Archive for 2002-07

After the Rain

02002-07-30 @ 07:07

It is amazing how the desert explodes after the first big rain. The smell of the moisture hitting the dust is wonderful, sweet and almost overwhelming. Grass grows out of the dust, cottonwood seeds from the spring suddenly produce 3 feet tall seedlings within a few days.

With the first Summer rain the Siberian Elm seedlings also arrive. It seems that in a dry year the Siberian Elm produces even more seeds than usual. I have already pulled out hundreds of little elms this week alone. Some people hire companies who use huge vaccum cleaners to vacuum up the elm seeds in the yards….

The first Siberian Elms were planted in Santa Fe during the depression to control soil erosion that was happening because people were cutting down piÃ’on trees for firewood. Now it is illegal to plant Siberian Elm trees, but there are thousands in Santa Fe already.

I have lived in Santa Fe for over 16 years and it still amazes me that it can hail at the end of July. Today an afternoon thunderstorm started with heavy rain, then turned to pea-sized hail and then went back to hail wiith sunshine. The landscape looked looked hyper-real with the sunshine lighting up the land under the clouds….

Buddhists + Science

02002-07-21 @ 07:07

The Dalai Lama has also said Buddhists can abandon scripture hat has been reliably disproved by science. No creationist controversies here, then.

(quote from a wired news article covering a neurology convention in Australia)

It seems 2 me that the ability 2 change + 2 accept nu knowledge is a prerequisite 2 any real growth. If religion requires us NOT 2 accept nu scientific or other evidence, then it keeps us from growing.

Verve Remixed

02002-07-20 @ 07:07

Currently my favorite song – I can’t stop listening to it: “Wait till you see him” – sung by the late Ella Fitzgerald and remixed by De-Phazz for the album Verve Remixed.

It is gorgeous and haunting…one of those voices + melodies that stays with you all day.

Turn-off Commercials

02002-07-19 @ 07:07

I wonder how long it takes before the audience gets turned off by certain TV commercials, i.e. they produce the opposite result. Take for instance the DELL commercial with the “dude” or the MAZDA commercial with the zoom-zoom kid. They were funny the first time, slightly humorous the second time and have become progressively more annoying since. Do other people feel the way I do or do they really love these characters and the repetition? When I see the dude or the zoom-zoom kid on TV I get evil thoughts, like wanting to bring back Roman Gladiator sports ……

Copyright + Publishing

02002-07-18 @ 07:07

copyright is a relatively recent invention, created to protect the editor, not the author. Even in the publishing arena, it is the editor who owns the right to copy, not the author of the book. In the music industry, the songs are owned by the label, not by the artist.

This is typical of the uninformed opinions one can find in the media. I found the statement above on Wired News this morning. It is misleading because it does NOT correctly state the problem of artist-record company relations.
Yes, the average recording contract states that the record company owns the RECORDING of the song, but not the copyright of the music contained therein. Let me give an example: I recorded “Snakecharmer” for the album “The Hours between Night + Day”, released by Epic Records in 1993. Epic Records owns the rights to that particular recording of the song. Since I made a deal with Sony Publishing, they own 50% of the publishing of that song while as the sole author I own 100% of the writing. I have the right to re-record “Snakecharmer”, in which case I own the new recording, but Sony Publishing will still own 50% of the publishing of the new recording.

The above statement that the editor owns the right to copy, not the author of the book is misleading, because the reason the editor holds that right is exactly BECAUSE the author signed it over to him for a certain amount of money. The exchange is straightforward really. I let you hold the right to copy in exchange for x amout of money per book you sell. However, an author might make a deal with one publisher for the printing and selling of paperbacks and another pubisher for the right to distribute e-books via the internet.

Here is where I think the beef with record companies SHOULD be:
The artist receives an advance against the royalties of the album in order to produce a recording. BUT, even after that advance is paid back from the sales of the product the record company continues to own the recording. I feel that either the record company should write off the cost of producing the recording OR the artist should pay interest on the loan (isn’t an advance against roylaties indeed a loan of money!) and then own the recording himself…..BUT, in the end this is all spelled out in the 70 page contract the artist signs with record company and my opinion on that is: if you don’t like the deal – don’t sign it.

Let’s face it, artists sign those contracts because they think they will get into a power position by selling lots of records and then their attorneys can renegotiate….

Here is my solution, my own ten-year plan if you will.

In 1991 I signed away 50% of my publishing to Sony Publishing starting with “Solo Para Ti” and ending with “Innamorare” so I could get the cash to build a studio in Santa Fe. Owning my own studio meant not having to rent somebody else’s studio, meant not having to travel to record, having to rent a house or hotel rooms, having to rent a car, or having to eat restaurant food for months at a time….

Starting with “christmas + santa fe” I own 100% of my publishing and since “In the Arms of Love” I also own the recordings of my music. It has taken me a long time, but I kept telling myself: steady drop hollows stone!

Sonar and Whales

02002-07-17 @ 07:07

Here is an excerpt from an article I found on Wired News. I heard about this sonar a while back, but had hoped that it would not come to this. As a person who values his ears I cannot imagine blowing other beings eardrums out…

The US Government is letting the Navy use a powerful low-frequency sonar that can detect enemy submarines but which environmentalists fear will harm whales, dolphins and other marine mammals.
Whales are particularly susceptible to sonar interference because they rely on sound for communication, feeding, mating and migration. According to the Navy, each of the sonar’s 18 speakers transmits signals as loud as 215 decibels, equivalent underwater to standing next to a twin-engine F-15 fighter jet at takeoff.
Environmentalists say, however, that with the convergence of sound waves from each of the speakers, the intense effects of the system would reach farther, as if the signals were 235 decibels.
The intense low-frequency sonar can travel several hundred miles, and the transmissions are on the same frequency used for communication by many large whales, including humpbacks.
Some biologists believe whales are irritated by sounds louder than 110 decibels and that a whale’s eardrums could explode at 180 decibels.
Environmentalists’ fears are partly based on the Navy’s deployment of a powerful mid-range sonar in March 2000 during a submarine detection exercise in the deep water canyons of the Bahamas.
At least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and North Eleuthera within hours. Eight whales died. Scientists found hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones, injuries consistent with exposure to loud sounds.
Twelve Cuvier beaked whales beached themselves in Greece during NATO exercises in 1996 using the low-frequency sonar, but the whales decomposed before scientists could investigate.

Slap Bass

02002-07-16 @ 07:07

Jon came by the studio this afternoon + we recorded new bass tracks for the Euphoria2 versions of “Barcelona Nights” and “Morning Arrival in Goa”. I even convinced him to play a little 70’s funk slap bass in one section – where you hit the low note with your thumb and pull the high string up and let it slap against the fretboard. Pretty damn funky I think – had me dancing in the control room….

Last week I was talking to my friend Al, who was my product mananger at Epic Records from 1991 until 1999, when I remarked that these new remixes I am working on don’t sound like they were made by a guy over forty. Al laughed and said I should send the mixes to him, he would try to listen to them like he wasn’t fifty….

Digital Photography

02002-07-10 @ 07:07

Last weekend my friend Greg Gorman was in town for a gallery opening. On Friday afternoon he and I went to a friend’s house to take some photos for my next album cover. Like myself, Greg finds that the digital medium has given him a new freedom + new excitement about his art. I spend most of the time in my studio working by myself on music or edits or new mixes and likewise Greg spends time alone in his digital darkroom, printing his own photos, doing his own retouching etc.

Smaller can be more beautiful and the digital world gives us that choice – to create high quality work in a more personal way.

Euphoria Laboratory

02002-07-04 @ 07:07

Discovered some old audio tapes with recordings of electric guitar looping (Frippertronics) I made in 1980-82. The music has a nice, haunting quality. Amazing how, like a window in time this music brings back feelings from that period in my life. These old recordings might sound great in some of the remixes for Euphoria2 I am currently working on. Euphoria is my laboratory, my discovery chamber, my underwater observation pod….
I spent most of yesterday afternoon listening to recordings from 20 years ago and created an excerpt of one looping piece for a remix of “In the Arms of Love”.

Best of…

02002-07-02 @ 07:07

Today Epic Records released another “Best of Ottmar Liebert” compilation. Strange to see these compilation albums appear without me having anything to do with the selection of songs or the album cover. It is an expensive CD, too!!! I saw that they are charging $18.98 at for the CD.


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