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Grave Robbing v2 (MJRF2010) w/ tonestone


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I posted my first version of Grave Robbing on March 29, 2004. The original version can be found here: Grave Robbing v1

This new version marks my first collab with Steve Stone (tonestones). Steve and I have subsequently formed a project group named Merlyn and are working on a series of songs. Working with Steve is invigorating, since he has not just talented but has a patient ear and is very receptive to changes, even when it requires many drafts. You can check out Steve's solo work here: tonestones.

Since first posting the original Grave Robbing in 2004, I've sought a collaboration with a guitarist and drummer to complete what I thought were shortcomings in the arrangement. Several guitarists looked at it, but its length and complexity was simply too off-putting for everyone I contacted. Drummers found it too dense and unwieldy. Until Steve. His guitar work fit right in, simply complemented the music. His bass work added energy and rhythms without making it sound mushy or dubbed in after the fact. But even more than his inventive guitar/bass work, I was thrilled with his additions to the drumming track; that's will really adds a whole new drive and energy, and since I did not record this track to a set beat (instead relying on the internal Wavestation rhythmic feel, which changes whenever I played a new note on the device, wrecking a sync to any specific BPM) playing drums to this track must've been very difficult. I am very happy with the result.

Steve took the track and added 13 new tracks (see below), sent 6 different mixes (as he progressively added more to each new section). I would answer each draft with my own ideas, note changes, and other thoughts. He then sent me all his new final tracks with his effects recorded on each stereo AIFF track and I did the final mix and mastering. In the final mix, some of what he did was dropped becuz it just became too complex (in my ears). But the mixing process, for me, made me appreciate even more Steve's contributions. The articulations on the bass tracks, for example, are all but lost in the thick/dense mix, but when highlight those tracks displayed his true unadulterated artistry. That was when I really wanted to work with him more. Create some things from scratch.

The entire collaborations process has been a joy.

Grave Robbing is a song first written for my rock opera, CREATURE. It starts out with a secretive vibe, as Victor Frankenstein slips over the fence into the graveyard. The stage version is sung mainly by the spirits of body parts Dr. Frankenstein is harvesting. When the spirits are first freed, there is a period of disorientation, even dismay. The starfield slower section near the end is sung by a psychic young girl who is sensing a change in the graveyard, the show's ingenue who eventually befriends the Creature. (She was played by Emily Rohm, by the way, in a role that earned her an Equity card.) The huge finish is a choral section sung as the spirits finally feel the future promise of freedom this theft presents them: that they may soon live again (within the body of the Creature).

I know its a long song, 8:20 minutes, but the ending as a great pay-off. Try and stay patient so you can get all the way to the end. The juxtaposition of the macabre and the triumphant is explored throughout.

Thanks again to Steve for breathing new life into this track.

Steve's Tracks:
- Bass FX - Sampled Rick. Bleeps, blorps, percussive FX.
- Bass - Sampled Rick
- Bass - Custom 6 string Carvin through Marshall JMP-1 preamp, direct in to my digi O2 firewire sound board.
- Sampled drum loops..
- 5 different guitar tracks, all with PRS custom 24 through Marshall JMP-1, various Logic effects (ringshifter, eq, compressor, chorus, ensemble)
- Glock: exs24 sample.
- Persian Santoor: exs24 sample.
- Oud: exs24 sample
- Mellotron: exs24 sample

I think my original file employed 47 tracks, relying on my Korg Wavestation, Roland JZ-1080, guitar and a variety of synth and bell tracks.

If you like this piece, you might also like:
Escaping The Fray Zone (instrumental) and tracks by Audiocracy.
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Song Stats
Hits: 6427
Comments: 120
Fans: 65
Plays: 434
Downloads: 125
Votes: 5
Uploaded: Jan 31, 2010 - 02:19:33 PM
Last Updated: Feb 24, 2010 - 07:44:46 AM Last Played: Apr 10, 2017 - 03:56:56 PM
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Comments
Ren-Tin-10 said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
Awesome!
I especially like the "big" ending.

Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Jim
Check out my latest song called (Re)Imagination Challenge - Hooked on Schubert
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Big finish
Yes, that big finish is one of the favorite musical moments I've ever created. Thanks for lasting that long in the song!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Doadars Uncle said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
Nice environment!
Very open. Kinetic!
Check out my latest song called Don't Leave (remix)
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Kinetic
Thanks. I tried to keep a percolating, shimmering, electric sense of awakening and liveliness throughout. Any down time in the original was filled with more life from Steve. As Dr. Frankenstein will say in the next scene, It's alive! Thanks for commenting on the physical sense of movement. The stage version included my favorite inventive dancing in the show, as well.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Diviner said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
Perfect example of Macjams
This is really good. You have improved it as a collarboration as well as improved yourself. Fantastic Tobin, nicely done.
Check out my latest song called Away ft Lokka
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Improvement
I totally agree on both counts: that this improved my original music and that it speaks to what makes Macjams a special place. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
sloparts said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
Sounds like a great piece of work to me.
Love the interlude around the 6 minute mark and how it grows from there on.

Amazing work from both of you, Congrats on an excellent collab

Ed
Check out my latest song called Quack's Blues
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Work
Thanks. I love the multi-section aspect, the sense of a movements in a small prog symphony. That interlude in 3/4 was lifted and made into a jazz ballad in my Rain bather album. It's one of my favorite simple melodies, especially when sung by Emily Rohm. I may share that as a further variation for MJRF2011...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
ktb said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
Grave Robbing
props to all who added their incredible parts with out that drum sync. Reminiscent of Gentle Giant for me. Dig it. Great that you guys are hooked up.
Check out my latest song called Blackwater (by Tokai)
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Hook up
It's great to find someone who makes you want to do more music. That's what Steve has brought me. Can't thank him enough. And, yes, the difficulty in adding drumming to this is mindboggling.

Gentle Giant were indeed giants. Love their stuff. Thanks,
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
thoddi said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
impressive work
This is a complex composition, and I admire your patience and the time you must spend putting it together in a recording. Each part is pretty advanced and grand in performance and musicality. Fitting all the pieces together is like a series of scenes in a movie that is carefully adjusted to fit to one another.

You two have made a fab piece of music here.

BRAVO!!!
Check out my latest song called The King has left
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Cinematic
I totally agree that this is like a film score, a cinematic work. I nearly always have a visual and emotional conceptual canvas I'm trying to fill when I write/arrange. Thanks for feeling that sense in this one. Sometimes I don't want to share my own story/visuals (like I do in the song description) so that each listener can conjure their own, but its nice to know a songs origins too. Thanks for the appreciation.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Vic Holman said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
I'm amazed at the........
complexity of this and yet it works so well. an absolute in the headphones. quite the passion of love to compose and mix all this together........ fantastic piece all around.
Check out my latest song called Strawberry Fields
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Headphones
Thanks for recommending headphones. Lots of little details can only be felt wearing headphones. We worked hard to keep a 3-dimensional sound field and a sense of a single world when adding all the instruments. I don't want to add up all the man-hours, tho, it might be overwhelming. When adding one thing at a time, with an ear for the final growing piece, the work become play and the time becomes timeless. Thanks for appreciating the end product.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Sigmund said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
Grave Robbing
This is progressive rock at its finest. Steve's guitar work reminds me of early Yes and Kansas. Lots of interesting passages, turns, twists and fills to make the music very interesting, and, a solid musical theme to effectively tie it all together. And, you were right about the ending - definitely worth the wait, so to speak. Thanks you for sharing this with us.
Sig
Check out my latest song called Running with the Wind by Peter B, feat rok41
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Progressive rock
What originally drew me into progressive rock was the dramatic, orchestral-influenced epic quality, the melding of hard rock, classical, jazz, inventive time signatures, virtuoso players, and a sense of the large concept. Thanks for linking this to the flow within the fascinating genre of progressive rock. It gives me a chance to include nearly all of my musical tendencies. Isn't it astounding there is no Prog Rock category at the Grammys?! Someone has to fix that.

Thanks for your generous comments.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
tonestones said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
I loved this song when I first heard it.
Tobin and I have quite a bit in common. We are the same age, grew up with nearly identical musical influences, both originally from the mid-west, migrating to opposite coasts, both from musical families, but grounded in the sciences. In retrospect it isn't too difficult to imagine how we could get into each other's heads so quickly.

Tobin has become the musician I set out to be when I was younger. He is extremely versatile, continuously growing, multi-instrumentalist and loves to explore new sounds and ways to creatively express himself. I have great respect for him as a musician, but the thing that amazes me the most is his compositional skills. I am looking forward to starting some new projects from scratch with him.

I really enjoyed doing this project. We have several more in the pipeline.

Thanks for listening. Hope you enjoy.

-- Steve
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen Cover]
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Kind words
Thanks for your kind words. I've always thought of myself as a composer first and a musician or director second. I love coming up with a concept, experimenting with ways to express it, developing the idea, find structure and invention, and perfecting the performance, the technique, the details of the arrangement, the details of the final recording. After years of writing music at the piano and working in theater where a song has to stand on its own as melody/lyrics alone, its been great to return to creating complex arrangements for a larger band are layered recordings; more of a pallet to work with.

I am very thankful to have you as a collaborator. Your patience and attention to detail, and shared love of getting it right, are a joy. Its astounding how many things we have in common, by the way. Now we have the future, as well.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
jiguma said 2672 days ago (January 31st, 2010)
Fantastic stuff Tobin and Steve
Thanks for posting this for the MJRF2010.
What a professional piece of great music.
Love it!
Neil
Check out my latest song called Dead Man Walking
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
The festivals the thing!
This is a wonderful event. The jewel of the year at MJ. Thanks for all your hard work, the inspiration this platform extends to so many. Thank you.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
WIProg said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Audiocracy II
I was thinking how cool this might be to compile with other 2010 progressive rock collaborations and maybe come up with an Audiocracy II album...
Check out my latest song called Pandora's Box (version 2)
tonestones said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Audiocracy II
Excellent idea.
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen Cover]
Jarvoid said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
The beginning
part of this reminds me very much of some of the jazzrock bands of the 70's Gong,Brand X etc.Very interesting piece,some great guitar and keys going on here and you can feel a narrative effect in the music especially round the 5 min mark....
Check out my latest song called Port Arthur Blues
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
70s fusion
That's when I started as a player, on a Wurlitzer electric piano playing Third Wave jazz and trying to figure out when bands like Gentle Giant and Yes were beginning to do. Exhilarating. I hope some of that first blush excitement stays with the music, even when its play by a pair of 54 year olds.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
blaky smith said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Creature
Great collab and brilliant entry in this festival Tobin! This tune is really a nice performance. I'm impressed by the quality of the mix and prod in front of the complexity of this piece.
Great work Tobin and Steve. All the best to Merlyn !
Marc
Check out my latest song called Un jour de décembre
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Merlyn
Thank you. I hope we can conjure a new kind of magic....!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
ic42 said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
sparkles and lumbers
There's a large lumbering quality balanced by small shimmering nuance that really kept my attention throughout, giving a larger-than-life feel. Reading the notes now, it seems fitting. :-) The ability of you and Steve to think up so many instrument lines, weave them together like this, and keep them distinct and create a cohesive piece... boggles. I am very impressed with both your abilities, as always.
ttfn,
Drakonis
Check out my latest song called Mars à Oublier - 0x01
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Juxtaposition
Love the lumbering vs shimmering image, and the inter-weave between. Glad that communicated even before reading description notes. I hope Steve and I keep coming up with ideas. Just the thought of having a partner who is excited about coming up with new instrumental lines makes my imagination kick into gear. Thanks for enjoying this and hearing cohesiveness and balance amidst all the weight and lightness.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
fasteddie said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Great production!
Obviously a great deal of work went into this production; there is so much to it. The change at about 5:30 is very cool; it makes for a tasty bridge. It is very cool the way the intensity comes back at 7:00.

Man I wish that I had the patience to put together something so involved as this.

Great work!
Check out my latest song called On Borrowed Time
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
tasty bridge
I have always loved transitions. Sometimes, when writing piano music, half of a song employs transitional techniques. I'm a sucker for key changes, tempo shifts, color and movement variations. I'm glad you didn't succumb to change-fatigue but kept listening until the end.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
davisamerica said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
some Eutopia here
and that is a most excellent thing to my ears indeed. The whole track holds my attention and I didn't loose interest for a second... very huge accomplishment. your rock solid sense of theatrics and steve' s talents were meant to cosmically merge.... the music gods had degreed it. Love the change up at around 5:00 ... and the following dreamy sequence is perfect. Appx.7:03 and the whole thing explodes sonically into a celestial sunrise. Thanks guys ... excellent.
Check out my latest song called empathy
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
celestial sunrise
Love your imagery. And invoking the music gods. Your remarks made me smile. Creating a musical space can, indeed, induce an inner Utopia, a shared Utopia.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Parichayaka said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
yes, 'awesome' comes to mind
Bursting with life energy. Full of well-rounded dynamic ideas and one of the busiest mixes I've heard recently pulled of remarkably well. There is tons of experience and talent behind this piece - I was surprised to read 'sampled drum loops' - sounded like there was a lot of hands on wizardry behind the drums and percussion.

The ethereal theme towards the end carries the same energy as the beginning but in a sparkling, fruity flavor. Tremendous build-up and finale.

Thanks for the heads up - always happy to be impressed by some outstanding music.
Check out my latest song called we may be dreaming
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Bursting
Thanks. I've long been a fan of your wonderful productions, your epic musicscapes, the ethereal nature of your music. Glad you found some of that here. As for his drum loops, I have a feeling he cut and edited them. I know when I use loops I usually go in with Live software and manipulate accents and fine tune hits, etc. I know when I mixed down his drum track AIFF, I dropped inner beats, cut some lines to make other entrances stand out more, etc. But, yes, most if it soundes like a hands on drummer. I love what he did to develop the percussion track.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
crissew said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Rhythmic enough to have some
commercial appeal and funky and off beat enough to keep MJ musicians interested. It thought this song struck a good balance.I thought the bridge sounded a bit christmas-like. Then the had hitting end was cool as well. Complex piece that a LOT of time went into. Thanks for sharing it with us!
Check out my latest song called Dollar Store Christmas w/ Jerry Rissew
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Christmas
You're right, there is a sense of Christmas in there. A Copland Christmas and the 1812 Overture and symphonic versions of Yes songs, synthesized into electronica and guitars. Thanks for appreciating the time involved. This was a nice one to finally put in the can.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
damiengh said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Worth the trip
Definitely worth the trip and what a trip it was.

Without taking away from your intentions of the work, you may have unintentionally, canvassed many of the great memorable fusion(Cobham,Dimeola,Correa)/prog rock(yes..) moments of the past, along with a Zappa touch here and there. Most kinetic.

But that climax took the cake. That cascading church bells relic brought back memories of some of those ancient holiday movie scenes of the past, ala 1938 or even Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture.

Nice work.


Check out my latest song called Tea and Scones
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
ancient holiday movie scenes
Right. I imagine Quasimodo up there celebrating the freeing of all those spirits, flower-petal confetti and dancing virgins, Chick Corea wanting to sit in and Tchaikovsky smiling alongside DeMille from a balcony somewhere. We composers stand on so many shoulders. Thanks for reminding me of yet more of them!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Bubowski said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Density
Love the incredible density and complexity. Nice lively mix ... considering everything that's going on you can still hear all the different little parts clearly, quite a feat. Congrats on a great collab.
Check out my latest song called Drumbeats off Jupiter
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
still hear all the different little parts clearly
Thanks. Especially in headphones. I really like it when, after listening a hundred times, I hear something new, too!
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
michael2 said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
wow
quite a project; very impressive that you guys were able to pull this together under the circumstances you describe. you guys are perfect together I must say. great version of this tune.
Check out my latest song called Jazz Glitch Dub Experiment
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
The most tuneful section was where I started
It always strikes funny when describing a piece like this as a "tune." When I pose myself the question of what to call this (tune, track, piece, work, song) the only part I identify as a tune (or even a song) is the slow waltz section after the 5 minute mark. In fact, that's where I started, when writing this: that slow section that comes as an oasis from the previous density. I built from there, constructing the big finish, then going back and writing the intro using my Wavestation rhythms, etc. So, in a way, it is a version of that inner tune, since those intervals guided me throughout.

The mastering process also helped smooth out the sound, as I compressed, limited, beefed up certain EQs, and created a build in volume, trying to avoid saturation. I love my Wave plugins in Peak for that.

Listening to the original really makes you appreciate Steve' contributions. Both how he added so much life and energy, yet only heightened (and never buried) the original. He transformed it into an entirely new work.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
buckhorn said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Im not
really qualified to comment on music like this. Though the excellence of it is pretty obvious..... I can hear a Jon Anderson vocal with this, in my minds ear.
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TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Vocal
I would love Jon to sing on anything I write! Steve and I are working on something right now, actually. I love his voice.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
I.G.M. said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Wow, that`s great!!
What a fabulous tune.
You won a price?
You should win the another one for this!! :o)
Check out my latest song called Reflexions
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Winner
Thanks. I was just commenting how sad it is that with over 100 Grammy categories there is no Progressive Rock award. I have friends who've won them for best Hawaiian album, engineering the best Comedy album (the Cobert CD), and other arcane (or classical) projects - but no prog. Criminal.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
packosmokes said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
One word...
And the word is "epic"! Reminds me of some of my favorite aspects of Genesis and Yes with a new twist... a little more electro than the comparisons which I feel gives it a unique presence all its own.

... and at 8:20, I'd say you made a short prog rock song, heheh!
Check out my latest song called The Future
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Electronica twist
Thanks. The pervasive electronica aspect does give it a different feel, but it also makes it hard to ever translate into a live performance, unless we had 5 guys with keyboards playing together. (Or one Rick Wakeman.) I just got a copy of Yes' Magnification which runs 1 hour and 1 minute. So, yes, this is pretty slim in comparison! When we used it off-broadway, we played to a digital tape. Several ballads were live keyboards, but most was to tape.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Doug Somers said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Hat's off to Tobin and Steve
This doesn't go where I thought it would. I was guessing that the opening was like a smooth jazz jungle-sound-influenced piece. But no, this is way more complex and interesting. I'm on my second listen as there is so much to take in. The guitars and synths seem to ride over this sea of an active bass and drum track that propel everything with a fresh and insistent drive. The stabs here and there in all their various incarnations really make me almost want to turn my head - 'what's there?'. The quieter breaks are gorgeous, and give a rest from the sensual bombardment (in a positive sense! :). The new melody at 5:27 could easily stand alone as it sets a unique space unto itself. You develop it very nicely, and the bell sounds near the finish with deep organ underpinnings is really powerful given the many allusions these sounds are associated with.

The musicianship here is really terrific guys. I'm so glad you found a collab team who could deal with the aural density of your work and bring it to life so effectively. The complexity and length makes for a treat for the listener to mine something new as we imagine the story more vividly with each subsequent playing.

With a deep bow to you guys,
Doug
Check out my latest song called Coming Home - Based on a Theme by David Kneupper
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
sensual bombardment
Wow. Can you review all my stuff? Thanks for the great comments.

That section at 5:27 is a stand-alone song, with a reprise even (in the course of the show). And I pealed it away and re-arranged it on Rain Bather as a tenor sax solo, "Waltzing Night Into Day" and also recorded a different version on my first solo piano CD, Morning Whispers. The piano version is more or less akin to how I played it originally, and predates this prog setting. I actually wrote that melody for the play The Runner Stumbles as an a cappella ditty an actress sings. So I've gotten a lot of mileage out of it!

Thanks again for the great comments.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Fioretti said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Grave Robbing
Guys, I really like have this develops. The complexity is obvious, but as said in the song description, it was refined enough to keep it coherent. The sequencers sound great with headphones as someone else said. It surrounds you, make you feel the space of the piece. The end is great too. Nice work guys!
Check out my latest song called Candle Wax, Drapery, Calligraphy
TobinMueller said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Compilation
Thanks. Maybe in a year or two from now we'll have enough Merlyn/WIProg tracks to make a record. Or 2. Glad you had a chance to listen in headphones.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Fioretti said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
headphones
Luckily, I bought myself a pair of AKG k240s about a year and a half ago (obviously not audiophile quality, but much better than your typical earbud crap). Hearing music through a decent set of headphones really opens up whole new worlds in music -- I've listened to music through these things that I've been listening to for ages and I still hear new little nuances and things that I never would have been able to hear without them. Consider this an ode to headphones!
Check out my latest song called Candle Wax, Drapery, Calligraphy
tonestones said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Headphones
Decent headphones make such a huge difference. I use two in my studio, one for listening/recording, one for mixing.
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen Cover]
guitapick said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
The shifts...
...are panoramic...a powerful sonic journey.
Great piece, Tobin. Breath of fresh air. Really fine. And Steve's some kinda musician. Great collaboration.
I sold my JMP-1 to get my acoustic guitar amp. Love the amp...but this just reminds me of what a great piece of gear that unit is. *Sigh*.
What else...?
Ahhhh: thanks for the download!

Check out my latest song called 'Cuz I Can
tonestones said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
JMP-1
Bob, I know what you mean. I've sold numerous pieces of gear over the year that I've regretted. Yet I have a closet full (and a corner of the garage) full of stuff I haven't touched in years... The thing I like most about my Marshall is that I get a decent live sound without using any mics. I plug both guitars and basses into it and then into my sound board. I only have odd hours here and there I can grab to make music and doing it without waking up the rest of the household is cherished. Unfortunately it makes singing and playing acoustic difficult.

Check out my latest song called Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen Cover]
DeputyDoofy said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Nice update
I had to go back and listen to the original. Apparently, I did comment on it all those years ago. I really enjoy the new version.
Check out my latest song called Mac To The Future
TobinMueller said 2670 days ago (February 2nd, 2010)
Going back
I had to go back and read your comments from all those years ago. Did you ever fill up that 200gb external hard drive? Since that time, I've actually lost a 500gb and a 1000gb hard drive. (Back up all important files!) The original Performer file of this song was among the casualties. But the AIFF survived, which formed the bases of both redos.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
jibes said 2671 days ago (February 1st, 2010)
Ear candy!!!
Very well executed and a joy to hear.
Check out my latest song called JESSICA
PsalmsProgressions said 2670 days ago (February 2nd, 2010)
lovely
fantastic work in the mix of all your patches and recordings..the harmonics are right on
Check out my latest song called Hope
SlimGirlFat said 2670 days ago (February 2nd, 2010)
mmm
Awesome awesome track Tobin. what I call a big Fat mix! I love everything in this..
Slimmie
TobinMueller said 2670 days ago (February 2nd, 2010)
Memory
Anything called a big Fat mix from SlimGirlFat sounds good to me. Great to see you here. Love your "Memory" post. A tsunami then, an earthquake now. Thanks for bring a sense of perspective to the festival. Yours is a voice of love.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
MarkHolbrook said 2670 days ago (February 2nd, 2010)
Was glad to see
ToneStones listening... This is like right down his alley style wise!

This is really something! Nice work Tobin.
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scaustrita said 2670 days ago (February 2nd, 2010)
Wow
Looks like everything is said!
How about, a wonderful array of instruments!

:: True Talent ::
Check out my latest song called 69 Impala (N D LP)
TobinMueller said 2669 days ago (February 3rd, 2010)
array of instruments
It's always cool to use dormant gear. Thanks for enjoying the sonic variety.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Moviz said 2669 days ago (February 3rd, 2010)
Great stuff
love the timings along with the variation in instrumental sounds.... synths sound fantastic as do the drums..... so much going on in this busy piece and yet nothing is indiscernible.... love the break with the Glockenspiel sound indicative of the Moon between the clouds and the wonderful strong but creepy organ feel at the end.... wonderful piece of music, thanks, regards M
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TobinMueller said 2669 days ago (February 3rd, 2010)
Moon between the clouds
Nice imagery. And then imagine the spirit girl sitting on a headstone singing plaintively about the promise of new life and impending tragedy. The two go together all too often, that's for sure. In the story, Victor Frankenstein is also a handsome young man, about 22 years of age, more like the book, so its not such a stretch for the girl to fall in love with this man wrestling death from the ground with his bare hands...
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Hickling_Stan said 2669 days ago (February 3rd, 2010)
Engaging
As someone who grew up on 70's prog this is a fscinating and engaging listen. There is so much going on here, it's going to take repeated listens to get it into my head. Just posted today with "Walking in a graveyard"...must be something about them in the air this week. Brilliant job. Mark
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TobinMueller said 2669 days ago (February 3rd, 2010)
Comfort of the graveyard
I always found walking in a graveyard to be comforting. Something fascinating to me about tombstones, from the pre-1776 ones in the corner graveyard about 1 block from my current home, to the huge memorials in the giant cemetery in Minneapolis I used to visit when traveling there, to the small town cemetery on a hill outside the little rural Wisconsin village where my parents and sister are buried, and dozens of other relatives. Perhaps it is the sense of time stopping. Maybe its just that most graveyard are in pretty places, and have a sense of oasis. Perhaps just becuz they are obviously disconnected to the daily rush, to worldly concerns, and offer a natural place to clear thoughts, to be alone. Thanks for your appreciative comments.
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dave_b said 2669 days ago (February 3rd, 2010)
Grave Robbing
Superb piece! Has many interesting twists and turns both rhythmic and tonal, but stays accessible. Great complementary sound choices, and impeccable production.
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TobinMueller said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
impeccable production
Thanks. Its amazing, in retrospect, how many times we listened to each section, sometimes each few measures, let alone the entire piece over and over. Many people here at MJ can relate, I'm sure. There is ear fatigue, too, and sometimes it gets hard to tell if something still has a freshness, as well as a natural smoothness, after listening so many times. I'm glad it works for those who listen for the first time. We appreciate that it works in so many other's ears. Thanks for listening and for letting us know.
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VicDiesel said 2669 days ago (February 3rd, 2010)
Psycho acoustics
The bleeps in the beginning of the song are coming from a very strange place when I'm listening to this on headphones. Somewhat disconcerting to feel them coming from my throat.

Cool track, especially the effected guitar parts.

The ending is cool, but if you ask me (which you don't, but that's never stopped me from volunteering my opinion) it could be a lot bigger by diversifying the elements. Basically now you have a bass and synth in unison over those descending bells. Get rid of the unison and introduce some polyphony, would be my approach.


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TobinMueller said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
Throaty bleeps
Bleeps from the throat may be better than gastro-intestinal bleeps! Vic, glad you made it all the way thru.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Skean said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
I love noise
Special when it in control and this sure is, I have to say a master piece, it got all kinda elements who blend together in a professional way.
The mix is top notch, nice work of all involved, and I guess you, Tobin have make the finally work to it. Excellent stuff... Thanks
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TobinMueller said 2667 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
a master piece
Thanks. I think this piece is a mixture of sounds, atmospherics, licks, and motion. It's not like most things I do that put melody first. I'm glad you liked how we arranged all the noises!
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chestnut said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
Grave Robbing
Masterly! Thanks to both of you. It was time well spent.
Ken
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sschedra said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
Tobin
One can always be assured of virtuosity in both your performances and production. The genesis of this song is really interesting and the result even more so. I am truly impressed and experienced real pleasure in listening.

Stephen
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billykirsch said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
Positive feedback
What a great collab! The variety of movements, layers, tones... a mind opening multidimensional sound experience.
The background info on how the piece was evolving is great too. Each one creating on top of the many options the other created, passing the ball and repeating the positive feedback cycle. That sounds like fun! I must have been hard to stop.
So many big and little things in here. Enjoyment for a long while.

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TobinMueller said 2667 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
mind opening multidimensional sound experience
Thanks. Yes, it is enjoyable to construct an involved piece, to end up with something that pleases our ears and is fun to play. Collaboration is a fabulous positive feedback loop, from a motivational perspective. I also loved having someone who found the pleasure in working with my composition to be even more thrilling. Its really nice for someone to say, "What you wrote is really good." I like that a lot more than the musician comment "I love what you played" or "I dig the sounds you used." Steve came on board becuz of the potential he heard in the compositional aspects of the piece, and that was very pleasing for me. Thanks for enjoy the little and the big things, both, together.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
magnatone said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
WOW
this is astounding! so impressive on every level that i'm at a loss for words except WOW! (and "more please") :)
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bud said 2668 days ago (February 4th, 2010)
Very impressive
there's a lot going on but there's room for it all to take shape. Nice changes and excellent playing.
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scofugate said 2667 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
WONDERFUL ARRANGEMENT
A lot of time and care went into the arrangement of this. Very professional and the hard work shows in every measure. Every note seems calculated yet natural and moving/flowing.
It inspires me to step out of my usual!
Kudos!!
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TobinMueller said 2667 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
calculated yet natural
Thanks. There is a calculated framework to the entire thing, yet most of the lead voices come out of momentary reactions and trying improvisational lines that attempt to fit like a puzzle. Calculated but natural is a wonderful compliment, much appreciated. Exactly what it was trying to be.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Scott Carmichael said 2667 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
the 2 of you together... formidable...
stylistically what I see as Steve's home base... King Crimson meets Genesis... and then some... excellent Progressive work... Nothing that you do surprises me Tobin... whatever you put your musical mind to will shine....

Tobin.... Steve and I went to college together and lived in the same house... I had recently transitioned from drums to guitar... a bit of a novice still... Steve was already a monster... it's so cool to see you working with him...

too cool Steve...
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TobinMueller said 2667 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
Housemates
Wo, I didn't know you guys lived together in college! Now I like him even more...! Thanks for letting me know. I will most certainly start him him for all the inside embarrassing college stories that he can recall...!
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tonestones said 2667 days ago (February 5th, 2010)
Housemates...
To make matters worse it was a fraternity house... Lots of great memories. Many not repeatable to children, especially our own..

Glad you like it, Scott.
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen Cover]
FEEL said 2666 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
The type of music
that grabs control of my attention. Progressive is my weakness, like chocolate. Guitar rocks! Enjoyed this very much! Nice job.
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
chocolate
I love chocolate too...
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BirdmanWayne94 said 2666 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
Dang!
Man, that was totally awesome! Cool stuff by all means. Skillfully composed, performed, and produced. Much respect for both!
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
totally awesome!
Thanks, Birdman. I am very happy to call you friend, to see you back at MJ, and to follow your growing musicianship. You inspire me.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Mcboy said 2666 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
now that was one
dense musical escapade......so much stuff happening...very how u kept it all together flowing....my favorite part starts at about 5:18...with the bell like tones raining down and across the sonic spectrum....an overall ambitious track that takes patience to listen and digest...but well worth the effort.....kudo's to u both!
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Patience
Thanks, man. Glad you let it cascade. Thanks for returning to MJ and adding your inspiring talent and open spirit to us all.
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echoroom said 2666 days ago (February 6th, 2010)
Returned!
Great track , and fantastic to hear something new from you Tobin!
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Returned
Thanks. It was the chance to collaborate with a few new members (especially Steve Stone and Fioretti) that has me back at MJ. Its so cool how new blood keeps flowing thru these old veins.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
guygrooves said 2664 days ago (February 8th, 2010)
Didn't need
patience, this pulls you in and holds you all the way through. I doubt very much I would have noticed 8:20 is actually how long this piece is. Thanks for giving your music to us Tobin. I always go away inspired.
Peace
Guy
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
No patience needed
Thanks. I think back to when tracks were mixed without automation, with 1-2 guys sitting at a board looking at 16-32 tracks, fingers splayed every which way. Man, an 8 minute song would've driven us insane. Computers make this so much easier. I might even have enough energy to try another!
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Reggie_Pole said 2663 days ago (February 9th, 2010)
Fresh air
It's hard to hold a rock-type piece together without a vocalist, and I'm so happy when it works. The time flies by. Always interesting. I love the groove that kicks in at 2:10. This is a breath of, like I said, fresh air. Exhilarating. Virtuoso composition. Great collab.
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Exhilarating
Thanks. As I get older, my voice gets worse and my brain has much less inclination to consider lyrics, so instrumentals are about all I'm working on lately. Glad you liked this one.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
michaelkoppenheffer said 2663 days ago (February 9th, 2010)
Sparkling tone poem
This is an inspiring composition and collaboration--ambitious without being offputting, lengthy without becoming tiresome, expressive without being self-indulgent. And it sounds great through my Dell laptop speakers, which suggests that it's an exceptional mix.
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Speakers
Back when I used to record and mix in expensive studios, we always ran the mix (after it sounds perfect in the huge expensive wall mounted speakers) through a boom box, just to make sure the sound worked in something that approximated what most people used. I still run my mix through a series of speakers (headphones, my studio pole mounted speakers, and my computer) to pick the best settings that work across the speaker spectrum. Thanks for your kind words, your appreciation.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
paul f. page said 2663 days ago (February 9th, 2010)
AMAZING
Tobin,
There are so many remarkable things about this number that it would take many paragraphs to note them all. Here are just two things that struck me about the composition in general: 1) I hear it as a tone poem — and maybe even a mini-symphony. That middle "movement" starting at around 5:20 is magical and eerie and such a beautiful, peaceful, quelling segue from your lengthy first "movement" that is frenetic, intricate, full of fire. The finale, to me, is a kind-of toccata beginning at 6:52 and playing itself out in what my dad used to call "a double crescendo on the black keys." All I can say is that it is thrilling to listen to as you bring your programme to a close. ... 2) I am just breathless at the intricacy and interplay of instruments in your orchestration. This is a number that demands study, and I will do that forthwith. How you keep all the balls in the air is truly remarkable. Seems to me that the Tobin-Stone combo is (will be!) unstoppable. You guys are remarkably talented.
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TobinMueller said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Mini-symphony
Thanks, Paul. That's kind of how I viewed it, too. I smiled at your father's "double crescendo on the black keys" line, both becuz its all too true and also becuz I could never imagine my own father ever uttering such a phrase. (He was a non-musical all-business guy, even tho he was a fleet-footed dancer when swing music was played at parties.) I'm never in a hurry when I start to write these things, and am always astounded how much longer they take than I anticipate. It's very nice when all that time is rewarded by comments such as yours. Thanks again for listening so closely and taking something for yourself away from it all.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
jiguma said 2663 days ago (February 9th, 2010)
As expected
This is absolutely brilliant. Sorry I'm late, but I've been a little preoccupied with dying appliances :)
What a brilliant team - just love it - no nits (who could nit-pick something this good?).
Love it!
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Soundhound said 2662 days ago (February 10th, 2010)
Very Creative.....
Complex indeed, very well done I must add.....
Outstanding arrangement everything moves
nicely together.....

I.........LIKE IT............
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michaeljayklein said 2655 days ago (February 17th, 2010)
Superb
Grabbed me from the intro and didn't let go until the great finish on this--the music perfectly complements your scenario and flowing with musical ideas. Fine work here! Thanks again, Michael
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falcef said 2653 days ago (February 19th, 2010)
tonestone
Salve. Music sophistycade ok sound guitar e rithm Jazz fors bye from Italy
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Bob6stringer said 2651 days ago (February 21st, 2010)
Perfect bridge to cross the genre chasm
Good lord, this crackles with electricity and clarity, even as you pick through the various e-storted sections. The original is like watching Avatar in 2D now, you've spoiled us. The finish is absolutely a great payoff. Everyone always mentions Vangelis, who I had an issue with decades ago and never followed. My take on the ending is to reference Tangerine Dream or the I-think "rockier" Larry Fast (who turned a lazy prog rock album into a high-energy 70s e-prog romp, Nektar's Recycled.")

I am so happy to know you're going to do more together. This is a great elixir to help join the chasm between my appreciation for jazz, classical and avant-prog on one hand, with my musically illiterate rock-guitar level of ability. (I make the last point in hopes that I speak for others as well.)
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TobinMueller said 2649 days ago (February 23rd, 2010)
Avatar in 2D
Actually, I liked Avatar in 2D better than 3D (which I found frustrating, since it forced me to look at the focused part of the image on the screen). When I went again in 2D, I could look everywhere on the screen and it was all in focus and much more alive. But I also like this version much better than the original, thanks entirely to Steve.

I share your comment about a synergy between appreciations for jazz, classical and avant-prog. They indeed go together. This piece crosses all those lines. I've never heard Nektar's Recylced, thanks for the hint. I'm off to listen...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
futzpucker said 2649 days ago (February 23rd, 2010)
Quite an achievement
It's easy to see how musicians would be intimidated by the length and complexity of this, but interestingly enough, the piece remains completely accessible throughout. The various layers coming and going are compelling and all add to the myriad colors of the composition. Each is a separate lesson in the application of synthesis in contemporary music. Each is enjoyable and re-engages the interest of the listener. The dynamics are spectacular - what a ride. And the whole piece, with so many elements, in the end is very, very musical, and very enjoyable.

Congratulations to Steve for his perseverance and creativity in adding his voice to your amazing composition. And congratulations to you, Tobin, for showing us new possibilities, feeding our inspiration, and giving huge new life to your song.
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TobinMueller said 2649 days ago (February 23rd, 2010)
Steve's perseverance
Thanks for your kind words and careful ears. I was careful with the dynamics in this full arrangement, paying attention to them even in the final mastering where I compressed certain parts and boosted others. I left room to make sure the ending was loudest, didn't get too squashed. Really glad you had a chance to hear it.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
jdholliday said 2649 days ago (February 23rd, 2010)
Bold
to take on such a project I'm gonna coin a new phrase here and call this amazing piece of work "Progopera" Wow, sir this is so good and so well done, I can't even imagine spoiling this piece with vocals. In an ever shortening attention span world where a 4 minute song is too long, this held me and I can't imagine anyone anywhere not liking this, if I were to try hard to find a suggestion, I might suggest taking out the yuletide feel interlude, clearly a tremendous amount of work went into this and an unbelievable colab of talent, brings back fond memories of the greats in progrock, but current and so deserving of a video, I would try to find someone to do just that ! have you ever heard of animusic?, a couple of guys who make these great videos to not so great music, I think they would jump all over this tremendous piece!!
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tonestones said 2649 days ago (February 23rd, 2010)
Animusic
I'm a big fan. That is a great idea. I think it would be a perfect fit.
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen Cover]
apb said 2632 days ago (March 12th, 2010)
Surfin' the coffin ..

I really liked the darker/macabre sections- some sections seemed a little incongruous to the pieces overall theme to me: a little too cheery 80s Nightrider/blippy ARPs/electronica, nice though it is, providing light and shade. Regret I haven't heard v1 .. loved the outro section from 07:01 .. that powerful saw synth and the "church bell/choir" usage, really drew me back to the main theme... leaving me feeling the sections could have been interpretted as: sneaking, the desecration/robbing, dawn on hallowed ground, the shock/discovery.
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TobinMueller said 2587 days ago (April 26th, 2010)
Interpretation
I dig your section-by-section interpretation. I appreciate that you made sense of it all on a visual level, cuz that's they way I was thinking the entire while. Thanks for checking in.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
GregDz said 2632 days ago (March 12th, 2010)
Collaboration at it's best!
'm a newbie to Macjams but have listened to a lot of your and Steve's work, and you definitely make great music, individually and collectively. As a prog rocker myself, I live for tunes like this. I look forward to hearing more from both of you. Collaberation at it's best!
Greg

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TobinMueller said 2494 days ago (July 28th, 2010)
Collaboration at it's best!
Thanks. I agree. A great collab really brings everyone's game up. We are working one a few more, but Steve just took a second job! He may be busy for a while...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
richardhowardjones said 2615 days ago (March 29th, 2010)
Love it, Tobin
So glad I checked this out. The drums do it for me, although there's so much more going on, of course.
Check out my latest song called NIGHTFALL
ste said 2594 days ago (April 19th, 2010)
superb
writing. very pro. how do you go about starting to write a tune like this? i find my rather meagre efforts difficult enough. love the percussion especially. great work
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Kicbal said 2506 days ago (July 16th, 2010)
Beautiful Complexity
I like the measured exploration that this has. I also like the updated sounds that stray away a bit from the usual prog rock instrument sounds. Even my 5 year old son said that he liked this as we listen. Reminds me a bit of the group SAGA with the bell/synth horn hits.
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tonestones said 2342 days ago (December 27th, 2010)
Still amazed.
Tobin, this is a really sweet piece of music. I drop by every once in a while just to remember the whole process of working with you on this. I'm very proud to have been a part of this.

Keep up the great work...
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah [Leonard Cohen Cover]
Artist Info
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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Progressive rock (shortened to prog, or prog rock when differentiating from other "progressive" genres) is an ambitious, eclectic, and often grandiose style of rock music which arose in the late 1960s, reached the peak of its popularity in the early

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