La Semana

02020-10-26 | Uncategorized | 17 comments

Last week I remastered the 2004 album La Semana and am listening to it as I am writing this. It was an important album for me, an album of a lot of firsts:

– the first time I engineered an entire album my myself, including the mastering
– the first time recorded with the Negra Flamenco guitar made by Lester DeVoe
– the first time Jon used his brand new black Lakland fretless bass
– the first time I recorded my guitar playing by myself
– the first (and last) time I created a Limited Edition package

La Semana 1
The design of the Limited Edition box won a couple of packaging awards. I don’t remember which associations gave out the awards… they might be in a box in my garage somewhere… The La Semana box turned out to be expensive to make and was released at a time when everyone seemed to have decided that music should be free. The demand simply wasn’t there and, instead of putting the boxes on sale, I packed them up and, you guessed it, they are also in my garage somewhere.

I hadn’t listened to the album in a long time and enjoyed reacquainting myself with the music. While La Luna is the most popular song on the album, I discovered I really enjoyed some of the other tunes, like Spring Rain, Cave In My Heart, and Evening (Languid Pace).

Cocteau remains one of my favorite pieces and it was also a first. La Semana was recorded before I acquired a wireless remote control to operate the computer from the room where I play guitar. I had to set up the software to start about twenty bars before the music began to give me enough time to open and close four doors, sit down, put on headphones, take the guitar and check the tuning, get ready… Because this was so cumbersome I set up the recording to keep looping the section I wanted to play on. Cocteau was the song where I did this for the first time and the song kept looping and I kept playing. After a while I forgot what I was doing and just had fun. The room fell away, the studio no longer mattered, the recording process was forgotten… I was just playing. There was no other person in the studio whose presence I might have been aware of. I was playing guitar by myself somewhere, and it felt like painting or drawing by myself. I loved it and knew this was the way I wanted to work from then on.

Check out Obo Cocteau, a story by Lawrence Russell based on the song Cocteau. It’s a pure fictional evocation of the composition’s moody Moorish atmosphere… and associations made from the title.

I will live with the remaster for a few more days and then I will upload the album to Bandcamp. It will be the first time that the album will be available as a lossless download, instead of mp3s.

17 Comments

  1. Melissa

    I’m excited to hear this! I’ve just ordered it on CD from Amazon (if that’s not cool, please let me know). I have no idea what a lossless download is but when it’s available on Bandcamp I’m anxious to hear your new work. I looked everywhere for the boxed set online before reading again and realizing they’re not out. It’s truly exciting to hear music especially important to you… thank you for sharing this, Ottmar.

    Reply
  2. Melissa

    It’s here, I found it. Le Cafe. Arabian Dance. I just ordered what was listed as the last Winter Rose in stock. I’m filled with anticipation to remember those dreams I missed.

    I’m happy.

    Reply
    • ottmar

      I hope you didn’t pay the $30 that La Semana CDS seem to fetch on Amazon – I just checked.

      This new version of the album that I am preparing sounds better than that CD, at least to my ears.

      Lossless means that the file is not compressed (mp3 files are compressed to make the files small) and the files I will upload to Bandcamp will be CD quality.

      Reply
      • Melissa

        I did. I want to hold it in my hands, play it in my 20 year old Bose, play it in my car, which is nearly as old as my Bose.

        I know the new version will sound better.
        Anyway, then I can compare the two and check out your remix.
        ; )

        I’m happy.

        Reply
      • Melissa

        And…seems to fetch? Certainly it’s worth thirty bucks, and certainly worth far more given how important it is to you.

        It is to me.

        Reply
      • Melissa

        I’m wrong. Winter Rose was 30. The limited edition wasnt the same color as what you posted, I ordered a regular version then continued to look for the boxed set on Ebay, etc. Its when I re-read your entry because I couldn’t find it.

        Reply
  3. Will

    One of my favs and an album I always play when I am in Santa Fe. Friends always ask, “what was it we were listening to that time in Santa Fe?”

    It will be interesting to hear the remastering of the album.

    Reply
  4. Nancy

    Ottmar, I love your La Semana album and listen to it often. But mine is not the limited box cover but a paper CD cover of orange and white written in your font which I may have purchased after one of your concerts. I will look forward to hearing the remastered version.

    Reply
  5. Cesco Derendinger

    Hey Ottmar

    You mentioned that you might still have a few of those fancy Limited Editions somewhere. Would you sell me one of them? I LOVE special editions in general. I admire the extra work that it took, the extra time that was spent on the design and feel by the artists. Music is the key to understand a musicians heart and shapes, forms and colors are key to understand a musicians mind.

    Reply
    • Melissa

      If you choose to release any of the sets, Ottmar, I’d purchase one also. Autographed?!

      At sports stadiums a beer is $10 and a hot dog is $5. 2 pp = 30. Perspective. Your music is a wise, healthy, beautiful, meaningful way to spend that same money, and it will last for years.

      Reply
      • Nancy

        I would purchase one too and would love it autographed just like Denise.

        Reply
    • ottmar

      Thanks, I appreciate that. Let me look at my stash of Limited Editions and figure out what shipping would cost. I’ll post something in the next weeks.

      Reply
  6. Liz in Ohio

    I bought the limited edition version and I have always loved the music on La Semana. I especially like how the songs are all very unique yet they clearly all belong together on the album. I still listen to the album a lot. It’s one of my favorites. I had the box out with my CD player in the kitchen for a long time. I added some keepsakes to the box. (Postcards from that tour.) But given that it was in the kitchen, it was at risk of getting wet or otherwise damaged so it wound up in the basement where it was “safer”. I’m sorry to say I’m not quite sure where it is down there. Luckily, I can still enjoy the music even without the CD. (Although the CD sounds better!)

    Reply
  7. Luz

    I treasure my La Semana box–that was a very special time in my life and that box set along with the music holds some very special keepsake memories inside as well.

    Reply
  8. Dve Kirschner

    What a great album La Semana is and the limited edition box … wonderful. I keep my kanji cow in it.

    Reply
    • Y.

      Beautiful touch

      Reply
  9. Cesco Derendinger

    Woohoo great, This will be my very own christmas present. Thanks for time Ottmar and watch your head for dive-bombing crates in your garage.

    Reply

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