Archive for 2009-03

End of March

02009-03-31 @ 17:03


Torrance Stage from Ottmar Liebert on Vimeo.

We are in Palm Desert where we will perform at the McCallum Theater tonight. This morning Stephen and I played a song for KMIR, Channel 6 TV. We picked Streetlight. Stephen had this to say about our morning.

The first month of our new subscription service is coming to an end. We delivered five songs, including a rehearsal recording, a remix, a rock-flamenco hybrid from 1995, a piece with Rahim, and a 24bit/96kHz version of a One Guitar piece. For April I think we’ll have another one of the rock-flamenco hybrids, an unreleased rumba from 2004 (((Jon and I worked on it recently for a compilation))), an hour-long ambient recording called one 1993, which we made while we were recording The Hours Between Night + Day, and something with the touring band, either from the recent rehearsals in Santa Fe or a live recording from this mini-tour. And, I might find some other stuff I just have to share…

Tomorrow is April 1st and the conficker C worm is supposed to kick into action. 10+ million zombie PCs might/will retrieve their marching orders from the mothership… The worm has been called the smartest nefarious bit of code ever written. Maybe not apocalyptic, but potentially deeply disturbing. Good luck to all you PCs out there. See you on the other side of April 1st.

Tuesday Desert

02009-03-31 @ 10:03

We are in Palm Desert and had a day off yesterday.  Took the strings off my guitar in the morning and cut a little shim from the hotel’s business card, to raise the bone-bridge on the treble side because the high E-string in particular was buzzing – possibly from the Californian humidity. I didn’t bring wood shims or different bridges (bone pieces) on this short tour, but the improvised shim seemed to work. (((A touring musician should be able to do basic emergency repairs of his instrument.)))

After two failed attempts I was able to upload the Time-Lapse I shot in Torrance last week to Vimeo. It took about 9 hours to upload the video at painfully slow speeds… Anyway, here it is – 1,673 photos running at 10 frames per second, or 167 minutes compressed into 2 minutes and 50 seconds:

Torrance Stage from Ottmar Liebert on Vimeo.

We will have a version available for download within a couple of days.

This morning Stevo and I went to channel 6, where I did a brief interview with Liberty and we played a duet of Streetlight. Before the interview Liberty asked me about my background. I explained and she replied that she was Chinese-Russian-American. I told her that I refer to myself as a mutt and asked her how she feels about that word. She said she had no problem with it. Mutts are always stronger than pure-breds, she said.

Then they showed a little kid on TV whose mother shaved is head to look like a cross-shaped Mohawk. (((Mohawks for Jesus?))) Stephen offered to let the news anchor shave something into his hair. The reply was, don’t tempt us, it’s sweeps-week and we’ll do anything!

Be sure to add friends@ottmarliebert.com to your email addressbook, or check your spam filter as I will send a new backstage-password for April this week. And, expect the next downloadable piece of music on Friday! Do you want another Lava tune, or a rumba? Or Lava on Friday and Rumba next Monday?

One last thing:
Tomorrow is April 1st and the conficker C worm is supposed to kick into action. 10+ million zombie PCs might/will retrieve their marching orders from the mothership… The worm has been called the smartest nefarious bit of code ever written. Maybe not apocalyptic, but potentially deeply disturbing. Good luck to all you PCs out there. See you on the other side of April 1st.

Candlelight – Extended

02009-03-30 @ 11:03

Here is the extended version of the shadows-timelapse:

You can download the 720p version (Quicktime).

The music is “Candlelight” from the album The Scent of Light.

Day OFF

02009-03-30 @ 11:03

Stevo’s POV:
Stephen’s Journal and Stephen’s Flickr.

We are in Palm Desert and have a day off. Took the strings off my guitar this morning and cut a little shim from the hotel’s business card, to raise the bone-bridge on the treble side because the high E-string in particular was buzzing – possibly from the Californian humidity. I didn’t bring wood shims or different bridges (bone pieces) on this short tour, but the improvised shim seems to work.

Spy System Loots Computers

02009-03-29 @ 09:03

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries – NYTimes.com
The malware is remarkable both for its sweep — in computer jargon, it has not been merely “phishing” for random consumers’ information, but “whaling” for particular important targets — and for its Big Brother-style capacities. It can, for example, turn on the camera and audio-recording functions of an infected computer, enabling monitors to see and hear what goes on in a room. The investigators say they do not know if this facet has been employed.

Saturday 090328

02009-03-28 @ 12:03

Our first performance together went well. Jon was happy and declared the band 80% perfect. After being disappointed by the sound on stage during soundcheck – the guitars sounded extremely tinny (((thin, bright))) – filling the theater with bodies for the performance provided the solution, and it sounded very nice. There were a few missed cues, but it was evident that the band-members were listening, and we had some genuinely beautiful moments.

After the concert a meet & greet in the green room.

Woke up in Torrence. Left the bus at 08:00 looking for a cafe. Ended up walking five miles. Met only one other pedestrian, a man carrying a pink umbrella against the sun. We smiled and nodded heads. So many unused sidewalks in Southern California! I wondered whether it would be smart to transform those sidewalks into mixed use for pedestrians and bicyclists. It seems to me that bikes generally play better with pedestrians that cars play with bikes. Since hardly anybody walks on these sidewalks anyway, one might as well make cycling safer. Google led me to a Starbucks inside a Target, then to a cafe that turned out to be a Mexican restaurant and was closed, and at last to another Starbucks. Returned to the bus a little before 11:00, just as it was getting rather warm outside.

By the way, make sure you download the music you want – check the Music Category for all downloads – in the next few days, because the links for downloading the March offerings will expire during the first week of April. There will be new download-offerings for April, of course, and you can still listen to the embedded tracks (((the embedded tracks are of lower quality than the downloads))), but the links to the downloads will no longer work.

Wednesday Rehearsal

02009-03-25 @ 14:03

Rehearsal 10:00-13:30 and then packing up and transporting gear. Band sounded good, but what’s really exciting is the potential of this group. These two drummers work very well together. It’s always a gamble, putting two drummers together – some make a great team, some don’t. (((not unlike setting up somebody for a blind date)))

Jon recorded every piece we have worked up for this tour, so we can each listen to the arrangements and memorize them on the two-day bus ride to California. Stevo and Jon kept commenting that much of it sounded like an album and I have to agree. Maybe we should record the band for our subscribers after the Summer tour – live in his studio.

In the meantime we should have a few pieces we can release as free Ottmar-Friends downloads… probably with a few warts (mistakes), but with a pretty nice feel.

Overall a great second day. The second day of rehearsals is often a let-down from the first, but not so this time. Now I have to pack…

This is cool!!

Fantastic gift from a friend arrived today. Beautiful book. Unfortunately too big to bring along on this tour.

Oh, and it looks like we’ll be adding Rome and Vienna to my October Solo shows. Six shows in Germany, one (maybe two, but the routing might not work) in Austria and two in Italy. All in a row, one day off in Berlin.

Wednesday Rehearsal

02009-03-25 @ 13:03

Rehearsal 10:00-13:30 and then packing up and transporting gear. Band sounded good, but what’s really exciting is the potential of this group. These two drummers work very well together. It’s always a gamble, putting two drummers together – some make a great team, some don’t. (((not unlike setting up somebody for a blind date)))

Jon recorded every piece we have worked up for this tour, so we can each listen to the arrangements and memorize them on the two-day bus ride to California. Stevo and Jon kept commenting that much of it sounded like an album and I have to agree. Maybe we should record the band for our subscribers after the Summer tour – live in his studio.

In the meantime we should have a few pieces we can release as free Ottmar-Friends downloads… probably with a few warts (mistakes), but with a pretty nice feel.

Overall a great second day. The second day of rehearsals is often a let-down from the first, but not so this time. Now I have to pack…

Tuesday Rehearsal

02009-03-24 @ 20:03


Tuesday Rehearsal

02009-03-24 @ 16:03

Exhausted.
Picked up Stevo at 09:45 and headed to Jon’s studio. Rehearsed from 10:00 until 16:00.
Brain is trying to retain all of the new parts…
The groove is already deep and I am digging that.


and this photo taken by Stevo:

Monday Music

02009-03-23 @ 08:03

Under the Rose
Rahim AlHaj – Oud
OL – Flamenco Guitar
Jon Gagan – Bass + Keybaords
Barrett Martin – drums + percussion

Produced by Jon Gagan @ The Electric Company (((Jon also recorded, edited, mixed and mastered the music!! What a guy!!))

Audio MP3

Download the 320kbps mp4 file here.

I will leave to have breakfast with Rahim and Jon in a few minutes. Stevo and Rusty will arrive today  and rehearsals will start tomorrow.

A few hours later:
Had a great meeting with Rahim and Jon. I had been pushing to release the album we recorded a while ago as a free download on a dedicated web-page that would also have links to a few, maybe three, Iraqi charities, with the suggestion to donate whatever amount people were willing to give. Rahim wants to a have an actual CD out, and we agreed that we could very well do both. The income from the sale of the CD would go to Iraqi charities as well and the musicians agreed not to take any money. As a tentative release date for the CD and the download-web-page early September was suggested. Under the Rose would be the first piece on the album and possible the title track. I suggested adding Arabic calligraphy to the English title, possibly the Arabic word for Peace. The title Under the Rose was suggested by me and alludes to Sufi history. Sufi masters had regular lives, regular jobs – they were often Stone Masons – and often had families. They did not live in temples or cloisters or centers, but taught small groups in their personal homes. For hundreds of years a rose above the entrance to a house was the sign that a Sufi master lived and taught at that location.

Rahim has been working on a Sufi-themed album for his own label for release next year, and the three of us will record a track for it at Jon’s studio sometime in April. Recently Rahim recorded another track for that album with Toumani Diabate, the great (((greatest))) Kora player and one of my favorite musicians – see my Diary. I think every track on that album will feature different musicians, including small and large orchestras around the world. Sounds like a wonderful project.

Recipe Tote

02009-03-21 @ 11:03

recipe tote on Flickr

That’s one strange recipe for Carbonara. It sounds disgusting, but I haven’t tried it, and I am not supposed to diss something I haven’t tried. But come on! Cream? Seafood? Emmental cheese? It’s a joke, right?

Here is the recipe I use.

And then there is this video of the German band Spliff performing Spaghetti Carbonara in 1982. (((check out how the bass solo is drowned out by the guitarist tuning. funny!)))

Fixies

02009-03-21 @ 10:03

Old school fixie riding:

It’s called Kunstradfahren in German – Art-Bicycling.

It was quite common in Germany in the Seventies to ride street bikes with regular drop bars turned up, with the ends either facing forward or backward, like you see in the video. I remember riding to school with a bike like that. Un-drop bar?

Saturday Burrito

02009-03-21 @ 10:03

Friday afternoon I took a walk. Sat down in front of a cafe with a coffee and read a couple of pages…
I am reading Gary Snyder’s book Back on the Fire: Essays on my iPhone (on the free Kindle application) and bookmarked this:

The moon shines on the river
The wind blows through the pines –
who is this long beautiful evening for?

– from the Cheng Dao Ke

Isn’t that wonderful? And here is another passage that struck me. I am quoting Gary Snyder who quotes Gregory Bateson

I would then suggest: as climax forest is to biome, and fungus is to the recycling of energy, so “enlightened mind” is to daily ego mind, and art to the recycling of neglected inner potential. When we deepen ourselves, looking within, understanding ourselves, we come closer to being like a mature ecosystem. Turning away from grazing on the “immediate biomass” of perception, sensation, and thrill…

What I like about ebook reading is that I have always have the books with me, on my phone. Books by Gary Snyder or Ken Wilber or Basho need to be ingested in small bites and well-chewed before they are swallowed. I remember when I first read one of Ken’s books in 1999 I would read a page or two and then put the book down and contemplate what he had written.

The above Gregory Bateson quote reminds me of something Stephen Batchelor said:

Buddhahood is simply the optimum mode of being that can be reached within human existence.

I quoted that from memory and it might not be word for word correct.

It seems to me that, just as every clump of small trees can eventually become a mature forest, humans can reach an optimum way of being, (((whether that’s colored atheist, buddhist, christian, moslem, pagan etc.))) given enought time. With the destruction of our ecosystem the race is on for humans to mature a tad faster, but as a species we handle pressure pretty well. In fact, we don’t seem to do anything until the last minute, until the water heating in the pot becomes so unbearably that we have to jump. :-)

Check this out – the water in that pot is getting hotter!

Played guitar for a couple of hours last night. Sometimes I notice that making music aligns all of the molecules in the universe. Things feel different afterwards. Rahim calls it settling the soul.

It takes an hour just to really warm up the hands and the last half hour of two hours is really fun. And in case you are wondering whether that means that the first half of a concert is a just the warm-up, no that is not the case because we play a lot during the day. Stevo and I find rooms to play guitar in and Jon walks around with his bass plugged into his in-ear monitors and plays a lot. And we always have a soundcheck that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. I’d say on tour we each play an average of 3-4 hours very day. Sometimes more.

I was wondering about starting shows with Silence: No More Longing again. I hope the audience has not grown tired of hearing that song. I find that it perfectly tunes me, the guitar, the room and the air in it, and of course the audience. Afterwards I feel ready to make Music, no, actually that happens at some point during the piece… I enjoy playing it and I really enjoy when I start the tremolo and Jon steps up and plays a solo. Silence is a nice way to introduce the band to the audience, the music to the room, the audience to each other and so on.

Saturday Morning. Early. Santa Fe Baking Company. Breakfast burrito – no bacon, and coffee. You know what I mean, Stevo! Did I mention that a friend introduced me to an elderly woman once, who he said invented (((and he meant that literally))) the breakfast burrito a couple of decades ago. For as much sense as a breakfast burrito makes, it wasn’t always so.

Old school fixie riding!

Friday Music

02009-03-20 @ 13:03

I will present something mellower on Monday to get your week started, but it’s Friday, the work is done and you are going to home to have some fun. (((that rhymes, I should write lyrics!)))

Here is a Lava recording from 1995. The box of the old 2 inch multitrack tape says T-Rex #3 is the title. Musicians: the usual suspects… OL, Jon Gagan, Carl Coletti, Mark Clark and featuring Eric Schemerhorn, fresh from tour with Iggy Pop. Technical info: recorded in my Santa Fe studio on a Sony 24-track, 2 inch machine. Transferred to digital (24/48k) in 2003 and mixed this week:

Audio MP3

Download the 320kbps music file here.

Oh, and the sound (((identified as Solo Gtr on the track sheet))) that starts about a minute and a half into the song and develops into something that reminds me of the sound of a large propeller plane in the middle of the night, was made by a guitar, played through the wonderful Eventide H3000…

1/3 of US birds are endangered

02009-03-20 @ 08:03

One-third of US birds are endangered, says conservation report
Nearly one-third of US birds are endangered, threatened or in significant decline, according to a government conservation report.

It says the findings are “a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems” and reports that birds in Hawaii, the most bird-rich state, are “in crisis”.

Thursday Rehearsal

02009-03-19 @ 16:03

Spring is here. Very warm today.

Rehearsal with Michael until 13:30. Jon and I are both very excited about the new band and are looking forward to touring. MC adds a great groove to the music. Worked through new arrangements of Up Close: Beginning, The River and Streetlight.


Thursday Rehearsal

02009-03-19 @ 16:03

Spring is here. Very warm today.

Found these blossoms in town. My Casa Monte Frio is always a week or two behind most of Santa Fe.

I love notes like this one:

i heard of you long time ago. but honestly, i’ve never taken time to listen to your music, until a couple of days ago.
i am writing a novel at the moment. and your music perfectly syn with what i am writing. Thanks for the inspirations.
btw, i am in hong kong. the other side of the world from you.

I was hoping to perform in HK this year. That might not happen, but there is still a good chance I might make it to Tokyo in the late Summer.


Breakfast @ CC with Jon. In the course of our conversation we solved several problems that plague the world at present. But, somebody should set up a microphone at our table, because we later forget which problem we solved and how we did it.

Rehearsal with Michael until 13:30. Jon and I are both very excited about the new band and are looking forward to touring. MC adds a great groove to the music. Worked through new arrangements of Up Close: Beginning, The River and Streetlight.

Added my Letters to a Young Musician to this Journal, including a new fifth one. Just click on the category on the right or here.

Shadows

02009-03-18 @ 20:03


Candlelight – 2 from Ottmar Liebert on Vimeo.

Wednesday

02009-03-18 @ 17:03

Beautiful Morning.
Up @ 06:30.
A couple of black double espressos later I used the Mariachi Bullitt to move my trash and the recycle containers to the drop-off spot in the street. Carrying garbage made FUN!

Started setting up a new digital mix for another Lava track in the studio – this one was given the working title T-Rex #3 in 1995 – while the Canon camera was clicking away in the house, capturing light moving across the white wall…

Here is a quick edit of several time-lapse shoots from the past weeks:

Candlelight – 2 from Ottmar Liebert on Vimeo.

I am looking forward to creating time-lapse videos from photos of the band on stage this month! And maybe I’ll get up real early in Palm Springs and catch a sunrise…

Fixies, Hongkong style… I remember HK to be rather hilly. These guys’ thighs must be in good shape, especially on the downhills.

Received an email with an offer to hear an album somebody made:

If you are at all interested before someone else grabs us… please let us know. We will be sending our CD out shortly to Vegas for Tony Bennett to hear..

Please respond as soon as possible, we are very enthusiastic about our music. We would love to be associated with subspiral studios as we know you are always looking for new talent.

I added the red color. It’s always a good idea to actually know who you are sending a demo to. And that made me wonder what a Subspiral is. Is that a circle? Subspiral = Spiral minus the upward movement = Circle?

The Got 2 Go cassette that became Marita: Shadows + Storms which became Nouveau Flamenco was rejected by dozens of record labels, so believe me, I know what it’s like. Good luck with Tony Bennett, and I mean that. I imagine Tony Bennett and I don’t have a lot of favorite music in common, but who knows, I have never met the guy.

Politics | New Mexico governor signs measure to abolish death penalty | Seattle Times Newspaper
Gov. Bill Richardson signed legislation Wednesday to repeal New Mexico’s death penalty, calling it the “most difficult decision in my political life.”

After I heard the news I revisited the excellent Upaya newsletter from 2009-03-02, which contains a lot of wise words on why to repeal the death penalty. I also came across this:

Upaya Newsletter for 3/2/2009
When a rebel army swept into a town in Korea, all the monks of the Zen temple fled except for the Abbot. The general came into the temple and was annoyed that the Abbot did not receive him with respect. “Don’t you know,” he shouted, “that you are looking at a man who can run you through without blinking?” “And you,” replied the Abbot strongly, “are looking at a man who can be run through without blinking!” The general stared at him, made a bow and retired.

And this:

Upaya Newsletter for 3/2/2009
In Lewis Hyde’s wonderful book, The Gift, he describes dinner in a cheap restaurant in the South of France.

The patrons sit at a long communal table, and each finds before his plate a modest bottle of wine. Before the meal begins, a man will pour his wine not into his own glass but into his neighbor’s. And his neighbor will return the gesture, filling the first man’s empty glass. In an economic sense nothing has happened. No one has any more wine than he did to begin with. But society has appeared where there was none before.

In Japan (((what about Korea, China?))) one does not pour sake for oneself. One always pours sake for each other. If one drinks alone, another patron or the wait-person will fill one’s glass. I believe it is those little things that bind a society together.

Gassho

PS: wondered whether to release new music to you on Mondays (((it’s the beginning of the week, need a little pick-me-up??))), Tuesdays (((traditional release day for music, since the beginning of time??))) or Fridays (((almost weekend??))). While I think more about that and consult the Iching (((Ha!))) I will add a new song this Friday…

 


© Copyright 2019 Ottmar Liebert • Site by Canton Becker • Diary powered by WordPress