Inflatable Hippies Music

Writing music is one of my all-time loves. Probably even more so than writing prose. Both mediums answer the creative question, but there’s something almost magical about the existence of music; it contains both meaning and an elusive quality of being. Anyway, my current musical project is a non-existent group called the Inflatable Hippies. I’ve been doing mostly electronica in that guise. The latest tune is called Once Upon A Time. I cut together a series of clips to articulate the fascination of creation and our minute place in the overall narrative of all that is. No singing, only some spoken voice, courtesy of my youngest and me.

I often wonder if we’ll ever reach the stars. Definitely not in my lifetime, but perhaps in generations to come? The history of our own planet has been one of exploration and expansion, and I don’t think that quality has been lost in the human race. Once the technology is there, I’m sure exploration and expansion will continue. It’ll be at great cost to life, just like it was during the ages of the sea explorers, the colonial period, and the westward expansion of the United States, but mankind tends to be up for that sort of thing, despite the prevalence of couch potatoes.

Nightlights the electronica album

I haven’t been creating much of anything these days due to the business of life. However, I have managed to carve out a little time for writing and recording some music. In years gone by, I recorded quite a few albums: folk albums by myself, as well as with an old friend of mine (those were some of the first I ever did), as well as some projects with a rock band in grad school and during my time working in Chicago.

This new album, recorded by my Inflatable Hippies entity, is a departure for me. It’s strictly instrumental and wanders somewhere into the electronica genre, specifically in the chill-out sub-genre. I’m not entirely certain that’s the right term, but I think it is correct. If it isn’t, then let’s just invent it right now.

I don’t consider myself even worthy to muck out the stables for composers like Bach and Beethoven, but everyone on earth–past, present and future–shares a similar trait with those geniuses, and that is the ability to take what already is, whether that be pieces of wood or stone or vegetables or sounds, and then rearrange those into different structures that, because of that rearrangement, have the potential or possibility of acquiring additional beauty. Or merely additional interest.

So, have at it, with whatever items of the universe you find pleasure in rearranging. With me, these days, I like rearranging sounds. The next thing on my to-be-rearranged list are the ingredients for an eggplant involtini recipe. It looks like it will be amazing. Or merely interesting (hopefully not).

Nightlights. Available on Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, and for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.

Inflatable Hippies

My band, the Inflatable Hippies, has a new album coming out soon. Instrumental, no voices.

I find myself thinking about the musical creative process in a different way these days. If you take a step back and look at the variables–tone, timing, intensity, syncopation, melody, harmony, the voicing peculiarities of different instruments, mood, etc–you quickly realize that the possible outcomes are nearly infinite. All those components can be arranged and rearranged in a breathtaking number of different ways. A number that cannot be fathomed in human terms.

galaxy inflatable hippiesAs countless as the grains of sand on all the world’s shores? As countless as the stars of the universe? I’m starting to think so. The problem (if it is a problem) becomes even more dizzying for me because I find my songs. I’m not sure if I create them. Typically, I’ll start by writing a melody on piano, record that, and then layer on some harmonies with different instruments until I have a dense mass of music. And then I’ll carve away pieces, not unlike a stone sculptor at work with a block marble. Finding the figure hidden within, that was always there, before the sculptor was even born.

While this means, in the light of sand and stars, there’ll be no end of songs to be discovered, what if we ever do come to the end of universe? No, the edge of the universe. We come to that end and find a humble door that opens into a place outside the universe. This might mean there are no songs on the other side of the door. No songs, no stars and no lovely beaches curving along the blue expanse of a south sea island bay.

Though, while there might not be any songs past that door, there very well might be things that, while they are not songs in the way we know music, they might be more truly music than we could ever imagine. I can only hope that there’s some echo of that in the Inflatable Hippies.

Lie of the Land album

The Lie of the Land is an album I recorded back around 2007 in response to the general plan update battle in Monterey County (that’s my county). Things got heated. I figured music might be a good way to get people thinking. It didn’t work, as far as I could tell. Anyway, feel free to download the music files and pass them around.

ticket to kansas

get your hands off this town

love song for an environmentalist

view-shed ted

move to nome

poor louie’s bull

mr. environmental saviour

lie of the land


Poor Louie’s Bull

Some friends and I recently played a couple of my songs at the Cowboy Poetry fundraiser last Sunday. The Salinas Rodeo big week always kicks off with this poetry event. Great blues band after us, followed by Chris Pine, an old cowboy poet from Arizona. The spoken word is powerful stuff.

Anyway, here are the two songs we played. I recorded these about ten or eleven years ago.

Government Says Today

Poor Louie’s Bull