Ottmar...

Newsletter

02014-03-21 @ 10:03

Yesterday our monthly (in reality more like 8-10 times per year) newsletter was sent out to our mailing list. The recipients received “secret” links and can listen to one song from each of the two new albums that are officially dropping in mid-April.

If you would like to be on that list in the future, you can sign up here.

Blue

02014-02-22 @ 11:02

I posted a few new images in my photoblog. They were taken at sunrise in Carmel, on the day of our concert there on February 13th.

Portable Listening

02014-01-18 @ 13:01

I have always been a fan of headphones. We have been using in-ear-monitors on stage since 1994 and I have used Stax headphones when I work on an album for almost as long. Over the years I have accumulated quite a few headphones for listening to music when I am not in the studio.

But, I have a new favorite way to listen, and I have used this new setup a lot in the past six months, while I am finishing two albums to be released by SSRI this Spring.

This is it:

I put ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec – 16bit/44.1kHz) files on my iPhone. I bypass the iPhone’s digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amp by plugging the Lightning-to-USB cable into the ADL X1, a Japanese DAC + headphone amp. Finally I connect the Audeze LCD-2 headphones to the X1 and enjoy great sound. One can also plug a USB cable into one’s computer and in that case the X1 will work with files up to 24bit/192kHz.

The LCD-2 headphones sound really natural to me. I don’t hear the unnatural boosted highs and bass that so many headphones push out. The bass is rich, but not flabby or tubby. The treble creates a clear and beautiful image, but without that biting brightness that fatigues the ears, and the mid-range is luxurious. I can listen to these headphones for hours, and have many times. My new absolute favorite pair of headphones!

It is not exactly a cheap setup – I have seen prices for the X1 range between $399 and $645 and the LCD-2 seems to go from under a thousand to around 1,200 – but this can easily become a person’s only stereo system. These days I can’t imagine spending many thousands of dollars on a regular, non-portable, hi-fi system. Mobile is the way to go, I think, and with this setup I am not sacrificing anything!

three-oh-five

02014-01-08 @ 17:01

Three oh five SQUARE

© Greg Gorman 2013

‘appy nu ‘ear!

02014-01-01 @ 07:01

On new year’s eve I redid three mixes for the new album “three-oh-five”. Then I sat down with a glass of wine and listened to the whole album using Audeze LCD-2 headphones – through an old Parasound DAC and preamp.

I loved every track and heard nothing that took me out of the experience, which means it looks like I was able to finish the music on the last day of 2013.

Now I can turn my attention to another album I want to release this Spring…

A few radio performances

02012-09-20 @ 11:09

Two videos from the Insight Studio at Capital Radio in Sacramento. The first one was recorded last month, the other one last year:

Two videos from the Bing Lounge @ 101.9 KINK FM in Portland – from Summer 2011:

iTunes review of DUNE

02012-08-30 @ 10:08

iTunes – Music – Dune (feat. Luna Negra) by Ottmar Liebert

Written by Thom Jurek for AllMusic.

On Dune, Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra move away from the sleepy softness that marred 2010’s Petals on the Path. While Dune’s sound is carefully sculpted to reflect the arid Southwest landscape that is the band’s trademark, its compositions are complex, songlike, and adventurous while being thematically linked in abstract fashion.

Although Liebert’s guitars (acoustic and electric) are the focal point, there are a wide variety of textures and musical extensions employed by bassist/keyboardist Jon Gagan, accordionist Char Rothschild, and percussionist Robbie Rothschild. In addition, composer Andrew Gaskins employs a pair of sound designs on the brief “mood locators” at the beginning and end of the album.

This beautifully articulated meld of acoustic and electric instruments recalls moments from Liebert’s past recordings such as Opium, The Hours Between Night + Day, and The Scent of Light. Standouts here include the Moorish scale employed in “Horse,” a nuevo flamenco number that features a lovely dialogue between Liebert’s nylon-string and electric guitars and Char Rothschild’s swirling modal accordion.

“Shadow” shifts between a modern rhumba and a 6/8 beat. The effect is slightly funky when underscored by Gagan’s bassline. Check the breezy yet emotive languages of nuevo flamenco and contemporary jazz on “Sand (Apophenia).”

“On the Road to Shiraz,” begins with a lone Morricone-esque electric guitar before Robbie Rothschild’s handclaps jump into the center. Liebert’s nylon string answers with the melody as Char Rothschild hovers in the backdrop. But it’s the funky skittering of Gagan’s electric bass that finds a counter rhythm; it anchors the tune while simultaneously propelling it forward.

“Five Clouds Lenticular” begins as a keyboard drone before the acoustic guitar comes to the fore, playing a gorgeous 5/4 back and forth in dialogue with itself as Char Rothschild accents the changes. The interplay between the accordion and guitars on “Smoke (Rising in Spirals)” is extended by reverb and other ambient effects.

Dune is an example of cutting-edge nuevo flamenco; Liebert’s confidence in his lyrical vision is total, allowing him and Luna Negra to focus on attention to detail and adventure; consequently, they deliver in spades.

One Morning in February

02012-06-18 @ 17:06

OL 20120516 02

DUNE Availability

02012-05-07 @ 10:05

Digital Downloads:
ListeningLounge (mp3 320kbps)
iTunes (AAC 256kbps)
Amazon.com (mp3 256 kbps)
HDTracks.com (FLAC 24/88.2kHz) – May 8th?

CD:
SSRI mailorder
Amazon.com (May 15th)
+ your local CD store and most national chains (May 15th)

Prepress Proof

02012-03-16 @ 14:03

20120316-152628.jpg

DUNE

02012-03-13 @ 08:03

I will add another track from DUNE to this SoundCloud set every Tuesday, until the album is released on April 24th. Simply return to this post every Tuesday to hear another song.

Right after we came home from last year’s Summer tour I started working on a new album. I had a photo and a title – the album cover was photographed by Mike Lane in the dunes near Mendocino, California – and a few new songs we had been playing live for several months. So I started writing more music and imagining sounds.

I decided that I disliked the sound of the Line 6 Pod Pro I had been using for a number of years. To my ears it simply does not sound like a “real” guitar amp.

So I borrowed a few amps to try, and ended up buying another Mesa Boogie – I bought my first one upon arrival in the USA in 1979, used it on “The Hours Between Night + Day” and “Opium”, and sold it in 2002, thinking that the digital way would more convenient and perhaps better. My new Boogie is quite small, has a 5W class A tube design and sounds amazing. Unfortunately the model I bought, the Express 5:25™ 1×10 Combo, was discontinued this year in favor of the bigger 12″ speaker.

I recorded all of the electric guitar parts without a pick and without any kind of effect, mainly using my thumb, and sometimes my fingers.

I also decided that I wanted to play guitar melodies that sounded “sung”. For some reason I kept thinking about old jazz and pop crooners. So I sang almost every melody first and then figured out how to play it on guitar. Perhaps this album is about guitar anti-shredding…

The album seems to continuo the idea from “Opium” of contrasting traditional and electric instruments:
percussion : drum machine
accordion : synthesizer
flamenco guitar : electric guitar (my old Vizcarra Strat)
upright bass : bass guitar

We ended up using very very little synth on this album… there are some strings on “Dancing Alone”, but most everything else is processed guitar. On “Horse”, for example, Jon played a guitar chord of mine through a speaker into his piano, with a brick depressing the sustain pedal, miking the piano strings. And there is some classic Fender Rhodes on “Bridge” and in one or two other places.

Regarding the drum machine… I was feeling nostalgic for the old Roland 808, one of the first machines I used in 1984. But since I did not want to pay the going rate of $2,500 for a used 808, and since they are a pain anyway because one has to dial in the tempo with a knob and guess at the tempo, I found a company in the UK that sells 24/88.2 high def samples from an 808 and bought a really nice German app called Geist to program the beats on my laptop. The whole thing ended up costing about $300 and works better than a real 808 would, in my opinion.

01 Falling In
All of the sounds were created from one electric guitar chord and a few Flamenco guitar sounds. Treatment and sound design by Andrew Gaskins. This track is “Falling In”, the beginning of a dream.

02 Shadow
A rumba with a little twist: it switches between a 4/4 rumba section (99BPM) and a 6/8 section (66BPM) that are related because the dotted eighth note of the 4/4 section becomes the quarter note in the 6/8 section. I was doing this naturally, but wanted to know what the hell I was doing – so Jon figured it out. I think it something that is done quite often in African music. Lovely accordion playing by Char Rothschild.

03 Horse
I found the Arabic scale on the Internet and immediately starting playing with it. I might have found it here. I added a couple of 5/4 bars in the chorus. Fun to play live. Great accordion playing, again! The cajon is also excellent and there is a beautiful bass solo at the end.

04/05 Bridge, Part 1 & 2
We have been playing this Tangos (Part 2 is a rumba) live for a year and a half. I love the bass w octave divider in the verses and the break with electric guitar and Fender Rhodes.

06 Sand
This one switches between rumba and tangos rhythms and different tempos that are nevertheless mathematically related. Jon suggested the upright bass which is perfect for the song. A little electric guitar during the outro…

07/08 Dancing Alone
I liked the song on “Petals On the Path”, but had a different vision for it. So we recorded it again and I love the way it turned out. We kept switching between two tempos on this one also. Great accordion playing, again! The ending of the Prelude is also a Flamenco guitar treatment by Andrew Gaskins.

09 Smoke
I love the interplay between guitar and accordion. During the third verse Jon plays three bass guitars and a clavinet!

10 On the Road to Shiraz
Killer bass line!! That bass break after the second verse consists of three basses, the main line, plus a low note to the right and some strumming on the left. At the very end you can hear me “play” a shortwave radio using the fine-tune knob.

11 Five Clouds, Lenticular
As the title suggests this one is in 5/4. The cajon beat is some kind of Eastern European 5/4 riff. Very pretty chorus melody.

12 Night Exhales
Pretty straightforward rumba with a funky ending!

13 Horse Return
A funky section from track 03 with added dry guitar parts and drum boxing.

14 Moon Fragrance
The percussionist is Chris Steele, who is in the new touring band. He has a unique setup with two Cuban cajons, which don’t have snare strings like the Peruvian cajons. We hadn’t recorded a Bossa Nova in a few years and enjoyed playing this.

15 Sliding Out
This is the end of the dream. Guitar treatment and sound design by Andrew Gaskins.

Track #2

02012-03-05 @ 15:03

It’s almost Tuesday in Stuttgart, Germany, where I performed a solo concert tonight, so here is a another “Dune” piece. “Shadow” is track #2 on the new album. Check out how this piece switches seamlessly between 4/4 and 6/8 rhythms! Beautiful accordion playing by Char Rothschild.

Dune

02012-03-03 @ 00:03

Lawrence Russell listens to an advance copy of “Dune”. He likes track #9, called “Smoke”. Our new album “Dune” will be released on April 24th.

Check back on Tuesday, to hear another track.

Happy Holidays 2011

02011-12-24 @ 10:12

Le Café – from the album Winter Rose:

Audio MP3

You can download the track here.

Westcoast – from the album Winter Rose:

Audio MP3

You can download the track here.

March in Germany

02011-12-22 @ 18:12

Liebert A1 2 copy

You can find all tour dates here.

Four Nights in November

02011-09-13 @ 12:09

I will perform solo at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco November 10th through 13th. More information here.

Photo

02011-08-19 @ 13:08

DSC2253bs
Photo by Joe Mozdzen, taken in California in July.

Four Years Ago

02010-10-31 @ 05:10


Playing guitar for the kids at the Zhechen monastery college.

Intimacy through Practice | Buddhist Geeks

02010-09-13 @ 12:09

Here is the interview I did with Buddhist Geeks.

Benefit Concert for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

02010-08-31 @ 13:08

Ottmar Liebert – Tour Schedule: Benefit Concert for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
OL + Luna Negra at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque on September 30th.
You can buy tickets here – select “Search by Event” field and scroll down to Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra.

 


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