Archive for 2005-05

Luna Negra

02005-05-31 @ 19:05

En la luna negra
de los bandoleros,
cantan las espuelas.

These are the first lines from a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca. The poem is the reason why I chose the name Luna Negra in 1990.


02005-05-31 @ 08:05

Very interesting concept hotel designed by the great Marcel Wanders. A collection of apartments in Amstel, on the outskirts of Amsterdam, has been designed by Wanders as hotel suites. Dezentralized, with more privacy than the usual hotel, but amenities like breakfast delivered.

This would work in many places. I would love to do something like this in Santa Fe, each suite with a different design theme, and customized music…

Winter Rose

02005-05-30 @ 19:05

This afternoon I listened to the finished Winter Rose CD, which I was going to send to 33rd Street tomorrow… of course I found a little detail I did not want to live with and ended up making some minor changes to a song, compiling the CD again and burning new copies for production.

Interesting new sounds on this album:
shaking a WMF ball-end whisk, breaking a dried aspen leaf to use as a shaker, kicking one of my metal 90 gallon water catchers for an amazing low sound… Jon got into the spirit of making new sounds by letting out a long breath during one piece… – speaking about breath, digital recording is so quiet that one can hear me breathing… I can stop tapping my foot, but controlling my breathing is a whole different story… in any case, I feel that hearing my breath adds to the intimacy.

Other notes about the recording:
– The third track, called Westcoast is dedicated to the A+R man who signed me to Epic in 1990. Everybody called him Snake. I dedicate the song to him, because when he tried to get me to record a Christmas album for Epic in 1992 or 1993 he said something like this: You can record anything you like, man. Just add some jingly bells and everyone will think it sounds like christmas. Well, we did add some jingly bells to a section of that song, which is one of my favorites on the album. Great percussion from Ron and Robby, great stream of consciousness bass from Jon and some of my funkiest playing.
– Robby plays Kora on one piece, a new tangos.
– The two pieces by Faure turned out beautiful

Transporting Musical Instruments

02005-05-30 @ 19:05

Musical instruments are permitted as carry-on or as checked baggage. To assist passengers traveling with instruments the TSA partnered with musical organizations around the country to understand the challenges of transporting musical instruments. The following recommendations result from these partnerships and are provided to assist musicians:

* It is always important to check with your air carrier prior to transporting your instrument. TSA is concerned with screening the instrument while the air carrier determines whether an instrument meets the size requirements for their aircraft.
* Horn instruments are best transported as checked baggage.
* String instruments, within carrier size limitations, are best transported as carry-on items.
* Checked items that are fragile or need special handling should have short written handling and repacking instructions placed within the case where a screener will take notice. Such instructions should be very clear and understandable to someone with no musical background.

My thoughts:
Last time I checked LAX had a shield that didn’t allow even a small guitar case to go through. I haven’t even looked closely in a while, because once I almost go stranded I figured I should not take a chance again.
It’s worth trying to board with the guitar again, because my setup with the guitar case inside a flight case weighs 69 lbs and since the weight limitation was changed to a maximum of 50 lbs. a couple of years ago, I have had to pay overage charges and those are very, very erratic. Some people let it slide, some people charge $50 and others charge $250 overage charge.
I very much doubt that any guitar fits into the tiny overhead space on the popular Brazilian jets.
Thanks Michael B.


02005-05-30 @ 19:05

New interior:New Name. I renamed my studio last week, and the blue door at the entrance will soon be painted bright red. The old name was: Spiral Subwave SchtudioSchtudio is the way one would pronounce the word studio in German…

The new name is: Oto-Mare

Oto means Sound in Japanese, Mare means the Sea in Italian… together they sort of sound like my name and to me they mean Sea of Sound. Writing a piece of music is like swimming and then diving into the sea of sound. The Kanji for Oto looks like this:


02005-05-30 @ 08:05

Recently I received a mass-emailing from CD-Baby. I am on their mailing list because we tried getting our music onto iTunes through them last year, an effort I quickly abandoned. We then went with AWAL instead.

The email mentioned that the head of CD Baby suggested this:

Aha! It’s cover songs! The artists who have a cover song on their
album are selling the best, all-around. Of course! Most of these programs have a SONG-BASED SEARCH, so people go to iTunes or Rhapsody or Napster and search for their favorite SONG – and in the search results, they probably see their favorite artist on top, but then they see a few below it that they’ve never seen before!

He continues:

So now, I’m advising musicians to do a creative cover song on their next album. Find something that hasn’t been done TOO much. (Example: CD Baby has 762 versions of “Amazing Grace”. Really!) Find something that you can add your unique twist to. Then make sure to include it on a full-length album, so that people who discover you by that song can get turned on to your own music, and buy the whole collection.

Hm, that all maybe true. But, it is also true that through these searches one can easily find songs that have been covered, where the artist/publisher/label are not paying the composer to use the covered composition. Anybody can cover a song, but royalties have to be paid to the composer. These royalties are fixed and are the same for every composition. I have always contacted the publisher of a composition I wanted to cover as a courtesy, to let them know that there is another version out there and so they can track the sales if they like. I think to sell a cover-version of a song and to hope that no-one will notice is pretty low. It can happen out of ignorance, but I think a lot of guys also simply hope that they can get away with it.

I think a cover song can be a great tribute and I have recorded a few of them, but to suggest that one should record them simply to be found in a song-based search seems like used-car-salesmen tactics to me.

Last Week

02005-05-30 @ 07:05

This is my last week home before the tour. Home always looks especially sweet during that last week. The first week on tour, and the first week back home after the tour are the hardest. The weeks in between are fine, because one gets into the rhythm of touring.

Then there is always the question, how will the new line-up sound? We will play as a quartet for the first time at rehearsals next week. Fine musicians to be sure, but how will they gel together? Sometimes you can have great musicians, that just don’t fit together very well, or you can have musicians who are less impressive on their own, but sheer magic when in the group. I guess we will find out soon. I am very optimistic. This could be a magical quartet.

Water Bottles

02005-05-30 @ 07:05

Are you looking for alternatives to plastic water bottles after reading some of the albeit conflicting reports regarding Lexan bottles? I looked around a little and found these alternatives yesterday:
Klean Kanteen, a stainless steel bottle in 27 oz and 40 oz sizes.
Brunton Beverage Flasks, made from aluminum that has been covered with food-grade epoxy on the inside. Sizes range from 0.4L to 1.0L.

Swazi king marries 11th wife

02005-05-30 @ 07:05

Africa’s last absolute monarch has been criticised for having so many wives in a country with one of the world’s highest rates of HIV infection.

He owns a fleet of luxury cars, including a $500,000 Maybach, and has spent millions of dollars refurbishing palaces for his wives. The 37-year-old’s lavish lifestyle is at odds with the living conditions of his people, most of whom live in poverty. The unemployment rate stands at 40% while nearly 70% of the country’s one million inhabitants live on less than $1 a day and nearly 40% of adults are HIV positive.

Noliqwa Ntentesa, who was forced to give up high school when she was picked three years ago, was smeared in traditional red ochre and married in a secret wedding service held last week at a royal palace.
From the BBC

Joyride Almost Over?

02005-05-30 @ 07:05

Could the petroleum joyride — cheap, abundant oil that has sent the global economy whizzing along with the pedal to the metal and the AC blasting for decades – be coming to an end? Some observers of the oil industry think so. They predict that this year, maybe next – almost certainly by the end of the decade – the world’s oil production, having grown exuberantly for more than a century, will peak and begin to decline.

And then it really will be all downhill. The price of oil will increase drastically. Major oil-consuming countries will experience crippling inflation, unemployment and economic instability. Princeton University geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes predicts a permanent state of oil shortage.
From Wired News

Why should any large group of people act smarter than an individual? As individuals we usually do not seek to change or find help with our problems until it is really really important, and there is no other option. We as individuals are like that, so why would groups, i.e. society, act any different? We’ll go to the brink and hopefully we will find a solution. It sure would be nice, if we don’t get too close to that brink, methinks.The sooner we start taking this serious, the less extreme the measures will have to be.

More reading: Rolling Stone article The Long Emergency:

Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, famously remarked that “people cannot stand too much reality.” What you’re about to read may challenge your assumptions about the kind of world we live in, and especially the kind of world into which events are propelling us. We are in for a rough ride through uncharted territory.

Also note the documentary The End of Suburbia

Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness.

Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.

But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.

Thanks Wendy.

Let’s face it, Suburbia wasn’t that great of an idea. A dead-end street, if you will. I have heard of old folks moving back into the city from the suburbs, because in the city they can walk to get groceries, they can take a cab to the opera or theater. They can take care of themselves and enjoy their life, while living in suburbia they depended on a car, and even going to buy milk means getting in your car…

Installing a Sun

02005-05-30 @ 06:05

Timelapse footage showing the Chihuly installation of The Sun in the Princess of Wales Conservatory

Also check out Chihuly’s web site for some great pictures. This video of his chandeliers in Venice is my favorite. I look forward to seeing the Chihuly collection at the Spencer Theater in Alto next week.

Smart LEDs

02005-05-30 @ 06:05

-lights that change colour through the day to adjust to our bodies circadian rhythm-‘According to a basic physics definition, this light has a high color temperature, while evening light has a far lower color temperature. Lighting that offers the ability to adjust color temperature could benefit human health, mood, and productivity’

-brake lights that can communicate with the brakes of the car following too closely;

-controlling the spectral composition of grow lamps to improve the out-of-season production of fruits and vegetables.
(Via Treehugger.)


02005-05-29 @ 17:05

Global Warming: Undo It is an Environmental Defense campaign that addresses the critical issue of climate change. Our number one objective is passage of the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, which would dramatically cut polluting emissions.

The way I see it, we can do something now, or let it go too far and really have a mess on our hands.

tides nyc

02005-05-29 @ 08:05

Tides Restaurant (102 Norfolk at Delancey Street). In this small restaurant (420 sq ft) LTL explored different configurations of bamboo. The booths, seats and tables are all made from different combinations of bamboo. The ceiling is formed by over 120,000 bamboo skewers embedded into a back-lit accoustical ceiling. The skewers are composed to produce a topographical effect, evoking sea grass, albeit inverted.

Architects Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis also designed the Fluff bakery at 751 Ninth Ave. in Manhattan. Not crazy about the bakery. Nice design for a coffeeshop or restaurant, but it doesn’t have the right vibe for a bakery in my opinion.

Sampling Rates

02005-05-28 @ 13:05

Yesterday afternoon I recorded a new piece I wrote last week. I am sending the recording to Genpo Roshi on monday, because I asked him to give it a title since it seems to be a result of the sesshin.

I recorded the guitar through my usual set-up, but changed the sampling rate to 24bit/96k instead of the CD quality 16bit/44.1k I usually work with. My thoughts:

+ more headroom – more dynamic
+ a little clearer with a little more definition – but I still maintain that a great microphone and pre-amp is much more imporant than the sampling rate!!
– uses a lot more space on your HD
– crashed my Mac for the first time in months while I was converting the 24/96 mix to 16/44.1 to burn a CD
– some plug-ins don’t work at the higher sampling rate

So far I have to say that the difference was not really big enough to convince me to record in 24/96. Maybe I’ll do 24/44.1 in order to get a little more headroom.

Lucky me…

02005-05-28 @ 13:05

Bottle Broke
I almost tested the Lloyds of London policy covering my hands at lunch today. The glass quietly came apart as I started to move the cork. The bottle is empty because I strained the wine into a decanter, of course… wouldn’t want to waste wine…

Noise Shirt

02005-05-28 @ 09:05

The Noise Shirt is a T-Shirt that houses a built in noise level indicator. Wear it in the pub or in the coffee room at work and when you see the indicator hit the red you can either leave, tell everyone to shut up or just go deaf slowly!

(Via Ektopia.)

I think it would be more useful to have a noise meter built into a cellphone, something one is likely to carry around most of the time. Another advantage is that the cellphone already contains a microphone that could be used for that purpose. One could set the phone to vibrate when the sound level reaches a pre-set threshold. Then one either leaves or goes deaf. Hm, maybe someone could create a software app for the Palm Treo to achieve this?


02005-05-27 @ 22:05

Frontier Design Group’s new TranzPort represents a revolutionary way to interact with your Windows or Mac digital audio workstation (DAW). Instead of being stuck in front of your computer to compose, record, and produce music/audio, TranzPort gives you the freedom to control DAW functions from anywhere in your studio.

Looks cool. But I don’t pace so much anymore, now that I mostly work alone in the studio… – thanks E.No

On second thought… maybe it will reach from my recording room to the control room and I can start and stop the recording instead of using a 20 bar pre-roll. And the suggested retail is only $199… very cool

Japanese Manholes

02005-05-26 @ 20:05

(Via Ektopia.)


02005-05-26 @ 06:05

Welcome to SENSELESS ACTS OF BEAUTY the FREE ‘good graffiti’ picture site! Browse through the gallery containing over 300 quality photos of ‘good graffiti’ from around the world.


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