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Short instrumental piece - Please comment!


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Hi Frank,


I've been listening 3x, I've been reading..

I like the sound.

There's a Michael Jackson hit that starts with almost the same noise. An odd association.. That quickly disappears..


Well, that little theme that appears left, fades and comes back again..

This keeps the song together, gives it maybe more structure than it needs and attracts too much attention. Maybe this could be much softer. Just a thought.


But, it's difficult to say something useful about an abstract idea. For me at least.

You asked for a title:

"Possible Things"

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Thanks for the comment,

I really like the old Michael Jackson song called "Human Nature". I guess Miles Davis did as well - there's an 'interesting' version of it on "Live around the world". I guess that music is mostly about timbre and blend. I'm just a beginner with this electronic music, so just getting a decent sound and mix makes me happen.


Thanks again,


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Hi Frank,


Nice ambient track - I agree with Andre that the Michael Jackson reference at the beginning is interesting. It's nicely panned (I'm listening to it on my Sennheiser HD600s, so can't vouch for it's sound on monitors), there's a clarity in the mix which is good.


I'd say that you should surprise your listener more, it's something I don't do enough of, but try putting in some sound design (add effects on weird recordings such as tapping a cymbal or playing it with a violin bow).


I'd also recommend using some real instruments in there whenever you can, it makes a world of difference - try the bass for starters, I can tell that you've used something like the double bass in Logic, whereas I think something 'real' would help your track.


lastly (you did ask for comments!), I'd say break the structure up a bit, add some changes otherwise it is too ambient (for my taste).


Anyway, I enjoyed listening to it. What aims do you have for your music? Hobby? Professional?



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Thanks - those are really good ideas, I think. The strange sound design stuff is something I've not done yet, but I'm listening and getting closer to using it. I know what you mean about the lack of chord changes. That was intentional because I'm always writing chord changes and didn't want to. Probably some chord on chord would give it more harmonic interest. It was really just an exercise and I'm happy to just get a nice blend and a good mix. I have some other things started, but logic pro is challenging and I'm learning a lot still.


As for real instruments, I can play guitar and I can fake it on bass guitar and they record well in my studio. I've just started to practice a bit more. It's usually three weeks of practicing until I'm somewhat proficient after not having done it for a while and I've got about a week going now.


I'm just really used to live players and not worrying about the electronics that so this is a large learning curve, but it seems well worth it.


As for what I want to do: I don't really care about making money from music. It's always seemed to hard. I've able to do well enough to set aside a good amount of time for music now. I try to be a serious musician when I can. But it's been off and on again for the last 20 years or so. I graduated from Berklee in 82 and studied with Charlie Banacos




for a year and a half. (And he is a great as they say) I was playing professionally for several years back then. It just wasn't a sane life for me, so I had a good career in software engineering, did a lot of work for really well run non-profit charities, particularly for the homeless and was heavily involved in raising my daughter who is at Oberlin College now. She is an incredibly brilliant and quite the intelligent social activist (her mother's family was quite amazing at building community on a county level) Among other things, she's one of the top 200 math students in the USA, doing serious charity at age 12. After finishing Phillips Exeter Academy (a private school in the NH Seacoast) with every semester having high honors, her next gem was to host a film festival on global warming with some pretty heavy science in the films at age 17.


Sorry for the shameless boasting, but I did put my entire self into raising her (we both did) That's a big responsibility and it's our future and we really take that seriously. So, during all that time I played and wrote, but not enough. You'd think I'd have an easier time using software since I developed so much of it, but using software and developing it are very different experiences. Development is a slow process and is about simplicity - I find all this detail very challenging but I'm getting a lot better.


That's a long winded answer to your question : I tried to be serious about music for the last 20 years, but couldn't always. Now, I'm trying to get it back into it and I do have a lot of time and energy. So, I'm trying to do some writing and practicing, so I can have some fresh material for when I go into the Berklee online community and see what kind of people I can find.


I like a lot of styles, but I'm still pretty jazz oriented, but I really don't want to play pure jazz. I was in a really nice quintet when I was in school and I think I'd like to do something similar now, only more up to date concerning electronics. Some of the people that were in that band are now very accomplished - the drummer Arvin Scott now has his PhD in music and taught at Berklee for a while, now he's teaching at a university of Athens, GA, he's playing and he's using music for outreach programs for underprivileged kids in the area and is really into the charity end of it. I think that's a great application of music and it's a trend so there's work in that area of it. He's done some events with people like Coretta Scott King and really did well. He was a real monster player and a terrific person. The bass player Paul Hoyle

was from Peru and he already had a #1 hit on the charts in Lima before he got to Boston. He's been a Producer in Miami since the early eighties and has two Latin Grammies. I'm not sure what happened to the tenor player (Dave Ellis) Someone else has that same name in the jazz world and plays tenor and soprano as well, so he probably changed his but he was great as was the keyboard player. Everyone could write well and everyone really listened to each other.


I'd kind of like to be in a similar band again only I'm considering using more up to date electronics. Since so many more people know this now, it should be a good time for it. What we played was jazz but it had rock, funk and latin grooves and it had a lot more composed sections than most normal jazz. That's not the type of music that you can make much money at, but it's enjoyable and I really like the improvisational aspects of it.


Thanks for the comments. I thought they were on point. And for asking about what I wanted to do. I've been trying to figure that out and will continue to a lot now. It gave me a chance to vent. Well, I've got to run out and take some equipment in to get fixed.




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Hi fpatrick08,


Interesting insight into your background there :) I agree that making a living from music is one of the hardest things to do, it's one of the artistic professions that has so many contenders that it's like screaming at Willy Wonka that you want the one with a golden ticket from within a crowd of 3 million - how is he going to hear you?


I'm also a Jazz musician, although I've moved so far into computer-based production that my style is now a melee of lots of genres (I consider that a positive thing, albeit it difficult to separate them out when required).


...jazz but it had rock, funk and latin grooves and it had a lot more composed sections than most normal jazz. That's not the type of music that you can make much money at


I'm not sure I agree with you that you can't make music out of that type of music, I just think that fusion and experimenting is the way to do it. House producers have used funk and Latin grooves all over the place and make millions, as have hip hop artists using old Jazz and classical music samples.


Possibly one of the hardest things is finding the right market for your music, but I think that there's a market for every type of music (look at the Barbie song vs Tito Puente, they both have made a lot of money but are totally contrary to each other in musical styles).


Anyway, I would say that focusing on money is the wrong approach for any type of music, it stifles creativity and (in my opinion) it should be created from the soul rather than the wallet (man).


Look forward to hearing more of your stuff.



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Very Interesting information. Thanks again. And for indulging my off point ramblings. I'm a bit chatty lately and sometimes do that with bad prose. I figure there are much worse things you can do, so I'm ok. I guess the relevant things I pointed out that I'm seeing is that some musicians are finding a nice market in using music for social causes. Healing and the arts - music and/or expressive arts therapy seems to be very effective for people suffering with various illnesses or problems. Besides Arvin, I've seen several other very good musicians find a niche here. Of course, it has to suit you.


So, it sounds like you're making it with the sound designed music. That's really good to hear. I also consider this a positive trend as well because it seems to be opening up smaller markets to musicians who know how to find them. I assume you're into music for games? I hear that's a area of demand for sound designers. (I use the term sound design for the computer based stuff for no particular reason. Hopefully that's accurate enough)


Finding a market has always been hard. I plan to keep learning the computer based stuff, but I'm also going to try to find some people to collaborate with on composition, definitely recording and possibly some playing. I have a friend now who seems to be enjoying playing jazz for little or no money, since he's an IT manager.


The other thing that's hard is finding people to collaborate with who you're compatible with. Apparently the Berklee community is quite large and they put a lot of resources into it. I've now and have almost always lived in the Boston, MA USA area so I think I'll look there because it's local. I get the feeling that most people are a bit more driven to make a living at this than I am, which is understandable because it's reality. I'll have some samples of my composing and playing done within a few months and I think I can get some good players from my friend to give the ones that need a live feel some help.


If you have any advice on finding people, I'd love to hear it.


Here's something from my best software mentor which may be related to marketing


Since I'm rambling too much lately and you're kind enough to read it, here's something that may be interesting and/or useful to you. Since you probably market yourself, here's some information I got from my best mentor in the software industry. He's as passionate about creating technology as we are about music, is a very accomplished computer architect in the area of transmitting video over the Internet, and really follows the industry that affects us all, so it's definitely good information. Whether it relates to you at present and how, to you know, I wouldn't know. But ultimately trends this large affect us all in some way, I think. Perhaps you already know all about this subject. If so, I don't mean to condescend or be redundant. If that's the case, it may at least validate what you're doing.


I recently asked him what all the craziness was about Apple's really hyping mobileMe when Google came out with their cell phone stuff. (The topic is formally called "Mobile Netwoking" which roughly means - people doing so much computing using cell phones and needing to synch them with computers and receive timely updates, since they travel so much, etc... I have noticed that many of the common sites where musicians put content are offering some kind of support for mobile networking, so it's at least worth thinking about, possibly on your own site if you have clients who are really into cell phones and travel, etc... And knowing this person, he doesn't say a trend is a "freight train" lightly, so it's huge and going to get bigger.


Here is his response. Hopefully you'll find this interesting and/or useful for what you're doing. He also writes very well...


Mobile networking is a trend that is a freight train. The phone companies used to control too much and this type of innovation was not possible. With Google and IPhone taking a hand Pandora's box has been opened. Here are the features that are becoming available on Phones:



Interactive TV

Social Networking

Ubiquitous WEB browsing


Check this out: http://broadcastengineering.com/products/mobitv-debuts-new-model-viewer-engagement-0203/


Why is all this useful? If have sometimes struggled with why this is useful on computers. However, I get it now: entertainment, efficiency, and communication.


People are always looking for things to do whenever they have 2 minutes of silence (this was not true in the past, people should really learn to chill). So, having all this available in cell means that people can get snack sized entertainment any time.


The next two are connected. People don't have time for the personal communication that was once part of society. Having all this available on the cell allows people to keep in touch in many ways during "free" time.


People can more easily keep abreast of what is going on the world more efficiently with snack sized browsing and new reports.


Personally, I can't see watching IPTV or Video on Demand on a little cell phone screen, but apparently it's happening a lot more than I would have thought. I'm not much into TV, but I thought the link about "interactive television" was interesting. Very cool technology.


Hope you enjoyed it.




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Hi Cato,

I just visited your web site and listened to the music there. Great stuff! I thought the sound was very high quality and the composition was great. I listened to the songs, the soundreel, but I liked the excerpt from the nature documentary film the best. The video was really nice and the music really complimented it. You said you used to play jazz, but I detected a bit of some kind of classical influence, especially in the documentary film score. Do you have any classical training in composition that you'd recommend as worthwhile (any texts, for example) or are you just a natural? I was always kind of unsatisfied with what I know formally about composition, so I'm often looking for ways to learn more about such subjects that don't entail spending another lifetime beginning with four part writing from the 17th century. If you get what I'm saying?


Anyway, I was quite impressed. It must have been great to work on such a nice film.




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I'm glad I found this of yours as now I get to repay the favor! =)


You definitely have a composers sense of instrumentation. You're instruments talk to each other *VERY* effectively. My favorite example being when the real airy flute 'almost' takes over the nice ping kind of melody.


And I really dig the clarinet riff. I'm curious if you what you used as your means of input. A keyboard? Or various score/matrix editor functions?


Excellent job at setting a mood. I would love to have an album of this kind of music and just read when it's raining outside. Open up a window and sit on a sofa next to the window as it rains and read. Have you ever listened to the Cirque du Soleil sondtracks? I think you would really enjoy them. The other immediate feeling that I had when I listened to this was that I was playing a video game. Not a new one - God knows I haven't played many games lately, but back in the day they used to make really good games. Like Frederick Pohl's Gateway (based off his novel) and gmes that were more text based and exploratory. This made me really want to go back and play a game like that!


My one criticism is the gong at the end of the piece. You said you enjoyed how it ended, but I feel like the ending that you give it (an ending I really enjoy) is brought to my attention where I would rather have a fade in. I refer to the unintelligible tones/voices/sounds that are just below the breathy instrument. I love sounds like that and, if I were writing it, I would have it creep in because then each time an individual listens to it (each individual being different) they would notice it at a different time. But that's me - I just offer food for thought.


Are you familiar with the soundtrack to the movie Mirrormask? It was done by Lain Ballamy and I feel like it might tickle your pickle to hear. He did, in my opinion, an AMAZING cover of "Why do birds suddenly appear"

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Hi Cato,

I just visited your web site and listened to the music there. Great stuff! ...Do you have any classical training in composition that you'd recommend as worthwhile (any texts, for example) or are you just a natural?


Hi Frank,


Thanks for your kind comments, much appreciated. Thank you also for the info on mobile networking, I also think it's an area that will take a large share of entertainment delivery, so to speak, in the future.


The nature documentary was indeed a pleasure to work on. Beautifully shot and really highlights how parts of the English countryside and wildlife can be stunning. I always like the detail in those kinds of films/documentaries.


'Cosmos' was another great nature doc in my opinion - the soundtrack was more sound design than music, but it was effective. The director referenced it as an example of what she liked, but that route turned out too sound designy in the end.


As for classical training - nothing proper, but I do love classical music. I got up to piano grade three when I was 11 (almost 20 years ago), then I decided learn-by-ear was the route for me as I hated all the theory. That's when a jazz piano teacher friend of my dad offered to teach me and since then I've been in bands, pitching for adverts and more recently film/documentaries while also doing a variety of other (musically-unrelated) things to put bread on the table.


I'll never be a virtuoso musician, but I think breadth of style for my area of work is more valuable than being the best at one thing (unless you're trying to win awards for, say, the best rendition of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21).

As you can imagine from my history, I believe listen and learn is the best way to pick things up plus learning chord charts, some basic music theory and practising things that you're going to use in your music (rather than just up-down scales). So, I can't really offer any useful texts for learning classical music I'm afraid. Sorry.


Experimenting is much more satisfying than following a guide and I believe. I think you learn more about music and better that way - don't we all teach ourselves in the end anyway?.





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  • 3 weeks later...
You definitely have a composers sense of instrumentation. You're instruments talk to each other *VERY* effectively. My favorite example being when the real airy flute 'almost' takes over the nice ping kind of melody.


Wow. Thanks for the compliments. That means a lot being sort of a beginner at the computer based stuff. I haven't heard the music you referenced, but I'll try to check some of it out. I'll try to fade the gong in when I revisit this short piece.


I do seem to have a way of writing where parts interact with each other a lot of the time, so it's nice that you noticed that. I don't know where it comes from but it seems to be the way I usually write. If you have an ideas on what to do when you get "blocked" let me know, because I have a difficult time being prolific and deciding what's good and worth pursuing. It can be a curse because everything seems to have to be perfect and I often don't have a good enough grasp of that in the initial stages of writing.


SInce you were curious about the composition and how I did it, I'll list the parts:


The 2 percussion parts and the bass part are all green apple loops which I edited the notes on a bit.


The clarinet is an aif file called "Persian Charm Clarinet". I think I got it from a blue apple loop and tweaked the sample a bit in the sample editor. I like that part because it throws the listener off a bit, being rhythmically and melodically a bit out of place.


The strummed string instrument is a Medivial Oud which was from a blue apple loop that I edited quite a bit to just get the attack.


The string crescendo, decrescendo parts are a NI Reaktor 5 ensemble called "Subharmonic", triggered by MIDI. The melodic part with the major 2nd moving back and forth to the minor third is a NI ensemble called Steampipe, which is where the airy flute is from as well.


The plucked part which pans left to right that comes in before the sitar is from a NI ensemble called Carbon 2. The sitar is an apple green loop which I edited the notes quite a bit on. I just wanted a group of fast notes to give it a "shimmer".


The piano is the one of the Apple Logic .esx grand piano's. And the gong is an esx instrument as well. I think fading it in is a good idea - I just liked the strange overtones it made at the end mostly.


As for entering the parts, I usually can play the parts into this little m-audio Oxygen8 control surface I have, which has a small keyboard. Then I mostly use the piano roll window and spend a lot of time editing, paying close attention to the notes start place, velocity, etc.. I have this strange old MIDI guitar controller that I need to see if I can get fixed, because I'm a guitar player with limited keyboard skills, and that should help. I also am really getting into automation a lot more and find that very powerful. I think I have to get away from MIDI more and use more samples and get into editing and building a library.


Thanks again for your comments.




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I'm glad I found this of yours as now I get to repay the favor! =)


Ok, now I remember. Your site and music was really terrific. No favor at all, that was just my honest reaction. You're also good at part writing, I noticed, but what really got me was the feeling, mood and emotional intensity your music has. When it comes down to it, that's what moves me the most. Until very recently I used computers more as tools to compose for live players, so I'm still new to the computer based composition as a final product, but the technology certainly has matured in the past few years.


I went to a seminar on 'sound design' at my old school in 2006 and they were really into the Native Instruments stuff (which I did buy, although it is, as they say, notoriously difficult to program). The artist I remember them mentioning most was Richard Devine. I went to lastfm and listened to his stuff and several of the related artists. It was nice, well done, great sounds, but none of it hit me with the intensity your music did. Maybe the production was more pristine at times, but it's the emotional impact that is more important.


I really liked that you're not afraid to put stuff right out front like the spoken works with the music and some very intense percussive dissonances. And that simple vocal tune with all the space was a real gem. That's more what appeals to me.


If there are any other artists or recordings (other than ones you mentioned) that influenced you, please share them with me, because I think listening is really important and I need to do more.


I've never been that great at programming synthesizer sounds from scratch, but I'm finding my way around a bit more. Just tweaking presets and automating parameters especially can really go a long way.


I've done a lot of diverse things over the years and haven't always had the time to be a serious musician, which I'm trying to get back to now. I'm going to be spending the next few months writing and learning this technology better so that I can attract some people to collaborate with for composing and performing. I still have an penchant for live interacting musicians. And I find that my own skills need complimentary skills to make better compositions.


I'm going to look at your sites a bit more carefully and listen more, but if there are any tips or pointers you'd like to share, please do, because I really like what I hear. I'm educated as far as music goes, but I still too often get blocked when writing, which seems to be my main stumbling block. I'm getting better and I have enough knowledge to write, but getting all the pieces to fall together and above all, expressing some real emotion is still hard for me.


Hopefully, I'll get some recordings up with real guitar (I spent so much time learning Logic I've been slow to get back to practicing, but it's starting to feel better)


Thanks again, and I really love the stuff you're doing. Keep putting it out there - it really rings true with some of us.




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Not what I was expecting at all,having speed read the thread. :D

Similar to some stuff I've had aplay with,feel wise.




Cool 'bout your daughter.

Brought my son up the same way (priority 1) and got a late night phone call from his teacher/mentor when they were on a school trip to Germany saying how cool he was,and what a good job I'd done!

I was pleasantly gobsmacked.

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Thanks, I'm glad it's ok to go off point occasionally. I was in a chatty mood that day. Glad to hear your son is doing so well - it's so important. Very nice music at your link - nice composing and I love the jazz solo. The first lick sounded like Jan Garbarek, then it got a lot more interesting.


I really should have been a tenor/soprano player. Is that a Coltrane avatar you have? Where did you find it? I think my favorite of all time is Wayne Shorter - still out there performing at top form in his mid - seventies.


So much music up here. Got to get back to practicing and writing. Thanks again.




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The avatar is a much reduced photo of a painting I did of JC about 17 years ago.

JC is Christ to Parker's God.

I do not permit myself an avatar of Him.


I gotta get practicing too.

Been a long time...

The longer you leave it,the less time you have.

Maybe tomorrow.




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The avatar renders very nicely. I have a lot of Coltrane in my collection : "Impressions", "A Love Supreme", and on and on. Timeless stuff. I can still remember when I was first getting into jazz and being astonished at how he played "My Favorite Things" which such sheer intensity. I practiced for at least two hours today and it's starting to feel better.


I was up on Youtube the other day and someone had made an amateur video (the type with still photos and audio) of Flamenco Sketches from "Kind of Blue" - my favorite song on that legendary recording. Coltrane's solo on tenor is perfect and Bill Evans is sublime. I tell everyone I know who isn't really into jazz "If you want to have one recording in your collection that really sounds like jazz, get "Miles Davis" - "Kind of Blue" and you'll probably really like it. Recorded in 1959 - the biggest selling recording in jazz history and continues to sell. (I believe)


I do like stratocasters (my avatar) but I may look around for something less generic.


Yeah, I hope you keep practicing. It would be nice to hear some saxophone music up here. There's some videos on Youtube of the fairly recent Wayne Shorter Quartet that are really nice. Wayne was Coltrane's prodigy of course. I don't know how much you like him, but I'm fanatical about his playing and writing. I listen to Nefertitti and it still sounds modern. His lines and phrasing are inimitable and is tone is golden.




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  • 2 weeks later...
...but what really got me was the feeling, mood and emotional intensity your music has.


ya know hearing that makes me feel like I'm doing something right! =) That's what motivates me to make and share music. I think that emotion is the reason we interact with music at all. There was once this quote that I read, it was anonymous and really hard for me to track down again, but it was something like - Words will only, at best, provide a means of expressing ourselves half way, 50%. At some point we have to just let our selves feel.


I remember reading that and felt so in tune with what it was saying, and later in life when I really became conscious of my music I realized that's exactly what I want people to experience with my music because that's what I enjoy when i listen to music; the emotion that it took to make it!


It really makes it hard to put something cohesive together though! I'm sort of led around by my emotions in terms of what I write, so I have this massive library or unfinished work that dabbles in every form of composition you can imagine. I went to college for classical guitar and i have solo's/duets, and bits of ideas for quartets - to the trashy unreleased distorted Nine Inch Nails kind of stuff I'm doing now. So, I figure it'll all work itself out in the end, and hearing that my emotions that are put into what I'm writing are being received at all, at *some* level, really... well just makes it feel good =)


So thanks again =)


To make this REALLY long...


In terms of tips - man I wish i could give you something but honestly I'm not big on those. In fact, the more I learn about how you're 'supposed' to make good recordings the more I learn I'm doing the opposite. Not so much musically I guess as there's no rules for that but technically. Check out this guy's Logic tutorials on YouTube - he's lays a lot of information out there in a really easily digestible way.




In terms of influences, if it's out there it influences me. I learn as much from the stuff I don't like as the stuff I do. Of course when I write I reference the stuff I like, but you get the idea. Here's a short list of the heavy influences that, even if I don't listen to now, I still reference how they made me feel in the past.



Pat Matheny Group


Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor)

The Books (you would absolutely love these guys -



Kings of Convenience

Damien Rice

Lamb of God/Dimmu Borgir/Liviing Sacrifice (metal)

Cirque du soleil soundtracks (drallion and allegria)

Mirrormask Soundtrack

Timbaland (even though he steals Indian music)

African drum circlels

Middle-eastern/Indian music

javanese Gamlan (This music has some power to it)

Minimalistic composers like Phillip Glass and Steve Reich

Juno Reactor


There are loads more but in terms of what most often resonates with what is playing in my head, those are the giants. I also find that when I read things that are really emotional, I end up trying to emulate what they make me feel as though it happened to me personally.


Best wishes

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  • 3 weeks later...

bobsbarricades - we definitely share some tastes in music. I srarted Berklee a few years after Pat Metheny had overwhemlmed everyone. I listened to him so much I had to stop it got into my own playing too much. Nine Inch Nails is really terrific. I'll post mine soon - just saw your reply and wanted to respond - I'll definitely check out the ones I don't know yet. Thank you.


And I'm a huge Sting fan. He had that blend of intelligence and emotioal intensity that is rare - Those first four solo recordings are my favorities. I don't listen much to 'critics' I do listen to musicians.


Here's a one for you


"Sting's new record [...nothing like the Sun] is a motherf_cker". "Gil [Evans] made that record a motherf_cker" -Miles Davis


High praise


I'm even one of the fools that has a social conscience and thing it's important.



Thanks - I'll have some listening to to and post mine

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There are a lot of links here and hopefuly most are still valid.


These are from a web free site from an old ISP. It's a few years old but I can't edit because I no longer have that ISP. Its's easier for them not bother to delete it.


Here's two pages, each of which has a collage of record covers of some of my very favorites. They are all links to amazon and probably are mostly still working (I was fooling areund with there interefaces so I used them.


Jazz, Classical - http://users.rcn.com/fpatrick/music.htm


Vocal - http://users.rcn.com/fpatrick/music_2.htm


This is a very long list but it has a table of contents to musicians links so it's easy to navigate





Here's some misc music links intereviews, etc..




I hope someone finds these useful and or interesting




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Navigating the previous pages.


On the first two pages (with the record covers(), if you can't easily read the record cover hold your mouse over the image and context help will appear with the name. Pressing the image will link the amazon.com 's info


On the 3rd page the each letter in the horizontal alaphbet is a link that will bring you to to that letter in the local page. That was a style that was common a bunch of years ago

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Geez, I'm overwhelmed! I will take some time getting through all of this! Most of it I'm familiar with on a name basis but - I'll be honest sometimes it's hard for me to listen to older stuff I didn't grow up with when I'm not in the mood for an alternative-childhood-flashback if that makes sense =P


I will definitely have to check out the new Sting record. I can't believe I haven't heard anything about it!


Since you know about Trent Reznor, I'm curious if you know about his Ghosts I-IV album? Ugh, the guy seems to be a 40 year incarnate of myself that is cutting off my creativity at the knees! =) But it's good as it'll just force me to push the boundries further!

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Yeah, the list is a bit long. I thought having a bunch of different links to music, film, etc.. and other stuff I liked was a good idea for a learning project web sites. I know how hard it is to find new music you like and I'm more prone to look for newer things now too.


I'll direct you to two artists who aren't recording anymore that you might not want to miss


If you don't listen to any of the others, check these out two- they should never be forgotten. I also included some clips I found on youtube of high qaulify


For vocal music, I'd find it hard to rank anyone at the level of Joni Mitchell. She started out a long time ago as more of a folk singer, but has always had a unique style and probably released four decades of music. She quickly started getting some of the best jazz musicians available for her touring and recording bands. She has the vocal ability to sing jazz about as well as some people who specialize in that genre, and occasionally does but most of her music isn't jazz. She did a tour in 1980/1981 and her band included Pat Metheny (g), Lyle Mays (p), Jaco Pastorius (b), Michael Brecker (sax) and Don Alias (d) - released as a CD and a DVD, both called "Shadows and Light". So you can see the level she's at. Then she had several recordings with not only Jaco Pastorious (b) (until his death), Don Alias (d), but the legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter as well. So, she ended up with most of Weather Report for a recording band, which is quite impressive If you' ve never heard Wayne Shorter, this is a good setting to hear him, He plays mostly soprano saxaophone with her and his time, his phrasing and sensitivity and attention to detail in shaping every note are a perfect match to her singing.


This has similarities to Sting, especially concerning it's unusually high quality in every way - great writing, far above average band, intelligent lyrics the cover a broad range of subjects, terrific singing (she's a uniquely brilliant as a singer), eclectic styles.


Here's are some samples of high quality (Video and Audio) - Most are taken from the 1980-1 live concert "Shadows and Light", which is mostly live concert footage but mixes in a fair amount of original video. She has a very good web site with all the lyrics. Hope you like them:





















Woman of Heart and Mind. Audio is from 'For the Roses - this is a real classic (1971)




The Hissing of Summer Lawns - audio is from the studio recording of that title


Cold Steel and Sweet Fire. Audio is from the recording "For the Roses"




It's hard to say much about Frank Zappa, but I hate to see him fade away and have too many people not hear him because he was one of our greatest, I think. Also, people tend to form a lot of strange opinions about him without really listening to what's important (the music, of course).


He was never into jazz much but when Downbeat (the premier jazz publication in the USA) inducted him into their hall of fame one year after his death in 1994, the described him as an "iconoclastic genious, composer performer". A lot of people don't realize that he wanted to be a classical composer and did finally get there. There is a quite a bit of humor - some just silliness, some satire - a lot of the humor is in the music. Most of it is recorded live and it seems like they had quite a lot of fun. I really find it amusing most of the time, and quite imaginative. Technically, most of this music is about as difficult as music can be to play around, so his bands had a lot of extraordinary players over the years. He was one of the first (if not the first) artists to get the rights to all his music and start his own label, so he released a lot of material - resulting in a huge volume of output so it's of mixed quality making choosing the higher quality recordings important. He had a lot of great recordings, but I'd start with the albums on that image page of that link.:


Roxy & Elsewhere = (Great band - quite technically challenging music)


Broadway the Hardway = Satire of the 1988 political season. Well deserved and pointed satire of the televangelist predators the 80's and their corruption of National Republican Party. He even gets Sting to do a Cameo appearance ("Murder by Numbers"). Very amusing all the way through, great writing for five brass. This is aboutbout as perfect a recording as he did.


Just another Band From L.A. (1969) One of his earlier recordings. Has the famous "Billy the Mountain" on it.


One Size Fits All - (A rare studio recording - almost all of his were live) Great playing and writing, incredible band. Very hard to go wrong with this one.


Here's an iTunes single that's worth the 99c.


If want a good single from the iTunes store, get this: There is a song from the above album called "Sofa" - The virtuoso rock guitarist Steve Vai (who played in many of Zappas bands) has a recording of it on iTunes. It's through composed (unusual for this style), major key, great guitar playing, great band and arrangement.

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This has a really nice sound to it. I actually like that double bass sound! My only suggestion would be to make it a bit longer - with this style of music you can make a track that lasts about 15 minutes and really bring the theme in and out again with different sounds etc.
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