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! 😉

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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…

Hurz!

Today is my birthday, and it’s a round one – wow, I’m 60 already. Reminds me of the “Seven years” song we’ve heard during our summer holidays…

The most wonderful present I’ve got – beside a really nice cake – was this new birthday card made by Zuleikha:

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And I’ve got some new gear. This time less photo-related, tho we could use it for some of the videos which Mitchie and Zuleikha make:

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Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd gen audio interface

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Røde NT-1a large diaphragm studio condenser microphone

And no, I don’t intend to become one more of those Youtube video podcasters, or “vloggers” as they sometimes call themselves. But with this I can do some voice-overs for videos and screencasts – also for the company – and I can record the acoustic guitar or Zuleikha when she plays the horn or countless other things. I already recorded a “Hurz!”:

Oh, and the sound quality from that Focusrite interface is really nice. The onboard sound can’t even think of competing. Plus it’s plug & play under Linux, while on Windows you need some drivers (from Focusrite *and* from Avid if you want to use the included cost-free version of Pro Tools. But Ardour on Linux is better than that of course).

Thanks for reading.

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.

Another project, and Tuna

Zuleikha has a new project in school. Starting tomorrow, they will produce a short movie, based on a story they have to develop themselves, script, costumes, filming, sound, everything. And the group in which Zuleikha is in decided that she’d be responsible for the technical part (besides of acting and so on).

First, Zuleikha wanted to take her small Panasonic Lumix “Travel Zoom” camera for this, as it’s quite good for videos. But she decided that it would be too noisy for indoor shots, and to take her (my old) Olympus E-PL1 instead:

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Olympus E-PL1

But in the end, I thought that an E-PL5 would be even better, so I gave her mine for the job. That she can use the battery and memory card from her PL1 as backup is also an advantage. Her tripod is in her locker at school already – can’t wait to see with what they’ll come up.

At the moment, both Zuleikha and Mitchie are in Darmstadt, watching “Cabaret” in a theater. So I’m alone with Tuna, and I took a photo of her:

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Tuna the cat, January 2017

That’s processed with the (also in-camera) “pin hole” filter, which adds a strong vignette, and also some funky colours which I reduced a bit again.

Thanks for 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.