Viewing posts tagged releases

New Release: Lady in Red

Here’s a fun new single for ya: BAO’s stylized cover version of the 1986 hit “The Lady in Red” by Chris DeBurgh. It’s out now on Bandcamp and will be on all streaming platforms on May 25.

I usually do a cover song when I need help getting into the flow of producing music and this was practice for my forthcoming album. This cover version is a concentrated example of some of the sonic aesthetics and production techniques that I’ve been exploring in my work for Ming & Ping, BAO, and other artists. This single won’t be on the album, but it has a few stylistic elements that will be.

“The Lady in Red” was ubiquitous on the radio when I was a kid and, for some reason, Vietnamese people in the US really like this song so I heard it all the time growing up. I always thought it was an okay song, with kinda corny lyrics, but there are some super catchy elements in the song such as the iconic choral background vocals. I wanted to challenge myself to cover this song without using that background vocal technique, so that I can identify what makes the BAO sound special. Hope you dig it.

Go to Bandcamp

olive eyes

olive eyes is an unreleased project I started in the late 2000s while I was focused on creating work for Ming & Ping. It sounds like a mash of shoegaze + drum n bass + trip hop. One of the olive eyes tracks is being released April 19, 2022 on the Space Anemone 5 Year Anniversary Compilation and the Space Anemone label will help release an olive eyes EP in the future.

Here are some links for ya:

> Check out the Space Anemone 5 Year Anniversary Compilation

> Go directly to my track “an immeasurable distance”

> Watch the release party livestream on the Space Anemone YouTube channel

New Release: Perpetual Heartbreak (Remixes)

Surprise! We’ve just put a new remix EP onto Bandcamp! Perpetual Heartbreak (Remixes) will also be on streaming platforms next week June 27. This release contains three very different remixes by three incredible artists: POLYCHRON, Alex Kade, and _flatpat_.
Listen Now

A Different Story (POLYCHRON Remix)
POLYCHRON is a production duo from Los Angeles who specialize in layering ethereal landscapes with vintage Drum N Bass-inspired beats. Check out POLYCHRON on Bandcamp.

No Filter (Alex Kade Remix)
Alex Kade is an EDM production duo from Toronto, Canada, whose soaring dance remixes and live streaming performances have enjoyed viral success since the pandemic. Visit

Thanks (_flatpat_ Remix)
_flatpat_ is a Houston, Texas-based producer and beatmaker previously known as That Purple Bastard. Their Slowed & Chopped style remixes and prolific work ethic are respected within the experimental hip hop scene. Check out _flatpat on Soundcloud.

Mastered by my homie Jesse McInturff
Cover art by this really talented artist named Bao Vo

“Hey Dear” by Rebs ft. BAO

Listen to “Hey Dear,” a new single by Rebs, produced by BAO. “Hey Dear” is an 80s-inspired tune written by 20-year-old indie artist Rebs. It tells the story of a mother missing a child who moved away. The song was inspired by Rebs’ own journey of leaving for college. Hope you like the new work and support Rebs in their musical adventures!

A couple months ago, I heard “Hey Dear” from a demo version that Rebs recorded and posted on Soundcloud. I liked the song so much that I asked if I could produce a version.

Rebecca Chan, also known as Rebs, is a 20-year old indie artist from Michigan who perpetually strives for intersectionality. As a queer, biracial artist, they seek to represent the nuance and complexity of a layered identity and existence. That nuance extends to their music, combining and blurring genres to create new sounds.

Play “Hey Dear” by Rebs on Youtube or stream it from your favorite streaming platform here. Also, follow rebs.chan on Instagram.

UPDATED: Perpetual Heartbreak Out Now

You know that totally private rush when you’re like, “Fuck it, I don’t care what anyone else thinks. This is what I want”? 😂 My debut full-length Perpetual Heartbreak is one of the most personal, vulnerable, and experimental recordings I’ve made. It’s a balance of my obsession with tightly edited pop music and my love for things that are subtly unsettling.

Perpetual Heartbreak is officially out now as a Youtube video series, streaming, or download:

Perpetual Heartbreak Credits

Written, arranged, performed, and produced by BAO except as noted below. Mastered by Thomas Dimuzio. Artwork by BAO.

Beautiful Things
Kyle Dombroski – Drums and Percussion
Timm Shingler – Bass Guitar
Evaldo Garcia – Keyboards
Jesse McInturff – Guitars

No Filter
Engineered and co-produced by Davy Pelletier
Davy Pelletier – Synthesizers

Perpetual Heartbreak
Sunrise Transparence – Horns

Union Station
Additional production by Taylor Shechet
Jake Lightning – Guitar Solo

Burn It Down
Written and produced by BAO, Taylor Shechet, and Sunrise Transparence
Sunrise Transparence – Horns

Deep Beneath the Sea
Written and arranged by BAO and Evaldo Garcia
Evaldo Garcia – Piano and Keyboards

Perpetual Thanks To

BAO’s beautiful boy band (Timm Shingler, Chef Evaldo Garcia, Jesse McInturff, Kyle Dombroski, and Rogie Lucero).
The Ming & Ping Dynasty (Ming, Ping, Jamie Locks, Donna Pungprechawat, Helen B. Thompson, Ryan Vasquez).
Taylor Shechet for helping with production, sound design, and strategy.
Elissa R. Sloan for helping with art direction.
Dan, Jenny, and Shayna at Modern Works Music Publishing.
Andrea Vancura, Justin Tsugranes, Khoa Vu, Simon Tam, and Alex Steininger.
My mom, my family, friends, and supporters.
Everyone I’ve seen naked.

New Release: A Little Bottle of Tears (Original Soundtrack)

Several years ago, I scored a soundtrack for Jess Iglehart’s short animated film “A Little Bottle of Tears.” I decided to release it as a soundtrack album so that the music can live on its own. So here we are.

A Little Bottle of Tears | CalArts Showcase 2012 from Jess Idlehart on Vimeo.

The soundtrack is broken up into three parts and, to mirror the aesthetic of the film, it combines old sampled sounds with new digital sounds. Watch it for yourself on Vimeo and check out Jess Iglehart’s latest work on Instagram. 🙂

If you’d like to support my work, here are a few other ways:

Thank you!

New Release: Christmas in LA

The holidays can be challenging for a lot of people, especially those who are away from where they grew up or those without family close by. Christmas in LA attempts to reflect that vibe while reminding the listener to embrace the friends and acquaintances around them because we all need each other.

I wrote this song together with Timm Shingler, who is the bassist in the BAO live band. We were hanging out in his garage with an electric guitar and after some banter, we decided that a Christmas song might be interesting to try. I have a long list of song ideas on my iPhone and we pulled one of the phrases, “this must be the place.” Timm wrote most of the chord progression while I put some lyrics together. We tried the song a few times, tweaked a few chords and words, then recorded a quick demo with only guitar and voice.

The lyrics focus on the experience of people who are away from home during the holidays. It starts in a sad way, reflecting on being homesick and lonely, but it ends in a more uplifting way with the recognition that friends are family. It’s a theme that I return to a lot in my songs that can be summed up with a Ming & Ping lyric, “It’s not what happens and not what you do. It’s only the eyes you choose to look through.”

Months later, I picked up that demo and decided to produce a more refined version featuring a minimal drum machine pattern and a synthesizer. The song’s production focuses on the voice, starting low and slow then bursting into a more melodic chorus.

The cover photo was shot by Timm and it features a public art piece by WRDSMTH. I actually wasn’t familiar with his work when we decided to put it on the cover art, so I felt pretty bad when he called me out on it on Instagram. Since then I’ve been checking out the rest of his work online and recognizing it around the city. Hope I can make it up by sharing his link here.

I’ll be taking a short break in 2020 to travel, plan, and create lots of new music and content, so please stay tuned to my social media. If you’d like to support my work, here are a few other ways:

Thank you!

New Release: Disappearing

I’m usually the person reminding my creative friends that “Not everything needs to be a masterpiece,” but sometimes I forget that myself. Sometimes a song just wants to stay modest and doesn’t need to be your own Bohemian Rhapsody. That’s the story of this latest single called Disappearing.

I had Disappearing finished for a while, but since it was so short (1:20 min) I never considered it done. However, every time I listened to it, I didn’t feel like it needed anything else. My final adjustment to the song was to add a meaningful field recording at the end during the mastering phase. This brought the song to an epic 1 minute and 35 seconds! But maybe a song called “Disappearing” doesn’t need to drag on and on…

The song was written fairly quickly earlier this year while I was in a reclusive aka “hermit” period. I spend hours sometimes going through the thousands of different keyboard sounds in my music production software, adding the sounds I like to various “favorites” lists. During this time-consuming process, I get to freely improvise on the keyboard and make up random micro-songs based on how the various sounds make me feel. That’s when I found the main “pad” sound that makes up the majority of Disappearing. It’s a setting on a software version of the Yamaha DX7 synth, from the late 1980s.

While I played the chord pattern, the lyrics came out pretty naturally without much belaboring. I like that the flow is a little bit reminiscent of the sing-rap style of Drake or Khalid–it’s a bit different for me. BTW, I cut a sped up 1-minute version that I used for an Instagram post.

The song’s subject matter is halfway between self-deprecating and actually concerned. LOL. I sometimes get into periods where I have conflicting feelings of being too isolated, but also feel antisocial at the same time. So I was hibernating and reflecting on topics including legacy, mortality, and what people choose to do with their limited existence. It culminated into the concept of “disappearing” if you’re not present in anyone else’s life.

The final addition to Disappearing was a meaningful sample that I got from my friend Mike Harrison, who passed away last year. He made a bunch of field recordings during a trip to Japan in 2016, most of which were of busy streets, arcades, and mass transit. But there was one of crows in a field. If there are any old-school Ming & Ping fans reading, you might know that I’ve often used a crow as a stand-in for myself in Ming & Ping’s music and even some photos, like this one by Julie Klima. It’s also in the lyrics of Ming & Ping’s most popular song, Beautiful Things:

“All the people scream for their dead dreams
And tell you not to try ‘cause you won’t fly
And you just watch the show like a black crow
You just watch the show like a black crow.”

– Ming & Ping, “Beautiful Things”



The crow is basically a symbol of actual BAO creeping in the background while my eccentric art takes the spotlight. The crows also reminded me of my late friend Mike, whose legacy will always be a strong and beautiful one with the people who knew him. I just wanted to pay tribute to something we had in common: being innately antisocial while making weird eccentric art.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to support my work, here are a few other ways:

Thank you!

*UPDATED* Musashi (Original Game Soundtrack)

UPDATE: A mobile game that I created the musical score for is now available in the US. People have been playing “Musashi World Warriors” in Asia for a while. If you feel like winning actual cryptocurrency while playing “Rock–paper–scissors” using ancient warriors, you should get this game on your smartphone and put on some headphones to enjoy the music and sound effects by yours truly.

Download on Apple’s App Store
Download on Google Play

Late last year, some friends invited me to compose the music for a game called Musashi, which is scheduled to be released in early 2018. It was the first time I had ever created original music for a game, so the experience really made me want to do more projects like this. This soundtrack album consists of full length versions of the musical clips used in the game. Enjoy streaming the music on this page or on any major digital streaming platforms and learn more about the game and my creative process below.

About Musashi the Game

Musashi is a simple role playing game for mobile devices. Your character travels through ancient lands to battle opponents and win virtual gold. Players trade in that gold for armor and other powers for their characters. The thing that makes Musashi stand apart from other RPGs is that the fighting is ultra-simplified and is based on rock–paper–scissors. You can just play it casually while waiting for your coffee to get made. I really enjoy the game’s retro artwork, reminiscent of the Street Fighter II character art from the 1990s. And hopefully, players will also like the game’s music.

General Approach to the Music

Overall, the Musashi soundtrack is mainly electronic music with many sampled and digitally distorted acoustic instruments. I used classic synthesizer sounds and effects as the basis of the music, while adding traditional world instruments to create certain vibes that match the scenes in the game. But even the real instruments were heavily altered using digital effects because I wanted everything to have a decayed, unnatural feeling. For example, most of the orchestra strings were played on a software version of a Mellotron so that there’s something unnatural about them, but you can’t quite place what it is. While the game required short, monophonic loops (one speaker only), the full versions on this album were mixed in stereo with a few additional effects that help create the illusion of large antique spaces.

Vietnamese-inspired Musashi Theme

Musashi’s music all started with the main melody that you hear in the Musashi Theme, played by a sampled and digitally distorted Erhu, an old Chinese two-stringed instrument similar to a fiddle. I came up with this melody while in the shower after having played around with the game for a couple days. I wanted a melody that felt like a conflict between seeking adventure and longing for home. Once I had this melody recorded onto my iPhone’s voice notes, the backing music came out pretty naturally. The last part I did on this song was to add an electric guitar with lots of delay and reverb. There was a Vietnamese guitarist that was hugely popular in the 80s and 90s named Vô Thường, whose style inspired my guitar part. You’ve probably heard his music playing in the background at the Pho restaurant. LOL. Here’s four hours of his insane music.

Musical Themes for Each Ancient Civilization

We decided early in the process that we should have a few musical themes that correspond to the various ancient lands that your Musashi character travels through in the game. My approach was to use the main melody from Musashi Theme and use variations of that throughout all the other themes, even though the rest of the music could be significantly different.

The Arabic and Siberian themes are probably my favorites. For the Arabic theme, I found a loop of some tablas that had a cool rhythmic pattern and tuned them to my liking. I then added some synthesized and sampled vocals and detuned them, causing a melted feeling. The rhythm of the vocals on some parts sounds a little like chanting, but it’s actually accomplished by taking a long and steady “ahhhh” sound and using something called sidechain compression to make the voices pulsate to the rhythm of the tablas. For the Siberian theme, I listened to a bunch of traditional music from Siberia and Mongolia, which helped me pick some instruments that had a similar vibe: a primitive flute, a clanky guitar, and some deep voices that sound almost like throat singing. Put all that on top of a pulsing electronic beat and you have Musashi’s Siberian Theme.

How to Support BAO’s Music

How did you like the music? Let me know in the comments. When Musashi becomes available to the public, you’ll be able to download the game on the Apple and Google stores. You can also support me in a few different ways:

Text me maybe: (629) 888-1938
❤️ BAO

New Release: This Whole Love Thing

Whoo! Here’s another silly love song! Like a lot of my other work, This Whole Love Thing has a bunch of musical and cultural references snuck into it. That kind of stuff is fun for me. Sometimes it’s more obvious than others, but on this one, it’s very obvious. Keep reading to learn about some of the fun references that are included in my latest release.

This song had been around as a demo for over 4 years before I finished and released it. The hook “This Whole Love Thing” was inspired by a conversation with one of my friends who said the phrase while describing how he didn’t expect to have such strong feelings for a woman he was dating. Of course, I wrote it down in my phone as a song idea and eventually developed it.

The opening drum machine pattern is a reference to a 1990 Roxette single called It Must Have Been Love, which was in the movie Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. I started out wanting to write a power ballad, and that Roxette track is one of my favorites. My song didn’t turn out to have that much “power” but it’s still got some ballady vibes. The drum machine samples I used are from the Akai MPC60, which came out in 1988.

The other instruments that make up the song are pretty classic: a Rhodes electric piano, bass guitar layered with a Moog bass synthesizer, a few electric guitars, and for the country music vibe I put in Hammond Organ.

In the lyrics, I also snuck in a reference from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, the film from 1985 starring one of my biggest influences in entertainment, Pee Wee Herman. The reference is in the first verse. Can you find it? (Leave me a comment on this blog entry)

The vocal treatment for the verses was inspired by John Lennon’s song Watching the Wheels. After I had finished recording the vocals, I was at a lost as to how to affect the dry vocal recordings, so I asked a couple of friends. Patrick Kornegay, a movie producer and music nerd, responded by suggesting I try something like Watching the Wheels. I was dubious at first, but after I figured out which effects to put on the voice, it was exactly what the song needed.

I love the cover photo for This Whole Love Thing, taken by my friend and BAO bassist Timm Shingler, because it makes me look like Steve Carell from the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin. LOL! I look like I’m staring off into space daydreaming about my crush or something. It’s just so innocent and dorky and funny. The photo was taken on 120 film, using a Voigtländer Perkeo I camera from the 1950s. I also took a similar image of Timm too, check it out.

Real question, tho: Are you interested in Youtube videos where I dissect each song and talk about the technical construction and inspiration for each song? Lemme know, yo! If you’d like to support my work, here are a few other ways:

Thank you!