A New Look!

Yes, we’ve cleaned up our act a bit… the new theme is much clearer and easier to read, without sacrificing any of our features. We (and by that I mean Gypsy) have also added a videos page and a simple chatroom for use during shows on my own radio station when I’m not using Stillstream.

Wait, what? New radio station? Stay tuned… lots to tell you about as the year winds down.

MrSpiral

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Inspiration Comes In Many Forms

I had meant to share this quite some time ago (don’t ask me where October went, I’d rather not discuss it), but hadn’t the chance. One of the ambient musicians I respect most is the phenomenally talented Lee Ellen Shoemaker, better known to her legions of fans as The Tunnel Singer.

She is literally that: a lady with an incredible voice who creates ambient music by singing in huge reverberant spaces like tunnels. Her music is powerful, evocative, and hauntingly beautiful, and I am grateful to consider her a cordial acquaintance, even if calling her a “friend” would be presumptuous of me.

Lee Ellen is an occasional visitor to StillStream, where her music is frequently featured, and hangs out in the chat room to visit with all and sundry. One night in September, she listened in as I played one of my ambient “rants”, and soon afterward I received an email with an attachment. “I painted this while listening to you,” was all it said.

A "heart" drawn by Lee Ellen Shoemaker, a.k.a. The Tunnel Singer, during one of my live improvisations.

A “heart” drawn by Lee Ellen Shoemaker, a.k.a. The Tunnel Singer, during one of my live improvisations.

Okay, I’m sorry, but…. how cool is that?

MrSpiral

More Ambient with your coffee, sir?

Hot Chocolate CheesecakeLive music is always special. It has an energy all its own and it’s not an option for the faint-hearted. Performing solo to an audience that is there simply because they wanted some refreshment is not an easy thing to do. Anyone who has the nerve and the skill to pull off a good set deserves kudos. Certainly, this evening at La Vita Bella, Longmont, Spiral wowed his Stillstream audience (and his audience on site) with an outstanding set of skillfully evolving, exciting and exceptional music and kudos must be given. Apparently one of the ways it arrived (other than claps and cheers in the chatroom) was via a very nice slice of Hot Chocolate Cheesecake (pictured) – surely better tasting than a Grammy?

Although we are all a lot more used to the wonders of modern technology and take a lot of it for granted, the idea that someone could be playing live to a coffee house and also be broadcasting live on radio doesn’t always register. Spiral had some fun explaining to some of his audience why he was talking to what appeared to be thin air, but it seems the show went down extremely well. It may have been amusing to explain to them that the show was being simulcast in Second Life, too, where there was an audience in the Atomic City HQ at Fellin Hill. Maybe that was taking the explanations an unnecessary step too far, though.

Rig Setup for La Vita BellaGear for this gig was carefully set up, you can see a picture here – interesting for the layman to look at and enough to offer Spiral the opportunity to actually adapt music on the fly to please a Stillstream audience member.

Merch StandAs well as the music, Spiral was offering some “Merch”. You can see the high tech set up in the picture and marvel at the level of marketing (hey, it’s a coffee house!).

It’s never easy to win over an audience whose tastes are unknown, especially if said audience popped in as part of their explorations of the Longmont Artwalk, so sales are especially appreciated in these circumstances. The fact that there were sales shows the quality of Spiral’s music. If you are in the Longmont area of CO, then make sure you look out for notices of forthcoming gigs, or make your life easy and check out this blog, and Mr Spiral’s website. Great food, great beverages and great music – what’s not to like?

From myself and all the Stillstream audience, Spiral, very well done!

«Gypsy Witch«

A Thousand Words (plus a bit) about metlay! live at La Vita Bella – September 20 2014

metlayArtwalkSept1

I will be streaming live on StillStream right after that day’s scheduled programming; if you tune in, you’ll hear Rebekkah Hilgraves wrapping up her show, At Water’s Edge, and we’ll then hand off to the live show, possibly already in progress. It’d be great to see you at the show, but if you can’t make it in person, you can always listen in and chat along in the chat room!

MrSpiral

Oh dear indeed!

Look at all the beautiful shiny jolly candylike BUTTONS!

Look at all the beautiful shiny jolly candylike BUTTONS!

And so my dream has come to fruition…! Here’s the rig I’ll be using for the gig at La Vita Bella on September 20, or near enough; what you see here is no fewer than six different controllers all running the same Ableton Live session. One Ableton, two Novation, and three Akai, with lots and lots of shiny blinky buttons to press and cause all manner of sonic mayhem.

Details will follow soon—enjoy the blinky shininess in the meantime, and keep the afternoon and evening of September 20 open, even if you can’t be there in person!

MrSpiral

Oh dear

It’s rare that I get any real inspiration from dreams, but it happens. Dreams are “brain processing stuff it didn’t have time to handle while you were awake and it’s not your brain’s fault if it gets the details a bit fuzzy.” Yesterday I took delivery of some new music gear that will be reviewed in an upcoming issue of RECORDING, and was discussing it with my good friend Mark Mosher (whose blog Modulate This! is essential reading for anyone who gives a damn about this stuff and wants to read stuff from someone else who gives a damn about this stuff), and earlier I had been reading another friend’s blog that had an interesting war story about an old club where he’d been gigging that had an ancient lit-from-below dance floor that caused all manner of havoc in the PA, and then I went to sleep and the conversation and the blog post conflated with a memory of an old Michael Jackson video…

I woke up in a cold sweat at 215 AM, grabbed my phone, and mumbled a few words into my voice recorder, fell back asleep, and found the note when I woke up again this morning. I was simultaneously terrified and elated…

I now know what I’m going to be doing for my September 20 show at La Vita Bella. Be afraid. Be very afraid…

MrSpiral

You Have To Have A Plan…

…even if you know it won’t survive long enough to tell people about it.

As I prepare to wrap up another issue of Recording, I am looking at a bunch of personal/musical items in flux right now, which I must remember to bring to your attention as they come to fruition. Between them they represent most if not all of my musical endeavors for the rest of 2014, not including my weekly Sunday night shows on StillStream and possible gigs in Second Life

I have two albums in the pipeline right now. In addition to on little cat feet, my contribution to the Aural Films netlabel’s Fog Music series that will drop in December… dear heavens, did I just say “that will drop” on my own blog? Gah!… I am currently looking at a release on the revitalized earthMANTRA netlabel, a sequel to one of my more popular albums with details to come.

My next live show will be another gig at La Vita Bella on Saturday, September 20, for the last ArtWalk of the summer; I will probably be playing solo, but may have a surprise or two up my sleeve if circumstances favor it.

I am preparing to explore a new way to do online-assisted music collaboration, from a service called JamKazam. I have friends already exploring it (some of whom are there because I asked them to join me and who are now waiting on me to catch up!), and hope to get there myself soon. In the meantime, there are rumblings of a new NINJAM server being built (to replace the old one run by Darrell Burgan that’s now offline), which could result in a number of cool new releases down the line….

Last but not least, watch this blog for upcoming announcements concerning, of all things, the Different Skies concert series.

Busy busy busy…!

MrSpiral