I've decided to start hosting my blog on my website. Please update your link/rss feeders to http://www.generalfuzz.net/blog/
Musing from a obsessive computer music composer with hippie-ish tendencies.
I've decided to start hosting my blog on my website. Please update your link/rss feeders to http://www.generalfuzz.net/blog/
I was presented with a very nice gift this morning from Jobob.
Healing is coming right along. We went to Macy's to get some new bra's. After I was rejected from the women's changing rooms, we had customer service cordon off our own private waiting room complete with very helpful sales lady who gathered bra's and was full of sage advice. I've become far more adept at putting bra's on/off a person and then attaching them neatly on their hangers. Cotton, underwire, tan - a whole new world was opened up to me.
Anywho, Gail memed me to disclose 5 things about me:
1. I love Fiji water bottles. They are incredibly durable, and I re-use them countless times. They are structurally far superior to every other water bottle. They are like little Nalagie bottles that I can lose/recycle without guilt. My naughty little secret is that I actually love the Fiji water - my favorite thing is when I get a new bottle.
2. I do a lot of my best thinking while lying on the floor. Since I work at home quite a bit, this I avoid the awkward work scenarios. People often take my behavior with a grain of salt, so it hasn't been too bad when it happens at the workplace.
3. In college I introduced myself as "Mr. Messy", and many people called me "Mess". What's lesser known is that when I was younger and went away to summer camp, I told everyone my name was "Trev." I've been very successful at self imposing a nickname.
4. I enjoy stacking things, like coins or poker chips. If given a huge container of change, I will happily sort it out into neat little piles.
5. I once saw Yanni in concert mid high school. I went with Stina, no less, at her urging. It must of been like '92. The thing is, is that I really enjoyed it. Middle aged women shouted out "I love you Yanni!" in between songs. He was cheese through and through, but cheese sounded good with an full orchestra.
I now tag PVitty and Keri. Ignore at will.
The Kahvi collective is an amazing net label dedicated to sharing high quality mostly downtempo non-vocal electronica. I've been listening to their releases for the past year or so, and I've discovered some real gems along the way. At the end of last year I released a compilation album of tracks spanning my four albums on Kahvi named "Red Balloon."
DJ Polaski creates seamless mixes of electronica tracks. He's released a number of Trance mixes which get played on mega internet radio di.fm. Over time, he has become more focused on making mid to downtempo mixes, and has become the resident DJ on the Kahvi collective. He and I have become friends through much internet banter, and he then surprised me by making a seamless mix of my tracks which clocked in at over an hour, full of clever interplay between the tracks. Now this is no simple task. My songs are not meant to mixed that way - each track is really an island onto itself - and it took an intense amount of work and creativity to make this happen. He sent me the mix, and I was really touched. After taking it in, I felt there was some room for improvement, and since he uses the same tool I do to create tracks (Ableton Live), I had him send me the project file and made some changes. Then we went back and forth a couple times on the project, tightening the mix and learning different techniques from each other. It was a really fun process.
So now I'm psyched to release "Fusion", a 65 minute seamless mix of General Fuzz tracks.
Download it here.
Labels: general fuzz
Well, its been 4 days since the surgery, and each day has been better then the previous. She's now slowly moving around, and becoming desperate to take a peek at the new goods. TV has been our good friend. It was great and terribly helpful having Mama Rudden around. She's taking off tomorrow morning, and we're sad to see her go.
A couple hours after:
Stina sends her love to everyone, and thanks for all the support. Be sure to tell her how sexy she looks next time you see her.
After a nice restless night, a couple of delirious morning laughs, we headed into UCSF hospital first thing in the morning. Stina was duly marked, poked with a IV, and was rolled off behind the big metal doors.
I just talked with the surgeon, and apparently the great hooter reduction of '08 was a smashing success. Stina is now in the post op area, and will be moved into recovery in a couple hours. She'll spend the night here and go home tomorrow. My mocha tastes a little sweeter right now.
The most surprisingly thing about UCSF is that the main waiting room features a harpist. Well, at least it does today. You haven't lived till you've heard gangsters paradise on a harp.
We'll (me + Stina's mom) get to see her when she's in recovery.
Dr. Doug came out for one his intense long weekend jaunts. It pushed the boundaries of gastronomically excessive, creeping into slightly punishing. We kicked the whole thing off with a shameful pleasure of mine - lunch at the Olive Garden. Later there was a fierce battle for supremacy between the insane Korean BBQ dinner and the Berkeley Thai Temple breakfast on Sunday. We managed to trek all over the city, Doug always having at least one hand on his trusty camera.
I even dragged him out to see Tea Leaf Green at the Fillmore on leap day.
We made a concession to nature and cruised up to Muir woods.
(Quality shots courtesy of DBK)
It was a great, rather packed time. Next up, Micha and Kelly . . . .
As we've been dealing with Stina's back issues over the last year or so, one option that has been brought up was having a breast reduction. Stina inquired, and it turned out our insurance would cover the procedure. Sweet! Everyone we've talked to who's had the surgery has been really glad they did. So, with that in mind, Stina is going to undergo the procedure in a couple weeks.
Our life comes in waves. We are currently experiencing one of non-stop visitors, both friends and family. In true Krudden tradition, when life gets busy, we intentionally make it busier. Stina, event planner extraordinaire, decided she wanted to have a small party to celebrate her current, well, ample set of mammaries one last time. She called it "Bye bye boobies with bourbon".
We currently had athletic visitors from Seattle visiting - Tom and Yuko.
Stina surprised me by having a cake delivered during the afternoon. Very amusing. Fairly tasty.
It was huge! We barely made a dent in it
That signaled it was time to party. We were both surprised and overwhelmed with our friends thoughtful and creative gifts. Folks brought pin the boobies on the model, boobie cups, and many boobie food items.
Lindsey was really excited about her boobie cupcakes.
Joe, Lars, and Rachel made a huge number of tee shirts and accompanying spray on cheese products.
We were even graced by Pat (Haber's mom)
Good times were had by all.
We even spotted a couple of parents escaping the clutches of their respective children :)
A-town launched the party into the next dimension with his extreme lego funk.
Shot bot 2.0 made a huge first public appearance.
Shotbot is amazing:
Stina's surgery is scheduled for Friday, March 7. Feel free to send some good wishes her way.
EOTO is the live looping project from the String Cheese Incident rhythm section. I went to the show mostly to check them out. I've only seen Michael Travis behind the drum kit, so I was totally unprepared for how talented he is playing every other instrument while orchestrating songs. He can play keys, guitar, bass, and random percussion instruments. He also really has a firm grasp of sonic manipulation. He builds up pretty fantastic loops in real time, while Jason Hann relentlessly wails away at the kit. I was pretty engrossed just from a technology standpoint. Pretty inspiring stuff if you geek out on looping. It didn't hurt that Micheal Kang played this set with them, though he primarily just added texture instead being up front. Only at the end did he rock out. I would have preferred a lot more of that.
In last year or so, New Monsoon has had to completely revamp their rhythm section. Marshall Harrell replaced Ron Johnson who replaced Ben on bass, and then their original drummer left to join Blue Man Group. He was replaced with a 22 year old firecracker named Sean Hutchinson, who kicked this band into high gear. He was going batshit most of the time, which is somewhat unusual for a jam band drummer, but it totally engaged me. Thus, I enjoyed them much more then I anticipated. An excellent rhythm section and the nonstop rotation of special guests made the show totally worthy of the Fillmore. The SF Jam Band scene is getting pretty powerful.
Over the years I've learned not to depend on other musicians to come through for me. Whats really important to me is not high priority to other people. Many musicians have a tendency to be flakey, and are prone to cancel at the last minute. It's a very frustrating lesson to learn.
By the end of '07, I had contacted three professional musicians that I really wanted to work with on my new album. I had mentally prepared myself for the fact that some or all of these sessions might not happen. This week I'm ecstatic to say I had a session with the third, and final musician, Rashida Clendening, also known as Audio Angel. It took my breath away.
After the last fully collaborative album, I've started to see myself both as a composer and a producer. When I have an artist in my studio, I record in a fairly untraditional manner. I like to have lots of material to work with, so I loop a section of a song and have a musician either play a melody/harmony that I've composed for them, or have them improvise for a while. I give feedback as we're recording to help ensure that I record audio that I'm confident I can use. At the same time, I try to give musicians the freedom and space to explore different ideas and use their voice. After the session I go back through the audio and seriously edit/re-arrange it so it sounds the way I want it to. For example, I'm currently working on a song that Dan Lebowitz recorded on. I've spliced tons of tiny bits of guitar line to make it sound like it has a natural progression with the song. Literally nothing you hear in the song was played in that way, but it should sound like it was. Of course, you still need excellent source material to make this process work. I consider this process producing opposed to composing.
Anyhow, I have composed a very short, minimalist song that is almost prayer like. This song is has become a little bit sacred to me, so I've been struggling how to produce it. I have been envisioning that the melody and harmony would be sung. I've seen Rashida perform in various ensembles over the years and really appreciated her ability to dynamically match the musical context (along with her truly magnificent voice). She's also incredibly outgoing, radiating positivity and beauty in every encounter. That means a lot to me. I wanted to find out how she would approach this "prayer" song (no idea what it'll be called), which would primarily comprise of her singing.
We did a session on Tuesday, and even though it was mostly her singing small bits of the song at a time, there were several times I got chills listening to her. That's never happened to me before during a recording session. I have great hope for this song reaching its maximum potential. I also have a deep respect for her, not just for the recording session, but when we were talking and learning about each other, she was challenging me to become more then I am. She left me with more then just inspiring audio - she left me with ideas to think about.
Labels: general fuzz
Last Thursday, the internet told me their was likely to be a surprise Dead reunion show in support of Obama. On Friday, I got confirmation it would happen on Monday at the Warfield, and spread the word to friends who were at the Phil and Friends show. The officially announced the show @ 3pm on Friday, and Tickets went on sale @ 5pm. It sold out in minutes. Enough of my friends got tickets so all of us could go. Sweet pickles.
The line the to get in was insanely long, what with 2300 folks retrieving will call tickets. The nice sketchy neighborhood tainted the exterior hippiesque vibe. It wasn't the peace and love experience you'd hope for outside a dead reunion concert.
They did a nice transformation inside the venue though.
The show opened up with a freshly taped Obama speech made from his plane. He thanked Phil, Bobby, and Mickey, said some inspirational words, and told us sit down and enjoy the show. The crowd erupted at that. Then the red curtain lifted and the boys vaulted right into Playing in the Band. It was Phil's current line-up sans Larry Cambell, with Bobby, Mickey, and Mark Karan, the guitarist for Ratdog. He had just sat out their last tour due to throat cancer, so it was great to him. The crowd was psyched, to say the least.
We sat next to these two. I like it when life does that.
First set was a fairly energetic but abrupt 45 minutes. Just as folks started heading out to the lobby for refreshments, Phil came out to get the crowd fired up about Obama. Bobby and Mickey eventually joined him.
We wandered out to the bar area, and somehow managed to run into all our friends, who had been scattered all over the venue.
Shortly after that, they played a mini acoustic set, which was perfect for the setting. The Friend of the Devil -> Deal > Ripple was simply beautiful.
Set three was the big one. My personal highlight was Sugaree, a song I normally don't care for, then Eyes Of The World. It was a bit much on stage, since they sometimes brought up Barry Sless. They would have two keyboards, two drums, and three guitar players. When Jackie Greene went back to guitar they had four guitarists. Nutty balls. They sounded like they were having fun, and everyone managed to come along for the ride. It was nice to see Phil and Bobby smiling and playing off each other. I wouldn't say it was an epic show or anything, but I was really glad to have been able to go. It was comforting to see to Rob and his flashing, spinning orb along with his light up suit meandering through the aisles.
What can I say? Deadheads get spoiled rotten in SF.
This has been a really special week for Jimmy. Last night Dan Lebowitz brought his trusty guitar over to chez Fuzz to add some of his signature tastiness to a couple new tracks I'm working on. He's been #1 on my list of people I wanted to work with since I finished my last album. I'd been slowly crafting a plan to make that happen, and it was most excellent and satisfying that it actually occurred. I was surprised how even in the fuzzy context his guitar playing is so recognizably Lebo.
Today, pedal steel guitar jedi David Phillips came over for some work on a different track. He's a truly exceptional musician, and conveniently lives two block away. The ambiance he was able to conjure out his 14 string instrument was truly awe inspiring.
So, in two days, I worked with two professional musicians. Um, can you say solid? I can.
I can also say tightly polished unit, but you know that already if you read my blog. Blog reader! Now, I don't say that with scorn. I say that with love. I got nothing but love for you, even though you don't leave comments, lurker.
Also, in other exciting musical developments, I've been working with DJ Polaski on a General Fuzz mix that he's created. Its gonna be stellar. He's really opened my eyes to the power of continuously flowing sound scapes. Whats not to like about a different type of sonic journey?
Nothing, my blog reading friend. Unless it sucks monkey balls.
So real good times, minus me mailing in Stina's unopened absentee voting ballot. Doh.
Labels: general fuzz
Its fascinating to me how choices I made a decade ago have an impact on my current life. Rob Levitsky, an ex-landlord of mine, was and is a major contributor to the Grateful Dead community. Being handy with both mechanical and electrical construction, he built an elaborate float called "the wheel" for a Mardi Gras parade that occurred during the middle of the Phil and Friends show.
He asked if I wanted to push the float for a free ticket to the show. I declined, what with my weak back and small stature. Then he asked if I would run a video camera on the float. Well, that I could do. Done.
He asked folks to show up in the late afternoon to help decorate the float. I turned up around 5ish, and there was no work for me to do. So instead, I soaked up the scene. The opener, Dumpstaphunk hit at 7ish, so I figured I'd just chill out, talk to folks, and score some sweet seats for folks who would join me later. I was really fired up for the opener.
There were lots of other people mulling around who clearly had been key members in the dead scene for a long time. After spending so much time learning about the Dead since arriving in California, I really appreciated the experience.
And oh look, there was Phil.
They practiced pushing the floats out on the floor.
I ended talking to several NES security people who worked for Bill Graham, helping set up huge destination Dead shows in the late 60's/early 70's. It was rad.
Eventually Dumpstaphunk took the stage, and life as I know it got particularly funky. These guys tore it up good. I was ludicrously psyched, and the place was sadly almost empty. Ivan Neville is a sick keyboard player. They rocked two bass players. It hit low and hard, and it was tight. There was even a sweet "Soprano's" theme song tease in the middle of a tune. I would see these guys ANYTIME they come around.
As Dumpstaphunk finished up their set, my friends arrived, and I was already somewhat spent. Cruising around, I ran into a ton of folks from all walks of life. Hanging out backstage was fun. They had a large wardrobe of costumes so folks could Mardi Gras it up, and when everyone's in costume festive feelings are amplified. Eventually Phil and Friends took the stage. It was the same incarnation as the last time I saw them.
First set was pretty good. It started out pretty mellow, which was not what Dumpstaphunk left me craving for. I wanted more umph. They slowly started picking up steam while I adjusted my internal dial from Funky to Hippie, and everything started coming up Millhouse.
During set break, I went to join the party backstage. There were TONS of folks, all in costume, celebrating with gusto. Stilt walkers, clowns, dragons, and giant face masks buzzed around while many of us hung out on floats, getting ready to kick this party up about fifteen notches. I hung out with Wavy Gravy and felt as connected as I ever am going to to this scene. His fish on a stick was MIA - instead he was rocking a gopher on a stick. Anticipation and excitement built up, eventually followed by impatience, as in true Dead fashion, everything ran waaay late.
Then they boys returned, rocked a killer Shakedown which made me think about all the ex-Shakedown cohorts who were present inside the venue. Then they launched into Iko Iko, the giant black curtain was dropped, and controlled mayhem commenced. It was REALLY cool to be up on the float. I tried to video capture the energy and excitement that was going down, and by doing so, it deeply infected me.
Stina took some video from the seats:
After the parade finished up, we were backstage, on a float, eye level to the stage. So we danced. They brought out Ivan Neville. We danced some more. Eventually, I made my way back to our seats, and collapsed. I was pretty done at that point. I made it maybe another hour, and then we left. I've just peeked at the setlist from last night, and they freaking played for another hour!? Show ended at 2:08am. Daaamn.
I spent 7 hours at the Bill Graham Civic center that day. It was time well spent.
Stiners decided we should try Dine about Town, and randomly picked the Poleng Lounge to break our cherry. This meant we had a ridiculous 5 course meal at very reasonable price. And, man, it was hella tasty. Hella. Who knew Balinese food was so good? Crazy spicy though.
Then we sauntered down to the Rickshaw Stop to see our friends in the New Up rock the hisbah. They are pretty serious about trying to succeed as a band, and its shows. They wisely space out their SF shows, so I tend to see them maybe once a year. It's fun to watch them tighten up their songs and become a really polished unit.
Yeah, I said really polished unit. Hot.
Its also nice that they are pretty prolific song writers, so its not always seeing the same set. Anyhow, they kicked some ass, and I assume will continue to do so down the road.
We now have Beantown visitors Britt-anya and Mike, who recently became all engaged, in the hizzy. Last night we picked them up from SFO and made an immediate bee-line for In'n'Out.
These are my kind of people.
I've seen Moe many, many times, mostly cause Zaq used to work for them and always got me free tickets. I didn't like em so much at first, but eventually through repetition, I learned to avidly enjoy their song craft and jam rocking skills. So, I tend to see them when they come to town. And even though I flaked on getting tickets and it sold out, craigslist came to the rescue with a shiny face value ticket.
After the customary hour late start time, things got off to a sorta rocking start. The thing with Moe is that they are very hit or miss for me. And on Thursday, they really weren't holding my attention so much. The crowd didn't seem to elated either, though thats the report from the back. I'm sure the front crowd was raging. There were some good songs, ridiculous instrumentations, and then long ambling spacey jams that went on for far too long. They debuted a bunch of new tunes, some which sounded mighty nice. They do good with lyrics, those Moe guys. Much more so then most of the jam band flock. The light show was fantastic. It takes a lot to impress me with the lights, but their light crew is top notch.
I made through most of set 2, but bailed before poster, a mortal sin in Pat's eyes. Good thing I was solo.
An extra special bonus was that Roy McNeill was playing the poster room, much to my surprise. So I had a nice haven to zone out during the pre-show and set break. I like how he's rebranded himself.
I'm pretty amused how our approach to music is quite opposite - I'm all about virtualizing everything, so all I need is a laptop, a keyboard, and maybe another midi controller or two. Roy is about analog gear, so he always comes heavy.
I had some extra amusing encounters along the evening. I ran into Jason Parmar's old landlord, a sweet chemist lady with a very cute French accent, and a dude who was all about starting up the Big Afro and Beard society. Our goal is to enlighten others of our extreme amazingnesticity through inspiration.
I know DP is going to Saturday nights LA show. I'll be interested in his evaluation.