I always think a blog post that says “Sorry for the lack of updates.” to be a lame no no. However, it’s 7:45AM and since I have to run off to work after 2 shows in Europe (and SIX flights) there’s just enough time this morning for a coffee and this blurb. I have a ton of video, photos and stories from Dresden and Stuttgart to share with you but getting that online will have to wait until tonight. I haven’t even checked my RSS feeder in four days… oh god 1000+ (Google Reader joke).
Today I fly to Germany to perform two live shows this weekend. Friday night I play at Triebwerk in Dresden. Dresden is probably the only German city I have not been to. I land early Friday morning so I’m looking forward to checking out the city. During World War II it was mostly destroyed and later the city was re-built to look almost like it was never bombed. I’m playing with a friend of mine Swedish techno producer Johan Afterglow. I met Johan in New York City in the late 90s and one night he saved my life (long story!). It’s true that if someone does save your life you never forget it. Last year when I was living in Berlin I put some vocals on a few of his songs. My favorite of the bunch was one we did called Incinerate (iTunes).
There is one nightclub I performed at more than any other. It’s called Club Prag and I must have dropped a bucked of sweat there about twenty times over the past decade. This Stuttgart club fit my music persona perfectly. The walls are red, the ceiling is low with speakers shooting at you right above ear level. It’s the right size, when you stand on stage you can see and scream at everyone in the place.
This weekend they close the doors forever. Club Prag will open on Friday night and stay open until Sunday evening. My set time is 11:00 AM Sunday. There’s no doubt it’s going to be a lunatic asylum and I’m more than happy to provide the soundtrack. I’ve met some of my best friends in that small place. The owner Alex and the different promoters who booked me year after year have always been generous with my fee, great hotels and unlimited booze. Club Prag is already a legendary place and I am so pleased to have been part of it.
“Good evening ladies and gentleman my name is Eric from the Rhythmicons demonstrain’ some Moog products.” Specifically Eric uses the FreqBox as a second Oscillator for a old Micromoog. Things get fun at about 3:33 in. The USA flag surely fits in this Arkansas Moog kitchen!
Here’s how Eric did it:
MicroMoog Kbd out to Cp251 Attenuator
Attenuator out to Freqbox Frequency input
Freq Out to Audio Input of Freqbox.
Audio output to MicroMoog Audio Input.
Star Guitar is a guitar chord playing app for the iPhone. It’s from Amido, Inc who already brought us Noise.io. As you can see from the video you simply click around the iPhone’s screen and Star Guitar will strum chords. You have 144 chords to choose from. Here’s the kicker… Star Guitar records your chord selections and your voice as you sing along. Think about that for a minute. Ok done? Now go buy Star Guitar, grab some headphones and go into your car. Drive to some empty parking lot. Load up Star Guitar hit record and sing along while you pick some chords. Now granted if your a guitar player this is probably all useless but for myself I had a blast doing that whole car thing this morning. I came up with at least two songs I’m going to flesh out. Everything you record can be brought back into your computer. There is one important feature request I would like to make. I want to be able to export the guitar and vocals separately. This is really a necessary option to grab bits of a great vocal take and apply processing to them.
“The unique concept of Star Guitar delivers an astonishing 144 chords at one screen. There are 7 root notes, every note has 5 chord modifiers. With such range, almost any song can be played. Turn a modifier on/off by tapping it. It’s really very simple. There are two modes for strumming chords: manual (with “SmartStrumming” technology for added realism) and automatic. Automatic mode is the “virtual guitarist”, with 18+ rhythm patterns to be picked from, each pattern has A and B variations (for chorus and verse). But that’s not all! You can export your recordings to .WAV / .CAF and bring them to your desktop computer via the built-in server over wi-fi.” – amidio.com
Here’s a list of all the cars I owned in my life: 1966 Chevy Nova, 1986 Nissan 300ZX, 1982 Cadillac Sedan Deville, 1985 Volkswagen Golf, 1996 Mazda 626 and a 1999 Saturn SC1. Most were hand me downs or bought used off a lot. Each car had something I loved and hated about it. The 66 Chevy had a V8 and no brakes. It had brakes but they rarely stopped the car. I remember flying through entire intersections with my brakes pegged to the floor. True I was usually going 80MPH+ but hey I was 17 years old (sorry). The Nissan had a digital display, beige leather and an awesome T-Top. Unfortunately, if there was one drop of water on the road the car would go flying off the street into the surrounding woods. It happened to me 3 times before the last instance of slippy fun when the car was totaled. Once I reached my 20s I gained an incredible sense of respect (fear!) of crashing so I rarely go more than 5 miles over the speed limit these days. I put a high powered amp and Alpine stereo into the Cadillac and whenever it would rain the lights would dim whenever the bass drum kicked. The VW handled great but everyday it took all my strength to squeeze the rusted door handle open. The Mazda was the best car of the bunch. It was fast, handled incredibly and never needed a repair. The only problem with it was it the color burgundy (maroon?). Not just the outside paint but the seats and every bit of plastic inside the car. I refuse to buy anything with that color on it to this day.
If your a musician there is a good reason to own a car which I appropriately call the “car test”. Car speakers range from suck badly to sick bass and testing your tunes in a range of cars will without doubt help you find the perfect mix. The following is six songs I like about cars. I wonder do you think the members of Kraftwerk took their song Autobahn and played it in a few Bimmers or VWs to check it’s mix?
My favorite online spot for car news is Autoblog. If you want to see something crazy take a look at Steve Green’s AMC collection: click here
Um… ok. I don’t really have anything to add to this. Well I can add that I’ve been watching Milo this week while my mother is on vacation in Florida and he’s living up to his song. Every night at around 3:00AM deer show up in our backyard so Milo decides to go freakin nuts barking. He also decided to roll in squirrel droppings for some reason. It was a new experience taking a shower with a dog cover in feces. I used an entire bottle of baby shampoo.
“Üter the amazing wiener dog loves to lick peanut butter off of a minimoog. If you like the sound of the Minimoog’s third oscillator, you should try it with peanut butter smeared on the knob.” – parrygripp.com
I’ve been thinking of a pro-audio shop located in Times Square that recently announced it will be closing it’s doors. Part of being a New Yorker is saying goodbye to institutions you loved. Manny’s was born in Manhattan in 1935 by a saxophone salesmen named Manny Goldrich and it was filled with all the toys readers of this blog enjoy.
It was the first place in the NY area I found a Minimoog Voyager on display. I remember spending a few hours in the store twisting knobs and smashing keys on Bob’s creation. Not once did anyone tell me to take a hike or buy anything. In fact, every now and then an employee would walk over and tell me to turn it louder. Manny’s wood paneled walls were covered with signed photos from hundreds of rock stars who came in for a new string or chat.
I always thought it was strange Sam Ash was right next door and in 1999 Sam’s company bought Manny’s right out. Alas I am afraid this tale of 48th street won’t end here because the Rockafeller Center group are on a shopping spree and our entire music street is the target. With huge pressure from online, Guitar Center, the new Best Buy pro-audio stores and high NYC rents it’s not surprising Paul Ash noted he knew his store on 48th would disappear soon too.
I love the D16 drum machine clones. Drumazon and Nepheton have the Roland TR-909 and TR-808 covered respectively. With careful mixing you can fool almost anyone into believe you have the original expensive hardware boxes. Certain aspects of these software counterparts kill their hardware companions such as a random function and swing adjustment. Happily today D16 announced their next drum machine clone will be for the Roland TR-606. Nithonat is “coming soon” and will be available for Mac or PC in AU or VST.
Alex Delfont and Shaun Crook make some interesting audio hardware for synth heads. The toys they have for sale called Delfy Originals are reasonably priced from 35-135 British Pounds. Here’s a few videos of what they have to offer:
I love unique stuff like this. It seems in line with some of what Curious Inventor, Atomosynth and some others non-giant music tech corporations are doing. So out of the the stuff Delfy offers what do you like the best?
I am happy to announce I finally implemented one of WordPress 2.7′s best new features Enhanced Comment Display (threaded comments) into the Wire to the Ear theme. You will now see a Reply button below each comment in a thread. Therefore, you can reply to any specific comment and it will show up directly below and slightly to the right of said comment. I don’t like hacking apart my theme unless I really understand what each line of PHP is doing so it took me a late night coffee reading session at WordPress.org to get it working. If I haven’t mentioned this before the comments are what make this blog worth it to me. I really cherish the daily all things pro-audio conversation I am having with you.
Another addition to Wire to the Ear today is the use of Gravatars. This is simply a small photo that represents your identity. As you can see when I leave a comment my sideways head shows up. You can create your own Gravatar which can be used universally on many sites here: http://en.gravatar.com/ If you don’t see yours show up on the blog give it a little time and if still it doesn’t show let me know and I’ll see if I can help figure out why.
“Gravatars are Globally Recognized Avatars. An avatar or gravatar is an icon, or representation, of a user in a shared virtual reality, such as a forum, chat, website, or any other form of online community in which the user(s) wish to have something to distinguish themselves from other users. Created by Tom Werner, gravatars make it possible for a person to have one avatar across the entire web. Avatars are usually an 80px by 80px image that the user will create themselves.” – codex.wordpress.org/Using_Gravatars
I have this blog set so if you have already left a comment and it got through moderation the next time you leave a comment it will automatically be posted. Sometimes when I upgrade to a newer version of WordPress this gets reset so even if your a regular poster your comment may end up in the moderation que. I try and moderate comments as they come in and I am hoping the next WordPress iPhone app adds that feature so I can moderate on the go.
If you have a WordPress 2.7+ theme and want to code it up to speed with Enhanced Comments check out the how to documentation over at WordPress.org: click here