Archive for 2007-08

No Ice Without Water

02007-08-31 @ 17:08

All sentient beings are essentially Buddhas.

As with water and ice, there is no ice without water;

apart from sentient beings, there are no Buddhas.

Not knowing how close the truth is,

we seek it far away – what a pity!

– Hakuin Ekaku Zenji

From the Upaya newsletter


02007-08-31 @ 15:08

Thursday Jon and I walked to lunch: 66 blocks down and 4 blocks across in an hour. At the pace we were walking it felt like playing a real-time video game with scent added… We saw this fabo new Benz, their first green vehicle ever.
At last: a Green Mercedes
more about our gigs at BBKing’s here and here.
On Thursday evening the bass driver of my left in-ear monitor stopped working right at the beginning of the performance, which made playing feel more like working… For the second set I had to use a different set of in-ears, but they felt unfamiliar and were coloring my hearing in a completely different way. The inner dialog was entertaining. “This doesn’t sound nice” “Shut up and play” “I really am not comfortable with this” “You can do this, so stop whining and do it”… … …

Twitter / lunanegra

02007-08-31 @ 15:08

Twitter / lunanegra
Elevator stops at every floor on the way down to lobby..nice

Play by play comments from the band.

Scullers, Boston

02007-08-29 @ 06:08

I played the first show with abandon and the band had a groove on that was undeniable. Everything felt brand-new. Some of my best playing.

Before the concert Jon told Stephen that I was born to tremolo… it is true, my three middle fingers are almost of equal length – which makes them very suited for playing a tremolo or for pick-pocketing. When I was 3 years old, an old gypsy woman told my mother that I would either become a famous guitar player or a thief. Well, I chose the tremolo and used to practice it non-stop when I was a teen. I would tremolo a dampened guitar string while reading a book or while watching TV, although that’s where my family drew the line – no tremolo while others were in the room…

The club wanted two 75 minute shows and we had prepared a special, shortened, set. Because it was so much fun to play, we played too long – each song becoming longer than usual as improvisation took over. Alan used our in-ear monitors to tell us to cut several pieces and play just one last song… We played for almost 90 minutes and had only half an hour to eat dinner before the start of the second show.

Credit cards are the new jazz

02007-08-29 @ 06:08

Click opera – Credit cards are the new jazz
Ben had assembled some old cassette players fitted with wand-mounted VCR heads capable of reading — turning into gloopy sound — any kind of information stored on magnetic tape: the stripes on credit cards, the backs of metro tickets, old computer spools, and of course audio tape.

N95 8GB

02007-08-29 @ 06:08

Review: Nokia N95 8GB (MobileBurn)

Nokia has announced an update to its flagship multimedia computer, the N95 8GB. A boost in on board storage to 8GB, though at the lament of a memory card slot, is not the only new feature for the device, however.

Nice. Much more memory, bigger battery. That addresses the two biggest shortcomings. No more warning that “the application has run out of memory”… But I have seen a photo of the back of the new n95 8GB elsewhere and it showed that the camera lens is no longer protected by a cover. Bad idea. When I have a 5MP camera I don’t want the optics to get scratched up when I have the phone in my pocket.


02007-08-29 @ 05:08

Photo by Salma – taken during our performance at the Ram’s Head in Annapolis on Monday evening.

Out-of-body experience recreated

02007-08-28 @ 15:08

BBC NEWS | Health | Out-of-body experience recreated
Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers.


02007-08-27 @ 20:08

Westhampton PAC - Evening
We always enjoy playing here. The lighting was a little harsh during the second half, but that’s how it goes. A misunderstanding between Stevo and the house LD, perhaps. In 2005 Stephen was our LD, but since last year he has been in the band and we have relied on house lighting guys. Most of the time that is not a problem and sometimes it is great to see what a person who hasn’t worked with us comes up with. Sometimes it is difficult, as you might imagine. During intermission Stephen asked the house lighting guy to pull down the no-colors (meaning white light) a little, because it was very bright and quite hot during the first set. I think the house LD understood that we wanted no colors and that’s what happened. A rather stark second set, visually, was the result. But, one only had to close one’s eyes, because the music was pure magic, of course.

Safety First

02007-08-27 @ 07:08

Safety First - 2

UNHQ goes green

02007-08-27 @ 07:08

If there ever were a building in the world that should be as green as possible, the United Nations Headquarters in New York would probably be it. The good news: the UN seems to agree. The almost-60-year-old building, one of the most influential and iconic buildings on the Manhattan skyline, will be undergoing extensive renovations that will transform the building into a model of energy efficiency for all to follow.

Photos from last night’s concert

02007-08-26 @ 13:08

Ottmar Liebert in concert 082507 – a photoset on Flickr
Photos by Russell Frost, who is behind the Prius Owners Group blog and wrote this about the concert:

I saw him and his ensemble, Luna Negra on Saturday, at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg and they were, in a single word, fantastic. Ottmar’s passionate guitar playing is incredible. Seeing an artist like this is in a small venue, with a talented ensemble like Luna Negra is something not to be missed.

My own comments about the evening:

We usually carry chairs for Stephen and myself, but since we flew to the East Coast we are using chairs provided by the venues. Last night I used a black chair that turned out to be a cello-chair for the orchestra, meaning it is slightly pitched forward. My back was in pain and I had trouble concentrating. We switched chairs for the second half, and I was much more comfortable.


02007-08-25 @ 15:08


What’s in my bag?
What's in your bag?
Click on the photo to read the notes.

Arriving in Harrisburg

02007-08-25 @ 13:08

Stephen listens to The Fritz Files, playing in 24 bit/96k glory on my laptop, using the Peak Pro software.

Fritz Files – conclusion

02007-08-23 @ 11:08

Recording with Fritz was memorable! Musicians almost never record without headphones. There are many reasons to use headphones when recording a group. Some instruments are louder and it is hard to hear the soft instruments without headphones. Distances between musicians – necessary to balance the loudness of different instruments for recording purposes – can result in delays that make it much harder to achieve a serious groove. Our brain computes the direction of sound using the delay that is produced by the distance between our ears. In other words a sound originating from the left side will take milliseconds longer to reach the right ear. That allows the brain to identify the location of the sound. If the musicians sit more than a few feet apart the soundwaves may take several milliseconds to reach the ears and the delay will make it difficult to play in time. Luckily this is the hardest grooving band I have ever had and we were able to mentally compensate for the distances.

Taking a walk on Tuesday afternoon, after recording for several hours, I noticed that my mind was hyper-sensitive to the location of sounds. During recording sessions – and on stage while performing – my brain enters a different state, where pitch and time become enlarged. It’s like experiencing an aural version of slow-motion. In this state the smallest change in pitch or rhythm becomes very obvious. Working with Fritz and recording without headphones my mind became really sensitized to the location of sounds. And during my walk I kept noticing the location of sounds around me in such clear detail! A bird flapping his wings, a plane overhead, birds singing, the wind in the leaves, a truck in the distance… I mentioned this to he others yesterday and they all had the same experience.

We recorded one song with my old and slightly noisy video-camera in the studio room. Stevo will help me match up Fritz’s audio with the video we shot. That will make it possible to watch our performance in the studio while hearing exactly what Fritz heard – if you listen with headphones. You will see me circling Fritz at one point – not an easy feat to play guitar while moving around if you don’t use a strap – and Davo moving around while playing shaker. I will announce when the video will be available for your viewing/listening pleasure.

For some recordings we moved quite a bit. Sometimes Stevo and I would both be moving around, to balance softer and louder playing and to create some interesting aural movement. We decided against doing any overdubs or edits and hope to present the album in our ListeningLounge – now also accessible from – very soon.


02007-08-23 @ 10:08

A few days ago I watched the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. So beautifully filmed! In the nineties I read the book “Das Parfum” and loved it. One day a good friend visited me and I told him I had read this fantastic story. While I was looking around to find the book he bolted upstairs and returned with a book he was reading and wanted to recommend to me. There we stood in the kitchen – he was holding the English edition “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” and I was holding “Das Parfum”, the original German book…

From the wikipedia entry:

The song “Scentless Apprentice,” by the American grunge band Nirvana, was inspired by Perfume. It appears on their 1993 album In Utero. The band’s singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain often described it as one of his favorite books.


02007-08-23 @ 10:08

From the Upaya newsletter

Even now,
decades after,
I wash my face with cold water –

Not for discipline,
nor memory,
nor the icy, awakening slap,

but to practice
to make the unwanted wanted.

– Jane Hirschfield, “A Cedary Fragrance”

New York City is an elephant…

02007-08-23 @ 10:08

New York City is Greener that Hastings, NE (TreeHugger)
Yahoo may have named Hastings, NE the greenest city in America, but a new study proves them wrong;. bucolic little towns like Hastings or Bedford Falls or Grover’s Corners are less green that good old New York City. It appears that cities are like mammals, conforming to the phenomenon of “biological scaling”- the larger the organism, the more efficiently it uses energy. The elephant is far more efficient than the mouse.


02007-08-23 @ 09:08

I am watching the German TV news from yesterday (on my Nokia N95) and there is an interesting piece on the drilling of a hole into Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze – see this photo. The hole will go deep into permanently frozen soil in a research project to explore global warming and climate change. Apparently many mountains are “held together” by permafrost at the top. With climate change those mountain tops might literally fall apart.

Noise Kills

02007-08-23 @ 08:08

Noise of modern life blamed for thousands of heart deaths | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited
Thousands of people in Britain and around the world are dying prematurely from heart disease triggered by long-term exposure to excessive noise, according to research by the World Health Organisation. Coronary heart disease caused 101,000 deaths in the UK in 2006, and the study suggests that 3,030 of these are caused by chronic noise exposure, including to daytime traffic.


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