Archive for 2012-03

Chicken or Egg

02012-03-31 @ 11:03

American Sociological Association
Conservatives’ Trust in Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s
Trust in Science Has Also Declined Among People Who Frequently Attend Church

Climate Change and Witch Trials

02012-03-31 @ 10:03

I have long felt that there is a sad similarity between Climate Change and Witch Trials. At the end of her trial a witch was often thrown into a river or lake, with weights attached to her ankles or neck. If she drowned, she was not a witch and people would pray for her, but if she miraculously survived she was proven to be in league with the devil and burned.

Those who think that 95% of all scientists can’t be wrong, and that the evidence of manmade, or at least man-aggravated, climate change is real and overwhelming, really can’t win. When the building is burning one does not assign blame, one joins the bucket line and saves what can be saved.

French Kids

02012-03-31 @ 10:03

Interesting read:

Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD | Psychology Today

Knives and Steel

02012-03-28 @ 19:03

While I was in Germany at the beginning of this month, I decided to purchase a kitchen knife at Manufactum. Manufactum is an amazing store, a chain actually, that sells quality goods. The website says “Es gibt sie noch, die guten Dinge”, which means “They still exist, the good things”. Handmade, made in relatively small batches, made using a traditional process, and so on. This is the knife I saw and purchased in München, at a Manufactum store in this square.

I learned something about knives this month. The Herder knife is made with carbon steel, not stainless steel. Carbon steel is a lot harder than stainless steel and therefore holds an edge much better. The knife is hellishly sharp and a total delight to use.

There is a larger lesson that one might learn from this. Commercial mainstream items are not created to be excellent, but to be convenient. Stainless steel can be air-dried after washing, but carbon steel has to be towel-dried right away or it will rust. Watch a sushi chef… they towel-dry their knives after every single cut, because their knives have even more carbon in them, making them sharper, but also more prone to rusting. Carbon steel is so much better for knives that I will never buy another stainless steel knife. Drying the knife right away is no big inconvenience in my opinion.

This reminds me of my search for a Japanese iron water kettle… You see, all of the Japanese water kettles made for export have enamel on the inside. Only water kettles made for the Japanese market are bare iron. Why? Because it is the manufacturers’ experience that Westerners can’t properly handle a real Japanese iron water kettle, which needs to be emptied and dried after every use. Of course, when the inside of the kettle is enameled the water will taste different and will not contain that healthy trace of iron. In other words, tea DOES taste different in Japan – not because the leaves are different, but because the water that is poured from the kettle is different.

Two tips for kitchen knives:

Use soft wood for your cutting board. If you can’t see a mark on the board from your cut, the board is too hard! I use this cutting board made from cork. I love cork, a truly sustainable resource that also creates a habitat for the Spanish wolf – because cork is only harvested every seven years.

Don’t slide the chopped or cut items from the cutting board with the blade down… turn the knife upside down so that the back of the blade slides across the cutting board. This will prevent the blade from getting dulled.

2012 Merch

02012-03-23 @ 08:03

We are working with a new merch company this year. Made in USA. We picked these two designs from several they came up with. Except, the pink on the woman’s T will be crimson, and that shirt will be a V-neck instead of a crew neck. I really like the faded black. The logos came from this.
T Men
T Women

Spring

02012-03-22 @ 11:03

I will see the lilacs bloom before the next tour starts, but might miss the cherry blossoms, again.

Drift

02012-03-22 @ 10:03



Quote

02012-03-22 @ 10:03

Tweet by William Gibson:

Above the head of every TSA line, beyond the scanners: the ghostly, smug, perpetually gratified eyes of OBL.

It is strange to share initials with that guy…

Prepress Proof

02012-03-16 @ 14:03

20120316-152628.jpg

DUNE

02012-03-13 @ 08:03

Last Fall I decided that I really disliked the sound of the Line 6 Pod Pro I had been using for a number of years. To my ears it simply does not sound like a “real” guitar amp.

So I borrowed a few amps to try, and ended up buying another Mesa Boogie – I bought my first one upon arrival in the USA in 1979, used it on “The Hours Between Night + Day” and “Opium”, and sold it in 2002, thinking that the digital way would be better (certainly convenient). The new Boogie is quite small, has a class A tube design and sounds amazing.

I recorded all of the electric guitar parts without a pick and without any kind of effect, just using my thumb, mostly, and fingers.

I also decided that I wanted to play guitar melodies that sounded “sung”. For some reason I kept thinking about old jazz and pop crooners. So I sang almost every melody first and then figured out how to play it on guitar. Perhaps this album is about guitar anti-shredding…

The album seems to continuo the idea from “Opium” of contrasting traditional and electric instruments:
percussion : drum machine
accordion : synthesizer
flamenco guitar : electric guitar (my old Vizcarra Strat)
upright bass : bass guitar

We ended up using very very little synth on this album… there are some strings on “Dancing Alone”, but most everything else is processed guitar. On “Horse”, for example, Jon played a guitar chord of mine through a speaker into his piano, with a brick on the sustain pedal, miking the piano strings. And there is some old Fender Rhodes on “Bridge” and in one or two other places.

Regarding the drum machine… I was feeling nostalgic for the old Roland 808, one of the first machines I used in 1984. But since I did not want to pay the going rate of $2,500 for a used 808, and since they are a pain anyway because one has to dial in the tempo with a knob and guess at the tempo, I found a company in the UK that sells 24/88.2 high def samples from an 808 and bought a really nice German app called “Geist” to program the beats on my laptop. The whole thing ended up costing about $300, and works better than a real 808 would.

01 Falling In
All of the sounds were created from one electric guitar chord and a few Flamenco guitar sounds. Treatment and sound design by Andrew Gaskins. This track is “Falling In” into a dream. (Andrew and I have also started a new project with the working title “One Guitar Two: Fragments Joined” for which I send Andrew improvised guitar melodies and sounds and he “joins” them and treats them. The idea came from the japanese art of Kintsugi – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi)

02 Shadow
A rumba with one little twist: it switches between a 4/4 rumba section (99BPM) and a 6/8 section (66BPM) that are related because the dotted eighth note of the 4/4 section becomes the quarter note in the 6/8 section. I was doing this naturally, but wanted to know what the hell I was doing – so Jon figured it out. I think it something that is done quite often in African music. Lovely accordion playing by Char Rothschild.

03 Horse
I found the Arabic scale on the Internet and immediately starting playing with it. I might have found it here. I added a couple of 5/4 bars in the chorus. Fun to play live. Great accordion playing, again! The cajon is also excellent and a beautiful bass solo at the end.

04/05 Bridge, Part 1 & 2
We have been playing this Tangos (Part 2 is a rumba) live for a year and a half. I love the bass w octave divider in the verses and the break with electric guitar and Fender Rhodes.

06 Sand
This one switches between rumba and tangos rhythms and different tempos that are nevertheless mathematically related. Jon suggested the upright bass which is perfect for the song. A little electric guitar outro…

07/08 Dancing Alone
I liked the song on “Petals On the Path”, but had a different vision for it. So we recorded it again and I love the way it turned out. We kept switching between two tempos on this one also. Great accordion playing, again! The ending of the Prelude is also a Flamenco guitar treatment by Andrew Gaskins.

09 Smoke
I love the interplay between guitar and accordion. During the third verse Jon plays three bass guitars and a clavinet!

10 On the Road to Shiraz
Killer bass line!! That bass break after the second verse consists of three basses, the main line, plus a low note to the right and some strumming on the left.

11 Five Clouds, Lenticular
As the title suggests this one is in 5/4. The cajon beat is some kind of Eastern European 5/4 riff. Very pretty chorus melody.

12 Night Exhales
Pretty straightforward rumba with a funky ending!

13 Horse Return
A funky section from track 03 with added dry guitar parts and drum boxing.

14 Moon Fragrance
The percussionist is Chris Steele, who is in the new touring band. He has a unique setup with two Cuban cajons, which don’t have snare strings like the Peruvian cajons. We hadn’t recorded a Bossa Nova in a few years and enjoyed playing this.

15 Sliding Out
This is the end of the dream. Guitar treatment and sound design by Andrew Gaskins.

DUNE

02012-03-13 @ 08:03

I will add another track from DUNE to this SoundCloud set every Tuesday, until the album is released on April 24th. Simply return to this post every Tuesday to hear another song.

Right after we came home from last year’s Summer tour I started working on a new album. I had a photo and a title – the album cover was photographed by Mike Lane in the dunes near Mendocino, California – and a few new songs we had been playing live for several months. So I started writing more music and imagining sounds.

I decided that I disliked the sound of the Line 6 Pod Pro I had been using for a number of years. To my ears it simply does not sound like a “real” guitar amp.

So I borrowed a few amps to try, and ended up buying another Mesa Boogie – I bought my first one upon arrival in the USA in 1979, used it on “The Hours Between Night + Day” and “Opium”, and sold it in 2002, thinking that the digital way would more convenient and perhaps better. My new Boogie is quite small, has a 5W class A tube design and sounds amazing. Unfortunately the model I bought, the Express 5:25™ 1×10 Combo, was discontinued this year in favor of the bigger 12″ speaker.

I recorded all of the electric guitar parts without a pick and without any kind of effect, mainly using my thumb, and sometimes my fingers.

I also decided that I wanted to play guitar melodies that sounded “sung”. For some reason I kept thinking about old jazz and pop crooners. So I sang almost every melody first and then figured out how to play it on guitar. Perhaps this album is about guitar anti-shredding…

The album seems to continuo the idea from “Opium” of contrasting traditional and electric instruments:
percussion : drum machine
accordion : synthesizer
flamenco guitar : electric guitar (my old Vizcarra Strat)
upright bass : bass guitar

We ended up using very very little synth on this album… there are some strings on “Dancing Alone”, but most everything else is processed guitar. On “Horse”, for example, Jon played a guitar chord of mine through a speaker into his piano, with a brick depressing the sustain pedal, miking the piano strings. And there is some classic Fender Rhodes on “Bridge” and in one or two other places.

Regarding the drum machine… I was feeling nostalgic for the old Roland 808, one of the first machines I used in 1984. But since I did not want to pay the going rate of $2,500 for a used 808, and since they are a pain anyway because one has to dial in the tempo with a knob and guess at the tempo, I found a company in the UK that sells 24/88.2 high def samples from an 808 and bought a really nice German app called Geist to program the beats on my laptop. The whole thing ended up costing about $300 and works better than a real 808 would, in my opinion.

01 Falling In
All of the sounds were created from one electric guitar chord and a few Flamenco guitar sounds. Treatment and sound design by Andrew Gaskins. This track is “Falling In”, the beginning of a dream.

02 Shadow
A rumba with a little twist: it switches between a 4/4 rumba section (99BPM) and a 6/8 section (66BPM) that are related because the dotted eighth note of the 4/4 section becomes the quarter note in the 6/8 section. I was doing this naturally, but wanted to know what the hell I was doing – so Jon figured it out. I think it something that is done quite often in African music. Lovely accordion playing by Char Rothschild.

03 Horse
I found the Arabic scale on the Internet and immediately starting playing with it. I might have found it here. I added a couple of 5/4 bars in the chorus. Fun to play live. Great accordion playing, again! The cajon is also excellent and there is a beautiful bass solo at the end.

04/05 Bridge, Part 1 & 2
We have been playing this Tangos (Part 2 is a rumba) live for a year and a half. I love the bass w octave divider in the verses and the break with electric guitar and Fender Rhodes.

06 Sand
This one switches between rumba and tangos rhythms and different tempos that are nevertheless mathematically related. Jon suggested the upright bass which is perfect for the song. A little electric guitar during the outro…

07/08 Dancing Alone
I liked the song on “Petals On the Path”, but had a different vision for it. So we recorded it again and I love the way it turned out. We kept switching between two tempos on this one also. Great accordion playing, again! The ending of the Prelude is also a Flamenco guitar treatment by Andrew Gaskins.

09 Smoke
I love the interplay between guitar and accordion. During the third verse Jon plays three bass guitars and a clavinet!

10 On the Road to Shiraz
Killer bass line!! That bass break after the second verse consists of three basses, the main line, plus a low note to the right and some strumming on the left. At the very end you can hear me “play” a shortwave radio using the fine-tune knob.

11 Five Clouds, Lenticular
As the title suggests this one is in 5/4. The cajon beat is some kind of Eastern European 5/4 riff. Very pretty chorus melody.

12 Night Exhales
Pretty straightforward rumba with a funky ending!

13 Horse Return
A funky section from track 03 with added dry guitar parts and drum boxing.

14 Moon Fragrance
The percussionist is Chris Steele, who is in the new touring band. He has a unique setup with two Cuban cajons, which don’t have snare strings like the Peruvian cajons. We hadn’t recorded a Bossa Nova in a few years and enjoyed playing this.

15 Sliding Out
This is the end of the dream. Guitar treatment and sound design by Andrew Gaskins.

Track #2

02012-03-05 @ 16:03

It’s almost Tuesday in Stuttgart, Germany, where I performed a solo concert tonight, so here is a another “Dune” piece. “Shadow” is track #2 on the new album. Check out how this piece switches seamlessly between 4/4 and 6/8 rhythms! Beautiful accordion playing by Char Rothschild.

The triplets of the 4/4 section (at 99 beats per minute) become the quarter notes of the 6/8 section (66 beats per minute)… or something like that. I came up with this rhythmic switch on the stage in San Antonio last Summer, after sound check. It took Jon and me a while to figure out what I was doing, but it works well, I think. I love it when something complex sounds easy and natural.

Quasimodo in Berlin

02012-03-05 @ 15:03

120302 DSC0594 Mail

Photo by Dieter Düvelmeyer

Track #2

02012-03-05 @ 15:03

It’s almost Tuesday in Stuttgart, Germany, where I performed a solo concert tonight, so here is a another “Dune” piece. “Shadow” is track #2 on the new album. Check out how this piece switches seamlessly between 4/4 and 6/8 rhythms! Beautiful accordion playing by Char Rothschild.

At Quasimodo in Berlin

02012-03-05 @ 10:03

120302 DSC0594 Mail

Photo by Dieter Düvelmeyer

Dune

02012-03-03 @ 00:03

Lawrence Russell listens to an advance copy of “Dune”. He likes track #9, called “Smoke”. Our new album “Dune” will be released on April 24th.

Check back on Tuesday, to hear another track.

 


© Copyright 2019 Ottmar Liebert • Site by Canton Becker • Diary powered by WordPress