Monday, March 14, 2016

A couple of drum documents.

Never mind how I came about them--again, YouTube is a marvelous thing--here are a couple of clips that seemed worth documenting to me.

First, Carl Palmer.  I've never much paid attention to ELP.  Tried to, once upon a time, and I could certainly see the skills there, but in the end I just could not get past my molecular-level distaste for wanky synthesizer sounds, no matter how inventive they may have been.  (Apologies to the now-late Keith Emerson, but I yam what I yam.)

So, when this came across--Palmer, one snare, two sticks--I was pretty impressed.

The other one (might you believe that it arose out of suggestions of "related clips" to the Palmer solo?) is a clip of Buddy Rich.  He may have been an obnoxious and thoroughly unpleasant human being, but holy frap-ray, Calvin, that man truly was a player without peer.

Never really got into big band, personally, but I'd be an idiot not to recognize that sort of mastery for what it is.  Wow!

And now they seem suitably documented.  :-)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

GCCO - Blockhead - Blogger embed

And a test of the same video, embedded with the Blogger embed tool.

GCCO - Blockhead - direct embed

A wee test of the embed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tony's big Moment - and an IBMA HoF induction, too.

What is it I love about bluegrass?  Plenty, actually, but this is an outstanding illustration of at least one of the reasons:  magnificent humanity.

To nobody's surprise, Tony Rice was inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame, and through the magic of YouTube, we can all see how this went down.

I am not given to awards ceremonies.  They're dull, and usually reek of a sense of unwarranted entitlement among both audience and recipients.  When I stumbled across this link, it was merely the wanting to hear what Rice had to say, that caused me to make the effort.  I'm glad I did.

Turns out that the presenters were Peter Rowan and Sam Bush, and this definitely helped in making the introduction interesting.  Rowan, for all his obvious talents, still strikes me as pure space cadet, but Sam is a genius combination of little boy, master gentleman, ridiculous musical talent--and a savvy understanding of personalities.  And it shows here.

Then Rice came on, delivering the same upfront humility that I have seen so often in other contexts.*  Great, lovely.  But then, at about the eleven minute mark in the YT video, he begins a lead-up to a capital-M Moment that I was completely unprepared for.

If you hear nothing else, listen starting at 11:00 on the timeline.  At the 12:38 mark, he simply blasted my socks off--not with what he said (although that is, itself, beautiful), but with the voice he said it in.

This is what human beings are capable of.

* All of this is much more interesting and poignant the more you know about the backstories of each of the names that come up;  it throws everything into much sharper definition.  Suffice it to say that magnificent human beings don't always start out that way, and sometimes they do regrettable things.  But if the measure of a character is what someone does in the wake of any of that, then I'm even happier to see Rice honored for his influence here. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Zoom H4n recorder

This is part documentation post, and part simple gear lust indulgence.  In my never-ending (and, let's face it, rarely-purchasing) quest for doing-it-all-in-a-compact-box, I had never thought of using "a handheld recorder" as the basis for the system.

Thus my stumbling onto the H4n from Zoom, today, was a bit startling.

I was not prepared for what this little gizmo is supposed to be able to do.  Check this out:
  • Built-in stereo mic, rather cleverly arranged.
  • Can act as an external mic for a video recorder.
  • Changeable SD/SDHC cards for storage.
  • Variable speed playback without altering pitch (i.e., phrase trainer).
  • Various standard recorder features (autoplay, filesharing, etc.).
  • Two combination XLR / 1/4" inputs with preamps. (!!!)
  • Modes for recording in simple stereo, two stereo tracks, or true multitrack recording.
  • Can apply DSP effects when multitrack recording.  (!!!)
  • Onboard audio editing (including project-based editing when multitrack recording).
  • Can act as computer recording interface.
Street price seems to be in the $270 range as of this writing.  If it really does all this, that somehow seems cheap.

Will cogitate further.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Let's set that bar...up there.

Took my first look at two Antoine Dufour scores today, the driving "A Hiding Place for the Moon" and the nearly painfully lovely "You and I".  It's time to stir the repertoire pot again, and these two should prove very interesting.  It helps considerably, of course, that I absolutely love both pieces, and can hear almost all of them in my head before I even get started.

"A Hiding Place for the Moon" features a really nifty 5/4 figure that is going to teach me a great deal about hammer-ons, integrating bass and melody across both hands, and the use of the right-hand thumb right after the 1, instead of on it.  Mastery of this piece should help unlock a lot of that, and I'm tickled witless that I think my fingers started to "see" it tonight.

As well, the tuning is quite interesting:  D2-A2-C#3-G#3-A3-E4.  That's three pairs of fifths (6-5, 4-3, 2-1), offset by a major third from 5-4 and a minor second from 3-2.  Have I mentioned I love me some minor seconds?  Having looked at this core 5/4 figure now, I can understand why the tuning was chosen this way, and it will be interesting to hear what else comes out of it.

"You and I" is one of those tunes, for me, which is just startling to hear coming out of your own hands.  This one is going to teach me a lot--a whole lot--about precision and assignment of both hands, good left-hand thumb position (critical for some of the hammer-ons, for decent dynamics) and how to do flick-strums in fingerstyle.  It features a goosebumpy interlude that I just had to look at tonight (along with the opening figure), and I'm really glad I did.  Tuning on this piece is an interesting variation on standard:  sixth string up a whole step (F#ADGBE), but with a partial capo on the second fret of the top four strings.  So, when tuned up, open pitches are F#2-A2-E3-A3-C#4-F#4.  Again, after taking the look I did tonight, I can see why the tuning was done this way, and it's a good data point.

It's hard to explain how encouraging the sounds coming out of my hands were, on both of these pieces.  I suspect that I've learned quite a lot in the last year or so, and although I don't think I'll be ripping up any open mics in the next few weeks, it's nice to see some progress--and it's nice to see that at least some of this stuff really is accessible to us mere mortals.

Here's to learning new stuff.  Always!

Friday, January 25, 2013

An interesting take on MIDI guitar.

Hat tip to David Neale for showing me this:

I've got no idea if it makes any sense for what I'm trying to do, but I'm going to put it on the radar for a while and chew on the concept.