The Machine that Howled, Growled and Wailed

A lot has happened over the past four years; four years from when that little green light turned yellow on my network attached storage (NAS), four years since that strange whining sound sang out from my hard drive, indicating that the majority of my digital creativity had been wiped away. (http://suboken.com/2013/letting-go) Music, photos, graphic designs and illustrations that were all in progress toward bigger expressions of art; gone.

Sifting through the ash of 1s and 0s that once represented so many ideas, including new music building toward two new albums, The Unsound Symphony and The Machines that Howl, Growl and Wail, and only two songs had survived; one sitting on a 16 Gb flash drive, the other on an iPod.

There was never a question of whether or not to produce a follow-up to 2011’s Three Sides of the Same Coin. It was just a matter of when. But the sudden loss of all those songs sucked the energy and excitement out of creating music. A stall that has lasted four years.

After the data crash, I focused my creativity toward other expressions of media; writing, sculpture and illustration. I started teaching more after school programs for children. And, focused a lot on building and creating with LEGO which has been a fantastic healing process.

But the biggest life event was becoming a father. My days have been filled with discovery and love and insomnia and patience and frustration and joy and purpose. Art, in all the expressive ways that I had once wielded, took a back seat.

Our son recently started preschool. This has opened up time for me to center on creative projects that have been smoldering on low heat over the past three years. This brings me to music, and the point of this blog entry.

I decided to dust off the music box last week, and see what I could conjure up. I ran through a few keyboard exercises, familiarized myself with my audio software, and then gave a hard listen to one of the surviving songs from 2013. It’s now a week later, and I am excited to say I have four new tracks!

This fall, Suboken – The Machines that Howl, Growl and Wail (2017) will be available on iTunes Store, iTunes Music, and Bandcamp.

In the meantime, here’s a demo cut from the album.

Returning to Star Wars Days at LEGOLAND California.

The Suboken Brick Projects is heading back to LEGOLAND in Carlsbad for Star Wars Days 2017, once again contributing to FBTB.net’s LEGO fan gallery.

There will be a post on the trip next week. For now, here are some images and videos featuring one of the LEGO builds we’re taking to the event; a motorized Star Wars themed LEGO ferris wheel!

The Kessel Run – A Motorized Star Wars Themed LEGO Ferris Wheel

LEGOLAND Star Wars Days 2017

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A Win at LEGOLAND Star Wars Days 2016!

Han, Leia and Luke watch little Ben Solo play with his best friend, Chewbacca.

Han, Leia and Luke watch little Ben Solo play with his best friend, “Bacca”.

LEGO is a huge outlet for our family. One of our favorite uses for the bricks is in storytelling.

A website I’ve been following over the past four years is FBTB.net. The site features news and reviews on LEGO products and hosts frequent LEGO building contests. They also host a LEGO fan gallery during Star Wars Day at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, CA. When they announced an open call for builders to submit their models to be displayed during the Star Wars event, I quickly registered my LEGO Ideas project, The Moldy Crow, to help get exposure and feedback.

One of the five contest categories FBTB announced for this years event was titled “Skywalker Family Reunion” and Calista was excited to enter her own build. She thought of a series of small vignettes featuring Ben Solo as a little boy playing with his furry friend, Chewbacca, reminiscent of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.

Thus, Ben and Bacca was born.

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One of My LEGO Creations On Display at LEGOLAND

A huge thank you for everyone who has voted to support this LEGO Ideas project!

The encouraging comments everyone has shared have offered great suggestions to better this project. This post aims to cover some of the ideas that have posted.

The Custom Minifigures:   The designs for Kyle’s and Jan’s torsos were created using Adobe Illustrator. As soon as I felt I had developed strong enough LEGOized versions, I used Photoshop to digitally map the designs into the photos of the minifigs.

LEGOLAND Moldy CrowLEGOLAND Moldy Crow LEGO Idea

For anyone interested in applying these designs to their own Kyle and Jan minifigs, the .png files have been posted to my Flickr page.

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LEGO Disney Minifig Series Dot Codes

We love LEGO’s collectable minifigs! They are sold in blind polybags which make hunting down the specific LEGO characters we hope to add to our collection so much fun. To avoid buying duplicate figures, Calista and I have become adept at feeling the bags and indentifying the dot codes found on the packages, revealing which minifigs are hidden in each polybag.

LEGO Disney Minifig Polybag

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