Chasing Dreams

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | |

I just purchased a pair of bones at a music shop just outside of the public market down town Seattle. Inspiration being the following:

"The bones are a musical instrument (more specifically, a folk instrument) which, at the simplest, consists of a pair of animal bones, or pieces of wood or a similar material. Sections of large rib bones and lower leg bones are the most commonly used true bones, although wooden sticks shaped like the earlier true bones are now more often used." -from Wikipedia

The bones I got are said to be from a cow, although there was no labeling except for price, so I have actually no idea, lets just hope they aren't human. The store clerk was able to play the bones, he told me that it took about 3 weeks of messing around with them before he was able to really get the hang of it. I would post about the store but they seem to be anti-internet as I can not find them listed anywhere.

Looks like a really boring place to work

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 | |

I don't know about you guys, but this place looks really lame. I'm so glad I don't live in NYC and work in a tremendous warehouse wailing on a guitar all day long. LAME.


Friday, January 23, 2009 | |

Amoeba in San Francisco... Yes!

This is the best record store I have ever been to. They had everything I could have wanted (almost). I went to just check the place out and I left 70 dollars poorer; problem is I am traveling with just a backpack so I am going to have to ship the cds back home. I knew this but I just couldn't help myself.

I picked up:
Anni Rossi - Afton: She is from Minnesota or at least went to school there. I found her on myspace about 2 years ago and played some of her stuff on The Fjords of Meniscus. Turns out my friend went to highschool with her. The record is released on 4AD which is surprising, I thought it was going to be on a much smaller label.

Negativland - Escape From Noise: I had to get this because of being here in the bay area. Negativland was formed here and are responsible for one of my favorite radio shows, Over The Edge on KPFA in Berkley. So this was a no brainier, it was on sale and circa 1987.

Various - Victrola Favorites: Artifacts from Bygone Days: I think they had everything from the dust to digital record label which I really enjoy. I picked this up based on reading two reviews from the stores free review catalog (which is awesome by the way). What really excited me was the packaging, it comes in a cloth bound book, with the cds embedded in the two cover flaps front and back. Audio interview about the recordings here.

Antony and the Johnsons - This Crying Light: Sorry matt, I reached right past the Animal Collective disc to get this one, the Ep, Another World was good, and I planned on picking this up anyways. On a side note this was released on the same day that Obama was inaugurated.

KöHN - Koen: I purchased this because it was released on the k(raa k)^3 label; one of my favorite artist ES of Fonal records in Finland sometimes releases on the k(raa k)^3, so while browsing the used experimental section I decided to give KöHN a try.

Vetiver - Thing Of The Past: I had read some where that this was good, so for 4.99 it's worth trying. I really enjoy their older track Amour Fou with Devendra, but their "To Find Me Gone" album was a disappointment. They are also from the bay area.

Here is a shot to give you some idea of the magnitude of this store. I the back there is Curumin With Lateef The Truthspeaker & Gift Of Gab Of Quannum Projects (!) playing on stage while other people and myself browse about the store and the soundboard is in the folk/bluegrass section.


Thursday, January 22, 2009 | |

Animal Collective has already set the bar unreasonably high for 2009 with Merriweather Post Pavillion. Listen to it here in full (streaming), then go out and buy it.

Euclidean Rhythm

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | |

I was watching a video from 25c3, a hacker convention in Berlin, and one of the speakers was talking about custom MIDI controllers which is interesting in itself but then he mentioned "Euclidean Rhythms"

Yea, my thoughts to, so I found the paper he was talking about it's here.

Here is the abstract from the paper:
"The Euclidean algorithm (which comes down to us from Euclid’s Elements) computes the greatest common divisor of two given integers. It is shown here that the structure of the Euclidean algorithm may be used to automatically generate, very efficiently, a large family of rhythms used as timelines (rhythmic ostinatos), in traditional world music. These rhythms, here dubbed Euclidean rhythms, have the property that their onset patterns are distributed as evenly as possible in a mathematically precise sense, and optimal manner. Euclidean rhythms are closely related to the family of Aksak rhythms studied by ethnomusicologists, and occur in a wide variety of other disciplines as well. For example they characterize algorithms for drawing digital straight lines in computer graphics, as well as algorithms for calculating leap years in calendar design. Euclidean rhythms also find application in nuclear physics accelerators and in computer science, and are closely related to several families of words and sequences of interest in the study of the combinatorics of words, such as mechanical words, Sturmian words, two-distance sequences, and Euclidean strings, to which the Euclidean rhythms are compared."

Wessen who was giving the speech has a blog post about it here, listening examples included.

and the video from 25c3 is here, Wessen's talk about Euclidean Rhythm starts about half way through.

MS Paint

Friday, January 16, 2009 | |

I often find that MS paint is the only option around when I am out on shared computers, and I have always enjoyed the simplicity of it, and learning its little tricks. Here is a list some of them I knew most of them I did not.


Thursday, January 15, 2009 | |

Hirsute from A.J. Bond on Vimeo.

Minus Forty F/C

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Signature comes to you free of charge from a roving vagabond Wind-Energy Technician of the same name from some mid-western location of temperature -40. (Which happens to be both Fahrenheit and Celsius!) Today the temperature in Fargo is -30 F, which makes the snow in New York today laughable.

Roland SPD-6

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | |

78 rpm

Monday, January 12, 2009 | |

The story of 78 records is an interesting one, there are record stores today that deal exclusively in them, and people who still are tracking them down with passion like Joseph E. Bussard, Jr. the focus of Desperate Man Blues. Which I recommend watching if you get the chance.

From the Dust to Digital Website:

Desperate Man Blues tells the story of self-proclaimed king of record collectors Joseph E. Bussard, Jr. of Frederick Maryland. Joe has amassed probably the greatest collection of 78 rpm recordings of country, blues, jazz, cajun and gospel music in the world. He has spent most of of his waking hours in pursuit of old 78s. To call it a hobby would be an insult: It’s his life.
Read up on the history at the Wikipedia article.

Wired has a great article on "One Man's Quest to Digitize and Publicize Rare Records" it is about Cliff Bolling huge endivor to digitize 78 records from his collection. His website got hit pretty bad when it went public, and it does not appear to really have recovered. The good news is somebody made a torrent of all of his recordings over at mininova its over 10 gigabytes.

Over at the Internet archive you can get access to over 6000 recordings as of writing this article, and many of the links provided feature more than one recording so there is more likely around 10,000 audio clips.

Ted Staunton’s has a huge collection of 78 rpm record labels at his website. Many of them include information concerning the history of the label and significance of the release.

Example from the Ted's Site:
Aco (England) / 1925

Corporate background:
A low-priced Vocalion subsidiary marketed in England between 1922 and 1927.

Design: The square panel shape employed by the parent Vocalion label is duplicated and rotated 45 degrees to form an interesting star shape, the outer areas again being filled with a delicate filigree ornament.

A classy design that works well, even in single colour.

Some fun recordings I have found:

Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers-Shootin' Creek (1928) Link

Reorded on July 23, 1928. This tune is clearly related, if not the same tune, to the old-timey and bluegrass standard "Cripple Creek." Alan Jabbour has speculated that the "Cripple Creek" title may be related to certain labor disputes in the Cripple Creek area of Colorado during 1903 and 1904. On the other hand, a Cripple Creek flows through Grayson and Carroll Counties in Southwest Virginia. As for the title "Shootin' Creek," there exists a Shooting Creek region in Franklin County also in Southwest Virginia. This area was famous as a center for distilling homemade whiskey and it appears that Poole was a frequent visitor.

Eddie Morton - Oceania Roll (1911)

I learned about this song while I was in Iowa in 2008 at the 108th Hobo Convention in Britt Iowa. West Hill Jack and Cherokee (who also got married at the event) performed it, and it was great. Here's is a youtube version.

For some more hand picked choices from the 78 rpm age I recommend Dust to Digital again with their release of Victrola Favorites: Artifacts from Bygone Days.
From the Website:

Deluxe 144-page clothbound, full-color book of illustrations with two CDs featuring Burmese guitars, Chinese Opera, Persian folk songs, Fado, Hillbilly, Jazz, Blues and much, much more.

Recordings made between 1920s-50s compiled by Rob Millis and Jeffery Taylor of the band Climax Golden Twins. The Climax Golden Twins have designed gallery and museum installations, composed soundtracks (most notably USA Film's Session Nine), worked on documentary films (Phi Ta Khon: Ghosts of Isan released on Sublime Frequencies) and contributed soundscapes to NPR radio programs in addition to releasing numerous recordings on CD and LP.

Twin Cities Maker

Thursday, January 8, 2009 | |

On January 6th I launched Twin Cities Maker, a website dedicated to realizing a high-tech maker shop in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

The goal of the website is to find people interested in creating a maker shop, and give them an avenue to start talking about it.

A maker shop as I have coined it is membership based physical location where people combine their talents and capitol to create a workshop with tools and classes, that are out of the price range of the individual.

Think of a maker shop as a membership based gym like the YMCA but instead of racket ball courts and yoga lessons, there are CNC routers, and micro-controller classes.

Maker shops have been growing in the last few years here in the United States and abroad. Some specific movements to note are the NSF funded Fab Lab, the community based hacker spaces initiative, and California based Tech shop.

Each one of these maker shops are approaching the same idea from different angles. Some maker shops are have about 10 members and meet primarily on the internet while other maker shops have 15,000 square foot facilities with over 400 annual members.

The thing that they have in common is their community approach and their goal of making high-tech affordable.

At Twin Cities Maker we would like find out the interest level in such a maker shop and to see what type of high-tech equipment is wanted, be it laser cutters, 3D printers, or T-shirt screen printing presses. We also are starting the conversation on where the maker shop should be located and how to fund the endeavor.

I invite anybody interested from the Twin Cities or elsewhere to join the conversation and help the project get off its feet.

Gaza What is Going On?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | |

You can be sure you are not hearing the whole story from the American press, as they have long sided with the wealthy Jewish state. As Mads Gilbert, a volunteer doctor who is on ground level, said “This is an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza."

Who is Winning the PR War? Discussion and Article from Adbusters.

The Mississippi

Monday, January 5, 2009 | |

Besides the having such a great name the Mississippi has a interesting history. Here is the Mississippi Post!


Noodling is a southern US practice of fishing for catfish using only bare hands. Also Know as catfisting, grabbling, graveling, hogging, dogging, gurgling, tickling and stumping. (Wikipedia)

Canoeing the River:
From Lake Itasca, the head of the Mississippi all the way up in Minnesota, and stretching 2,300 miles south to the opening of the Gulf of Mexico in a Canoe. One persons story here. Oh how I would love to do this, it would be awesome!

Riverboat Gambling:Yee Haw. I always wanted to walk out on one of these, and I have seen several in Iowa. These boats were originally constructed to take advantage of a loophole around casino building permits.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
Mark Twain one of the greatest American Authors, spent a lot of his time writing about the Mississippi, his first major work was "Life on The Mississippi." Huck and Tom Sawyer were to follow in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Links to the free audio book versions which are fantastic.