Archive for 2011-02


02011-02-28 @ 14:02


02011-02-28 @ 14:02


Interview with Mr. Aaron Draplin, Draplin Design Co. and Field Notes Brand
In a world where things are more and more compacted, complicated, sped up and digitized, a regular old wood pencil is always there for you. Never needing to be recharged, you know?

The more I think about it, the more pencils—on some weird level—represent “complete freedom.” Freedom from digital ubiquity and predictability. There something cool about how you feel human when using a pencil. […]

I like feeling one with the paper. Like this odd sense of “get it down now, or it’ll be forever gone” fills my head and hands, and I just go to work. Impermanent. Graphite can be erased. Imperfect. My hands screw up all the time. Interesting. The lines vary and never come out quite like you expected them to.

Just a matter of time…

TSA officer pleads to $30k theft | Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/24/2011
TSA officer pleads to $30k theft — with boss’s OK


Singularity: Kurzweil on 2045, When Humans, Machines Merge – TIME
2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal

Thanks for the link LW. Not a bad article, I think. Author shows both sides. My personal feeling about the Singularity is that I can’t get worked up over it one way or the other. Will computers become faster and more powerful? Of course. Will they get smaller? Certainly. Will computers be implanted into humans? I have no doubt of that. But will real AI happen? We’ll see about that. I am just not that excited about the old zeros and ones, especially since they are hamfistedly applied to everything. The old off ‘n’ on works well for writing and communication and accounting and so on… but I am not so sure about music and design.

I think the coming bio-tech age will actually create more change more quickly than the changes digital computing wrought. It’ll be a bumpy ride, for sure.
Picked up my red Blueroom House Pods, which had the tweeters replaced, and talked to the store manager about CRTs versus flat-screens (LCD, Plasma etc.). I explained that I think that tube-TVs seem to smooth out the pixels, much like tube-amplifiers seems to bring life to digital music. He said he felt the same way, but that people want huge TVs, and therefore they sell a ton of giant flat-screens. He also explained that serious gamers prefer CRT monitors for the very reason I stated, because they smooth out the pixels in video games, especially when there is movement.

Since you asked…

02011-02-26 @ 15:02

Since you asked… I was certain that I wrote about both of these photos before, but all I could find was this entry.

This first photo appeared in the booklet of Euphoria in 1995. It was also used for the Havana Club 12″ Vinyl in 1997. The photo was taken by Eric Swanson on the old Camino Real, south of Santa Fe, in 1995 or perhaps the year before. I believe we had two guitars for this shoot, a $25 pawn shop guitar Eric had picked up and a guitar that I had received because the manufacturer wanted me to endorse it. People seem to think this image was photoshopped, but that is not true. The photographer picked a great angle for the shot and I really did get some decent air with several of the throws. We assumed we would only have one chance (per guitar) to get it right, but guitars, perhaps especially cheap guitars, are much sturdier than they look. I had always been very careful with my guitars and was so tuned into every scratch that appeared on them that I was quite surprised by this.

The whole experience was pretty interesting. The feeling was not unlike a Christian hearing a blasphemous Jesus joke… that strange feeling in the stomach. (((I speak from experience since I was an altar-boy))) But it was also exhilarating and freeing – perhaps also like a Christian hearing a blasphemous Jesus joke? (((when one notices that the world hasn’t ended…)))

The second image was photographed by Ashkan Sahihi for the weekend magazine of the German paper Die Zeit. A year later Ashkan came back to Santa Fe to take all of the photos for the Opium abum. (((He also took this cover photo)))…

I just went to Ashkan’s webside and noticed this amazing series of images called What I Want. Powerful.

I am not sure what kind of guitar we used for this image. I think we used the left-over pieces from one of the guitars from the first shoot. The location is Diablo Canyon north-west of Santa Fe, very early in the morning. It was very cold.

Related: music from the Havana Club single


02011-02-24 @ 23:02

Saw a bunch of Aeolian Harps at a Canyon Road gallery this afternoon. When the wind kicked up an eerie sound filled the air!

The day we took this photo I noticed the same effect and fingered different chords for the wind to play…


02011-02-24 @ 23:02


02011-02-24 @ 22:02

A friend sent me this photo today, captured at a local monastery:

Summer Tour

02011-02-23 @ 09:02

A few of the Summer dates have been confirmed, but many others are still being moved around to keep travel down to a minimum. These are only the confirmed ones.

Jun 25 – Denver CO – Soiled Dove
Jun 28 – Scottsdale AZ – The Compound
Jun 29 – Tucson AZ – Fox Theater
Jun 30 – Santa Barbara – SoHo
Jul 01 – San Francisco CA – Yoshi’s
Jul 02 – San Francisco CA – Yoshi’s
Jul 03 – San Francisco CA – Yoshi’s
Jul 12 – Napa CA – Napa Valley Opera House
Jul 13 – Livermore CA – Livermore PAC
Jul 15 – San Diego CA – Anthology
Jul 16 – San Diego CA – Anthology
Jul 20 – Dallas TX – Granada Theater
Jul 22 – Austin TX – One World Theater
Jul 23 – Houston TX – Dosey Doe
Jul 24 – Houston TX – Dosey Doe

Spring Tour

02011-02-23 @ 09:02

We added two nights in Minneapolis.

OL – Flamenco Guitar
Jon Gagan – Fretless Bass Guitar + Keyboard
Michael Chavez – Drumkit
Houman Orei – Percussion

May 04 – Ogunquit ME – Jonathan’s
May 05 – Boston MA – Scullers
May 06 – Londonderry NH – Tupelo Music Hall
May 07 – New York NY – BB Kings
May 08 – White River Junction VT – Tupelo Music Hall
May 10 – Annapolis MD – Ramshead
May 11 – Alexandria VA – Birchmere
May 12 – Norfolk CT – Infinity Hall
May 13 – Ridgefield CT – Ridgefield Playhouse
May 14 – Bay Shore NY – Boulton Center
May 15 – Sellersville PA – Sellersville Theater
May 18 – Minneapolis MN – Dakota Jazz Club
May 19 – Minneapolis MN – Dakota Jazz Club


02011-02-23 @ 09:02

Another day, another sensational headline:
The REAL Death Of The Music Industry
Distant Star makes Music
In my twenties I read a book called The Music of the Spheres, by Hazrat Inayat Khan, that suggested the same thing.
Why is this anti-gay Leviticus tattoo absurd?
Battle for the Soul of Kung Fu
Photo Opportunities
– from hundreds of snapshots of tourist locations found on the Internet.
Kinetic Wave Sculptures (YouTube)
The World’s Most Simple Phone
Guide to Inking••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Photoblog – Libyan fighter pilots fly to Malta in apparent defection
Sources said the fighter pilots defected because they would not fire on the Tripoli protesters.
Culture differences matter (even within Islam)
Beautiful image of Northern Lights, captured in Norway.
Do you say hello or ahoy?
Real smart. What could possibly go wrong?
That is all.

Spring USA

02011-02-23 @ 08:02

We added two nights in Minneapolis.

OL – Flamenco Guitar
Jon Gagan – Fretless Bass Guitar + Keyboard
Michael Chavez – Drumkit
Houman Orei – Percussion

May 03 – Fall River MA – Narrows Center for the Arts
May 04 – Ogunquit ME – Jonathan’s
May 05 – Boston MA – Scullers
May 06 – Londonderry NH – Tupelo Music Hall
May 07 – New York NY – BB Kings
May 08 – White River Junction VT – Tupelo Music Hall
May 10 – Annapolis MD – Ramshead
May 11 – Alexandria VA – Birchmere
May 12 – Norfolk CT – Infinity Hall
May 13 – Ridgefield CT – Ridgefield Playhouse
May 14 – Bay Shore NY – Boulton Center
May 15 – Sellersville PA – Sellersville Theater
May 18 – Minneapolis MN – Dakota Jazz Club
May 19 – Minneapolis MN – Dakota Jazz Club


02011-02-16 @ 11:02
Audio MP3

That’s the first song we played in our first performance together, on January 20th in Orlando, Florida. It’s an untitled work in progress for the next Luna Negra album.

Added a few photos, from a walk in the Canyon Preserve last Sunday, to the Photoblog.

Wind powered car drives over 3,000 miles across Australia

They’re not froofy at all. They’re Dobermans with hair. And they are German, not French.

Lend a Kindle Book

LOSTiNSOUND by ONSOMBiL (Vimeo) – nice video, but I have to admit that I am getting tired of guys with loopers.


02011-02-13 @ 23:02

I did not know that about the Grammys. Can’t say I am surprised, though:

The Grammys: the secret committee that alters the membership’s nominations. – By Bill Wyman – Slate Magazine
Why I Hate the Grammys
The secret committee that alters the membership’s nominations, for starters. But there are plenty of other reasons.

From a paper on mastering, from the Danish firm TC Electronics – thanks SM!

0dBFS+ Levels in Digital Mastering – PDF from TC Electronics
Several golden ears in the pro audio industry tend to believe that the best sound in pop / rock music generally was produced between 1982 and 1995.

Despite higher resolution in converters and DSP, lower jitter and probably a better overall understanding of digital media, we seem to be on a declining rather than inclining sound quality slope these years; even though people buying records and film may not be aware of it.

Obviously there could be many reasons for this we cannot directly influence: Trends, basic recording and microphone placement skills, more semi-pro equipment being used, shorter production times and therefore less attention to detail etc.

But if the public do not care, why should we?

Jon and I believe the Golden Years were the Seventies. The recording equipment improved in the Eighties and early Nineties, but the Eighties, while giving rise to a lot of original music, had an overwhelming amount of bad synth sounds and drummachines… I think the Seventies were incredibly creative.


02011-02-11 @ 10:02

Great piece: NYT vs HuffPost

The sound of cicadas – also half, quarter and eighth speed to hear the actual rhythm.

Bling Bike – what happens when you ask a rapper to design a bicycle.

I read this rubbish last month and was moved to make the only comment I am likely going leave anywhere all year. I wrote:

o2ma Says:
CDs were always the smallest expense of a production. The recording itself costs the most, perhaps followed by the advertising campaign. Sure, if one records a few synths in a bedroom the recording cost is very low and the album should be priced accordingly. If, however, one needs to pay for a real studio, for musicians and engineers, the cost can hit several hundred thousand quickly.

The difference in cost between pressing CDs or selling downloads is minute.

I find it infuriating when people have no fundamental understanding wherein the value of an LP, a CD or a download album lies. Like all of my favorite art (((NOT this – that is the opposite))) the value of a musical album lies in the ideas contained in it, not in the value of the piece of plastic or vinyl or digital bits. The album in a store (((whether virtual or brick))) is simply a container for the ideas of the musicians and producers. This is similar to a painting, where the canvas and paint itself would not add up to much…

And to say that since musicians enjoy what they do therefore they should be willing to do it for free is such rubbish (((but often read on the interwebs!))). I mean, I know car mechanics who seem to truly love their work, but nobody would consider for a second that they would work for free.

In the past few years, every time I am about to start work on a new album, I think why go through all that trouble, why battle inspiration, why work so cussing hard on a new album when it will be traded worldwide for free, within weeks. I imagine a large part of my audience would be happy for us to play the “classic” stuff on tour and we could do well with that for another deacade or so.

Well, one thing that inspires me to start on the next album is that I already have the cover photography. I saw the image yesterday and think it is stunning.


It’s funny, when a friend played Medterranian Sundance for me in the mid-Seventies, I immediately wanted to know who the other guitarist was… it was Paco De Lucia. Today a search for Paco brought this to my attention. I am still not a fan of Al DiMeola, but the question and the beginning of his answer fit in with my post from today:

Al Di Meola meets “Strawberry Fields”
What makes you decide to do an album? The changes in the music industry have profoundly affected everything. I wonder if there’s a point sometimes.

There’s not (laughs). There’s really no point in making a record, when you think about it. Just think really quick – Rolling Stones. Do they need to make a record? No. Paul McCartney? Does he need to make a record? No. Assuming they’re going to keep touring…. You don’t go to see them for the new material. You go to see them to play the stuff you remember from way in the beginning …

Indeed, and I might add, they are not going to make any money releasing a new album while they do very well with their tours.


02011-02-10 @ 09:02

Beautiful Wednesday morning here in Santa Fe. The sun came out and the snow sparkled. In the slanted morning sunlight the snowflakes seemed to float on top of one another, separated by air. This was not wet and heavy snow, this was dry and light snow… like something shot out of a canon for a Hollywood picture.

I received an email announcing Gene Smith’s memorial service in Manhattan on Saturday, featuring brief musical interludes by Jon Gibson, Philip Glass, Yungchen Lhamo, and Ning Tien.

Remembering Gene Smith
It is with profound regret and sadness that we announce the passing of E. Gene Smith, our friend, source of inspiration, and founder.

A pioneer in Tibetan Studies, Gene dedicated his life to preserving the rich literary heritage of Tibet. Gene passed away at his home on December 16.

See this and this. I had the privilege of meeting Gene Smith in Manhattan in December of 2009.

Poe’s Law:

Urban Dictionary: Poe’s Law
Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.”

Man killed by Cock… Oh, I should say rooster, shouldn’t I?

Kern County cockfight injury leads to man’s death
A California man attending a cockfight has died after being stabbed in the leg by a bird that had a knife attached to its limb.


Cockfighting is a sport, illegal in the United States, in which specially bred roosters are put into a ring and encouraged to fight until one is incapacitated or killed.

Isn’t the term sport far too generous for this activity?

Quick, we need something cute now… well, how about this photo?

It’s called An Apartment for Space-Age Lovers, but it looks like somebody watched 2001 too many times. Maybe this apartment will gain enough texture to be interesting in ten years, or maybe it will continue to look like the burn ward of a hospital. I do like the Black Hole idea, a closet that can be moved to extend the living room or the bedroom.

It’s the end of Guitar Hero:

Guitar Hero Gone: What Went Wrong?
A Warriors of Rock guitar bundle will set you back $80. Considering many of the controllers do not play nice with similar games, that’s a lot of dough to drop on pretend jamming.

I added the color… the accent has to be on “pretend”. I think it’s far cooler to play air guitar with a broom than to use Guitar Hero.

It’s getting there: dimmable 60W warm-light LED bulb from Philips at Home Depot for forty bucks.

Beautidul photos:

Honey and beehives are sanctified
Bulgarian Orthodox faithful light candles with jars of honey during a holy mass for the ‘sanctification of honey’ at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin church in the town of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria on Feb. 10. Honey and beehives are sanctified by performing a ritual for health and rich harvest.

Do they really mean jars of honey? Shouldn’t that read jars of beeswax? By the way, I ordered a bunch of candles from Blue Corn Naturals in Colorado and think they are much better than the candles from the Santa Fe Candle Company. They have a rich honey smell, are made in Colorado (not in China, like some of the candles from Santa Fe Candle Company) and burn beautifully. Recommended!

La Luna

02011-02-08 @ 11:02
Audio MP3

That’s La Luna from the Duncan Theater in Lake Worth, Florida, on 21. January. I think it is remarkable how good Houman sounds here already, as it was only his second concert with us. This is an American rhythm and the lilt or swing of it is very different from Arabic or Flamenco music. Enjoy!

OL – Flamenco Guitar
Jon Gagan – Fretless Electric Bass Guitar
Michael Chavez – Drumkit
Houman Orei – Cajon

Recorded live to stereo by Jaren Coler.


02011-02-07 @ 11:02

A year ago I looked at my internet and telephone accounts and was close to getting rid of my landline and making do with a cellphone and VOIP via the cable modem. I am so happy that I didn’t do that. Instead I switched from a cable modem to a DSL, which has been much more reliable and dependable than the cable modem – had to restart the cable modem every other day, but the DSL modem needs no pampering and is as fast. A couple of months ago I got fed up with the sound quality of VOIP and mobile calls and signed up for a long-distance plan for my landline. I am so happy I did that. We put up with horrific sound for convenience sake… for me there is a similarity between listening to mp3s and making mobile calls. The Scandiphone in above image, a remake of the Seventies classic Ericofone, was a Christmas gift. In fact most of the landline phones around the house are old-fashioned corded phones. One week from the end of my monthly billing cycle I have only used 53 minutes on my mobile. And I enjoy talking to people on the phone again… unless they are using a mobile, in which case I’ll keep the conversation short. :-)

The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains

When it’s the right chair…

Meanwhile in Seville:

Models rock their ruffles.
I can’t help but think, as lovely as these images are, that these ladies are a bit reminiscent of feather dusters. This is especially the case in the second frame where the light on the wall looks like a handle intersecting the model.

Internet Music:

Daring Fireball Linked List: Does Spotify Make Bands Money?
Exec 1: “Our income from iTunes, Beatport, emusic, Amazon etc is pretty good. The income from Spotify is MICROSCOPIC – LAUGHABLE – PATHETIC. The fact that haven’t been sufficiently called out on this is a SCANDAL. Spotify are old school monopoly capitalists masquerading as painfully hip young “edgy” entrepreneurs. Their game plan is to devalue music 10 – 20 fold and then swallow it up like Pacman.”

I read that Murdoch’s NewsCorp are Ready to sell MySpace. There must be at least ten good jokes that could be made here…


Hard-wired to continuously connect – Popwuping
American teens from 13 to 17 now text about 120 messages every day, according to a Nielsen report released this month. And this at a time when, … teens should be developing not only their identity but also empathetic skills. They need stillness, they need down time, they need to have secrets, she writes, and they need to separate. And yet … they are constantly “tethered . . .
“The text driven world of rapid response does not make self-reflection impossible but does little to cultivate it.”

And, I am really enjoying The Ego Tunnel. Highly recommended.


02011-02-05 @ 11:02


02011-02-04 @ 10:02

This morning the thermostat showed 54º, a thermometer in the kitchen read 50.9º, and the outside temperature was 0º. I am pretty impressed that my house only lost 8º between yesterday afternoon and early this morning.

By this afternoon I should have heat again.

I am reading a book called The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self. Neuro science for laypeople, I guess. I highlighted a few paragraphs:


And finally, and most importantly:

I heard Roshi Joan Halifax speak about the many new studies coming online soon, long term studies involving neuro science and meditation. Hopefully I’ll hear more about this in June. I agreed to do a solo performance at the Mind & Life conference in New York and will spend a couple of days before my performance being a fly on the wall.


02011-02-03 @ 11:02

This laptop is freezing cold.
No heat, no water.
58ºF inside and the thermometer outside read -20ºF this morning. That’s -29ºC.
This computer is indeed freezing.
If I move to a colder climate I’ll buy a plastic MacBook…

At least the sun is shining. That makes it feel warmer than it is.


02011-02-02 @ 10:02

This Morning at 08:25 the outside temperature was -2F, or nearly -19C. Pretty cold, especially since only a few days ago we had temperatures in the mid-fifties.

The CD containing some of the music from the second Florida concert, which we thought was special, arrived at our office. I will get a hold of it some time this week.

My favorite word of the day: cacoethes
It means irresistible urge or mania. The word makes an irresistible urge sound like a disease. My love for you is a cacoethes. Hm, something sweet for a Valentine’s day card perhaps? It comes from the Greek language, of course. :-)

The beauty of cursive writing (((or, why I had to look around to find a school that teaches cursive writing, so that I will be able to exchange letters with my child, and won’t have to read text or email)))
Thanks for the link MC. Years from now they will discover that learning to write cursive actually stimulates certain neurological growth and is as important as memorization in terms of brain stimulation.

New York Subway Strings (Vimeo) – cute.

90 year old Kung Fu master (YouTube)

Snowcrash anyone?

Saving Alexandria

(found here)

Photoblog – Muslim dignitaries at Auschwitz to honor Jews killed during the Holocaust.
A large number of Muslim dignitaries are visiting Auschwitz to pay tribute to the millions of Jews and others who were systematically killed during the Holocaust – a visit made to fight anti-Semitism and bridge cultural rifts.

David Byrne rant regarding Egypt

I wondered where the name Canola came from. No longer:
Marginal Revolution: *Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms*
When the unfortunately named rapeseed oil had trouble competing with products that had nicer names, a Canadian strain low in saturated fat was dubbed Canola (i.e., “Canadian oil”) in 1978 and has done rather well since.


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