Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Moment of Shameless Self-Promotion

Over the last few weeks, I've been working really hard on two creative projects. One involves my music, and one involves my game.

On the musical end, I'm very excited. I've completed the music for my next CD. I mentioned a few entries ago that it would be called, "Lost and Found", and that I would send a free copy to any blogger that wanted to review it with a linkback. I'm currently working on the cover graphics.

In the meantime, there's two cool additions to my website that I'd love to invite you all to check out. One is, I've released that last song! It's called "Rejoice", and you can get it for free download!

Another thing that I'm very excited about is that I've also found a cool site where I can upload sound samples and provide them to fans as ringtones! So, I cropped out a couple of hook riffs, and I put them up on the site. You can find them here or the link off my main page.

I'm very excited to hear any feedback about either of these two efforts!

On the game side, I've been doing a lot of work on the game itself, and there really isn't any visible new stuff yet. Still, those that have been following me for a while and know of my efforts and my commentaries about games in the LDS community might be interested in following along.

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to Use LDS "New Media"

Social networking is a big buzzword these days on the ‘net. For good or ill, we want to use the ‘net to connect. A while ago there was a book called “Megatrends” that coined the phrase “High-tech brings high-touch”. The idea was that the more we plug ourselves into our computers, the more we want to use that tech to reach people. It’s kinda funny, in some ways. We isolate ourselves in our homes and rooms in front of a glowing screen and still strive to connect with each other. Some call it a pathetic attempt to make false friends while hiding from the world, others call it using the tech to expand their world and associates.

I, of course, use the ‘net to make friends all the time. It’s part of my own effort to be connected to humanity, and, frankly, part of how I promote my music. It’s also my job, supporting my family.

Within Mormondom, it’s also got another unique angle. Several unique angles, actually.

One is that the LDS world suddenly gets smaller. I grew up in Indiana, and I had few Mormon friends. Most of my friends, in fact, were born-again Christians who, in their own good intentions, were trying to save me. I would have loved to have an internet where I could connect with other young church members all over the world. The best we could do was driving a couple of hours to stake dances in Indianapolis every other month or so.

Even now that I live in Utah, I still find it to be cool that I can be in contact with church members all over the world.

Another angle is that our leaders have now begun to encourage us to use the “New Media” to share the Gospel with others. Instead of being afraid of the technology, they are encouraging us to embrace it, still with caution and prayer. There are many ways to do this. We can create and post websites with our testimonies. We can blog, we can participate in forums and networks.

In the process of bumping around the ‘net, I’ve been encountering a lot of LDS-oriented new-media resources. Let me share a few with you:

  1. A cool new Mormon myspace/facebook clone. Come to my page and be my friend.
  2. An unofficial LDS encyclopedia, edited and maintained by church members everywhere
  3. Another wiki, this one primarily about testimonies. “Why We Believe” is the slogan. Great site.
  4. Can you Digg it? This one’s for us church members!
  5. LDS and Mormon life swicki A “Swiki” is a community developed search engine. This one’s all about Mormon life.
  6. A more formal and static search engine of the LDS related sites on the ‘net.
  7. To find good email forums, go to and search for “LDS” or “Mormon”. There are a lot of good groups out there.
  8. is a new site that’s primarily about advertising books, music, media, and products for the LDS community. There are also a lot of blogs and info pages there.
  9. “The Bloggernacle” is a rich and varied network of LDS blogs. There are many pearls of great price, and many lumps of coal. Proceed with interest and with caution!
  10. I love this site. It features a lot of web video content, all focused on LDS life. Sometimes funny, sometimes spiritual, sometimes informative. Always lots of fun.

Warnings: As always, nothing is ever easy or clear.

  1. All standard net safety rules apply. Don’t think that because these people are Mormon that there can’t be a few that are dangerous. Don’t give out your personal information online.
  2. Watch out for anti-Mormon propaganda. This comes in many forms. Some sites are quite up front about the fact that they think the church is false and they make it clear that they’re out to prove it. Others are more subtle, tempting church members to engage in debates and “discussions” so they can try to confound our doctrines. Still others are more subtle, church members challenging their own fundamental beliefs in the interests of “intellectual discourse” that amounts to little more than snarking or speculation.

The “New media” is here to stay, but it will change forms many many times as the years go on. Jump in and participate. See what’s out there. And when you find new stuff, come back and tell me about it!

Mark Hansen

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lost and Found!

“Lost and Found” is soon to be here!

I’m very excited. The last song of my second CD, “Lost and Found” is done. I only have to tweak the mix. From there, I get the graphics made, the CD’s duplicated, and it’s out! I’m so excited. I’ve been working on this one since “One United Generation” came out almost exactly three years ago.

Has it been that long?


I’m very pleased with the tunes on this one. Some of them are my favorites of mine. Can I have favorites of my own songs? Yeah, sure! Like “How Beautiful”, with the choir arranged by John Newman, or the driving beat of “Dance with the Devil”. There are some great tunes on this one.

Like I did last time, I’d like to offer it up to bloggers first. Kind of a “pre-release” release. Here’s the deal. If you’ve got a blog, especially an LDS-related blog, especially especially an LDS youth-related blog, I’ll send you a copy of the CD when it’s done, free. All you have to do is agree to review it with a link back to my main site. You don’t even have to promise a good review, just as long as you write it up and link. Even if you're not an LDS blogger, or if your blog isn't particularly "LDS" in topic, I'll still make the offer!

If you’re willing to do that, then jump to this page, and I’ll get you a copy as soon as it’s done (probably mid march).

Thanks so much!

Mark Hansen

Friday, February 15, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Silly...

Here's something funny. I was checking my traffic, and I noticed someone hit me with a search for "Mormon Blasphemy"! I come up on page one! Wow! This is even better than being snarked!

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Songs of Zion

Hymns Anew

By Clayton Pixton

Sometimes I think that in the pre-existence, when we were developing and growing and getting ready to come down to earth, some of us signed up for some music classes. We might have even signed a pre-earth recording contract. And in that contract it must’ve had a “hymn clause”. This said that if, in the earth life, we were to become musicians, and we were to end up doing recordings, we would be spiritually obligated to do an complete album of hymn arrangements.

And every time I see one in a store, or on a website, a part of me wants to roll my eyes and say, “Oh, no, not again…”

But then I listen. And it turns out that about half the time, I’m surprised. I mean, I admit, I’m jaded. I’ve heard so many flowery new-agey-solo-piano versions of our best loved hymns, that I think I’ve heard them all. But at least half of them still catch my ear and make me say, “My word, that’s NEW!”

That must be what Clayton was aiming at when he chose the name for this CD: “Hymns Anew”. As I listened, I was just amazed at how fresh and original the arrangements were. And they’re simple. Not a lot of orchestration. Overall, there was a folksy feel to most of them, yet with a contemporary edge. There was an energy to them that I usually don’t find in Hymns.

The first one to really grab me was the driving piano of “Come Come Ye Saints”. Wow. This sound would make me want to stand up and follow. And then later on the CD, there was an a capella, do-wop-ish version of the same arrangement. That was cool.

“Adam-Ondi-Ahman” (also known as “The Earth Was Once a Garden Place”) Had a really fun touch with the tin whistle and the guitar, and the tempo was a little livelier than I was used to. “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing” was one of my favorites arrangements of one of my favorite hymns.

The only track that I felt didn’t really live up to the others was “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”. It was performed well, but as a piano solo, it just didn’t carry anything new for me. Not like the others did. I felt like I’d heard that one before. But it still sounded great, and was very well done.

I’d strongly recommend this CD. It’s truly Hymns, done Anew.

It also made me think of what I'd like to do when I record my contractual hymns CD...

Mark Hansen


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