snowblades

Since I mentioned working on this, I’ll explain. Snowblades is a soundtrack for a movie in my head. It tells a story in music. Here’s a possible blurb:

Avian, a hunter in the Snowblade tribe, lost his wife in an Icesaber raid a year ago. He and his young daughter believe she’s dead; slaves don’t last long in the ruthless tribe from across the frozen mountain lake.

When the Snowblade leader announces a truce with the Icesabers, giving up their primary hunting ground on the Northcrest, Avian challenges. He loses the blade battle, and exile is the punishment. Avian leaves his daughter with friends, vowing to return.

The impossible promise twists his guts as he leaves.

He crashes his snowblade, a sled with sails and wings for hunting on the mountain faces, at the bottom of the glacier that is their home. On foot, Avian makes it to the trader’s cabin at the reservoir between the glacier and the seaside city he has only seen from high in the mountains.

A trade caravan stops at the trader’s cabin, bearing pelts from the Icesaber tribe that met them in the mountain pass. The traders talk of one slave that carried burdens for the Icesabers. A tall woman with platinum hair and magenta eyes, stunning, memorable.

Avian’s wife lives.

Now, somehow, he must make the vow to his daughter come true.

So yeah. I finally uploaded one of the tracks to SoundCloud. “Rise.” In this scene, Avian has finished building a new snowblade with the help of the trader’s daughter visiting from the university. She brought her knowledge of lightweight metal alloys and canvas for dirigible construction. He brought his knowledge of snowblade glider sleds. Together, they’ve made something that might fly like nothing anyone has seen.

In the music, Avian rides a massive passenger and cargo dirigible up from the reservoir and over the mountains. He sees his glacier home from the air. Their mountain hunting grounds. The frozen lake separating his tribe from the cliffs of the Icesaber’s lair.

At the end of the music, Avian launches his new snowblade from the dirigible, and it flies. He heads for the cliffs, bent on returning to his daughter, with her mother at his side.

Click play below to hear it:

Update: All 15 tracks of the album are on Soundcloud.

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where was i?

Oh yeah. Writing and dogs and blogs. But meanwhile…

Last year, James, my younger brother, asked me about using a piece of music from my album Snowblades in a documentary he was filming. But, of course! Then I ended up recording two more pieces for the final scene and the credits.

This year, Director James and Producer Brandon finished their film, Project Mone’t. It’s a powerful documentary about an artist, Rae Ripple, who put her story of abuse and redemption into a stunning piece of metal art she calls her “beautiful monster.”

Project Mone’t has since made semi-finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest and won the People’s Choice Award in the Amelia Island film festival, among other laurels at festivals coast-to-coast.

2016 08 30 project monet

Working on that tiny contribution of music, I realized my 23-yr-old Roland JV-1000 Music Workstation was showing its age. Buttons and keys stick or don’t work. There are fixes for those if I want to tear it down. However, the scary thing is that all of my MIDI data is on 3.5” floppies.

Yeah, 3.5” floppies. Think of a plastic wafer the size of a drink coaster, with less storage capacity.

So I finally bought a software sequencer and started getting my music off those floppies and into the 21st century. That led to discovering that software synthesizers have come a long way since the last time I tinkered with them. And led to Soundiron’s Olympus choir. And led to: Snowblades should be an opera!

More passion than squirrel, I’ve decided.


Pictured: A little rope south of our home last summer. We’re at the bottom tip of tornado alley, and this was my first honest-I-could-say-it-was-one tornado. Close enough for pictures. Far enough away we could watch with fascination rather than cower in the basement.