Archive for 2009-07


02009-07-31 @ 20:07

Some ditch the iPhone

02009-07-31 @ 12:07

Google Voice Debacle Causes Arrington to Ditch the iPhone, and With Good Reason – Apple – Gizmodo
Normally, I’d say that TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington’s public quitting of the iPhone was a shrill, disingenuous ploy for attention and pageviews. It’s Michael Arrington, after all. But you know what? It’s totally legit, and Apple should pay attention.

The reason he’s quitting isn’t because of AT&Ts horrible network, which everyone with an iPhone has been begrudgingly putting up with for two years now. No, it’s the Google Voice debacle.

He really wants to use Google Voice, but in order to do so, he needs the app for it to really work. It’s not just an inconvenience; it’s seriously detracting from how he can use his cellphone. And with legit GV apps available for both BlackBerry and Android, he doesn’t have to. So he’s terminating his iPhone contract.

And really, power to him. If GV was important to me, I’d do the same. And I’m sure Arrington isn’t the only person furious enough to cancel their iPhone service over this, he’s just one of the most visible. So Apple, pay attention. Because lately your App Store nonsense has crossed from irritating to inexcusable, and that’s just not going to work in the long term. [TechCrunch]

I also hope Apple pays attention. They have handled this extremely badly, first approving several Goggle Voice apps four months ago (((I use GV Mobile, which is excellent))) and now suddenly janking them from the store. Naturally people are now demanding refunds. Problem is, refunds are not issued by Apple but by the app-makers, and from what I understand Apple gets to keep their commission, which means the app-developers are actually losing money!! In the meantime Skype, Truphone and other VOIP apps are still available! Is this specifically directed against Google? Why?

I am not updating to 3.0.1 until I know Apple won’t yank the GV Mobile app from my iPhone in the process. And, it goes without saying, I have zero loyalty to AT+T, who are probably behind this stunt.

This just in:

FCC questions Apple over Google Voice | Software | iPhone Central | Macworld
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has written to Apple, AT&T and Google questioning the rejection of Google Voice and related applications from theApp Store.

In a letter sent Friday to Apple, the agency asked the company why Google Voice was rejected, which related applications have been rejected along with it, and what role AT&T may have played in the decision. It also asked what the difference is between Google Voice and other VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) software that has been approved for the iPhone.

Friday in Denver

02009-07-31 @ 10:07

Today, two interviews at noon. First a phoner with Jim Beal of the San Antonio News, followed by a live phoner with Luke on KDNK-Radio in Aspen. The conversation with Jim Beal was a little more in-depth and I am looking forward to finding out what he will write.

Thanks for your comments. Seems like the vote is for me to continue writing. Hey, after all you are paying for the subscription and I meant it when I wrote that I would be fine with no longer writing journal entries if that’s what you want. :-) (((Music and words don’t always mix well, I have always maintained. It is the reason I prefer to make instrumental music. Writing in an online Journal could be considered a contradiction of that, or even hypocrisy if one was unkind. I am sure adding a slideshow to my solo-concerts is a contradiction as well, considering how often I talk of not letting visuals overwhelm the music… I am comfortable with that. Too me much of life is a beautiful, surprising, even shocking contradiction.)))

I think Marijose made a great suggestion in her comment and I enjoyed the links to Neal Stephenson and Anne Dillard, who are much more eloquent than I could ever hope to be. Over the last couple of years I have received too many emails from irrate fans who were upset that they did not receive a reply.

I will continue to try to answer emails and @ottmarliebert tweets when I can. Please don’t expect me to follow you on Twitter, to read your blogs and to look at your Flickr. I don’t have the time. (((I you want to read between the lines that I am not willing to make the time, I will not disagree with you)))

I spent too much time online as it is and if anything would like to reduce that amount. I see that Stephen feels similarly because, and are no longer valid addresses. Can’t say I blame him. It’s a time-suck and you know how I feel about MySpace and Facebook. Let him concentrate on his third album. I have heard the tracks he is working on and feel that it will undoubtedly be his strongest album to date. Great music! We can always go to his blog to find out more.

A subscriber, who wants to remain anonymous sent in this link s/he feels might be relevant:

Robert Fripp on June 02, 2007 in Mendoza
Thanks for your clear description of the life of the professional musician. This is exact and precise.

In my field, I would add the description of performing in front of continuing cameras and recorders, and the extensive commentary on how those acting in this fashion have the right to do so, even where this is non-consensual; even where their behaviour is utterly without innocence. Plus an endless demand for autography and bowing to the demands which celebrities rightfully bow before – because fans have the right! And then the commentaries on how declining these demands is rude.

The difference between the innocence of a child and that of a master is this: one is a given, the other is assumed. Mastery (please forgive the gender specificity) confers the assumption of innocence within a field of experience. This is exceptionally hard and can only be the outcome of many years of training. In a word, discipline. I don’t claim this for myself, but it is possible to move into this space from time to time.

Whether we persist is largely a result of what we see our work in life as being. Sometimes, the conditions of the world are such that we admit it is not possible for us to continue in the same way. Then, we look at how we may be true to the spirit of our intent, our calling, and accomodate the externalities of our life to approximate to the best fit. Sometimes, we simply head in another direction completely. Sometimes, we take a sabbatical. Sometimes, the work we left returns to claim our attention. Sometimes, we just drop our concerns and eat cake with coffee.

But if we are silent for a while, something may speak to us from where life is really real, and tell us the way to go.

This earlier Diary post may be somewhat related and certainly speaks to why comments are enabled in this Journal and not in the Diary.

Woke up before 06:00. A few photos from an early morning walk in downtown Denver:

I included this last photo because I like the idea of an oil & vinegar bulk store. (((I have two large stainless Klean Kanteens for that purpose))) The store is at the corner of Market and 15th and I haven’t been inside yet.

The Good, The True and The Beautiful: A Conversation with Ottmar Liebert
Submitted by Jamie Lynn Miller on Thu, 07/30/2009 – 03:44
“Doesn’t everyone love trains?” World music virtuoso and world traveler Ottmar Liebert poses the rhetorical question, talking excitedly about his favorite mode of travel. The multi-Grammy nominated artist grew up across the river from the Cologne, Germany train station, the sound of the train whistle and the mystique of faraway places always nearby.

More here. I don’t think I actually said the good, the true and the beautiful in the cellphone-interview, but it was a bad connection and I am glad it came out like that. Plato said it first, didn’t he? And then Wilber expanded on it.

Thursday in Denver

02009-07-30 @ 12:07

Woke up in Denver this Morning.

Yesterday I had dinner in SLC with Mugaku Sensei. Here is something that grew out of our conversation.

I was thinking about Ken Wilber’s AQAL graph, the lines of development, or intelligences, and the levels or stages along those different lines. We all have many lines of development: music, cooking, communicating emotions, social interaction, humor, map reading, physical fitness, poetry, meditation… and we are at various stages of development along those different lines.

Well, what I realized today is that those graphs are too neat a concept. In reality these lines are knitted together, connected at various points and interactive. Music education improves math scores. Knitting can improve coordination and even reading etc.

In other words, it’s a great big mess of lines. I am reminded of building blocks – we may know which building blocks are available, but how will they actually fit together? Can studying one thing improve a completely different area of development? Do poets make better cooks? Do cooks make better musicians? What about drummers? Do athletes who study music or dance move more effectively? I am convinced that there are many interesting connections between lines of development to be discovered.

New topic: Today I received this email on Flickr and I need help with it. It seems that everywhere I turn, somebody gets offended or decides to wear a shoe that was not intended for them. I receive dozens of email like this on all kinds of different subjects. I don’t know what to do about it. Trying to answer them all takes up a lot of time. What do you think? Do you have some advice for me? It’s fine with me if we turn this subscription into a pure media subscription. I’ll stop writing and just deliver the music and video files. I do have a big mouth – maybe I should shut it.


FREEDOM. That’s what we are blessed with in this country. So, if people CHOOSE to put their photos on the internet, they should be allowed to without ridicule.

Albeit, your comment, “maybe we’ll call those people goggle-heads, sounds like bobble-heads” is downright hilarious, it also had a tinge of putting others down because you don’t care to see others’ pics.

Name calling, judging…not a thing I want to see in someone. Especially from you. Are you a monk?

Must say…I am disappointed in your mindset of how you view others. You don’t see others saying anything negative about your photos, professional or not.

I will remove you as my contact so that you do not need to see my photos (far cry from professional, but they are mine and I love my pics, nonetheless). I am proud of my photos. Since I am in the ‘food’ business, many are food related.

I COULD have glossed over YOUR comment, but I want to be true to what I think is right. If I embrace others, I would like to see the same back.

No hard feelings…just staying true…


02009-07-30 @ 12:07

1. Judey Sawyer Says: July 30th, 2009 at 04:53
Please know how much it means to see you perform live without the distraction of cameras clicking away and to respectfully speak to you after a performance.

I think that the Newport Beach experience may have been an isolated case. In any case I would not avoid all audiences because of what happened there. I am taking it one place at a time. And thanks for your comment regarding photography.

2. Matt Callahan Says: July 30th, 2009 at 08:21
OK. Is there any chance you might change the settings on your Flickr account so the camera information is visible? Sure it’s fun to guess which one you’re using but….

Would it suffice to add a tag with the make and model to photos? I think if I allow the EXIF data to show it will show on every public photo as well, and I don’t want to do that. And you can add tags with your guess and I will correct them if they are wrong. :-)

3. Judey Sawyer Says: July 30th, 2009 at 08:58
This question is on a completely different subject as Ottmar was kind enough to leave the door open for any question, so here goes. There is a beautiful track on the new CD from Target called “Dreaming” which reminds me of some of the tracks on In The Arms of Love, particularly one called “The Music Box: Dreaming Next 2 U”. What was your inspiration for both of these achingly beautiful songs?

The track Dreaming on the compilation for Target shares the melody with Dreaming on the Starlight Train from In the Arms of Love. Jon recorded new bass and keyboard parts and I added the new electric guitar solo. Sometimes a song just wants to be reconsidered. Well, one inspiration for the In the Arms of Love album was that I didn’t like any of the lullabies I heard. I didn’t like the music I heard in a spa or when I get the occasional massage, and I didn’t like the lullabies for children I heard. The idea was to create something that was relaxing, but with just the right amount of interesting elements, something that would appeal to children and adults. I have also heard from friends that it calmed down their hyper puppy, which they promptly named “Luna”. :-)

4. Victor Hornback Says: July 30th, 2009 at 10:33
Would you ever consider teaching a music clinic (say to discuss either technique or your writing process)?

Have you tried the Lucile’s location in Denver and if so does it live up the the Boulder experience? ;)

Part 1: Only if no cellphones or cameras of any kind were present. :-)
No, seriously… yes, no, maybe… I think I wrote in the Diary a year or two ago about arranging a weekend in Santa Fe for interested people, complete with a visit to my studio, guitar lessons, a hike up the mountains around Santa Fe. The logistics just became too complicated and since we operate with a minimal staff there just was no time to organize something like that. Maybe at some point. I think it could be fun and interesting.

Part 2: I forgot that there is one. Will check it out and report back! Thanks for the reminder.

5. Kaz Says: July 30th, 2009 at 22:20
Question: 2007-07-29: Hello Friends! Ottmar, do you foresee crossing the northern border to Canada anytime soon? I still vividly remember one of your concerts where you got us all up and dancing in front of the stage! Unforgettable!

That’s unfortunately a very complex issue, Kaz.
1. We used to sell a lot of CDs in Canada. This is of course true for the U.S. as well, but the Canadian CD sales underwrote in part our touring there. Without those sales, touring in Canada is much less lucrative and the amount of paperwork required by Canada for touring and tax is unreal. I am not suggesting that Canada requires more paperwork from us than the U.S. would require from a Canadian act, but it is a hell of a lot of work and with reduced returns it is hard to make it work.

2. My agent works with local promoters or performing arts centers, who make us an offer for playing their venue. Going to Canada for just one show is generally not a good idea, because of the paperwork and the cost, and at least several dates have to be lined up. (((there a few more reasons, but those require a lot of backstory and I am not willing to go into that right now)))

That said, I know we have a lot of fans in Canada and the best suggestion I can make is that they should contact their favorite performing arts center or theater or festival (((Montreal Jazz Festival!))) and ask the management to make us an offer. Hopefully we can line up a few concerts and make it work as I have always enjoyed performing in Canada and think the audiences are fantastic.

6. Naheed Says: July 31st, 2009 at 13:49
which technique on picado and arpegio exercises do you practice for your tone? Is this something you can share or post a video?

I use a three finger tremolo, both as free-stroke (((smoother))) and rest-stroke (((more powerful – I use this during solos))). I usually start with the ringfinger pulling up, a-m-i-a-m-i etc… Most of the time my tremolo is a series of triplets, as I prefer a smooth tremolo over the galloping sound many Flamenco and Classic players seem to prefer.

My picado is generally just i and m with an occassional run also using a (((i=index, m=middle, a-ring))). I have a couple of simple excercises I do to warm my hands up. When I get home I will video/record myself playing those. I do practice those excercises without he thumb resting on a string, which I call floating thumb-technique. It allows the thumb to become more independent and ready to strike when needed. I use my own music to practice arpeggios. For example, The River and Up Close (The Scent of Light) both include tricky arpeggios that make for very good practce.

Tone is an ellusive thing. In my case I started working on my tone early on, which means more than thirty years ago. In the past few years I started moving my right hand a lot more, instead of using one position above the soundhole or closer to the bridge. I find that certain notes on different strings sound better when attacked from a very specific location. To my ear, some sound best attacked near the bride, while others want to be struck above the soundhole, closer to the neck. I find that there is no end to the refinement one can discover over years as one becomes more familiar with an instrument. An endless journal, we might say.


02009-07-29 @ 17:07

If you have a question for me, please leave it in the form of a comment to this post.

Portland last Sunday

02009-07-29 @ 15:07

I recorded a two or three hour timelapse video at the Alladin theater in Portland on Sunday:

I’ll try to put it together in Denver tomorrow or on Friday.

Here is another photo from the Alladin:

This is a photo of Alan remote-controlling the FOH mixing console from his Wi-Fi tablet, during soundcheck. It enables him to walk around and find a good balance of sound for all of the seats.

Photography Continued

02009-07-29 @ 15:07

We are in Salt Lake City today, on our way to Denver.

Let me start by telling you how I feel about the audience taking photos at our concerts, and then I will respond to some of the comments to the post Monday in Spokane.

I receive a number of emails every year from people asking whether they may take photos at our concerts. I have been on the fence about the issue for years, but have recently noticed a stronger feeling against photography at concerts. My experience in Newport Beach at the beginning of the tour is one of the reasons for that. When I go to the merchandise table after a show, I sign CDs, T-Shirts, tickets, scraps of paper. I don’t mind staying for as long as it takes to go through the entire waiting line. A few years ago a few people started to want a photo with me. No problem, glad to do it. If only every 20th person wants a photo, it will only add an extra 15-30 minutes to the signing. At Newport Beach this year, not only did EVERYONE want a photograph, they were also pretty demanding and even rude about it (((pulling on my shirt etc.))). Suddenly we are looking at a very long event… If a few people want a photo with me – no problem. If everyone wants a photo there are two possible outcomes:
– I don’t go to the merch table, because it’s taking too much time and holds up our loading and leaving. And I don’t think it’s right to set a time-limit, because there are bound to be fans who have waited in line and are rightfully upset because they didn’t get to talk to me.
– We use a minimum merch purchase rule, where an audience member does not get a photo unless they have purchased a CD or a t-shirt or a hat. That will make the line shorter, but feels weird to me.

Now, what happens when everybody in the audience takes photos of the concert, when everyone moves around in their seat to frame the best shot, when nobody can sit still for fear of missing a good photo opportunity?

With that in mind, please do not ask me whether you may take photos at our concerts. Because, if you ask me the answer is no. If you bring a camera and the venue lets you take photos, that’s one thing, but please don’t ask me… and, I will no longer hand out photo-passes to fans, as I sometimes did in the past.

Photographing events can be great fun. When I was 17, and in artschool, I wanted to take photos of theater, but I did not want to go to theater performances with my noisy SLR. I contacted a number of theaters in Cologne and discovered that there was a program that allowed people to attend the final dress rehearsals in many different theaters. I added my name to a database and received a monthly list of dress-rehearsals. I saw many splendid plays, and was able to photograph them without disturbing the audience. (((utterly meaningless tangent, but maybe bands could take a moment at the end of a show to pose for photos onstage…)))

It’s like everything else, we don’t need rules for a few people, but more and more rules for more and more people. A century ago, when there were only few cars in our cities, there were no traffic rules. People drove on the left side, the right side, and in the middle. Eventually rules and laws had to be established and traffic lights were developed. In Philly red meant go and green meant stop. In New York green meant go and red meant stop. When only a few people have cameras, photography is not a problem. If everyone has a camera, and especially when everyone has a phone with a built-in camera, photography can become a problem. At some point hi-res audio and video recording might be built into sunglasses or goggles. Maybe some people will choose to record their life 24/7 (((whose going to watch all of that stuff??? And, is that the new twist on Orwell’s 1984?? I mean, why spy on the population when you can get the population to spy on themselves through massive video and image collection?))), maybe we’ll call those people goggle-heads (((sounds like bobble-heads, but not as entertaining))).

yumi Says: July 28th, 2009 at 17:40
That’s amazing, the various opinions on taking photos at a show. Dance, opera, theater…photos are usually never allowed of the performance, especially in an opera house. Dancers, actors…their image and the distraction of a camera in a theater would be terrible…

Well, maybe musicians don’t have to concentrate on what they are doing, while actors and dancers do? ;-)

Brenda Says:
July 28th, 2009 at 13:55
Is it the “norm” for the Venue to Promote or the Artist performing to Promote? Or combination of both? I believe the Photo Policy should be printed on the Ticket and all Promotional Material prior to the curtain going up.

Sometimes the venue is the promoter, as is the case with most Performing Arts Centers or House of Blues venues. Most of the time a concert is arranged and promoted by an event producer such as LiveNation (((22,000 events per year!))) or by indie promoters who have relationships with one or more venues in their city. We (((Luna Negra Music))) have never promoted a show.

Photo policy on tickets? Maybe. That could be a good idea. Will people read it and if they read it will they accept it?

Will Says: July 28th, 2009 at 18:27

Seeing vs. Hearing, Hearing vs. Seeing…. It is now a requisite that all the Surgery Suites in hospitals we design/build have an ipod/mp3 dock connected to in ceiling speakers. Some doctors concentrate more or get into a “groove” while listening to music. It was shocking the first time I walked into an OR to find the doctor jamming to Fleetwood Mac while doing surgery.

Maybe the music can tweek the mind of the photographer to different shots and angles. Get in a groove of sorts.

I have heard from many surgeons and dentists across the country that they operate to my music. I remember a surgeon in Florida buying signed CDs for every doctor in his department after our performance at the Jacksonville Theater :-)

Yes, music will tweek the mind of the photographer… but let’s use that during photoshoots and not during concerts! Again, I want to repeat this: the occassional photographer is not a big deal, but when everyone is a photographer it is going to be a huge problem.

LindaW Says: July 28th, 2009 at 18:55
Ottmar: I understand what you mean by a concert being a communal event. The Lensic show was this for me. There was one point just after intermission that you took the stage alone. You played, I did not recognize the song but listening was like being one with the room, the guitar, with your thoughts and the feeling put into the playing. Absolutely incredible! (thanks again for this one)

Thanks Linda. How much of that experience was due to the fact that you didn’t take photos and were fully present? That piece contains a fair amount of improvisation and tends to change from concert to concert. An attentive audience will always be a more fertile ground for such a piece of music to develop and blossom. I have played the piece for audiences who were busy talking or taking photos and it never turned out very well, no mater how hard I tried!

Kaz Says: July 28th, 2009 at 19:41
Wow! Looks like a picture perfect debate we got going here!! Very interesting! Paparazzi Fever! ;)


Boris Says: July 29th, 2009 at 00:28
I would say that there is no doubt that an Ottmar Liebert concert is much more enjoyable and enriching when you don’t think about taking photos. When you have a nice seat, lean back, and let the music, the acoustic, the live experience work on you.

At the same time there are people who are not able to make this experience. Maybe they made it once. And maybe they will never do. For those it’s a wonderful bonus to see on photos what happens during a show. For a long time I was not able to attend a show. The Opium DVD was enticing. So I’m very thankful that there were people sharing – and still some are.

Of course this is taken to another level when a pro like Colleen takes and publishes such wonderful impressions of a show!

In an ideal situation, we could have a photographer travel with us. Would not work at every venue and might not work at all, but it is an interesting idea. Especially a photographer with access to the side of the stage. Would be nice to have an image base like this!

Carmen Ortiz Says: July 27th, 2009 at 21:53
It seems like a great idea to have a professional photographer take photos where one can purchase them. If there was a professional photographer at the two shows I saw Ottmar + Luna Negra, I would have purchased them. Why? The pictures that would have any meaning for me would be the pictures where I was in attendence at the show…not just any picture.

I think NIN have images from their shows for sale. Their fanbase is huge and might very well be big enough to support the photographer traveling with them. I don’t know. Here is another thought about Newport Beach. It might have something to do with the economy. I don’t know what tickets were going for in Newport Beach, but maybe the price of the ticket plus the cost of the liquor consumed meant that a lot of the people didn’t want to spend money on merchandise and figured they would just snap a photo. They probably would not have purchased images from the show. What is also interesting, however, is that this seems to have been an isolated case. All other audiences have been different. Is Orange County an exception or a harbinger of the future?

I don’t have definitive answers. Not regarding file-sharing, not regarding concert-photography. I think the music business will go through a lot of changes. I think it will take time to figure this out collectively. I think it has to become a cultural decission. I know I don’t want to play guitar for a bunch of people hiding behind lenses or recording devices. Maybe it’s my problem. Maybe I should keep my eyes closed throughout the show and simply imagine an attentive audience. But, I think that won’t really work either because one can sense it in the energy of the room.

Thanks to DK for the Downhill Battle link, which he found on Robert Fripp’s Diary. The Downhill Battle site is from 2004, but many things still ring true. I have discussed voluntary collective licensing or a ISP music tax on my diary more than once – see here.

Now I gotta get out of this air-conditioning… later.


02009-07-28 @ 12:07

Banned From YouTube: Parody Guitar Videos | Underwire |
Earlier this week, YouTube pulled the plug on funnyman and media artist Santeri Ojala, whose hilarious and popular “shredding” videos poke fun at the world’s great guitar players.

YouTube said it received three complaints of copyright infringement and automatically suspended Ojala’s account.

YouTube has a standing policy to suspend accounts after three complaints from copyright holders, whether the complaints are valid or not. YouTube declined to say who filed the complaints, but it was likely the guitar gods themselves — or their representatives.

Ojala, who overdubs rock concert footage with his own bad guitar playing, says he has no plans to fight YouTube’s decision, which would likely require him to hire a lawyer and file suit against the company.

Stephen and I shared a lot of laughs over those videos. They were so funny and well done. Sad to see them go. Hm, wonder which rockstar objected to them…

Monday in Spokane

02009-07-27 @ 14:07

Here are a few images from the Lensic performance in June, captured by Colleen Hayes.

Colleen had never shot a live performance before and did a wonderful job. From left to right: Robby Rothschild, Stephen Duros, me, Jon Gagan and Michael Chavez. Nice to have good pics from that performance, which is in my top-ten of most enjoyable concerts. I will upload a bunch more to Flickr later.

Photos from the Lensic Concert in June

02009-07-27 @ 13:07

Here are a few images from the Lensic performance in June, captured by Colleen Hayes.

From left to right: Robby Rothschild, Stephen Duros, OL, Jon Gagan and Michael Chavez.

Great photos Colleen!

Monday Arabe

02009-07-26 @ 17:07

The original version of Alegria Arabe can be found on the album Opium. Actually, I recorded two versions of this song for the album… I wonder where the other version, the one that didn’t make it onto the 1996 CD, might be. I will look when I get home.

This is a live recording, straight stereo from the board to a CD recorder, from August 2007. The band was:
Jon Gagan
Stephen Duros
Davo Bryant

Audio MP3

You can download the 320kbps file here. The link will be valid for 60 days from today.

Saturday in Seattle

02009-07-25 @ 22:07

Here is a photo of the stage, Friday evening at the Triple Door in Seattle.

Alan Behr admiring a red vinyl album.

Evening view from the roof of a friend’s apartment.

And sometimes Stephen likes to sit and play piano for hours!

Friday in Seattle

02009-07-24 @ 11:07

The mornings have been overcast, but by the afternoon the sun is out and there are blue patches in the sky. I am enjoying our stay here. The first show on Thursday was very good, I thought. Michael and Jon were exploring new territory, including some slap-bass in Streetlight, which was fun to react to. My back hurt during the second show – two 90 minute performances each night plus some time to practice = at least four hours of sitting. At home I can get up or sit in different positions, but during concerts one has to sit in front of the microphone. Did some stretching in the hotel room afterward and feel fine after a good night’s sleep.

Digital Music

02009-07-24 @ 10:07

Digital music suffering from entrepreneur drain | Beyond Binary – CNET News
Pakman agreed that such influencers are a key factor. “Bloggers are the music critics (of today),” Pakman said.

Yeah, yeah, bloggers replace journalism, bloggers replace music critics, Flickr-members replace photographers, Facebook and Twitter networking replaces meeting friends for a pint…

There are critics who blog, but in general I would not consider bloggers the music critics of today. Bloggers have more in common with the guy in the local pub who tells everyone willing to listen about his musical preferences.

Thursday in Seattle

02009-07-23 @ 12:07

Early walk to coffee this morning. We don’t travel with a Lighting Designer, well, we do, but he plays guitar. So, sometimes we get a nice light show at the hands of the local LD (((Ben at Boulder Station in Vegas did a very nice job!))) and sometimes it’s not so good. Sometimes it is difficult to communicate what we are looking for. Everything was rather dark for the first show yesterday, but much better for the second one. I suppose it will be even better tonight.

Digital music suffering from entrepreneur drain | Beyond Binary – CNET News
Pakman agreed that such influencers are a key factor. “Bloggers are the music critics (of today),” Pakman said.

Yeah, yeah, bloggers replace journalism, bloggers replace music critics, Flickr-members replace photographers, Facebook and Twitter networking replaces meeting friends…

From the same article:

By Pakman’s count, there have been 109 venture-backed digital music start-ups. Fewer than five, though, produced a substantial return, he said.

“Investors lost a lot of money in this space,” he said, speaking on a breakfast panel at the Fortune Brainstorm: Tech conference here. The loss for the industry, he said is that entrepreneurs have moved on to areas like Twitter and Facebook.

Good riddance, I say. You know why Record labels attracted giant corporations? Because some of them were so successful. And why were they successful? Because they were run by musicians or people who truly loved music. A&M Records was formed in 1962 by trumpet player Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. Or check out the history of Atlantic Records. When an artist went over budget with a grand idea, these labels might do things that a corporate beancounter would not allow… if they liked what they heard they went with it. They didn’t do market research. They didn’t hold a stockholder meeting and asked everyone’s opinion.

Music is like water, which always runs down to the sea. It may take a long time and many turns of the river to get there, but it does get there eventually. We are a musical species. We can’t help it. After this low-tide a high-tide will come.

Musicians Find New Backers as Labels Lose Power –
Under the Polyphonic model, bands that receive investments from the firm will operate like start-up companies, recording their own music and choosing outside contractors to handle their publicity, merchandise and touring.

Instead of receiving an advance and then possibly reaping royalties later if they have a hit, musicians will share in all the profits from their music and touring. In another departure from tradition in the music business, they will also maintain ownership of their own copyrights and master recordings — meaning they and their heirs can keep earning money from their music.

So, instead of signing a deal with a record label they sign a deal with a management company. That’s a switch from hyena to shark, or what? Bands as startup companies… nice, so everyone will keep the bottomline in mind. Instead of signing a contract with a large corporation, they become a corporation. Let’s see, we let radio become corporate and boring and horrible, now we’ll make the musicians themselves become corporate. Nice! Hey, and the musicians will share in all the profits from their music and touring. So generous!

Wednesday in Seattle

02009-07-23 @ 02:07

Photos from soundcheck at the Triple Door tonight:


02009-07-22 @ 12:07




02009-07-22 @ 12:07

Yesterday we arrived in Santa Cruz. Morning coffee was enjoyed here:

Beautiful little tree, limbs stretching across the sidewalk and half across the street, obviously lovingly maintained. Saw several beautiful gardens.

Interesting graffiti on the wall behind the club. The words is Mönch, German for monk.

Two Years Ago: Listening Test

02009-07-21 @ 06:07

Our monsoon continues and we had another fine rain storm this afternoon.

In the morning Jon and I compared AIFF, FLAC and 320kbps mp3 files in my studio, using Stax Earspeakers and a Stax tube amp. The FLAC files had been encoded and decoded using xAct, which is a fine FLAC app for Macintosh. The 320 mp3 was made with Peak Pro, which uses a LAME encoder – the same encoder we use for the ListeningLounge.

The result was what one would expect: AIFF, followed by FLAC and mp3. What we did not expect was how very close the quality between these formats was. Unless you have a great set of headphones or speakers – and the ears and experience to process what comes through them – you will not hear a difference. Another interesting point was that the treble side of the music was indistinguishable, it was the bass where one could detect shades of difference.


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