Photography, videos, sound recording and so on

Haven’t written much here lately.

Since I’ve identified what I’m actually after with my photography earlier this year, I’m taking mostly family photos – not of any interest to the general public.

And since Mitchie (and also Zuleikha) is/are more into video, I’ve concentrated a bit more onto the audio aspect of that – having been in professional studios not only as a musician but also as a technician, I try to “give back” some of the gathered knowledge from these areas to my family, my colleagues, and so on.

For some colleagues, I’ve made a (company-internal) video already about how to get the OCDC (Open Client for the Debian Community) IBM layers on top of a more or less “naked” Ubuntu 16.04.2, and I’ll make some more about the tools – both hardware and free and open source software – that I use, and about how I use all that stuff. De-Essers, compressors, LUFS sound leveling, something like this. Plus some microphone techniques.

I also tried to help someone in this thread of the LinuxMusicians forum, for whom/which I uploaded some screenshots to Flickr lately:

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Ubuntu Studio 16.04.2 LTS, running from a USB stick on my machine, with running QJackctl and the Hydrogen drum computer

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Focusrite Control software, running on Windows 10

Other than that, I’ll cover some tools like Audacity, Ardour and the Calf Studio Gear plugins, Openshot and whatever I’m using. Since most of these tools are cross-platform, the colleagues might want to use them even on their Windows machines; let’s see.

These will be company-internal screencasts and/or videos, just for those people who want to / have to publish some public stuff on the companies’ official Youtube stream(s). Lots of stuff like that exists already, just look at the streams of people like Curtis Judd for instance. No need for me to add anything public here, since there are so many of these technical tips channels already.

Anyway; I’m quite busy most of the time, and just wanted to explain why you see fewer entries here, or on my Flickr stream.

Soon we’ll also visit some family members in Cologne; it’s about time for that as well. Plus both my brother, Mitchie, Zuleikha, and me want to see/visit the Music Store there – can’t wait for that…

Like always, thanks for reading.

Bill Laurance

Imagine something like the great trio of the late Esbjörn Svensson, together with a bit of Keith Jarrett and Jean-Luc Ponty goodness, some of the horns (and drums & bass) from Snarky Puppy, and strings and horns from an orchestra. All that together with a truly good British pianist – et voilà, you’ll get Bill Laurance.

First heard some pieces of his live concert at the Union Chapel in London, of which my favourite piece was his “Ready Wednesday”. And here’s the studio version of it, from his “Flint” album:

See the complete streams of Flint and the Union Chapel concert on the channel of the publisher, groundUPmusicNYC.

Can’t listen to the radio anymore, since years. Why? Well either because a) all of our radio stations suck, or b) I’m that far off any mainstream that this all doesn’t speak to me anymore. My opinion tho is that those who truly want to understand don’t need any words…

And this here, at least for me, is highly addictive. Dope, to use a slang word.

Anyway, as always thanks for reading. And now enjoy…

Snarky Puppy

Almost two years ago, I “discovered” (with a little help from a Debian developer) the truly awesome Youn Sun Nah, together with a few of her fellow musicians, like Vincent Peirani and/or Lars Danielsson.

Since then, not so much. I was busy with other things until I decided to get some audio interface and microphone for my computer, and started to learn using Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software like Ardour, and the likes. I also started scanning Youtube for howto videos on these topics, which inevitably also lead to the discovery of other musicians.

And last Sunday I stumbled upon what is in my opinion the most advanced and exciting band currently existing on this planet – and they call themselves “Snarky Puppy“.

Here’s a short (ca. 35 minute) documentation about them, by none less than Christian McBride, himself being one of the best bass players today:

And here’s a New York Times article about them, from a year ago. From that article, let me cite David Crosby on his Twitter account:

“quite possibly the most advanced band in the world … certainly the best I’ve heard/seen.”

So I’m not alone in realizing that this is some new and fresh kind of music – and certainly and without any doubt, it’s also highly entertaining.

I don’t know about your taste in music of course. If you like songs for instance, maybe you should listen to Snarky Puppy feat. Becca Stevens & Väsen – I Asked (Family Dinner – Volume Two), or to the wonderful Snarky Puppy feat. Laura Mvula & Michelle Willis – “Sing to the Moon” (Family Dinner Volume Two), both from their Snarky Puppy – Family Dinner Vol 2 stream on Youtube.

If you’re an “advanced” listener (which is what I’d call myself), who needs something for both brain & booty, like Christian titled it, I suggest their Snarky Puppy – We Like It Here stream, in which they just blew me away. This is unbelievable, and awesome, and inspiring – it’s hard to find words for this level of art. Consider me a “fanboy” from now on – with some of their stuff being on my wishlist (of a big store in the interweb) already.

For those living around here, they’ll be in Frankfurt in May. And since I’m still waiting for a Youn Sun Nah concert around here, maybe I should go and see them first.

As always, thanks for reading. And now enjoy the music!

P.S.: about this “don’t know about *your* taste – I recommended this to two of my colleagues yesterday. And while one of them replied that this wasn’t to his taste at all, the other one came back with this concert of Thelonius Monk (and some others). Thanks for the link again, mate! 😉

insaneintherainmusic

Look at this – these guys are really good. And if you or your kids have a Nintendo Wii console, you might know the tune:

You can even download the scores for the instruments; just printed the piano sheets for Zuleikha.

Update: at Live at Grillby’s – UNDERTALE Jazz Album – Album Stream you can listen to a complete album of these guys, and they’re *really* good. Plus you can also download the musical sheets, and support them if you wish.

Cool stuff – congratulation to these talented young people.

Enjoy…

Update 2: still listening – still being blown away. Much better than I thought it would be – gotta buy this…

A lesson in Jazz, and in composition

Listen to Herbie Hancock explaining how and why he wrote his “Watermelon Man” like he did:

Incredible. With one of my favourite bass players, Christian McBride, and Karriem Riggins on drums. Now listen to this one from the Live under the sky festival in Yomiuriland, Japan in 1991. You might know Herbie’s melody from about 20 years later, when someone said “funky, funky”, and made it a hit again. But this version with its original title “Cantaloupe Island” is far better:

Enjoy…

Solo piano

Zuleikha had her first solo piano performance today at the Jugend- und Kulturzentrum (JuKuZ) Mörfelden:

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Zuleikha in concert, February 2017

It wasn’t her first gig this year – there was an earlier one where she played the horn in the school’s “Brass & Co” Jazz band, but the first one for this year where she was alone on stage.

And it was a good one. Congratulations again, Schätzchen!

Thanks for reading & viewing.

An interesting story

Read the interview with Markus Schmidt, one of the makers of the Calf Plugins, at LibreMusicProduction.

Warning: some strong language is used – tho in this case it even seems appropriate; you will understand after reading.

His band from that time, Jammin’Inc* is also a good tip. You may download and use all that stuff, as it’s under a CC license. As are the Calf Plugins and everything else Markus is using now (except that Debian and other software is of course GPL).

Getting a bit more active with music again

Music was my first love”

sang John Miles back in 1976, when I was just 19. And he was so right (and I even played that song with one of the bands I performed with). And what do you do during long and cold winter days and nights, when you don’t even want to think about going out with a camera? Right – I remembered music.

And so I read a lot; I had a bit of catching up to do since I last dealt with making or even recording some music. I stayed with free and open source software of course, and Linux has a lot of wonderful tools to get creative these days. I ended up with configuring the repositories of KXStudio on my machine, so I can still use Debian. And for Zuleikha, who started composing and writing her own first songs, I installed Ubuntu Studio on Mitchie’s old Lenovo Thinkpad SL500. And there are other guys making cool stuff like for instance AVLinux – their user manual alone is worth a look if you want to get up to this stuff real quick.

Mitchie’s old machine has only a Celeron, and 2GB of main memory – so it’s not the machine for some samples of Grand Pianos I downloaded lately (one Yamaha C5, ca. 2GB, and one Steinway, ca. 5GB). I guess it would struggle hard if you put up some audio and midi tracks in Ardour with it, but for Zuleikha it’s nice to start arranging and composing with MuseScore. So today a USB type AB cable arrived, and I hooked up the machine to Zuleikha’s Yamaha YDP-142R piano:

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Mobile Ubuntu Studio

It all started when Zuleikha got some nice and easy pieces from her piano teacher, like this one:

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Bluestone Alley, by Congfei Wei

I downloaded some free scores and tablatures for the guitar, and let’s see – maybe we’ll get some microphone to even record the small one playing her horn (and/or her friend Yuma, who’s perfect on her recorder)…

Of course I’ll also document this with the camera. Cannot wait. 🙂 So, with a bit of fantasy and dedication, winter is actually good for something.

As always, thanks for reading.