Tag Archives: music

Chess, The Musical!

It exists, and has existed, for a long time.  I’ve wanted to see a production of it, but I’ve never been able to catch it anywhere.

Involved: Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson formerly of ABBA and Tim Rice.  Yes, those guys.

What most people don’t realize is that they’ve most likely already heard music from it.

One Night in Bangkok and I Know Him So Well are both from Chess.

I’ve  been listening to the double album for well over a decade now and didn’t realize that there’s a “new” supposedly official version that premiered as a concert DVD.  I’d like to check that out once it comes out.  Gives me some hope that I’ll be able to catch a production at some point.



I actually did it.  I tracked down the Street Fighter IV opening theme.

And bought it on iTunes.

In a way I’m ashamed, but in a way, I’m not.


Things I used on the last post

I realized I was going to write about the audio equipment I used for Ukulele practice.

First, the instrument.  It’s a Kala concert uke.  (Fun Fact!  “Uke,” pronounced, “Oooh keh” means something entirely different in Japanese!)  Concert ukuleles are larger than the sopranos, but smaller than the tenors.  It’s a bright sounding ukulele that doesn’t sound like it’s constantly in a tin can.  On the other hand, that “plucky” quality may be the sound you want.

Really, it’s a personal preference issue.

Next up, the tabs for the song, which are readily available on the internet.  Done.

Then there’s the matter of me having no musical training whatsoever, so that’s where the flash based ukulele chord finder comes in.

Finally, there’s the matter of recording.  I’m using a ZOOM H4 Audio Recorder, which is a great portable audio recorder, but I have yet to really start using it for its intended purpose, which was podcasting on the go.  It has a ton of features that I’ll never utilize, but it excels at  “click record twice for decent audio” performance.  It was about two feet away from where I was practicing, and I thought it sounded pretty good.

Even though I had a cold and was recording it in the bedroom.  I’ll try again with vocals after I recover.

It’s interesting to note that I didn’t do any audio adustment to the mp3 that I recorded for the last post, I just dragged that mp3 over from the recorder and sent it straight to the internet.

And now you know the rest of the story!

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The Fog. . . of ROCK!

We were playing an engagement party gig that had gone on for a solid three hours.  It was three in the morning and the air is thick with solid beams of light, blues and greens and reds made manifest in the swirling fog.  Our vocalist Lisa wants to sing Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill and I nod because she’s angry and drunk enough to do it justice tonight.

I know she’s there because I can hear her, but I can’t see her through the milky white.  I don’t have time to think about it because I’m playing lead guitar and it’s complicated.  Maybe we should have practiced more, but now it’s too late and we’re playing.

Then the strobes hit and I see the crowd, floating faces lit up by the light show and made bodiless by the too thick cloud that fills the too small space.

We finish strong and Lisa, her voice raw from the performance,  asks if we can do it again.

Someone shouts Aqualung from the back of the family room.

And I knew then in the fog and the lights and roar of the half dozen or so people that were there that evening on the couch, that we could never go back to playing Rock Band 1.

–  Praxis Loki, Memoirs of a Rock Band

Rock Band 2 is simply an improvement to the Rock Band interface.  That said, they also made some changes to the administration of the band.  I’ve heard that they also changed how you unlock songs, but since we play to party, we pretty much punch in the unlock code and then play whatever we want.

It’s not about the game man, it’s about the music. Continue reading

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Ruined Techno for me, forever

The Nintendo DS is not considered a musical instrument.

There are music games, yes, and there was the brilliant in concept but flawed in execution Jam Sessions guitar simulator for the DS.  (Full disclosure:  I spent about two weeks just trying to play Jonathan Coulton’s RE: Your Brains.  It’s just too unwieldy on a directional control pad and a strum bar on the touch screen.)

The KORG DS-10 Synthesizer for the Nintendo DS is exactly what it says it is.  It is not a title for a KORG Synthesizer based game for the DS.  It is, in fact, a synthesizer and sequencer for the DS.

I’m going to let that sink in for a second.

It’s not a musical instrument simulator of any sort, it’s actually a synthesizer and a sequencer.  And on top of that, it uses the DS screen like a poor man’s KAOSSilator.  Which is a lot of fun.  Here’s a video showing what four of them together can do.

They wirelessly synchronize for beat matching and playback.  Of course, you’ll need a mixer to take full advantage of that, but who doesn’t have one laying around?

In short, it’s awesome.

Review based on doodling in the sequencer window and editing note lengths and values, and then adjusting the drum kit sequencer so that it repeats doom-tch-doom-tch-doom-tch while panning speakers from left to right and repeating for several measures before using the kaoss pad function to adjust peak and cutoff values for synth 1, while synth 2’s track is all doomp-doompdoomdoom-doomp and synth 1 and 2 mixed through the flanger FX at the end with the knob turned all the way wet and mixed so that the bass line on synth 2 isn’t overpowering the entire song at 142bpm.

I did not get to try the multiplayer mixing aspect of this program but god help me if I get another copy.

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