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

New IMN Podcast and Drum Loops

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and 10pm.

The fact that Keith LeBlanc made 9 volumes and a little over 7 GB of drum loops available for a $1 a volume (additional donations accepted, of course) is amazing. The fact that he did it after dealing with legal issues over these samples for many, many years is even more amazing. And the quality (as to be expected) is stellar - I may be biased by my affection for Tack>>Head's catalog, but this is also the drummer responsible for many, many, MANY classic beats. Look him up. Tons of inspirational stuff here, and I hope to be making a bunch of music with it soon (or just trying to release my inner Doug Wimbish).

Hot on the heels of that discovery comes Clyde Stubblefield's (you KNOW Clyde Stubblefield, right?!) release of vinyl and electronic versions of his own for use by DJs and musicians for their own purposes. They've been doing it for this long anyway, why not make it easy and get some money out of it, right? I haven't seen anybody think the terms for Stubblefield were too onerous yet (credit plus 15% of commercial sales), and sample libraries are hardly new stuff. But these are big names, and let's face it - we (as musicians and fans) kinda owe them anyway. And this is an easy way to do it and get to interact with some living history (even on disc).

Obviously, there are drawbacks - there's no interaction or custom instructions to go with this. Then again, they probably weren't going to get on a plane and fly to you anyway. I'm more than happy to take what I can get here and throw some bucks their way.



First, The Playboy Psychonauts play Sahm's Tavern downtown (433 N. Capitol) tonight at 7pm. Please come and join us for this early show before heading down to Fountain Square. We're so considerate, aren't we?

Tonight, The English Beat make a triumphant return to Radio Radio. Saturday, the venue recovers in time to host Davy Jay Sparrow, Danny Thompson Trio, and The Innocent Boys.

The Vollrath brings in Project Hero, Pragmatic, Orange Willard, and New Addiction. Tomorrow, look for Gypsy Revival, Sequoyah Prep School, and The Riverwinds. Sunday wraps the whole weekend up with Burnt Ones, Learner Dancer, Child Bite, and The STNNNG.

The White Rabbit Cabaret welcome anti-folk heros Paleface and Mo tonight.

Noted singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston with opener Nicholas Barron grace the Wheeler Arts Community tomorrow night.

Don't forget our regular visitors, too:

  • Swing Night at the Fountain Square Theater tonight
  • Live acoustic music at the Red Lion Grog House Saturday
  • Live lounge music at the Brass Ring all weekend long
  • Live jazz at Maria's Pizza

New IMN Podcast and PocketGK Notes

The new IMN podcast is up - download it here or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and 10pm.

The PocketGK amp simulator for the iPhone/iPad does a few things the Amplitube simulator I purchased earlier does as well, then has some much better and somewhat lacking features. First, both programs take input from the iRig and deliver the signal through the apps into headphones without issue. Both provide the opportunity to mix and match cabinets - the Amplitube also simulates a mic choice, but it only has one bass amp and one cabinet. PocketGK offers a more fully-featured bass amp (contour, boost, better EQ, etc.) and two cabinets. It does not offer, however, recording and additional effects.

What wins me over in this contest is the better sound for the PocketGK (which models the Gallien-Krueger amp line faithfully, while Amplitube seems to loosely attempt an Ampeg sound) and the ability to play directly over songs from your iPod. It's really only helpful for practice sessions (or bass kareoke - a woefully underserved market, if you ask me), but I've spent far more time at this point with PocketGK just playing. The more customizable amp and better overall tone helps, too - I've never given GK amps a shot, but this kinda lures me in.


Two-Bass Day and Fountain Square Construction

Cosmically speaking, the scheduling of these two events could have been a little better aligned. Not that I mind taking in a clinic from Stanley Clarke and a Christian McBride performance in the same day at all, but the events were only separated a few hours and a four-hour round-trip drive. Still, it was fascinating to hear Clarke talk about his playing and actually witness some exhilarating solo bass performances (on acoustic and electric). Such full-sounding pieces from a bass! At the end, he declared the bass "liberated" - it's been for some time, but it's still good to hear. Now I need to go get an acoustic, too . . .

McBride put on a clinic of his own for his second set at the Jazz Kitchen with an excellent band (minus the stranded vibes player - thanks, Southwest Airlines!). Great songs, outstanding executions, and just the right amount of soloing from all involved.

Then I drove back home, and it was a little more complicated than you might expect for the sober driver I am. Mass construction has descended on Fountain Square, so visitors, please take note of this website:

Everything is still accessible, and there's still plenty of parking. If you're worried, I'll even offer a spot behind my garage or something. Come on down.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

My, but Radio Radio has quite the packed weekend. Tonight, you can see Murder by Death, The Life and Times, and Sporting Dogs of Kent. Tomorrow, Red Light Driver celebrates the release of their new EP with Cocaine Wolves and Umbra and the Volcan Siege.

The Vollrath brings in Jeremiah Cosner, Matt Mitchell Project, Landon Keller, and Rory Connolly. Tomorrow, take in the freak pop of Amo Joy, Normanoak, Everything Now!, and Sleeping in the Aviary. Also, I believe the Square Rootz Deli provides food for sale, too. Huzzah!

And, of course, there's live acoustic music at the Red Lion Grog House Saturday night, plus live jazz at Maria's Pizza and live lounge at the Brass Ring all weekend long. Enjoy!


New IMN Podcast and Upcoming Shows

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursday at 10pm (the 4pm show has been pre-empted by SXSW coverage).

Also, the IMN folk welcome you to the 10 Year Class Reunion coming up in April - a ton of reunited bands and jackassery. Just the way it used to be, I suppose. I'll be your gracious host and gathering blackmail material.

And, much closer to now, the Playboy Psychonauts play Sahm's Tavern downtown (433 N. Capitol) on March 25th at 7pm. A portion of the proceeds go to benefit Girls Rock Indy, so come on down.


Some Quick Thoughts on Garageband for iPad

Folks used to working with the Mac version of Garageband will probably notice a little loss in functionality - only 8 tracks, and the audio recording process isn't entirely intuitive. Monitoring of the audio signal being recorded isn't on by default, and you have to record in the instrument section and not the track view. Editing in the track view is relatively simple, though, and moving and deleting audio is quite easy. The recording process also involves recording in sections (A, B - think pop song structure) of variable number of measures (4, 8, 16, etc.). Record your A section with all instruments, then move on. Good for songwriting, but not necessarily for free-form idea recording.

The virtual instruments are unusually effective here - the virtual guitars and basses have virtual frets you can touch to get the note. The virtual basses also allow for sliding notes along strings and bending strings. The virtual guitars allow the same on a regular fretboard, and you can also set up sections of chords where you can strum or "fingerpick" without having to worry if your left hand has fretted the chords correctly.

The drums are interesting - you have your choice of a drumkit you can tap beats out on, or you can use "smart drums." These drums function on an X-Y axis of simple to complex and soft to loud. Pick your drumset, then drop the bass drum on the X-Y axis. The application "plays" the drum in accordance to where you dropped it. This means you can have a steady, loud bass drum with a more complex snare and hi-hat above that. Move them around to tweak the beat to your liking and add more percussion instruments, if you wish. It's not a standard drum grid, but it might act well if you want a thought-started for songs.

At a price of $5 (plus whatever hardware you buy for getting audio into your iPad), there's a ton of functionality for both sketching and field recording for the price. It doesn't replace the software I use for recording or podcasting, but it does make for easy recording of ideas and allows me to get decent audio away from my home rig.

EDIT: How could I forget the most egregious omission?! THERE'S NO VIRTUAL BASS AMP?! Amplitube takes care of live performance needs, but it doesn't feed audio in GB. Please, Apple - could this be an upgrade for the next version?


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio has the weekend off. Go enjoy some soccer in solidarity or something.

The Vollrath brings us All Dinosaurs, Dead Birds Adore Us, and Hello Brite Clear Disco tonight. Tomorrow, take in Christian Taylor and Homeschool, Vein Cranes, and The Wasted Knights.

The White Rabbit Cabaret summons forth pianoke with Noise! tonight, and tomorrow they release Futurisque upon the world.

The Fountain Square Theater hosts Swing Night tonight with The Big Swing Band. Tomorrow, the library hosts the Indianapolis Ceili Band featuring the Irish Blessing Dancers. This takes place at 2pm, after all the Shamrock runners have had their way with our streets.

And, of course, there's live acoustic music at the Red Lion Grog House Saturday. There's also live jazz at Maria's Pizza and live lounge music at the Brass Ring all weekend long. Enjoy!


New IMN Podcast and Another Sweetwater Bass Clinic

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and 10pm.

I should mention another great bass workshop happening at Sweetwater, although I won't be ale to make the trip up for this one. There's just not enough time for two jaunts out to Ft. Wayne. Still, Norm Stockton is a monster - enjoy, bassists.


Stanley Clarke Workshop at Sweetwater Sounds 3-20

Packing all the Indiana bass events in on one day, are we, universe? In addition to that evening's Christian McBride show at the Jazz Kitchen, now I must trek to Ft. Wayne for the Stanley Clarke workshop at Sweetwater. Super. Not even a day off to process. Thanks a lot, universe.

I'm a little suprised we're getting this workshop here, as Indiana doesn't have any Wooten/Clarke tour stops, but I'm not complaining. Get your seats early.