“B. Obama”

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very pleased to be able to present, at long last, “B. Obama”:

This is a piece of hand-crafted music recorded in a style of the ’70s. All of the sounds have been slightly edited to improve their timing (more or less), but otherwise no notes have been quantized or digitally sequenced*, and no external music was sampled**. The music is 100% original.***

* Except that the A and B sections were themselves copied and pasted a few times, but, hey, that coulda been done in the 70s via tape-to-tape transfer.

** Except that the waveforms for the drum and keyboard sounds were themselves digitally sampled, but otherwise I didn’t, e.g., sample a KC & The Sunshine Band tune and then loop it. What’s more, I played all the instruments in real time, as will be painfully obvious to the discerning ear.

*** Except for the fact that it’s desperately trying to sound like an authentic instrumental funk tune circa 1975. But, yeah, I wrote and performed the whole thing.

And now, the gratuitous FAQs for all the questions you probably don’t have:

Wait, I Googled [“b. obama” music video] and saw that you already have a video out there with that name.

Actually, I have three! They’re all “teaser trailers”, excerpts of proto-versions of the tune that I published. A tune like this takes a while to put together, so in the meantime I released little tunelets to try out certain techniques and help me keep putting out some music on a weekly schedule.

Here are the three prior teaser trailers:

Where’s the vocals? I thought you were a singer-songwriter-type-dude.

Yeah, and as will be obvious, I’m also not the greatest soloist in the world on any instrument. But I have all kinds of musical ideas, and some of them just don’t have voice involved.

1975 just called, and it wants its music back.

What can I say? I have an unironic, bone-deep love of African-American pop music of the 70s, and that includes funk. Give me some Stevie, Sly, or Shuggie, and I’m in heaven.

Dude, “B. Obama”? Really?

I’m sure writers far better than me have examined the relationship between a piece of instrumental music and its title. The minute you slap a name on an instrumental music piece, you turn it into program music, and suddenly all that abstract sound takes on the burden of having to be a living metaphor for the title, for better or for worse.

So why not just go with “Funk Instrumental #1” or something bland and generic? Oh, wait, I think I just answered that question.

OK, but why not “Barack Obama”, or just “Obama”?

For a little while I was indeed just calling it “Obama”, but that just seemed too stiff and monolithic. “B. Obama”, on the other hand, has the advantage of sounding like “Be Obama”, as in, “You, too, can be Obama“, or “Just let Obama be Obama!”

Actually, for a while I was calling it “Barry Obama”, but that felt a little disrespectful. I can fault the President for the things he does or doesn’t do, but I can’t bring myself to use a name for him that only his family and people from his youth know. But I do get a kick out of imagining our future President back when he was a happy 13-year-old, grooving to something funky on a gorgeous Hawaiian evening. Those were simpler times…and they had good tunes.


“B. Obama” — 14 Comments

    • Which, as any Vermonter knows, is high praise indeed. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. B. I’ll also direct my readers (Hi Mom!) to Haik’s sine qua non site, BurlingtonPol.com. If you care about our sweet little city by the cool blue lake, you owe it to yourself to spend some time there.

  1. Did you share this with Barry? Do it! Elena has a new bear she named Barry. Actually, I think it’s “Berry”, because of course, it is a girl bear. I digress. Neat song, Nato. I am certain to prefer it live. Hint, hint.

    • “Berry Obama”. Coming to a yogurt aisle near you…

      Heh. Live would be nice. If only there were enough musicians in the Lansing area…

      Thanks Becky!

    • I can honestly say that I could NOT have done it without you. You were the one who got me to get the Nord Electro, and jamming on it has inspired multiple funk tunes (that I’ll roll out anon), none of which would have occurred without it and without you.

      …And for my visitors who don’t know, John’s one of Vermont’s preeminent political bloggers, writing at Five Before Chaos. But that pales before his monstrous bass playing and musicality. Spend any time with John, and you’ll get a graduate class in R&B and jazz…

    • Thanks so much! I can just imagine it. Did it have an 8-track player? …Were you an “8-track playa”? πŸ˜‰

  2. Well worth the wait, Nato. You are indeed funky, and I’m not just referring to the way you smell. And I love the FAQ. funk on, soul brotha.

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