I've acted as a composer and producer on a series of "audio-drama" collaborations with the weird, amazing polymath William Nava. "Audio-drama" was our vision of a genre defined by a spoken-word track, usually narrative, with a carefully built music or music-adjacent soundtrack behind it. It was modeled after the work of Joe Frank.
My big project in this space was SURGE: Wordsongs & Soundtexts (2015), an anthology of individual pieces by a wide variety of authors. I conceived the project as a showcase of what the "audio-drama" genre could accomplish. William and I worked together to publish around 20 tracks; many commissioned, a couple done by us, but with lots of editorial and production involvement. The result is a total of around two-and-a-half hours of heartbreaking, hilarious stories. It's one of my proudest accomplishments.
I contributed music to these albums by William:
- Talia (2016): narrated story of a writer too smart for his own good, and the self-aware character he creates. I composed a fugue ("Nature's Orgy") and contributed to arrangement and production on several other tracks.
- Almost: A Tribute to Joe Frank (2012): William wrote a series of connected monologues. He planned at first to set them to existing music, but since he lived with a couple of musicians (myself included) at the time, he invited us to compose scores for each one. Despite knowing nothing at all about recording or sound production, we came up with a really compelling album together.
I've also composed a couple of things and written a handful of songs, some of which I've even managed to record (though mostly never published). This list is here mostly as a to-do list for myself.
- Water Suite (2011), three short, semi-connected pieces for solo piano. One of them became the score for this short film. I have ambitions to
- transcribe the pieces to sheet music, and
- practice and record the whole suite.
- Bottom of the Bottle (2011), a song in the style of the American songbook I think... what does that mean? I'm very fond of this. I wrote piano and guitar versions; the latter I recorded at demo quality.
- One day I will practice and record the piano version.
- Step Up (2011), 3-ish minute pop song, professionally recorded, never released.
- I need to track it down!
- Nothing Missing (2013), incomplete pop song. What I have is very pretty. I intend to
- find and post the demo I recorded that year,
- flesh out the song, and
- record it with one of the acts I'm currently in.
I've played in a couple of bands. Current acts include:
- Blue Circus: "indie" I guess? Hard to categorize this band. I think we sound great and hope you'll give a listen. I play keyboard.
- Mildred and the Milkman: my wife and me doing standards. She's got an awesome voice, I play guitar and whistle and sing occasionally, but mostly just try to keep up.
Former or defunct acts include:
- Fabula/Syuzhet: a solo act by Sam Shokin with interesting, thoughtful songs. I played keys.
For a while I sang in a couple of groups focused on renaissance-era ecclesiastical music. I'm no longer doing it actively but it remains deeply influential for me. I mostly sang under the incomparable Chris Mueller. I sang every voice part from bass up to alto. Here are a couple of pages for the choirs in question that include recordings: