Format: Audio CD Date: 1999 Software/Hardware: Passport Encore (scoring), Passport Master Tracks Pro and Cubase 3.7 (sequencers), Pentium PC with Windows 98, Gigasampler 1.52 sequencing software, Miroslav Vitous Orchestral Samples-String Ensembles for Gigasampler
Though I have made a few other CDs and some other experimental kinds of music, the last music I composed using midi and instruments was "The 90s: Gee Wasn't That a Swell (Decade)?" Its title is self-explanatory and ironic.
It was a mixed decade of good and bad. I'd become pretty settled and efficient in a very stressful and busy job, was earning enough money I could go to CompUSA any lunch break and buy new software to explore whenever I felt like it, and the real down side of the decade until my own health was the cat family I had (and the kittens given to my friend Bill) who all had died of Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
I regularly stayed up too late doing way too much of the still-candy-store internet things (writing web pages, maintaining message boards, and so forth). I think Facebook is bad now the way it sucks in people, but that's easy to say when I've been through the experience and left it. In about 1997 all the pursuits and answering about 200 personal emails a day, etc., was certainly not good for my health. Whether or not any of this added to the genetic condition affecting my soft tissues (Marfan Syndrome, my "official diagnosis" was in 2013), I can't say, but I wouldn't want to go through it all again, even though it was great fun at the time. We suffer the delusions that bigger is better and more is greater far too often. Both in this context became overwhelming.
I backtracked a little and started the 1990s decade of this CD out in October 1989, a defining moment when we had what became known as the Loma Prieta earthquake here in Northern California. In 1991 my friend Doug died; he was my roommate when I moved to California from Iowa, and I had known him previously in Chicago since about 1975. These are both addressed in the music.
Some of the music relates to no specific event (at least as I remember things now), but #13, "Crisis Room Pulse Code Red," refers to my dissection night and the ensuing emergency room visit at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco.
After I quit working, I got a new rack of hardware with some of the money I had accumulated (and fortunately cleared out my 401-K not long before the dot com crash). I used some new software called Giga Sampler and particularly fine digital samples with it to compose the music. Giga Sampler. An article about its capabilities (from 1998) can still be found here in SOS magazine.
For several years, I meant to get back to writing music, but my health and focus (especially my ability to focus) was never quite the same after the dissection, and other things intruded, and I just never did. It's hard being almost 60 and never having decided what I really do "want to do" when I grow up. So I generally just do a lot of whatever it is I want to at the moment.
There are mp3 files for all the tracks of this composition.