Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jonathan Coulton

I totally missed the fact that Jonathan Coulton was playing in Portland this last weekend which bummed me out. So I was rummaging through my portable hard drive music folder and I realize that I can't find my Jonathan Coulton folder. I don't know if I accidentally moved, instead of copied, it last time I threw it on my Mp3 player. Now I'm really bummed because you can't just download all of his stuff from his site anymore.

If you Don't know Who Jonathan Coulton is, he did a little project back in 2005-2006 called "Thing a Week". This is where Coulton created 52 musical projects. One each week. Posted on the Internet, updated weekly and made free to download. His idea was to push himself by producing A different project each week, adopting a "forced-march" approach for himself. While also proving to himself he could do it. He also was testing the Internet to see if he could support himself financially.

One of these songs was Code Monkey. A semi autobiographical song about being a computer programmer. Here is one of the YouTube recordings of one of his shows. Yes he does believe in and uses Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license, others can use his songs for non-commercial ventures.

This song went on to become the Theme Song for G4's animated show Code Monkey. Coulton has other songs that have made it main stream. Valve had Coulton write a song for the ending credits of the video game Portal. This song is a huge hit. Sung by Ellen McLain as the GLaDOS character. GLaDOS is the computer AI in the game and McLain was able to emulate or even mimic a computerized voice wile singing the song producing a pretty cool effect. (Could you imagine if they did this with Hal? "I'm still alive Dave." Talk about creepy)

You can also find Coulton singing it here. The song is full of in game references instead of just being a standard song thrown on during the credits. In fact "Still Alive" also made it into Rock Band. You can find many renditions of YouTubers recoding the song. I like the next version because you can actually read the lyrics.

However I think the best thing about the rock band version is that Jonathan Coulton, with other musical guest, actually play the game on stage. They use a big screen behind them so the crowd can watch their progress. They do only end up getting 99% which cause laughter in the crowd when ever anyone made a mistake.

I think there is something up with this melody too. I wonder if some of his songs have subliminal messages to make me want to replay some over and over? He was a computer programmer. He may have been able to write a program that creates primordial melodies. Naw...

Coulton is doing all right financially, so I guess his Thing a Week project was a success. In an interview in February of 2008 He stated he made more in 2007 than his last year as a programmer. Plus he is doing what he wants to do. Pretty good for a computer geek who followed his dream.

Here are a few other of my favorite JoCo songs:

Best Cover Ever

Your Brains. A song about zombies! COME ON! you gotta love this.

I feel Fantastic With the way they come up with ailments and pills to solve those ailments this could very easily be the future.

Now If this guy can create a song a week I can at least post here at least once a week. I'm not talking about a little hey I'm a live but busy post either. I've started other blogs in the past but I have never stuck with it. This one I'm gonna keep up with. Right now it's not that hard to keep up, being out of work and all. But when I start working again I hope I don't let this slide. Hopefully by then it will be part of my daily ritual.

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