The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

Halloween in Fountain Square

There's been no zombie apocalypse up to this point, although I have seen some drunken stumbling and lurching (which is, admittedly, somewhat common) approximating said invasion. There have been some new visitors to the Square, but their threat potential has yet to be determined.The First Monster Sadie, our elderly pug, showed some life in chasing monsters, demons, and other dogs alike. She took more pity on the trick-or-treaters, though, which they seemed to enjoy.The Second Monster I saw a fair amount of princess, demon and (weirdly enough) chicken costumes, but my dream of opening the door to a fully festooned Bootsy Collins remains unfulfilled. I realize it's not the easiest costume to put together, especially when it comes to channeling the necessary amount of interplanetary funksmanship. Yet, it remains a necessary and crucial part of Halloween. Kids, make a note of it. Bootsy!I'm giving a FULL FREAKIN' BAG OF CANDY to the first Bootsy at my door next year. I'm going to retire now to take in "Black Sheep," which comes highly recommended on all sides. I can offer middling praise for "Severance," which has a hilarious premise ("The Office" meets "The Most Dangerous Game") that might have benefitted from more slapstick. Otherwise, good show. Happy Halloween, everybody. And yes, FULL BAG OF CANDY. Here's your model. Make it happen. Some form of Space Bass is mandatory, although replicas are acceptable. Funky attitude is a MUST. And if it guides another young person down the road towards mastering the low end, then it's all worth it. It may start out as a costume, but it can open the gates to funkentelechy of the highest order.


Geek Stuff

I've been playing with the new version of Quicksilver a bit (the site is down at the moment, and it's only useful to Apple users in any case - have I eliminated everybody yet?). It's supposed to improve the speed and productivity of your Mac by using keyboard shortcuts and triggers to speed up launching programs and automating tasks. I haven't gotten fully into it yet, but it seems handy. I'm having a hard time getting used to making it run, though - I don't like a lot of actions happening automatically at startup, and I'm already geared towards using the native OS functions. Lifehacker seems to have dedicated an entire server towards articles on this program, though, so somebody likes it.

Also, there's a beta site for the new version of IMN at our testblog site. Let us know how we can improve your local music experience.

Finally, the badass bassline of today is taken from P.O.S.'s "Kidney Thief," courtesy of a Fugazi sample, I believe. Seek and enjoy.


Watching and Listening

WATCHING: It was the right weekend for a horror movie, so the good folks at Mass. Ave. Video hooked us up with "The Descent" and "Dog Soldiers," both by director Neil Marshall.  Both were very well-crafted, but watching them as a double feature signaled to me that they were based on the same plot structure:

  1. Protagonist undergoes some sort of traumatic, life-changing event.
  2. Protagonist is then swept into the middle of nowhere.
  3. Protagonist encounters unknown, evil forces in the middle of nowhere that have adapted perfectly to that environment.
  4. Protagonist has to get the hell out.

The endings differ quite a bit, but the similarities are quite striking.  Therefore, I'd recommend watching both of them at different times, and let them stand for themselves individually.

LISTENING: Georgia Anne Muldrow.  Some time away from her recordings did these well - they really open up on second and third listenings.  She's worked with Sa-Ra and Stone's Throw quite a bit, and she's got a new project called G&D.  Pick up anything by her - great stuff.  Kind of like a younger, funkier Martina Topley- Bird.

ANTICIPATING: Halloween in Fountain Square.  We didn't get a lot of trick-or-treaters last year, mostly because we were new in the neighborhood and I don't think a lot of the people knew the house was even occupied (it had been vacant for a year, I think).  Even though the multitude of parties make the actual day kind of anti-climactic (as does pushing back the Simpson's "Treehouse of Horror" to the coming weekend), I'm looking forward to it.


Give It Another Shot

So I did indeed get the new Radiohead downloads, and they left me . . . pretty much as I expected. Not bad, but I'm still not a Radiohead fan per se (by contrast, Roger and Zapp get yet another spin today). I did shell out some actual cash for another pre-order download today, though. Saul Williams has a new album coming out next week, and the combination of his work and Trent Reznor's production is a little too intriguing to pass up. The album is available for free, but I upgraded for the $5 mp3 files at a better resolution. I doubt this gets near as much attention (who remember who came through the broken door second?), but it's another step in a good direction.

Not cheap music, mind you, but artists controlling their own music and setting their own price.

I'm also curious to hear how Reznor's production works here. I'm fascinated by the technological aspects of his work, but more often than not the songs themselves leave me a little cold. With Saul Williams, he gets a very charismatic vocalist with a larger-than-life delivery, so it'll be interesting to see how these mesh.

I should also note at this point that as much as I love the new Reason, I'm still just creating ringtones instead of songs. Said ringtones, however, kick much ass.


Holding Off For A Bit

I was joking about standing in line for Leopard today, but I think I'm going to hold off for a bit before upgrading my machines to the new Mac OS X. Any operating sytem is going to have a few bugs in the initial release, and I think I'll let somebody else take the hit on finding them. It's usually a good policy to wait until some updates have been done before going ahead with an install, just to see what goes wrong. Toss in some resource-hungry software like audio recording, and it could get even worse. Sometimes, it's best to stick with what works until the benefits outweigh the risk.

I'm also waiting for a new hard drive for the laptop. Nothing is wrong per se with this one, but it's getting a little crowded (about two-thirds full). Considering I'm going to have to Boot Camp my computer soon to help me write a new laptop book for Wiley, there's a definite need for more space. I also need it to run at 7200 rpm for any music needs, and the 200 GB drives in that range are finally at a decent price.

Finally, the new IMN podcast is up. Enjoy.


Going Back Through The Shelves

I managed to get this song stuck in my head the other day, and after a little bit I traced it back to an album called "Wild Dogs With X-Ray Eyes," by a band called Helicopter Helicopter. They'd come through Indianapolis a couple times about four years ago, pulling the well-worn routine of crashing on floors and living off of Taco Bell on their way across the nation. I'd picked up the album at the first show, and upon further listening I was struck by the unrelenting string of great songs - I kept trying to skip ahead to the song in question ("Time Machine"), and I kept getting hooked by these big choruses (and the occasional massive bass tone). It's a shame more folks didn't hear this album.

There are plenty of bands like this that put out some great work, whether it's the soul acts that populated the Midwest and thrust back into popular consciousness by labels like Stone's Throw or great rock bands like this one who put in serious road time and release great work, but whose albums don't quite go over on the popular charts. As it was put in one of the songs on the album, "The best ones fly beneath the radar." The album may not be fresh, but these big guitars and sparkling harmonies stand up well. It's not a new forumla, and the band isn't even functional anymore (they've moved on to a more experimental project called Hello Dragon), but it just struck me today.


Unadulterated Genius

I'm just catching it again on a repeat, but the "Daily Show's" R. Kelly impersonator is a brilliant stroke of genius. Perhaps even better than some of the last chapters in the actual "Trapped In The Closet" saga. Or maybe the initial shock is just wearing off. I dunno. It's kind of hard to say it just got ridiculous after the first installment, because it was already so bizarrely rendered in the first place. It just felt right the first time, and not so much now. In any case, I'm sure it's available on YouTube. Make it happen.

Also, I'm thinking of new names for the P-Bass, which has yet to be christened. Suggestions?


The Takeover

Spiders!While there's no good way to accept a last-minute loss via field goal (as happened in last night's Pittsburgh-Denver game), it does mollify me a bit that such earthly concerns will no longer matter in a short while. As you can see from the photographic evidence to the left, our planet will eventually be done in by these terrible monsters, and I for one welcome our new overlords. I'm a bit confused by their logic in starting their planetary domination in Fountain Square, but I can only assume that it's part of a larger, fiendishly intricate plan far above my limited intellect. I'm also suddenly very, very sorry for killing all of the daddy-long-legs in my basement laundry room.

Oh, well - invest in silk and get used to losing loved ones as we all provide sustenance for the invading hordes. Thank you, and good day.


Face melting – Lazarus/Action Strasse/Virgil 10-19-07

On my way over to Radio Radio for the show Friday night, I ran into the show's promoter heading back to his car - people at the show were demanding the earplugs he kept there. It wasn't a matter of blocking out the sound totally as much as trying to enjoy the show without permanent hearing damage. Virgil was just that loud, driving, and pounding. It also made me want to try out one of the Music Man Sterling fretless basses; I don't think I've gotten my hands on one of those yet. Action Strasse brought the volume down a little bit, but there wasn't a dip in intensity. I'm convinced that the band is just playing nice with its pop songs, and that it's ready to explode at any minute into a frenzy. Lazarus rounded out the bill - it shared stylistic similarities with Birdmen of Alcatraz (since it shares both an extremely talented guitarist and a tremendously charismatic frontman), but it wasn't as riff-based as the previous configuration. A great night of music all around, especially considering I had my new 'plugs with me.


Gathering Storm Clouds – Uz Jsme Doma at Radio Radio, 10-18-07

The walk over to Radio Radio was a little quicker last night because we were trying to dodge the high winds and storm clouds gathering above Fountain Square. It didn't bode well for the turnout at the Uz Jsme Doma show, but the slight turnout caught a fierce and energetic show. Capillary Action was full of fits and starts, turning quickly from screaming thrash sections to jazzy (almost lounge-y) passages to skronk-pop like walking through a tight hedge maze. Once they finished up, Uz Jsme Doma took the stage to face an audience only slightly increased from when the doors opened. It didn't weigh them down or drain their energy, though. They were driven, almost frantic throughout their set. Fans of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum would have enjoyed this set greatly, if they didn't mind the stripped-down stage image and lack of theatrics. It was a straight-ahead performance - as straight-ahead as loud prog rock can be, I suppose. I was especially impressed by the bassist, whose energy and springy tone drove the band along at full speed. We even managed to make it home before the rain set in.