Wednesday, December 5, 2012

David Wu's track-by-track notes for The Fringemunks' new holiday EP, "Yule Freakout!"

Listen/Download Now!:

Notes are fun, right?  Here goes:

I released this album for 2 main reasons:  1) to generate some interest in the project, using an elastic market (holiday albums get buzz) and uniqueness (there are no other Fringe-themed holiday albums out there) to move the product; and 2) just felt like it.

These songs are not episodic recaps like the main Fringemunks songs.  Thus, they were less detail-oriented, and more about invoking emotion and reflection.  In many ways, the lyric-writing was more natural, while still retaining the "essence" of gross-out Fringemunk standard gag-worthy flavor.

  1. Happy Xmas (Oppression Is Over)
    A new recording.  This is actually one of my favorite Fringemunks songs of all - a rousing way to kick off the album, at the very least.  That's of course me playing all the instruments (which is the case for any Fringemunks song).  My new digital piano (a Yamaha Arius) is being used, and upstairs I overdubbed some tremelo guitar - using a Fender Strat and recording it using a microphone (as opposed to plugging the guitar straight into a mixer).
  2. Blight Christmas
    An underrated track, released last year (2011) on the odds-and-sods album Bloody Rare.  The song's storyline takes place in the alter-universe from Walter's POV when William Bell informs him that he is at fault for all the blight.  Also an ironic track - very upbeat material, positioned with very dark lyrics.
  3. The 12 Days of Fringemas
    A popular track, released last year concurrently with "Blight Christmas."  The piano that I used is at my parents' house up in Seattle.  One year later, the song holds up as a good performance that people should enjoy for many holidays/Christmases to come.
  4. Have Yourself a Fine Delicious Egg Stick
    A new recording.  Like "Blight Christmas," this combines 2 elements that only music can bring together:  this time, gag-worthy lyrics are combined with a very solemn melody and arrangement.  Around this time of the year, I frequently hear all these long, drawn-out holiday songs... perhaps by that one Josh Groban dude.  "Silent Night" ... "O Holy Night" ... all sung and arranged so slowly that it's almost comical.  Hence, this song here makes fun of those types of songs ... long and drawn-out, and maybe people will fall asleep to this song some time in the future.
  5. The Fringemunk Song (with David Wu)
    This is the oldest of the 5 songs - recorded and released in 2008 (during Season 1 of Fringe) as part of my annual Christmas release.  It's meant to be obvious that we basically copied over the lyrics AND dialogue from the original Chipmunks' recording, with a change in one of the lines.  The recording isn't the greatest, but it's 100% Fringemunks, historical and hysterical.  'Nuff said.
David Wu
5 December 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

David Wu discusses Fringemunks' contest entry song "Backstory Ballad"

It's a song that you won't hear for another week - Nov. 7 - when The Fringe Podcast's "Bridge the Backstory Contest" entry deadline is reached.  But the song is complete, and will be submitted within a day.

It's a competitive entry, but the award is in its edginess as a fan-fic-or-humorous-or-something-else romp.  The lyrics itself are, by the nature of its "grasping for straws," 50% likely "true" and 50% joke.  But it succeeds as a semi-epic journey through the years 2012-2036 in the Fringe universe of "what if" tone.

It is a parody, but the parodied song won't be revealed here.  What can be revealed is how I took a detour from what I suspect will be the "usual suspects" in terms of what other contestants will cover in their bridge-the-gap storylines.  I take on characters and entities that may not otherwise have been covered nor cared about - but once mentioned, they and their fictional stories in this song will - assuming the Fringemunks "last" - remain a permanent record of wonder and potentially debatable would-have-been-an-interesting-route tone.

The song will subsequently be released as a track on The Fringemunks' odds-and-sods Bloody Rare compilation album.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fringe: "Walter Bishop Is Wanted" video more than just promo - it's a key

Hello all.  David Wu here.

Recently, a video containing this image was released:

I think it's more than just a promo.  It's a key.  Some of the characters match up with their English counterparts.  Here, for example:

 So - by that logic - all the promos (past and future) that contain funny characters can be matched against this key to decipher what is being said.

--David Wu

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pre-recording notes for The Fringemunks' "Brave New World, Parts 1 & 2" single

Some notes:  I haven't even started recording, nor have I finished the lyrics.  But the concept seems like it will work.  Up to now, I've completed the first 13 episodic song recaps for Fringe Season 4, but I felt it was time to tackle the "Brave New World" 2-parter.

I won't give away which 2 songs will be parodied.  In fact, I won't announce them until the single is released(!).  There will be 2 individual songs on the Season 4 album (1 for each part), but the single release (which will utilize the above artwork) will combine both into 1.

At the end of the day on Fri., 8/31/2012, I'll be holding a drawing to see who will win an advance copy of the single.  Want to enter the drawing?  If so, click here.

Some notes for each "part":

Part 1 (Epis. 4.21):  Instrumentation will be simple but precise:  keyboards, some synth guitars (on keyboards, of course), and me playing my Fender double-strat electric guitar (a rarity, since I'm not a guitar player, although the instrument shows up on some previous Fringemunks songs like "A New Day in the Old Town" and "The Road Not Taken").  The song will contain possibly the most singalong section of any of the songs.  The movement I need depends entirely on feel, mood, and faithfulness to the storyline ... plus a bit of humor.  POV:  Peter.

Part 2 (Epis. 4.22):  Instrumentation will be loud.  Lots of keyboards.  I haven't decided if I'll use guitar (as in an actual guitar).  It's gonna be alright.  I may need to, or may not need to, add 1 or 2 more verses.  POV: Walter. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

NOTES on the Fringemunks' Epis. 4.13 "A Better Human Being"


There's probably no other similar production in the Fringemunks' 74-song history, possibly with the exception of "The No-Brainer" (54 songs ago), which parodied "Poker Face."  Both productions didn't use my usual keyboard or piano playing - instead Reason (the software) was used, although one has to "play" the software's instruments musically as well.  Still this current release is of a different style altogether.

As is the norm, I chose the song (No Doubt's latest single) only because it provided an ideal lyrical framework for the storylines in the "A Better Human Being" episode.  The "I'm fine" pre-chorus was already identical to Olivia's "I'm fine" assertion, while also the correct amount of syllables (and similar sounding) for the "hive mind" lyric.

A few delays were used, sparingly but in good pressure points.  Fun song.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NOTES on The Fringemunks' Epis. 4.12 "Welcome to Westfield"

It just so happened that the song for "Welcome to Westfield" was another welcoming of sorts: It was my first song to produce in the music studio of my new home in Covington, WA. The instrumental had already been recorded at the former studio, at my parents' residence in Seattle. But the vocals were done in full at the new place. I made the song a bit quick-paced on purpose, as I wanted the "frantic" urgent nature of the episode to be reflected. Incidentally, the percussion instrument heard at the tail end of the first chorus was a pen tapping on an empty wine bottle - that wine was given to me as a new house gift. The lyrics took a while - moderately difficult.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Brief Tribute to Papang (1929-2012)

Arsenio Acob (1929-2012)

I just found out about Papang's death earlier this morning.  Although I (as has much of the Acob extended family) have been preparing for this moment for weeks, there is still a level of shock and devastation.  Our family has now entered a new phase, with new challenges and responsibilities as we move forward.  But as I deal with my grandfather's death, I am reminded of some experiences that will resonate with me for the rest of my life.

An hour or so before my cousin Omar's wedding some years ago, I realized while changing into my suit that I was missing my necktie, which was apparently moved to another bag at a relative's home.  Being that there weren't neckties readily available, and not to mention I was going to be performing some music soon, it was a bit of an awkward situation - and I didn't have my car with me.  "Come on, we'll go get it," said a willing voice.

It was Papang, of all people.   So he drove me back to Wapato to retrieve the tie.  I realize now that Papang had seized the opportunity to hang out with me.  He and I maximized that time together, asking each other questions about life and music.  With me living in Seattle, I was one of the grandkids that he saw the least, and so it was good to catch up a bit.  Papang had turned an awkward situation into a bonding opportunity.

Years before that, during a Christmas celebration, there arose a situation in which one of Papang's sons dejectedly walked out of his home that night after a glass gift accidentally crashed to the ground.  It was a weird situation, and some of the family didn't handle it well.  I walked out to the back porch, and there was Papang comforting his son, unconditionally with a smile.  No words were spoken - the presence and agape love spoke volumes about his faith, and it is an image that will remain with me.

As much as our extended family has grown and prospered, there are inevitably imperfections.  But Papang led by his example and leadership, by turning bad situations into opportunities for victory.  That's just one of his many legacies, but it is the one that will resonate with me the most.

David Wu
15 March 2012