Category Archives: Music

What’s It All About, Alfie?

I’m getting querulous about this whole intertubes social-expression thing. Been contributing to various on-line forums for the last few years, with near-zero response, recognition, connection, awareness. Radio Paradise (a GREAT streaming music station) has a forum for comments for each song. Cool, right? Well, yeah, kinda. It’s nice to express thoughts, feelings, and memories about songs, some I’ve been listening to for decades, but if nobody ever refers to a comment one has made, did you actually make it?

I’m pretty sure my stuff is being read, like I read other people’s posts. But no references or back-and-forth. Do I even exist? I used to think “I shop, therefore I am.” Then I updated to “I POST, therefore I am.” Much hipper, right? Nah. At least consuming gives you recyclables. Posting only provides self-gratification at the well-turned phrase displayed in a public forum.


Live To Rock up and playin’

closeup of Fender J-Bass pao ferro neck
There’s a new track posted- Live To Rock, from the early Urban Fiction work with Jenn last spring, remixed with a rewritten bass line. I went for a live club feel on this mix, not overdoing things based on what four people could do live on stage (though, really, it’s either five people or Jenn would have been singing and playing rhythm guitar at the same time). The energy and groove of the track is pretty cool, even with just four players.

This is the first piece using the reconstructed Fender 5-string jazz bass (on the left in the linked image), with a little crisper sound than the p-bass. Jenn’s vocals were recorded in my loft using an AT 4033a large-diaphragm cardioid mic, into Digital Performer at 24-bit. Didier played and recorded his lead guitar work separately and uploaded his audio; I later dropped it all into Logic Pro 8 for the rhythm section work, mixing, and mastering.

Credits: Vocals- Jenn Flaa. Lead guitar- Didier Bouvet. Bass, rhythm programming- Slate. Lyrics- Jenn. Music- Jenn & Slate. Arrangement & production- Slate.

Finishing up the scholastic year

Having been telling people in a low-key way that I’m taking classes, spending this year being a student, and they mostly haven’t been getting it. Dunno whether it’s the mismatch between “40-something male” and “school,” or that nobody believes web-based learning could be serious. Finally got a few people to notice a couple weeks ago with “sorry, can’t make it, I have to finish midterms.” “Oh? I didn’t know you were taking classes.” Funny how language and presentation makes such a difference.

The Arranging mid-term project came out pretty OK, a Brazilian version of a Tina Turner song I Want You Near Me; my band Sweatbox played it earlier this year. Even the score looks kinda cool.

The Style Writing material has been fun, though mostly not very showy. The first half covered Brazilian and Afro Cuban forms and combinations, with the second half moving into soul, Motown, and funk. Am now startled I’ve never paid attention to James Brown, didn’t have a single track of his in my collection.

Barking Cats on MySpace

Sweatbox logo

Long time no blogging, and all that. Lots of time spent on music over the last couple months, both classwork and band work. My Blue Bear band Sweatbox is coming up for its first gig next week- you can see details on the Sweatbox myspace page.

I also switched my personal myspace page over to a band-format page. Didn’t know there was a difference when I created the previous one. The skins are intentionally similar here and there, though applying stylesheets after the fact is questionable.

Nerding out on Bill Frisell

Surprisingly cool- jazz guitar, some country/bluegrass, some world music. Nothing threatening or overly challenging, but none of the typical sappiness or cop-out resolutions of smooth jazz. Am shuffling through East/West, Good Dog, Happy Man, and The Intercontinentals at the moment.

Links to Amazon or iTunes (the iTunes link may not work on Windows).