Tuesday in Santa Fe

02010-02-02 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

Visualizing brain activity.

This interactive installation confronts the viewer with an acoustic representation of the electrical brain activities that govern his being at that very moment. All our mental and physiological processes are controlled by myriads of transitory circuits in an invisible, obscure place in the crown of our head.

(Via the music of sound)

Gönne dir einen Augenblick des Friedens,
und du wirst begreifen,
wie unsinnig es war dich abzuhetzen.

Lerne zu schweigen,
und du wirst feststellen,
dass du zu viel geredet hast.

Sei gütig,
und du wirst merken,
dass du zu streng über andere geurteilt hast.

– altes chinesisches Sprichwort


Bassist Jonas Hellborg, an Interview With Editor Jake Kot
If I couldn’t make a living playing music, I’d still be playing music, and I’d probably run a café or something. It’s like what I told you in the beginning of the interview, I play Bach, and Mozart, and Beethoven for myself in my living room because I just love it, I just enjoy it. And I don’t care if people here it or not. I don’t have a need to go out and show it to people…it’s just for the pleasure of it, and that is where music should be. You play music as a meditation, as a spiritual exercise—something to release you, to focus you, to make you healthy…that’s what music is.

And this…

In western music, we’re really conscious about harmony and form, but our understanding of rhythm is very basic. Melody as well is never really explained in a serious way in western music. And in Indian music, of course you have unbelievable amounts of disciplined rhythms. There are two separate forms, you have the Hindu standard music which is Northern, and you have the Carnatic music which is South Indian. The Carnatic music might be more rhythmically developed then the North. It’s unbelievable, and anybody who’s truly interested in music should study it, because whatever music you’re playing, you’ll begin to understand rhythm in a totally different light. The other thing of course is melody and ornamentation, which is so, so deep, and incredible in Indian music. It’s very hard to learn, and study. It empowers you. It’s not just about playing Indian music really, it’s about learning those aspects of music that we don’t really have in the West on the same level.

I have been talking about that for a long time. The very different musical achievements of all cultures can be combined. It will take centuries to create a REAL world music that combines the strength of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic development on our planet.
(((thanks SM)))

moonlight like frost
Quiet Night Thoughts

Before my bed
There is bright moonlight
So that it seems
like frost on the ground;
Lifting my head
I watch the bright moon,
Lowering my head
I dream that I’m home.

-Li Po (Li Bai, or Li Bo. Tang Dynasty poet)
When you have the moon, you are always home.

Thoughts about the new album:

The music will be defined as much by what was left out, or what we did not use or do, as by what we will do. The music will be recorded with 21st century recording equipment, but with a 20th century recording ethos.

a trio of musicians
a Flamenco guitar, an electric bass guitar amd a drumkit
post-genre music

contrary to common 21st century recording practices, these are methods we will not use:

no clicktrack
no quantization
no pitch-correction
no time shifting
no tempo-shifting,
no copy and paste
no overdubs (((I am not going to avoid overdubs at all costs – if a song calls for it, I might do an overdub – as an exception)))
no (over-)compression

You might already know my thoughts about modern dynamic compression. I know, it’s very confusing, but there are two kinds of music compression. There is Audio Compression, which is a form of data compression to reduce the file size, e.g. mp3, AAC, FLAC, ALAC. And then there is Dynamic Range Compression, which is what I am talking about. I have mentioned this often before, for example here, here, here, and here. I might do a little dynamic compression, as much as I used on The Scent of Light, but am considering doing no compression for the HD version of the album. I’ll do whatever sounds best.

Jon told me that the Yamaha Subkick microphone (((I mentioned it here))) arrived at his studio and we will check it out tomorrow during rehearsal. As you might have noticed, I generally prefer having a large, heavy kick sound (((I have often used a modified 808-type kick))) on the first beat of each measure, leaving the rest of the bar open for percussion and bass. That is something I have done since Solo Para Ti, where Davo brought in a huge marching drum we used as a kick. My plan for this album is to record Michael’s kick drum with several microphones – Jon wants to use three altogether – giving us a lot of low-end from the Yamaha Subkick and a tighter sound from the other mics. Rather than having a huge kick sound every time Michael plays the drum, my plan is to use the subkick on the one of the beat (((or wherever I want the accent))) and to mute it for the rest of each bar, leaving the tighter kick sound in those places. This will mean quite a few hours of muting, but I like that we are not overdubbing a low-low kick – it’s the natural performance as captured by the microphones. One reason I like the low-low kick is that there isn’t anything else that will deliver that sort of physical sensation, as neither the guitar nor the bass really cover that spectrum. If you listen closely, I have done several albums (((Little Wing and Innamorare come to mind))) where Jon overdubbed some synth bass, which has more low-end than a fretless bass guitar, because I wanted that physical element.

In a way this is going to be the most hybrid of my albums. I am writing and playing without considering anything external. There isn’t even an occasional look to any tradition here. It’s Post-Category music. The music is defined only by the chemistry of the trio. There is a great feeling of independence, of liberation.


  1. Günter

    What a wondreful old chinese saying at the beginning of the post.
    So short, so simple, so true and yet so difficult to live by it!
    We are in danger to realize its wisdom only at a very late stage of our life.
    Thank you for reminding us and sharing it with us!

  2. Carol

    “When you have the moon you are always at home.” I never realized it, but that’s the way I feel too, and Scorpio, and Orion, and other familiar beacons in the sky. Those, and yes, Ottmar’s music does it too. I couldn’t be lonely with all those”friends”.

  3. Brenda

    So good the sharing of your overflowing bounty. Thanks Yall.

  4. steve

    This trio music is really going to be cool. I like the term “Post-Category music.” Can’t wait…


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