Happy Holidays…

…and happy solstice and happy new year. It may be Winter now, but the days will get longer…

You might enjoy comparing these two tracks, two rough mixes of the same song, about two months apart. The first mix was made after I recorded guitars (but not the soli), the bass, the drum machine and the palmas. The second mix was made recently, after adding percussion and accordion, and the first of two soli.

As you will hear in this second example, I didn’t like the snare sound and swapped it for something that was a better fit with the cajon. I also removed the machine claps altogether. When I performed at the Rrazz Room in November I came up with a new intro for this piece, which I recorded after I returned home. Now there is a much better flow to the piece.

There is more to be done, but I thought this would give you an interesting comparison.

Orphéo (Merlin)

Before you click on the above link you should know this:
It’s a video of a famous bullfighting horse. The picadores (lancers) mounted on horseback wear down the bull so that the torero has a chance. I hate bullfights. It’s an awful bloodsport. But, check out the moves this horse has. He is an astounding athlete, brave (((or crazy?))) and very graceful. And remember, the bull and the horse each weigh at least 1,000 pounds.

The training of bullfighting and military horses – the horse moving on its own to allow a soldier to use his sword or other weapon – are what lies behind modern dressage.

Oh, and turn off the sound – the music is awful.

Here is another video, which shows the horse in training.

(((I do think that YouTube should be forced to police the copyrighted musical content people add to their videos. Either YouTube or the person uploading the video should have to pay the same rate per view that radio has to pay.)))

Mind, Body and Computers

Storytelling and oral culture is local, books are cosmopolitan and the web is international. The first is the most physical as actual molecules are exchanged, air is moved, pheromones and scents are exchanged. Physical presence is required.

Maybe playing music live is storytelling, recording music is a book and midi is the web. Midi is more in the head than recording part after part… Some musicians did well with midi, others did not. Stevie Wonder and Joe Zawinul recorded mind-boggling music before midi, but after they adopted midi, their music (at least to my ears) suffered. The strange thing is that they did not seem to recognize that themselves. Neither of them, as far as I know, ever went back to the pre-midi world of layering instruments. Stevie Wonder is a great drummer, but seemed to be happy using drum-machines after 1985.

I have never really used midi. I record guitar after guitar to a click track, then add bass and then record the percussionists. Then Jon might add synths and the guitar melodies and soli are last.

Yesterday I heard from a friend that some therapists work via the phone or even email. Really? What about physical reactions… maybe the voice stays even, but the patient grips the chair… or, on the phone one can at least hear a quiver in the voice… but email? But, once again there are three levels of interaction… storytelling, book, internet – sitting in front of a therapist, using the phone and using email…

That got me thinking about MySpace and other social sites. No sound, no scent, no personal vibe. In that world a person can be anybody they want to be. A man can pose as a woman and vice versa. A short person can become a giant basketball player. Some people use photos of themselves, others don’t even bother. Headgames. Brain playing brain. What will a person, who grows up on MySpace, be like in their thirties or forties? Will they order everything on the net? Will they go out at all?

Last night I watched this TED talk. Computers don’t have enough Africa in them… If one does NOT grow up with Western Sci-Fi novels and movies and buys into computing – what would one think of it? Would computers be strangely devoid of pleasant smell and touch? Would we wonder why the computer cannot react to dancing input? Why is it so NOT-artistic?

We seem to adapt to the way computers think, instead of the other way around. Then again, personal computers have been around for less than three decades. Maybe they are simply still the shiny new toy.

To me computers are another brain-game. It makes one want to park one’s body, in order to enter the matrix in some way. Should it not involve the body? 25% of Americans are obese, I read somewhere. Does that have something to do with computers – and video games? (((and cars!)))

Why do we try to get away from our bodies? We often drive when we could walk or bike… and isn’t a car a lot like a computer? Minimal physical input… and even that isn’t enough distraction from our lives – we need to talk on the cellphone while we drive…

And then there are those who are waiting for the singularity… to live forever, or at least a few hundred or a thousand years. The brain is a flower – just like the rest of the body… Neural plasticity blooms, flowers and wilts… I guess we will find out the hard way, how long that can be extended sensibly. Better build-in an off switch in case your techno-body last too long…

Ah, don’t mind me. I had a very nice bottle of Pinot Noir with my friend, to celebrate his birthday. I walked to the restaurant and back… the light was incredible, the sky a translucent blue – really, the sky looked like a painted backdrop for an old Hollywood movie. I walked slowly, as if to savor each step and each breath.