Wednesday in Santa Fe

02011-08-03 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

Last night we had another wonderful lightning storm and rain…

Here is a funny road story:

When we were in San Juan Capistrano last month Jon rented a car for the day, to be able to drive to the beach and get food for us.

The Orange County girl at the car rental place saw the New Mexican driver’s license and said:

“My grandmother is from New Mexico.”

Jon replied: “Really, where is she from in New Mexico?”

And she answered: “Texas!”

We used Square for selling merchandise on the Summer tour. We opened an account, plugged the free reader into the headphone jack of an iPad (first model, with AT&T wireless) and started selling. It just works, and since there are no monthly fees it is perfect for our business. Square also takes Amex in asddition to Visa, MasterCard and Discover. Heartily recommended and a great solution for occassional payments.

I listened to Opium quite a few times over the last weeks. I especially love the tracks that feature 808-style drum machine. I go way back with drum machines. My band in Boston was already using a DMX drum machine in 1984, and I used a drum machine to write the song forms for Nouveau Flamenco in 1989. In most cases those drum machine tracks were intentended to be used as a click track, a guide, but I retained the machine’s kick drum on all songs, and the snare on a few, like “Heart Still/Beating”. I used only the drummachine on “3 Women Walking” because the percussionist couldn’t play anything I liked. Unlike drummers, machines only speed up when I ask them to – Carl, Robby and Ron excepted, those guys have great internal clocks.

I found a nice, if a little complex, drum machine program called Geist, and bought 24 bit/96k TR-808 samples from an English shop called loopmasters, complete with the little analog noise that followed every 808 kick… the old TR-808 machines from 1980 now go for $2,500-3,000 on EBay – and of course they only have analog outputs. For $300 I have a software version that should actually be better than an old 808 machine.

The idea is to mix drum machine with palmas and “real” percussion. Well, nothing new there… that’s how I have made my albums from the beginning, with the exception of “Petals On the Path” and “Up Close” and “Viva!”. For the next album I want to experiment with the drum machine playing parts that a drummer would not play, rather than immitating a drummer. Hard to explain what I hear in my head… better to wait for the next album, but I am looking for something that I have written about many times before: combining the ancient with the present, folk music and modern sounds (the future is now!)…

I am loving Spotify, even though I am not likely going to make any money from it as I pointed out before. Forget having a thousand tunes on your iPod, Spotify has 15 million songs that can instantly stream to my stereo via my iPhone. See this screen shot:

Tap the blue rectangle with the triangle, to the right of the blue volume bar, and select from your network-connected stereos. When one enables high-quality streaming, it is supposed to be up to 320kbps, depending on the song and perhaps on the internet connection. Right now I am listening to “Wrecking Ball” by Emmylou Harris, a lovely album, quite melancholy.

I am taking a little break, after spending the last three hours outlining new songs, and stepped outside… ever notice that some of the sounds hummingbirds make are exactly like some of the percussion sounds on a Kratftwerk record?


  1. Steve(brokerbiker)

    Whenever I am in Santa Fe, I always think I should switch my Texas plates on my T-Reg to some NM plates…but last time in the rest room at Rio Chama restaurant, a guy struck up a conversation with me (when he observed I was from Texas- is there some way of knowing?) and said “thank God for you people still coming here to prop up the economy.”
    I haven’t tried Spotify- a review in this weekend’s WSJ criticized it for not facilitating easy browsing by artist or song?
    I am really into Internet Radio which works great on the new Pioneer receiver that also is Airplay enabled. Best of all, I can listen to Radio Free Santa Fe- I guess Texas is New Mexico after all.

  2. carol

    I wonder why some of us love thunder and lightning. Hh

  3. Vic

    Both Opium discs are FANTASTIC! I too have been listening to them on Spotify and don’t feel too guilty for doing so as I bought the CDs some years ago. ; )

  4. Naheed Ismail

    Opium is an awesome album. My favourite piece is “Ayer-El ultimon Dia De Palabra”. The song is 1:12 minutes but has a haunting melody.


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