Dark Hundred Hours

Due to circumstances I found myself in a van going from Avon to Denver at 0430. It was raining most of the way. The wet asphalt looked like a mirror.


We were tightly packed into a large Ford SUV. (It looked like a new model but had terrible Apple CarPlay implementation. Why does Toyota get this right and American manufacturers make a mess of it?) Instruments, suitcases, bags and four humans. At an intersection a car cut right in front of our vehicle and Jon had to tap the brake pretty hard. That made a backpack jerk forward. It hit Jon’s arm and then the arm hit the horn on the steering wheel. Honk. I’m okay with that, he said. They deserved a honk. Then he noticed that something had fallen out of the backpack. He picked it up and put the sunglasses on his nose. Ah, this is better.

It’s moments like this that I remember years later.

The Sound of Things

It was great playing duets with Jon last week. Three cities, six shows. Can’t get much simpler than a guitar and an upright bass. We can do a lot with that… Well, we had a good time.

I saw this in the window of a bookstore in Kent: I returned yesterday evening and today I threw myself into binaural surround sound mixing, using SPAT Revolution. I watched a video and then pulled up a piece from Rain Poems to experiment. It was very frustrating at first. All I got was distorted sound. I’m still not sure what I did wrong. I messed with some faders and clicked some software buttons and suddenly it was working. It’s a whole different game, isn’t it!? I think this surround sound mixing will require making drawings and diagrams and using automation and and and.

The excitement over Dolby Atmos at Apple Music always seemed over the top to me. I find it’s a lot like pushing Blu-ray over DVD. The story of a film captivates me more than sheer technological brilliance and pixel count. In addition, DVD was old technology and therefore accessible to more movie productions worldwide and I don’t often watch Hollywood films anyway. So I never bothered buying a Blu-ray player. Similarly, melodies and the musical performance are more important to me than hearing something in spectacular quality. It’s a trade off, isn’t it. I mean if you can dedicate a room to listening, and outfit it with 50-100k of great equipment and loudspeakers, I am sure it would be glorious. I might come for a visit but it’s not really for me. (wouldn’t it be cool if one could rent a room with an amazing sound system by the hour?)

My first impression is that the SPAT Revolution software is really impressive and that I should keep working with it, to see where it can take the music, but stereo is pretty damn good and compatible with more ways to listen. What’s your favorite way to listen to music? Loudspeakers? A surround sound speaker array? Headphones? The car? A mono bluetooth speaker?

I’ll end this post with a photo from Indianapolis:

Spot the Difference

This is the poster for tonight’s concert in Kent. Jon and I played duets. Lovely audience and we enjoyed performing.

Tell me why that can’t be a picture of me.

You got it! This person wears shoes and the headstock has classical tuners.

MIM in Phoenix

A few photos, by Jeff Insel, from our performance at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, on Sunday, 7. May.
LINK to Jeff’s Smugmug page.
LINK to photos of our 2018 performance.