Beckstrom Holiday Extravaganza Volume VII

by Chris Beckstrom

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WHAT FOLKS ARE SAYING ABOUT "BECKSTROM HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA VOL. 7"

"...An annual holiday album more original than any other"
- Brandon Thompson

"Dang this might be the best one yet"
- Josh Rosen

"Your music is always fun to listen to. I jam to your Christmas music in the summer sometimes..."
- Nate Henry Luedtke

"I've been looking forward to your holiday albums every year since 2013.
For the past 3 years I've made holiday mix albums for my friends and they've always included at least 1 of your songs. So again, thank you for sharing your music with the world."
- Peter van der Steur

"And...the best way to kick off your holiday season"
- Chris Van Hof

"**** yes"
- Anthony Bruno

Merry Festivus, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Bodhi Day, a Joyous Advent, Happy HumanLight, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Pancha Ganapati, Happy Saturnalia, Cool Yule, Happy December, a Wonderful Krampusnacht, and a Happy Holiday to you all!

It's that time of year filled with family gatherings, overeating, ugly sweaters, snowy road trips, comfy blankets, and of course, seasonal music!

This year marks the seventh (!!!) volume of holiday songs re-imagined, rearranged, and presented by my musical friends and me.

This year we're doing something special: we are selling the album (and the six previous holiday albums). All profits will be donated to The LGBT Network of West Michigan. The Network is a fantastic non-profit organization that does so much for our community: everything from running Pride every year, hosting youth groups every week, and providing much needed support to anyone and everyone who needs it. This is not an official Network fundraiser, simply a few musicians getting together to help.

We have thoroughly enjoyed creating this music and hope you have a great time listening to it!

credits

released December 1, 2015

FEATURING
Brandon Thompson – vocals ("He Fills Us Up")
Garrett McGinn – bass ("He Fills Us Up," "The Chipmunk Song", "The First Noel")
Ryan Andrews – acoustic guitar ("He Fills Us Up"), percussion ("The First Noel")
Chris Beckstrom – upright piano, keyboards, homemade synthesizer, other synthesizers, electric bass, electric guitar, drums, percussion, melodica, accordion, vocoder, saxophones, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, vocals, clapping, sampling, Peavey mixer, production, jingle bells

Recorded in Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and Alto, Michigan

"He Fills Us Up"
music and lyrics by Chris Beckstrom

Album art features Walter the Dog

BECKSTROM HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA VOLUME 7 LINER NOTES
The Chipmunk Song – A funky, old-fashioned reggae romp of the classic tune. Featuring Garrett McGinn on bass, as well as a whole lot of lasers. Influenced by King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, and Bob Marley

He Fills Us Up – A praise and worship song about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and how his/her/their goodness fills us all up. Features Brandon Thompson on lead vocals, Ryan Andrews on acoustic guitars, and Garrett McGinn on bass. Influenced by Jars of Clay, Casting Crowns, and all the praise and worship bands I played with in college.

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? – Earth, Wind, and Fire get turned into robots and shot into space on a giant rocket filled only with vocoders and modular synthesizers. In space they meet Daft Punk, who are actually robot aliens. To get back to Earth, they have to put on the greatest galactic dance party the universe has ever seen, and for some reason they cover "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Heavily influenced by the aforementioned artists, plus the unusual music of William Onyeabor.

Go Tell It On The Mountain – Over the top dubstep in the vein of Skrillex. Samples, sound effects, explosions, lasers– everything you could want in a holiday dubstep song.

The First Noel – a mashup of contemporary R&B and renaissance music. Harpsichord, synths, drums, rhodes, and lute combine to create something new. Garrett McGinn's bass and Ryan Andrews' percussion make appearances here as well. Influenced by various Spanish renaissance composers and Robert Glasper.

Here Comes Santa Claus – A minor-key version of the classic, this is an Astor Piazzolla-inspired arrangement. It sounds a bit different than the original; perhaps this song is really about Krampus! Influenced by Astor Piazzolla and his distinctive brand of tango.

Ave Maria – I love this piece of music. I tried about 5 different styles until I settled on this African-influenced marimba plus synth approach. I like the combination of marimbas and weird synthesizer sounds. Influenced by the music of West and Central Africa, as well as the grandfather of synthesizers and electronic music, Raymond Scott.

Here We Come A-Wassailing – A sort of jazz trio arrangement of the normally upbeat tune. Heavily influenced by Robert Glasper and Brad Mehldau (especially his album "Largo").

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – An electro-cumbia performed almost exclusively on my DIY modular synthesizer, The Alligator ("Gator" for short). All sounds generated by homemade, hand-soldered, analog circuits, except the Hammond organ, a splash of digital bass, and real live jingle bells. Influenced by King Tubby, Raymond Scott, and Wendy Carlos.

SPECIAL THANKS
Special thanks to the fabulous musicians who collaborated with me on this cross-country project! Thanks Brandon Thompson, Ryan Andrews, and Garrett McGinn for your musicianship, creativity, and willingness to record stuff at home and send it to me through the internet. We live in wondrous times!

Also, thanks to my wife Claire for putting up with listening to the same 8 bars over and over again for hours on end... And to Walter the Dog, for braving the cold and a terrible sweater for the album cover.

And to you, the listener, for supporting independent music!

Recorded mostly in Bitwig Studio on Linux

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Chris Beckstrom Grand Rapids, Michigan

Fiercely eclectic music from the Michigan countryside.

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Track Name: He Fills Us Up
VERSE 1
Lord of all creation
We sing to thee
We praise you, for all the world to see

He watches us from high above
His light fills us with love
His noodles fill our hearts with joy

CHORUS
He fills us up
with tomato sauce
He fills us up
he's the flying spaghetti monster

He fills us up
He tastes so great
With complex carbohydrates
he’s the flying spaghetti monster

VERSE 2
He boiled for our sins
Through him we’ll always win
Let us praise his mighty glory

He washes our tears away
In our hearts he’ll always stay
Give us this day our daily pasta

BRIDGE
holy, holy, holy, holy, noodles
holy, holy, holy, holy, noodles
holy, holy, holy, holy, noodles
holy, holy, holy, holy, noodles

VERSE 3
He made the earth and the heavens
His meatballs fill our tummies
When we’re hungry, he fills us up

We raise our voices and rejoice
This mostaciolli's really nice
Bless these gifts which we're about to eat

CHORUS
He fills us up
with tomato sauce
He fills us up
he's the flying spaghetti monster

He fills us up
He tastes so great
With complex carbohydrates
he’s the flying spaghetti monster