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.

Canada

02012-01-18 @ 13:01

Update:

I had been given a couple of the dates backwards. This here is the corrected schedule:

Apr 25 – Peterborough, Ontario – New Market Hall
Apr 26 – Port Hope, Ontario – The Capital Theater
Apr 27 – Hamilton, Ontario – Hamilton Studio
Apr 28 – London, Ontario – Aeolian Hall
Apr 29 – Toronto, Ontario – Hugh’s Room

Springtime in Canada

02012-01-06 @ 10:01

Our first return to Canada in many years is a low-key one. Small venues in five cities in Ontario. And since these are small venues, one would hope that we can pack them, so we can return more often and play more cities and so on.

Here are the dates:

Apr 25 – Peterborough, Ontario – New Market Hall
Apr 26 – Port Hope, Ontario – The Capital Theater
Apr 27 – London, Ontario – Aeolian Hall
Apr 28 – Hamilton, Ontario – Hamilton Studio
Apr 29 – Toronto, Ontario – Hugh’s Room

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.

SD3

02011-10-20 @ 08:10

Urban Flamenco, the third album by Stephen Duros, is now available in the LL. Sometime in late November the album will become available from all the usual digital vendors and streaming services, such as iTunes, amazon.com, MOG, Spotify and so on.

Stephen will sell a small edition of 50 signed CDs from his website. These should become available by the middle of November. Check his website for more information.

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.

Saturday in San Francisco

02011-07-02 @ 11:07

We are in San Francisco this weekend, for six performances at Yoshi’s. This afternoon I will also do a solo performance at the Fillmore Jazz Festival – at 2PM on the Fillmore street at Sutter street stage.

I have been watching Houman Orei play the traditional Persian Tonbak drum with us, a gorgeous instrument carved from a solid piece of Walnut wood. It has a lovely sound, darker than the bright Darbuka, which is also called Dumbek. The playing technique of the Tonbak involves mostly finger slapping, compared to, say, the palm slapping of a conga or djembe. These finger techniques are exactly the same as rasgueados, the strumming technique used in flamenco guitar music. Since the Tonbak is a very old Persian instrument, it seems likely that Moorish musicians in Spain played those, or similar drums. It seems logical to me that guitarists observed these drum techniques and copied them to enhance their rhythmic playing, especially in view of accompanying dancers.

Santa Fe

02011-06-30 @ 10:06

Greetings from the back of the tourbus, on the way to Santa Barbara.

I am told that Santa Fe CDs have been spotted at some Target stores, but may not have reached all Target stores yet.

Barcelona Nights 2011 and 2003

02011-06-26 @ 21:06

The first track is the new Barcelona Nights, from this year’s album Santa Fe, and the second track is the older Barcelona Nights, from 2003 album The Santa Fe Sessions:

Audio MP3

Audio MP3

Last Night at the San Miguel Chapel

02011-06-03 @ 08:06

Here are a couple of iPhone captures from last night’s solo concert at the San Miguel chapel in Santa Fe, a benefit for the restoration of the “oldest church in the USA”. A beam of light plays across the altar:

I took this image while an announcement/introduction was made, moments before I walked to the little stage that had been set up on the stairs.

Big Blue Room Mix

02011-05-25 @ 08:05

alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto “s” tour
Alva Noto’s blog about touring with Ryuichi Sakamoto. Looks to be a great experience. There are many YouTube examples. Here is the first one I looked at.

It reminded me of a project Andrew Gaskin did in 2007, when he remixed three tracks from One Guitar. You can find them in the ListeningLounge.

And as these things go, then I also received an email from Andrew yesterday…

Here is Andrew’s remix, called Out ot the Blue – Big Blue Room Mix

Audio MP3

And here is the original track Out of the Blue:

Audio MP3

Soundcheck

02011-05-24 @ 12:05


Soundcheck at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, Vermont, on May 8th. Photograph by Matt Callahan.

Last Night at the Dakota

02011-05-19 @ 09:05





Photos from the 9PM show, at the Dakota in Minneapolis, by Andreasen Photography.

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.

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