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The Blast Family: One of Our Own



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1. Song For You Freddy Hernandez
Written & Produced by Freddy Hernandez
Freddy Hernandez - vocals, guitar, synth programming

Life definitely throws us uncontrollable curve balls which sometimes are the hardest to overcome. This is what began the idea for writing this piece of music. "Song For You" was originally inspired by a close and dear friend of mine (Naoki Ishikawa) who, in the middle of a desperate situation, needed a close friend. Wishing that I could give him an answer at that moment, I was at a loss of words. I decided to answer him the best way I knew how, through music with the intentions of warmth and peace of mind.

I have held on to this song until a so called "curve ball" was thrown at our dear friend Mike Welch. Wishing I could offer more support, I felt that this song represents everything I was thinking with my arms stretched out wide. Even though the birth of this song was written under a different scenario, I would like to dedicate "Song For You" to Mike Welch as he has begun his healing process. His resilience will overcome any obstacles put in front of him.

Lyrics:

Look, these worried eyes now
Everyone wants all your time
But you tell them it's okay with your life
But I see you don't want these feelings inside

So I say to you, my friend
Don't worry about the right choice right now
Just have this drink on me,
We''ll laugh about this way down the road
Sometimes ohh I wish I had
Those words that'll make this all okay
All I know is this song's for you
2. Rising Sun Frank Sullivan
Written & Produced by Frank Sullivan

"Rising Sun" was commissioned by the Plymouth-Canton High School Winter Guard in 2006. The music blends traditional Japanese folk music with contemporary orchestrations in an effort to depict a full day in the life of the sun - from sunrise to sunset. Since Blast! and MIX have spent so much time performing in Japan, I felt it was an appropriate composition to contribute. I hope this music is inspirational and enjoyable to the listener. It is what I see and hear when I close my eyes and think about my time and experiences Japan.
3. Heartbeat Naoki Ishikawa
Written by Naoki Ishikawa
Performed by Naoki Ishikawa with Collab drumline

This song was originally written for the opening ceremony for "IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Cup in Athletics" held in Osaka, Japan in summer of 2007. And the song was originally performed with Aimachi Marching Band Drumline. This version features the Collab drumline and has been updated with an additional section in the middle. It was recorded live at “Solo Concert - Vol. 2” in Tokyo, May 30th 2009.
4. Sakura Breakbeat Jeff Handel
Written and Produced by Jeff Handel

Sakura Breakbeat is a further treatment of the Japanese folk song Sakura. It was created after hearing Vince Oliver play his version of the folk song night after night as part of the show Blast II: MIX. As I listened night to night, I found myself singing rhythms to myself as Vince played. I plugged the ideas into my computer, and Sakura Breakbeat is what emerged from my nightly experience of being inspired by Vince Oliver.
5. Link It Up Ben Handel
Written and Produced by Ben Handel

A meditation on the road to recovery that Mike is travelling, I decided to use synthesized speech to intentionally sterilize an emotional topic. From the support effort of the community to the physical reconnection, Link It Up covers only a fraction of the landscape that will pass before my dear friend's eyes as he continues his journey.
6. FRIGHT of the Bumblebee! Adam Rapa
Based on "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Arranged by Adam Rapa & Frank Sullivan
Produced by Adam Rapa & Brandon Epperson
Adam Rapa - trumpet(s), synth programming
Hajime Nogami - drumset

This track was recorded during a concert series in Japan with Naoki Ishikawa and Brandon Epperson. Contractual obligations prevented us from using a live recording from the show, so before the show, Hajime and I quickly recorded a few passes each, which took less than 15 minutes total. Afterward, while I was choosing which takes to use, I found that combining multiple trumpet takes created a nice, almost bee-like effect. You’ll hear two takes: one panned slightly to the left, and one to the right. This is a really fun song to perform, and I love the energy Hajime brought to it. Yet it still doesn't come close to painting a picture of how WILD Mike Welch is! When you need a little dose of adrenaline, look no further.
7. Hoki 2 Step Andy Smart
Written and Produced by Andy Smart

Hoki 2 Step was created several years ago as I was beginning to learn to produce my own electronic and sample based music. It was inspired by my wife, several of my friends, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, the Beatles and the drum and bass genre in general. I wanted for the first time to create one sound out of several synthesizers that would gradually fade into and out of one another, as well as to exercise my ability to chop and mash up prewritten beats. The name comes from the feeling I got when I first put down the opening synth progression, which was pretty silly or "hoaky." Many sub genres of drum and bass have been called one kind of "step" or another, leading me to "Hoki 2 Step." I also affectionately refer to this track as the "Circus Song."
8. Pi Wolf Brandon Epperson
Written and Produced by Brandon Epperson

Pi Wolf was written for an electronic music festival in Norberg Sweden. It was written in 2004 while attending IU's school of music and is comprised of samples from a jamaican raggae record set and drum sounds from a wide range of sources. Lots of cutting and effects. Constructed on a computer but some of the effects are also straight off of the turntable. Of note is the cutting patterns that occur in both the drum and vocal editing. I like putting normally uncomfortable accent patterns on top of a simple 4/4 meter and dancing through the hemiolas. This song was originally released with the title "Kill My Son".
9. Amazing Grace Sean Imboden
Produced by Sean Imboden
Sean Imboden - alto & tenor saxophones

I decided to record "Amazing Grace" as a tribute to Mike's spirit and personality. First I recorded the alto sax, then I did the tenor sax background, and finally I added some street ambiance gathered from the bustling holiday crowds of NYC.
10. Welchie's Walkin' Cameron Harder-Handel
Written by Cameron Harder-Handel
Engineered & Produced by Jeff Handel
Cameron Harder-Handel - trumpet, flugelhorn
Jeff Handel - piano, tambourine
Ben Handel - drum kit, congas

Hey Y'all! Thanks for buying this CD and helping out our good friend, Mike Welch. A little about my track: When I was thinking of what I could do, it was right around the time that Mike had taken his first assisted steps in rehab. Through TJs numerous updates, we all learned that Mike was defying the odds of what the doctors thought was "normal" and was making astonishing progress. What great news! I needed to write something fitting.

I really love happy gospel/blues music. You know, the kind that makes you close your eyes and make the "nasty face." Although "Welchie's Walkin’" probably won't give you the nasty face, I hope it will make you smile and think of what a great spirit Mike has and the progress that he will continue to make.

I tried to record it in Japan with Kennan, Sean, Joey, Vince and Jeff. Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the second to last day, in between shows. Although the musicians that I played with were awesome, the recording quality was not. When I got home, I sat in with some of my friends who had a weekly gig at a nearby restaurant. I tried to get a good recording for three consecutive weeks, but just didn't know enough about my equipment that it was a lost cause. I thought I was going to have to give up until Thanksgiving weekend rolled around. Jeff was home and Ben was visiting too. Long story short, we ended up being able to record with Jeff on piano and tambourine. Ben on drum kit and congas, and yours truly on trumpet and flugelhorn. Handel boys to the rescue. Enjoy!
11. Skitzo Matt Corey
Written & Produced by Matt Corey
Matt Corey - saxophone, synth programming
Adam Rapa - trumpet
Dan Monea - keyboard
Rob Johnson - guitar
Joey Oakley - drums

The very first framework for Skitzo (named for the Dr Jeckl & Mr Hyde movie I had seen a few days before I started the track) was actually laid out in Flat One (my home and somewhat of a social club for the cast) while we were all in London with Cyberjam in 2003. A few months after returning to the US from London, a found myself in Los Angeles recording saxophone parts for the first draft of Adam Rapa's "Life on the Road" disc. I took advantage of Joey Oakley being behind his drum kit and pulled out several production tracks that I had recorded back in London. Joey took a few passes at them and the next day Adam added the high trumpet stabs.

When I made it back to my home studio in Ohio, I called my friends Rob Johnson and Dan Monea to lay in a few more guitar and keyboard tracks. The track was really starting take shape. At this point I posted the still-unfinished but super funky track to my website where, it racked up several thousand hits in a short span. I was thrilled, but I knew the track was still not complete.

Fast forward to 2008, when Adam called me to see if I could contribute a track for this project. I quickly agreed and decided to update Skitzo one more time adding a few synth and percussion parts, just for a little more flavor. I hope you enjoy! I'm honored to have one of my tracks on a compilation with so many great musicians and friends for such a good cause! Thanks Adam and Best Wishes Mike!
12. Dome Epais (Flower Duet) Amy McCabe & Ryan McGeorge
Arranged by Ryan McGeorge
Recorded at Faith Lutheran Church in Arlington, Virginia.
Amy McCabe - flugelhorn
Ryan McGeorge - euphonium
Darrell Partin - piano

Written in 1882, Dome epais, also known as the "Flower Duet" is a song from Leo Delibes' opera Lakme, based on the French novel, "Rarahu ou Le Mariage de Loti" by Pierre Loti. This duet has become the most famous song from the opera.

This particular rendition is performed exactly as the original, transposed down one octave. When I first did this transcription it was for two euphoniums. For this recording it has been adapted for low-flugelhorn and euphonium which gives a nice distiction between the two parts. It is a beautiful melodic piece of music that seems to work well with almost any instrumentation.
13. Reflection Andrew Smith
Written & Produced by Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - vocals, trumpets, synth programing

For every expression there's a reflection. For every sound there's silence, and for every situation there is also an opportunity. 'Reflection' was a personal response to the great opportunities life gives us even in challenging times. With that said, this song is a sort of musical monologue if you will of my thoughts on all these questions and thoughts that we as people have throughout our lives. The memories, the good, the bad, and the weight of those inspired answers we receive...
14. Of Which Song Shall the Muse Next Sing? Vince Oliver
Written by Vince Oliver
Performed by James Logan High School Wind Symphony
Recorded at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA

The original title for this piece was as follows: "The weary transient stood with a forlorn look upon his face and asked the following question: 'Of Which Song Shall the Muse Next Sing". I thought this title might be perceived as pretentious, so I opted for a truncated version.

The work was composed at a very difficult and emotional time in my life. It quickly became an outlet for me -- textures I could surround myself with, harmonic and melodic material which I found compelling and which also reflected in some way the sense of vulnerability I was experiencing at that time. I will always remember, as part of the composing process, finishing phrases of music and wiping tears from my eyes because I knew what was on the page was exactly what I was feeling at that time. At the risk of being discarded as a neo-romantic, this piece represents the beauty that I'd found in life as a 28 year old, despite all its pains.
15. Sikyi - Dance of Flirtation Benjamin Paille
Produced by Benjamin Paille
Arranged by Benjamin Paille and Ryan Loud
Benjamin Paille - vocals, trumpet
Ryan Loud - marimba, percussion: frikyiwa, axatse, lead drum, apentema, frame drums, talking drum

Sikyi is social dance music from the Ashanti people of Ghana. We recieved permission to arrange and record this music from Kwabena Boeteng, a master teacher from the Ashanti region of Ghana. Before I had the opportunity to meet Mike Welch I been told by many people that I was going to love and admire him. Upon meeting him this quickly proved to be true. As I got to know Mike and his free-wheeling, life-conquering spirit, I realized I had come to know a person of extreme power. The expansiveness of his dreams and his irrepressible determination to manifest them is a constant inspiration for us all.
16. Captain Welch: Meditation and Intoxication Wes Bullock
Performed by Wes Bullock
Produced by Ben Handel

Mike has a special place in his heart for the didge. He had been on my mind, and I wanted to improvise and let those ruminations come out. For me, this piece represented the dichotomy and irony that is Mike Welch. On one hand, there is this introspective spirit that found resonance with music, yoga, unicycling, and now even his wheelchair. He has completely transformed his life, growing and soaring on a trajectory unlike anything I've seen before. And on the other hand, he's just as comfortable going out on the town, carousing and drinking with the guys and flirting with the girls. Kind of like the most average guy ever. That's the wonderful hypocrisy that I hear in this piece.
17. To Believe Amy Sanchez
Written & Performed by Amy Sanchez
Produced by Freddy Hernandez
Amy Sanchez - vocals, guitar, synth programming

Introspective verse and a chorus of resolving inspiration combine to create a mantra in song. Our outlook and intent ("the air we see"), creates the world around us ("the air we breathe"), and therefore influences the opportunities that present themselves, the people that surround us, and the paths we choose in life. Many thanks to Freddy Hernandez for his patience and guidance in recording and producing my first song on guitar!

Lyrics

These days, runnin' circles,
these games, playin' in my head,
an open window, I'm searchin' for an answer-
to these dreams, what is promised?
These hopes hold no guarantee.
I need these detours to guide me.
As time leads us down this road-
signs make us stop and go.
Keepin' what drives you,
got to trust that the
air we see is the air we breathe
to convince ourselves we are what we need
to believe.
('cuz the) air we see is the air we breathe
to convince our dreams we all have a need
to believe.
and the air we see shaped by our beliefs is made of
lessons in patience through
these days, takin' small steps,
these ways, dancin' round my fears,
an endless staircase, I'm searchin' for a doorway-
to these dreams, what is passion?
This faith changes as it grows.
My plans need wisdom to follow.
(repeat chorus)
… and the air we see shaped by our beliefs
is enough.
18. Love, Peace and Gratitude Jeremy Brewer & Natonya Johnson
Written by Jeremy Brewer & Natonya Johnson
Produced by Jeremy Brewer
Jeremy Brewer - vocals, piano, guitar, synth programming
Natonya Johnson - vocals
Sean Imboden - saxophone

Love Peace and Gratitude is a song that was inspired simply by the uplifting and positive attitude of our friend Mike Welch. Throughout the year, Mike sends updates to us all and has always signed his letters “love, peace and gratitude…Mike”

It took a while to really figure out what direction we wanted to take with the lyrics,and then Natonya realized that our main lyric was right in front of us the entire time. “When going through hard times, few things give peace of mind. Love Peace and Gratitude make your hopes come true.”

Lyrics:

I don't need to tell you
That it's gonna be...easy
You take the time
To do things...to do things right
Cuz' you got your own way
And you've had your say
And you take this on, going strong for so long

Let's all give life a chance
We're all to strong for fear
It's all in front of you
Let your best come through

When going through hard times
Few things give peace of mind
Love peace and gratitude
Make your hopes come true

When you wake up each morning
You dont have to think about what's up ahead
It just comes naturally
What you always strive to be
Your soul so bright
Shines day and night
You'll push on through
And you wont stop without a fight

Chorus
19. Overture to Light Amy Sanchez
Written & Performed by Amy Sanchez
Produced by Freddy Hernandez

This overture is intended to accompany a more positive outlook on each new day. Eight separate French horn parts were recorded to create a full brass sound.
20. Warrior Dance Adam Rapa
Written & Produced by Adam Rapa
Engineered by Adam Rapa & Brandon Epperson
Drumset recorded by Albert Cohen @ Rough Magic Studios in NYC
Guitar recorded by Matt Stanford in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Adam Rapa - vocals, trumpet, african percussion, tibetan singing bowls, synth programming
John Elrod - trombone
Mike Welch - bass trombone
Kristian Alexandrov - piano
Ralf Buschmeyer - guitar
Tim Carey - bass
Louis Cato - drumset

This song is my soundtrack to Mike's emotional journey, as I imagine it, from just before his accident and into the distant future. Creating it was a vehicle for me to send him healing energy, which maintained a constant flow throughout the many long days it took to complete.

Making this song without spending a dollar was only possible thanks to a lot of people donating their time and energy. I am indescribably grateful for the musicians and engineers who helped make it happen. These are all very busy people who usually don't come cheap, none of whom owed me any favors. With the obvious exception of John Elrod, none of them even know Mike! What a beautiful display of humanity. Now I owe THEM, big time!

To record this song in six different cities at once, I had to start by creating a 1st draft with all synthesized facsimiles of the real instruments, on top of which I recorded my vocals and trumpets. Then I sent that track to all of the other musicians, with and without their part in the mix. They recorded their parts and sent everything back to me either via internet or a DVD in the mail. As their tracks arrived gradually, I replaced the synthesized parts with the real parts and continued adding more of my own layers as well.

In total, there are almost a hundred tracks making up this song, including 18 vocal tracks, 10 brass, 4 hands of piano, 6 guitar tracks, an entire simulated village of African percussionists, 4 tracks of synth pads, a handful of singing bowls, etc. All the while I was working within a computer program that only allows me to hear 32 tracks at a time... To get around this, I had to mix each instrument group down to stereo tracks and... well, you probably don't care to know the grueling details. Let's just say it wasn't easy.

Instead of getting stressed out at any point, I just kept Mike in the forefront of my thoughts, which made it so much easier than ever before to keep things in perspective and exist in a constant state of Love and gratitude.

Thank you, Mike, for inspiring me to pour so much heart into my work. I'll carry that kind of focus with me forever. Much Love.

 
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