I turn 40 today, and in honour of that, here is "Dodging Buses" (3.7 MB MP3 file), a three-minute instrumental number. Like many of my others, it has that signature Penmachine granky guitar-bass-drums sound, with a hint of AC/DC. I started recording it back in March, using my Yamaha Pacifica electric guitar tuned to an open E chord, but only in this past week did I add bass, mix, and then master it. The name comes from something I've said numerous times during my past two and half years of cancer treatment: the saying goes that you could get hit by a bus anytime, but personally, I feel like I'm dodging buses every day. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
Free MP3 instrumental tunes, the occasional vocal song, and spoken-word podcast stuff from Derek K. Miller in Vancouver, Canada from 2006-2009. All Creative Commons licensed unless otherwise indicated. Tracks from 2004-2005 are at the archive page.
Writer, editor, web guy, drummer, and dad in Vancouver, Canada.
30 June 2009
08 June 2009
This afternoon, I appeared on CBC Radio Vancouver's "On the Coast" drivetime show. Guest host Jaeny Baik and I talked about the City of New Westminster's feasibility study/pilot project to create a citywide Wi-Fi network (from the May 11 New West council meeting). We didn't cover everything I wanted to mention—most notably, community-driven mesh networking approaches—but I think it was still a worthwhile discussion. It became a seven-and-a-half-minute interview (2.3 MB MP3 file). © 2009 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
21 December 2008
When I put together the GarageBand video course that Mac Video Training is now selling, I had to construct a song using the program. I had no plan in advance, so as I worked my way through the various videos the tune sort of assembled itself into a weird little 2-and-a-half-minute song I ended up calling "Vitamin Yummy" (3 MB MP3 file). Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
17 December 2008
A short (1 min 43 sec) solo classical guitar recording of me playing a solo classical guitar version of "What Child Is This?" (2.4 MB MP3 file), a traditional Christmas carol, also known as "Greensleeves" when it's not Christmastime. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
18 November 2008
Based on an old guitar riff I recorded more than two years ago, finally built into an actual instrumental tune while sitting at the B.C. Cancer Agency waiting around for blood tests and such. "In Phase One" (3.1 MB MP3 file, about 2 min 20 sec) has something of an '80s U2/Police/New Wave feel. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
Earlier in 2008, I borrowed a set of MIDI electronic drums from our friends KA, Jeff, and Clive. "Spokesmodel Six Eight" (2.9 MB MP3 file) emerged from using that kit: its name comes from the 6/8 time signature I chose to play it in, since that's something not easy to find in the built-in drum loops for GarageBand. It's another track I expected to finish off, polish, and remix at some point, because it's nothing but drums and some guitars. No bass, no keyboards, no vocals, hardly any arrangement there at all. But it doesn't need more than that, and I particularly like the sounds of the guitars I managed to obtain. So rock out with it. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
06 November 2008
More than a year after my previous appearance on CBC Radio about my cancer, I spoke with (5.2 MB, about 12 minutes) host Stephen Quinn of the afternoon radio show "On the Coast" about all the drastic stuff I've been through since June 2007, including my major surgeries and several chemotherapy regimes, as well as the new phase of my cancer treatment, that of living with the disease rather than simply trying to destroy it. © 2008 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
19 December 2007
At almost twelve and a half minutes, “Striking Silver” (MP3 file, 14 MB) is by far the longest instrumental track I've ever posted here. I originally created it as a background track for the Inside Home Recording podcast, made with (and as part of a review of) Guitar Rig 3 by Native Instruments. It's ambient, spacey, noodley, and recorded in one take with only a single guitar, my G&L Tribute S-500. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
31 October 2007
What? Four months without a podcast episode, and more than eight months since my last new tune, and all I have for you is a drum track?! Yup, "Quick 'n' Dirty Drums" (3.5 MB, 2 min 35 sec MP3 file) is it. I played them at 120 beats per minute (bpm) if you want to use them in a song. These drums were originally recorded for an episode of Inside Home Recording, a podcast I co-cost and which you should listen to. This work is dedicated to the Public Domain.
30 June 2007
This audio, from June 29, is my third appearance on the Vancouver afternoon radio show “On the Coast,” following others in January, and again in April. This time my wife joined me on air, and we talked about how I have continued blogging despite further bad news about my cancer diagnosis. We spoke with host Paul Grant for about 10 minutes (6 MB MP3 file) about mortality, the Cancer Foundation’s Underwear Affair, my upcoming birthday and surgery, and the fabulous people at the B.C. Cancer Agency. © 2007 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
29 June 2007
Mark Blevis emailed me an audio file (3 min 21 sec), a happy birthday message (I turn 38 tomorrow) from podcasters all over the place. Holy crap. Thanks everybody, I’m stunned. My wife had to get me some tissues after I started listening to it, so it did its job. The backing track is my tune “Fakeout.” The message is © 2007 by Mark Blevis, Bill Deys, Sean McGaughey, and Bob Goyetche, as well as everyone else who contributed. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give everyone involved credit.
05 April 2007
I first appeared on “On the Coast,” the popular afternoon drivetime show on Vancouver’s CBC Radio One, at the end of January, talking about how I use my blog to discuss my colorectal cancer. This week I was back again with host Priya Ramu for a followup chat. We spoke for about seven minutes (3 MB MP3 file) about how things are going and what has changed since January, which is fair bit. Priya and I also talked about peanut butter sandwiches. © 2007 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
08 February 2007
What do I do when I get diagnosed with colon cancer? Blog the heck out of it, and record a fiery little instrumental number like “Fakeout” (MP3 file, 3 min 12 sec). I actually recorded it entirely on my MacBook laptop with my Strat and a series of bass, drum, and other sound loops, processed with IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube 2 Live amp emulator. Les Thorn in New York City managed to refine and punch up the mix amazingly well during his mastering job. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
31 January 2007
On January 30, host Priya Ramu of “On the Coast,” the popular afternoon drivetime show on Vancouver’s CBC Radio One, was skeptical about why I’d want to blog about something as personal as my diagnosis and treatment for colorectal cancer. We talked for nearly nine minutes (5 MB MP3 file) on air about why I chose to be so public about it. There is also a followup interview (6.3 MB) with Barry Stein of the Colorectal Cancer Society of Canada. © 2007 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
31 December 2006
This tune comprises two bass tracks, laid down over a waltz-time drum loop by Doug Elliott (of Vancouver's Odds) between sets when another band he plays in with me had a show, and three guitar tracks layered on by me a little over a week later, on the morning on December 31, 2006. “Funkly Dougietude” (1 MB MP3 file) is only 47 seconds long. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give Doug and me credit.
19 November 2006
Starting in the early 1990s, Thomas Dolby spent more than a decade out of the music business, building his company Beatnik from a MIDI synthesizer and web audio firm into the world’s leading provider of polyphonic mobile phone ringtones. Now he’s back recording and touring, and says he’s like the Austin Powers of the music industry, unfrozen and amazed at the new opportunities. He spoke (13 MB MP3 file) in November 2006 in Seattle, and I recorded him there. This is the full 42-minute version; an eight-minute edited version appears in episode #28 of Inside Home Recording, the podcast I co-host. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me and Thomas Dolby credit.
18 November 2006
In October 2006 I spoke to the Editors' Association of Canada about writing and editing (15 MB MP3 file) for websites, email, podcasts, and other new-technology media, which is what I do for a living and as a hobby. I also talked a bit about how search engines work, what “Web 2.0” is, and so on. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
09 October 2006
This is the full-length three-minute version of Mighty Mullane, a synth-funk number with a hint of Aerosmith in the beat that I wrote at the request of Tris Hussey. The name derives from The Mullanes, one of the original proposed names for Crowded House, a favourite band of mine. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
20 August 2006
My tribute to Santana, "El Campo" is also a semi-official theme song for the informal BarCamp geek meetups that take place all around the world. For once, I recorded it using Apple's Logic Express instead of GarageBand. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
14 July 2006
I recorded “Alpaca Cheese” (5.3 MB MP3 file), a guitar instrumental solo piece, in one take, using a modified single-pickup Yamaha Pacifica guitar I bought in the summer of 2006, routed into IK Multimedia's AmpliTube 2 amplifier emulator software. I used no other instruments or external effects, without any overdubs or edits. All the tonal changes come from playing softer and louder and using the volume knob. And the name? My two daughters had been learning about alpacas, and were a bit confused about the goat cheese on my wife’s restaurant salad.. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
08 July 2006
For most people, editing onscreen means Microsoft Word, so when I ran a day-long workshop for Simon Fraser University on July 6, 2006, I focused mostly on Word. The entire workshop was 2 hours, 53 minutes long, and the MP3 file is a little over 50 MB to download. Go to penmachine.com/word for reference notes. If the single big file is too large, you can also get it in three parts: part 1, part 2, part 3. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
On Canada Day 2006, I found myself drumming in an impromptu jam with Dave Dederer of the famous band The Presidents of the United States of America (on guitar) and podcaster Doug Kaye (on bass), on Miles Davis's 1959 jazz composition "All Blues." It's not podsafe, so you can't share or modify this recording, but I hope you like it as I did. Chris Pirillo recorded it on his video camera at his Gnomedex 6 tech conference party at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. Composition © 1959 Miles Davis, all rights reserved.
27 June 2006
Back in February 2006, Chris Pirillo, the organizer of the legendary Gnomedex tech conference, asked me to record a theme song for the 2006 Gnomedex meeting in Seattle. He asked other attendees to send in audio voice snippets for me to include. This is the full version of "Tell Me About Gnomedex" (2.6 MB MP3 file), with lead and background vocals and speech samples. You can also download a karaoke version (background vocals and instruments) or an instrumental version (no vocals), in which you can most effectively hear the cowbell. Speech samples from very kind Gnomedexer contributors, and from Sarah Pullman, Chris, and Ponzi on Geek Entertainment Television, February 2006. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give the 2006 Gnomedexers credit.
14 June 2006
My seminar on building your own website and making it work effectively. Associated with the Editors' Association of Canada 2006 annual conference in Vancouver. The MP3 file is more than two hours long. If you prefer shorter chunks, download part 1 and part 2. You can also view my slides. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
10 May 2006
06 May 2006
There are two versions of this strange little tune I wrote as part of a comment on Adam Curry's Daily Source Code podcast. He was pissed off, so I wrote "Pissed Off Adam Curry." There's the full 25 second version, or the condensed 10 second version. Considering how quickly I put them together, they worked surprisingly well. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
01 May 2006
13 April 2006
A demo I made way back in 2001, recorded on my Power Mac G3 with nothing but my guitar, bass, a drum machine application called Virtual Drummer, and a cheap mic. The guitar distortion is simply me overloading the Mac's input, not an actual effect. "It Wouldn't Hurt" (3 MB MP3 file) is actually better than I remembered it. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
02 March 2006
There are two versions of "Marina Bay" (3 MB MP3 file), both from the same recording, but mastered very differently by Les Thorn in New York City. The first, what I call the "crunchy" version, is interesting but sounded a little harsh to me. Les re-did it as the "mellow" version, which I prefer. You can choose either one. Both came from a simple piano line I wrote, and then several overdubbed, heavily effected guitar tracks that I had planned to mix in and out. But the watery result of leaving all the guitar tracks in sounded even better. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
27 February 2006
If you want to promote my tunes on your own podcast, my podcast promo is the way to do it. So far this is the most recent promo MP3 (about 2 MB, 1 minute 30 seconds long). It's also available at Podshow Promos. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
17 February 2006
On February 11, 2006, I was part of a four-man panel (55 min MP3 file, about 13 MB) on getting started with blogging at the second annual Northern Voice conference. The other panelists were Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress; Arjun Singh, municipal politician in Kamloops, B.C.; and Roland Tanglao, super-uber-blogger and prolific user of mobile phones. There is also a wiki transcript. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give us credit.
16 February 2006
Can you build a website in 15 minutes or less? Yes! In fact, during my February 2006 talk (14 MB MP3 file, about 1 hr 23 min) to the Editors' Association of Canada, I did it three times with three different tools. To fill up the time, I also discussed blogs, and how domain servers are like phone books, and why Search Engine Optimization isn’t too useful, and why it’s better to hack yourself out a blog than to try to get your website perfect and never actually update it. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
14 February 2006
"Camp Walk" is a 2.5 MP3 file, and a short little tune used by Roland Tanglao as the soundtrack to a brief movie assembled from pictures taken during Moose Camp at Northern Voice 2006. I custom composed and recorded “Camp Walk” for the occasion. It is a hard-rockin', vaguely White Stripes-y instrumental that's a minute and a half long. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
31 January 2006
There are two recordings here, both based on the same source material: "More Red Than Red" (2:45 min) and "Less Red Than Red" (1:30 min). I wrote "Less Red" first, for a short web film that Roland was putting together (I don't know if he ever finished it). I made a longer mix of the same composition with some extra instrumentation (most notably piano), which became "More Red." Some time later Leo Laporte started using it as the theme for his Windows Weekly podcast with Paul Thurrott, which is where most people probably recognize it now. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
16 January 2006
A song I wrote as a prize for a Christmas charity auction at Navarik, my employer. I composed it for Kai, the son of one of my co-workers, who bid the most for it. "You're the Big Sky" (4.5 MB MP3 file) is licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit. There is also an instrumental version.
15 December 2005
Chris Pirillo wrote some lyrics on December 7, 2005 as a blog post. Then he asked me to write a song around them. The result is perhaps the whitest possible white-boy blues, wherein two guys from the Pacific Northwest complain about an unreliable broadband Internet connection. It's "Comcast Connection Blues" (4.8 MB MP3 file), baby. You may download it and cry your broadband nights away. It features me actually singing for a change, and also includes what I must say is some surprisingly fine lead blues guitar, which I recorded using my Stratocaster in only a couple of takes. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give Chris and me me credit.
12 December 2005
Back in October 2005, I said I would record a Christmas carol, and thought that "We Three Kings" (2.8 MB MP3 file), written by John Hopkins Jr. (1820–1891), would be a good one. So here it is. Unlike any of my other tunes, this has no loops, samples, MIDI instruments, or other fancy stuff. It's just me playing the classical guitar my parents bought for lessons when I was 10 years old. The composition is public domain, and my recording is licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
09 December 2005
"P and P" (2.8 MB MP3 file) is a remix of "Pirilloponzi," a song I put together using sampled voices from Chris and Ponzi on the Chris Pirillo Show earlier in 2005. This version no longer has vocals, but it's the same guitar part I recorded before, with completely different background tracks, and speeded up to 140 beats per minute. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
07 December 2005
"I'm washing off like an aardvark!" said my seven-year-old daughter a few days ago.
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"I dunno. It just sounded silly."
"I like it," I said. "I should use it as the title for my next song" (3.8 MB MP3 file).
Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit.
24 July 2005
"Meltdown Man" (3.8 MB MP3 file) is a rockabilly instrumental I created in the summer of 2005, and which was later licensed by the makers of the documentary film Paper or Plastic? I recorded it because I heard a rockabilly tune one day and wanted to see if I could create something similar, with a single electric guitar, bass, and drums. I think it worked out pretty well. Licensed for you to share and reuse, as long as you give me credit. This song is also available for you to buy on my album, Penmachine Sessions.