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Buck Baran | The Fuzzy Dice Man Cometh

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The Fuzzy Dice Man Cometh

by Buck Baran

“The Fuzzy Dice Man Cometh” represents a collection of works ranging from light to dark, melodic to atonal, all under the influence of pop, rock and jazz and fuzzy dice.
Genre: Classical: Virtual Orchestra
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Breakfast in Bed Ballet
4:45 $0.99
2. Soundtrack for Your Nightmares
1:35 $0.99
3. String Section One
4:15 $0.99
4. Temple Bells
3:05 $0.99
5. A Hole-in-One
3:48 $0.99
6. Thirteen Flutes A-Floating
1:29 $0.99
7. March of the Mouth Puppets
3:57 $0.99
8. Chance Constellation Observation 1930
2:20 $0.99
9. From Inside the Zodiac Ride At the Cosmic Carnival
7:53 $0.99
10. Follow the Higgs Boson Bouncing Ball
2:32 $0.99
11. Trumpet Ala Mode
4:06 $0.99
12. It Crawled Out of the Piano One Afternoon
2:42 $0.99
13. It Crawled Out of the Ocean One Afternoon
2:42 $0.99
14. The Fuzzy Dice Man Cometh
6:58 $0.99
15. Fanfare for the Follies
4:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Breakfast in Bed Ballet (4:45)
This piece is an adaptation of a ballad I had written called I Can Live with That. The lyrics open with awaking to the dawn with your loved one beside you. The bouncy melody in the chorus suggested a dance, ergo ballet. I was compelled to add additional cadences and an interlude before the final chorus. The chorus ends on a comically sour note denoting it’s time get out of bed and face reality.

Soundtrack for your Nightmares (1:34)
Based on Thirteen Flutes a-Floating (read about its conception below). In this version the X-axis denotes the musical pitch while the Y-axis represents time. I like listening to this before I go to bed.

String Section One (4:13)
This started out as an exercise in modulation and articulation for a string quartet, but it got of control. I did what I could to pull the reins in, but it needed that Contrabass. And it started out as a sweet melody with thoughtful chord changes but rock chord changes are a part of my psyche, so I couldn’t resist using them in the “chorus.” I consider them, “Neapolitans.” Due to the forceful articulation, it is recommended that string players use their worst instrument.

Temple Bells (3:04)
An upbeat festive theme based on the Mongolian/Chinese pentatonic scale. It has a seasonal taste suitable for the Christmas holidays. The violas get the pluck pizzicato-ed out of them.

A Hole-in-One (3:47)
Based upon a song I had written using golf as a metaphor for hope and eventual triumph. Picture a fairway with a green flag in the distance; on it the number 1 flapping in the breeze. Experience the excitement, the exhilaration, that rush of adrenaline accompanying the heraldic victory of spotting your ball wedged between the side of the cup and the flag pole. I suck at golf, but I’m not bad at “putt-putt” (miniature golf). Even there, watching your ball bounce off the shallow brick wall bordering the green, ricocheting off a rock positioned in the middle of the path, and down across the lie from hell into the cup is pretty cool.
Washboards are used to introduce the basic rhythm sequence at the beginning. Washboards were employed because they suggested a hand scrub cleaning and I understand that golfers scrub their balls before teeing off.

Thirteen Flutes a-Floating (1:29)
It’s your freshman year in Music College and it’s 1970 and you’re eighteen and you got no gig and it’s Saturday night and you’re staring at a lava lamp on the dining table in a friend’s apartment on the Northwest side of Chicago and there’s a steno pad with a marking pen on the table and it’s within reach and you decide to draw the globular activity in the lava lamp in phases and look at the lines on the paper and see a music staff and imagine a grid where the horizontal lines (X-axis)denote time moving from top to bottom and the vertical lines (Y-axis) and the space to the right of each line denote the pitch moving from right to left and wherever an image appears a musical note of predetermined pitch and duration is played by one or more of thirteen flutes you chose because you’re Major is in Woodwind Performance and your friend has a flute. Please note: This composition was performed a year later at Triton College. There weren’t enough flutists so clarinets were substituted.
The title is derived from the Twelve Days of Christmas and the sound of water droplets echoing in a cave. I don’t what prompted me to add the sound effect. But I like it.

March of the Mouth Puppets (3:56)
A 12-tone melody was derived from the roll of twelve musician’s dice. (Twelve 12-sided die, each side notated with a note from our chromatic scale.) Artistic liberty intervened and two notes were switched. Four underlying chords were determined by the dice as well by rolling four sets consisting of three dice. Artistic liberty was again applied to determine the triads. In the beginning the 12-note theme is stretched over 16 bars and later presented in 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16 note patterns in a fugue-like form.
Outside the serialism is the Tuba playing a melodic bass line based on the aforementioned triads and 12-tone theme. The Tuba is a sealed 55-gallon barrel holding back a chromatic beast wanting to free itself of the barrel’s melodic restraints. Toward the end of the “fugue” I thought the piece was going to explode.
The orchestration is designed to sound like a marching band, locked in step to the beat of an ominous bass drum , the instruments saying the same fearful thing, over and over, drumming it in, only with a different annoying tone of voice; especially that bitchy piccolo. Of course the marching band is a metaphor for the pundits that permeate our meta-media with their propaganda.

Chance Constellation Observation 1930 (2:19)
This a representation of “Constellation According to the Laws of Chance -1930” artist: Jean (Hans) Arp. A grid where both the X and Y- axis determine the pitch and the Z-axis representing note time/duration is a series of concentric rings.
The scales used are whole tones starting on C and C#. At the center of the rings are C4 and C#4. C4 is plotted along the vertical axis going up to the C7s and going down to the C1s. C#4 is plotted along the horizontal axis going right to the C#7s and going left to the C#1s.
Time begins in the center and moves outward through each ring in clockwise fashion. The rings are divided into quarters with each quarter segment being one beat in 4/4 time. Wherever the black and white images appear there is a note. On occasion artistic license was applied.

From Inside the Zodiac Ride at the Cosmic Carnival (7:51)
Imagine you’re on a carnival ride on which the Astrocab you’re in glides along rails in 7/8 time. From the rail on the left emanates the sound of intermittent twinkling stars provided by a harp playing a B7sus4 pad. And on the right, that rail carries an intermittent electrical hum produced from a low-end string section consisting of violas, cellos, and basses playing with the same B7sus4 pad. Entering the ride and following the Zodiac the composition opens with Aquarius (January) and ends with Capricorn (December). Two schools of thought start the zodiac with the key of C Major (Aquarius) stepping through a cycle of fifths and ending in F Major (Capricorn), or starting in Bb Major moving chromatically and ending on A Major. For this piece both keys were juxtaposed in poly-chordal fashion (IE: C Major over Bb Major, G Major over B Major, etc.). This limited the scales of each double-key to six notes, sometimes five. Artistic license was applied on a few occasions. Each sign of the Zodiac receives approximately 30 seconds of treatment.
Aquarius the Water Carrier (Air) January
Pisces the Fish (Water) February
Aries the Ram (Fire) March
Taurus the Bull (Earth) April
Gemini the Twins (Air) May
Cancer the Crab (Water) June
Leo the Lion (Fire) July
Virgo the Virgin (Earth) August
Libra the Scales (Air) September
Scorpio the Scorpion (Water) October
Sagittarius the Centaur (Fire) November
Capricorn the Goat (Earth) December

Follow the Boson Ball (2:30)
This is an adaptation of the Higgs Boson (ATLAS Preliminary data) sonification by Domenico Vicinanza.
On July 4, 2012, the Higgs boson, an elementary particle, was possibly discovered at CERN. Domenico Vicinanza, a professional composer and particle physicist, took the preliminary Higgs data points from the CERN data and assigned notes to each of the numbers. At 60 beats per minute, the musical piece consists of fifty-eight 16th notes and centers on the key of C Major.
This adaptation repeats the first forty notes as the main theme. Please note artistic liberty was applied to the last four notes to resolve the phrase. Anyway, it sounded cooler. The Coda uses the last eighteen notes.

Trumpet ala Mode (4:05)
My mentor (Mark Lathan) is a trumpet player and a piano player. It was after I finished my last class with him when I was headed home and heard on the radio a piece for solo trumpet. I felt obligated. I call it “ala Mode” due to the key transitions. I tried to keep it traditional, but the composition took over and I gave up fighting it. The piece might be considered an etude in articulation.

It Crawled Out of the Piano One Afternoon (2:42)
Recently I went back to school to brush up on my musical scholastics. One of my assignments was to compose a piece for piano. I already had an idea featuring modulation techniques I had studied from a text book written by Arnold Schoenberg. A week later after presenting a basic AB theme, my professor suggested I finish it. The flowing week he approved the final arrangement with some voicing corrections and further suggested I orchestrate it. Two weeks later, It Crawled Out of the Ocean One Afternoon.

It Crawled Out of the Ocean One Afternoon (2:41)
This is the orchestrated version of It Crawled Out of the Piano One Afternoon. It represents man’s ascension from the deep blue ocean to the azure firmament. It sounds so hopeful for a bunch of algae.

The Fuzzy Dice Man Cometh (6:57)
The original title for this was “The Dice Man Cometh,” but I was made aware of a book with that title and added “Fuzzy.” Anyway, “Fuzzy” is appropriate considering the composition is about life before, during and after rehab. It made sense for the first movement of represent a restless apnea sleeper facing another day of chaotic behavior culminating in a self-contained crisis; the second movement is the recovery, and the third portrays the reentry into society with a more melodious mode and mood; moving from dissonance to consonance (or least my idea of consonance).
Twelve, 12-sided musicians’ dice were rolled twelve times yielding twelve 12-tone rows. Artistic license determined which row was most appropriate for the foundation of the piece. The full row is used as well as segments of the row; some backward. In the first movement there is an underling bass pattern of augmented fourths and fifths modulating through various regions and in the third the pattern resolves the fourth and fifth. Starting in the key of C Root the piece modulates through several changes ending on C# Major. Throughout, the melody line and the modulated Root determined the chords. Neighboring notes of the melody note in the tone row were used for chord formation as well as preferred progressions.

Fanfare for the Follies (4:12)
This was originally written and recorded in 1984 for a public access cable talk show on books. I like books. It consisted of three guitars, a bass and a drum machine in a rock genre. It was recorded on a 4-track cassette recording system. With bouncing and recording live into the mix, I was able to work with ten tracks. It was never used. I still like books.
Stinging strings, regal brass, and a harpsichord playing with a 50s rock and roll technique ... oh, what the hell!

Thanx to the following for their contributions to this project:
Mel Bay, Johann Joseph Fux, Bunky Greene, Bill Hall, Roey Izhaki, Bob Katz, Rich Kozinski, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Mark Lathan, Bobby Owsinksi, Max Reger, Jacqueline Salas, Arnold Schoenberg, Mike Senior, Triton College music faculty (70-72), Frank Zappa and Pajama.



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