My 1996 solo record “Songs of Spiritual Uplift as Sung By Today’s Sounds” was a quick burst of enthusiasm for the not-then-yet-barren trend in ironic retro-cheese. After that, I all but gave up playing the drums and settled down to play with computers for the rest of the decade. I had become spoiled. It was just too hard to get a good sound without the benefit of a major label recording budget. But I could get an entirely acceptable drum track using my Macintosh IIci.
Computers were a lot slower back then, disk space was more dear and the tools were nowhere near as friendly as they are today. All I had was a copy of ProTools, an acoustic guitar, a cheap midi keyboard, an obsolete sampler, Apple QuickTime, and a dozen floppies worth of eight bit samples. But I also had lots of ideas and, thanks to Nirvana, plenty of free time. I didn’t let my basic lack of musical skill stand in my way — I had a an ear for what I liked and was determined to pull it off.
One day, an online acquaintance who worked for MetaCreations (formerly MetaTools, formerly HSC, home of the legendary Kai’s Power Tools) invited me to submit material to something called “Kai’s Dance Studio.” This project would somehow combine music, animation, interactivity and 3D graphics. Apparently, my friend was under the mistaken impression that I was something more than a punk rock charlatan who’d made a successful career out of pretending to be an actual musician. Shamed into accepting the challenge, I dashed off a half-dozen instrumentals, swinging wildly at whatever genre happened to be in range.
My unabashedly lo-fi approach cannot have been what the company had in mind. In any case, “Kai’s Dance Studio” never came out. Kai Krause left the company in the spring of 1999 and MetaCreations was dissolved soon afterward. Undaunted, I collected the tracks, along with some of my other favorite productions, and bundled the whole mess into a new Today’s Sounds release. Leveraging my follower base at meatpuppets.com, I marketed the home-made disk directly to fans. I think I might have sold twenty copies.
But now you can have it for free. Bonus points if you can tell me where I got the cover photo.