Flurry of Posts

I will be making a series of posts. Basically, I find the stuff I write on twitter is hilarious :D And it's only available on twitter.

Also, I was working on a guitar project. I am a huge fan of The Kinks. So I recorded myself playing guitar along with the entire Kinks - We Are The Village Green Preservation Society album. It's my favorite. The project was: Record myself playing guitar, figure out the songs that same day (usually, I did know a few already), it would have to be recorded on my cell phone, and mistakes are allowed!

So generally, the quality is bad and the playing is ok. The music is still great though. Here it is, the Village Green Office Sessions

For twitter posts, I'd probably like to write something that scans twitter for my posts tagged with a certain tag and import them automatically as posts. But I'm in a transition period on this site. Basically I want to learn Google's Cloud suite of tools and rebuild it there. So updates will have to wait.

New Band That I Love

I've discussed previously on this site my different phases of music. They usually revolve around bands or styles of music. I'm in a new phase right now. It's "no phase". I'm scouring the web looking for new music.

But I've found a new band that is worth my time and deserves my fanaticism.  The Head and the Heart.  They are pretty awesome. Be sure to watch their videos on youtube. I like all of their songs. Some of my absolute favorites, if I had to choose, are:

- Heaven Go Easy On Me
- Cats and Dogs
- Ghosts
- Honey Come Home
- Lost in My Mind

I like them all though...

Today I figured out Logic Express

And to some degree, Mac OS X. I record with an audio interface (Yamaha GO46) through FireWire. This required no setup in a Mac at first. I upgraded to Leopard and probably got an update to Logic Express 8 that I just said, OK install it. This caused some problems.

One of the next times I went to record, I got no sound on monitoring. It would record, but I couldn't record another track with no feedback. So my next few recorded songs were single tracks. Until I really wanted to record more than one track, this was fine. I then had to check the internets for an answer.

Some forums were like "Create an aggregate device in the Audio MIDI Setup tool." I was like, yeah. I tried this but had no idea what the implications were. I found an Apple article that basically solved all of my problems. So I set up my aggregate device, set my audio interface as the first device and the 'clock', and set my built-in output as the second device. Worked like a champ... until I tried to "bounce" the songs I was recording.

The way I had it set up, inputs 1-4 and outputs 1-6 were the audio interface, and outputs 7-8 were built in output. So, I could hear everything as I was recording, but now I couldn't get any sound when I bounced to mp3. This is because the default bounce method bounces outputs 1-2. I had to bounce 7-8, my built-in outputs. Anyway, I have to go babysit. Here's the songs I recorded recently.

Jamaica, I'm excited for my trip.
Improva. I was calling this one "Improv in A" but shortened it.

Trying some new stuff

Ramones (1st LP) [Remaster] - CD
The Ramones

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols - CD
The Sex Pistols

American Beauty [Digipak] - CD
Grateful Dead

Dire Straits (1st LP) [Remaster] - CD
Dire Straits

Giant Steps - CD
John Coltrane

Beautiful Ballads & Love Songs - CD
Miles Davis

16 Biggest Hits - CD
Roy Orbison

JR.com had a $7 cd sale. I looked through everything, but there was some other good stuff that I decided not to get.

I like that old time rock & roll

I just bought two "compilation" albums that should keep me occupied for a couple of days.

Eddie Cochran
Buddy Holly

Greatest hits or whatever. I get the morning shift in work, of music. We throw on tunes and rock. Friday I put on the Beastie Boys "License to Ill", and previous installments included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns n' Roses, Blind Melon, and I forget what else. It's a good time. Time to mix it up with some 50s rock.

Two new songs, Kodie looks funny

These two new songs could be said to be written for Kodie, since one was before I went to pick her up at the Vet, and the second one when I got her home and all fed (2 full cans of soft meaty dog food!).

The first one, a Mother Fing Jam in G, can be downloaded here. It shows why I love my new found experience of fingerpicking, and also hammering on two notes at the same time with two different fingers on two very different strings. You just have to put on headphones and listen to it to tell where I'm talking about. Otherwise, it's just I hear a rhythm in my head and play along.

The second one, Long Jam, here, starts off finding a rhythm to play along with, then plays around in D for a while.

Kodie got her whole bottom row of teeth pulled :( The front though, none of her big teeth. These looked real bad in the past week or so, and I noticed two of them, at least, were really loose. So they're all gone. She's fine though. They said in a few weeks, if I want I can go back to the hard food, if Kodie will eat that stuff still! I gave her some soft food, and it was like meat with gravy. Two full cans, and she just ate it up. She was starving so we'll see how she is tomorrow. If she's still excited about getting food, then I actually have to learn how to portion it for her! Usually when the bowl's empty I fill it and it won't be empty for about a day or so. She's very good about eating that food because she doesn't like it :) It's only when necessary. But I bet I could keep filling her bowl up with this soft, meaty, gravy covered food and she'll just keep eating it.

I watched the HBO show "In Treatment" tonight and really liked it. I was like "I should probably watch that show, it's on a couch, and there's no room for bad acting, so it's probably excellent or really shitty". Then as I was thinking that, it came on. It was probably an "On Next" thing. It's on HBO. It was excellent, I must say. Might watch it some more.

Lightnin' Hopkins

I worked from home on Friday, so I had to VPN into the network and log onto my computer with Remote Desktop. A (at first) horrible downside to this is that I couldn't access my iTunes library on the Mac. My new $100 headphones' cord isn't long enough to reach my desk, and there's no room for it on the desk, and I sure as hell can't play music out of the tiny laptop speakers. So, I decided to log onto Pandora and listen to some of my "Bob Marley" radio station. After a little while, I wanted to change it up so I put on my "Cracker" radio, which yielded some interesting music. After that, I made a new radio station. I wanted to listen to some blues. I just typed in Robert Johnson and let Pandora handle the rest. Was that a great move.

I'm listening to some greats that I've heard before and like, but nothing's really blowing me away. So I'm getting lots of work done :) Next thing I know, this version of "Catfish Blues" comes on. All acoustic guitar, and the thing is distorting my speakers (or so I thought). It's slow, guitar and singer, and the guitar is just amazing. I flip over to my browser that's running Pandora, and see that it's a Texas bluesman named Lightnin' Hopkins. I mark him with a "thumbs up", and keep listening. A few songs pass, again, none blowing me away. Then this other song comes on and I have the same reaction... f$@#%ing awesome guitar. Flip over to Pandora... Lightnin' Hopkins again. This happened like 4 times. This is over 2 hours. So today I bought some Sam Hopkins.

The album that Catfish Blues is on is called "Blues in My Bottle". I'm on the 2nd song right now... so far awesome. There's quite a deal on iTunes if you're a fan of blues. Lightnin' Hopkins "The Complete Aladdin Recordings", 1946-1949, 43 songs, $10. "Blues in My Bottle" is all just guitar and singing. Amazing guitar. Buy it.

The Guitar Player

I threw out any attempts to act like a musician on this latest song (and I got rid of most of the buzzing! Thanks Todd, I just moved the amp away from the laptop and network of wires by my bed and it took care of most of it... the ground trick will probably take care of the rest, so if it gets unbearable, that's what I'll do). Instead of being crafty, I just decided to wail on my Gretsch. The rhythm guitar is still top notch though :) It's a slow blues back beat with some hard clean soloing. You'll hear the Gretsch's signature piece of hardware, the Bigsby (TM) somewhere in there. Keep an ear open for it. I don't really put it at a hugely inventive or creative spot, I just throw it in there on a G chord :P (it's at 1:03).

It's here... the filename is "SoBad.mp3" but I didn't come up with the name of the song until after I uploaded it and my laziness rivals any in history. So after you download it, just rename the file to "TheGuitarPlayer.mp3", which of course is named that after I attempted to be a musician for a few songs, instead of a guitar player... being a musician is hard, but I've been playing guitar for almost 13 years now. Even though I still suck... :(

More upbeat stuff coming soon

I like rap and stuff with good beats that can make you dance. My next few songs will be like that. My favorite thing about guitar is its percussion. Particularly about my Gretsch going through the Blues Deluxe and my microphone to my computer etc. I love the sound of it. Before I start recording, I usually sit there for a good hour with my eyes closed just listening to the output of the microphone through my headphones. It just sounds so f#%@#$ing good. Compared to my old way of recording, you hardly got any percussive variations no matter how much you tried. Now, just hammer on that B and roll a bass line in E, and it just sounds incredible. No more old way for me!

Also a word on guitar. Again. I noticed that when someone who doesn't play guitar listens to my song from last week (here), they usually judge it based on my soloing ability. Whereas when I listen to it (over and over for hours), I listen to it for the rhythm guitar. Just a thing I noticed when my coworker, the smercenary, and I were on our way back to the office after a client meeting in Exton, and we had to take a back way because it was around 5pm and the Schuylkill Express was jam packed. I decided to put on Jimi Hendrix' "BBC Sessions", a two disk album, which got us through, and "Driving South" made me easily do 90. I didn't know the area that he was taking me, and we were coming up on a turn and he almost missed telling me to take it, and he said "I almost missed the turn there because Jimi's guitar playing is so f%@$ing good." It was just rhythm playing :P Scott's a musician too. But I typically love Jimi's rhythm playing too.

When I practice, lately, I'm practicing my rhythm, so my soloing skill has been declining. I don't wonder if it's because I'm getting better at rhythm that I tend to favorite it and practice it more, getting even better in the process. It's my favorite whether I suck at it or not.

In totally unrelated, totally geeky news, I saw an article about a moon on slashdot that was tagged with the most hilarious tag ever: thatsnomoonitsagasstation. Be sure to read the article.

New Song

I actually recorded this over the weekend. I wasn't going for a melody, since I really don't do that in most songs. I usually just try to screw around over the chord progression, oftentimes forgetting what chord I was playing at a certain part of the song. Especially when it gets a little complex like this song. It's called Sexy :) Happy Valentine's Day!

(I know, I have to fix that buzzing in the background...)

Finally, The Audio Interface Arrives

Hooked it up and played around with everything for a few hours last night. It's crazy how sensitive that mic is. I could play my guitar with my amp off and the mic picked it up a few feet away and facing the other direction (it's a flat mic where one side really has the recording capability).

The headphones I got are way better than the laptop speakers :P But I didn't want the output getting picked up again by the mic, so it was good that I got them, plus these are great headphones. Crazy thing about the mic sensitivity... I could hear clear as day when I used the computer, like clicking the button or typing. First I thought that it was a mouse clicking sound effect in Logic Express, until I clicked around outside of that program.

I threw together a quick test song for your listening pleasure. I used a total of one chord! It's all based around an E or somewhere in the vicinity. Check it out here. It's great that my guitar and amp sound so good through all the equipment I bought! Couldn't be happier. Can't wait to record more!

Everything is almost here

I'm just missing the audio interface now. I have everything else. I got an email from the seller of the interface that they will get it in stock in 3-5 days, so that blows. I'm gonna have to complain to someone about that. Amazon.com said it was in stock. At least the place is close, so that when it does get to their store, it will definitely be here the next day.

I already installed Logic Express 8 and today it was updated over the internets. The mic is sitting on my bed, the mic cable on top of my amp, the mic boom stand leaning against my wall next to all of my guitars, the headphones also on my bed. They are awesome headphones though, I should use them a lot.

When I get home, I play guitar. Today the Flyers are on, so I only played for an hour, but I can easily play until I go to bed. And I'm not playing anything I already know, and I'm also not playing songs that have been written. I'm just experimenting. Like, hmm... if I finger pick the bass note then pluck the bottom three with my fingers in order... that sounds alri... but if I try to finger pick different bass notes simultaneously with playing the fingers, it doesn't sound that great but it's awesome practice that'll get me pretty good at finger picking. Plus I might find some new sounds out of it.

That's all, Flyers are on.

Everything is so expensive

I thought I was done with the expensive stuff following my guitar and amplifier purchases. Not so. I couldn't be happier with those two though. The guitar plays so, so nicely, it's made me better; with just how easy it plays. And the amplifier couldn't sound better. Unfortunately, lately I've been getting around to playing too late that I can't turn it up, since I live in a row house :P

But with a great guitar, and awesome amplifier, I've been playing more regardless of what time I play. This, naturally, gets you warmed up. When I'm all done playing all the stuff I know, which happened within the first thirty minutes of when I got my new guitar, the only thing I can do is try to learn other stuff. So, I've been playing, improving, improv, jazz, and blues, and now I want to record!

The last purchase consists of a Yamaha Go46 FireWire recording interface, a Sennheiser guitar microphone and headphones (don't want echo recorded from the computer through the mic and into the computer again), a boom microphone stand, microphone cable, and Logic Express 8. These are costly items, but I was able to save a bunch going through Amazon.com, as I usually am able to do. They'll all be here before the weekend, but I'll be heading up to Zatko's this weekend to play video games, so I won't be able to record anything until Sunday or so. Maybe look for stuff then. If not, the latest will probably be Tuesday.

But, part of my improving has been playing chords that I've never played before. Like, the C# maj dim (usually diminished chords are noted with a o, but I don't know how that's going to look :P ), which goes nicely in between a D9 and a Bm. Then trying to come up with solos between those chords is always a challenge, and I'll know if I can do it once I start recording some background music to solo over. There's always a chicken and egg scenario.

Like, for instance (and this is BRUTAL), I want to start copying all of my DVDs to a hard drive, but I need a computer with a ton of space. I might as well throw Linux on there and also do my development on it as well, so it should be a pretty powerful machine with like 2 TB of space (that's 2000 gigabytes). Of course, then to watch them on a TV, I'd get an Apple TV. But, to really get the most out of that, I'd need to get an HDTV, preferably the 40" Sony Bravia that I've been eyeing. And if I'm going HD, then I have to upgrade my cable plan to get HD channels.

Brutal, I tell ya. F@%#@$ing brutal.

This made me laugh

It's interesting, the role that the RIAA believes they play

"It's commonly known as piracy, but it's a too benign term that doesn't even begin to adequately describe the toll that music theft takes on the many artists, songwriters, musicians, record label employees and others whose hard work and great talent make music possible."

Including "record label employees" along with the implication of music not existing without them is just absurd. I can't imagine buying a guitar and not being able to make somewhat arranged sounds of different tones and percussive intensities without the RIAA.