Just some quick notes on this:
- four tracks of bass
- slap bass attempting to replicate a bass and snare drum
- palm-muted and thumbed bass for the bass line
- some chords in there
- the lead line
- I play the wrong instrument to be in a brass band, so I had to make some adjustments
- I'm a transplant - please forgive any trespasses. I just heard the song and tried to make it work as a solo bass piece
- Happy Mardi Gras!
Oh, hi New Year. How ya doin'? More on bass later - I've assembled a decent looping rig and am working on stuff now. Like I said, more later
TechCrunch announced Amazon's AutoRip service today, basically giving you a central storage area for all the songs you ever purchased in any form from Amazon. That means you can now store your music collection in one of three central areas - Apple servers (for a fee with Match), Google (free for their purchases, to a limit for everything else), and Amazon (basically stuff you bought from them).
Meaning that media matters little anymore. Doesn't matter how you bought it, these three will make it convenient for you to get.
Why? Because they want you to buy from them in the future. They want their place to be instinctual for you to visit and to purchase from.
Seems nice, but we've seen people pull right back for this kind of media before (right, Amazon?). So I still plan on syncing my server to Google Play for mobile use that still leaves copies for my own personal satisfaction at home.
I'm more intrigued by seeing exactly what I've purchased from Amazon. And a little creeped that they remember better than I do.
Well, kinda. Clear Channel will share ad revenue with a country label in exchange for playing their works (and for the artists agreeing to cap their income from digital stations). So it really only affects a select group of major-label artists, and it's really just a shift of income from one source to another. Think of it as another edition of the 360 artist deals some big artists received a few years ago. There's still no clear legal solution that benefits all recording artists and digital stations. Just some redistribution of income at the higher levels.
The first installment of Girls Rock Indy kicks off today, and I fervently hope they're not teaching them on instruments like the Smash. I suppose if you HAVE to smash a guitar, it's best to go with one that's:
But isn't it time to move beyond smashing instruments at this point, even those designed for that purpose? You have better things to do with your stage time than create excess splinters. Just sayin'.
The last two "back page" articles in Electronic Musician magazine focused on the movie "Avatar," of all things. The former article dealt with musicians needing to make a well-crafted album, where song structure to mixing and song sequencing to mastering are carefully planned and executed for maximum effect. In other words, don't just toss off a recording - make it special, make it different, make it an event. The latter article dealt more with the technical side and synth programming for the movie, but it gave a glimpse into the attention to detail that went into the project. (It also mentioned that they used Pro Tools for everything, including the synth sounds - which says something about inspiration over mass amounts of tools, I suppose). In any case, the thought and planning that went into this ties into thoughts I've been having about albums for awhile now.
That is to say, why do we need to make albums? Music existed for eons before the standard long-playing record, 8-track, cassette, or compact disc came around. Before these modern inventions, you still had grand orchestral pieces, chamber music, folk songs, and all manner of forms (and that's just tackling the Western forms - what about ragas, gamelan music, or other pieces that exist outside the Western art music?). The music was sacred and secular, long and short, loud and quiet. There were accepted forms, but you could pick and choose among them.
Even in the 20th-century United States music business, albums only took precedence in the last third of the century. Before that, you had singles (and before that, mass-produced sheet music) to spread the hits. As technology expanded the sonic quality and quantity of the music you could place on a recording medium, albums rose to take prominence in the music business. Nature and record companies abhor a vacuum. Artistic conventions arose around the creation of an album, but there were also economic concerns:
- Do you release the double album or shrink it down to a single album?
- Do you release more than one album in a year?
- Do you have a single on the album to help sell the whole shebang?
CDs meant more music could reach the public at one time, but the above concerns still applied. And there was still concern about physical packaging and distribution with CDs, even as production costs came down.
Obviously, the production and distribution costs are much different for digital distribution, but it also changes the production cycle of music. There's no need for the production build-up to release to support cycle that the music business used for albums. Artists can maintain an always-on connection with their fans, or they can take their time and release on their schedule. They can use just about whatever means they want to create and distribute their music - the sky is the limit. Artists can make whatever they want to out of the music.
So why focus on musical artists making albums? The time, economic, and physical limitations that required the production of albums are gone. Home studios are cheaper and more plentiful, so recording budgets and time limits don't have to be as rigorous. Because the budgets can be lower and artists don't have to work with labels for distribution now, the initial investment doesn't have to be as large. And because there's no need to produce physical product for album releases, you can send out as much or as little music as you want at any time.
But this isn't to decry the album as a format, though - hell, the band I'm in is recording one for vinyl right now. It makes sense for that band - it's kind of a retro act with a lounge vibe, so the vinyl recording makes sense. But that's an artistic decision, not a mandatory requirement. Artists don't have to limit themselves to a format, long or short. Now that it's inexpensive and only as time-consuming as the artist wants it to be, it makes sense to think beyond the album. Let the creative process run beyond a format designed for technology of a few years ago (at the very least). Imagine new forms, put your heart into it, and see what happens. It's not just something like iTunes albums, with some additional material and the like. Re-imagine how the music should be presented, and think about everything that goes into it.
And yes, because it's relatively different territory, there are going to be challenges. And people are going to not like it - personally, I hated "Avatar" (possibly because I saw it in 2D, non-IMAX format and was forced to focus on the "plot"). But artists don't have to worry about selling to everybody anymore, either. Artists can reach their audiences more directly with a smaller investment now. You can exercise the same focus on a smaller project, reach exactly who you want to, and not worry about the larger scope.
The above points aren't anything new - I guess I'm just surprised that albums are still as predominant as they are. It's an artificial construct that can be quite fulfilling, and great albums are truly a wonderful thing. But they don't have to be the only thing, and there's so much more to be done.
Unfortunately, WOXY doesn't seem to be faring as well, and that's a damn shame. Now that the Internet has made just about every kind of music available at a moment's notice, the people with valid, well-researched opinions and knowledge that help guide listeners are more important than ever. WOXY earned their name because of the dedication and passion the DJs and programmers put behind the station, from when it was a terrestrial station that hosted album giveaways on the Party Patio (with breakfast burritos!) to a groundbreaking Internet radio station that deserved a lot better than it got. They've been up and down financially since their went 'net-only a few years back, but here's hoping they come back stronger than before. As far as the music and the knowledge behind it, they've been a class operation the entire time.
Hearkening back to a blog post from earlier this year, it looks like DOOM is up to his old tricks again. The Daily Swarm reports another fake show, leaving fans upset and confused. It may be true to his artistic vision of his character, but it's certainly not winning him any fans. And remember, it's the villains you love to hate that everybody gets behind - not just the bad guys in general.
Also, I've already mentioned it on Twitter and the Facebooks, but there have been some . . . interesting comments on the Indianapolis Star's Fountain Square article my wife and I appeared in over the weekend. So go over and have some fun with those.
The main announcement came out last week, but I'm just now catching up with the time to post my thoughts about it. And they're mostly good thoughts:
- The tribute to jazz giant and local hero Freddie Hubbard is the centerpiece of the festival, and deservedly so. This man was a monster of a player, and his contributions deserve to be recognized. That he actually played one of the jazz festivals before his death was a special event, and paying homage to his legacy in the Madame Walker Theater is the right thing to do.
- The talent gathered for this tribute is a fantastic lineup, including bassist Rufus Reid and stellar horn players Nicholas Payton and Randy Brecker. Nice choices!
- The inclusion of Charlie Hunter is a great move, even if it is on a "jam" night. He carries forth in the soulful side of jazz quite well, and it's nice to see his inclusion round out the offerings of the festival.
- Headliners Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling represent jazz heavyweights without dealing with smooth jazz like Dave Koz or Spyro Gyra.
- Good local representation by artist like Brandon Meeks is much appreciated.
- Multiple locations leading up to the main event are a great idea - it makes it feel more like a festival rather than just an elongated concert.
My only regret is that they didn't bring in somebody like Hiromi's Uehara (expansive fusion), or possibly some more funky jazz like Roy Hargrove or Christian McBride (who are both mining more traditional fare on their latest albums, but they're capable of killing on either side of that fence). But as it stands, it's a good lineup - can't wait for it to get here.
From the wonderful new bass info source No Treble, it's a jazz bass trio paying tribute to "Beat It." Enjoy. It's a small reminder of some of the great work that players like Louis Johnson and Freddie Washington did with Michael Jackson's bass lines. The public may not know the players' names right of hand, but the lines are instantly memorable.
Twice this weekend, I was brought out of a movie's story line to confront some less-than-stellar music choices. One was simply unfortunate, and one was egregious. They're both lessons to music supervisors to choose carefully.
The simply unfortunate was the use of the Beastie Boys track "Sabotage" in "Star Trek." The scene had a too-young-to-drive (even in the future) James Kirk cruising along in car screaming along to the track - a track that would have been hundreds of years old by the time of the shooting. Would a young child appreciate (or even have access to) music that old? It was a misstep in an otherwise decent movie. At least they managed to avoid the trap of putting in generic-sounding nu-metal to signal the dark, dystopian future.
The egregious example came from Rosie O'Donnell's documentary "All Aboard." In one scene, following the touching marriage of two gentleman aboard the cruise ship, we're treated to Harry Nilsson singing . . . "Sail Away." Yes, that Randy-Newman-penned song that extols their new country to groups of African slaves, sung from the perspective of the slave merchant. They conveniently left out the part about watermelon and buckwheat cakes, and they never put into context the arrival of the ship in Charleston Bay - home of the slave auctions. The whole point of the song is glossed over for this one moment. Using the song in this way totally undercuts the message of tolerance and acceptance the documentary is trying to communicate. Everything I'd seen up to that point was ruined by one song.
Please, music supervisors - be careful. The wrong choice can be just distracting, or it can take down the entire project.