R.I.P. MCA

I sadly took note of Adam Yauch’s death earlier this day.

Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch was one member of the band called Beastie Boys, which one of the very first hip hop bands that got accepted by my young metal heart, back in the days of my youth. Actually, I was fascinated by the Beastie Boys for a very long time. They were the role model for true rebels in music and even a way of living. And that’s also what described Adam Yauch and his best at its best – true.

Whatever he did and whatever they did, it was true and something that was done with passion. I’ve never managed to visit one of their concerts. They stood on top of my concert wish list and now I’ve to sadly withdraw them.

It’s also sad for me to see, that one idol of youth actually passed away. It makes me feel somewhat older. But it also reminds of the undisputed fact in life, that everything has to end at a certain point. Now I know how my parents felt like, when John Lennon got shot back in 1980. Like I said, the Beastie Boys were one of these bands – hip hop bands, to be exact – that received my attention even though I was bounded to rock and metal music. They opened the door and also my mind for all kinds of different music.

With “Sabotage” they also released an all time favourite music clip of mine. It stressed my VCR and the tape where it was recorded on. I still adore this clip.

The world has lost a very creative, innovative artist. Adam Yauch, may you rest in peace and never be forgotten.

Lack of panorama

Everything was better back in the days. I may sound like a creepy, old man but in some cases I find this quotation true. What I want to talk about is the missing panorama in today’s music. Especially rock music made a large amount of steps backwards when you compare the sound engineering of the music of the 70s and the sound engineering that appears today.

Talking about the old songs. Mainly those songs are mixed like you were actually listening to a band that sits around you. The instruments are well separated and you’re able to “locate” them in your room. When you listen to today’s music, all you get is a giant wall of noise that got mixed in high definition without any soul. I personally see the turning point in the late 80s and early 90s. A period where almost everything got sacrificed to giant marketing and commercialism.

Anyone can play guitar

I also think that this change in production came, when the whole recording equipment became better and more capable. Guitarist for instance were able to record multiple tracks to gain a fat sound. The guy on the synthesizer could act like a whole orchestra. And this is the point. Musicians forgot at one specific point how to actually be a musician. They misunderstood the qualities of their instruments.

I wouldn’t say that the music these days became completely bad, but you don’t have many genres where you can listen to music in a way it was originally meant to be. Jazz is one genre that resisted and survived this trend. Rock music in nearly all kinds of sub-genres became a mess. It’s all about building a giant wall of sounds that rolls over the listener.

Maybe this is also one of the reasons why so many bands fail when they have to play live in front of an audience. They cannot reproduce this artificial sound they created in the studio. Maybe, but just maybe, would it be better when some bands might go back a little and try to record their outputs like a band, live in the studio. Or they try to resists using multiple tracks for their instrument just to make it sound fat.

I really would like to see bands to play and record like this. Or maybe I’m just an old, creepy man.

Legendary rock star death

The female counter part of Pete Doherty is dead. Amy Winehouse died last weekend and I’m sure I speak for a lot of people, we all expected this to happen. For me personally, Amy Winehouse was like the Jazz singing bride of Frankenstein. Seriously, from the very first moment that I saw her, I thought she’s the sequel to 1980s Elvira, the mistress of the dark. Which is actually good. I loved Elvira back in the days.

Anyhow, her music was okay, but not groundbreaking. It was Soul and Jazz trimmed to fit the mainstream. It’s basicly the same with Janis Joplin, she was icon in her period of time, but after that, she’s mainly known for this one song where she begs the Lord to buy her this special German car. Amy Winehouse will suffer the destiny. In like 20 or 30 years people will only know her by the song “Rehab”. It is a good song, but mentioned before, the rest of her music is meaningless. You can find way more talented Jazz or Soul musicians out there, with way less drug problem and a better attitude when it comes to work and live for the music.

Amy Winehouse RIP

To make a long story short, yes, I find it sad that Mrs Winehouse died and that we’re no longer able to catch her in concert and watch at her debauchery life in the tabloids. I’m pretty sure that we’ll be jammed with tons of B-side crap and rare material that gets released postmortem (Oh, what a surprise, we found some lost tapes on the attic…)

But on the other side, I do not find her that important to fall in a longer period of sorrow. Her management knew how to sell their fancy, freaky, riotous Jazz product and she finally had to pay the price . Her record company is going to make a lot of money with her after her death and will then finally switch to a new Winehouse like product.

In seach of…

Once again and nearly one year after first time seeing them a Fu Manchu concert was on my plan. If there’s one band I like, it’s Fu Manchu. There are always favourite bands but this particular one survived all these years with being nearly untouched in my personal hall of fame. I’ve also been a huge fan of bands like Sepultura or Slayer, but with the years the interest faded and nowadays they are just bands I revisit sometimes to remember “the old days”. Fu Manchu is more rock solid and they were able to resist all kinds of trends I personally had and I was always listening to them. The point is simple, you know what you can expect from a band like them and you sure will get what you expect. Even though they are categorized as a Stoner band I’d rather say that they’re just a rock band with a fine California attitude, a passion for sun and muscle cars and they actually seem to care about no trend. Their sound is desert dusty, their riffs just grooving and their rhythm catchy.

So, this time I saw them once again in Berlin’s club called the “C-Club” which was previously known as the Columbia Club and Fu Manchu was offering something special. Playing the whole “In search of…” album from the first to the last track. YES! One of my faves with one of my favourite songs, “The Falcon Has Landed” The band started the gig with ass kicking songs like “Hell on wheels” or “Mongoose” and started with the “In search of…” after, I guess, the fourth song of the show. I always love it when a band goes by and plays one particular album in complete. Some songs of the album were played in a kind of extended versions and reminded me a little of a jam session. Well, this what you can call jam session considering that you’re watching Fu Manchu and not King Crimson. Like mentioned before, Fu Manchu is pretty basic, but that’s what’s charming about them and what I really like. Finally, after finishing the complete album they also played some most wanted songs like “Weird beard” and “California crossing”. This band is truely, honestly rocking the stage and I’ll visit their concerts again and again and again. You simply get what you want, rock’n’roll to the face.

The good old Seattle style

Sometimes a friend of you asks you if you want to come with him to an event because nobody else wants to give him some company and enjoy it with him. So it happened to me that my girl was asking me if I would like to join her visiting the Pearl Jam concert in Berlin. I have to admit that I am anything everything else than a big fan of this band. Actually I know three songs by name and the rest was just floating through my ears and just faded away from my memory.

Pearl Jam by ~idolise-me

What shall I say, seeing Pearl Jam in concert was a truely remarkable event and this concert made it definately to the top five of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. Tool and the Smashing Pumpkins are still on top. What I really liked about the performance of Pearl Jam was the authenticity and the honesty of the band. You can see and feel that everyone in the band is not just doing a concert job, they perform with all their heart because it’s their hobby and their passion. This band is definately not a show act that needs a lot of fireworks and pyrotechnics or anything else because the real show happens between the audience and band. There was something special in the air this evening that I’ve never experienced on a concert before. The Kindlb├╝hne in Berlin is an arena that can capture around 17.000 people, but for some reasons Pearl Jam made it, that the concert felt like a cool club gig, which was pretty cool because I really like club gigs.

I guess I will try to dig deeper into the music of Pearl Jam in the future because this concert impressed me a lot.

AC/DC rocks Berlin

If there’s one thing that everyone who barely likes rock music should have done in his life, it’s visiting an AC/DC concert. Yesterday was once again an absolutely amazing event – remarkable. The Olympiastadion in Berlin was such a fine scenery for AC/DC. The first warm-up band, called Boon, had horrible sound and wasn’t my personal taste so there’s no need to mention them. The second warm-up band, Volbeat from Kopenhagen, Denmark, was a way better and I would also say that they were good but if you’re playing as an opening act for AC/DC there’s nearly no one in the audience who really wants to see you. I would have enjoyed this concert but NOT on the same evening with AC/DC as a headliner.

Rosie at Download by ~ILoveBrucieD

The main-act itself completely kicked ass. While everyone else in that age gets retired and enjoys the last days of life the guys from AC/DC don’t get tired to rock as hell. Well, of course AC/DC is a very, very stereotype band but they don’t have to excuse for this because they are what they are – AC/DC and everyone wants to see them acting like this. So what else is to about this event which has the character of a holy mass for every rock’n’roller? I guess nothing else than : “It simply, giantly ROCKED!!!”

I met this one guy in the audience right after the concert filming all around the stadium and he was instantly repeating “Dude, this was so fucking awesome”. After a short conversation I found out that this guy took the long trip from Vancouver, Canada to Berlin just to see his favourite rock band. Canada, I salute you!

Quickie

Here’s just a short update of what has happened in during the last days since my last blog post. To be honest, nothing really special happened. It’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa and I try to watch as many matches as I can, even at work. I was so pissed with my old tube TV that I had to bye me a new 40″ flat LED TV screen and I also signed a new contract with my cable provider to get as much HD as possible.

Another thing that pisses me off for a while is my job. It bores me on the one hand and it stresses me incredibly much that I can barely concentrate on anything on the other hand. Actually it feels like a burnout syndrome but I’ll wait till the last day of my upcoming vacation in France if this feel is still present. If it’s so I’ll look around for a new job.

Straight edge is running well at the moment except one thing, my addiction for ice. From today on rule #6 which says “Say no to chocolate and candy! Subsist yourself healthy!” will change to “Say no to chocolate, sweets, ice, cake and candy! Subsist yourself healthy!”

I had to make this change because I personally think that my nutrition wasn’t that healthy as it should have been in last 2-3 weeks and there were too much of this sweet thing crap. Maybe with “Straight Edge 2.0” I’ll introduce something like a “day off”-rule to get more control into flexibility and wanted rule breaks. But I have to think about this rule.

Tonight is the night where I am going to see AC/DC in concert again. I’ve seen them last year in Leipzig in the Central Stadium and now I am going to see them in Berlin’s Olympiastadion which will be a great and amazing scenery for a rock concert of this size. For those about to rock, we salute you…

Garcia plays Kyuss

Kyuss is beside Fu Manchu one of my favorite stoner bands I like to listen to. My sweetheart made me a present last x-mas with tickets for a Fu Manchu show in Berlin which was totally awesome. This band’s got so much energy when they play live and they definately kick ass. I read on MySpace by the beginning of this year that Kuyss’ John Garcia was going to play some gigs where he will sing the good old Kyuss songs again. As soon as they put the tickets out for sale I ordered a pair for the show in Berlin and I was definately excited about what was going to be come.

kyuss by ~headbuzz

Yesterday was the day of the concert in Berlin and I went there with my girlfriend. The club where the show was going to be was full, packed and SOLD OUT and too warm. Special guest and warm-up band was Brant Bjork, former drummer of Kyuss, and this band was a kind of good but not perfect and for my matter of taste too loud. The bass and the bass drum felt like an interrupting heart massage.

Later that evening and after waiting too much time at the bar for a simple glass of water the time had come for John Garcia himself to sing Kyuss songs with a bunch of musicians I have never seen before. The show started pretty good but my worst expectations would finally come true because the band itself was nothing else than a stupid Kyuss coverband and the whole sound of the concert felt horrible. The bass was drowning everything like an old B-17 bomber and the voice of Mr Garcia was dabbling nearly all the time somewhere in the background without any power. Finally, the concert was made an horrible event due to the incompetence of the sound engineer. But I also have to mention that some legends should stay legend and they should live on in our memory and not in form of a “reunion band” that looks like a bunch of pensioners.

Long live Kyuss…

Musical exploration

About 10 years ago I finally finished the work on my very first solo musical output. I don’t want to say record or CD release because technically it was a bundle release of some of my older and newer compositions in MP3 format on the internet as a free download. I didn’t even made a big thing out of it and it didn’t find many listeners, I guess the downloads were something around a 1.000 “copies”. During a flush of excitement I started composing on something that would be more structured and even got a kind of concept included. Those days the concept was raw spoken ‘man enslaved by his own machines’ and the ‘record’ should have sounded in a way like this. Raw, dark and unsettling.

Curiously the working progress stopped after two compositions and was never touched again. One reason was that I abruptly lost interest in that project and secondly my music equipment and everything that comes into play with such a project could not measure up the requirements. One problem was that I had no software that could handle MIDI files and WAVE Samples at once and the hardware I owned was a bunch of crap too. I was in the need for something new those days because I wanted to get away from the classical composing based on a score and MIDI only that was finally pushed in quality by using SoundFonts and overdubbing several audio tracks. My goal was to mix MIDI with the use of samples, which is nothing that causes excitement but like I said my remedies were straight limited.

Over the years the whole thing fell into limbo. But yesterday everything returned while I was browsing through some of my old files because I was literally┬álooking for the master of my first release. There they were, my old drum tracks, my old sketches, my old MIDI files… EVERYTHING. I always thought the whole data got lost one day but my backup strategy worked in a way. I instantly started to investigate what I actually found and if everything is still working and if I can use and/or rebuild everything to work on it 2k10 style. By now around 80% of the files that I’ve found are suitable and compatible. The other 20% are not worth to put time and energy on or it can be rebuild in a different way to make it suitable again.

I guess you know what that means, after TEN (!) years I am going to continue the work on my second solo music release. I have the remedy, I have my files, I have ideas and I have the will to bring it to a satisfying end.

From Zero to Zen

Finally I am a proud owner of a Creative Zen X-Fi2 MP3 player. As you may know, the jack on my Sony Ericsson mobile is broke and I was not able to listen to music while wandering around or suffering in the gym. Due to the fact that I couldn’t really live like this I decided to gather every single cent and buy me a new MP3 player. A new mobile wouldn’t have made any sense because I do not actually use a mobile phone for telephoning though.

What shall I say, I really like this Zen player. The sound is awesome, as usual by Creative products. It’s easy to understand and to handle and does not include too many useless functions. One thing I am not very familiar with is the touch screen but this is reasonable because it’s my first MP3 player with touch screen.

zazen by Vanishing-S

I listened to different kinds of music from AC/DC to Wolfmother, from Chemical Brothers to The Prodigy and everything sounded well and absolutely clear and in general much better than I personally expected. The X-Fi processor does a great job and does not sounds too artificial or alienates the music. Yes, this player was a good investment and I look forward to my next longer trip by train accompied by the wonderful sound of ZEN…