Archive for May, 2014

Bruegel > Spring

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014
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Spring Pieter Bruegel 1565

Spring Pieter Bruegel 1565

(click to enlarge)
The Latin on the bottom translated; March April and May are the months of Spring / Spring, similar to childhood / In Spring golden Venus rejoices in flowery garlands

“Spring” puts us in the garden of a noble or wealthy family. It is being planted and cared for by a number of servitors. The mistress of the garden, or lady of the estate stands at right center. She holds a shade hat in her left hand while with her right hand she directs the seed-scattering of the bent worker next to her. Another female of her class stands just to her right, seemingly a younger girl, possibly the daughter of the first. Her head is tilted downword and her face covered by her hat brim. Her attention is given to a tiny lapdog who seeks to climb her long skirt, as if seeking protection from all of the strange smells and activities. Tolnay has suggested that the figure of the bearded man with the spade in front, just right of center, “seems to be inspired by the digging Noah in Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling.”

This is a French formal type of garden, not an English type. Geometrical exactness is being assured by the taut-drawn cord which passes just behind the bearded figures spade. All these symmetrical beds are being prepared for growth, being sodded, raked, seeded, watered, set with plants. Potted shrubs and bushes stand just left of center. In the upper right quadrant, sheep are sheared by 2 workers under the thatched eaves of the barn and by an energetic woman outside. Further right a basket of sheared wool is carried. (more…)

Performance is king and the secret to the Bonham drum sound

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
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This is an article by Ronan Chris Murphy published originally in Fuse.

There is no greater truth in making records than this: “The recording is governed by the performance.” This may seem obvious, but many times the implications of this are not. There are two main areas where this truth manifests itself. The first is in the emotional impact of the music and the second is in the sonic signature or sonic possibilities of a recording.

Even with the best gear in the world or fancy recording techniques, the heart and soul of a recording is the emotion and the feel of a performance, and of course the songs. When I have discussions with musicians about production and they begin to confuse production with “great drums sounds”, I tell them that good production is about getting the songs and the performances to a point where the drum sound does not matter, and then getting great drum sounds. Many of the recordings that are classics in the history of rock, pop and jazz actually sound quite bad when compared to other records of the same era or many records of today. Some of these recording are marred by unintentional distortion, poor mic technique and downright awful drum sounds, but these classics still stand up on the radio next to modern multimillion dollar productions because the songs and the performances are great. A great song and a great performance will transcend any limitations of “sound quality”.

In my career I have had the pleasure of working with many performers that I consider brilliant and monumental. I will often get compliments on the sound of these recordings. While I am grateful for the appreciation, I always know that with some of these performers, I could have hit record on a boom box in the middle of a room and it would have been a great recording. (more…)

construction and status fyi

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
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media players being what they are, and hardware and software requirements being what they are (all ever changing) I am in the process of updating and renewing different aspects of my website…you may find some surprises over the next few days, partially constructed pages and maybe even a full blown site redesign…its ok – take a deep breath and enjoy the ride, it’s meant to be.

Thy great deliverance is a greater thing

Monday, May 5th, 2014
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Than purest imagination can foregrasp;
A thing beyond all conscious hungering,
Beyond all hope that makes the poet sing.
It takes the clinging world, undoes its clasp,
Floats it afar upon a mighty sea,
And leaves us quiet with love and liberty and thee


20 reasons you won’t finish that song…

Thursday, May 1st, 2014
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…or learn that instrument, write that book, complete that screenplay make that drawing or climb that mountain of passion in whatever form it may be. Here’s the deal, this is largely confessional. When I look at what kinds of impediments get in the way of my creative urges, I see patterns. Where I fail and learn, maybe you can benefit. There are probably more than 20 reasons, and these are not all my own, but feel free to have a look and see if you notice anything familiar here that inhibits your invention / destiny. After all, if we compare notes and can learn from one another, maybe we can both defeat these hostiles below with greater efficiency.

1) No time.
Really? Last time I checked we all have 24 hours in the day. Almost everybody I know that is productive finds ways to be despite their circumstances and schedule. If days go by and you are not setting time aside for your song / instrument / goal – you will obviously not make any progress. It is usually the hardest in the beginning, but as you develop new habits and experience growth you will find inertia setting in and real milestones taking place. You ain’t gonna shine if you don’t do take the time. There is no magic boat ride to songwriting Saturday. Make time now, carve out that sanctuary of study, fight for your right to write… even if it is only a few minutes every day.

2) Composing, practicing, writing (your passion) is W-O-R-K.
So does that mean a person is not carried along on a non-stop dose of perpetual inspiration? Surely you know that writing is a blissful state of unadulterated enjoyment. It seems to me one of the writer clichés is someone sitting by a piano – dreamily looking out the window as dewy winged notes flit down from heaven. Ahhhhhh. Right. Well – maybe sometimes there is inspiration, but mostly it is an act of discipline to sit down and “work” on music. While I enjoy writing as a rule…sometimes it can be downright unpleasant. Some days it’s fun. Some days it’s harder, but still satisfying. Some days it’s sweat and sting and willpower with little else. Songs are elusive little creatures. Music is an art with a science. We were told way back in the garden our work would sweat our brows – so roll up your sleeves and get to it…WORK that is! It really is a relentless work ethic that prospers. (more…)