced, relatively legato melodic line and the faster-paced, more staccato melodic line.
“Touching Planets” is a reminder that even though it’s important to be practical and realistic, it’s also essential to maintain some degree of youthful idealism and imagination. Without the latter, humans would never achieve great things once thought impossible--such as travel to other worlds.
What big visions are on your lifetime bucket list? What are the “planets” you hope to touch?
I wrote the foundation of “Smooth Driver” more than 20 years ago. After recovering some of the original tracks from an old synthesizer, I added some updates with my computer-based music tools. I can imagine cruising down a country highway with the windows rolled down, the jazzy guitar lines floating out into the breeze.
“Fantasy Girl (Bumpy Bottom Mix)” honors the broad range of ways in which people are attracted to one another, and the various features that make people beautiful.
The original version’s release included a post about body image. This was intended to provoke thought not only about body shape and height, but also color, age, and other features.
The other interesting thing about a “fantasy girl” is that it represents just that--a fantasy, an ideal that doesn’t actually exist. It’s unattainable. Fantasies can be great tool for providing energy, passion, and creativity. However, if taken too far, they can encourage a person to pretend they’re something they’re really not, in hopes of being worthy of the object of their fantasy. Just being themselves is never enough. You can hear some of this in the lyrics, “…if only you could see, that I can show you the world…”
What’s most important to you?
This song is intended as a reminder that our lives are short. Don’t spend forever getting to some of the things on your bucket list.
The line “a ladder rising up into the sky” was inspired by the documentary film “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang.” It’s about someone who dreams big. I recommend checking it out.
If you liked the original version of “I Like the Chords,” you’ll enjoy hitting the dance floor with the extended “7 Minutes in Ecstasy” mix.
The initial portion is identical to the original, and then it shifts into a different form of groovy coolness.