Archive for 2011-10


02011-10-27 @ 09:10

You may remember this melody from this year’s performances – in fact I think we started performing it last year already. It’s the rumba section, located at the end of a new tangos that doesn’t have a title yet.

I started humming the melody in the control room, then played it on the Flamenco guitar, then tried it on the electric guitar, but it really came together when I improvised a counterpoint to the Flamenco guiar melody on the electric. After listening a bunch of times I wrote this and this.

Percussion and keyboards will be added, but the breakdown section of just Flamenco guitar, electric guitar and kick drum will remain as is.

Audio MP3


02011-10-20 @ 08:10

Urban Flamenco, the third album by Stephen Duros, is now available in the LL. Sometime in late November the album will become available from all the usual digital vendors and streaming services, such as iTunes,, MOG, Spotify and so on.

Stephen will sell a small edition of 50 signed CDs from his website. These should become available by the middle of November. Check his website for more information.

Money Movements

02011-10-19 @ 11:10

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world – New Scientist
The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere. But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs).

“Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it’s conspiracy theories or free-market,” says James Glattfelder. “Our analysis is reality-based.


02011-10-18 @ 16:10

Urban Flamenco, the third album by Stephen Duros, is now available in the LL. Sometime in late November the album will become available from all the usual digital vendors and streaming services, such as iTunes,, MOG, Spotify and so on.

Stephen will sell a small edition of 50 signed CDs from his website. These should become available by the middle of November. Check his website for more information.

Siri Responses

02011-10-17 @ 13:10

A friend of mine loves talking to Siri, a feature of the new iPhone 4S. Here are a few responses she told me about:

me: Will you marry me?
Siri: Let’s just be friends, ok.

me: how tall are you?
Siri: tall enough to bring computational knowledge to the whole world

me: what are you wearing?
Siri: aluminosilicate glass and steel, nice, huh?

The Green Cathedral

02011-10-13 @ 13:10

A Daily Dose of Architecture: The Green Cathedral
De Groene Kathedraal (The Green Cathedral), at the bottom of the aerial, is a full-size copy of Reims Cathedral by artist Marinus Boezem that replaces stone and glass with poplar trees and sky. About 20 years after it was started the artwork was “completed” in 1996, yet it is expected to reach its full height in 2015. The duplicate footprint to the north is a clearing in beech trees that follows the original by about a decade, so it is not as tall as the first.

I must see this in person!!!

CIA – The World Factbook

02011-10-13 @ 13:10

CIA – The World Factbook

If you had told me ten years ago that within a decade the USA would rank behind China and India in wealth distribution, I would have laughed at you. In fact the USA is 39th and right between Bulgaria and Cameroon. New Zealand is #84, the European Union as a whole is #113 and Sweden is #136.

Augmented Vision

02011-10-13 @ 12:10

LED Lights Make Augmented Vision a Reality | Elemental LEDucation
University of Washington researchers have figured out how to implant semitransparent red and blue LED lights in contact lenses, for the purpose of receiving and displaying data in sharp visual images and video. This means wearers will literally be able to watch TV or view photos that are projected directly onto their eyeballs.

Once miniature green LEDs are developed (and they’re in the works, as of now), full color displays will be possible. Once that happens, the possibilities are endless. Think about everything your smart phone can do right now, and imagine the same being possible for your eyeball. This news is a little scary and a lot fascinating, if you ask me—at the very least, with LED contact lenses, your hands would be free to pet your robot or tinker with your hover board.

Lead researcher Babak Parvis comments “You won’t necessarily have to shift your focus to see the image generated by the contact lens,” it would just appear in front of you and your view of the real world will be completely unobstructed when the display is turned off.

Wow! First thoughts:

– A great torture device… you can close your eyes, but you can’t stop the images, like in Clockwork Orange!

– A pleasant way to fall asleep… by showing images that slowly get darker and fade away…

– Perhaps a learning tool… I learned a lot by listening to certain complex rhythm while sleeping. Perhaps on could learn certain complicated movements by watching video of them over and over… perhaps timing the images the start AFTER one falls asleep…

What do you think?

Rough Mix

02011-10-13 @ 08:10

Experience has taught me to never give a record company a rough mix. Even A&R people are often not able to imagine what the track can become.

That said, here is an excerpt from the second half of a rough mix Jon sent me yesterday. He added upright bass to a new song, but obviously there is no melody guitar in the verse, there are no keyboards and there is no percussion. And it is not “mixed” yet.

Audio MP3

(((I love the bass line in the verse and would turn up the bass overall…)))

Tape Op Magazine: Fraunhofer Pro-Codec plug-in

02011-10-13 @ 06:10

Yeah, it’s still called Tape Op Magazine…

Tape Op Magazine > Reviews > Fraunhofer Pro-Codec plug-in
To be honest, it kind of made me crazy with Digital Disappointment over the state of the standard MP3 file.


Coincidentally, I only use Sonnox Inflator. It’s the only plug-in I’ve found to not destroy my mix while bumping levels up to the place where victims of the loudness wars can accurately evaluate my mix on their laptop speakers and earbuds!


Now the one quick test I did was to encode a standard MP3 file at 256 kbps in the Pro Tools TweekHead setting and then encode one with the comparable settings in Fraunhofer Pro-Codec. I then imported both files into iTunes. Yes, I know the iTunes playback platform imparts its own sound to all digital playback, but this was just a quick comparison between the two methods of encoding the MP3 to the same bit-rate. There was indeed a difference in sound quality. This is when I start to get depressed — kind of like listening to test CD pressings from various factories. There shouldn’t be a difference — it’s digital, right? Well there is!!!! Needless to say, the Sonnox-encoded file felt clearer, more open, less compressed, and closer to my original mix.

I haven’t checked out the plug-in that was being reviewed, but have noticed that using different applications results in different qualities of mp3s.


02011-10-12 @ 07:10

After cancelling my Spotify account because they became too chummy with Facebook, I started a free trial with MOG yesterday, since Jon likes his new MOG account. MOG is a subscription service that is much like Spotify, but MOG streams everything at 320kbps and is considered to stream the highest quality of these services.

I could not tell you how I obtained the free trial, because the website is not very clear. Somehow I found a place to create a sign-in on the site, then downloaded the iPhone app and signed in, and at that point I was offered a free trial.

Spotify claims more songs than MOG, but yesterday I found several albums on MOG that are NOT available on Spotify, e.g. Jeff Beck’s “Blow by Blow” and my album “The Scent of Light” – although that album is credited to “Luna Negra” and can only be found be searching for the album title. (((We are looking into why the album is not at all available on Spotify)))

Both of Stephen’s albums and both of Jon’s albums are on MOG. They should be on Spotify as well, but I didn’t look.

Opera in China

02011-10-11 @ 20:10

The Opera ‘Dr. Sun Yat-sen’ Is Canceled in China –
Hearing an onstage choir sing “Strive for revolution to the very end!” over ambiguous floating fifths instead of triumphant trumpets may have given officials second thoughts.

I just like “ambiguous floating fifths instead of triumphant trumpets”…

Numbers Game

02011-10-11 @ 13:10

I am having fun with math… one new piece has a chorus in 4/4 at 99bpm and a verse that’s in 6/8 at 66bpm – the beat is the whole note of the 6/8 verse rhythm and the triplets of the 6/8 rhythm are the quarter notes of the chorus rumba.

Actually that’s how I was playing it this Summer, but I wanted to know why I was playing it and what the relationship between the rhythms might be. It feels natural to me to switch between these rhythms. Jon said that there are African rhythms that do something similar, but playing both at the same time.

I have another new piece that’s in 5/4 at 120bpm and today I wrote an outro that’s in 4/4 at 96bpm. (((120 : 5 = 24, 24 x 4 = 96))). I am changing the kick drum and snare patterns, but the clap pattern will remain the same. It’s an eerie effect because the music seems to slow down because the same length of the bar now contains only four beats, instead of five, but the clap pattern stays the same and constant…

Will we entertain ourselves to death…

02011-10-11 @ 12:10

Brian Eno: Success ruins artists –
What does Doctor Pangloss have to say about how 21st-century human ingenuity is being channeled into inventing juicy gizmos like the iPad, instead of preparing for a world without oil, which, if even conservative estimates are correct, will be upon us by the time my daughter is in her late 20s?

The hope is that some of these gizmos become the tools by which we make those preparations. It’s a worry: Are we entertaining ourselves to death, or are we actually learning new ways of coping? Only time will tell.

People discuss the merrits of their f’ing phones (((Android!!! Apple!!!) with more emotion and involvement than Climate Change. I have wondered whether that is because phones are safe in the sense that they are not political. Americans don’t seem to be very good at discussing politics (((perhaps Americans don’t have as much practice talking politics compared to, say, the regular English pub or Italian cafe discussions, and they often see things too polarized – on the other hand we can’t say that Italy or the UK are especially successful politically, can we…))), so maybe people find phones a safe object of discussion and disagreement. Let’s avoid religion and politics, but let’s really get involved in the phone we carry..

It’s just a phone. Who gives a shit what operating system it runs! If you are happy with yours, I think that’s great, but let’s talk about more important things, like climate change, like education, like the fact that without charging a realistic amount of taxes (((more than currently))) we cannot build a great culture and country, period.

Swirly Stars

02011-10-07 @ 12:10

Australian photographer Lincoln Harrison endures 15-hour photo shoots to capture stunning night images of star trails | Mail Online
At first glance these spectacular swirls of colour may look like clever computer graphics or the result of faulty camera work.

They are, in fact, the product of hour after hour of painstaking night-time shooting by photographer Lincoln Harrison.

His stunning pictures of star trails across the Australian night sky were taken over periods of up to 15 hours.

The Spirit of China 2012

02011-10-05 @ 15:10

Last month I wrote on Twitter / @ottmarliebert: this Chinese photographer’s prints at Photo Eye Gallery in Santa Fe – beautiful)))

Then I discovered that Amazon carries a 2012 wall calendar with photos by Don Hong Oai. The Spirit of China 2012
The Spirit of China 2012 Wall Calendar by Don Hong Oai

Summer 2012

02011-10-05 @ 15:10

We have never toured with an opening act, but there is a first time for everything.

We are excited to announce that next Summer we will tour with Round Mountain. Robby will also play percussion with Jon and I, which will mean long evenings for him. You may recall that Robby was in the 2004 edition of Luna Negra, which was one of the best groups we’ve had in our twenty plus years of touring. Jon, Robby and I played as a Luna Negra trio with the New Mexico Philharmonic this past July and it was magic!

Since Jon plays bass on the Round Mountain albums he might even join them for a song or two now and then, and I would like Char to play on a few of my pieces, since I will ask him to play on the 2012 release “Dune”. And who knows what we’ll come up with for the encore!

Jon and I have the highest respect for the brothers and this should really be a fun tour. I hope that we can find a set up for everyone on the stage at once, so that nothing will need to be moved between Round Mountain and Luna Negra. Round Mountain will perform for about 40 minutes, and then Luna Negra will play for 90 minutes.

The Sounds of Santa Fe!

Electric Guitar

02011-10-04 @ 18:10

Here is a little sample of me playing the electric guitar, plugged straight into the Mesa Boogie amp. I use only my fingers, mostly the thumb actually, to play, as I find the sounds thus created much more expressive than using a pick. This is the second third of the piece with the working title “Nu Tangos/Rumba”, a repeat of the first third, which will later be followed by a faster Rumba – the third part.

I was looking for a new sound in this section, picked up the V-Strat and this was the result. Keep in mind that this is completely unfinished, no bass yet, no percussion (there is, however, a cajon loop from “Up Close” to indicate what I might want to get from a real percussionist next month…), no keyboards, no real mixing, and so on.

Audio MP3

Tomorrow I will go see Keith, who will adjust the Strat he made for me (when? 2003?) to suit a slightly heavier gauge of strings. I am switching from a set starting with 0.09 to the D’Addario set called EXL110 which starts with 0.10 and the truss rod and the springs of the whammy bar have to be adjusted.


02011-10-03 @ 17:10

Haven’t seen any hummingbirds since yesterday. Bon voyage, see you next year.

PS: saw a solitary hummingbird at one of my feeders today, Tuesday. Straggler, individualist, diseased?

The Future of the Book

02011-10-01 @ 14:10

The Blog : The Future of the Book : Sam Harris
Writers, artists, and public intellectuals are nearing some sort of precipice: Their audiences increasingly expect digital content to be free. Jaron Lanier has written and spoken about this issue with great sagacity. You can purchase his book here, which most of you will not do, or you can watch him discuss these matters for free. The problem is thus revealed even in the act of stating it.  How can a person like Lanier get paid for being brilliant? This has become an increasingly difficult question to answer.


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