G4 Startup

Yesterday I went to my studio to work on a new piece. At 86 beats per minute it is the slowest piece, so far, and quite romantic, I find. It took me about fifteen or twenty minutes to get the old G4 Mac to start up. I hate that startup button on the old Mac towers, always have. There is no positive feedback as to what’s happening… I pushed the button and nothing happened, then I had to move around the dust-free box the computer is housed in, open the back door, and remove the power cable from the back. That resets the power button. Replug the cable, close the door, open the front, push the power button… repeat…

After a while the computer finally started up. I am coaxing life, and indeed music album after music album, out of a classic old piece of computing hardware. 2004!! That’s ancient! Then again I am becoming a classic, or vintage, myself…

Perhaps the failure to start up is related to the internal battery, which is there to keep time while the computer is turned off, having no power left. Each time the computer does start up I have to enter the current time and date, as the computer defaults to some date in the last century… I ordered a new battery, which is supposed to arrive tomorrow, so I’ll wait to panic until after I install the new battery. Perhaps the start up issue will be resolved with a new battery. I don’t know what I can do if it doesn’t…

I worked on the piece and hummed a few melodies to myself. I find humming is often a great way to find a melody, as opposed to playing the guitar right away. This way I can usually discover melodies that are simpler and more memorable.

In the recording room I played the melody on my guitar, then played a second, different, melody that seemed to materialize. Back in the control room I listened to the first melody, then the second. I wasn’t in love with either option, though. After a while an idea came to me, the possibility of using both melodies. I set up a separate track for the second melody and panned the two guitar melodies, one slightly to the left and the other slightly to the right. Now it might become a dialog. I removed sections from each melody so that the melody switched back and forth between the guitars. Now there was something. I listened to it for a long time, enjoying the new melody.

This afternoon I will go back to the studio to hear whether the melody/melodies hold up. To be continued…

Classic Mac Sound


That’s my studio computer, on the left, a 2002 Macintosh. Every album released on SSRI was recorded on that machine, a total of fourteen albums I think. At this point my phone probably has a faster processor…

That computer keeps humming though and I am currently recording album number fifteen on it. Since 2002 technology has changed so much, and updating everything became such a daunting task, that it was much easier to keep working with this old beast. And perhaps I even love working with an ancient computer. It reminds me that ideas are more important than gear.

Jon suggested that I write “Classic Macintosh Sound” on the inside cover of the new album. It was a joke because computers don’t actually have a sound. The sound is determined by the file type and the digital to analog converter, which is usually not handled by the computer itself. It’s funny and I might do it. :-)

My Manga Life

I am still totally obsessed with the iPhone’s Manga filter and have made lots of images with it. These were taken two days ago in my studio:

Two Years Ago: Listening Test

Our monsoon continues and we had another fine rain storm this afternoon.

In the morning Jon and I compared AIFF, FLAC and 320kbps mp3 files in my studio, using Stax Earspeakers and a Stax tube amp. The FLAC files had been encoded and decoded using xAct, which is a fine FLAC app for Macintosh. The 320 mp3 was made with Peak Pro, which uses a LAME encoder – the same encoder we use for the ListeningLounge.

The result was what one would expect: AIFF, followed by FLAC and mp3. What we did not expect was how very close the quality between these formats was. Unless you have a great set of headphones or speakers – and the ears and experience to process what comes through them – you will not hear a difference. Another interesting point was that the treble side of the music was indistinguishable, it was the bass where one could detect shades of difference.

Candlelight


For the 2009 slideshow that will accompany my solo concerts – only in venues where a video-projector is available. Inspired by this video on Flickr.

Pop Music Is Like The Daily Paper

Pop Music Is Like The Daily Paper
“When I finish something I want it out that day,” says Eno later, in a phone conversation. “Pop music is like the daily paper. Its got to be there then, not six months later. So we decided to release on our websites first, then put it on the commercial websites, then as a CD, then with different packaging. It’s just trying to see what works. The business is an exciting mess at the moment.”

From this article in the Guardian.

As usual it’s in the air and many musicians are picking up on it.

That’s why I started our subscription service. To share music from the archives as well as live-recordings, but also to introduce new stuff I am working on – immediately. (((like the Tears in the Rain recordings in 2006))). If I am excited about a new solo or band recording I want to share that at once, even though lots might change between that and the official release. It also allows you to witness the process of recording and then honing a piece of music, and note what changes and what does not.