Archive for 2011-04

Saturday: Travel Day

02011-04-30 @ 19:04

Buffalo as seen from my hotel room:

One often wonders whether flight attendants have to demonstrate how to buckle a seat belt – doesn’t that seem completely unnecessary? But this afternoon a group of tribal Asians were on the flight from Chicago to Buffalo who were not familiar with seat belts and Jon had to help an old man next to him get buckled up. After landing the man also could not release the seatbelt himself. Like a visitor from another planet. I do like to see that sort of thing.. people who are clearly different.

I was thinking about my post Pirates and Thieves and how complicated that whole issue really is. A person who rips 19 album and gathers up all of those files, perhaps adds cover images to the files, uploads them to rapidshare or a similar service, that person invests quite a bit of time and effort. They must like the music, must see their making the music available in this fashion as a way to either get some credit for “liberating music” from fellow file-sharers, or perhaps they even imagine they are helping these albums get heard.

Take these two blog pieces about books and piracy and Google searches and ranking for example: an author wrote this piece about his book and received this reply a few days later. Interesting, complex, complicated.

Society has not digested the Internet (and many other things – e.g. when to use and when to silence cellphones etc.) yet… we are still unclear about what is OK and what isn’t. This has nothing to do with what the law says is not OK, but that has always been so throughout history! What the law says is not permissible and what we think is not permissible are two separate islands with a whole lot of grey area in between.

There was more I had thought up about this, but I am getting tired – I had two hours of sleep last night – and perhaps I can be clearer in the Morning.

New Release

02011-04-30 @ 17:04

This Summer we are releasing two versions of the album “Santa Fe”. This album is the completely re-worked music of The Santa Fe Sessions (which has been out-of-print for a couple of years), with a few unreleased versions (2 the Night, Santa Fe, Borrasca), with many new parts and newly mixed and mastered. I think it sounds great.

The tracklist is as follows:

01. Barcelona Nights
02. Isla del Sol
03. 2 the Night
04. Dancing Under the Moon
05. Heart Still/Beating
06. Reaching Out 2 U
07. Santa Fe
08. Borrasca
09. Turkish Night
10. La Rosa Negra
11. Havana Club
12. Snakecharmer
13. Morning Arrival in Goa

The music is identical on both albums. The first image shows the Lifescapes CD that will be available at Target, starting in June.

The second image shows the CD that will be available ONLY at our concerts. We will not sell this CD from our website or in download form. We will have these CDS with us on the Spring tour that starts this weekend.

Complete Spring Tour

02011-04-29 @ 10:04

We added a couple of dates to the Spring tour and here is the complete list:

May 01 – Buffalo NY – Tralf Music Hall
May 03 – Fall River MA – Narrows Center for the Arts
May 04 – Ogunquit ME – Jonathan’s
May 05 – Boston MA – Scullers
May 06 – Londonderry NH – Tupelo Music Hall
May 07 – New York NY – BB Kings
May 08 – White River Junction VT – Tupelo Music Hall
May 10 – Annapolis MD – Ramshead
May 11 – Alexandria VA – Birchmere
May 12 – Norfolk CT – Infinity Hall
May 13 – Ridgefield CT – Ridgefield Playhouse
May 14 – Bay Shore NY – Boulton Center
May 15 – Sellersville PA – Sellersville Theater
May 18 – Minneapolis MN – Dakota Jazz Club
May 19 – Minneapolis MN – Dakota Jazz Club
May 20 – Chicago IL – Old Town School of Folk Music

The musicians will be:
OL – Flamenco Guitar
Jon Gagan – Fretless Bass Guitar + Keyboard
Michael Chavez – Percussion
Houman Orei – Percussion

Jon on stage at the Teatro Sociale in Trento, Italy, during soundcheck, on April 6th.

Pirates and Thieves

02011-04-29 @ 07:04

Ottmar Liebert – Collection [19 CD] (1990-2010) MP3 – 320
Ottmar Liebert – Collection [19 CD] (1990-2010) MP3 – 320

Why limit oneself to sharing one album, when one can share 19 of them. What an ass! Why do I even bother to record anything at this point?

As Dave pointed out in the comments, I record for the fans who aren’t douche bags (his words).

True, and also for myself.

By the way, I watched the DVD Inside Job the other night – the film that won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature this year – more on Wikipedia. Talk about a culture that is unsustainable! Educating, infuriating. It’s a must-see!

Also, we received our Santa Fe CDs, which means that they will be available from us during the Spring tour. I am not pleased with a way the cover looks. Because sharpies don’t write well on coated stock we switched to printing on the other, uncoated, side. The first album cover printed on the uncoated stock was Petals On the Path, and it looked OK. Well, this one doesn’t look very good. (what happens when one is in a rush and has no time to approve the actual printing)

But, here is another way to look at this:

It’s a limited edition of 1,000 CDs… because once these are sold we will completely re-design the cover!

The music on the CD, on the other hand, sounds amazing. I am really happy with the way it turned out.

Tuesday Links

02011-04-26 @ 10:04

The 20th Century Limited:
Sunday Streamline #29: Dreyfuss Rockets

50 Watts
BLICKFANG: The Eye-Catching Covers of Weimar Berlin

Speakeasy – WSJ
Werner Herzog on Why He’s Suspicious of Modern Art

Volume Brooch
Oh, and of course it’s worth noting that, “These go to eleven.”

The World’s Last Typewriter Factory Is Closed – Yahoo! News
The World’s Last Typewriter Factory Is Closed

Privacy and incentives –
The reason everyone’s up in arms about the iPhone’s location database, I think, isn’t that the data is particularly incriminating or embarrassing for most people. Rather, we’ve simply been reminded quite how much of our lives these convenient pocket computers are privy to.

People would be similarly freaked out, if not more so, if they saw how much Facebook and Google know about them.

Fred Eerdekens | Design Milk
Fred Eerdekens plays with light and shadow using a variety of materials — from plants to wire to cereal boxes — to spell out words. What looks like a simple arrangement of objects takes on a whole new meaning once light hits it in just the right spot.

Unseen — For Nihon | Various (mp3 / flac)
After learning about the tragic events of the Japanese earthquake on March 11th my wife, Hollie, and I were talking about ways to help. We decided to ask a few friends to join a compilation to help raise money. A few quickly became many as we were overwhelmed and warmed by the eagerness of these musicians to get involved.

“For Nihon” features some of the premier names in ambient / experimental music. 100% of the profits from the sale of this album will be donated to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund set up by New York’s Japan Society.

BBC News – Brains of Buddhist monks scanned in meditation study
Brains of Buddhist monks scanned in meditation study

Banned books return to shelves in Egypt and…
A number of highly political titles censored by the regime of ousted Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali are now returning to the country’s bookshop shelves.

Main Page – GigaPan Time Machine
Explore simultaneously in space and time with GigaPan Time Machine

Morning Arrival in Goa

02011-04-25 @ 12:04

Here is the winner:

Audio MP3

Download the file here.

Laptop and Links

02011-04-23 @ 07:04

My MacBook Pro (late 2008 model) now sports a 120GB solid state (flash) system drive and a second HD with a capacity of 750GB (in place of the DVD drive) and I have lived with it for over a week now. I love the speed of the SSD and the capacity of the second drive, which contains all of the music and image files I need. I love that the HD spins down when it’s not needed, e.g. when I am surfing the web or checking email… and the laptop becomes utterly silent. I also love extending the life of this laptop.

Oh, and once again SuperDuper! worked flawlessly. After installing the SSD I simply hooked up the portable HD that contains my SuperDuper! backup of the old system and less than an hour later I had my familiar system drive back, including all preferences. I can’t recommend SuperDuper! highly enough. Jon and I swear by it and it has saved our hides more than once. It’s the best $28 you’ll spend on computing.

And here are a few links:

The Mountain on Vimeo
This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011. I had the pleasure of visiting El Teide. Spain´s highest mountain @(3718m) is one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars and is also the location of Teide Observatories, considered to be one of the world´s best observatories.

Designs for Life won’t make you a living
I spoke to one young designer who has five items in production with a respected Italian manufacturer – no small achievement. “My royalty cheque last year came to €600,” he said. “Half a month’s rent.”

Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Androids Send Cellphone Location –
Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Google Inc.’s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.

Contains this:
HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour.

Apple, meanwhile, says it “intermittently” collects location data, including GPS coordinates, of many iPhone users and nearby Wi-Fi networks and transmits that data to itself every 12 hours,

I would love to know what Apple means by intermittently. I would also love to know who gets charged for the data that is transmitted… I mean, transmitting location data several times an hour (!!!) has to rack up a certain amount of data and if the user is not on an unlimited data plan s/he would basically fund Google unless Google (and Apple) have deals in place with the carriers to exempt this data from billing.

How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With? –
We all know that we don’t get enough sleep. But how much sleep do we really need?

Diary (2010) on Vimeo
‘Diary’ is a highly personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It’s a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media.
Camera + Directed by Tim Hetherington

Tim Hetherington was tragically killed on 20th April 2011 while covering the conflict in Libya.


02011-04-22 @ 09:04

After our performance in Trescore Balneario, Italy, on April 7th, we stayed in a hotel, the name of which escapes me at the moment. It was an interesting design-hotel, quite new, well appointed, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and with several interesting twists…

Many of the rooms had private elevator access from the back. Most rooms also had this little feature:

What is that you ask? Well, I opened the closet door (left) and in between shelves one can see a small gate (black rectangle) that can be opened with a key from the outside. We came to the conslusion that this enables the hotel staff to deliver room service items without being able to lay eyes on the people in the room!! The hotel employee unlocks and opens the little gate from the hallway and places the ordered items inside the closet. After they are gone, the inhabitants open the closet and remove the items.

Only one conclusion was possible, unless one imagines reclusive writers like Salinger typing away at novels… this was a hotel built with affairs in mind! Another clue was that the hotel was called a motel. My friend CJ explained to me that Italians do not use the word motel for motor-hotel, but somehow changed the meaning to a hotel that can be rented for less than a day. And sure enough, we discovered that rooms could be rented for four, six or eight hours in addition to full nights, and noticed a bunch of fairly tough looking Eastern European men with young women, who could, perhaps, be rented as well – or perhaps our imagination was getting the best of us at that point…

Rather than having affairs, CJ and I found a way to the roof of the motel, bringing with us a couple of hotel glasses and bottle of prosecco he had brought back from the venue. In the not-too-cold night we drank the bottle and talked about his and that.

One Album – Two Covers

02011-04-22 @ 08:04

Two versions of the same album. The music on the CDs, including the sequence, will be identical, only the printing on the CD and the covers/containers will be different. The first image is the cover Somerset designed, for their jewel case version of the CD which will be available at Target stores in June. The second image is, of course, our version, in the DigiPack format we have been using for years. Somerset were given the same images we used, and were in fact offered our design, but opted for an adobe house image they licensed somewhere.

I do not know their market and therefore accept whatever they come up with, as strange as that is for me – I have always had a hand in the design of the covers before. May they hit a bullseye on their “target” and sell a gazillion CDs. They did very well with Spanish Sun.

As seen by my phone

02011-04-20 @ 16:04

The last tour, as seen by my phone.

See this website.

One Track

02011-04-20 @ 15:04

Which song from the upcoming album do you want me to make available as a download? The one that gets the most votes will become this Friday download. Write the title of your selection in a comment. Here is the tracklist:

01. Barcelona Nights
02. Isla del Sol
03. 2 the Night
04. Dancing Under the Moon
05. Heart Still/Beating
06. Reaching Out 2 U
07. Santa Fe
08. Borrasca
09. Turkish Night
10. La Rosa Negra
11. Havana Club
12. Snakecharmer
13. Morning Arrival in Goa

We are still on track to have the new CD available during the May tour. And if you can’t make it to one of the concerts, Somerset will release their version (jewel case, different design) of the album sometime in June. It will be available in Target stores, like the 2009 release Spanish Sun.

Diablo Canyon

02011-04-20 @ 14:04

Visited Diablo Canyon today, for the first time since the second photo below was taken in 1995.


02011-04-15 @ 11:04

A well-packed van. Freiburg, Germany, photo by Jaren.


02011-04-15 @ 07:04

I love the diameters of the new D’Addario Flamenco strings – set EJ25B. This G string is neither unusually thick like the nylon G, nor is it brittle and low in tension like the composite (brown) G. I also like the retro black look and remember a lot of Flamenco guitars having black strings in the Sixties and Seventies.

All three bass strings are very nice and exactly the same tension as the Pro Art Composite Normal tension set.

The treble strings, however, are equal to the hard tension composite set. Exactly the same tension, down to the tenth. Bass strings = normal tension and treble strings = hard tension. Why?

Well, and therein lies the problem for me. I don’t like hard tension strings. They offer less tonal variety. They also make my Blanca even brighter, and it is bright enough… They always sound as if one is plucking them near the bridge. The lower tension set, on the other hand, allows for many different tones and sounds, depending on whether I play them over the sound hole or near the bridge.

So, I replaced the “Flamenco” trebles with the regular composite trebles (I prefer the regular nylon string that is too thick over the brown composite one) and immediately enjoyed the larger tonal range.

Shredders might enjoy the brightness and the quick snap of the Flamenco set, but if you like a lot of different color from your strings this set isn’t for you.

By the way, after the first show in Riga we stopped using the Shure KSM141 on the guitar, and started using the KSM137. According to Jaren the specs are exactly the same, but the 137 has only one single cardioid polar pattern while the KSM141 is switchable between a consistent cardioid or true omnidirectional polar pattern. It seemed to him that the 141s we were carrying were stuck in omni-mode, because they were picking up everything on stage. We have been using these mics for years and they have endured a lot of travel, so perhaps that is possible. In any case, the 137 is a little smaller, does ONLY the pattern we need (tight and focused on the guitar), and sounds great.

At around $280, the price of the Shure KSM137 is also over $100 less than the KSM141. Disclosure: we endorse Shure and get these microphones for free. I will add that we would also use Shure if we had to pay for it, as their gear sounds great and, most importantly, survives touring.

Friday Links

02011-04-15 @ 06:04

YouTube – Ariannariel33’s Channel
Ottmar Liebert @ Teatro Socjale – Piangipane – 8 aprile 2011
Last song of the concert, last performance of the tour. We look a little tired there…

YouTube – It Gets Better
It Gets Better: Apple Employees

Marc Newson for Ikepod | Hypebeast
the process of creating a classic hourglass (video)

Ricky Gervais – Speakeasy – WSJ
An (Atheist) Easter Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Excellent Christian

MSNBC – PhotoBlog
Endangered sea turtles dying in high numbers along Mississippi Gulf shore

Boing Boing
Why People Think Cell Phones Cause Cancer

YouTube – Mel’s Hidden Talent!!!
Animal Impressions

BBC – Earth News – Humpback whale song spreads to other whales
Recordings of male humpback whales have shown that their haunting songs spread through the ocean to other whales.
Researchers in Australia listened to hundreds of hours of recordings gathered over more than a decade.
These revealed how a specific song pattern, which originated in Eastern Australia, had passed “like Chinese whispers” to whale populations up to 6,000km away in French Polynesia.


02011-04-14 @ 12:04

WVIL – Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens
Concept Camera

Old Typewriter, by Todd McLellan

Bond Mixology (for Stephen)

How kids consume media

Spike Jonze Presents: Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma (YouTube)

Like a saw, back and forth… on the analog side:

Wasting Light by Foo Fighters on SoundCloud
Produced by Butch Vig and mixed by Alan Moulder, Wasting Light was recorded entirely on analog tape in the garage of Grohl’s home in California’s San Fernando Valley. The no computers/no software back to basics approach…


02011-04-14 @ 10:04

What we learned from our Istanbul experience is that this touring group, band and crew together, can cope with surprises and make the best out of a given situation, and also that we need a different drum kit… something better suited to our music. The conventional drum kit tends to sound great in large venues, but can overwhelm the guitar in small venues. So, Michael is cooking up a new kit. The snare has to go for starters. It is an instrument that was designed for military use, like the bagpipe, to be heard far away, bright and insistent. Fine for an electric band, but perhaps not well suited to our music.

Michael wants to put something acoustic and organic together, rather than going the way of the tupperware kit from 1996, and came up with several great ideas. We hope to have everything in place for the Spring tour that starts in less than three weeks – I think we added a show in Buffalo in the very beginning of May – but perhaps we should keep it a surprise, shall we…


02011-04-14 @ 08:04

Another time, long ago…

02011-04-14 @ 08:04

Batchelor Quote

02011-04-13 @ 17:04

This is a quote from the book “Confessions of an Atheist-Buddhist” by Stephen Batchelor:

The last quotes I showed were hard to read and so I thought I’d make the letters a little bigger… well, now they are much too big… next time I’ll find a setting in between.

I often wondered about the meaning of the word “atheist”, because it did not make sense to me. Apathy, for example, means without pathos, and not against pathos. Over time a perfectly good word came to mean something completely different. Being against something is very different from having no interest in something. I will let the fervent theists and the equally fervent anti-theists fight their battle (although I hate to experience the fallout from their epic battles) and I’ll be the atheist sitting at the bar sipping an Aperol Spritz…


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