Archive for 2010-06

Wednesday in San Francisco

02010-06-30 @ 17:06

I added the first images to the new photoblog, which you can find here. It’s non-flash, and therefore phone and iPad friendly. There are no dates, but the photos start at the bottom and move chronologically to the top.

This Morning we arrived at our hotel in San Francisco, where it is pleasantly cool – I will try to retain cellular memory of this when we arrive in Phoenix or Vegas… Matt, Jon and I walked to Blue Bottle for coffee and breakfast. As nice as I remembered…

Tuesday in Santa Barbara

02010-06-30 @ 15:06

Late Tuesday morning I accompanied our tour manager to WheelHouse on Cota Street, who deal in Dutch bikes. She had tried out my Brompton and wanted to buy a comfortable bicycle for Santa Fe. After test-riding a few different bikes she settled on a beautiful black Oma-Fiet – Oma means Grandmother in Dutch and German – which she rode to the gig.

A full house at the SOhO. Lively crowd. We played the whole set for the first time, which I think was more than two hours long – nineteen songs!!! World-debut of a new song I first mentioned here, but which has, of course, mutated into something else with the band. A couple of photos from the SOhO:

After the gig, after loading out, and before the bike was safely stowed away, Jon Gagan was seen riding our tour manager’s new bike, a beatific grin on his face that reminded everyone of a boy riding his bike. I didn’t see it – I was having a drink with friends at Roy’s – but I know what went through his head. I might sell my fixie and get me a Opa-fiet when I get home!! So comfortable and fun!

Sunday in L.A.

02010-06-30 @ 15:06

Photographs by Joe Mozdzen. Catalina’s Jazz Club in Los Angeles, on Saturday Evening:

Great shot of Jon through the drum barrier:

Photo by Matt Callahan, during soundcheck:

From his photostream.

Yesterday’s Tweets

02010-06-30 @ 05:06

Saturday in L.A.

02010-06-29 @ 15:06

Saturday Morning I walked over to Greg’s house. This is the wall where he shot the covers for Poets & Angels and Borrasca. We wanted to walk to lunch and, after striking out at the restaurant he had in mind, we walked to the Sunset Marquis. The restaurant in their garden was beautiful, but the food nothing special, maybe even awful – I was too hungry to care.

Anyway, here is the great wall Greg has used for so many portraits.

Friday Music

02010-06-25 @ 12:06

First half of the concert on 2003-10-02 at Ferguson Hall in Tampa, Florida.

Ahead of its time, if you ask me. Haven’t listened to this in years and must say that there are lots of very cool things happening. And Canton’s rig was totally homegrown… (((will look around for some pics!!)))

Audio MP3

You can download the 320kbps mp3 here.

OL – guitars
Jon Gagan – bass guitars + synthesizer
Ron Wagner – percussion
Canton Becker – laptop DJ

Here is on photo of Canton’s set up. Battery-powered closet lights modified into switches to start and stop loops – light on = loop on, light off – loop off!:

And here he is in action with Ron – I shot this during their drum-duet:

Friday in L.A.

02010-06-25 @ 12:06

This email was sent to all subscribers this Morning:

Dear Ottmar-Friends subscriber,

Thank you for being part of the experiment we started in February of last year, to offer original content in the form of text, photography, and of course music, for a low annual subscription fee.

Unfortunately, the work to reward ratio has made it difficult to sustain the experiment. Though you yourself expressed a commendable interest in the Ottmar-Friends business model, it seems that the pervading expectation on the Internet is that this type of content should be free.

As such, I decided that our pay-for-content blog experiment will come to an end. We will wind it down as follows:

1) You may have already received an automated notice from PayPal stating that your subscription has been cancelled. No worries, this just means we’ve told PayPal not to charge your card again.

2) Regardless of when your subscription was scheduled to run out — next week, next month or next Spring — you will continue to have access to the backstage area until May 31st of 2011. On that day Ottmar-Friends will close its doors. Until the end of May I will continue to add content, including photographs and music.

Thank you again for your subscription to this project. Between now and when the site closes, I hope you continue to enjoy the music, photography and conversations found on Ottmar-Friends.

ottmar +
Santa Fe • New Mexico • Turtle Island


02010-06-25 @ 12:06

Sunrise on the way to L.A.:

New sonic barrier around the drumkit. Don’t tap the tank! Don’t feed the drummer! Works really well as it blocks much of the sound of the drums from getting into the guitar microphone. Result better sound for everyone!!!

Yesterday’s Tweets

02010-06-25 @ 05:06
  • … A bird cries in the distance – my only consolation … Ryokan (via @dpk9) #
  • Drum tank makes huge difference. Sounds great. #
  • Mankind "extinct" hooey, just a massive dieback in a planetary dustbowl (via @bruces) #

Wednesday Afternoon

02010-06-23 @ 13:06

Getting ready to leave this evening. New photoblog at – non-flash, and therefore iPad and phone-friendly. Very simple, without navigation or archive or tags or titles… just scroll and stroll and discover.

Humans will be extinct in 100 years says eminent scientist
Eminent Australian scientist Professor Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, predicts humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change.

Thanks SM.

Yesterday’s Tweets

02010-06-23 @ 05:06
  • Last rehearsal finished. Made a round of shakeratos for the crew. #

Yesterday’s Tweets

02010-06-21 @ 05:06

Yesterday’s Tweets

02010-06-20 @ 05:06
  • RT @Delicatebill RT @ebertchicago: Will there ever be actual corporate wars, or will they always use nations as their surrogates? #
  • RT @yvesbehar: classmate to my 7 year-old son on the school bus: "don't you know god makes everything?" zoel: "no, china makes every … #
  • RT @GreatDismal This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a vuvuzela? #
  • RT @yuuzen If you pause, what will you find? #
  • RT @GreatDismal 1860, NYC, ode to a visiting heartthrob samurai, captured in a popular song of the time. #


02010-06-19 @ 16:06

Please add to your contacts. I will send a new password from that address on Monday.

Sunday in Santa Fe

02010-06-19 @ 12:06

A few thoughts regarding the vid called The Secret Powers of Time, which I posted the other day.

From an email conversation. You are warned – zen-geeky stuff. Feel free to skip this post.

Seems that meditation may be shifting us from past/future orientation to present w ability to look from that perspective at past and future w more detachment.

Yep. That’s what we do in zazen. We constantly pull ourselves back to the present (((every moment a mistake…))) from thoughts that fly away – forward and backward in time. Only once in a while is a thought during sitting concerned with the present, like my leg hurts or it’s hot in here… most thoughts try to escape to the future or past. (((like birds fleeing the nest…)))

And in present things are just what they are, not loaded w foreboding or regret. Yet in this moment, by nature, we have an intention for the next moment, but zen (Dogen) teaches it should be only an intention, not attachment to the outcome of that intention, which would produce regret or elation in the next moment–forward or backward concerns, which are not in the moment and which remove us from the balanced position watching/being in time.


Sitting creates an opportunity for the mind to detach from the outcome of any intention (((future))) or regret (((past))). It balances the scales, which contain intention on one side and regret on the other.

Seems so. Equanimity w/o distancing from the flow of our lives.

To which I want to add: if anything, one feels more, one has more compassion, while at the same time equanimity develops. Feeling more, but not getting overwhelmed by that… How that can be, I don’t quite know. But, I believe, every meditator would agree with that statement.

This may also be the reason why many artists discover that meditation helps them deal with their sensitivities. It doesn’t dull those sensitivities, like drugs would, but places them into a context in which they can be appreciated, cherished and used in a creative way – rather than crippling the person.

Saturday in Santa Fe

02010-06-19 @ 11:06

Beautiful Morning. Grocery shopping followed by a bike ride to Downtown Subscription for a green chili croissant. Damn, those are fine! Hotter chili than those tourist burritos at Santa Fe Baking Company! The coffee at DS isn’t great, but still good enough to make fine accompaniment to the croissant.

We are leaving on Wednesdday and the mind keeps turning to what I will need and what I might need for nearly seven week on the road… Canton promised to get my photoblog going by then – as soon as he has defeated the Indonesian zombie botnet mp3 scraper that attacked one of his servers…

Email from SM on Saturday Morning:

From You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (p89):

I set out once again to find some cultural types who were benefiting from open culture. We have a baseline in the form of the musical middle class that is being put out of business by the net. We ought to at least find support in the new economy for them. Can 26,000 musicians each find 1,000 true fans?or can 130,000 each find between 200 and 600 fans? Furthermore, how long would be too long to wait for this to come about? Thirty years? Three hundred years?Is there anything wrong with enduring a few lost generations of musicians while we wait for the new solution to emerge?

Lanier goes on to describe an experiment in which he searches for musicians that “A new kind of professional musician ought to thunder on to the scene with the shocking speed of a new social networking website.” He says, “Quite a few musicians contacted me to claim victory in the new order, but again and again they turned out to not be the real thing.


This is astonishing to me. By now, a decade and a half into the web era, when iTunes has become the biggest music store, in a period when companies like Google are the beacons of Wall Street, shouldn’t there be a few thousand initial pioneers of a new kind of musical career who can survive in our utopia? Maybe more will appear soon, but the current situation is discouraging.

He goes on to mention in a sidebar:

The people who are perhaps most screwed by open culture are the middle classes of intellectual and cultural creation. The freelance studio session musician faces diminished prospects, for instance. (((true, word on the street is that only a handful of drummers can sustain themselves through freelance studio work – there used to be thousands!))) Another example, outside of the world of music is the stringer selling reports to newspapers from a war zone. These are both crucial contributers to culture an democracy. Each pays painful dues and devotes years to honing a craft. They used to live off trickle-down effects of the old system, and like the middle class at large, they are precious. They get nothing from the new system.

From my reply:

And then there is the role of the musician as minstrel, storyteller, political commentator. The Sixties wouldn’t have happened w/o the musicians who gave voice to their generation.

So there is certainly a political element to the story. Without musicians any revolt is doomed and much much less likely to happen – and by revolt I also mean sudden peaceful change.

Was the death of the musician middle class planned by big business and the politicians? I doubt it. Is it tolerated for o obvious reasons – that seems possible, if remotely so. Do away with those pesky minstrels! Or, have people simply not seen this, to me, very obvious angle of the story. This seems to be the most likely scenario. We have never been a very forward looking people. Seven generations etc… not something we generally do ((but should, but should!)))… storm ahead and figure it out later, or even better, let the next generations figure it out!!

To which I want to add that I am very intrigued by this new book by Jaron Lanier who is one of the few über-geeks who sees the big picture. He understands tech as well as anybody, but he also sees the cultural aspects. To quote Wikipedia:

He was a pioneer in, and popularized the term “Virtual Reality” (VR) in the early 1980s. At that time, he founded VPL Research, the first company to sell VR products. His current appointments include Interdisciplinary Scholar-in-Residence, CET, UC Berkeley. In 2010, he was named to the TIME 100 list of most influential people.

I mean, this guy has the street cred! Or to quote someone else:

Some claim he lost it, I just think he sees Web2.0 for what it is. He’s not drinking the W2 kool-aide, and lotsa geeks don’t like it.

When Ford discovered the effiency of assembly lines it seemed exciting. Now the shinyness has been rubbed off and we know that it creates unhappy and even sick workers and often inferior products. When we discovered oil as a means to power all of our wildest dreams… well that dream has gone south as well. We are discovering the dark side of video games – the average kid plays 10,000 hours of video games by the time they leave high school… They may have trouble reading or listening, but they sure can kill whatever you kill in those games…

What I am trying to say, we will discover the personal and cultural ills of the internet, and in many ways we already have, the chrome will come off and we will be left with – well, whatever we will be left with. Impossible to predict.

How long would be too long to wait for this to come about? Thirty years? Three hundred years?Is there anything wrong with enduring a few lost generations of musicians while we wait for the new solution to emerge?

Maybe there is nothing wrong with it. I mean, when the syntsizer came out the death of string players was foretold. when the first drum machines came out, many people predicted the end of the drummer. But, in 1984 already, my brother and I had a rock/pop band that combined a great “real” drummer (((it was Carl Coletti, who was part of Luna Negra in the mid-Nineties))) with an Oberheim drum machine. Imagine a heavy, real kick in tandem with a smaller machine kick, and a real hi-hat combined with a stuttering machine hi-hat… anyway, drum machines forced drummers to be more precise, and many drummers have been inspired and influenced by what a machine can do.

We don’t know what enduring a few lost generations of musicians will look like. That picture can only be truly seen many years from now. Maybe Spain will be the West’s canary, because it has the highest amount of illegal downloads in the World. I am truly interested in how Spanish musical culture changes in the next decade. It may surprise us and end up really great and vital, but I am not holding my breath.

Friday in Santa Fe

02010-06-19 @ 11:06

Letter to the Guardian by David Hockney, regarding this article on Caravaggio.

Letters: Art from the sublime to the ridiculed | The Guardian
The critics say he invented chiaroscuro, or dramatic shading never seen before. A lot is known about Caravaggio’s studios, more than most of his contemporaries. They describe the dark walls and a hole in the ceiling (known because he was sued). A few people have made serious suggestions that optical projections were used, and as there are no known drawings, and no record he ever made one, the evidence is very strong indeed.

No conventional historian has bothered to ask how these paintings were made. They think it is of little interest. It is of major interest to us now. The similarity to today’s Photoshop techniques is fascinating. This seems to me to make him a more interesting artist, not less. It accounts for the new kind of space he opened (like TV close-ups), it accounts for the dark walls and the hole in the ceiling. His bones are neither here nor there because of this – a minor event compared with the implications for our time of his new techniques.

Read More

This is about a sixteenth century painter, mind you. Look at these three paintings presented on wikipedia: The Calling of Saint Matthew and Crucifixion of St. Peter, and Judith Beheading Holofernes. Dark subject matter, but with intense light, unbelievable detail and life.

Wireless Oligopoly Is Smother of Invention | Epicenter |
Imagine if the wireless carriers controlled your wired broadband connection or your television set. You’d have to buy your television from your cable company, with a two-year contract, and when that ended, you’d have to ask them to unlock it so you could take it to another provider.

If the wireless company ran your ISP, you’d have to use a computer they approved, and if you wanted to use a different one, you’d pay more. Want Wi-Fi in your house? That’ll be an extra $30 a month and $150 to buy an approved but functionally limited Wi-Fi device.


Require the nation’s wireless carriers to publish the specs they use on their networks, so that any device maker can make a device that works on any network or all the networks. Then require the carriers to offer service, with published limits, to any customer, using any compliant device, at a fair price. Subscribers would have the right to use more than one device, or at the very least, switch them with minimal effort. Those devices could run whatever software they like, so long as they don’t harm the network.

That should be the requirement for the carriers who are using the public’s spectrum.

AT&T and Sprint and Verizon and T-Mobile may have paid hefty sums to rent the airwaves, but they do not own them.

The carriers will doubtlessly whine to Congress that their networks are too special and too fragile. Meanwhile, they will brag to customers about how strong and robust their cell networks are — touting services like streaming video for the iPhone, Skype on Verizon, and SprintTV on Sprint smartphones.

They can’t have it both ways.
Read More

I don’t know how I feel about agreeing with Wired… :-)

I think cellular service should be a simple data-pipeline, just like internet service is. Let’s do away with separating that data into voice-call, texting and web-service – that is an artificial differentiation anyway as it is ALL digital data. Charge me by the amount of data I consume, the amount of bits I require to make calls, send SMS and browse the web… and let me choose to consume that data on my phone, on my iPad and on my computer. Come on, it’s only a matter of time. We all know that’s the way forward.
Nice little web app for regular browsers and iPad.

Time Zones

On Thursday I was alerted to a new album on iTunes:

I noticed there was already one nice customer review.

Why Keith Richards should take over Tate Modern | Jonathan Jones | Art and design |
Music legends of the 1960s might be welcome in today’s pop music, but contemporary art shuns its old masters – why?


Ingenious Flipper Bridge Melds Left-Side Drivers With Right-Side Drivers | Fast Company
One of the most vexing aspects of traveling between mainland China and Hong Kong is the car travel: People in the former drive on the right side of the road; people in the latter drive on the left (a vestige of the British empire).

So to quell confusion at the border and, more importantly, to keep cars from smashing into each other, the Dutch firm NL Architects proposed a brilliant, simple solution, the Flipper bridge.

Brilliant and beautiful.

Musical Mad Scientist Concocts Bizarre Instruments, Strange Sounds | Underwire |
Music From Sand

“I had some sandbags in the backyard that I used in November during a rainy day. I was moving them to a different spot when I heard the noise of the sand. I thought that maybe I could try a new sound-design technique, so I bought some piezo-film transducers and started to experiment with them.

“The entire track is created only out of tuned sand tones — no additional sounds or waveforms. I emphasized the inner notes of the sand grains and mapped them on a sampler as a series of instruments. The grooves are all played live with various techniques, including taping two piezo films to my fingers.” —Diego Stocco

Interesting and original. With lots of video, and ads.
Note from Canton:

FYI our server will be intermittently sluggish and fast today, maybe for the next few days. I’m in them midst of trying to contain a zombie botnet distributed denial of service attack coming out of indonesia. Has been going on for about a week I think, and started getting nasty last night.

Not sure whether that sounds more like early William Gibson or like Harry Potter…
My new favorite yogurt:

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company
1st Place Winner, 2002 American Cheese Society Cheese Competition

Our yogurt is made from 100% pure pasteurized sheep’s milk and healthy active cultures, nothing else. There are no gums, no stabilizers, and no other artificial thickeners used in our yogurt. Our Maple Yogurt is produced by added 100% percent pure maple syrup.

I love this house in Korea.

Yesterday’s Tweets

02010-06-19 @ 05:06

Friday Repeat

02010-06-18 @ 21:06

This is a repeat from a year ago:

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

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

Petals On the Path Previews

02010-06-18 @ 20:06

Mono and low-bit-rate, but full-lenth previews nonetheless:

More info about this album can be found here.


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