Monday Music

Under the Rose
Rahim AlHaj – Oud
OL – Flamenco Guitar
Jon Gagan – Bass + Keybaords
Barrett Martin – drums + percussion

Produced by Jon Gagan @ The Electric Company (((Jon also recorded, edited, mixed and mastered the music!! What a guy!!))

Download the 320kbps mp4 file here.

I will leave to have breakfast with Rahim and Jon in a few minutes. Stevo and Rusty will arrive today  and rehearsals will start tomorrow.

A few hours later:
Had a great meeting with Rahim and Jon. I had been pushing to release the album we recorded a while ago as a free download on a dedicated web-page that would also have links to a few, maybe three, Iraqi charities, with the suggestion to donate whatever amount people were willing to give. Rahim wants to a have an actual CD out, and we agreed that we could very well do both. The income from the sale of the CD would go to Iraqi charities as well and the musicians agreed not to take any money. As a tentative release date for the CD and the download-web-page early September was suggested. Under the Rose would be the first piece on the album and possible the title track. I suggested adding Arabic calligraphy to the English title, possibly the Arabic word for Peace. The title Under the Rose was suggested by me and alludes to Sufi history. Sufi masters had regular lives, regular jobs – they were often Stone Masons – and often had families. They did not live in temples or cloisters or centers, but taught small groups in their personal homes. For hundreds of years a rose above the entrance to a house was the sign that a Sufi master lived and taught at that location.

Rahim has been working on a Sufi-themed album for his own label for release next year, and the three of us will record a track for it at Jon’s studio sometime in April. Recently Rahim recorded another track for that album with Toumani Diabate, the great (((greatest))) Kora player and one of my favorite musicians – see my Diary. I think every track on that album will feature different musicians, including small and large orchestras around the world. Sounds like a wonderful project.

Recipe Tote

recipe tote on Flickr

That’s one strange recipe for Carbonara. It sounds disgusting, but I haven’t tried it, and I am not supposed to diss something I haven’t tried. But come on! Cream? Seafood? Emmental cheese? It’s a joke, right?

Here is the recipe I use.

And then there is this video of the German band Spliff performing Spaghetti Carbonara in 1982. (((check out how the bass solo is drowned out by the guitarist tuning. funny!)))


Old school fixie riding:

It’s called Kunstradfahren in German – Art-Bicycling.

It was quite common in Germany in the Seventies to ride street bikes with regular drop bars turned up, with the ends either facing forward or backward, like you see in the video. I remember riding to school with a bike like that. Un-drop bar?

Saturday Burrito

Friday afternoon I took a walk. Sat down in front of a cafe with a coffee and read a couple of pages…
I am reading Gary Snyder’s book Back on the Fire: Essays on my iPhone (on the free Kindle application) and bookmarked this:

The moon shines on the river
The wind blows through the pines –
who is this long beautiful evening for?

– from the Cheng Dao Ke

Isn’t that wonderful? And here is another passage that struck me. I am quoting Gary Snyder who quotes Gregory Bateson

I would then suggest: as climax forest is to biome, and fungus is to the recycling of energy, so “enlightened mind” is to daily ego mind, and art to the recycling of neglected inner potential. When we deepen ourselves, looking within, understanding ourselves, we come closer to being like a mature ecosystem. Turning away from grazing on the “immediate biomass” of perception, sensation, and thrill…

What I like about ebook reading is that I have always have the books with me, on my phone. Books by Gary Snyder or Ken Wilber or Basho need to be ingested in small bites and well-chewed before they are swallowed. I remember when I first read one of Ken’s books in 1999 I would read a page or two and then put the book down and contemplate what he had written.

The above Gregory Bateson quote reminds me of something Stephen Batchelor said:

Buddhahood is simply the optimum mode of being that can be reached within human existence.

I quoted that from memory and it might not be word for word correct.

It seems to me that, just as every clump of small trees can eventually become a mature forest, humans can reach an optimum way of being, (((whether that’s colored atheist, buddhist, christian, moslem, pagan etc.))) given enought time. With the destruction of our ecosystem the race is on for humans to mature a tad faster, but as a species we handle pressure pretty well. In fact, we don’t seem to do anything until the last minute, until the water heating in the pot becomes so unbearably that we have to jump. :-)

Check this out – the water in that pot is getting hotter!

Played guitar for a couple of hours last night. Sometimes I notice that making music aligns all of the molecules in the universe. Things feel different afterwards. Rahim calls it settling the soul.

It takes an hour just to really warm up the hands and the last half hour of two hours is really fun. And in case you are wondering whether that means that the first half of a concert is a just the warm-up, no that is not the case because we play a lot during the day. Stevo and I find rooms to play guitar in and Jon walks around with his bass plugged into his in-ear monitors and plays a lot. And we always have a soundcheck that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. I’d say on tour we each play an average of 3-4 hours very day. Sometimes more.

I was wondering about starting shows with Silence: No More Longing again. I hope the audience has not grown tired of hearing that song. I find that it perfectly tunes me, the guitar, the room and the air in it, and of course the audience. Afterwards I feel ready to make Music, no, actually that happens at some point during the piece… I enjoy playing it and I really enjoy when I start the tremolo and Jon steps up and plays a solo. Silence is a nice way to introduce the band to the audience, the music to the room, the audience to each other and so on.

Saturday Morning. Early. Santa Fe Baking Company. Breakfast burrito – no bacon, and coffee. You know what I mean, Stevo! Did I mention that a friend introduced me to an elderly woman once, who he said invented (((and he meant that literally))) the breakfast burrito a couple of decades ago. For as much sense as a breakfast burrito makes, it wasn’t always so.

Old school fixie riding!

Friday Music

I will present something mellower on Monday to get your week started, but it’s Friday, the work is done and you are going to home to have some fun. (((that rhymes, I should write lyrics!)))

Here is a Lava recording from 1995. The box of the old 2 inch multitrack tape says T-Rex #3 is the title. Musicians: the usual suspects… OL, Jon Gagan, Carl Coletti, Mark Clark and featuring Eric Schemerhorn, fresh from tour with Iggy Pop. Technical info: recorded in my Santa Fe studio on a Sony 24-track, 2 inch machine. Transferred to digital (24/48k) in 2003 and mixed this week:

Download the 320kbps music file here.

Oh, and the sound (((identified as Solo Gtr on the track sheet))) that starts about a minute and a half into the song and develops into something that reminds me of the sound of a large propeller plane in the middle of the night, was made by a guitar, played through the wonderful Eventide H3000…