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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

From the Mouths of Babes

In Music, Tunes on February 6, 2009 at 8:57 am

An original song on last year’s Christmas CD. I recorded it on the 1926 Steinway at Don Ross Studio in Eugene. This was a composite of three takes, using minimal additional editing. The remix corrects what I feel was a bit of over-compression and also improves on the original’s EQ curve. Enjoy!

From the Mouths of Babes (remix)


New toy

In Music, Tech on July 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm

My new Kurzweil SP2X is on its way! I never had the opportunity to try this 88-weighted-key stage piano out in the store, so I relied on published evaluations and the opinion of my advisor at Sweetwater, Michael Faz.

It’s been nearly a decade since I went shopping for a full-size keyboard. My first was also a Kurzweil, the venerable PC88, in 1995. It was a brilliant ‘board for its time. It’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve come in the intervening years, and whether my impressions parallel those of its reviewers:

Whether coming out of the Tannoy monitors in my studio, my older Toa PA speakers, or going through my Gallien-Krueger or Barbetta keyboard amps, all the piano sounds stayed true to their best nature. I also noticed that unlike on many other stage pianos, I didn’t have to change sounds when I changed styles: The default piano let me play pop ballads, jazz solos, rock rhythms, salsa montunos, and a Bach prelude. To me, this has always been the selling point of the Kurzweil piano: It stays musical in any context.

Responsive, fluid and energetic. … (The action was) willing me on, encouraging me to push my playing just that little bit further than I normally might, and rewarding me for my efforts.  In essence, the action on the SP2x makes trickier phrases just that little bit less risky, which, in a live situation can be very reassuring.”

The SP2X’s action is fully weighted and feels great to play. There’s sufficient resistance to allow your fingers something to push against, yet enough give and springiness to allow for machine-gun-fast repeated notes on a single key.

FedEx predicts arrival this week. I can’t wait to play it!

Zemanta Pixie

Logic Studio 8

In Music, Tech on April 21, 2008 at 5:42 am

Finally got my registered upgrade of Logic Pro 8. And I have to take issue with some of the criticisms of Apple’s latest. The merging of minds between Apple and Emagic appears now to be complete, and the result is a breathtaking, minimalist makeover that finally consolidates all of the power of Logic and for the most part wrestles its justly famed complexity to the mat.

No, there were few new goodies. A new plug-in delay, a few nips and tucks for Ultrabeat and other soft synths. No matter. What needed to happen — a complete rethinking of the interface — was done with typical Apple elan. Bravo.

Sketch: Slow groove in Gb

In Music, Sketches on April 20, 2008 at 8:39 am

If you like it, let me know in the comments and I’ll finish it. Plus, you get a high-rez pressing of the final mixdown!


Best argument for not learning to read music

In Music on April 20, 2008 at 7:54 am

Via Wikipedia:

In college, [Dave] Brubeck was nearly expelled when one of his professors discovered that he could not read sheet music. Several of his professors came forward arguing for his ability with counterpoint and harmony, but the school was still afraid that it would cause a scandal, and only agreed to let Brubeck graduate once he promised never to teach piano.

A band called ToneDawg

In Tunes on April 18, 2008 at 10:46 am

I wanted our band to be called “Merlin’s Madness” or perhaps “Merlin’s Magic.” I was overruled, and perhaps that was for the best, as our floppy-eared alter ego did constitute the coolest band logo/mascot ever. The genius behind the madness was an energetic, pony-tailed 6th grade teacher who moonlighted as a guitar god, ruling over Eugene and the surrounding environs with a potent mix of Steely Dan, Grateful Dead, Bruce Hornsby, and Phish-influenced jam band rock.

With bassist Arne Olsen and drummer Rick Buckendahl, we crisscrossed western Oregon, often traveling as far as Bend, Portland, and Ashland, as often as not depending on the kindness of strangers for our lodging. We played Ashland, in fact, during the infamous New Year’s Eve flood of 1996, loading in during a driving rainstorm over a wet wooden footbridge spanning the creek that lent the late, lamented Ashland Creek Bar & Grill its name. When we loaded out the next day, Interstate 5 was closed and part of the outdoor dining deck was washed away, along with two unfortunate and adjacent lower-lying businesses.

We sailed, we soared, and for $40 a night we presided over Eugene’s hallowed haunts — The Old Pad, the Good Times, the Vet’s Club, Taylor’s. We played for weddings, parties, and festivals. We packed it in when I got the call to go on the road with a rising country singer, never to resurface.

More’s the pity.


Tune: An old favorite

In Music, Tunes on April 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

Recorded at Gung Ho Studio in the late 1990s with a gospel singer who for a time befriended me. I always liked this arrangement, with its unexpected reharmonization  and wistful pitch. We got it in one take, with only a minor punch-in on the takeout.