Just a quick note to let everyone know that the Modulator section is beginning to grow. I just added the first sample track and plan on adding some "before and after" tracks, including some pieces showing the process quite a bit along the way.
This should get more and more interesting as I add stuff of my own, in addition to new stuff from the other collaborators. Alex Machacek's version "24 Tales" is coming out the same day as Modulator: May 18. Mike Keneally's is on his way, as well as John Czaikovski's and Marco Minnemann's.
This is what can come when you are looking for something -- a real search -- and music is your telescope.
This tiny little piece, just two short pages of notation, is wonderfully rich. I have been playing through it over and over again this last week. It is absolutely strange how much subtlety is contained in it.
Some photos and video tidbits from the performance last weekend at the Kirkland Performance Center. We're still searching around for more pictures and are itching to get our ears on the audio recordings.
This was a very rewarding show. Everyone I spoke to said they were taken by the diversity of the material, and yet it all held together quite well. For myself, the show was an 8 of 10 - which is damn high, and possibly one of the best TU shows ever.
I had the wonderful pleasure of advocating for Music week ago. It caught me by surprise how direct it was, and how clear my role was.
It was over the course of three different coaching sessions with three different people. I could hear what the music was demanding, and I voiced that. These folks were, each, working on completely different kinds of things.
I have been experimenting with a new kind of listening over the last year.
For reasons partially, but not completely, clear to me I am finding that my ear has developed a kind of threshold. This threshold is not just volume oriented, it is also information oriented. Once I cross this threshold my ears shut down -- both internally and externally. Meaning that not only does my inner ear shut down and I cannot bear to listen anymore, but my physical ears don't want any more sound either. They kind of stuff themselves up.
I couldn't pass up sending this one on. Before you size up the builder as a "pure-bred loony" -- and he may very well be, I never met him -- have a look around his site for all the incredible instruments he has built. Nice guitars, mandolins and mandocellos for John Paul Jones, Josh Homme and others.
I recently received a very thoughtful email asking more specifics about how I define 'music coaching' as distinct from 'music instruction'. Here was my reply.
Basically, there is a kind of spectrum with Instruction on one end and Coaching on the other end. Only two people I am currently working with fall completely on the "coaching end".
I think I can explain it like this.
The instruction end of the spectrum is where one needs to work on facility and there may not be a burning drive to realize some clear vision. The coaching end is where there IS a very clear aim/vision but there is either uncertainty about how to realize it or the spiral of the process is putting blocks in the way.
There has often been much talk about who was the first tapping musician. Who was the first to forgo the plucking of the string and just touch the fingers onto the fret board to get the energy moving?
Some say it was Emmett Chapman, inventor the Chapman Stick. Some think it was Eddie Van Halen or Stanley Jordan. Some say it was a guy named Jimmy Webster. Others: Dave Bunker, Joe Pass, Django, Paginini…. The list goes on and on.
While I'm really not much of a gear fetishist -- musical instruments, and the tools that go with them, have come and gone a lot in my life -- I am discovering that some gear is just too sweet to move on from.
I'm in the process of selling off most of my musical gear. A lot of stuff I have had purely for the rigors of long-term, old school, professional touring. Since I am now fully new school, I just don't need this stuff anymore. For example, speakers. I don't need them anymore. I am using in-ear monitors and I go direct to the house board. And if you don't need speakers, then you don't need power amps either.
And since I am presently processing my live instrument entirely through the laptop, then I don't need stomp boxes or effects racks either.
The process of selling off my stuff is quite slow and laborous. And it turns out, there are few things that I just can't let go. Some boxes do something so unique that I can't send them off. Other things (a compressor and preamp, for example) I had planned on selling, but when I pulled them out to check that they were in good enough condition, I just couldn't... They had something about them that just made me hold on. There was some extra life that they added to the instrument that I could feel and sense in the articulation of my hands.
Here are those items. Those ones that I just couldn't let go and be replaced by their digital counterparts. I haven't included any of my Warr Guitars -- my main tapping instrument -- as it goes without saying that I can't play without them.
“Austin Powers” is a piece by Alex Machacek that he, Marco Minnemann and I are working up for the UKZ shows in Japan. The recorded version is on Alex’s recording “[sic]”.
This “three-piece suit and a poison pen” of a tune has some of the most challenging rhythms I have ever attempted. The musical worlds that I move comfortably in, all have four, or occasionally three, subdivisions to the beat. The bars could be composed of any numbers of beats - 5, 8, 9, 13, etc... - but each of those beats are broken up in to four small pulses.
I have begun teaching in a fairly substantial way lately, and I love it. I have had a few private students over the last few years although no one has hung around for terribly long. Either their interest in studying with me was a ruse in order to meet me, and once they did the process was complete. Or, they had come to learn how to play a touchstyle instrument (Warr Guitar or Stick or that style adapted to guitar or bass). But once I showed them the work involved they quickly vanished! Who knows? Most likely it wasn’t time for me to be giving instructions. So I answered their questions and they mostly moved on.