Posts Tagged ‘#video’

Horizontal Fountain MSK

There is still much beauty to be captured in pictures if you can deal with the heat and ready to look in unusual places. I wanted to share some pictures from my favorite local park I took yesterday. You can get a feel of what is still out there. Admittedly, I have a LOT of untouched pictures to share, but this is about half of the pictures I took. I hope you enjoy some of them.

Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 1
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 2
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 3
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 4
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 5
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 6
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 7
Can you see the ‘deer’ in the bushes?
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 8

I spoke with a few ladies enjoying the day and one pointed out that from a distance, three separate bushes lined up to the shape of a deer. This picture is a bit too close, but you can see the outline.

Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 9
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 10
I like this one for some strange reason.
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 11
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 12
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 13
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 14
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 15
Ault Park Cincinnati, Ohio MSK 16

The real Infinity Pool:

MSK 1

Last weekend I dropped in on some friends playing out. With camera in hand I caught a few minutes of “What’s Left” performing live. It reminded me how glad I am that I don’t play out any more. Performing for a live audience is fun and addictive but being my own roadie was killing me quickly! I always joked that we would play anywhere for free……. we just charge to move the equipment in and out!

This was just for fun and I appreciate the guys letting me point my camera at them for a while. I like their logo in the back.

Crash Landing Live at West Fest

Building upon my earlier posts of a night out with Crash Landing, I continue with the first part of the second set.

CRASH LANDING live in 2002

In future posts I will detail mixing/recording process and Live Sound Reinforcement techniques. For now, enjoy a few songs from my old cover band.

Recently I went to see some of my old band-mates playing out. I have always been the ‘senior’ member of the bands I have been fortunate to be associated with. NOT that I was with the band from the beginning but that I am usually the oldest member of the bands. Usually by ten years or so. As a result a few of my friends from old bands are still playing out in the city. It is always a pleasure to see what they are up to and catch up on life.

My drummer in Crash Landing was playing with one of his current bands and we got a chance to talk. His son is also taking up the drums and thought it would be cool if he could share some of the old recordings with him. He asked me if I could get him copies of what I have.

For you new to this blog I record a lot. Practice sessions, private parties, small gigs, writing songs in the late evening. I started with reel-to-reel tape machines since the 1970’s or so. The recordings sound and look as old as I feel, but they preserve the events and people involved.

I am a Singer Song-Writer. I write my lyrics and melody, decide the chord arrangement and structure of the song. That is what got me started singing. Then percussion. Then guitar and recording and working at music stores and learning sound reinforcement and recording techniques and….. In some ways playing with a cover band was torture. The bands members were really talented and experienced. I kept thinking they could do great things with my originals or create new amazing songs.

The thing about cover bands is that the good ones can do anything. Think about it. They can sound like so many other bands from one song to the next. They make the instruments and effects sound like the original. The solos are dead on and more often than not; improved. No over dubs: no guest artists. All this while they cannot hear themselves, people are yelling and drinking right in front of them and the sound guy is either drunk or deaf in both ears.

The audio recording was from a live performance. According to the DAT case it was 11-16-2002. This was a small club and I decided to record on my Panasonic two-track digital DAT machine. I was not mixing at this time so the recording success was limited. I grabbed a stereo feed from two subs and hoped for the best. I have a number of examples of live recording techniques in my LSR Series linked at the top if you have an interest.

I will get into more details on this particular recording and show other examples of recording results in later posts. For now, let me just say that the recordings are from one night. This is what we sounded like if you were in the audience. There are no cuts and if you put this series back to back when all are posted it will be the entire evening minus a few technical disasters. Here is the YOUTUBE link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3NTGTnemF8

CRASH LANDING live 2002

The band members did not know I was recording. I just set it up in ten minutes and left it alone. Unfortunately, I did not shoot videos of Crash Landing. I wish I had for kicks and giggles.

Like a lot of people, my wife and I like to feed the birds in our yard.  We know squirrels can get anywhere so over the years we have developed a system where we have thin stranded wire stretched between two tall trees.  We then take another wire and run it through a D ring.  This connects to the bird feeder and then to the trunk of the tree where we can raise and lower it to fill the feeder.  It is high enough so the deer do not suck it dry, and low enough the squirrels do not walk the wire to the feeder.

Then we have one of those half-dome plastic covers above the feeder to prevent the squirrels from climbing up or down the wire to get the feed.  We knew it would not last forever, and last weekend I looked out our home office window and saw that they had overcome our defense lines!

I got out my camera and took pictures and a few video clips.  I want to share some of the pictures with you now, and if you have one minute and thirty seconds or so, click the YouTube link below for a quick laugh.   No animals were harmed in the shooting of this video!

Enjoy!

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Happy Friday!

I added a new original video for my song “From Start To Stop”.  My wife Ellen does the vocals and Greg Stern wrote most of the music and plays guitar.  Ellen and I wrote the lyrics.

I have mentioned Spring Grove Cemetery in past articles and posts and that is where I shot the video.  There was very heavy fog that day and Ellen suggested we take some pictures there.  I will post some of those in the near future, and I also shot a video using my phone that became the background for the video.  There is a small mound with tombstones all around the center.  You can drive all around it so I shot the video as Ellen drove around the mound.  Most of the pictures in the video are mine, but I had a bit of help from my friends over the years!

The YouTube link is below.  I hope you enjoy.

https://youtu.be/Xzp8QWqgeSY

Mara – The Making of a Video

I usually did not have to search for new projects.  There were plenty of musicians, bands and performers that did not have a lot of resources – or cash – when starting out.  Working at the local music store chain, I was lucky to know some great players, writers, and musicians of all sorts.  l am attracted to talented people of all kinds.  I often wish listeners of my music would give me the benefit of the doubt that I gave to many of the people I met and came to appreciate.  I realize my songs are not always ‘radio worthy’ or commercially viable, and always hoped someone would look beyond that and realize the songs I offered for what they could be if recorded professionally and marketed on a large scale.  Maybe that day will still come, but back then there were a number of artists that I could help take the next step.

Word got out that I had an understanding of technology and could usually pick things up quickly.  I absorbed owners manuals, dedicated time and when possible drafted other talented people to make projects work.  One of the fun and exciting things I got to do was shoot and edit live musical band performances.  MakeShift Kreations was an early company name I came up with using my initials: M S K.  I believe this was filmed way back in 1988!!!

Using the same video and editing suite from the cable company available for local access channels that I used for my first conceptual video: “Walking Man” I learned how to use multi camera filming and video editing techniques.  In some situations I offered to do videos for friends as this was a new (again, at the time!) medium and was very expensive for most bands.  In Part I, I would like to present the video I made of Mara, a local band with highly talented musicians.  My wife Ellen and I did all the camera, editing and post production work.  These are their original songs performed live over a two-night period. It was a lot of work, but I learned a lot and had a great time.

Please use the following link to see the Mara: Part I video:

https://youtu.be/VwKz1Po4_XM

Thank you so much to everyone who participated so far in my “Who Do You Love” post.  There were some very interesting lessons as I collected and listened to the recommended songs  that have influenced us over the years.  I say us intentionally.  You are the best group of people I have never worked with!!  LOL.  I mean that in a kind way.  It is easier for some people to develop good relationships with some one they work with or “serve” with.  The bonds can last a life time.  We do not have that work platform, but the friendships made here are also very strong.

I was equally surprised by two things:  1) I knew a lot of these songs and bands and 2) I didn’t     know a lot of these bands and songs!!  It took me a long time to go through them all.  But there are some gems in here.  Many are the best of their category – NOT necessarily the most popular or the one with the most airplay.  I encourage you to look deeper into comments as I will not list them all here again, but I want to point out a number of them that caught my ear.   A lot of your suggestions were passionate and you can tell there is a lot of history and emotional connections in the lists. Here are just a few – but again not a complete list of the gems you suggested. Please continue to post your musical influences.  I have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from your suggestions.  I hope others get a kick out of these too!  IN NO ORDER WHATSOEVER

Active Child – what a range the vocalist has.  Unusual set of musical toys, and lyrical   themes and vocal textures blend into a unique soundscape.  They create a house and invite you in.  Well worth the visit.

Switchfoot –  “Hello Hurricane”, This is a clean sounding song. Well recorded and mixed. Driving beats and vocal power that can be smooth and open.  Good blends in harmonies.  Good energy and I like the ay the song builds at a slow pace.

Jon Foreman – The Wonderlands.   Here is another great blending artist.  Nice harmonies and the background music surprises with different arrangements and instrumentation.  Very good dynamics.  Addictive style that is pleasant and easy to relate to.

Bat for Lashes – Laura is a great example of this artist’s prowess.  She quickly sets up the mood and the tone and then lays the lyrics on you with vocals that seem to have more control than humanly possible and enough emotion to cause global warming.

For raw power with a message it is hard to beat La Dispute.  Combining a number of styles into a passionate assortment of lyric driven songs.  A speaking style not trying to be rap that works very well for this group.  Great driving music for a long trip.

I have to mention this because it was cool from an historical point:

https://ahigherrevelation.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/triple-js-20-years-of-hottest-100-countdown-what-did-i-vote-for/

I was really fascinated to check out Barclay James Harvest.  These guys are right up my ancient alley and I have never heard of them.  I know this might not be the most popular suggestion the community has suggested, but they cover all the progressive territory of other bands I am familiar with.  Some of the video clips from around 1979 are out there and worth an evening or two.

I had heard Ed Sheeran before, but wasn’t that familiar with his works.  Nice variety, works on a good image – that is a good guy image and it comes of very well for him. He tries to add variety and the songs are great.  It was definitely worth my time digging more into his songs and videos.  Great voice.  Solid music and production.

Kate Nash – Nicest Thing.  I can see why this is a favorite.  The style is intentionally out there and it has the sneaky ability to pull you in instead.  When you can make comfortable and eerie blend perfectly you have a great emotional landscape play in.   She calls this her territory and of course the lyrics pull you right into the main theme. Good call.

City & Color – As Much As I Ever Could is another great example of a band that has it all. The vocals are outstanding and his control is impressive.  Lyrics are fine and fit the ballad style of this song.  Band dynamics are worked out by what seems to be magic. Harmonies kick in and punch it for added tension and for me the keyboards are a great touch.

Dave Koz’s tunes are cool jams and the performers are all top notch.  You don’t have to be a genius to get into their grooves as well.  Slick mix production.  If it is time to sit back and enjoy, take in a few of these live performances and watch the players do some cool stuff.

Ian Carr’s Nucleus – Roots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Cu5TJm0GI This is a great progressive jazz.  Maybe an acquired taste for some but worth checking out for the chops and creative jamming.
Frankie Beverly’s Raw Soul – I Need You: https://youtu.be/U7uJ_zddoSs This is another great jam band with solid grooves and guys that know their axe.  Percussion to die for and the organ player is pretty top notch.  Great live musical fun.

The Hep Stars got by me completely somehow.  You can hear a lot of influences that were dominant at the time.  Good vocal blend and the recordings are actually pretty good. They captured the times and the look and ran with it.  For a blast from the past this is a good history lesson.

 The Raconteurs are a great groove band with a heavy guitar sound.  The vocals and the harmonies are well worth the price of admission. For a lively rocking jam, this is a great place to start soaking up some new tunes.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu9hj_kMm48

This video stands on its own, but the vocals have to be heard to be believed from The Temper Trap.  Great name too.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMuuc_pqx2s is a great song with a vision.

 Lana Del Rey is one of those artists you have to sample more than one song to get a feel of the true talent.  Maybe listening a few times would help, but once you cross over she has a powerful musical presence.  Try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_1aF54DO60 for the unfamiliar.

Manic Street Preachers have a great Brit rock/POP sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nusymqINrSc is a fun video to start with.  Good clean style, great vocals and they are not afraid of dynamics.  They also love a song with a theme or message, so good for a fun musical cruise.

Acoustic Alchemy are worth noting for a band that has chops and a smooth modern jazz style.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVtQHpwv9sE is a good example of their live performances.  Fun jams and precision licks from a talented group and for a nice addition try a “Shelter Island Drive”.

Notables: 

Ashestoangels

Sufjan Stevens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asCLMdrWuA0 for eye candy.

From The National, try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-Tod1_tZdU to set the tone for the evening.  A vocal and visual treat.

Amaia Montero – Quiero Ser and I have no idea what she is singing, but I can understand why it was recommended’

Thank you again.  I really enjoyed this project and thank all that participated and to all the thought put into it, even if you did not post your list!

This was one of those amazing events that happen in your life. You get thrown together with really cool and creative people and work on a project. There are so many stories here it is a good thing that I need to break it up into a number of segments. I have already credited a lot of the experiences I had as a result of working at the music stores. This was another one of those. The employees were musicians by definition and we also had band and instrument teachers working there. Everyone played but quite a number of us wrote our own material as well. At the store I managed, we were a diverse group with a wide definition of styles. I did not own it, but it was MY store. I had an agreement with the owner that he not visit my location while I was there. I would run it my way and do the best I can as if it is my store. He agreed and for years I did exactly that. I took care of the people that worked and shopped there. I gave people real advice and information. We developed long-term loyal customers. It was a great team and we had a common goal – do good and we keep the owner out of our building! Great motivation.

A local radio station WOXY in Oxford, OH sponsored a Local Licks radio segment I think every Thursday night for a few months. I had submitted a few of my songs and one of them got played one week. Nice feeling to hear your stuff on the radio. I submitted a few more original tunes and suggested one of the other employees to enter some of his songs. He had more of an urban beat box groove thing going and he did all his own recordings. He did not think anything would come of it as his stuff is even more eclectic than mine! So he gave me a cassette tape – yes, a cassette tape! – and told me to pick the best songs and send them in under his name. I took his tape home and consumed it for hours. Then I made my decision and picked three songs to submit.  This is one of those funny things too. I sent in a song I thought had a great hook a nice arrangement and was really catchy in the genre he was in. I entered my next favorite that really pushed the drum/percussion thing he had going. I thought they had a good chance.

For the third song I threw in something that in all honesty was my attempt at ‘comedic relief’. I figured if I threw something out there that was really bizarre and off beat, they would think the other two songs were great by comparison. Not that the song was not great, but not a match for this heavy-leaning college radio station (… “the future of rock and roll” …..) The third song of his featured a banjo player and an off beat kind of groove. The Local Licks segments lead up to a radio version of battle of the bands. Songs played on Local Licks weekly segments would be entered into an elimination round on the last week the program aired. The finalists would have their songs played one more time as the winners were announced and then the bands would perform for just under an hour in a well known club in Cincinnati for prizes and glory.

As we listened to the local radio station during the elimination round there was a funny feel to the ‘winners’ moving ahead. There was an unusual flavor where songs you thought would be a shoe-in were dropped, and unusual tunes were advancing. Some songs were down right off the wall. There must have been a shift in judging but there were songs with unusual instruments in them getting to the finalists position. There was a song by a band called Tuba Blues. Another one I can’t remember had another unusual lead instrument and to think of it, as you remember one of my friend’s songs featured a banjo player!. Sure enough……. his song kept advancing. We were floored when they picked my friend’s third song! That night on the radio they announced the four finalists that would compete in a live battle of the bands event at Bogarts. Without pulling out records I think the event would be in about three or four weeks time from the announcement.

None of us at the store expected any of us to go that far, let alone to finalist. But none of us could believe that was the song that won! It was a fluke that I entered the song and that the judge apparently was looking for unusual instruments in rock and roll bands that year. Who da thunk? Once we met at work and talked it over it became obvious my friend had one problem; he was a soloist and there was no band! HA! The guitar teacher had a band called It. Ellen and I would join on keyboards and guitar and vocals and another employee and great friend over the years would join in on keys, guitar, vocals and a mean shaker! Each of us put in original songs to perform as a band and we rehearsed for a solid two weeks to try to get ready for this show. We knew numbers-wise we did not have a real chance of winning, but we were determined to make a show and event out of it.

……. All the while in the depths of a cave far from civilization, a Master of Ceremony was writing a series of short speeches that would be an added theatrical presentation between songs. Only the day of the performance did we see how this fit together and we had no idea what he was going to say – with the exception of a few word keys that would trigger a response from the band members, and occasionally the audience in return.

Fortunately we were all musicians currently involved in original songs and live performance. We had pretty good gear and we knew how to use it. We knew how to learn songs and how we can add to them or subtract as needed. Practice went well and started to be fun. The writer of the winning song chose the band name, and we made T-Shirts for all band members with the band name and studio logo; Willie the Ferret Studios. We worked out vocal parts as we had a number of vocalists and lots of harmonies and added speech. The lead guitar player was killer. His drummer was awesome and the bass player in their band IT, was solid and blindingly fast. With that foundation we just had to do our thing and it would all blend in fine. So we were ready enough but nervous as hell. A lot of things could go wrong here.

We get there and listen to the bands that were playing before us and there is a pretty good crowd at this point. We have our equipment squeezed up next to the stage entrance so we can rush in as soon as this band is done and moves their gear out. We set up fast. My keyboard controller does something funny and it takes me a while to fix it. No problem – tune guitar and ready to go. We look around and there are only a few microphones so we ask for more as we have a number of vocalists. They tell us no, that is what everyone gets. So as you see us a little unorganized and running from one side of the stage to another, it is changing instruments and trying to find a way for all vocalists to sing – or speak their part.  After a while it was just funny and we worked it out quickly for the most part and had fun with it.

The audience is not sure and a little uncomfortable with the speeches at first, but after a couple times and solid music everyone got the idea and joined in. The band has to settle down a little and the monitors and the mix takes a while to get used to. It is hard to hear some of the keyboard and vocal parts in some parts but that is to be expected. The writer of our winning song does not perform until the last song, so he helps with the Main House mix in the club. We were a little more involved than the regular rock band so he was able to plan ahead. I wish the lighting guy had help too. They seem a little lost at times but over all still a cool event.

For this project, we needed a few volunteers and some inexpensive themes.  We took advantage of the resources available.  Ric worked as an auto mechanic so we started there.  I made a couple cameo appearances but the story is about working hard and no time for creating and performing  (you have heard this theme before !) During the Jeep ride up the hill you do not see the driver (Gorgeous George…) but he is still in the Jeep as Ric appears to be pulling it (and metaphorically his career) up the hill.  George is pulling in and out on the clutch so there is real tension and sometimes Ric is literally being pulled back by the Jeep.  Who needs acting skills!

When we moved to the live Personal Touch segments it is the duo before Phyllis Ann officially joined us.  You can see Ric is kicking bass pedals and controlling an accompaniment system.  On his guitar you can see him tap two silver round pads. The one triggers a drum crash from the accompaniment system he is controlling. The other pad triggers a drum pattern change to a drum roll for as many times as he taps the pad.  He is the lead vocalist for the song and yes, he is also playing guitar…….. I am playing my Arp Odyssey, a Yamaha electric piano and my Yamaha DX7 and doing back-up vocals in this video.

For this I think we went into the club the day of our regular performance and shot the raw video segments for the Walking Man video.  We played other tunes for other projects but there is no real audience and we only had to set up once to do the video shots and perform later that night.  I try to be within budget (usually none….) and also with no wasted effort!

For a duo, we packed a lot of punch.  Not only because it was just two of us in the beginning, but  also in the space we could fit.  We had no live drummer or bass player.  I could play guitar and sing and when I was not playing guitar (and indeed, in some songs I would play guitar and keyboards) I could play keyboards and/or control the drum machine that I programmed.

Ric sang and played the guitar and almost all lead guitar parts as he also controlled the accompaniment system that had preset drum patterns, bass pedals, and a foot pedal and switches that let him add backing instruments like strings or piano sounds and at the same time determine if the backing instrument chords were played Major, Minor, 7th etc.  We fit anywhere, as long as they had tall ceilings LOL!!!