02010-01-21 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

Here is a little music-post and I will start it with a note about our twenty-ten tour calendar.

Management added more dates to our Spring and Summer schedule – with more to come.

Spring – East Coast (((and Dave, we will play in Boston again, probably the same place, but haven’t settled on the date yet. Looks like the first week of May, though)))

Summer – West Coast – we will return to Humphreys in San Diego, we’ll do three nights at the Triple Door in Seattle, and so on…

And I predict some travel with the trio to several foreign countries in the last quarter of twenty-ten… (((and that’s all I am going to say for now unless you torture me or tempt me with presents)))

On gospel, Abba and the death of the record: an audience with Brian Eno
Eno spoke to Paul Morley for the Guardian.

Here is Morley’s description of Eno:

As an intellectually mobile loner, scene-setter, systems lover, obstinate rebel, techno-prophet, sensual philosopher, courteous progressive, close listener, gentle heretic, sound planner, adviser explorer, pedant and slick conceptual salesman, and devoted fan of the new, undrab and surprising, wherever it fell between John Cage and Little Richard, or Duchamp and doo wop, or Mondrian and Moog, Eno busily and bossily remodelled pop music during the 70s.

Eno on recording techniques of classical music:

Take Steve Reich. He was an important composer for me with his early tape pieces and his way of having musicians play a piece each at different speeds so that they slipped out of synch.

“But then when he comes to record a piece of his like, say, Drumming, he uses orchestral drums stiffly played and badly recorded. He’s learnt nothing from the history of recorded music. Why not look at what the pop world is doing with recording, which is making incredible sounds with great musicians who really feel what they play. It’s because in Reich’s world there was no real feedback. What was interesting to them in that world was merely the diagram of the piece, the music merely existed as an indicator of a type of process. I can see the point of it in one way, that you just want to show the skeleton, you don’t want a lot of fluff around it, you just want to show how you did what you did.As a listener who grew up listening to pop music I am interested in results. Pop is totally results-oriented and there is a very strong feedback loop. Did it work? No. We’ll do it differently then. Did it sell? No. We’ll do it differently then. So I wanted to bring the two sides together.

I have had similar experiences, where I was asked to just play the written notes without any change in tone or other expression. Which is why it was important to me that I could express myself on Leaning into the Night.

Eno on the ridiculous acoustic guitar:

“Instruments sound interesting not because of their sound but because of the relationship a player has with them. Instrumentalists build a rapport with their instruments which is what you like and respond to. If you were sitting down now to design an instrument you would not dream of coming up with something as ridiculous as an acoustic guitar. It’s a strange instrument, it’s very limited and it doesn’t sound good. You would come up with something much better. But what we like about acoustic guitars is players who have had long relationships with them and know how to do something beautiful with them. You don’t have that with synthesisers yet. They are a very new instrument. They are constantly renewing so people do not have time to build long relationships with them. So you tend to hear more of the technology and less of the rapport. It can sound less human.

Yes, it is a strange instrument. Hard to capture (((just listen to nylon-stringed guitar recordings from the middle of the last century – not very pleasing))), hard to amplify, hard to play
This made me smile and I sent the quote to Jon:

“The other day I heard a band who had the worst singer, the most out of time drummer and most out of tune guitarist I’ve ever heard on a professional record, and I thought, at last, the reaction against pro-tools perfection has set in. A pro-tools engineer would have sorted it all out, but this band was an actual celebration of human frailty. It was so rough it was really encouraging.”

The whole interview is quite good. Read it all here.

Piracy continues to cripple music industry as global sales fall 10% | Business |
The IFPI estimates that 95% of music downloads worldwide are illegal.

He dismissed critics’ arguments about why piracy remained so widespread, saying surveys showed consumers’ reasoning was “because it’s free and because we can. It’s not more complex than that, not a better offering, not a better service. It’s because it free and because we can.”

Music sales are down. That’s not really news, as it has been a pretty steady decline.

But, this is rather worrying: less local artists are signed and/or released. That makes sense, of course. Which record label will want to invest into a new artist when said artist is not likely to sell any albums. Check out this info from France, Spain and Brazil:

Global music industry in numbers | Business |
Investment is falling in major markets. In France, 107 local artists’ albums were released in the first half of 2009, 60% down on the same period of 2003. New signings of French artists also fell by 60%, from 91 in the first half of 2002 to 35 in the same period of 2009. Overall investment in marketing and promotion by the French music industry fell 9% in the first six months of 2009.

• In Spain, in 2009 no new Spanish artist featured in the top 50 album charts, compared with 10 in 2003. Overall, unit sales of Spanish artists’ albums fell by an estimated 65% between 2004 and 2009.

• In Brazil, music sales fell by 43% between 2005 and 2009. In 2008 there were only 67 full-priced local artists’ albums released by the five major companies in Brazil – just a tenth of the number (625) a decade earlier in 1998.

These days the best advice one can give to a young musician is to tour, tour and tour. In the Eighties and Nineties one toured to advertise one’s album. Now one’s album is there to advertise the live performance.

Email exchange:

I was curious if you saw this show on PBS last night. I would think it applied directly to you since I would imagine you are sampled a lot.

My reply:

Is it mildly depressing? Very depressing?

I have come to live with piracy and theft… it’s like this: have you been to India? After a while you stop chasing away every fly. Takes too much energy and distracts from everything else around you. If the fly stays off of your food, it’s not a problem. Hell, if it stays far enough away from my “bite-region” I am fine with the fly sitting on my food…

There are remix hits in India that illegally sampled my guitar playing (((from older, fully copyrighted music))) … not worth going after. An experienced entertainment lawyer is about $250-400/hour – yes, at least they are still making money off of music!

Thanks for the link,

More email:
Yesterday I sent out the January newsletter and quickly received this inquiry:

Hi I hope you can make FLORIDA Tampa, Sarasota or somewhere on the west coast of Florida.

My reply:

We played there two weeks ago.

And last, but not least this email:

I checked the Boulton Center in Bayshore, New York for the May 1 performance and it is not listed.

I contacted the Boulton Center and they are saying that they never booked you and didn’t know who Ottmar Liebert is!! I find that amazing!

Anyway, please clarify as I would love to see Ottmar Liebert in concert near my hometown.

My agent’s reply:

Hi Ottmar…this just got confirmed so the building may not even know yet…

There you have it. Good thing I only list confirmed gigs!


  1. Matt Callahan

    I’ll block out July 8, 9, and 10 as possible Arizona dates. Just to be safe.

  2. dave

    I look forward to the Boston date. Thanks.

  3. Ottmar

    So far I received four emails from people who are wondering when we will come to Florida!! I checked and realized that I did not mention the concerts specifically in the Diary or in the newsletter. The concerts all sold out anyway, with the exception of Miami, but I am learning that a lot of folks don’t actually visit the Tour Schedule page, nor do they use the RSS subscription of the Tour Schedule. Note to self: must mention all tour dates in newsletter in future.


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