Update: Verbum Sap, Chemical Bath, Gaius Baltar, Et Alii

Estimated read time (minus contemplative pauses): 5 min.

Hello world. Here’s an update of my current goings-on… plus the usual tangential forays into n’importe quoi. (First published on Aug 16, 2011)

Verbum Sap

Back in 2001, I recorded an album called Verbum Sap that I shelved for various reasons. I’m excited to announce that I’m finally mixing it for release, with a planned drop date of February 7, 2012.Verbum Sap I won’t say much about it now except that the instrumentation is primarily classical-guitar-based, and it has an intimate and emotional vibe that distinguishes it from my other albums.

Chemical Bath

I’m also currently writing, arranging, and recording a 5-song EP for a band called Chemical Bath that features me and my sister, Ambria Nicole. She and I share singing duties.

Chemical Bath
Chemical Bath are (left to right):
Ambria Nicole and Dan Wallace

For now, we’re calling the genre Indie Electropop. I don’t like the word “indie,” but it seems be the closest genre label in terms of getting across what we’re doing for marketing and PR purposes, which is what such labels exist for. This is underscored by the fact that no two “authoritative” websites seem to agree on what genre any given current artist belongs under.

Otherwise, what would be the genre name for how I think of and describe us?:

Melodic, song-oriented, synth-based pop-rock with varying levels of musical and lyrical simplicity and complexity, often with an edgy left-field influence and occasional moments of wispily ethereal beauty. And you can dance to it; well, most of it.

We’re planning on releasing the EP in January or February of 2012.

Other Projects

I’m slowly writing a new solo album that I’ll probably start recording in the fall of 2012. I’ve also got material written for another album that I’ll record after that one.

I’m also going to school with the intention of pursuing a PhD in philosophy. My interest is in the ethical implications of metaphysical inquiry. For example, the answer – or, most importantly, lack of a satisfactory answer – to the metaphysical question, “What is the meaning of life?”, has an essential relationship with the ethical question, “How should I live?”. I am passionately interested in the relationship between these sorts of questions and the propositions they inspire.

I am also interested in aesthetics, jurisprudence, social concerns, cognitive science, et al., though I can’t help but feel that the values that contextualize our approach to dealing with those areas are derived from conclusions that are metaphysical and ethical in nature.

There’s the update! So, what can I write about entertainment or (pop) culture-wise?

Entertainment and (Pop) Culture

Gaius Baltar - My Triumphs, My MistakesI recently finished up watching Battlestar Galactica. I really enjoyed it. Serial drama TV storytelling is tough because unlike with novels and movie scripts, once the first draft is written of a TV series, you can’t go back and clean it up. This is one of the reasons they have such a hard time producing endings that don’t piss off half the fans. Most great shows suffer from this dilemma, and BSG is no exception, though I was satisfied with how it ended (unlike A.V. Club’s Chris Dahlen, though I sympathize with many of his complaints). Still, BSG is an insightful, smartly written, well-acted show that covers a surprisingly wide breadth of philosophical and resonantly human ground.

Also, I’m no expert, but I’d wager that Dr. Gaius Baltar is the one male character in contemporary American television with more active tear ducts than Dr. Jack Shephard from Lost. Seriously, though, James Callis was fantastic as Baltar throughout BSG’s run.

Speaking of series finales, my favorite is one of Joss Whedon’s: Angel‘s “Not Fade Away.” Angel - Not Fade AwayAnother Whedon finale runs a very close second: “Objects in Space” from Firefly. Jubal Early’s final words win best closing line of a series seen by me (a small group, admittedly).

Most recent sitcom I got into: The IT Crowd. The first episode didn’t really draw me in, but I followed the advice of reviewers and went on to the second episode, which hooked me. It’s a very funny show.

That’s the last TV I’ll be watching for a while. I have movies and, especially, documentaries and video lectures to catch up on. Browsing the documentaries at Netflix, I see there’s no dearth of entries centered on Adolph Hitler. Is there any other 20th century figure with whom we in the West are more obsessed? We certainly seem to be obsessed with his resurrection, or at least with finding his replacement.

Barack Obama is Adolf HitlerI’ve often heard that Barack Obama is Hitler, though that’s slowed down. At any rate, I no longer see the “Obama = Hitler” sandwich board guy hanging out at my train stop; maybe he’s conserving energy for 2012.  In case there’s any question, I do not believe that Obama is remotely ideologically – or otherwise – Hitlerian.

It’s interesting to consider the extent to which we are still living in the wake of WWII, though. For instance, the relationship between post-WWII consumerism and pop culture is the same relationship that exists between those things today, and, interestingly, ironic cultural sensibilities about consumerism have strengthened that relationship as opposed to having weakened it.

That’s it for now… -Dan

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