02020-10-22 | Uncategorized | 14 comments

Regarding my post about Guitar History JaneParhamKatz commented:

I liked the sound of the very first NF!

I have, of course, heard comments like that one a lot of times. A lot, a lot, a lot.

First I have to unpack the statement. What is meant by the sound of that album? Is the statement about the overall sonic quality of the recording? About the sound of the guitar? Or is it, perhaps, about the arrangements, the interplay of bass and guitar, the compositions?

Beauty is absolutely in the ear of the beholder. A sound creates a feeling and we cannot argue with feelings. I suggest that most of us also can’t separate the sound from the experience that accompanies it. If we experience something we like while listening to a piece of music, that music becomes a memory aid to return to that experience. In addition I believe that something that sounds unique, which is what NF was at the time, it will create a positive experience that is stamped into memory.

Here is the story of the sound of NF. The guitar sounded okay, passable. The studio wasn’t great. The microphone was pretty good. The chair squeaked. The reverb box was a cheap unit that didn’t sound great, but was the only thing available.

The mastering was done by the record label, Higher Octave, in the beginning of 1990. The label had found a lab that promised to make the CD louder than anything else, and their hope was that this would make the music stand out and be noticed. I often heard from Radio DJs who played NF in 1990 that the album was so loud that they had to manually turn down the output on their console each time they played a song from it, or the radio signal would become distorted. Wow! Many radio stations kept a sticky note on the album cover that reminded the DJ to turn down the volume!

Perhaps the loudness of NF did contribute to the popularity, but I imagine it wasn’t a big part of it. But, then again, I know next to nothing about marketing. It doesn’t interest me much and I am not good at it.


  1. Carolynn

    Back in the day, when I used to make “mix tapes” for friends, songs from NF would be among those regularly used. I loved every song on that cd! But the NF songs were louder than the others, and I had to adjust the recording levels accordingly.

    • Melissa

      Your music has soul. The story of sound is about sound. The story of your music is about soul. It remains so to this day, of course.

    • ottmar

      I refuse to pollute my mind with that… Thanks anyway. :-)

      • y

        “In 2019, the total revenue of the recorded music industry amounted to 21.5 billion U.S. dollars. Streaming made up 56 percent of this figure, bringing in 11.9 billion dollars globally” Goldman saks/others predict your industry to be around 45 billion by 2030.

        In my opinion -(but I am no expert)…a fucking ton of ways to get exposure and make money without “polluting” anything !

        You may not like marketing – but i am sure you know some people who do,

        As I tell my kid, can always turn projects down.

        I personally think your sound and how you deliver it – has much potential.

        • ottmar

          Dear y.
          Thank you for the trust in my potential but I have a better idea.
          I’ll put in a few more years of touring, if that becomes an option again. Then I sell stuff and move to some little town in Asia or South America. No farewell tour, no announcement. Gone like a shadow.
          PS: if you really want to know what’s going on in music there are better sources than a Wallstreet bank. I’ll make a post of links sometime.

          • JaneParhamKatz

            No! Say that you’re leaving the country and move into my little house. Santa Fe needs you.

          • Nancy

            Ottmar, I can relate to this. I would love to live in Thailand or Bali or someplace in SE Asia. I love Asia! My dream too…

          • Alison

            Brilliant plan. If you end up in Miyajima, I’ll see you there. I’ll be by the shrine where the friendly deer wander the beach.

  2. JaneParhamKatz

    OK, Ottmar. I confess. I fell into the pure Spirit of NF, and I know the sonic quality, arrangments, and compositions are important. But you are right, the feelings that welled up in me were overwhelming. I wrote recently:

    When long ago I first heard
    Barcelona Nights begin its melody
    On a single string, then in thirds,
    My soul trembled.

    Inhaling your artistry in song after song,
    With their luscious beats and harmonies,
    I wept as if finding at last place and time
    So deeply yearned for, where I can belong.

    You led my heart soaring,
    Dancing through tears,
    To feel the warmth of all love,
    A constant joy through the years.

    See where I live, dear Ottmar?

    • Melissa

      So very beautiful, Jane. I couldn’t have said it more clearly. We live in a duplex.

      • JaneParhamKatz

        Thank you dearly.

  3. Brad L.

    I think what they were referring to was the difference in the reverb you had on the initial NF release, versus the 10th (or was it 15th?) Anniversary re-release, where it lacked the bright, punching sound of the guitar (yet still had the reverb). You mentioned something about that in the notes of the jacket that came with the CD release, along with going back to the original lineup that you had from Marita: Storms and Shadows.

    For example, if you listened to Barcelona Nights off the original NF release, and played the same track off the 10th Anniversary edition right afterward, you would hear a distinct difference in the sound just from the entrance of the opening melody. You can hear the punching of the treble and reverb from the Higher Octave master that is missing off the Anniversary edition. The higher Octave release is brighter, while the Anniversary edition is warmer. The quality is the same, but as you said in the jacket, you left the original mix of those tracks intact, versus the mix and mastering that Higher Octave did.

    I hope that makes sense.

  4. Denise

    I still in love with the songs of Nouveau Flamenco, I was captivated by the beauty of Ottmar and his unique musical style. I discovered it years after being released in 1995 in my dad’s CD portfolio, he is a DJ. I loved searching through the cd’s, he always had good music from the best artists, at the same time I discovered Enigma’s music, which was also a hit in the nineties


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