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Showing posts from 2007

The 10 Elements of Music

Bass guitar virtuoso Victor Wooten performed a clinic (view it on ) i n which he taught that there are 10 elements of music that you should know how to use. (in no particular order): 1. Notes 2. Rhythm 3. Feel 4. Dynamics 5. Technique 6. Tone 7. Phrasing 8. Listening 9. Articulation 10. Space

Quiet Your Rehearsal Space on the Cheap

Build your own acoustic tiles for under $100 (This post is aimed at improving a band rehearsal space, but could also apply to a home studio or home theater) Have you ever jammed in a room that just seemed disagree with every instrument? The vocals are difficult to make out, the drums seem too loud, and you're constantly battling the sound board to keep feedback at bay. If this sounds familiar, you've probably experienced jamming in an underdamped room. Bare walls can cause excess reverb, and lead to a host of problems- feedback, bad equalization, and other poor conditions that make it difficult to get any work done. The easy way out is to hang a crappy old rug on the walls... And while you're at it, why not break out the cheap beer and a Playstation for the full dorm room effect. However, if you want to do it with a little more style, you'll want to use 2'x4' or 2'x2' panels. While the pros will charge you upwards of $500 for such acoustic panels,

Hydrogen is a widely misunderstood fuel.

Often I'm asked why I'm a proponent of vegetable oil as a fuel, rather than a fuel that doesn't emit CO2, such as Hydrogen. Carbon neutrality is more important than to zero CO2 emissions at the tail pipe. Hydrogen is no more a fuel than are the batteries of an electric car- you put energy (electricity) in to make it, and it's then just a carrier of that energy for a vehicle. If the Hydrogen was produced using electricity from a nuclear power plant or coal plant, you still contributed new CO2 to the atmosphere. Using plant mass as a fuel, however, is carbon neutral. When plants grow they convert CO2 to oxygen- the same amount that will be turned back into CO2 when it is used by cars. Thus, you could accurately say that a veggie car is, in some cases, less of a CO2 contributor than a Hydrogen car. The promise Hydrogen offers is that of a better fueling infrastructure: one that will centralize energy conversion (and thus any CO2 production) to one location and source.

Mike Watt - Hardest Working Bass Man in America

I never intended for anyone to become my hero. As a bass player who is trying to further his self, one of the most important companions to creating music is studying other music - all of it. The good, the bad, the popular, and the unprecedented. Mike Watt and the Minutemen helped shape the early American punk movement in the late 70's. Traveling all over in a beat up Ford Econoline van, setting up their own tours, and conveying their own message, they "jammed econo". What do you do when your best friend and musical soulmate is killed in an accident? For Mike Watt, music was his life when D. Boon died in 1985. Hanging up his bass guitar and calling it quits would have been equivalent to suicide- and I'm sure the thought crossed his mind during that dark time. Instead, he did the only logical thing to him, and has everyday since then- he gives himself to the musical world, in the name of his fallen mate. Mike Watt gives his energy to us in several ways. Besides

Why did SpeedTV dump WRC in favor of NASCAR?

I don't watch much TV, but there was a time when my roomies and I used to enjoy catching the weekly recap of the World Rally Championship , on SpeedTV (formerly Speedvision). For those of you who are unfamiliar, auto rally racing competitions are THE most hardcore, adrenalized motor sport, for both the participant and the viewer, on the planet. Sport compact cars with unbelievable power-to-weight ratios are dropped into the most grueling road conditions (snow, mud, you name it) and run the stages as fast as possible, with in-car cameras. The competition is on real, treacherous roads (no tracks!) ...And these cars turn left AND right, NASCAR fans. The cars go so fast that they have a dedicated course note reader so the driver is prepared for the turns. See this video to get an idea of what it's like. The road conditions change rapidly and the team has to decide quickly and finally what tires to use, etc. The cars run one at a time so they don't have to worry about h

Timbaland rips off a Demoscene artist

I knew this day would come. The new Timbaland/Nelly Furtado song "Do It" uses a song made in 2000 by Finnish demoscene artist "Tempest" (Janne Suni). It's a 4 channel .mod (the ripoff is from a playback using the C64 SID soundchip). The song was hosted on's servers (the main repository for all everyones demos and tracked music, etc.). As you might expect, no permission or royalties were paid to Tempest. Just to clarify, we're not talking about some kind of coincidence here. There is no question that this track was used to create the song "Do It". In an interview, Timbaland tries to downplay it, saying things like "he sampled it from a video game". (This track was not written for a video game- it was actually written for the 2000 demoscene music competition, in which it won 1st place). Regardless, he basically claims he has no legal obligations because it's just like all the other pop artists that sample other m