Today is my daughter’s 9th birthday. Rose has been passionate about the ocean, its inhabitants and its health for almost as long as she has been walking. She also sometimes has a hard time falling asleep, her mind is still so active with the weight of the world by day’s end. Like all kids, she loves stories. Over the last three years, I’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings to her. We’re just finishing up the Harry Potter series, and I’m looking to supplement her bedtime routine when I can’t be there.
So I’ve created this audio-visual narrative “lullaby” for her — a soothing guitar instrumental. It’s an 18-minute suite (not-so-coincidentally the maximum length of a TED talk) of music I’ve composed over the decades. It includes a new “Sea to Sky” theme inspired by her personality, which I previewed last week on stage at the IN-NW digital marketing conference during my opening remarks as emcee at Seattle’s Showbox.
This has been a multi-month undertaking. Even as it’s a gift for Rose, it was also important that I take on a new creative project. I’ve made a living from my own original thinking, executed DIY-style. I’ve managed to convert these ideas — backpack journalism, a digital media curriculum, Americans resisting far-flung institutions — into impactful content, platforms and programs. But over the last year, I’ve been consumed with a lot of day-to-day caretaking in my day job as an educator, even as we prepare to welcome the largest cohort of students in the history of the program that I direct. Still, I’m not a traditional academic whose trade is supported by research. Rather, everything that I know, share and teach is from all that I make, all that I do. So to remain relevant and credible, I must continue to make. And do.
The video is a single 18-minute shot from Marina Del Rey, California recorded at 4k 30fps on my iPhone 7+ with an external Shure MV88 microphone. I edited it in the latest version of Final Cut Pro.
I recorded using three guitars — all made in coastal cities — all recorded via an Apogee One Audio interface directly into my Mac. “1. Overture” was performed on my steel-string carbon fiber acoustic 2016 Rainsong Smokey Hybrid (made in Woodinville WA), through its LR Baggs pickup. “2. Sea Song” was performed using my handmade nylon-string classical 1990 Guitarras Artesanas Gran Concierto Capri (made in Valencia, Spain), captured through a Beyerdynamic M59 directional microphone). I played “3. Learning to Live with the Wind” through my custom 1997 acoustic-electric Carvin AE185 (made in San Diego, CA), using both electric and acoustic pickups. The remainder was a mix of both the Carvin and the Rainsong (ending on the Carvin).