Archive for the ‘wordiness’ Category

rickenbacker suicide

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Of course guitars can’t really do themselves in, but it looked like my late 80’s Rickenbacker 330 12-string had done just that when i opened the case on Friday to find this:

broken rickenbacker

After getting over the initial shock, i realized that it was the “R” tailpiece that had broken, presumably during a hurricane evacuation or just being in storage in hot weather. But this guitar had been halfway around the world with me since around 1991, and I had never had this happen before.

Rickenbacker will replace the “R” provided that I send them the old one and buy the replacement as well. It’s a pretty old guitar, so I suppose that’s reasonable, but the replacement part is $100 which is not cheap.

No real answers as to why it happened either, but looking on the Rickenbacker boards it seems that there was some problem with the models of this era and hopefully fixed now. The extra tension on the 12-strings (versus a 6-string) is obviously a factor, as it doesn’t happen on 6-strings. And when the person at Ric customer service asked me about what kind of strings I had on it — I had Pyramids — he seemed to believe that these strings had a higher tension rating which may have contributed to the crack.

I’ve had this guitar for nearly 20 years and only ever had one issue with it — when a piece of later-discovered cat fur was blocking the jack preventing me from playing “Fearless” at a Halloween show where we performed as 1972 Pink Floyd — and excepting some screws that went rusty, have not had any reason to question the quality of their manufacturing process. It’s been a great guitar, and hopefully will be again soon, but I am really going to have to consider using different strings, or storing it differently, or something. Hopefully the replacement tailpiece will be of stronger stuff!


Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

in case you’re wondering why there haven’t been any updates recently, i’ve been busy with a variety of different things: rehearsing for a chef menteur live show, finalizing mixes and getting CDs together for the alternative music expo, updating the BPR site with new functionality and new music, overdubs and mixing on the new chef menteur album (still in progress), and now also preparing for an archipelago show. archipelago is opening for sir richard bishop (sun city girls) at the zeitgeist on june 6th. his solo album polytheistic fragments is recently one of my favorite acoustic guitar albums of all time, even though my favorite track on the disc, “saraswati” is a piano track.

i hope to get back into the groove soon, though; for example, i sampled just about every note on my mom’s old harmony banjo and i’ve got a nifty little thing going with that and the monome that i need to make a proper song out of.


Monday, January 12th, 2009

Renamed the blog to something more appropriate: aleatoric, which despite being a little hard to spell seems to pretty well encompass my fascination with semi-random systems of patterns of music; not unlike improvisations upon a theme; arpeggios, rags, ragas, drift studies, and so forth; not to mention works like “In C” which you will hear more about very shortly.

hello, world?

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

It’s the first week of 2009 and I am officially taking up my good friend (and collaborator) Dan’s personal challenge to create a weekly musician’s blog: a place to post a new work each and every week. Putting aside the “it’s been done before” aspect, I am going to be up-front about the fact I am doing this to challenge myself to be more productive in materializing my musical ideas, and the illusion of accountability and the desire to not look a fool (we’ll see) will propel me to contribute regularly.

My hope is that having this place to put musical ideas that are still untested, perhaps not a good fit for any of my group projects, or just solo-type experiments that I want to indulge in, will remove some of the impediments I think I have to being as prolific as I would like to be. Having always been a part of some group up till now, it’s easy to use the group as an excuse to not finish something: it’s not a group piece, it’s not right for this situation, we’ve already got too much material at the moment, etc. Maybe some of these will develop beyond their life on these pages and into other projects? We’ll see.

I’m still hesitant about this blog thing. I don’t understand people that post every detail of their life online, but whatever floats their boat I guess. I’ve been online now for longer than the web has been around and yet up till now I have resisted the personal blog thing for many reasons but if it can get me to make music more, then I’m willing to give it a go.

It’s not that I am against blogs, but with a zillion of them out there, I am not conceited enough to think I have much original to add to the global conversation; or that anyone would want to wade through paragraphs of my meandering, verbose style (see what I mean?) in order to reach a pithy point here and there, or obtain some useful information or gossip. 

Perhaps my fear of blogging is just fear of writing, though.

Way back when, I used to think that I could make some kind of life (if not living) writing words creatively—and I don’t mean advertising—before I realized that a life too self-examined may drive a person to madness. Or perhaps it was studying English lit. with the specialization in critical theory and postmodernism in the politically correct 90’s that helped transform my love for the written word into a kind of paranoia. It’s impossible to come out of that experience and write with your original voice: every sentence you write conjures up a hundred ghostly critics that can take apart your artistry with a myriad of post-feminist/marxist/freudian techniques, and of course even if you know you are the only one who will read those words you will still not be able to silence the descendants of Derrida from dissecting your prose (overuse of alliteration: -3 points).

So, mostly this blog will be about music. 

I think.

Music is, after all, something in which one can engage both sides of the brain: the mathematical/pattern side and the creative side. It’s somewhat like writing, but with no formal theory or critical studies, I can be less self-conscious and more intuitive with it than I can with writing. Unsurprisingly, generally in music I shy away from words altogether, preferring the abstract textures and harmonies that music can evoke in the imagination. I ended up going into multimedia/software design instead of some kind of writing career, and there’s a parallel between putting together music and software design that’s more appealing to me than mining my own thoughts, so without further ado, I have a song to finish!

For your amusement, I am calling this blog “rebel dalek” because “dalek” is a homophone of my first initial and nickname, and “rebel”, because I fancy myself a noncomformist who is suspicious of borglike space empires, and a humanist who does not want to exterminate anyone. Also, robot-themed blogs get more hits, especially cutesy, non-evil robots. Daleks being neither cutesy or non-evil, I may need to rethink this. Oh, also I plan to have a cover of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s original theme from Dr. Who (complete with theremin) in here at some point, as I have not yet been able to convince any of my bandmates to do it.

Note to self: spruce up this wordpress theme with something more appropriate as time permits!