Archive for 2010-05

Saturday in Santa Fe

02010-05-29 @ 12:05

A Buddhist monk watches fireworks during the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo – Guardian Eyewitness. Great photo. That would have been my preferred vantage point, also.
This piece on the Wired iPad issue might only be of interest to designers, but I find it captivating. It’s a new medium and it is interesting to imagine what digital news will look like in ten years. Personally, I found that ads and editorials were too hard to distinguish. Sometimes I tried to scroll down, only to find out that it was an ad and not an article. Lots of scrolling to skip ads. I felt that the iPad issue is basically a paper issue with a few links and a couple of sound and video files. And, unsurprisingly, it turns out that it was designed by a paper-mag designer (((who cares that he won awards for paper-mag design – this is a different animal altogether))), using inDesign, which is an Adobe app for designing paper-mags. Fail.

I have not enjoyed the design of Wired Magazine in quite a while, especially the use of fonts, (((stopped reading it a long while ago))) and this is really no different. It may be a decent start, but I won’t buy another issue unless it improves dramatically.
Some of BPGlobalPR’s tweets, in billboard format. New logos for BP. This is my fav, natch. Roshi Halifax suggested new name: Biggest Polluter and suggested this.
Photos from B.B.King’s. Found here.

Official Japanese government site explaining how to use Furoshiki:
In Focus: How to use “Furoshiki” [MOE]

The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People | Zen Habits
The No. 1 Creativity Habit

In a word: solitude.

Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.
(Via the music of sound)

Of course if you read this article from the BBC you find out that

Creativity is akin to insanity, say scientists who have been studying how the mind works.

Then you might be tempted to add the two things together and come to the conclusion that people who enjoy solitude are insane.

I shall quote a few lines from a book I am reading, Tropic of the Night by Michael Gruber (((I am reading the iBook version))):

A hallucination, that useful word. Of course. I hallucinate, we hallucinate, Berozhinski hallucinates (((not sure who that is, maybe it will be explained later in the book))): yes, but when all of us hallucinate, each of us hallucinating the same thing, then that is the hallucination we are pleased to call reality.

Love that.

We need neural diversity. What we don’t need it is pointing the finger at creatives, saying you guys have a higher percentage of thinking like a schizophrenic person. I thought NORMAL died in the Sixties. No need for it to make a come-back. No need for politicians or concerned parents to read that article and come to the idiotic conclusion that art and music should really never be taught in school… and you know they will draw that conclusion!

From the BBC article:

Creativity is uncomfortable. It is their dissatisfaction with the present that drives them on to make changes.

Creativity is a process, and that process ranges from uncomfortable to bliss. In other words, like everything else. Also:

Creative people, like those with psychotic illnesses, tend to see the world differently to most. It’s like looking at a shattered mirror. They see the world in a fractured way.

Shattered mirror? Watched too many Hitchcock movies, have we? What a bunch of horse manure!!

PS: interesting foreword in Tropic of the Night:

Although this is a work of fiction, much of it is based on stories of Africa, sorcery, and Santería told to me many years ago in Miami by J.H. (((here is a J.H.))) How much of this is true, whatever “true” means, only she can say. Thanks Joan.


seed grenades
(Via the music of sound)

BP really is a class act.

Parish official: BP shipped in workers for president’s visit –
A Gulf Coast official accused BP of shipping workers into Grand Isle, Louisiana, for President Obama’s visit to the oil-stricken area Friday and sending them away once the president left the region.

Early Friday morning, “a number of buses brought in approximately 300 to 400 workers that had been recruited all week,” Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts told CNN’s “Situation Room.”

Roberts said the workers were offered $12 an hour to come out to the scene at Grand Isle and work.

But, when Obama departed, so did the workers, he said.


Marginal Revolution: Food in Istanbul
My favorite sight has been the mother-daughter pair I saw on the Bosporous ferry. They were hugging each other on the bench and had virtually the same profile features, yet the mother carried full traditional dress and the daughter wore a mini-skirt and was otherwise dressed comparably. They loved each other dearly.

How you interpret these women is central to how you view Istanbul. One intuition is that they are quite alike, another is that they are quite different.

And the food? You can eat the traditional dishes, in simpler settings, or you can pay extra to eat them — slightly modified — in more gussied up surroundings. The key to eating well here is to go simple and to look for the best and purest versions of straightforward dishes. World class raw ingredients are at your disposal, if only you don’t let anyone ruin them.

Friday Repeat

02010-05-29 @ 08:05

This is a repeat from May 2009:

Another recently re-mixed LAVA track from 1995. This one was called Gothic Rock. I love the space about 40 seconds into the song.

Jon and I just listened to this piece in the back lounge of the bus and remembered that the tremolo on Eric’s guitar was created with an Eventide HD3000, one of the wonderful classic effect units… I still have it in the studio, but it hasn’t been used in years.

Audio MP3

You can download a high quality 320kbps version here.

Thursday in Santa Fe

02010-05-28 @ 09:05

Rode the Mariachi Bullitt (((AKA the sexy beast))) to breakfast with Jon. It was great to eat outside on the patio. A light breeze fanned us and moved the leaves, and as always the birds were hanging around to scavenge food.

Robert Johnson revelation tells us to put the brakes on the blues | Music |
And now, nearly 50 years after Columbia first packaged his work as King of the Delta Blues, we discover that we’ve been listening to these immortal songs at the wrong speed all along. Either the recordings were accidentally speeded up when first committed to 78, or else they were deliberately speeded up to make them sound more exciting. Whatever, the common consensus among musicologists is that we’ve been listening to Johnson at least 20% too fast. Numerous bloggers have helpfully slowed down Johnson’s best-known work and provided samples so that, for the first time, we can hear Johnson as he intended to be heard.

Twenty percent! This Morning Jon and I figured that twice the speed means an octave higher. 20% would mean a fifth of an octave or, 12 half-tone steps divided by 5 = 2.4 half-ton steps, or a whole note plus a quarter. In other words, quite a bit. Should be very interesting to this new version. I am looking forward to buy the CD!

Jon and I laughed about this:

Robert Johnson revelation tells us to put the brakes on the blues | Music |
When Kind of Blue was first released on CD it received ecstatic reviews despite the fact that Miles Davis’ trumpet was at the wrong speed on half the tracks.

Well, if only the trumpet was presented at the wrong speed I think EVERYONE would have noticed it!!! But, of course the whole band was at the wrong speed, which was harder to detect.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to hear an album as it was meant to be heard, rather than a version birthed by a studio muppet flicking the wrong switches as he lights up another jazz woodbine

Studio muppet? Really? Journalists (rolls eyes).
I love these!!!

Architectural Model Greeting Cards by Terada Architects | Spoon & Tamago
Speaking of Kaminokousakujo, another one of their latest products are these awesome greeting cards (580 yen) created from paper figures often used in architectural modeling.

And check out this:

How to accurately communicate the intensity of your apology:

1. momentarily-held 10-degrees (“gosh, was that your toe I trod on?”)
2. briefly-held 25-degrees (“sorry, we’ve run out of tuna”)
3. 2-second, 45 degrees (“I know you’re the Best Man, but the flight is canceled”)
4. 5-second 45 degrees (“I’ve just backed over your dog, boss”)
5. 20-second 90 degrees (“our widget blinds kids”)
6. and the “dogeza” kneel on the floor (“evacuate your village, the plant is exploding”)

Running on Empty is the title of this video on Vimeo:

Velorution comments:

Look at these great cycle lanes, ready for use in LA.

Did you know that roads were originally paved for bicycles, not for cars?
We need to make changes. I think that much is crystal clear. But we are not willing to get started.

There is a great German saying: Nach mir die Sintflut. This translation reads: It doesn’t matter what happens when I’ve gone , but it really says something like: After I’m gone the flood can come.

That sums up our culture well, I think. It won’t affect me. There will be enough water for me. The next generations can deal with it. And so on. Short-sighted.

If you are not angry, you haven’t paid attention.

See this comment about where to direct your outrage. Thanks marijose.

Wednesday Music

02010-05-27 @ 12:05

Here is the second half of the concert at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas, on 2004-10-08.

Audio MP3

The band:
OL – guitars
Jon Gagan – fretless electric bass guitar + synthesizer
Ron Wagner – percussion
Robby Rothschild – percussion

This is the entire second half of the concert. The setlist:
Snakecharmer (The Hours Between Night + Day, The Santa Fe Sessions)
Caroussel (La Semana, Up Close)
Santa Fe (Nouveau Flamenco)
Cave in my Heart (La Semana)
Barcelona Nights (Nouveau Flamenco, The Santa Fe Sessions)
Ballad 4 Santana (Innamorare)

That version of Snakecharmer clocks in at over fifteen minutes!
You can download the 320kbps mp3 file here – the file is 135MB in size.

You might have to adjust the volume a few times. There are a couple of loud percussion peaks, but I didn’t want to compress the audio.

Wednesday in Santa Fe

02010-05-27 @ 12:05

Woke up a little later than usual and, after reading news for a little while (((I wish the fab iPhone app Reeder would be made into an iPad app, but I didn’t want to wait any longer and am fairly happy with NewsRack for iPad))), I rode my bike to Downtown Subscription for a coffee and the best pain au chocolat in Santa Fe. I had not ridden my fixie up to my house this year (((the Mariachi Bullitt has 8 gears))) and it was funny to observe two voices in my head while I was straining up the hill… Don’t be stupid, get off and walk the bike! and variations thereof, and You can do this, stay on the damn bike! All the while it felt like I was neither of the voices, I was just energy propelling myself up the hill. The chatter didn’t bother me, I was busy.
Here are some merchandise designs that we looked at today. First the black hoodie. It comes with a cheat sheet of the most popular gang signs in the pocket… no, I am just kidding. I actually like this a lot. Great for biking. I’ll be wearing this a lot this year.

This is the t-shirt design for women. Magenta on gray. Understated. Logo on the side and name very small on the back.

This is the design for a shopping bag. The actual bag will probably be different, this is just to look at design and placement. I like this new version of the OL logo (((I should… I came up with it yesterday))). Reminiscent of Pac Man!!!

And then the t-shirt for men. I think it should show just the logo and not the name. More mysterious and interesting that way.

Here are the brands to avoid, a list of the brands owned by BP. I shall avoid these brands like the plague. I am also very disappointed that apparently a number of senators are willing to let BP get away with paying for only a small amount of the cost of cleaning up the mess, leaving American tax payers to pay for the rest. If that is true, shouldn’t those senators be investigated immediately? I mean, unless you are taking money from BP, why would you do that? BP made 20 billion in 2008 and over 16 billion last year. I think they can afford to spend a couple of billion on restauration.

Tuesday in Santa Fe

02010-05-26 @ 08:05

Imogen Heap says touring’s too pricey as record industry sales slump –
You remember how people have been telling us that musicians shouldn’t worry about their songs being spread all over file-sharing networks because the real money is to be made in touring? Especially, if memory serves, people who like getting music for free off file-sharing networks?

Turns out the real money isn’t necessarily in touring.

Well, I suppose one could say there simply is no real money in music anymore. But, one has to make touring work, or, I suppose, start auditioning for reality TV.

We are lucky in that we never trusted the old music biz saying that concerts are simply advertising for CD sales and that one shold not worry about losing money on touring. We insisted on, at least, breaking even.

When the new century killed CD sales, we started cutting back, pruning everything that wasn’t essential. Every year the tree looked more like a bonsai… Touring with a killer sound system – cut. Touring with a bunch of roadies – cut. Touring with lights to replace or augment the local lighting rig – cut. Touring with a lighting designer – cut. We are now a lean, mean, no fat, music machine. The emphasis is on the performers and the music. We bring a mixing engineer and carry a digital mixing console, which we rent, and use the sound system of the venue. We use whatever lights are available and ask the promoter to provide a local lighting designer for the night. Sometimes the lighting is very cool and sometimes it is not at all groovy, but hopefully the musical performances shine bright enough that bad lights don’t cast a shadow.

I am pleased that some of the media seems to begin to get it, that the there is no easy fix for the music business. Giving away music for free – the favorite solution of Wired Magazine, ca. 2003 – and making money touring isn’t an option for every performer. And the digital income is so rediculously small that it’s funny – a while ago I posted about Lady Gaga receiving under $170 for several million plays of a song.

I don’t have a solution. The solution has to be arrived at by our culture, and it will, in time. It’s interesting to see the shifts that happened in the last decade regarding free music, pirating, file-sharing and so on. We will continue to tour, and frankly, I enjoy touring with six great people (((seven, with the bus driver))) more, than touring with two busses (((one for the roadies and one for the musicians – like oil and vinegar they don’t always mix well))), an eighteen wheeler full of gear, and more than a dozen people.

We’ll just have to play better, to erase any bad lighting cues with musical brilliance. :-)

David Byrne sues Florida governor over Talking Heads song | Music |
David Byrne is suing the governor of Florida, accusing the state leader of using a Talking Heads song without permission. The 1985 single Road to Nowhere was allegedly part of Charlie Crist’s senatorial campaign, used on a website and in YouTube ads. Byrne is seeking $1m (£700,000) in damages.

I am glad David Byrne is doing this. If politicians can’t adhere to copyright laws, how can one expect a twenty-year-old to.

Unluckily for Crist, Byrne’s lawyer is Lawrence Iser, who successfully sued John McCain for improper use of a song by Jackson Browne. “I was fairly astonished that this soon after the settlement of Browne v McCain, yet another politician with national aspirations is doing this again,” Iser said.

As if we needed more evidence that politicians are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Most of them are a sandwich short of a picnic (((do you know more of these great American sayings? please leave them in the comments)))

Shaky Rule in Madagascar Threatens Trees –
Exploiting a political crisis, Malagasy timber barons are robbing this island nation of its sylvan heritage, illegally cutting down scarce species of rosewood trees in poorly protected national parks and exporting most of the valuable logs to China.

The sides and back of my 2002 DeVoe Negra were made from Madagascan rosewood. I had heard that rosewood is becoming scarce in that country, but didn’t know how dire the situation is. Humans are so short-sighted.

HDTV Keeps Viewers Watching Longer –
HD lures viewers to TV for longer periods of time. According to The Nielsen Company, high-definition households watch about 3 percent more prime-time programming than their standard-definition counterparts.

That’s just what we need, people watching more TV.
A control surface for Digital Audio Workstations for $509 (iPad = 499 + AC-7 Pro app = 9.99):

Saitara Software AC-7 Pro
(Via the music of sound)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
This sounds interesting – Stephenson is one of my favorite writers.

Neal Stephenson to launch interactive novel for the iPad | Geek Gestalt – CNET News
“The Mongoliad” was publicly unveiled for the first time Tuesday evening at the SFAppShow, a monthly application showcase put on here by the SFAppStudio, a firm specializing in developing and marketing iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.

According to Jeremy Bornstein, the CEO of Subutai, Stephenson came up with the idea for what became “The Mongoliad” after writing some sword fighting scenes in the novels that made up his so-called “Baroque Cycle.” The problem, Bornstein said, was that Stephenson worried that the way he’d written the scenes wasn’t true to how medieval sword fights in Europe actually looked and felt.

From that humble beginning, the project grew into a collaboration between Stephenson, Bear, and a group of people with experience in martial arts. They wanted to re-enact the sword fights and build a new novel around them. But why limit the story to book form, the idea seems to have been. Instead, why not produce the project on the iPad–as well as the iPhone and Amazon’s Kindle–and craft a story around the fears overcoming Europe in the year 1241 that the Mongols were going to overrun Western Europe.

Monday in Santa Fe

02010-05-25 @ 09:05

A few weeks ago, or maybe in April, I saw a huge tumbleweed tumbling on the side of the road one morning. I drove across the intersection, turned around and drove back to the tumbleweed, which had come to a rest in the gutter. I opened the hatch of my car, folded the rear seats out of the way and loaded up the weed, not without getting stung a few times. I thought that the tumbleweed looked a bit like a chandelier. This weekend we bought silver spraypaint (((my son’s choice, I would have picked white))) and painted the weed. Monday evening I mounted the silver tumbleweed and here are the first pics. I think silver was a great choice… looks as if the weed had been dunked into a chrome bath.

I am hoping that the silver paint will ensure that none of the tumbeweed’s stickers fall into a guest’s soup…

The Swinger « Music Machinery
The Swinger is a bit of python code that takes any song and makes it swing. It does this be taking each beat and time-stretching the first half of each beat while time-shrinking the second half. It has quite a magical effect.

I don’t know about magical. How about mildly interesting? Nothing swings like real musicians. Only a code-jockey would think that those samples swing.

Saturday in Santa Fe

02010-05-24 @ 13:05


Dezeen » Blog Archive » Applied Physics by Acquacalda
Italian design collective Acquacalda have applied the principles of physics to kitchen objects, including this device for pouring exactly equal amounts of wine into four glasses.

This looks like a great teaching tool!

Braun Lectron System
Dieter Rams and Jurgen Greubel designed the Braun Lectron System (1967- 69) as a teaching tool for use in schools and universities. It is made up of a large range of little bricks, like dominoes, that magnetically connect to one another. Once the blocks are organized on a conductive plate, they can form a variety of functional circuits. See this great article on it from a 1967 issue of Electronics Illustrated, where they discuss “what a drag” it is to make your own circuits, but “now it can be as much fun to put electronic circuits together and to learn fundamentals as it is to put words together when you play Scrabble.”
(Via Beyond the Beyond)


Slashdot Science Story | Copernicus Reburied As Hero
Mikolaj Kopernik, AKA Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose findings were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical, was reburied by Polish priests as a hero on Saturday, nearly 500 years after he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. On Saturday, his remains were blessed with holy water by some of Poland’s highest-ranking clerics before an honor guard ceremoniously carried his coffin through the imposing red brick cathedral and lowered it back into the same spot where part of his skull and other bones were found in 2005.


B&W MM-1 PC Speaker reviews – CNET Reviews
The bad: sound is so detailed it makes MP3s and streaming audio of already iffy quality sound worse.

Oh, that means exactly what? These speakers show mp3 flaws, therefore one should use different speakers? Internet journalism, always sharp and informative…
Speaking of sound…

Decibel (Loudness) Comparison Chart
* One-third of the total power of a 75-piece orchestra comes from the bass drum.
* High frequency sounds of 2-4,000 Hz are the most damaging. The uppermost octave of the piccolo is 2,048-4,096 Hz. (((piccolo players are notoriously deaf)))
* Aging causes gradual hearing loss, mostly in the high frequencies.
* Speech reception is not seriously impaired until there is about 30 dB loss; by that time severe damage may have occurred.
* Hypertension and various psychological difficulties can be related to noise exposure.
* The incidence of hearing loss in classical musicians has been estimated at 4-43%, in rock musicians 13-30%. (((I wonder whether that is still true, as it seems that rock and pop concerts keep getting louder)))

Assorted Links:
Planetize the Movement
Dementia Caregivers More Likely to Also Get the Disease (Wired News)
Damian Aspinall’s Extraordinary Gorilla Encounter (YouTube Video)
Scientist inspired by Dalai Lama studies happiness

BP 4Q and full-year 2009 results | press |

Over 16 billion in profits in 2009 and more than 20 billion in 2008. I think they CAN afford to pay for the entire cost of the clean-up, especially considering that before the spill, the company spent so much time and money pushing back against government regulation and safety measures. And consider that an acoustic valve designed as a final failsafe to prevent oil spills costs only $500,000; the Wall Street Journal writes that the valve, while not proven effective, is required on oil rigs in Norway and Brazil, but not in the U.S.

John Mayer makes a good point.
Here is a video about the BP disaster. Strong language. You are warned. But you know what, it’s just strong language, and not oil that clings to our skin and feathers. I think it’s really important that this never happens again, that government regulation and oversight is improved and that BP is forced to completely clean up their mess. This disaster makes me incredibly angry and sad. The three poisons in Buddhism are: Greed, Anger and Ignorance… Got all the elements here: BP’s greed, the media’s apparent ignorance and my anger.

(Via TreeHugger)

Friday in Santa Fe

02010-05-22 @ 07:05

Friday evening I watched Tokyo Sonata, a Japanese film from 2008. It deservedly won the award for Best Film at the 3rd Asian Film Awards, received 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards nominations for Achievement in Directing and Best Screenplay, and at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival it won the Jury Prize—Un Certain Regard. And I am back on Netflix, after our local video shop shuttered its doors a few months ago…
What should liner notes look like in 2010? LPs (((you remember those, not you?))), or even better, the fold-open double LP sleeves, were excellent for liner notes. CD packages were always a little too small, as the booklets are tiny. Well, here is a preview of my liner notes for Petals On the Path:

The URL is printed on the inside of the CD covers.
I uploaded the April slideshow.
Check out this photo. Like a children’s story: and the evil logging company was so gready that they loaded more and more hardwood onto their trucks until one day…

Tryrant Clock – Popwuping
Taipei based designer Alice Wang’s Tyrant Clock concept. The Tyrant Clock hijacks your mobile phone and starts randomly shuffling through your contact list, calling someone every three minutes as a means to ensure you wake at the desired time. You have no choice but to get of bed or risk facing the wrath of your rapidly diminishing social circle. Clever and fun.

I don’t know, sounds horrifying to me.
This post is regards the debate about Apple’s “closed” approach versus Google supposedly “open” Android OS and store.

On ‘Curated’ Computing

Our museums are not football-field sized warehouses where art objects are indiscriminately dumped and our magazines and blogs are not amorphous containers of randomly selected articles. Our classrooms, restaurants, hospitals and indeed all our civilized institutions are firmly reliant on curation of one kind or another. The goal should be for curators to compete, not for curation to be declared illegal and unholy by the “open” zealots.

(Via Daring Fireball)

I have mentioned many times before that curators (((or curating software or filters))) are the next big thing. Too much information comes down the pike, too many albums of music are released every day (((not even money stands in the way of a person wanting to make a recording these days… don’t laugh, money used to be a considerable deterrent: no money, no studio time… and only the ones who saved up/hustled/took loans were able to record their music!)))… there is too much of everything.

You don’t make a fire by spreading light, you create the flame by focussing the light with help of a magnifying glass. Information used to be a few pages of a local newspaper, now it’s an overwhelming mountain of data. The question we each have to answer for ourselves is this: how much data do we need to make the decisions that steer our lives and how much is too much, is simply clogging our information arteries and taking up room that would be better served by experiencing the late afternoon sunshine, inhaling the scent of apple blossoms (((I missed my cherry tree’s blossoms, but returned in time to smell the lovely scent of the three crab-apple trees in my yard!))) or playing a musical instrument.

What one person calls “closed” another might consider “curated”. What one person calls “open”, one could also consider dangerous (((does this app play nice with that app, is a piece of malicious code hidden in that app and so on))) or too time-consuming.

I have lots of different software from many different vendors on my laptop and studio computer. In some cases it took a while to configure it to work properly. That’s fine as most of the applications are tools of my trade and I don’t mind spending time to figure out a work-flow. (((the recording engineer Gary Lyons, who I worked with from 1995 through 2002 always built his own computers from parts… now that’s a serious commitment of time!))) I don’t want to go through that process with a phone or tablet. I am fine with a curator selecting and testing software for them. If I no longer like a particular curator’s selection, I will switch curators.
Isn’t this wonderful?

Petals On the Path

02010-05-20 @ 10:05

SPECIAL SHOW – The Best of Flamenco + Arabic Pop
For the last show of Flamenco + Arabic Pop on WYBC, I culled through the sixty shows which came before it for the best songs we’ve ever played, and the ones most representative of the Flamenco + Arabic Pop spirit. It wasn’t easy, turning over sixty hours into almost two and a half, but I’m happy with what resulted, and I think it leaves Flamenco + Arabic Pop on a good note. It also featured a world premiere of Backwards Firefly, a song from Ottmar Liebert’s upcoming album, Petals on the Path; thanks so much to Ottmar for allowing us that opportunity.

Wednesday Music

02010-05-20 @ 09:05
Audio MP3

Live at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas, 2004-10-08.
The band:
OL – guitar
Jon Gagan – fretless electric bass guitar + synthesizer
Ron Wagner – percussion
Robby Rothschild – percussion

This is the entire first half of the concert. The setlist:
Bulerias/Duende del Amor (Solo Para Ti)
Heart Still/Beating (NF and The SFe Sessions)
La Luna (La Semana)
Querencia (In the Arms of Love)/Spring Rain (La Semana)/New Horizon (Transit)
UnderWorld/Cocteau (La Semana)
Sao Paulo (The SFe Sessions and Nouveaumatic)

You can download the 320kbps mp3 file here – the file is 117MB in size.

Tuesday in Santa Fe

02010-05-19 @ 10:05

SPECIAL SHOW – The Best of Flamenco + Arabic Pop
For the last show of Flamenco + Arabic Pop on WYBC, I culled through the sixty shows which came before it for the best songs we’ve ever played, and the ones most representative of the Flamenco + Arabic Pop spirit. It wasn’t easy, turning over sixty hours into almost two and a half, but I’m happy with what resulted, and I think it leaves Flamenco + Arabic Pop on a good note. It also featured a world premiere of Backwards Firefly, a song from Ottmar Liebert’s upcoming album, Petals on the Path; thanks so much to Ottmar for allowing us that opportunity. To everyone who listened for the last three years, for part of that time, or who are discovering this show after the fact, thank you.

Johann Sebastian Bach is an intriguing choice for Flamenco and Arabic pop… :-)
More armchair travel:

(Via Pop Wuping)

‘The iPad, the Kindle, and the Future of Books’
Terrific piece by Ken Auletta in The New Yorker from a few weeks ago on the state of the book publishing industry. Auletta covers the shift to e-books mostly from the publishers’ perspective, which is illuminating:

Tim O’Reilly, the founder and C.E.O. of O’Reilly Media, which publishes about two hundred e-books per year, thinks that the old publishers’ model is fundamentally flawed. “They think their customer is the bookstore,” he says. “Publishers never built the infrastructure to respond to customers.” Without bookstores, it would take years for publishers to learn how to sell books directly to consumers. They do no market research, have little data on their customers, and have no experience in direct retailing. With the possible exception of Harlequin Romance and Penguin paperbacks, readers have no particular association with any given publisher; in books, the author is the brand name.

Undoubtedly a difficult shift to make for publishers. But is the music business really any different? Would you buy a music album by artist A only if it came from label B? No, in the music business the artist is the brand name and it does not matter to the consumer whether his/her music is released by a small label or one of the big four. The difference is, however felt by the artist, in that a larger label means more promotion and advertising options.

Like record labels, book publishers will morph into media management companies. At first they will coordinate the publishing, advertising, book-signing tours etc. and then they will collect the royalties at the other end.

The post ends with:

In Grandinetti’s view, book publishers — like executives in other media — are making the same mistake the railroad companies made more than a century ago: thinking they were in the train business rather than the transportation business.
(Via Daring Fireball)

Monday in Santa Fe

02010-05-18 @ 12:05

From the Upaya Newsletter:

You are perfect just as you are. And you could use a little improvement.

Both true. At the same time. He had a way with words.

Pressure Grows on Spain to Curb Digital Piracy –
For the third year running, the American trade representative has included Spain on its watch list of countries that breach intellectual property rights because of its “particularly significant Internet piracy.”

Critics say it will be extremely difficult to stop illegal downloading in Spain because of the popularity of these Web sites and a perceived indifference to piracy as a crime. As many as three billion illegal downloads were made last year in Spain, far exceeding the 21 million legal downloads, according to a study by Cimec, a Spanish market research company.

Well, OK, if illegal download sites are popular then there is nothing one can do… What???

But Victor Domingo, president of the Spanish Internet Users Association, said the group would go as high as Spain’s constitutional court to fight any legislation that curtailed access. (((he comments on the French law under which illegal file sharers who ignore two written warnings to stop could face the loss of their Internet connection)))

“The government is putting authors’ rights, which are of course important, on the same level as much more fundamental rights of privacy and freedom of expression,” Mr. Domingo said. “It has cost us a lot in this country after 40 years of dictatorship to acquire such rights for our citizens, but now we risk losing them.”

There is so much wrong with this statement. First of all, we can already observe the erosion of Spanish culture in that there are already less Spanish artists in the album charts:

Global music industry in numbers | Business |
• In Spain, in 2009 no new Spanish artist featured in the top 50 album charts, compared with 10 in 2003. Overall, unit sales of Spanish artists’ albums fell by an estimated 65% between 2004 and 2009.

Then there is the comparison of authors rights with freedom of expression. Stealing in not an expression that needs protection.

We will observe what will happen to the Spanish culture in the coming decade. I don’t see a happy ending for local culture, but why am I being so negative… they’ll have Lady Gaga instead.

Black Rose Repeat

02010-05-15 @ 11:05

Haven’t gone into the studio to find new music for this Journal. Will go next week.

Here is the Music Repeat from May 2009: La Rosa Negra

Today’s music was recorded live in 1991. The musicians were:

OL – flamenco guitar
Jon Gagan – electric fretless bass guitar
Davo Bryant – percussion

Audio MP3

Download the high quality audio file here.

Friday in Santa Fe

02010-05-15 @ 11:05

In the Morning I get up during the hour of the rabbit. I am a dog (((and a mutt))) and our performances always start during the hour of the dog… See this post on neobohemia.
The CDs have arrived. We had them printed on the uncoated side and it looks great. The cardboard stock for DigiPak CD packaging has two sides, one is coated and the other one is not. The coated side shows less wear and tear, but doesn’t look quite as nice and, most importantly, makes it impossible to sign the cover – even with a Sharpie. So, when we re-ordered The Scent of Light a few months ago we asked for printing on the uncoated side and that’s what we used for the new album as well. With signing in mind I made the three panels on the inside plain magenta (((Pantone 226C))) – lots of room to write.
Tickets for the Costa Mesa performance on July 10th will go on-sale Friday, May 14th at 10:00, through this web site:

Carol commented on May 14th, 2010:
What’s the name of that book about Edo?

It’s a series by Laura Joh Rowland. I began with The Concubine’s Tattoo, as that was the first one in the series that is available in ebook formats. At first I used Kindle, but later chose Apple’s iBook for other books in the series. For some strange reason Kindle still does not have a built in dictionary, but iBook, Kobo and Barnes & Noble apps do.

The series is historically quite accurate, I am told. The writing is a little soap-opera-ish at times, but I felt compelled to read the books as I find that era fascinating.

Does anyone know how to set up to email a person when certain authors release a book? I mean it’s easy to get iTunes to send out an email when xyz releases an album – Apple calls it Artist Alert – but I haven’t found a way to do this on It seems so obvious, but where is it or, gasp, don’t they have that function available? I also looked for this function in iBook and Kobo, but, although it seems like a very obvious and useful thing to me, it is not available.

Any books you would recommend to me? I have to stock up for the upcoming tour. I’ll need about 8-12 books to sustain me through the six and half weeks… Thanks!
Q & A with Sir Mick.

BBC News – Sir Mick Jagger goes back to Exile
Things have obviously changed a great deal since those sessions. What’s your feeling on technology and music?

Technology and music have been together since the beginning of recording.

I’m talking about the internet.

But that’s just one facet of the technology of music. Music has been aligned with technology for a long time. The model of records and record selling is a very complex subject and quite boring, to be honest.

But your view is valid because you have a huge catalogue, which is worth a lot of money, and you’ve been in the business a long time, so you have perspective.

Well, it’s all changed in the last couple of years. We’ve gone through a period where everyone downloaded everything for nothing and we’ve gone into a grey period it’s much easier to pay for things – assuming you’ve got any money.

Are you quite relaxed about it?

I am quite relaxed about it. But, you know, it is a massive change and it does alter the fact that people don’t make as much money out of records. But I have a take on that – people only made money out of records for a very, very small time. When The Rolling Stones started out, we didn’t make any money out of records because record companies wouldn’t pay you! They didn’t pay anyone! Then, there was a small period from 1970 to 1997, where people did get paid, and they got paid very handsomely and everyone made money. But now that period has gone. So if you look at the history of recorded music from 1900 to now, there was a 25 year period where artists did very well, but the rest of the time they didn’t.
(Via Daring Fireball)

Yeah, with his networth it’s easy to be quite relaxed about it. Though there really is no other position that is sustainable. Things have changed and they might change again.

Music Notation with HTML5 Canvas
Music Notation
(Via Slashdot)


Retrovelo – Frame Bag
FRAME BAG – for your lunch box or laptop
(Via Popwuping)


An Interview with Matthew Yglesias – The Future of the City – The Atlantic
Q. Asked to allocate a billion dollars in funds on anything that falls under the rubric of urban affairs, what would you prioritize?

Better buses! It’s rare that you have a policy issue that can be solved by throwing more money at the problem, but the technology to make bus service more frequent and equip buses with GPS systems that provide real-time schedule updates to bus stops exists and operates in many parts of the world. We should be installing it in our major cities.
(Via Marginal Revolution)

Busses with GPS, so one can track their approach in real time. Brilliant.

Legal experts: LimeWire likely doomed | Media Maverick – CNET News
On Wednesday, CNET broke the news that U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood granted summary judgment in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which filed a copyright lawsuit against LimeWire in 2006. In her decision, Wood ruled Lime Group, parent of LimeWire software maker Lime Wire, and founder Mark Gorton committed copyright infringement, induced copyright infringement, and engaged in unfair competition.


While Wood’s decision won’t come close to killing online piracy–there’s still BitTorrent and plenty of other ways to share files–she likely has scuttled a peer-to-peer service used by nearly 60 percent of the people who download songs. She also may have ushered out the era of large, well-funded file-sharing services, at least the kind that help distribute mostly copyright-infringing content. By making Gorton personally liable for damages, Wood served notice that operating these kinds of businesses is now a very risky financial endeavor. If the RIAA gets its way, Gorton, Lime Wire, and Lime Group will collectively be responsible for paying damages of $450 million.

this is quaint:

The other side of the LimeWire ruling is that it could thwart the development of technologies that one day might provide legitimate benefits to media companies, said Jack Lerner, a USC law professor.

“The problem is that some of these services may be the most efficient distribution technologies ever created,” said Lerner, a former attorney with the tech-focused law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. “It may take years and years before these technologies can fully be developed because they’re being shut down. When these technologies are in their infancy you see a lot more infringement, but as they mature they may be able to be put to good use.”


Poll: Despite spill, support for oil drilling high –
Even after the recent — and highly publicized — oil spill in the Gulf Coast, that’s the overwhelming sentiment from the public, with six in 10 Americans supporting more offshore drilling, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

In addition, a majority believes that the potential economic benefits of offshore drilling outweigh its potential harm to the environment.

It’s not that people today are less intelligent, forward thinking or compassionate than earlier generations, it’s that the tools at hand have become much, much more devastating. Nowadays, if persons or entities are without scruples, or simply careless, the destruction their endeavors can bring about is terrifying. Our tools have grown exponentially more powerful, and it seems that our collective intelligence (((or education?))) simply has not kept up with that pace.

The world is utterly heartbreaking.
found on Twitter

And there is always this:

Do not despair. Your work will bear fruit in 700 years or so.
– The Dalai Lama

CDs arrived this afternoon

02010-05-13 @ 20:05

New Album Arrived

02010-05-13 @ 19:05

Release date is Tuesday, June 15th.

Thursday in Santa Fe

02010-05-13 @ 13:05

The morning light in my house was muted. I imagined that Japanese Shoji paper windows would create this kind of light inside a house. (((not much on wikipedia, some modern examples here and here)))

My house looks like it’s been wrapped by Christo while my roof is getting repaired.
Since I first started using in-ear-monitors in 1994 I have always panned all instruments the way I saw them around me on the stage. For example, last year Stephen was half-right, Rusty was far right, Jon was half-left, Michael far-left and my guitar was in the middle. I don’t think that has worked so well for me with the trio and for the Summer tour I will try to pan the instruments the way I panned them on the album: Jon on the left, Michael on the right and my guitar in the center. That should be interesting. I wonder whether you will catch me looking to the right, to look at Michael, after I have been playing with closed eyes for a while. That would be funny!!
This Summer it will be twenty years since we toured as the opening act for Basia. I found this on the interwebs:

July 9-10 – Seattle – Paramount Theatre (sold out) (“Until You Come Back to Me” video filmed)
July 11 – Portland – Schnitzer
July 13 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
July 14 – Santa Barbara – County Bowl
July 16-17 – Sacramento, CA – Community Centre Theatre
July 19-20 – San Diego – Civic Theatre
July 21 – Phoenix – Celebrity Theatre (rescheduled due to illness)
July 24-26 – Los Angeles – Universal Amphitheater (sold out)
July 28 – Santa Fe – Paolo Soleri
July 29 – Denver – Paramount Theatre
July 31 – Minneapolis – Orpheum
August 1 – Milwaukee – Riverside Theatre
August 3 – Chicago – World Theatre
August 4 – Columbus, OH – Palace Theatre
August 5 – Cleveland – Palace Theatre
August 7 – Rochester, MI – MeadowBrook Music Festival
August 9 – Tonawanda, NY – Melody Fair
August 10 – Philadelphia – Tower Theatre
August 11 – Washington, DC – Constitution Hall
August 13 – Baltimore – Painter Mill
August 14 – Hartford, CT – Bushnell Auditorium
August 16-17 – NYC – Radio City Music Hall
October 16 – Atlanta – Fox Theatre
October ? – Houston – Music Hall
October ? – Atlantic City NJ – Trump Taj Mahal
November 3 – Boston – Orpheum
November 10 – Kansas City, KS – Memorial Hall
November (?) – St Louis – American Theatre
November – Austin, TX – Paramount Theatre
November 15-16 – Phoenix – Celebrity Theatre (rescheduled from summer tour)
November 17 – Costa Mesa CA – Pacific Amphitheater

Not on this list: New Orleans, where OL + LN performed and Basia cancelled her show, most likely because we were so good that night that she felt intimidated… :-)

Wednesday in Santa Fe

02010-05-12 @ 10:05

Woke up and noticed my bed wasn’t moving and that I was at home.

Made myself a pot of Pouchong tea and continued with the second book I am reading on the iPad, the last of a series of novels about Edo, Japan, at the end of the 17th century. Here are a few things I bookmarked:

Chocho means Butterfly

Ya-ku-za means Eight-Nine-Three and that is the worst hand you can have in a card-game called hana-fuda

That was the custom for male lovers. Marriage for either or both didn’t disrupt their relationship. (((interesting arrangement)))

Samurai could kill commoners without punishment, but not one another; for merchants and other citizens, the penalty for any murder was death (((talk about a macho society)))

A light rain began, marrying river and sky. Drops stipled the water, transforming it into liquid gooseflesh. (((stippling is a cool word, and I think liquid gooseflesh is a great way to describe rain of a certain quality hitting a body of water)))

Yanagibashi means Willow Tree Bridge. Very poetic.

BBC News – Istanbul’s tuneless muezzins get voice training
It is meant to be a beautiful, melodic and spiritual start to the day. But the morning calls to prayer by some of Istanbul’s muezzins and imams have had locals plugging their ears rather than reaching for their prayer books. The problem is such that following a flood of complaints by locals, special classes for the tuneless culprits have been set up.

Imam Mehmet Tas, one of the school’s first pupils, said he was already feeling the benefits.

“I have so much more self-confidence now in my abilities to do all five calls to prayer in their correct tempos,” he said.

Well, there is that and then there is the horrible amplification through megaphone-like speakers set to 11 (((gratuitous Spinal Tap reference))). No matter how tuneful a person might sing, it’ll still sound like he’s singing through a little guitar amp with distortion cranked up.

Thanks for the link Y.

Ultrasound As a Male Contraceptive
The BBC has an article about using ultrasound aimed at the testicles as a reversible male contraceptive. This can last for six months. With a grant of $100,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers at the University of North Carolina will push ahead with more clinical trials, fine tuning, and safety tests.
(Via Slashdot)

It’s very interesting to follow the discoveries of what ultrasound can be used for (((my father worked as a designer for Krautkraemer in Köln and I grew up hearing about it))). The above appears to be the latest idea. Ultrasound seems to be as useful as gaffer’s tape!

At this point one could have a lot of fun starting a rumor that the full-body-scanners I mentioned just a few days ago also radiate ultrasound to sterilize all men walking through the scanner… Conspiracy theorists would love that!!
Bio computers are coming:

DNA Could Replace Silicon to Create Cheap, Abundant Logic Circuits | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World
Right now, most semiconductor chips (those tiny pieces that are crucial to computers and electrical circuits) are crafted from silicon, a relatively expensive material. But what if we told you that these teensy, crucial cogs could be made from a material that lives within the human body? Researchers at Duke University are designing logic chips from self-assembling DNA. The team hopes the process will provide a cheap, easy method of making chips, eventually eliminating the need for silicon semiconductor chips altogether


Tuesday is a Travel Day

02010-05-11 @ 17:05

Arrived at home. Very windy. Cherry bloosoms gone, but I am quite content having seen these in Norfolk:


Mark commented on May 11th, 2010 at 08:08:
When can we start seeing presale for the new music?

The answer can be found here. :-)

Chris commented on May 11th, 2010 at 09:13:
Not really a comment, but more of a query. Pray tell, what is that electronic device on the tripod stand next to the black chair and microphone? I’m a gear junkie…tryin’ to figure out what the pros use for a live performance. Thanks very much!

We don’t use a monitor engineer. Instead we each have one of those gadgets to which our FOH engineer sends all of the instruments. (((you can see the handwritten instrument list on the tape above the switches))) We each create our own monitor mix. The device can memorize sixteen setups, which means that one could have presets for small clubs, medium theaters, large venues and so on. I generally stick with one basic mix that I modify at each venue. I took this photo in June of 2005, when we first started using them:

In 2005 I wrote:

This year we are using these little monitor mixers. They are hooked up to the main digital FOH board via ethernet and allow each of us to change and store our own mixes, eliminating the need for a monitor engineer. We could plug directly into these, but prefer the limiting capability of our Shure monitor amps.

We have also used the Avioms with wireless Shure montor packs before, but since none of the members of the trio move much, we prefer the better sound of the wired packs.
Sunday Evening at the Ram’s Head in Annapolis:

Photo by Salma, from this set on Flickr.
Malcolm Gladwell on re-reading:

True sentences
Re-reading is much underrated. I’ve read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold once every five years since I was 15. I only started to understand it the third time.
(Via Marginal Revolution)

I enjoy re-reading books as I seem to perceive the story differently every time.
Alex Ross interviewed film composer Michael Giacchino, who spoke about the musicians in the orchestra, recording music for films:

Giacchino Outtakes I: Credit Is Due
A lot of times musicians are treated really badly in this business. They’re generally not invited to premières, or even to cast-and-crew parties. And you don’t see their names in the end credits. It’s pretty much the only job on the crew where you gotta practice twenty or thirty years to be able to do what they do. Yet so many other people get to see their names up there, including, you know, the guy who brings the doughnuts. Not to diminish the guy who brings the doughnuts! We like him, too! But the musicians are a huge part of what makes a movie work. I always tell them, “Listen, I can put all these black markings on this page, but without you guys all I’ve done is mess up a piece of nice white paper.” So I try to make them feel appreciated. And we try to have fun doing what we do. I want this to be as fun as when I was ten years old, when “Star Wars” had come out and I was playing those LPs all the time and I’d decided I wanted to make movies for a living.
(Via Unquiet Thoughts)


Modern samurai on steel steed? Found here.

Gulf Spill: Did Pesky Hydrates Trigger the Blowout? – ScienceInsider
Methane-trapping ice of the kind that has frustrated the first attempt to contain oil gushing offshore of Louisiana may have been a root cause of the blowout that started the spill in the first place, according to University of California, Berkeley, professor Robert Bea, who has extensive access to BP p.l.c. documents on the incident. If methane hydrates are eventually implicated, the U.S. oil and gas industry would have to tread even more lightly as it pushes farther and farther offshore in search of energy.

Drillers have long been wary of methane hydrates because they can pack a powerful punch. One liter of water ice that has trapped individual methane molecules in the “cages” of its crystal structure can release 168 liters of methane gas when the ice decomposes. Bea, who has 55 years of experience assessing risks in and around offshore operations, says “there was concern at this location for gas hydrates. We’re out to the [water depth] where it ought to be there.” The deeper the water, the greater the pressure, which when high enough can keep hydrates stable well below the sea floor.

And there were signs that drillers did encounter hydrates. About a month before the blowout, a “kick” of gas pressure hit the well hard enough that the platform was shut down. “Something under high pressure was being encountered,” says Bea—apparently both hydrates and gas on different occasions.


David Hockney turns the iPad into an art form
Hockney told the London Evening Standard he had been drawing on the iPad in the upstairs bedroom of his home after graduating from the smaller iPhone.

The artist, who is known for experimenting in his work with faxes, photocopies and Polaroids, said he saw the iPad as a way for drawing by hand to make a comeback rather than an indication that the new technology would lead to the skill diminishing.

“The iPad is far more subtle – in fact it really is like a drawing pad,” he said. “They will sell by the million. It will change the way we look at everything from reading newspapers to the drawing pad. It can be anything you want it to be. This is the nearest we have got to seeing what I would call a universal machine.”
(Via Guardian Art)


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