Tag Archives: boodahjoomusic

Bubblecano! Writing & Recording a Game Themesong

This week on Twitch we’re promoting the launch of Adobe Animate CC, a re-brand (and significant update) to Flash Pro CC.

We’ve got an amazing array of guests who are showcasing their amazing talents/techniques, tips & tricks. As part of that showcase, we got Grant Skinner and Mike Gaboury to create a game live-on-stream (entitled ‘Bubblecano’) and my task was to compose the theme and all the game music.

Here’s a first listen at yesterday’s live recording (just a rough mix).

I wrote this in about 10 minutes, and everything you’re hearing was played and recorded live-on-stream…


“Bubblecano” – words and music by jason a. levine

Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble
Bubblecano!
Ani Mate, the shaman great
Saving friends from a fiery end
Bubble bubble bubble bubble
Bubblecano!
Watch out for the red-hot lava
Blow your bubbles to the sky
Save your peeps and save the day
A lesser shaman wouldn’t try
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble
Bubblecano!

You can watch the actual process of the recording (as well as the creation of the game itself) by going to the VOD on the Adobe Twitch channel. The recording session begins around the 7th hour (approx 07:15 into the stream)

Be sure to Follow Me on my Twitch channel for regular streams on audio, video and imagery.

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Breaking On Through To The Other Side: Ray Manzarek of The Doors (1939-2013)

You know you’re getting older when those that you’ve idolized for more than a 1/4 century (and more importantly, those that have made a huge impact/influence on you) start passing away…

Ray Manzarek in the 70s; Photo ©James Fortune
Ray Manzarek in the 70s; Photo ©James Fortune

I was in Johannesburg earlier this week on the Creative Days tour when I heard about Ray’s passing, and all I can say is…I hope he’s hanging with Jim Morrison right now, sharing a laugh, a smoke, and making some great music…and I’m quite sure he is.
Ray & Jim, circa 1968. Courtesy of Boing.
Ray & Jim, circa 1968. Courtesy of Boing.

To say that Ray was a *huge* influence on my musical development (and most directly, my piano/organ playing) is really an understatement. Considering that I’ve been playing for more than, ahem, 30 years, there are still several Doors songs that are not only in my daily rotation (as piano exercises, among other things) but even now, as I’m writing this blog, I’m simultaneously mastering a few recent live takes of my ‘Just Play Music’ series, in which I play a classic Doors number (and a Manzarek masterpiece, in terms of left hand/right hand counterpoint) entitled, You’re Lost Little Girl.

Download the Live Rough Mix of You’re Lost Little Girl (from Just Play Music, Season 1)
Download *another* (and totally different) live take from the ‘Just Play Music: Just Piano & Vocal – Tempo’ Episode (also unreleased)
(legal note: I have secured mechanical and streaming licenses to cover this song via The Doors Music/Wixen Music Publishing & Limelight; seeing as this is ‘unfinished’, not being ‘sold’ and not yet officially released, this current distribution is limited to 250 ‘streamed’ copies; should I exceed that, I will acquire new licensing with Limelight and adjust accordingly)

I was fortunate to have seen Ray twice in person, live on stage. Once, back in 1999 at Alice Cooper’stown in Phoenix with his own band; and then about 5 years later with the re-formed “Doors of the 21st Century” alongside fellow Doorsman Robby Krieger and former Cult singer, (and Jim Morrison doppelgänger) Ian Astbury. In both appearances, Ray’s playing (not surprisingly) was as fresh and articulate as it ever was. Masterful, really…with the perfect (and consistent) blend of blues-R&B-infused jazz and classical with a side of psychedelia. The man CREATED this style; my ‘left-handed piano bass’ chops are a direct result of listening (and mimicking) countless Doors songs when I was young; and my continued use of this style today has subsequently turned everything I’ve done into a semi ‘tribute to Ray’ in some small way. I’m not overstating either…it’s true.

Ray in NYC, 2004 with The Doors of the 21st Century. Photo ©Matthew Peyton
Ray in NYC, 2004 with The Doors of the 21st Century. Photo ©Matthew Peyton

If you ever heard Ray speak, his voice and his word choices were equally as unique as his playing style. While I’ve heard some some say that his vernacular was often ‘stuck in a kind of 60s idealism’, this was the man. Spiritual, hopeful, realistic, mystical, magical and chock-full of the wisdom of his years. To hear him tell a story (he even did a few spoken word CDs in the mid-90s, recounting tales of The Doors, Jim, and their lives) he was truly an orator–one whose vocal eloquence and diction not only captivated the listener, but kept one on the edge of his every word.
An original LP scan of mine from one of Ray's *other* projects: Nite City, 1977
An original LP scan of mine from one of Ray’s *other* projects: Nite City, 1977

In one of his final video appearances (for The Doors’ ‘Making Of LA Woman’ 40th Anniversary documentary) Ray quotes a line of Jim’s from Roadhouse Blues (found on ‘Morrison Hotel’, the previous album)…”The future’s uncertain, and the end is always near.” Ray had apparently only told his current bandmates about his illness (a very rare form of bile duct cancer) several months ago before seeking special treatment in Germany, where he ultimately passed away. But the man was STILL playing, still gigging and still doing it all until the end; because after all, the future *is* uncertain and the end *was* always near. He had 74 glorious years before he met his end—but his words, his wisdom and his musical legacy live on, in me and in countless others.
Ray at SSMF, 2012. Photo ©Jim Donnelly.
Ray at SSMF, 2012. Photo ©Jim Donnelly.

Rest in Peace, Raymond Daniel Manzarek. Here’s to breaking-on-thru to the other side…

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Short&Suite Season Finale: Converting Audio Files to Different Bit Rates/Sample Rates

Well, it’s hard to believe that the ‘season’ is already over, and as such, I’m already prepping the next round of ATV videos for the next season of Short & Suite.

The final episode of this series deals with using the Convert Sample Type dialog in Adobe Audition CS6, highlighting when and how to use it.

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New Short&Suite: How To Bounce & Mixdown in Adobe Audition

This week’s new episode features bouncing and mixdown options in Adobe Audition CS6. Learn when to bounce/comp tracks together, and when/how to access the various menus for performing those operations. Along the way, I’ll show you the various ‘final mix’ options for creating mono, stereo and 5.1 mixes simultaneously…even exporting track stems from a master multitrack session.

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Personalized Videos Are A Hit…Still Time To Get Yours!

Well, the weekend is upon us, Christmastime Is Here Again (Beatle reference) and it’s truly hard to believe that the year is almost over. In any case, the response to my buy-a-song/get-a-video has been overwhelmingly awesome! Thanks to all of you who’ve purchased my tunes!

In any case, I’ve made some of them public for all to view…and there’s still time to get yours! Sure, it’s silly fun; sure, it’s 70s lounge-style kitsch (since it’s just me, in a mellow mood, at the piano). But hey, isn’t that what the holiday season is all about? 🙂 These are live, raw, multicamera videos, played and sung, just for you. It’s all done with natural light with sound recorded direct into the Nikon D800 with a mono Røde Videomic, remastered in Adobe Audition.

If you’d like a video for someone else, I’m happy to do that too! In the meantime, enjoy these…

My special video made for @iGert (Gert Kracht) featuring my soon-to-be-released single, Pirate Teeth:

A Special Message for Gert Kracht (@iGert)…Pirate Teeth from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

Here’s one I did for my colleague and dear friend, Terry White (@terrylwhite)

A Special Message for Terry White… Sabi Sabi from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

This video was made for Todd Rafferty (@webRat):

A Special Message for Todd Rafferty…GrinchNPirate from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

And here’s another that I did for a super cool dude named Vic Carter (who bought my entire catalog, based on seeing Todd’s video above! Thanks, Vic!)

A Special Message for Vic… Just Play Music from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

This one was created for Vicky Ryder (@codebass), the Queen of CodeBassRadio

A Special Message for Vicky (@codebass)… Pirate Teeth! from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

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Buy A Song, Get A Personalized Music Video

Happy Holidays, everyone! In an effort to do something a little different (and a little more special, given the time of year) I’m offering up a little benefit to anyone who purchased one of my songs/EPs on iTunes, Amazon, etc.

It’s very simple: now through the end of December (31 December 2012) buy a song, show me some proof of purchase (screen shot, twitpic, or heck, you could even just DM me and let me know–honor system!) and I will record a personalized video, PERFORMING the song (or perhaps another, maybe some new ones) for you! Live, raw, real, music. It’s that simple.

Now, the instrumental tracks (from the Music To Design By album) are not exactly ‘performable’ (is that a word?) as I’ll be confining the live performances to Piano/Vocal…but in that case, I’ll do something equally as special, and again, live (shot on multiple cameras).

Oh, and if you’ve already purchased my latest song, Sabi Sabi, just let me know and I will record a video for you as well!

Here’s a current list of available songs on iTunes and Amazon.

$0.99 is all that stands between you, a new tune, a personalized music video and Happy Holiday greetings from me to you.

Let me make some music for you, either as myself…or as the Grinch 🙂

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“Sabi Sabi” has dropped! Available on iTunes and everywhere.

It’s with a huge smile on my face that I happily announce ‘Sabi Sabi’ has come to iTunes, Amazon and everywhere else!

Only a few short months ago, I visited this magical place, got inspired, wrote a tune, blogged about it, shot a short film about it (still in progress) and recorded the song (with dozens of various additions/remixes since my original posting) and now it’s official. I’ll tell you, it never gets old seeing those titles up there, available for sale 🙂

Incidentally, my dear friend Marinke created the new Just Play Music™ logo that adorns the single’s cover art; I think it’s totally brilliant, and truly captures the spirit of the show.

You can check out the final version of Sabi Sabi HERE via iTunes, or HERE via Amazon. The single is also available internationally, so just fire up iTunes/Amazon/Rhapsody, search for ‘Sabi Sabi Jason Levine’ and you’ll be rocking!

Thank you South Africa, thank you Fela Kuti, and thanks for listening! Hope you enjoy it.

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The Blog Gets A New Face, Part 1

Well, it’s been 5 years and there have been two blog ‘re-skins’ since I started back in 2007…and finally, after all this time, I’ve decided to start re-tooling the blog a bit.

The first change was just an obvious theme-switch, but as I move forward, I’m going to see about expanding some of the offerings here and trying (overall) to build a better experience (with a little help from my ‘coder’ friends, of course…you know who you are!) Not everything is functional at the moment…but it’ll get there soon enough.

Oddly enough, I also decided to re-brand my own look a bit (see below) so there’s definitely a theme here (pun intended).

In any case, consider this Facelift MkI of BoodahJooMusic.com. Simple. Clean. Better looking text; wider columns.

What do you think? More to come…

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The Magical Sabi Sabi – An Adventure with Nikon DSLRs

This year has truly been one of inspiration. Over the past 9 months or so, I’ve circled the globe several times, and despite the inevitable (though surprisingly infrequent) moments of exhaustion, this period has been met with a plethora of indelible experiences and an usually high amount of original musical and video content creation…not always an easy task when one is sans-instruments, with minimal amounts of kit and typicaly at 36,000 feet.

At the close of our CS6 Launch Tour, I was fortunate to have a little time off to attend and photograph an African safari at Sabi Sabi in South Africa. As part of my recent move to Nikon cameras, I captured the entire trip on video, sourced from the Nikon D800 and D4 DSLRs. With a combination of 36 megapixel stills (from the D800) and incredible low-light performance (from both the D4 and D800) along with a (borrowed) set of amazing lenses, I collected some incredible video of the infamous ‘Big Five’ (for the uninitiated, the big five refers to the lion, rhino, buffalo, leopard and elephant) as well as a host of other native inhabitants of these mystical lands.

Sabi Sabi Land of Beauty – African Safari with Nikon D800 and D4 from Jason Levine on Vimeo.

As Vimeo doesn’t always play well in different regions of the world, here’s a YOU TUBE link to the same video.

What you see above is a very brief edit from that collection of video, captured over 2 days (nearly 70GB of 1080p video, I might add). Armed only with the cameras, lenses and a Zacuto Z-finder, I experienced the sheer joy and terror of filming live animals in a completely open jeep (something I’ve NEVER done before…I’m more of a landscape/documentary-style photographer/videographer, ie, things that don’t move and are typically studio lit!). Manual focus was the name of the game, and admittedly, pulling said focus was at times challenging, especially in the dark. A longer edit is forthcoming, but as you can see even in these brief clips above, the capabilities of these new DSLRs are really quite impressive. Any needed stabilization was taken care of via Premiere Pro CS6 and the Warp Stabilizer, and all the colour grading was performed in Premiere Pro and several shots were finished in SpeedGrade.

What was even more impressive were the stills I was able to extract from the 1080p source material. Despite the fact that there’s all kinds of downsizing/downsampling going on inside the camera, the stills (which you’ll see below) really impressed me. These were exported (often, post-grade) directly from Premiere and only minimal processing (if any) was done in Lightroom 4. The one leopard night shot, however, was a proper D4 raw image, captured at ISO4000.
LionMale2_04.Still001
Baby Elephant Clearing Out The Trunk
Another Sabi Sunrise
Mother and Child
Rhino and the Sun
Night Leopard
Sabi Sunrise

You can check out my Flickr stream for some additional images from the shoot.

Lastly, as video and audio tend to go hand-in-hand for me, what followed soon after the trip (actually, on the flight back to the US) was the creation of a new song in honour of Sabi Sabi, but really, a song for South Africa. Every time I’ve gone there, I feel like I’m fundamentally changed. People greet each other, randomly; there’s a sense of life, joy and wonder—and an appreciation of all things that you just don’t see everywhere. It’s truly one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited, and this was just a little ‘love note’ for a place I’d happily call home…

CLICK HERE to checkout my latest iTunes single, Sabi Sabi.

Stay tuned for the next blog post as I take you through the journey of creating the track. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while (and it actually plays directly into my still-in-development children’s music show, Just Play Music)

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