Producer Zach Saginaw and his Greatest Tour Story

I’ve been enjoying Sun Glitters’ most recent EP Mouth / Tight and was drawn into Zach Saginaw’s remix of the song “Mouth”. I’m writing to offer some more visibility to Zach and his work.

Zach goes by the pseudonym “Shigeto,” which is both his middle name and the first name of his grandfather. This bit of background and more is covered in his profile at Ghostly International. Ghostly is a Michigan-based record label that also works with emerging electronica artists like Com Truise, Mux Mool and Phantogram.

Shigeto released Lineage, a mini-LP, around this time last year which covers jazz, hip-hop and funk in eight songs.  Here’s a link to stream the first track from the album online.

Prefix Magazine did an interview with Shigeto this past June. They asked him about a variety of things including the impact technology and greater accessibility are having on making music today. For example, if everyone can make and release music, what will become of music quality? In Zach’s response he broadened the impact to cover creativity overall: Continue reading Producer Zach Saginaw and his Greatest Tour Story

Reprogrammed Animatronic Bear Band Plays MGMT Cover

Aaron Fechter the President of Creative Engineering, Inc has been reprogramming a working animatronic bear-band set up.  It looks like the company created it for a line of restraunts similar to Chuck E. Cheese.  He’s currently taking cash bids to do syncing or “choreography” for the band members.

The way the performance is filmed and presented are awesome.  Shakey prolonged shots, quick pulls outward.  The overall video quality is low and the colors look a bit washed out.  Everything is blurry and the bear with the guitar has a spooky shadow.   Great media.

Portland as an Creative Powerhouse as Broken Bells Consumes The Shins

Portland Dangermouse Mercer photo by Matt McgeeMy old friend David Peixotto was visiting Portland for the holidays and this morning we snagged breakfast at Stepping Stone.  Dave and I have been working hard on a stealth iPhone application to be published by our company, NeutrinosBackspace in northwest and Urban Grind in northeast have been some of my favorite haunts so I showed them off to him and took the opportunity to extol on him the freshest virtues of the city I hope he’ll return to.

I showed Dave a print of an owl in a suit I bought at  Crafty Wonderland barely touching on variety in the vendors and size of the crowds out that day to explore the local fare.  I remember walking among the booths, looking at a velvet painting of Michael Jackson and hearing The Thermals playing overhead.  It was Portland art celebrating Portland art.

Something I’ve noticed through an array of networking and business meetings I’ve set up is that Portland has attracted a powerhouse of technological and artistic talent.  There aren’t a lot of jobs, but there is a creative class of people ambitious to combine creativity with entrepreneurial behavior to produce amazing things. This is starting to attract publicity.

James Mercer, The Shins and Broken Bells

What does all this have to do with Broken Bells? Let’s take a look at the context around the release.  James Mercer, frontman for The Shins, decided to move to Portland a few years back. Recently keyboardist Marty Crandall and Drummer Jesse Sandoval were replaced by by Fruit Bats’ bassist Ron Lewis and Modest Mouse’s Joe Plummer.

Mercer suggested in May that a new Shins album could come in early 2010, but then in September announced a collaborative project with Brian Joseph Burton aka Dangermouse titled Broken Bells. The release of the first single off Broken Bells, “The High Road” on the 21st of this month was quickly overshadowed by what some are calling the “best Christmas present ever,” the complete leak of the album.

One listen and it is clear that Mercer aimed for and delivered a dashing mix of phonics and verse, doing well to combine his creative style with a bang up set of instrumentation from Burton.  When the album makes its official debut it is certain to be a hit.

In light of this new work it seems hard to believe a new Shins album will be dropping any time soon.  And to celebrate Broken Bells as a Portland achievement hold less water than to simply say it is heavily in association with the city.  The idea that Portland would influence the creation of an effort like Broken Bells seems to jive with what I’m seeing on the ground.  There are no doubt wonderful things yet to come from this city and I’m excited to see what else shakes out.

Hit Me On My iPhone – New Video From Pete Miser



This music video comes from Pete Miser, founding member of the Five Fingers of Funk. Pete hails from Portland, Oregon and his band had a following in the PDX area back when I was in high school.

Apparently, Pete was actually asked to fly to LA for an iPhone commercial and was inspired to create his own. He wrote and recorded the song and then got some help from Merritt Duff and Arrow Kruse putting it together.

With the video remixing you might think it is another parody, but if you listen to his words you’ll come away seeing unique satire. Either way, I’m now officially sold on the iPhone and now intend to liquidate my Blackberry Curve. Continue reading Hit Me On My iPhone – New Video From Pete Miser