Archive for 2005-02

This week on Ebay

02005-02-27 @ 18:02

The Mesa Boogie Mk. II guitar amp I bought when I arrived in New York in 1979 and a Summit EQF 100 – Full Range Vacuum Tube Equalizer.

Paint Tubes

02005-02-26 @ 17:02

From the book Color: A Natural History of the Palette:

Jean Renoir once told his son that without oil paint in tubes there would have been no Cezanne, no Monet, no Sisley or Pissarro.

Tin tubes containing oil paint were invented in 1842 and made it possible to take the canvas outside one’s studio. The medium of painting became portable and changed radically – Impressionism was born.

This reminds me of the Aboriginal idea that everything has to be dreamed to exist at all. Technology creates new possibilities for art, which in turn visualizes/creates a new dream, which in turn helps people look at the world in a different or new way. The centerpiece of that sentence is art. Art informs society. Art guides us to new ways of experiencing our world.


02005-02-25 @ 17:02

Had a tooth removed today. The infection I had on a root-canal a while ago never really went away. I didn’t feel it anymore, but a recent xray showed that it was still there and affecting the bone. Instead of getting surgery and having amalgam shoved into the tooth and the infection cut out, I opted for having the tooth pulled and getting a bridge.

So, as of today I am 100% amalgam free as I had three other amalgam fillings removed last year.

I am a dental relic – a person with four fully developed wisdom teeth and a mouth large enough to contain them without pushing against my other teeth. My mother always said I did have a big mouth…

Very few people develop all four wisdom teeth anymore. One theory suggests that is so because people don’t eat a lot of grains anymore and don’t seem to need them. In any case I have learned quite a bit about teeth on the Internet last year. My x-dentist wanted to pull all four of my wisdom teeth – slipping them out he called it – because bacteria can grow in the shadow of those teeth, which are hard to reach with floss or brush… three of my wisdom teeth were in good condition, only the fourth one needed a filling.

I didn’t like the idea very much and started educating myself. I learned that pulling wisdom teeth after the age of 25 means a small chance of having nerve-damage and talking funny… and I don’t like the idea of sitting on stage and drooling onto my guitar in front of a couple of thousand people… And extracting those wisdom teeth is not slipping, but yanking and cutting, because those teeth have some serious roots…

I started looking around and found a dentist I love. She has practiced Natural Dentistry for over twenty years and is a great doctor. Over the last half year my new dentist removed the amalgam fillings I had had for years and showed me how to inject a Baking-Soda solution (most natural mouthwashes contain no alcohol, but Baking–Soda, which changes the PH in your mouth, which in turn makes negative bacteria unhappy without killing the good bacteria) around my wisdom teeth so they can stay healthy. The amalgam fillings were replaced with a very modern compound that is made from, if I remember this right, diamond powder, ceramics and a material that hardens almost instantly when light is added. In other words the filling is prepared, placed into the tooth and shaped, and then a UV light is placed right over the tooth which causes the compound to harden instantly. You can walk out of the office and bite into anything right away.

PS: Saturday – Anyway, I feel almost brand new. I have ingested only juices since yesterday and the hole in my mouth is starting to heal nicely. My teeth are in good shape and the studio is renovated. The tiny new recorder arrived on Thursday and a new guitar is arriving on Tuesday. I am ready to go.

Shut up about the SD722

02005-02-25 @ 11:02

But I can’t – yet…

Just ordered a 4GB 80x Flash Card to augment the internal drive. With a 4GB CF I can record about half an hour at 24/192k. The perfect way to gather sounds on the fly. No HD whirring… Other benefits: can take more extreme temperatur changes than the HD, increased shock immunity…

This is the most exciting tool since ProTools came out with their TDM system around 1998 or 1999.

What? Climate Change?

02005-02-25 @ 11:02

Two examples from Los Angeles and Florence:

Well, I’m Flying Back to Climate Change Central
Los Angeles is catching it. Hey, folks, look at me ‘predicting the present.’ You see this? This is what we call ‘climate change.’ No, really! Photos ‘borrowed’ from the Los Angeles Times, an actual, no kidding newspaper, which employs gifted, professional news photographers, and pays them.

Hollywood Freeway.
(Via Beyond the Beyond.)

It’s snowing. In Florence. Only the second time in twenty years, and the last time was last year. This is getting a bit worrying: I didn’t come to the Mediterranean for it to drop below freezing. I came here to grow lemons, and drink tiny tiny coffees. And right now, my lemon trees are sheltering in the shed, and the coffee is being poured in pints.
(Via Ben Hammersley’s Dangerous Precedent.)

Well, 99% of the people must, by now, know that global weather is changing… rather rapidly. The other one percent will presumably continue to keep their heads firmly in the sand.

Hoarding Reels

02005-02-24 @ 15:02

From an email I received today:

Do you have any analog reel tapes lying around ?

… Quantegy, the only manufacturer of analog recording tape in the country, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Earlier this month, the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services started negotiations with Quantegy President Richard Lindemuth to make more tapes at the Opelika, Ala., plant for the society. But in the meantime, studios are hoarding their reels.

I am aware of that and donated my blank reels, about 10 or so to the College of Santa Fe, who also have my 2″ 24 track recorder. I hear that people are paying $300 per fresh reel on Ebay. Wow!

Recorder arrived!

02005-02-24 @ 14:02

SD 722
I am in love! Just look at how small this recorder is. I placed it on top of my laptop and next to a phone. I had no idea it would be this small! It’s only marginally larger than the Sony TCD-D7 DAT recorder I used to carry everywhere for field sounds. Fantastic!

I will record Tears in the Rain at the highest resolution – 24/192k. It will be the first time I will myself experience recording at that quality. Maybe next year, when I plan to release the album, the manufacturing of SACDs will be inexpensive enough to release the album in that format. SACDs contain two formats, one that can be read by any common CD player and a second one of higher quality for SACD players.

Just look at the size of that thing!

Doing the Party Shuffle

02005-02-24 @ 10:02

Found on my Party Shuffle on iTunes this morning:

Oh Boy from Guide – Youssou N’Dour
Crazy from 12 Greatest Hits – Patsy Cline
Maker of All from Drum ‘n Bass for Papa – Plug
Alma Mater/Ante Thorum from Trio Mediaeval – Trio Mediaeval
Wow! That’s pretty eclectic! Wonderful things happen when you have 6,500 songs on shuffle…

Tuesday Evening

02005-02-22 @ 23:02

Loft in Boston
Found this photo which shows the white Gibson I just sold and my Mesa Boogie amp 20 years ago in a loft in Boston.

On Thursday I should receive the SD 722 I have mentioned a few times before. The center piece for the Tears in the Rain album I am planning to record in different locations. It will also come in very handy in the process of gathering field sounds for up close, the follow up to La Semana. I will immediately start evaluating different microphones to use with the SD 722…

I have another 6 songs for the Xmas album. That CD is shaping up very nicely. The tour will be tightly packed dates. In fact I have heard rumors that we will spend Thanksgiving on the buses and that we will return to Santa Fe no earlier than Christmas eve. I have never before toured that late in the year. It will be interesting. I am once again searching for the right title. Maybe just December 2005, or Holidays 2005, or Winter, or The Season? Just 2005… or Le Cafe? About a third of the music is Christmas songs and the rest are either classical pieces or original compositions and therefore I would like to find a title that is more universal than anything with the word Christmas… Something poetic that celebrates the season…

and then:
Lester writes that my new Negra is ready and will ship next week. He also writes:

I am excited for you to see your new guitar and the surprise!

Of course that gets my imagination going… how exciting!

Heard from Epic Records that more of my music should appear on iTunes very soon. Possibly even some Live tracks! In the meantime Canton has created new links to the NF, Poets & Angels and Borrasca music that appeared on iTunes last week.

I like my new Treo 650 phone, except that there are syncing problems – although I have to say that iSync is the worst software application Apple has ever created!! And now I find out this. Not good! My manager uses a Sidekick 2 which emits less than one fifth of the radiation of the Treo 650!

Shared some wine with Keith Vizcarra tonight and he started a new site with some photos of his guitars. We talked about something Canton brought up recently: CA wines are getting soooo big and bold… too big perhaps? Not something one would want to drink every day.

time / disk space

02005-02-21 @ 23:02

Calculate time / disk space for audio files || engineer’s online reference

Nice tool for calculating how much space you need for a recording, or how long you can record on any given HD. Also calculates mp3 files.

This is a link to the Glyph disk space caculator. Loads extremely slow… must be all of those engineers checking whether they have enough drive left for another take…


02005-02-20 @ 18:02

The following songbooks are available:

Nouveau Flamenco

The Opium book also contains a transcription of the song The Winding Road/La Primavera from the album Leaning into the Night. The whole book was transcribed by Daniel Ward, who played Flamenco guitar in Luna Negra XL from 1997 to 1999.


02005-02-20 @ 18:02

In december Genpo Roshi gave a Dharma talk in which he said that Zazen is delicious. Like a refreshing drink after walking through the desert.

I have not really enjoyed playing guitar for a while. Pressure of my own making was building up. My next recording has to be the best recording yet…(and La Semana is a damn fine record!)

But, yesterday evening playing guitar was delicious. Like a drink after a long day in the desert. Wonderful. Inspiring. You know, it was the kind of playing where one is amazed at what one can do! I could not wait to start playing guitar again and was in my studio at 8AM this morning…

You know what the secret is? Whether you love it or hate it you have to do a certain amount of practice – every day. Like Zazen, playing guitar requires certain abilities that can whither away if not nourished. Like Zazen one has to keep doing it in order to break through. There are many days that I am not happy with my guitar playing or my sitting. And then, like the Santa Fe sun finding a hole between tightly packed clouds and making the whole landscape radiant for a moment… I find a new vista… and it was all worth it… so worth it.

Work + Discipline = Excellence. Eventually…


02005-02-20 @ 06:02

Music: The Boy and the Tree – susumu yokota

Hail - 2
It took less than five minutes for the hail storm to deposit this and the storm was gone as quickly as it came. Life on a mountain.

Tears in the Rain

02005-02-19 @ 17:02

Thoughts on Tears in the Rain:

Tears in the Rain will be the second album in my BLUE solo series, the follow-up to In the Arms of Love, although quite different in character and not a lullaby record.

All song titles will contain the date stamp of the original recording file, which I will turn into one continuous number. I will use military/european 24 hr time and a day/month/year configuration. If the original recording was made at 3:47PM on May 13th of 2005 the title of the track would be simply: 1547130505

Since there won’t be any sign-posts in the form of words in the title, the emotional content will need to be discovered by the listener on his/her own without any suggestions from me. It might be interesting to publish my thoughts on each track online a few weeks/months after release of the album.

Every track will start out as an improvisation, captured on location with my new Sound Devices 722 recorder. However, I will not have a purist attitude about the recording (- like that’s something new, eh?)… That means that while the beginning of a track might be a pure stereo recording of my guitar playing, the second half might have added sounds and noises for example… or he other way around: out of a field-sound collage the guitar playing emerges…

I plan on adding location-recordings and will make use of digital editing capabilities to augment the original guitar recording, i.e. loop a certain part of my performance, change the attack of certain notes, alter the decay of other notes, and change the location of the sound in the stereo field etc….

I have not yet decided whether all of the guitar sounds for each piece have to come from the original recording file of each piece. That would be an interesting limitation that I may well make a rule for this recording.

Artist Alert

02005-02-19 @ 09:02

Some of my catalog was added to iTunes: NF, Poets & Angels and Borrasca. I am working on making more of the albums released by Epic Records available on iTunes as well.

Global Warming

02005-02-19 @ 07:02

Studies that measure ocean temperature rather than air temperature are more accurate in determining whether the climate is changing, scientists say. And the newest studies conclude that the planet is warming up, and people are to blame for it.
(Via Wired News.)

Home Stereo

02005-02-18 @ 16:02

My home stereo system consists of the following elements:

1. Macinstosh G3 laptop computer – a 5 year old (?) 400 Mhz Pismo running the latest iTunes software and sending the tunes out via a PCMCIA card that handles 802.11G Wi-Fi. You can pick up one of these PowerBooks used for $400-600.
2. LaCie 250 GB FireWire drive – silent/fan-less – containing around 7,000 songs at present time – ripped as Apple Lossless or AAC 224kbps files. Figure on paying around a buck per GB storage.
3. Apple AirPort Express Wi-Fi installed near each of three stereos in the house
4. The AirPort Express near my main stereo is plugged into the Digital input of an old Parasound D/A converter belonging to a CD player I don’t use much anymore. Choose any D/A converter based on your ears and your pocketbook. This part of the set-up will vary the most in price. You could use the AirPort Express’s built-in D/A converter, and I do that for the other two stereos, but they certainly won’t be as good as a dedicated converter.

Friday Morning

02005-02-18 @ 11:02

Music: Guitarra Gitana – Tomatito (not available from amazon)

This is my view of the new carpet I installed yesterday – from my chair …

The texture is nice on bare feet and the pattern is interesting to the eye.

My Sound Devices 722 recorder should arrive next week. I have heard the rumor that after testing, a couple of movie companies such as Lucasfilm declared it the finest location recorder, period. My engineer told me the other day that the mic-pre-amps in the SD 722 beat the mic-pres in the Midas board in a straight comparison! Very cool. Can’t wait.

It is raining again. The spot where my dog Arko sleeps every night is marked by quite a bit of sand, which he carries into the house in his thick fur every night. I am tempted to figure out mathematically how many thousand years it would take until theoretically the hill my house is built into has been moved into the kitchen by Arko and from there to the garbage pail by me…

PS: the carpet is deep black with some dark brown speckles.

Surcharge For Mammoth SUVs

02005-02-16 @ 17:02

Driving a super-sized sport utility vehicle on Maryland roads could cost $750 more a year, under a bill being considered by Maryland lawmakers.

Excellent. You want a bigger piece of the road – pay for it.
Thanks Salma

Wednesday Morning

02005-02-16 @ 08:02

Sometimes my working is play and sometimes my playing is work. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Received two Moleskine notebooks for my birthday which I will use for Up Close and Tears in the Rain. Each book to be filled with ideas, concepts, descriptions of sounds, titles etc. I imagine it will be nice to have such a book documenting the progress rather than having a file on a computer. I only use pencil on these books…

Discussed education in America with a friend yesterday. As the information age turns into the conceptual age, kids who do not have art and music classes will be ill-equipped to think in sweeping concepts. Accounting and code-writing is getting out-sourced and if countries like India teach their children the Arts, they could very well make the transformation to the conceptual age in a couple of decades, while American children might struggle to make that transition. Watching MTV does not count as getting a music education!

Santa Feans are enjoying the rain and snow we have been getting this winter. To remember this much moisture we have to look back to the early eighties!

A chief judge… faces a drunken-driving charge after he drove off a dead-end road in southwest Santa Fe about 1 p.m. Friday with an open bottle of vodka in his government-owned minivan, police said.

Only in New Mexico.

Received my new Treo 650 on Monday and am loving it. Although some early reports claimed that there were problems with the phone’s bluetooth hooking up to Toyota and Honda cars – mine connected to the car on the first try. The reception is great as well. I am donating my Tungsten C to Canton, who will use it to write music while he is in Mexico next month… I hope he will share some his “Palm Music” in our Listening Lounge…

I watched about 4 minutes of the Grammy show on TV on Sunday? Does anybody else think it is a complete embarrassment?


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