Tag Archives: just play music

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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Christmas – Just Play Music™ Style

Seasons Greetings! As some of you may know, I’ve got a promotion going on right now where if you purchase any one of my songs on iTunes, etc, I will record you a personalized music video.

Here’s yet another new edition to the Just Play Music catalog from the Holiday Episode (which includes The Grinch, among other songs): my live performance of Christmas, originally found on The Who’s TOMMY (1969). This has long been one of my favorite Who songs, and aside from the title itself, always made me think of Christmas & this time of year.

You can also purchase this music video (along with the Grinch and others, as part of the Holiday Episode) by dropping me a line here, on the blog. I can send you a direct link to purchase and download (if you so desire). DVD/BluRay sets will also be available. I’m hoping to have the song itself on iTunes shortly (but it may not happen until January…so much for the holiday rush!)

Happy Xmas (as John Lennon would say)

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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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