Archive for 2011-01


02011-01-31 @ 12:01


02011-01-31 @ 12:01

Saw some Wensleydale at Whole Foods and naturally thought of these guys. Had to buy it. Saw a jar of acacia honey with black truffles in my kitchen, a recent christmas gift, and decided to apply a little of said honey to a slice of the cheese. A little bit of heaven!

The Greek promoter asked our European agent whether we will be performing “Barcelona Nights” in April. Them Greeks sure love the classics…

Wide-screen Apple Mail hack for Macs, courtesy of Aaron Harnly. Download the file here. I love it.

Surprising, or maybe part of the changes that are happening:

Marginal Revolution: China “tiger mother” fact of the day?
China, by the way, has the world’s third highest elderly suicide rate.

I read this article about Ma and Steve Jobs, which lead me to this article about Kobun Chino, and when I looked up the two pieces on my Instapaper account just now I came across this, which I think is lovely:

Buddhists, says HH the Dalai Lama, aren’t asked to believe anything that’s not in accord with reason and experience.

Somewhere along the trail I also read this fascinating article on the cult of masks. (((sounds a bit sensationalistic to me)))

Black Blade Runner glasses

Are all British artists about PR and PR and more PR and outdoing one another in outrageous deeds?

Ektopia » Blog Archive » Sunflower Seeds on Sunflower Seeds
Iocose have catapulted four real sunflower seeds into Ai Weiwei’s exhibit at the Tate Modern. The group of artists now claim that the original 100 million porcelain seeds have become part of their new artwork, titled Sunflower Seeds on Sunflower Seeds.

Yawn.. boring!

Shyscapes (Vimeo)

2010 Slideshow

02011-01-31 @ 11:01

For those who could not attend my six solo concerts in California last November I exported my new slideshow as a high quality movie, but the file was nearly 6GB in size. Then I exported is as a much smaller movie (smaller in dimensions and at half the frame-rate) and ended up with a 215MB Quicktime file, which you can view and download here. The movie is silent, but you can play One Guitar, or any of my albums, alongside it.


02011-01-29 @ 13:01

This morning I played Querencia on my guitar, from In the Arms of Love, and thought that it might work really well as a longish (one and a half minutes) intro to Turkish Night. We recorded Turkish Night for the Opium album in 1996. The name was inspired by a memorable night at a fabulous hotel on the Bospherus. After performing earlier that evening the band was sitting in the hotel bar with a couple of German friends who had come to Istanbul to see me. After we drank the bar out of orange juice (lots of screwdrivers), one friend, who was a journalist for German TV in the Turkish capital, suggested cherry jiuce, which is the Turkish juice of choice. So we started drinking cherry juice with vodka. I think we drank the bar out of cherry juice, too. I have to say that cherry juice plus vodka leaves more of a hangover, perhaps because cherries are sweeter than oranges.

Nagra III, IV, IV-s, IS and SN reel to reels – (YouTube)
Lovely video explaining the different models of Nagra tape recorders. Gear porn.

Culture – GOOD
Protesters Are Awesome: Egyptians Form Human Shield to Protect Antiquities

MSNBC Photoblog
An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011.

I love that photo!

Philip K. Dick’s Ampek (he turned Ampeg into Ampek) plant, from the book The Simulacra… originally published in 1964!

Now imagine having plants doing some of our computing… Biotech will be the next major wave. Forget silicon and motherboards – that’s so 20th century.

Bathroom Walls

02011-01-27 @ 09:01

Downtown Subscription installed blackboards in their bathrooms. The banter, not surprisingly, is about the same quality as comments on YouTube. I was moved to add something to the conversation. I added too much time.


02011-01-26 @ 10:01

Drumkit rental #2, Palm Beach:

Images from the Duncan Theater:

Facebook’s ‘Sponsored Stories’ Turns Your News Feed Activity Into Ads
Facebook is rolling out a new advertising format called Sponsored Stories, which allows advertisers to prioritize content from the News Feed by turning your Facebook activity into promoted content.

Here’s how it works: If one of your Page updates, Likes, app interactions or Place check-ins mention a participating brand, that story will appear in the column that appears at the right of your friends’ News Feeds. “For example,” writes Advertising Age, “if Starbucks buys a ‘sponsored story’ ad, the status of a user’s friends who check into or ‘like’ Starbucks will run twice: once in the user’s news feed, and again as a paid ad for Starbucks.”

Sponsored Stories are seen only by your friends that would normally see your stories in their News Feeds. However, according to the product’s help page , there is no op-out option for Sponsored Stories.

…there is no op-out option for Sponsored Stories. Ha Ha!!

From the latest Upaya newsletter:

Lately this economic success is starting to affect the culture — our dating lives, our marriages, how we raise our children. The phrase “first-born son” is so deeply ingrained in our culture that this statistic alone opened my eyes: In American fertility clinics, 75 percent of couples are requesting girls.

Here is a little humor for you: The State of the Web

Toy Thailand, a tilt-shift video. (Vimeo)

Cell Phones the new cigarettes?


02011-01-24 @ 14:01

This time we set up the drumkit and percussion so that Michael and Houman would face each other and could see Jon and I easily. It also reduced the sound of the drumkit to the audience (((drumkits are designed to spread maximum sound forward, not side-ways))) and I was told that the balance sounded better than last year with the plastic shield around the drums:

Shadow on Houman’s cajon:

Chairs backstage at the Duncan Theatre.

This was our second performance together and one of our best concerts in quite a while, Jon and I thought. Everything came together. The grooves were very good and musically we stepped into nice territory. We were all thrilled and elated afterwards. Jaren made a recording, but the CD is with him at the moment. As soon as I get it in the mail I will upload a few songs for you to hear.

You can view cell phone snapshots from this tour here.


02011-01-24 @ 10:01

Set List for Orlando and Palm Beach:

01 Untitled (New Arabic)
02 Passing Storm
03 La Luna
04 Borrasca
05 On the Road to Shiraz
06 Dancing Alone
07 Snakecharmer


08 Solea por Bulerias (duet with Houman)
09 Untitled (New Tangos/Rumba)
10 Heart Still/Beating
11 Up Close
12 Santa Fe
13 Turkish Night
14 Backwards Firefly
15 2 the Night


16 Barcelona Nights

For Clearwater/Tampa we had to change the set list, because we were to do two 75-80 minute shows.

Russian mp3 Vendors

02011-01-24 @ 10:01

Adam Solomon commented on 2011/01/15 at 12:24 – found it today as WordPress thought it was spam:

Well, that’s interesting – click one of the download links and you’re not brought to Rapidshare but rather to a page like this:

So they’re not being given away. The prices are dirt cheap so I’d think there’s still something fishy going on. My first guess was that this site is making a pure profit off this and not giving any proceeds to copyright holders, but their legal info page at least claims otherwise:

It cites Russian copyright law (which might well be a loophole) but claims “In accordance with the License provisions, MUSICLINE LTD executes license payments for all compositions downloaded from the site subject to International Copyright Law.” Do you know if you’d see any money from sales on sites like this?

Adam I have mentioned Russian piracy several times before. Russia simply does not have a digital copyright law and the website you are citing from makes up bullshit to snow people who do not know better. The prices are so low because no artist or label receives a damned cent from these pirates. One would think the Russian government is to blame for not signing the international copyright treaty for digital downloads or for not creating a digital copyright law for Russia.

Sadly many people read the legal bullshit, which is entirely made up and often even includes fake and worthless certificates, and think that they are doing something legal.

And these guys seem to change URLs frequently, I suspect they are the same folks who ran and others.


02011-01-17 @ 23:01

We rehearsed yesterday and today and I am very happy with the sound of the new quartet. Another rehearsal on Tuesday and then off to Florida.

I thought of an interesting storyline. An alien comes to earth and gets sick. His system has a much higher resolution than the human body and so the constant flicker of modern life becomes an assault on his brain. Lights turn on and off sixty times a second, music is just a series of brief snapshots, movies, DVDs, TV screens, it all constantly flickers, makes him in turn sick and angry…

Then what happens?

Maybe he blows up planet earth and goes home.

Or he throws up a lot, is disoriented and keeps losing his equilibrium. Looks pale, like David Bowie in “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, and is held captive by government forces, who interrogate him constantly.

Or, he uses a magneto bomb to destroy most computers on this planet and starts a glorious new analog era. Perhaps his world took a different approach, something they call organic computing. This organic computing does not work with zeros and ones, perhaps it does not work with machines at all… instead the organic computers are genetically modified plant structures. A computer that does not need electricity, but which needs a certain amount of care, some water and a place near light.

Audio snapshots… mosaics constructed from colored stones which are supposed to become finer and finer until they, someday, are indistinguishable from reality… Ha!!

Jon told me that the really high-end mastering labs now do the following in order to convert a bitrate of 24, which is used for recording, to the bitrate of 16, suitable for CDs and mp3 files: they run the digital 24/88.2 or 96kHz stream through a custom digital-to-analog converter, the analog output of which is routed through a custom analog-to-digital converter which turns the analog signal into a 16 bit stream…

No doubt, the custom D/A and A/Ds are very expensive and these Mastering Labs charge a lot of money for for doing this bitrate conversion. I wonder who would actually do this, when the result is a file that is traded for free on the internet in 128kbps form?

From an email SM sent to me this past weekend:

I think you are definitely on to something regarding what you have been calling “flicker.”

I went down to Denver with a friend of mine to have his iPhone 3GS screen fixed, and while it was being repaired, we went down to ListenUP! and listened to turntable based analogue systems. (((Listen Up’s website)))

We both agreed that the difference wasn’t all that marked between the turntable into a solid-state amp, and a turntable into a tube amp, but that the tube sounded more neutral.

There was tremendous difference between the all digital playback and the nice turntable and vinyl. The tube amp with the vinyl vs the all digital system had the most stark contrast.

We did a comparison of some Keith Jarrett stuff as well as a Jan Garbarek recording. The flicker manifests itself as auditory fatigue.

So, I now have empirical evidence that we actually HAVE gone backwards: mp3s -> CD -> vinyl to where it’s inferior to what we had in the 70s, rather than a feeling or impression of having done so.

I remember Jon saying that listening to compressed audio, especially music that has been volume as well as data compressed, creates hearing fatigue. He used the same word as SM did in this email, and I concur.

Girl Falls In Mall Fountain While Texting (YouTube)
I am glad she wasn’t driving.

Europe in Spring

02011-01-17 @ 22:01

Mar 22 – Riga, Latvia – The Great Guild Hall – Info
Mar 24 – Freiburg, Germany – Jazzhaus
Mar 25 – Ghent, Belgium – Handelsbeurs
Mar 27 – Munich, Germany – Carl Orff Saal
Mar 28 – Hannover, Germany – Pavillon
Mar 29 – Cologne, Germany – Kulturkirche
Mar 30 – Mainz, Germany – Frankfurter Hof
Apr 01 – Istanbul, Turkey – Jazz Cafe
Apr 02 – Istanbul, Turkey – Jazz Cafe
Apr 04 – Athens, Greece – Badminton Theater – Info
Apr 06 – Trento, Italy – Teatro Sociale – Info
Apr 07 – Trescore Balneario, Italy – Teatro Nuovo – Info
Apr 08 – Piangipane, Italy – Teatro Sociale – Info

Europe in the Spring

02011-01-17 @ 20:01

Mar 22 – Riga, Latvia – The Great Guild Hall
Mar 24 – Freiburg, Germany – Jazzhaus
Mar 25 – Ghent, Belgium – Handelsbeurs
Mar 27 – Munich, Germany – Carl Orff Saal
Mar 28 – Hannover, Germany – Pavillon
Mar 29 – Cologne, Germany – Kulturkirche
Mar 30 – Mainz, Germany – Frankfurter Hof
Apr 01 – Istanbul, Turkey – Jazz Cafe
Apr 02 – Istanbul, Turkey – Jazz Cafe
Apr 04 – Athens, Greece – Badminton Theater
Apr 05 – Trento, Italy – Teatro Sociale
Apr 08 – Piangipane, Italy – Teatro Sociale

I think a third Italian concert will happen on the sixth or seventh.

What is enough?

02011-01-12 @ 21:01

This person can’t stop at an album or two… they are giving away most of my catalog


02011-01-12 @ 20:01

We still don’t have all of the dates together and are having trouble getting the gear we need in some of the places. But hey, there is a poster for Greece…


02011-01-12 @ 11:01

from the Upaya Newsletter:

If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance for you to contribute to making a better world. That’s your choice.
– Noam Chomsky

A Twain Scholar Reacts to the New, Censored Version ‘Huckleberry Finn’ (WSJ)

How to look younger without plastic surgery

Here is another quote (thanks SM):

If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re gonna get selfish, ignorant leaders. So maybe it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here. Like… the public.
— George Carlin

Web 2.0 Summit 2010: Ariel Emanuel, “A Conversation with Ariel Emanuel” (YouTube)

The first comment starts with Piracy will NEVER be stopped.. We stopped smallpox, but we can’t stop piracy?


02011-01-09 @ 09:01

I don’t read any political blogs and mostly stay away from reading newspapers (never paper and only occasionally online). So it was while reading a tech blog that I came across this.

A congress person is killed
after one person paints a target on them
and another person held shooting campaign events to “get on target” with that person.

I think every politician or media pundit who doesn’t strongly distance themselves from events like these needs to be voted out of the office, or in case of the media pundits ostracized.

Using target signs and that kind of language in combination with violent video games and a struggling education system is a recipe for disaster. And for a nine year old child to lose her life in the assassination of a politician… if that does not wake people up to the kind of sick political “discourse” that’s happening in the USA, then what will? Debate – yes, absolutely. Arguing, even yelling, sure that’s also part of it. Using targets and murderous language in public is not. I mean how can we create stronger bullying laws for schools and then allow this to happen?

Makes me sick.


02011-01-08 @ 11:01

Why the N-word matters.
Well said.

Why all the dead animals? (Marginal Revolution)

J.G.Ballard quote on art and reality:

Art exists because reality is neither real nor significant.
– J.G. Ballard
(Via Home of the Vain)

There, let that roll around your mind for a few hours, days, years… Good one, Ballard!

Very good article in the L.A. Times regarding organic farming and sulfites in wine. A must read for winos:

Why isn’t more wine ‘organic’? – Los Angeles Times
Currently for a wine to be labeled ” USDA Organic” — a coveted seal of approval for most foods — it must have no added sulfites. However, most winemakers feel that sulfites are crucial in winemaking — they discourage spoilage and preserve fresh fruit flavors. Unlike most organic products, wine may sit for years before being opened. Furthermore, most wines contain some level of sulfites anyway since they are a naturally occurring byproduct of fermentation.

Our ancestors had only one thing on their mind:

BBC News – Ancient humans, dubbed ‘Denisovans’, interbred with us
Scientists say an entirely separate type of human identified from bones in Siberia co-existed and interbred with our own species.

From the Guardian – about making a new start in 2011:

Abandon resolutions. Stop looking for a soulmate. Reject positive thinking.
A Canadian study suggested positive affirmations – such as “I am a lovable person!” – actually have a negative effect on the moods of people with low self-esteem, who you might have thought would benefit from them the most.

Abandon resolutions. Check.
Stop looking for a soulmate. Check.
Reject positive thinking. Let’s modify that one to “reject affirmations”. Check. When I read the article I remembered Stuart Smalley! I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me.

I have to go to Havana! Check out this photo.

This relates to my comment from a couple of days ago:

Breaking Down the DNA of a Hit Song – Speakeasy – WSJ
But some in the music business believe that important clues are buried in the data, gleanings that just might help songwriters engineer hits of their own. Jay Frank is a senior vice president of music strategy for CMT, the country music channel, but he has a side business as a songcraft wonk. His recent book “Future Hit. DNA” mapped out shifts wrought by the digital age and offered songwriters advice on everything from tempos to titles that might make their tunes more bankable.

advice on everything from tempos to titles that might make their tunes more bankable.

Phooey! Stop looking at the cussing data and make music! If I wanted to play with data I could work in a more lucrative field. I want to make music and if we are in it for the music, the data is absolutely of no interest.


02011-01-06 @ 15:01

Nikola Tamindzic on Tumblr. | There will be blood
There will be NO free downloads, there will be NO bonus tracks, there will be NO remixes, there will be NO hidden footage, there will be NO additional content, there will be NO corporate partners, there will be NO fashion lines, there will be NO tabloid pictures, there will be NO £25 unit cost, there will be NO street team, there will be NO Myspace, there will be NO celeb producer, there will be NO Twitter, there will be NO press/blogger gig, there will be NO acoustic session, there will be NO meet and greet, there will be NO edited version, there will be NO iTunes only, there will be NO press launch, there will be NO Asian version, there will be NO radio friendly.
— Geoff Barrow, hinting at Portishead’s new record

That sounds like a manifesto, doesn’t it? It reminds Jon of “The revolution will not be televised”, Gil Scott-Heron‘s great rap.

The frost covered eyelashes of a horse (photo)

47th annual New Year calligraphy contest in Tokyo (photo)


02011-01-05 @ 08:01

Cold days. I am working on mixes in the studio. Nine are nearly finished, with four still to go. I expect to have good, if not perfect, mixes of all tracks before we leave for Florida this month.

Also working on a setlist for January and March – which might possibly become the setlist for the rest of the year. A look to the past – bringing back “Passing Storm” and “Turkish Night” for example – and forward.


It’s a question of resolution. Do we want the 8 bit black and white version or 64 bit with millions of colors. Higher resolution = greater bio diversity.

Marginal Revolution: *The World in 2050*
No doubt we humans will survive anything, even if polar bears and Arctic cod do not.  Perhaps we could support nine hundred billion if we choose a world with no large animals, pod apartments, genetically engineered to algae to eat, and desalinized toilet water to drink.  Or perhaps nine hundred million if we choose a wilder planet, generously restocked with the creatures of our design.  To be, the more important question is not of capacity but of desire: What kind of world do we want?

Undercity Video (Vimeo)
Undercity covered by the NYT
Undercity website

Looking for miracles in odd places (photo)
Photographs of the partial solar eclipse (photos)

Mochi, the silent killer (Wallstreet Journal)

Outlawed, Cellphones Are Thriving in Prisons
Interesting point: cellphone jamming versus managed access.

Detroit in photographs


02011-01-03 @ 13:01

Yesterday I came across this review of this book: The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self. I bought the Kindle edition and read the introduction, before putting it aside to finish Schild’s Ladder.

From the Introduction:

In this book I will try to convince you that there is no such thing as a self. Contrary to what most people believe, nobody has ever been or had a self.

Check. Buddha said that 3k years ago. Anatman; no-soul or no-self.

And this, from the net page, sounds exactly like many zen koans:

Who is the feeler of your feelings and the dreamer of your dreams? Who is the agent doing the doing and what is the entity thinking your thoughts?

About the Ego Tunnel:

This is why it is a tunnel. What we see and hear, or what we feel and smell and taste, is only a small fraction of what actually exists out there. Our conscious model of reality is a low-dimensional projection of the inconceivably richer physical reality surrounding and sustaining us.

Check. But perhaps physical and reality are both not the best word choices. If we are indeed, and for me there is no doubt that this is so, “contructing” our own reality by picking and chosing elements our mind approves of, elements that can sustain our construct of the world… or we might call it the throttled experiential stream… why call the “un-throttled” steam “reality” or even “physical”? For all we know we could live in an Escher-world, a throttled construct inside a fuller construct inside an even fuller construct. Turtles all the way up and down.

And then I find this quote in the Upaya newsletter:

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow:
Our life is the creation of our mind.

– Buddha

A few links:

I don’t agree with anything they write abour Santa Fe, except for Mellow Velo. But I am keeping my knowledge to myself, as do most Santa Feans.

Hamster Soul (YouTube)

Space Elevator – The Royal Institution Christmas Lecture 2010 on BBC. (YouTube)


Arkansas officials are investigating the death of an estimated 100,000 fish in the state’s northwest, but suspect disease was to blame, a state spokesman said Sunday.

and this:

Arkansas game officials hope testing scheduled to begin Monday will solve the mystery of why up to 5,000 birds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year’s Eve.

Hm, both happened in Arkansas around the same time. Do those birds eat fish perchance?


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