Archive for 2009-06

Giving up my iPod for a Walkman

02009-06-29 @ 21:06

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Giving up my iPod for a Walkman
It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

Read more.

Saturday Morning

02009-06-27 @ 11:06

My day started with an early Morning walk to Chinatown.

And following the reds in Chinatown I found these orange chairs – there are dozens of them – in Mint Plaza. Would be interesting to do a timelapse from a bird’s eye view of the plaza and seeing the orange chairs move around… maybe just one photo per daylight hour, over the course of several months…

Friday Coffee

02009-06-26 @ 11:06

Last night’s performance went well and I had a great time. The slide show might need fine-tuning, but it is working. The audience enjoyed the combination of guitar-playing, the visual imagery and the Q & A. I think it is a pretty original concept and it keeps getting better. I could not see the screens which are in the corners of the room, but Jon said there was plenty of nice synchronicity happening between the music and the visuals… ah, the brain always wants to make sense of things, find an order to things… so predictable and wonderful. I feel relieved, because it’s a totally new slide show and I am using a different program (((Apple’s Keynote instead of Adobe Lightroom))), but it is working well and, I think, creates a nice step forward.

Did not enjoy Caffe Greco on Columbus yesterday morning, so when Jon suggested a new place he found near the hotel I was ready. It’s called Blue Bottle and here is the page for the cafe, which is near the old mint just SoMa – South of Market. After a cappuccino we also had to try the siphon coffee – see this explanation I found on the interwebs. Very nice. And a nice show, something of a tea ceremony, but with coffee. Perhaps more chem lab than bamboo hut, but highly recommended.

Link to New York Times slideshow about this siphon bar. Blue Bottle sells a set up for $140, but amazon seems to have a similar siphon pot for about $50. And Matt, you can find lab coats here. You should be able to get the whole enchilada, siphon pot plus lab coat for around a hundred bucks. Hm, maybe you should also consider lab glasses to safeguard your eyes? Please do send a photo!!

Friday Goa

02009-06-26 @ 10:06

Today I want to show how a piece of music changes through the years.

I will use Morning Arrival in Goa as the example. The first recording dates from the Spring of 1993, for the album The Hours Between Night + Day. I remember that I had the chord changes written out, but waited to create the melody until the rhythm guitars, the percussion, bass and keyboards were already done. After the melody was established I added the electric guitar Seagulls and the foghorn I had recorded, because the theme of the piece became the night ferry from Bombay to Goa, which I had the pleasure to take in the Fall of 1978. I traveled fourth class, which meant sleeping on deck, but also meant that I was awake and up to witness the sunrise, and the lighthouse…:

Audio MP3

Next comes the version we recorded live for the album ¡Viva! I used the Midi-Flamenco guitar Keith Vizcarra made for me in 1993:

Audio MP3

The next example is the version from Leaning into the Night. The arrangement was written by Oscar Castro-Neves, who also conducted the orchestra:

Audio MP3

Here is a polaroid scan from August 1996:

This one was recorded for the album The Santa Fe Sessions. I changed the guitar arpeggio to Bossa Nova-style plucking. Davo played the udu:

Audio MP3

This is the remix that appeared on nouveaumatic, with a new slap-bass by Jon Gagan:

Audio MP3

Here is a live recording from late 2005 with Jon Gagan, Davo Bryant and the string quartet. (Diary entry):

Audio MP3

All versions except for the last one are available on CDs and from the usual download outlets. You can download version 6 here.

Thursday in San Francisco

02009-06-25 @ 10:06

Put my hoodie on to keep my head warm in the cool San Francisco Morning air. Walked to Columbus Avenue for my morning coffee. The tip of the Transamerica Pyramid was in fog and I found a nice angle for a photo.

Now back to the slideshow, which is still not finished… and yes, I am adding those two images.

Crooked Mouth

02009-06-24 @ 17:06

Saw this ad a few days ago. Hey, that’s an almost poetic advertisement…
Maybe not PC… but…

We arrived in San Francisco. I read for most of the flight… Confucius said:

By nature, men are nearly alike;
by practice they get to be wide apart

Now working on slideshow, which is still not finished, and guitar-playing, which will never be finished…

Monday HD

02009-06-22 @ 08:06

For Steve and others who have the computer setup and D/A converter to listen to 24/96k files: It’s Red Desert Sky, from One Guitar, and you can download the AIF file here. This is a 170MB file and you might not want to download that on yer phone… well, no phone I know could play the file back anyway.

For all others I have a 320kbps mp3 file of t-one 1996. Download the file here. This is a continues file, same as on the CD, not cut up as you would find it in the ListeningLounge. This is also a rather large file at 157MB.


02009-06-21 @ 16:06

At the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano this past May. By Joe Mozdzen.

The furture is near (or is it here?)
Check out these apps for the iPhone.
This is an amazing “remote control” for a Canon DSLR:

onOne Software – DSLR Remote for Canon DSLR Cameras & iPhone
Control Your Canon DSLR With Your iPhone

* Remotely fire your Canon EOS DSLR camera with your iPhone or iPod Touch
* Remotely control the camera settings like shutter-speed, aperture, white-balance and more
* View images saved on the camera from your iPhone or iPod Touch
* Look through your camera’s viewfinder remotely
* Great for remote-firing at sporting events, for kids, and for self-portraits

And this app allows the user to reserve and find a Zip Car – honks the horn for easier location and unlocks the door!

Zipcar iPhone App Makes Car-Sharing A Breeze | Autopia |
Zipcar has joined Apple to make getting a car as easy as using your phone. The pioneering car-share company has developed an iPhone app you can use to choose, reserve and locate a car on the go – a brilliant move, considering one-quarter of the company’s subscribers have an iPhone in their pocket.

Oh the irony!

02009-06-20 @ 17:06

Vic Says:
Received my Asiabeat – Monsoon CD from Amazon. It’s basically brand new with a hole punch through the UPC code. Putting it in the CD tray as I type this to load onto my iPod. : )

A very good example of our system failing. Here is what happened. Vic took the perfectly legal option and bought the album on amazon. That’s commendable, of course. But what really happened here? The hole in the UPC code signifies that the album was for promotional purpuses only. Legally that CD was never actually given to the person or group (a radio station or a newspaper perhaps) that originally received the CD, instead, it was lent and is supposed to be returned upon request – which, of course, never happens. So, said person sold the item, which s/he received for free, to a CD reseller, who advertises on amazon. By buying the album Vic in essence paid money to UPS for shipping the album, amazon for facilitating the sale, the CD-reseller who sold the album and the person who sold said CD to the reseller. Unfortunately no money went to the record company and Lewis/Asiabeat did not receive a cent!! (((artists do NOT get paid on promotional copies!)))

If, on the other hand, Vic had taken the illegal option and downloaded the album for free through a torrent and sent Lewis $5…. well, you see where this is going, yes?

The way we deal in music is broken. Nobody has a perfect solution yet, but here is to hoping we’ll find one soon.

Saturday Thoughts

02009-06-20 @ 14:06

I have been turning that comment over and over in my mind:

1. Victor Hornback Says:
“…in my view nothing is ever lost…”

I sometimes wonder if anything is ever created. If not then collective consciousness is not so much a collection growing over time as a shifting in and out of form whatever is already there.

To which I answered:

3. Ottmar Says:
Victor, that’s a mighty big thought and I like it.

Just consciousness shifting, turning, dancing, flexing, shining, fractalizing…

Methinks one would find examples of this thought in Hindu and Buddhist texts, don’t you think? Maybe some Googling is in order.

Haven’t googled anything, but listened to this talk by Alan Wallace at Upaya – part od the free podcast series at I don’t think it’s a very good talk. Mr. Wallace goes on and on and appears to enjoy hearing himself talk, but does not actually say much. But, I had to stay in the studio to make sure a candle wasn’t falling over and burning the place down (here and here) and so I listened to the entire 90+ minute podcast. (((yes, that’s my bell that starts the podcast – I gave the sound to Upaya)))

Mr. Wallace mentions that while we can observe the physcial changes in the brain – e.g. see the Wikipedia list of different Neurotransmitters – when it comes to studying the interior life we have to depend on a research subject’s word. Two subjects experience and relate the same situation very differently. I find it’s useful to know Ken Wilber’s Four Quadrant Model – I, We, It and Its, or the Subjective and Objective view of an individual, and the intersubjective and the interobjective view of the collective – check it out here if you like. (((are you feeling sleepy?)))

Alan Wallace draws an interesting comparison with Science around Galileo’s time. Before Galileo no powerful telescopes existed, therefore astronomy depended on naked-eye observations. If I remember the talk correctly, before Galileo the most powerful telescop had 3x magnification, but Galileo was able to devise one with 30x magnification. With the help of this telescope Galileo was able to observe that Venus had moons orbiting around it. That, of course, started trouble for Galileo, because since Aristotle it was understood that the Earth was the center of the universe.

Well, in terms of studying the interior world of our Minds we are still using naked-eye observation. We have to take a subject’s word for what they are experiencing. We can observe what is going on in the brain objectively, by measuring currents and chemistry, but we can’t look into the interior life of Mind. Yet. Will someone invent the equivalent of a telescope – for the mind? Or is that just not possible?

So, from there my mind jumped to thinking that nothing every REALLY happens. TIme is a construct. And, as Victor wrote, Collective Consciousness is not so much a collection growing over time as a shifting in and out of form whatever is already there. (((that does sound like something Nagarjuna might have expressed – must look for Stephen Batchelor’s translation, which is somewhere among my stacks of books…)))

We discover “new” definitions, based on the current culture, data and knowledge, but I would venture to guess that in terms of the mind’s interior, we don’t know any more than some of the monks, hermits or philosophers in India or China thousands of years ago. On the other hand we can certainly distract ourselves better than they were able to… :-)

I wish I could express myself better. I swear, sometimes this stuff aligns wordlessly and miraculously in my mind while I am meditating, but holding on to that experience and putting it into words, that’s a whole other matter. Well, I tried and by now you are probably asleep, so no harm done…


02009-06-20 @ 11:06

This, or something very similar, is the back, the CD tray card, of a compilation that Lifescapes is manufacturing and will distribute to all Target stores this Summer. The release date is July 12th. This is the least involved I have been with an album, although I did insist on making a few changes to their running order. I basically gave them a pile of music from my SSRI catalog and let them pick the songs or versions. Lifescapes is licensing the content from SSRI, which means that SSRI retains full ownership.

You will already be familiar with most of the music since Remba is my new title for Untitled Rumba (((which you can also find here – Ottmar-Friends always get to hear the music first!!))), and Dreaming is Dreaming on the Starlight Train (((with the flies removed!!!))) – and both can be found here – although those are different mixes. (((confused yet?)))

Oh, and I think one or two of the songs taken from The Scent of Light are edits, to create a more easily digestible fare.

The target audience for this compilation is, well, the Target customer. I figured the label knows that customer and their needs and wants better than I do and let them pretty much package this however they wanted. They decided to contact Reisig & Taylor, who shot the covers for Leaning into the Night and christmas + santa fe, and picked the above image for the cover. (((that’s the Keith Vizcarra Flamenco Negra guitar with the V-Pegs that I used on most of Leaning into the Night))) The label also came up with the title Spanish Sun (((!!!))) and the description A Relaxing Spanish Guitar Collection.

Jon Gagan, sent all of the music through his magic mastering box, and created a cohesive album that does sound great. (((I think it’s a great introduction to my music for people who have never heard it))) I am told the album will be aggressively priced and will only be available at Target.

May the Mid-West, and everywhere Target reaches, echo with the sound of Spanish guitar music this Summer!

Cargo-bike Race

02009-06-20 @ 10:06

Nice video about the cargo-race at the European Messenger competition last month.

More posts on cargo-bikes here, here, here, and here. Direct link to Larry Vs Harry, where I bought my bike from Hans, who is Harry. Watch it large here.

Later that Friday

02009-06-19 @ 13:06

I think Burning Up might be a good title for this one.

Manual exposure: f/4 and 1/20 sec.
Interval: 1 exposure every 9 seconds
Total number of images captured: 2,181
Number of images used: 2,039 (((one candle fell over near the beginning)))
Quicktime movie assembled at a rate of 50 FPS (frames per second)

That means 19,629 seconds, or about 5 1/2 hours, were compressed into 40 seconds…

Inspired by this video on Flickr

Here is the same video on Vimeo. Which plays back smoother?


02009-06-19 @ 12:06

For the 2009 slideshow that will accompany my solo concerts – only in venues where a video-projector is available. Inspired by this video on Flickr.


02009-06-19 @ 02:06

Captured a timelapse of the evening sky on Wednesday. But the clouds had moved so fast across the sky that the video looked ridiculous. I deleted the images and video… should have kept it for a laugh.

Nice looking messenger bags:
Teamwork Bags- Bags from salvaged sails and tire tubes

Tried another timelapse tonight, candles burning down. I set the candles up in one of the candle carts… they burned longer than I expected and it is now nearly 03:00 in the morning. Good night.

We are all animals.

02009-06-18 @ 13:06

A friend sent me this link.

Animals can tell right from wrong – Telegraph
Scientists studying animal behaviour believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans.

Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions and have a sense of morality. But Prof Marc Bekoff, an ecologist at University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that morals are “hard-wired” into the brains of all mammals and provide the “social glue” that allow often aggressive and competitive animals to live together in groups.

He has compiled evidence from around the world that shows how different species of animals appear to have an innate sense of fairness, display empathy and help other animals that are in distress. His conclusions will provide ammunition for animal welfare groups pushing to have animals treated more humanely, but some experts are sceptical about the extent to which animals can experience complex emotions and social responsibility.

Prof Bekoff, who presents his case in a new book Wild Justice, said: “The belief that humans have morality and animals don’t is a long-standing assumption, but there is a growing amount of evidence that is showing us that this simply cannot be the case.

Now go ahead and play nice, human.


02009-06-18 @ 12:06

Rode my bike to have breakfast with Jon. Over our usual Huevos Rancheros we discussed this and that. We mentioned that one can either hold on to the days of youth (((so many implant and stretching options to choose from!))), or one can move forward – let’s call it the crossroads of aging. And, ideally that movement forward should be an active and engaging process, rather than a I will simply hold on as long as I can! And then, right after we discussed what aging gracefully might look like we reverted to boys when a tiny bird leaped on our table and eyed us and the scraps on our plates. He flew off and Jon gently placed a single black bean on the edge of the table. Maybe he will come back for that? Do you think they can digest beans? No idea, but he might fly faster. Yeah, like afterburner on a fighter jet! It’ll surprise the hell out of a cat that’s after him…

That’s actually something that reminds me of my dad. Even in his nineties he was always ready for a joke, especially a crude joke.

The older I get the more I want to travel. At some point, and hopefully that point is decades away (((dad flew between Europe and the USA many times in his Eighties))), one turns inward and I imagine it would be nice to have a big warehouse of memories at that point. On the other hand, my maternal grandfather worked 12 hours a day in a factory all of his life, interrupted by two world wars, and he seemed happy.

Remember the end of Blade Runner, where the android is dying on the roof and speaks of the things he has seen…

As Roy’s life fades away, he sits and delivers a brief soliloquy about the experiences of his life:

I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain… Time to die.

Of course, in my view nothing is ever lost, period. Time is a construct and the collective consciousness might catch all (((we discussed this in the comments to Wednesday’s post))). A couple of years ago I discussed it with Genpo Roshi and he called it Storehouse Consciousness. I looked it up and found this:

The Lankavatara Sutra addressed these questions: If there is no self, how can an individual accumulate karma, and where is that karma stored? In response, it described eight levels of consciousness, the final level being a “storehouse consciousness” (alaya vijnana), which contains the karmic seeds of all past experience. When engaged, these karmic seeds provoke deep memories, and stimulate the process by which sentient beings are reborn. If one can break through at the root of consciousness, at this storehouse level, to grasp the emptiness of all categories and things, then the cycles of rebirth and dependent origination can be broken. This idea of a breakthrough realization of the true nature of mind was appealing to Chan thinkers. For them, however, the breakthrough was not to the realization of “pure mind” or some “other” state outside of normal existence.

I’d don’t think a discussion of self vs soul vs karmic seed is very useful right here and right now and rather like the practical approach Chan (((Zen in China))) took – see last sentence in the above quote.

Wikipedia has this on the subject.

Speaking of memories… Fall 1990. Our first tour, opening for Basia across the U.S.A. Here you see, from left to right: my brother Stefan (((he started the Basia tour as a roadie, but took over as tour manager after my first manager got us into the red by $30,000 during the first half of the long tour – Stefan returned us to the black during the second half by turning us into a lean touring machine: no hotel rooms, no fancy meals, no extras of any kind))), Davo Bryant holding a banana, myself, Jon Gagan and the awful bus driver. The bus was nothing to write home about. An old MCI bus, it lost a bogie wheel as we pulled away from the gig in St. Louis and the air conditioning broke during the hot Florida Summer. But we knew that the Basia tour was the chance of a lifetime. It was offered to us a bonus for signing the contract with Epic Records. I remember that we were not allowed to play Barcelona Nights during soundcheck, because when we did EVERYONE would walk around whistling or humming it. I also remember Basia band members coming to our table during dinner to beg some red wine, since Danny, the bandleader and keyboard player, was a recovering alcoholic and did not allow any alcohol. Since we considered 6 months of dinner without red wine inhuman, impossible and uncultured, they gave in and let me have one or two bottles per night and everyone including Danny’s brother Peter came over to chat and left with vino in paper cups.

This second photo is from 1993. In August of 1993 we had a record-release party at my house to which Epic Records invited sales-managers from the Sony Music Distribution system and managers from record stores like Tower, Virgin and so on. Dinner was catered by Geronimo, which was a new restaurant in Santa Fe at the time. A bartender stood in my kitchen, made margaritas and handed them through the window to the dining area. For a while I thought one should always have a bartender waiting in the kitchen!! My product manager at Epic Records, Al Masocco, told great stories (((he started in the music business when he was 16 and has lots of stories!!))) and everyone had a great time. I suspect that the three of us are somewhat supporting one another in this photo! A tripod is more stable than a biped.

Neo Bohemia Slideshow

02009-06-18 @ 07:06

Y. made a slideshow for neo bohemia, but said that it wouldn’t play for some reason. I tried posting it to this Journal and it seems to work fine… I was going to remove the slideshow once I could see whether it was working, but it looks nice and I hope Y. will let me keep it here.

Check out the incredible “Ottmar” calligraphy, inspired by this post about Xu Bing.

02009-06-17 @ 09:06

It seems that one of the subscribers has uploaded music from Ottmar-Friends to Last.Fm – see this. This seriously jeopardizes our relationship and I WILL cancel this entire subscription experiment if it continues or I find other examples of this. The files I am sharing with you are not to be given away, and certainly not to a website I detest, Last.Fm. This is not cool at all and whoever is doing this is threatening our subscription experiment. Please remove the track from Last.Fm.

Update: it could be that in this case the app, called Scrobbler, only uploaded the track name from a subscriber listening, and not the track itself. Why a person would want an app like Scrobbler to run in the background, uploading all of their listening habits, is beyond me. Don’t you realize that the data will be analyzed and most likely sold to record companies? Why give away your data when you don’t get paid for it? Consumer habits are valuable information.

But maybe I should take this opportunity to make it clear that the music you download as part of the Ottmar-Friends Subscription may not be sold (((that one should be obvious))) and I request that you do not upload it (((music or photographs))) to any file-sharing website. If you want to give a friend one or two tracks or photos, because you enjoy them, you may do that, but you may not share the entire subscription with your friends. We priced the subscription super-low, and since the start in March we have already made 21 tracks available. Within the year you will probably receive 60+ tracks, that’s only about $0.30 per track. (((and I am not even counting the other stuff, the photos, videos etc. – printing out one photo should be worth more than $20)))

I had planned on giving you music-in-progress for the next album, but I won’t be able to do that if the music is shared, shows up on the internet or is played on the radio. When I give you brand-new music the songs won’t be registered yet and I can’t have them show up anywhere!

If you have a question about usage of the music or you have something in mind that you want to use a track for, please leave a comment or get in touch with me here.


02009-06-17 @ 07:06

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for one media outlet to reach multiple audiences. Here’s Clay Shirky on Twitter, CNN and Iran:

TED Blog: Q&A with Clay Shirky on Twitter and Iran
CNN has the same problem this decade that Time magazine had last decade. They simultaneously want to appeal to middle America and leading influencers. Reaching multiple audiences is increasingly difficult. The people who are hungry for info on events of global significance are used to instinctively switching on CNN. But they are realizng that that reflex doesn’t serve them very well anymore, and that can’t be good for CNN.

Will Santa Fe have a Phoenix climate and Phoenix the climate of hell?
From the United States Global Change Research Program:

Recent warming in the Southwest has been among the most rapid in the nation. This is driving declines in spring snowpack and Colorado River flow. Projections of future climate change indicate continued strong warming in the region, with much larger increases under higher emissions scenarios compared to lower. Projected summertime temperature increases are greater than the annual average increases in parts of the region and are likely to be exacerbated by expanding urban heat island effects.

How does language affect thought?

From the Long Now Blog

In one reported study of several:

“We gave people sets of pictures that showed some kind of temporal progression (e.g., pictures of a man aging, or a crocodile growing, or a banana being eaten). Their job was to arrange the shuffled photos on the ground to show the correct temporal order. We tested each person in two separate sittings, each time facing in a different cardinal direction. If you ask English speakers to do this, they’ll arrange the cards so that time proceeds from left to right. Hebrew speakers will tend to lay out the cards from right to left, showing that writing direction in a language plays a role. So what about folks like the Kuuk Thaayorre, who don’t use words like “left” and “right”? What will they do?

The Kuuk Thaayorre did not arrange the cards more often from left to right than from right to left, nor more toward or away from the body. But their arrangements were not random: there was a pattern, just a different one from that of English speakers. Instead of arranging time from left to right, they arranged it from east to west. That is, when they were seated facing south, the cards went left to right. When they faced north, the cards went from right to left. When they faced east, the cards came toward the body and so on. This was true even though we never told any of our subjects which direction they faced. The Kuuk Thaayorre not only knew that already (usually much better than I did), but they also spontaneously used this spatial orientation to construct their representations of time.”

I wonder how this fits in:
Let’s say you are a self-taught artist, maybe a painter or musician, and through your work and experience you are creating rules or methods for your work that you had no knowledge of and no words for. You did not learn this and you did not know the words for this, and yet, you developed your own vocabulary, based simply on your experience over time.

I don’t think this contradicts the notion that the language you speak fundamentally shapes your thinking – linguistic relativity – but complicates the matter somewhat.

And, isn’t the same true for meditation? Without knowing names for their meditative experiences, without the framework of a religion, without any linguistic background, hermits throughout history have arrived at knowledge through experience.

Make sure you clean you boots really well, when you return from Mars!

Revived Microbe May Hold Clues For ET Lifeforms
Science Daily is reporting that a microbe, Herminiimonas glaciei, buried some 3 km under glacial ice in Greenland, and believed to have been frozen for some 120,000 years, has been brought back to life (abstract). The microbe, some ten to fifty times smaller than E. coli, was brought back over several months by slowly incubating it at gradually increasing temperatures. After 11.5 months, the microbe began to replicate.
(Via Slashdot)


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