Archive for 2010-03

Tuesday in Santa Fe

02010-03-30 @ 22:03

late spring . early spring thoughts
It’s wrong to think happiness will come right away.  It’s something you (we) create, not something you wait for.
– Ozu Yasujiro’s, Late Spring

(Via neo bohemia)


Marc Benioff Gets It
Marc Benioff:
The future of our industry now looks totally different than the past. It looks like a sheet of paper, and it’s called the iPad. It’s not about typing or clicking; it’s about touching. It’s not about text, or even animation, it’s about video. It’s not about a local disk, or even a desktop, it’s about the cloud. It’s not about pulling information; it’s about push. It’s not about repurposing old software, it’s about writing everything from scratch (because you want to take advantage of the awesome potential of the new computers and the new cloud—and because you have to reach this pinnacle). Finally, the industry is fun again.

(Via Daring Fireball)


The stunning pictures of sleeping insects covered in early morning dew | Mail Online

Here is a noise that drove me crazy a while ago.

Audio MP3

It’s that noise between the notes. But we checked and… it’s just another buzz on my guitar. She has a whole bunch of different buzzes and noises now. She’s about eight years old, and I suppose she needs new frets. Or, you might say she has gained a whole bunch of character. There is one particlar noise that sounds like a telephone ringing in the distance. Very interesting.
Adam asked about Blanca versus Negra guitars a while ago. He mentioned that he wants to buy a guitar in Spain. I haven’t seen a Spanish guitar that was of better quality then guitars by top American luthiers, but I can understand the allure of a Spanish Flamenco guitar. I recommend that you buy the guitar that feels best in your hands, that plays best, regardless of the wood. The sound properties of Blanca versus Negra are not as important as how the guitar plays. I also noticed that luthiers in Spain seem to keep the best guitars in the back of the shop, away from the hands of casual visitors. You’ll have to ask to see those or show the luthier that you can play – and then he will bring out the good stuff.

Monday in Santa Fe

02010-03-30 @ 11:03

Dezeen: 111 Navy Chair by Emeco
Aluminium furniture brand Emeco will launch a new version of its iconic Navy Chair in Milan next month, made of recycled plastic Coca-Cola bottles.

I love Emeco and use their chair on stage. The aluminium chairs are also 90% recycled and carry a warranty of 150 years.
iPhone app for bikers:

… a simple app for analyzing the tooth count of your chain-ring and cog to calculate the gear inches for your said bike. basically sums up just how hard it’s going to be to turn over the cranks of your custom fixed gear. also calculates what a typical average 90rpm pedal pushing would top you out at speed wise for the gear configuration you have.

Find it here.
Austraian designer Marc Newson designed a beautiful hour-glass. You can find more info at Ikepod by Marc Newson. I love this renewed interest in the old ways: calligraphy, the hourglass with its beautiful visualization of time, bicycles (((which a Chinese historian claims to be a 2,500 year old Chinese invention…))). I think there is great value in this. It acts to balance the digital age.

You can download the image here – I am using it as the wallpaper on my iPhone.
Check out this beautiful post on new bohemia, in response to my challenge from last Thursday.
Back to the studio. I want to finish all of the mixes this week.

Saturday in Santa Fe

02010-03-29 @ 09:03

Lights glowing under the table. My studio sync clock, an old but sturdy and reliable Aardvark.

…guarded by a spider..
Speaking of spiders: How to trap spiders in a corner. Nice!
Matt sent me this link. Beautiful night photography of Annapurna in Nepal.

Annapurna Moonrise: Night Photography at Base Camp
What is above knows what is below,
but what is below does not know what is above.
One climbs, one sees.
One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen.

— René Daumal

I like how that poem speaks about mountaineering, but could easily refer to meditation practice.

Incredible Pompidou-Metz Art Museum Rises in France | Inhabitat
Construction is nearly complete on Centre Pompidou-Metz, an incredible new extension of the original Centre Pompidou modern art museum in Paris. Designed by architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, the elegantly sloping structure takes inspiration from the technical properties of Chinese hats and bridges. The building is topped with a curvaceous roof that does a remarkable job of shielding it from the elements while opening up an expansive volume of space dedicated to the arts.

I saw a model of this building at an architectural exhibit in Santa Fe’s Art Museum on the plaza about a month ago. I love Shigeru Bans work.
Copying the American lifestyle a bit too much?

BBC News – China faces ‘diabetes epidemic’, research suggests
China faces a diabetes epidemic, with almost one in 10 adults having the disease while most cases remain undiagnosed, researchers have said.

Tests showed diabetes was more endemic than previously thought, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

The figures suggest China has some 90 million diabetics, far more than India

Current reading:

I am reading The Winter Thief, Jenny White’s third novel starring Kamil Pasha in Istanbul in the late 19th century, and Europe’s Promise, which SD is reading and recommended to me.

Europe’s Promise | Steven Hill
Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age.

A quiet revolution has been occurring in post-World War II Europe. A world power has emerged across the Atlantic that is recrafting the rules for how a modern society should provide economic security, environmental sustainability, and global stability. For a decade Steven Hill traveled widely to understand this uniquely European way of life. In Europe’s Promise, he explains Europe’s bold new vision.

Now that’s a timelapse!

YouTube – BBC Life – Plants (On Location) in HD
David Attenborough explaining the challenges they had to face filming plants.

I pre-ordered the DVD from amazon. The version narrated by Attenborough, naturally.

James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change | Environment | The Guardian
Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades. This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.

Hm, agreed.

Friday in Santa Fe

02010-03-26 @ 22:03

The annual Spring winds have started. They lent my day in studio Oto-Mare a dramatic backdrop. The sky kept changing from sunshine to clouds, from Santa Fe’s dazzling light to darkness and back, and there was a certain smell in the air. I guess I would call it a storm smell, although the weather sites are switching back and forth on whether there will be a lot of wind tonight or even another snowstorm. Life on a mountain. Our weather is unpredictable.

The studio looks darker than usual, because I close the four skylights when I am mixing and mastering an album. The shafts of the skylights can trap low frequencies and diminish the accuracy of what I hear. With a long pole I can close doors located at the bottom of the light-shafts.

I worked on CD mixes (16/44.1 with my usual compression – the same I have used since “La Semana”) and HD mixes (24/88.2 and no compression). My day ended up longer than expected, but I enjoyed it.

Today I spent nine hours in the studio. Most of the time I don’t sit on the Aeron chair you can see on the left.

Instead I sit on a stool I bought about ten or twelve years ago at MoMA. Its height can be adjusted and the bottom looks like this:

The chair forces me to keep both feet on the floor and sit straight, because otherwise it will wobble.

While I am running off mixes I have time to do other things. Some of the songs on the new album are more than seven minutes long. So, instead of sitting in front of the console the whole time, I’ll walk around, play air-guitar, dance like an idiot, or today I did pushups. I did a hundred and discovered that pushups are less of a strain on my wrist if I do them Bruce Lee style – on my fingertips. Did half of them in this way and my wrists didn’t creak once.

The release date of the album will probably be sometime in the second half of June, but, if all goes well, we may have CDs for sale on tour in May. They won’t be in stores until the 22nd or 29th of June though.

Thursday in Santa Fe

02010-03-26 @ 16:03

More mixing. Gave Jon a CD of the current mixes. After listening he called and liked them, which was nice because I had started down a path where I wasn’t sure it was working.
From the always interesting Future Perfect, a lovely photo depicting Water Poetry. How about that Y.!! Some Spring water-calligraphy?
Excellent app. Shows any tour dates of the artists in my iTunes folder or all performances around Santa Fe. Besides being available for Windows and Mac they also have iPhone and Android versions. The iPhone app works very well.

iConcertCal is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city. It supports searches in the US, Canada, and the UK, includes direct links to purchase tickets, and is available for both Windows and Mac OS X.

This may be THE most important issue we are facing IMHO. What we do now, or don’t do, will totally change the way our children and our grand-children will live. And by WE I mean everyone on this orbiting biosphere. The economy or health-insurance, everything pales against this issue:

Repower America
Dear Senator:
“We call on Congress to stand up to polluters and ignite a clean energy revolution by passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this year.”

also see:

PNNL: News – Even soil feels the heat
Twenty years of field studies reveal that as the Earth has gotten warmer, plants and microbes in the soil have given off more carbon dioxide. So-called soil respiration has increased about one-tenth of 1 percent per year since 1989, according to an analysis of past studies in today’s issue of Nature.

The scientists also calculated the total amount of carbon dioxide flowing from soils, which is about 10-15 percent higher than previous measurements. That number — about 98 petagrams of carbon a year (or 98 billion metric tons) — will help scientists build a better overall model of how carbon in its many forms cycles throughout the Earth. Understanding soil respiration is central to understanding how the global carbon cycle affects climate.

There is this article in Wired Mag:

As Temperature Rises, Earth Breathes Faster — and Maybe Harder | Wired Science |
As planetary temperatures rise, Earth’s soils release steadily larger amounts of carbon dioxide, according to massive data crunching from hundreds of soil respiration studies published since 1989.

The critical question is whether soils release more CO2 because faster-growing plants pump more in, or if soils release CO2 that would have stayed in the ground at lower temperatures.

If the latter, the fresh influx of CO2 could produce a self-reinforcing cycle, producing higher temperatures that cause even more CO2 to be released.

Water, the oil of the 21st Century (((just ask Nestle and Coca-Cola!!))):

U.N.: Foul water a mass killer
Contaminated and polluted water now kills more people than all forms of violence including wars, according to a United Nations report released Monday that calls for turning unsanitary wastewater into an environmentally safe economic resource.
(Via – World)

This should produce some interesting genetic variations:

Chemical From Plastic Water Bottles Found Throughout Oceans
A research team finds the endocrine-system disruptor bisphenol-A (BPA) at 20 ocean sites around the world. The work reveals the reality of “a new global ocean contamination for long into the future.”
(Via Wired News)

Inspired by Road Warrior. That’s a future I can do without. Have you noticed that we have more dire future predictions that happy ones? We should create more positive ones.

Your Post-Apocalyptic Future: Container Trucks Recycled Into Mobile Homes [Architecture]
ether the trucks were transporting oil, milk or some other sort of liquid, designer Aristide Antonas has conjured up a world where we would recycle the containers into apartments. The gallery below shows a post-apocalyptic world where we remain mobile.
(Via Gizmodo)

Artistic recycling:

ECO ART: Trashed Beer Cans Become Butterflies in Flight
When you take a close look at a beer can, you may notice that they have a really nice arc to them. Artist Paul Villinski has taken that same arc and turned it into butterflies in flight.  Rescuing crushed beer cans from the streets of New York City, Williams carefully cuts each can and creates a marvelous fluttering array. He states that similar to the life of a butterfly, his process is representative of a cultural conversion all its own exploring “themes of transformation and recovery through metamorphosis.”
(Via Inhabitat)

Climate Change Art:

Climate-Based Art
erheggen, who calls Holland his home, installed the first in a series of four sculptures, which will all be placed in geographic areas undergoing severe climate changes (pictured above). Concerned that “climate change brings about cultural change,” the pure iron sculpture represents a dogsled driver from the local Inuit community. A feed allows for remote viewing of the initial sculpture, located on an iceberg in Greenland, online from cool(E)motiontm until it eventually disappears into the sea. Following that, the artwork will be left to biodegrade or saved by the team, depending on if it’s possible to recover without damaging the aquatic environment.
(Via Cool Hunting)

I’ll leave you with this:

What is your first thought?
A) Pretty!
B) Not!
C) MySpace!
D) This expresses Spring better than any poem by Basho!
E) If I could only have that on a t-shirt

Tuesday in Santa Fe

02010-03-24 @ 09:03
Audio MP3

First verse. Well, the sample starts towards the end of the first chorus and, as you can hear, Jon added a Fender Rhodes on the right side (((yes, he has a real Rhodes in his studio))), playing the same hook I played on the guitar on the left side. This was the only piece where I didn’t play the verse melody/solo with the trio. On all of the other pieces I made up the verses during those four days of trio recording. You can hear the part I played while recording the trio on the right side, it’s a simple rhythm part.

Later I added a simple strum on the left and then I thought about what the verse melody should be. A guitar-solo? What is a guitar solo? A melody, a scale, an improvisation, a showcase for the guitar-player’s ability – either his dexterity or his understanding of complex harmony? What is a melody? In my mind I kept returning to the vibe of the song, which I interpret as R&B-ish. In fact the piece really came together when Jon suggested to Michael that he play like Al Green’s drummer, hitting the tom together with the snare for the chorus. Michael also removed the damper from his snare, which created a more traditional sound.

Side-story: a producer friend remarked, after listening to a couple of the new tracks, that the snare could be tighter – meaning brighter, more direct, a result of close-miking. I answered that we did not use a snare microphone at all, just a couple of overheads and the kick mike. They answered that I wasn’t kidding when I said that this album would have a more traditional style and that they were surprised how great it sounded. This is how drumkits used to be miked. In fact the legendary Bonham supposedly drew a circle around his drumkit and would not let any engineer place a microphone inside that circle. In the Nineties, bands like Metallica or Guns & Roses would spend two to four weeks just working out where to place the drumkit in the studio and how to mike up every single drum in the kit. Then it would take further weeks to balance and mix those tracks – sometimes 16 and more tracks just for the drums. Wait, I just found this:

A Guide to Effective Drum Mixing – Part 1 | Audiotuts+
I think Metallica’s black album was made with around 30 microphones just for the drums.

I guess their drumkit sounds ten times better… :-)
End of side-story.

I decided to try to play my guitar as if I was singing the verse, trying to emulate the slow and sexy singing of Al Green or the great Marvin Gaye. Towards the end of the verse a few guitaristic figures sneaked in, but by and large I think I succeeded.

As the second chorus starts you can hear Robby, adding his djembe to the song. He played on 3 pieces altogether (((twice djembe and once tambourine))).

I think it is funny when I hear, from critics or fans, that I can really play – just because one night I was in a certain mood and played faster or more complex. The superior samurai doesn’t have big, extravagant movements (((unless that is called for – there is a time for everything))). If he has to draw his sword it means that he has already failed somewhat, failed in getting his point across.

Or, music is not a competitive sport. But you know that about me already.

Anyway, I played the second verse just as slow as the first one and I love the vibe it creates.
More hours in the studio, mixing. Afterwards I listened to the whole album, all eleven songs, on three different headphones, and then fell asleep happy, because I only made three notes for changes. Almost done. In fact, the artwork was sent off (((meaning uploladed))) to the designer yesterday, who will put my ideas into the DigiPak template, and will create a PDF for HDTracks and the square cover for iTunes and other download stores.

The album will be available in three formats: CD, mp3 and HD FLAC. The 24/88.2 FLAC files will be available for download from HDTracks, and I am still considering a hard-copy we can sell on tour. I have turned away from doing a USB Flash-memory stick and am considering a very simple 2-CD package that would contain the FLAC files. These would, of course, be data-CDs, not audio, and could not be played in a regular audio CD player. The CDs would simply function as data-carrier, since one would need a computer to play the files, and also as backup in case something happens to the computer. In any case, I don’t think that there are a lot of people with the gear or even the desire to listen to high definition audio, which means we would probably only order a small run of 100-200 HD packages. We need to print a HUGE warning on the CD itself, because otherwise people will claim we ruined their stereo, after they stick the CD into their audio player and crank the volume because they don’t understand what HD FLAC means…

Monday in Santa Fe

02010-03-23 @ 20:03

Future Perfect » Beer Emotions
Cherry blossom season is almost upon us and with it, an abundance of beer advertising. Poster showing a full range of emotion of an archetypal salariman beer consumer – featuring the actor Nishida Toshiyuki.

Click here for photographs.

Audio MP3

The second verse of the last piece on the new album. The piece is called Garden at Dusk. Added extra-reverb to the very last note of the verse… those are the little things I am working on now. Little surprises you may hear, or not even notice, but that make repeated listening more fun.
Weekend project: connect 75 pieces of Algue, 50 middle green and 25 light green, to serve as a room devider…

Also moved several plants to larger pots. One of them was a large mothers-in-law plant AKA snake plant AKA tiger’s tail. I cut it in half and put each half in a larger pot. Snake plants are very hardy and usually don’t mind getting halved like that. I heard they give off oxygen at night, which is unusual because it means the plant must store oxygen somewhere. Looks much happier now. I am planning on getting more indoor plants this Spring, large ones.

Saturday in Santa Fe

02010-03-22 @ 09:03

While the rest of town didn’t get much snow I woke up to about half a foot of new snow this Morning. The first day of Spring: cold, blue skies, sparkling, dazzling snow. Ran to the studio in Crocs to add a couple of new parts Jon had uploaded.
The rolodex. A great rolodex used to spell power when contacts were everything.

The Life and Death of the Rolodex – rolodex – Gizmodo
Mr. Neustadter, who died in 1996, never saw the way in which digital storage would affect his iconic invention. But his daughter insists he would’ve argued that his Rolo-baby was as relevant as ever. When I called to tell her that I was going to include the Rolodex in OBSOLETE, my book about objects that are fading from our lives, she got huffy. She spoke in a tone that requires exclamation points. “They still work! You just can’t carry them around! Places still sell them,” she said. I told her she was right—the book is about things that still exist, but just barely. She continued. “They aren’t obsolete! Give your book another title! You know, look at it this way: computers get viruses! But the Rolodex, it’s never taken a sick day in it’s life.”

Anna Jane Grossman is the author of Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By and the creator of
I keep forgetting to thank James for suggesting the vertical mouse in the comments a little while ago. I bought this model right away and it certainly made a difference. I like it a lot.

Friday in Santa Fe

02010-03-20 @ 10:03

Breakfast at CC with Jon. Afterwards I shopped at two local greenhouses for pots and dirt (((to be mixed with lovely black dirt from my compost))) and plants. Remembered that my mom always had geraniums on our balcony and decided to plant a number of pots with them. No rush though… we had more snow in the afternoon and experienced two blackouts during the snow storm. Yes, the UPS in my studio work well. Everything stayed up and running. (((what a studio needs: 1. isolation transformer – so you don’t hear when your neighbor turns on his table saw, 2. uninterruptible powers supplies – so that a blackout or brownout doesn’t take your computer down, 3. a solid sync clock – because a computer is not a solid enough timing-device! Jon uses the Big Ben and I have an Aardvark. Three of the most important basics, so often overlooked!)))

In the afternoon I worked on cover ideas and did a bunch of house-keeping – e.g. determined ISRC codes for the new songs, catalog number for the album and so on and on…

In the evening, more snow…
No need to look all the way to Japan…

Sushi eatery accused of selling whale to close –
A trendy California sushi restaurant says it’s closing after being accused of serving illegal whale meat.

The company that owns Santa Monica’s The Hump restaurant had already apologized for the whale meat accusation earlier in the week.

The restaurant’s Web site said: “After 12 years doing business in Santa Monica, The Hump will be closing its doors effective March 20, 2010. The Hump hopes that by closing its doors, it will help bring awareness to the detrimental effect that illegal whaling has on the preservation of our ocean ecosystems and species.”

The investigation into the eatery began in October when two members of the team that made the documentary, “The Cove” visited The Hump, officials said.

“The Cove,” which exposes the annual killing of dolphins at a Japanese fishing village, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary earlier in March.

Armed with a hidden camera, two women from the documentary captured the waitress serving them whale and horse meat and identifying them as such, a federal criminal complaint said. A receipt from the restaurant at the end of the meal identified their selection as “whale” and “horse” with a cost of $85 written next to them.

I had read about restaurants in Japan experimenting with horse and deer sushi. Why you ask? Because tuna and everything else is over-fished and the supply won’t last very much longer. As a result chefs are looking for new things to stick on a bed of rice.

I am not sure what is sadder, that whale is offered or that customers order it.

Rhythmic cycle w/ abstract animation by Renaud Hallée
(Via the music of sound)
Santa Fe has a great art-supply store called Artisan. It used to be on Canyon Road, but moved to a larger place on Cerrillos Road. I went there after breakfast and bought a few plain cards with envelopes, crimson colored ink and a steel nib (((in German nibs are called Federn – meaning feather or quill))). Resolved to create my own cards this year.

Thursday in Santa Fe

02010-03-19 @ 16:03

Before email signatures and customized Twitter themes, people wanting to make an impression with correspondence turned to the gloriously idiosyncratic and oft-outrageous personal insignia stamped onto letters. Letterheady, a new website from writer Shaun Usher, celebrates this lost art of communication with interesting letterheads from iconic figures and corporations of the 20th century including Wrigley, Charlie Chaplin, Einstein, Marvel Comics and more.
(Via Cool Hunting)


Marching to Shostakovich
With Shostakovich’s “The Nose” playing at the Metropolitan Opera, it seems a good moment to check in on the world of Shostakovich-playing college and high-school bands. Back in 2006, the composer-critic-blogger Matthew Guerrieri alerted me to the existence of the marching-band Shostakovich underground; he’d come across a video of the Austin Bulldog Band playing part of Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” and the Scherzo of Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony.
(Via Unquiet Thoughts)

Check out some of those bands on youtube – click here and then follow Ross’s links. There is something very wonderful about hearing American highschool bands playing classical music. And it’s not just classical music, they are playing music by composers from the Soviet Union, created during the cold war, with titles like Fire of Eternal Glory. Commie music on American football fields. Music across borders and music across time. This YouTube vid, showcases particularly impressive playing! I might as well embed it:

I heard this one decades ago, but maybe you haven’t:

Detritus 33
Warning! Muso joke: What’s the difference between a rock guitarist and a jazz guitarist?
A rock guitarist plays three chords to thousands of people, while the jazz guitarist plays thousands of chords to three people

(Via the music of sound)

How do guitar players change a lightbulb? One climbs on the ladder and changes the bulb and 99 other guitarists proclaim: “I could have done that!!”

AT&T Zero phone charger won’t draw power by itself | Accessories | iPhone Central | Macworld
Unlike conventional chargers, the Zero won’t draw power if there’s no phone plugged into it. AT&T claims the Zero, which it developed with phone accessory vendor Superior Communications, is the first such charger on the market. It will go on sale only at AT&T stores across the U.S. in May, and interested customers can sign up to be notified when it’s released.

AT&T wouldn’t specify which phones the Zero charger will be able to charge, though spokesman Mark Siegel said it was designed for the carrier’s major smartphones. But its USB interface suggests it will be compatible with the Apple iPhone.

Nice. If every wall-wart ((roadie slang for external power supplies))) had that feature, we would be saving some juice!

Letter to a Young Musician #6

02010-03-18 @ 10:03

The fine art of dampening strings, or specifically stopping particular notes from ringing and thereby colliding with the other notes that you do want. I learned much about this by watching Jon play bass. The fingers of both of his hands are constantly refining the sound that comes forth from his instrument, adding a slow vibrato here and dampening a string that would otherwise clash with the next harmony.
You can observe this constant vigilance in classical guitarists like Julian Bream. While one finger of the left hand goes to a fret to define the next note, another finger is poised to dampen the string that rang the last note.

I recommend renting a DVD of Bream playing guitar as it is most interesting and educational. (((You might also observe how he bends certain notes to create harmonies that are in tune… the well-tempered scale is a compromise, especially on a guitar, and you will notice when you play an E major chord followed by a C major chord that the G-string, if tuned for the E chord, will sound off when playing the C chord and vice versa.)))

And the faces he makes while playing guitar are very entertaining, also.

This, of course, is most important when changing keys, but is always a good idea because even strings you haven’t plucked or struck with the right hand will ring sympathetically. By dampening those strings you focus more attention to the notes you are playing. Things become clearer, as if a fog has been lifted.

Wednesday Music

02010-03-18 @ 10:03

Here is a repeat from last year:

Another Lava piece from 1995. This one was called Bikers #3 according to the 2 inch reel box.

Audio MP3

You can download a higher quality 320kbps version here.

Wednesday in Santa Fe

02010-03-17 @ 23:03

This is what I sent to Jon:
Some kind of opening-chord, a mood-setter intro for “On the Road to Shiraz”. An intro to the intro. Something that might sound like dawn in an Arabic countryside w/o being too literal (((i.e. no arabic scale or quarter-tones))). Perhaps a grainy texture, representing sand, but also sweet, like dates and figs.

And this is what he returned:

Audio MP3

Isn’t that lovely! And how did Michael figure out where to play the tom-hits at the beginning of the first chorus, when we worked without a click-track and we could not see each other? That kind of wonderful stuff starts happening when a band works well together.

Messing around Wednesday evening…

Tuesday in Santa Fe

02010-03-17 @ 16:03

The arroyo below sounds like a fast mountain stream today. Water is racing down the canales, as the snow on the roof melts. Three leaks are dripping, two in the house and one in the garage. Those damned flat roofs my dad always exclaimed. More work in the studio. The icing on the cake, the little things, the surprises, that make repeated listening more interesting.
Le Whif: As Sweet As Chocolate, As Light As Air
Now in coffee flavor, with the equivalent amount of caffeine of a double espresso. The kick of coffee without the cup, they say. In one of his books Bruce Sterling described a bar of the future, where people inhale alcohol, because it enters the bloodstream quicker and does not damage the liver in the process. Pretty funny, that.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• – The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog: The end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized
This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

Read that again…

This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.

Who said THAT?

None other than United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in this blogpost.

Forget about bicycles, racecars or motorcycles, I think this has got to be the biggest rush. I love this photo of a ski jump in Oslo! Beautiful! The record is held by a local, who jumped 141m. That’s over 462 feet!

Dezeen » Holmenkollen ski jump
The Holmenkollen ski jump by JDS Architects has opened in Oslo, Norway

Viral marketing at its finest.

Monday in Santa Fe

02010-03-15 @ 08:03

This morning:

Saturday in Santa Fe

02010-03-14 @ 10:03

For his morning tea
A monk sits down
In utter silence –
Confronted by chrysanthemums


Under a bright moon,
The children of the neighborhood
All lined up
On the porch of a temple.

Two poems by Basho. I love the last line of the first poem: Confronted by chrysanthemums… Confronted by beauty, confronted by the slanted Spring light entering the kitchen, confronted by a surprising chord change or turn of melody.

A piece of music becomes real for me when it seems to become a place, you know, when I can feel what the temperatur would be, and what the light, that would go with it, would be, and what the colors would be.

Brian Eno said that in this interview with the BBC. I didn’t embed the video because it’s longish, but go ahead and follow that link. He is always interesting, I find.

BBC News – Pink Floyd win EMI court ruling over online sales
Pink Floyd tracks may be removed from digital music services like iTunes after a High Court ruling.

Their latest record deal, signed with EMI before legal downloads came along, said individual songs must not be sold without the band’s permission.

They argued that the same rule should apply to digital sales as well as CDs.

I do think it would be nice for the album format to become an option on iTunes, where an artist can choose to be an album-only act. On the other hand, this could turn out to be just a legal move for superstars to get more money.

King’s Cross to Beijing in two days on new high-speed rail network – Telegraph
China is in negotiations to build a high-speed rail network to India and Europe with trains that capable of running at over 200mph within the next ten years.

The network would eventually carry passengers from London to Beijing and then to Singapore. It would also run to India and Pakistan, according to Wang Mengshu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a senior consultant on China’s domestic high-speed rail project.

A second project would see trains heading north through Russia to Germany and into the European railway system, and a third line will extend south to connect Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia.

Passengers could board a train in London and step off in Beijing, 5,070 miles away as the crow flies, in just two days. They could go on to Singapore, 6,750 miles away, within three days.

The excuse for not building high-speed rail in the USA has always been that the distances are so much greater. Well, the distances do not seem to stop China, do they.

Your Computer Really Is a Part of You | Wired Science |
An empirical test of ideas proposed by Martin Heidegger shows the great German philosopher to be correct: Everyday tools really do become part of ourselves.

The findings come from a deceptively simple study of people using a computer mouse rigged to malfunction. The resulting disruption in attention wasn’t superficial. It seemingly extended to the very roots of cognition.

“The person and the various parts of their brain and the mouse and the monitor are so tightly intertwined that they’re just one thing,” said Anthony Chemero, a cognitive scientist at Franklin & Marshall College. “The tool isn’t separate from you. It’s part of you.”

Chemero’s experiment, published March 9 in Public Library of Science, was designed to test one of Heidegger’s fundamental concepts: that people don’t notice familiar, functional tools, but instead “see through” them to a task at hand, for precisely the same reasons that one doesn’t think of one’s fingers while tying shoelaces. The tools are us.

This idea, called “ready-to-hand,” has influenced artificial intelligence and cognitive science research, but without being directly tested.

So you think you can ride a bicycle? Check this out:

(Via – The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog)


02010-03-12 @ 14:03

Please remember to add to your address book, so the password-emails don’t end up in your spam folder! A new password will be emailed this weekend.

To find all of the music available for listening, please click on the music category in the sidebar, or HERE.
If you join Flickr and become a Friend you can take advatage of the following:
– view photos which can only be seen by Friends (((over 10,000)))
– add comments to photographs and participate in conversations
– download full-size photos

After joining Flickr go to and you should see Add o2ma as a contact. Once you do that I will receive a message and add you as a friend. You can also send me Flickr Mail and remind me.
Here is the link that explains how to get my Twitter updates, which only happen sporadically.

Friday Repeat

02010-03-12 @ 09:03

This is a repeat from last year.

Here is what I worked on yesterday evening. It’s unfinished and a work-in-progress – already have new ideas and changes I want to make… It’s for the re-release of The Santa Fe Sessions next year. While we didn’t change In the Arms of Love much for the re-relase last year, I do want to play around with TSFS and see what happens. Check out the beginning, and ending of this version of Heart Still/Beating. It’s the arpeggio guitar from the song, processed by Jon. The alchemy of sound. I love the feeling of silence, when the processed arpeggio ends and right after the guitar chord of the intro starts.

Audio MP3

You can download the 320kbps file here.

Friday in Santa Fe

02010-03-12 @ 08:03

Jon and Robby will come by at 10:00 to record percussion on two or three songs. I have rough mixes of every song – there are eleven – and am listening on every pair of headphones and loudspeakers I have.

Record Labels: Change or Die – record labels – Gizmodo
In any case, 360 deals and general diversification are what big labels such as EMI are looking to move into, according to Billboard’s Glenn Peoples. “They’re definitely diversifying and they’re actually getting into agencies, artist management, concert promotion. There’s really no area that the four majors are not pursuing right now.”

I said that ten years ago. I think my words were somewhere along this line: When there is no need for manufacturing and distribution, record companies will become media-management companies. They will manage every aspect of an artist’s career.

European Parliament Rips Global IP Accord |
The European Parliament delivered a political blow to Hollywood and the Obama administration, voting Wednesday 663 to 13 in opposition to a proposed and secret intellectual property agreement being negotiated by the European Union, United States and a handful of others.


The leaks underscored that European officials were concerned about the ever-changing pact and were unhappy that the United States’ “overarching objective” was to “facilitate the continued development of industry.” European drafters had said the document needed to “mention culture and individual creators and not only industry.”

The article ends with this:

For its part, the Obama administration, which has five former Recording Industry Association of America lawyers in the Justice Department, has declared ACTA negotiations a national security secret and has refused to publicly divulge the treaty’s contents.

Copyright must be looked at from a cultural perspective, or the cultural perspective must at least be included – rather than making copyright a slave to industry. To make these copyright negotiations in secret is terrible. It’s a kick in the belly of culture. I am glad the Europeans look to spoil this treaty, even though I would probably stand to earn more money if the treaty were to be enacted.
Music in a steril environment. Actually, the music and the visual aspects of this video match very well. Not my cup of tea, but cute.


Long Now Locations
Locations, and objects that exemplify long-term thinking and planning. Created in conjunction with the Long Now Foundation.


As you know, shibumi has to do with great refinement underlying commonplace appearances. It is a statement so correct that it does not have to be bold, so poignant it does not have to be pretty, so true it doesnot have to be real. Shibumi is understanding, rather than knowledge. Eloquent silence. In demeanor, it is modesty without prudency. In art, where the spirit of shibumi takes the form of sabi, it is elegant simplicity, articulate brevity. In philosophy, where shibumi emerges as wabi, it is spiritual tranquility that is not passive; it is being without tha angst of becoming.


“How does one achieve this Shibumi, sir?”
“One does not achieve it, one… discovers it. And only a few men of infinite refinement ever do that.”
“Meaning that one must learn a great deal to arrive at shibumi?”
“Meaning, rather, that one must pass through knowledge and arrive at simplicity.”

From the book Shibumi. I first read this book when I was in my early twenties, and am reading it again now. And, it’s not a philosophy book or an art book. Here is what lists:

“One hell of a pleasure to read.” —Washington Post
“It’s hard to imagine a more nearly perfect spy story.” —Milwaukee Journal

Product Description:

Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection known only as shibumi.

You can see why I found this book irresistible in my early twenties. And, having re-read it a few times over the years, I have to say I still do like the book. Somebody in Hollywood has been holding the movie rights for more than two decades, I was told.

Past posts about wabi-sabi: here, here, here, and here.

Thursday in Santa Fe

02010-03-11 @ 12:03

Matt Callahan commented on March 11th, 2010 at 10:56:

I never cared for the look of my own cursive writing and stopped as soon as soon as the teachers permitted it (say around seventh grade). I’ve written in my own form of all capitals since then. I think the biggest problem I had with cursive was the fact that everyone’s writing had to look the same. Teaching methods allowed no room for an individual style while staying within the boundaries of recognition (A T didn’t look like an F).

My youngest daughter wants to learn to write in cursive but it’s not yet part of the curriculum. She practices at home and will ask me for help from time to time. I have to really rack my brain to remember how the letters are formed.

Well Matt, I am glad you are not building a house for me, because you might be tempted to express your individuality through placing bricks vertically as well as horizontally, on their side, sticking out diagonally and so on. :-)

I think of cursive letters, or any letters for that matter, as building blocks similar to those bricks. Letters and the resulting words are the building blocks of language. We need to agree on them in order for communication to happen. If one person should decide to call a tree a table, a table a cup and a cup a tree and so on, well, communication would be difficult and strenuous, if not impossible.

In my opinion, individuality expresses itself in the content that the letters represent. Letters combine to form words, words form sentences and sentences hopefully create meaning and poetry. More importantly, I believe that individuality develops over time. Two seeds from the same tree, planted in different geographical regions will produce vastly different trees – over time. I think the modern Western world entered a horrible dead end street when we started putting so much emphasis on individuality and personal expression sometime in the middle of the last century.

I applaud your daughters desire to develop a nice hand and for that reason I uploaded a sheet of my father’s handwriting. Ottokar could write at least half a dozen fonts by hand and had the most beautiful handwriting I have seen. The scan of his writing out every letter (((I asked him for this when my son was born and he was ninety when he wrote this))) has helped me a great deal, although I prefer the old German lower case z, and still find both X and x hard to write with any kind of speed. If you click on the image below, downloading of the fullsized scan is initiated. If you can’t find it on your computer, search for “Ottokar-Hand-Lg.jpg”.

It is possible that American cursive is a bit different here and there, but that sheet should get you started.

Thomas Faes commented on March 11th, 2010 at 11:02:

Piano on guitar is dull, yes. Purity should be the way. I think our organic system yearns for that. Sublime music (Italian 17th century music does that for me the most) can be like medicine, that brings clarity to the chaotic minds of the listeners today.

In 21 century we should work deeper into, and with, the fabric of the pure elements we can find, than mash everything up in the name of a, often overrated, artistic phantasy.

Nice put Thomas. Thanks!

Twenty years ago this month we had a record release party at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe, for NF. The Santa Feans really came in out support that evening and the maximum allowed capacity of the room (((about 750 if I remember correctly))) was quickly reached. The hotel had to place employees by the elevator, at the main entrance and in the parking garage to turn people away.

Anyway, a Santa Fe musician sat in with us, as we performed the music from the album. He was a saxophonist and in addition to his horn he had brought one of those Yamaha electronic horns – the name of those blasted things escapes me right now. You should have seen the poisened looks he received from the whole band, when he started playing a nylon string guitar sample with his horn. He probably thought it was funny or clever, or maybe he actually liked the sound (((impossible!))).


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