My friend Sam Billen has orchestrated yet another fantastic holiday project this year. It’s called “A Light Goes On,” and it is a synthesis of art and music that pairs musicians’ Christmas songs with visuals that likewise celebrate the festive season. It features works by the ever whimsical and wonderful Half-Handed Cloud, Japan’s The Tenniscoats, Kansas City’s underground art Boy Wonder Danny J. Gibson, harpist Timbre, and several others (including yours truly).

My brother-in-law Matt Damon (yes, this is actually his name) set up the Web site for us, and did a marvelous job. If you need a Web site, he is your man. He might even set up two for you, provided you acquaint him with some green Benjamin Franklins.

Above is my awful/awesome art for the compilation. It is the logical companion to the Christmas song I contributed, which is an instrumental titled “Away in a Manger of Dreams.” To create the song, I tracked multiple EBow parts, programmed percussion, and used archival audio that my parents recorded when I was about 2-years-old. It features me laughing, grunting, and squealing, among other things.

The song is a mirror image of itself in the sense that the first half features the melody of one traditional version of “Away in a Manger,” and as the archival audio enters the mix, the song fades, and then a backwards version of the entire first part of the song plays from beginning to end with new instruments tracked over it. It was melodic enough backwards that I simply had to use it. It’s kind of a novelty song, and it features my friend Melissa Vanderlinden on piano as well. Sam Billen especially likes the big, swooping EBow lead parts.

The art I created to correspond with the song is titled “The Answer is Tableau-ing in the Wind,” and is (obviously) a play on the title of the Bob Dylan classic. The nativity characters in the photo are from a set my parents had when I was a child. I somehow inherited the entire nativity set, probably because I used to play with the figurines from it as though they were action figures. I was an action figure fiend as a child, so I decided to add several of the ones I still own to the photo in hopes of creating something of how a child sees Christmas. As a pastor’s son, I always knew about the Christ-child, but I also knew about presents. The photo is my childhood vision of Bethlehem as seen through my adult eyes.

Download the project for free here.

Check out the coverage of this happening on Lawrence.com here.