2012 Reading List

02012-10-07 @ 08:10

My 2012 reading list, in no particular order. Could not put “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” down and finished it yesterday, a little after midnight.

√ – simply means that I read the book. The unread titles are at the ready, mostly in the form of hardcovers and paperbacks, some bought used but most bought at Collected Works, which is a fantastic bookstore in Santa Fe.

Spiegel und Maske (1970-1983) – Jorge Luis Borges √
Momo – Michael Ende √
The Offensive Traveler – V. S. Pritchett √
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco √
Angelmaker – Nick Harkaway √
The Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway √
Peter Høeg – Das Stille Mädchen √
A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway √
Alif the Unseen – G. Willow Wilson √
The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton √
Gods Without Men – Hari Kunzru √
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami √
Buddha in Blue Jeans -Tai Sheridan √
Distrust that Particular Flavor – William Gibson √
Lying – Sam Harris √
Years of Red Dust – Qui Xiaolong √
Ratking – Michael Dibdin √
Vendetta – Michael Dibdin √
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell √
Tribal Peoples – Stephen Corry √
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan √
Le Freak – Nile Rodgers √
How Music Works – David Byrne
Cabal – Michael Dibdin
Dead Lagoon – Michael Dibdin
Cosi Fan Tutti – Michael Dibdin
Some Remarks – Neal Stephenson
The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng
Ninja – 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warriors – John Man
The Quantum Universe – Brian Cox

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.

A fusion experiment from 1995

02012-06-28 @ 09:06

OL – Guitars
Eric Schermerhorn – Guitars
Jon Gagan – Bass + Keyboards
Carl Coletti – Drums
Mark Clark – Percussion

More here.

Board Recordings from Spring 2012

02012-06-20 @ 12:06

Slideshows

02012-06-19 @ 17:06

LIVE 2005

02012-06-19 @ 17:06

Board recordings from 2005 tour with string quartet. String arrangements by Jon Gagan. More to be added in the coming weeks.

One Morning in February

02012-06-18 @ 17:06

OL 20120516 02

HD DUNE in our ListeningLounge

02012-05-24 @ 21:05

DUNE is now available as a 24 bit/88,200 Hz High Definition FLAC download. You won’t be able to buy individual tracks in high definition, instead you buy the whole album for $16 and then download one zipped folder of about 700MB that contains all of the album tracks. Not as elegant as HDTracks.com, but two bucks cheaper and when you buy the HD version you also gain access to the mp3 versions, which means that you don’t have to conver the files to be able to listen to the music on your phone.

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)

10,000 Butterflies Redux

02012-05-07 @ 10:05

This is Jon Gagan’s 2007 remix of the track “This Spring Release 10,000 Butterflies” from the album One Guitar. You can find the remix here. Ten minutes of mellow. Relax and enjoy.

Santa Fe Concert

02012-05-02 @ 09:05

For Santa Feans, New Mexicans and any person wanting to visit the “City Different”:

Ottmar Liebert + Luna Negra will be in concert at Santa Fe’s beautiful Lensic theater on November 11th, 2012.

Like our 2009 concert at the Lensic, this performance will also benefit a local school.

Albuquerque Concert

02012-05-02 @ 07:05

Ottmar Liebert + Luna Negra + the NM Philharmonic orchestra will be in concert @ the Albuquerque zoo on May 18, 2013. That’s 1.043836 years or 381 days from now.

We performed with a double string quartet of the NM Philharmonic last Summer and loved it. Now we will get to play with the orchestra. I am so looking forward to this!!

DUNE available for purchase

02012-04-10 @ 06:04

Well, DUNE CDs arrived in Santa Fe last week Thursday. The package looks great and I am very happy with it. Now, we could wait until the official release date, two weeks from now… or we could start selling the album today…

DUNE is now available as downloads (up to 320kbps) and in CD form, but only from us.
You can purchase downloads in our ListeningLounge.
You can purchase the CD in our online store.

All other download outlets, iTunes, Amazon and so on, should have the album on April 24th. The CD will be in stores in May.

We will have CDs available on tour this month.

Santa Fe

02012-04-08 @ 11:04

Photos from early this morning, on my photoblog.

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.

At Quasimodo in Berlin

02012-03-05 @ 10:03

120302 DSC0594 Mail

Photo by Dieter Düvelmeyer

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.

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