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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Entries Tagged as 'cool links'

Video Blog Beta version 0.01

March 2nd, 2008 · 3 Comments

So I’m dipping my toe into the world of video blogging – here’s the beta version, with me trying the camera and audio out on my lappy, and talking a little bit about some geeky Looperlative stuff… enjoy! :o)

Tags: cool links · Music News · New Music Strategies

the ecosystem is wrong… why facebook for music still doesn't beat Myspace…

March 1st, 2008 · 3 Comments

Jeff Schmidt just linked to this article via his Google Shared Items (find them in the side bar on his blog and grab the RSS feed) –

Facebook Music Rocks, in which the author waxes lyrical about how functional the Facebook music pages are. Which is true, they are, functionally, kicking the ass of MySpace, with the option to embed lots of stuff, and present it in a facebook profile-like way, so the target audience understand it.

We know that, I’ve blogged about that before (click the ‘facebook’ tag at the bottom of this post for all the stuff I’ve written about facebook… grab the feed for that tag too, if all you’re interested in are facebook stories… :o) – the problem is about ecosystems, and facebook is about connecting with people you already know. Facebook doesn’t have anything like the internal friend-adding currency that Myspace has. If I see someone with 1000+ facebook friends, I assume they’re a bit of a tool.

I, and the vast majority of the people I talk to, use facebook to keep up with friends news, whereabouts, photos and to play scrabulous. I deny almost all the event and application requests I get, I only put stuff on my page that says something about me, and have never that I can remember added f’ing pirates or vampires or werewolves or whatever other nonsense is on there… I don’t even use it for sanctimonious bragging about how green I am to my friends (despite that being my conversation-of-choice in most circumstances… ;o) – it’s about real world connections played out in web-time, and less-so, about finding out about online friends you have from elsewhere. I think I have maybe 3 friends that I first met on facebook, through other friends.

So, what of the musician pages? Worth having? definitely. Especially for indie musicians. Here’s why – your friends are a really important part of your audience. Look, we all know that having a stranger buy your CD or download is way more impressive and thrilling than your mum buying copies for the family for Christmas, but money is money, audience is audience, and your friends are predisposed to give you a fairer hearing than most. And – here’s the facebook catch – they have social currency to gain by telling their friends about their connection to you – almost every artist I am a fan of on Facebook is one I know personally. They are people I’m proud to know, regard as friends and want to help out.

So use facebook music, now, to mobilise friends. It may well be – in fact, it’s likely – that the facebook ecosystem will shift, and more people will embrace the idea of finding music there, of searching for great music etc. At which time you HAVE to have your ‘ducks in a row’ – your page set up, your core base of REAL WORLD FRIENDS (and family members) on there using it, and spreading the word.

Make the most of your friends as a fan-base and defacto street-team. That’s where facebook works REALLY well right now.

click here to go to my musician page on facebook
and here for To The Left Of The Mainstream

(oh, and grab my google reader shared items from the side bar on the front page here while you’re at it – there’s some great stuff there…)

Tags: cool links · Geek · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians · website recommendations

It's a Kind Of Magique

February 29th, 2008 · 2 Comments

I’ll be back to blogging the deep stuff – lots of ideas coming off the back of the last post (read the comments, there are some good ones) – but first, a video for which only one TLA could possibly suffice…

W. T. F. ??

this, dear bloglings, is a strange kind of genius, it’s some kind of wonderful… I share this as something that the performer in question has posted on youtube themself, and I mean no ill-will or insult. It just had to be shared. I still have tears in my eyes from the first time I watched it.

Feel free to thank me in the comments… :o)

Tags: cool links · tips for musicians

To The Left Of The Mainstream – new music recommendations

February 25th, 2008 · 4 Comments

I’ve written before about the need for filtering in the online music world – there’s just too much music and not enough time to leave it all to chance. As Jeff Schmidt just expressed it on twitter – “curation is vital”.

Which is why I’ve just started To The Left Of The Mainstream – a twitter-based music recommendation feed. I’ll post at least once a day, sometimes more, with links to great artists, with the proviso that all the sites will provide full track on demand streaming tracks or downloads. They’ll mainly be from Myspace, last.fm and Reverb Nation

So if you’re on twitter (you should be), you can ‘follow’ TTLOTM on there, or just click the link and then grab the RSS feed to follow it in google reader or safari or wherever. I’m sure you’ll find loads of great new music through it.

Stylistically, it’ll run the gamut from singer/songwriters to ambient music, rock bands to chamber works, electronica to nu-jazz. All the kinds of things I love. There’ll be no ‘buy-ons’, as it’s only going to be of any value at all if the sole criteria is quality…

That doesn’t mean I’m not taking recommendations – make those in the comments below please (rule #325, you can’t recommend yourself! ;o)

Tags: cool links · Geek · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians · website recommendations

The Steve 'n' Jeff Show – podcast available now…

February 24th, 2008 · Comments Off on The Steve 'n' Jeff Show – podcast available now…

So the podcast is already up! – you can read Jeff’s take on it here – I had a listen to it last night, and it sounds pretty fun. We talk a fair bit about the relationship between technology and music (or more getting information out about being a musician), about some of the things that turn us off and on in the music world, how much ‘bassness’ there is in how we see what we do… It roams a little, but Jeff’s a sharp cookie, and fortunately interrupts me when I get to long-winded… He’s the ideal foil for this kind of thing, and I think I do the same for him…

I guess it’s worth noting that there’s some grown-up language in there (both in terms of hopelessly long words, and some ‘strong’ ones too), so if you’re overly bothered by such things, you might want to proceed with caution, though if you’ve ever had a normal conversation with Jeff or I, you’ll be in the same territory. :o)

here’s the download link, or via the player below –

or apparently you can find it on iTunes… not tried that yet…

Enjoy!

Tags: bass ideas · cool links · Music News

New Steve Lawson and Lobelia EP to download

February 19th, 2008 · Comments Off on New Steve Lawson and Lobelia EP to download

You may remember back in December, Lobelia and I put out a limited edition CDR release of our live in Nebraska EP – 5 tracks taken from our forthcoming live album (release date TBC!)

Well, it’s now avaliable for download from the online store here – for &3.50

It’s over half an hour long, and the track list is

happy 7:34
mmfsog 4:09
i’m lost 5:11
rain 9:14
jimmy james 6:51

and it’s fab – if you go to my myspace page you can hear the first song from it.

anyway, you can get it as a download, it’s fab, you’ll love it, I’m sure. :o)

It’s worth noting that in general, I still sell way more CDs from the online store than I do downloads. I sell more downloads from itunes than I do here, though probably the highest volume of track sales is from emusic, though the unit price is much lower… I’m guessing, I’ve said before, that is at least partly because as a solo bassist/jazz/ambient/whatever artist, my core audience is that bit older, and not comprised of the digital natives in the 15-25 age-group that seem to dominate so much of the discussion around online music. I have a number of listeners who would be unhappy even with 198kbps MP3s (the new ones are 256k VBR), and so still want CD for the quality… I think the next full album will come out on high res MP3 and flac… I may do what Trent Reznor and Saul Williams did and put out a free low-res version, and a paid download much higher res version… we’ll see…

Tags: cool links · Music News · Musing on Music · New Music Strategies · site updates

The randomness of Success..

February 18th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Jeff Schmidt just posted a GREAT blog post entitled “Luck, timing and the randomness of getting BUZZ” – all about some stats re: what creates ‘the buzz’, why do certain artists ‘suddenly break big’ etc.

it’s a great article, and I’ve posted a lengthy response.

Jeff’s blog (here) is a great source of thinking on ‘Music 2.0’, the industry, digital stuff and being a solo bassist – his site makes a great parallel read to this because a) he works in radio, so has a whole other side to his experiences and b) he’s not trying currently trying to do music full-time, so is freed up from the need to think about making money now in his equations, so can dream a little more expansively than those of us who need to make the rent by the end of the month…

(oh, and he’s an amazing musician too – check him out on Last.fm – and his alter-ego Ruiner Severhead)

Tags: cool links · Musing on Music · New Music Strategies

Behind Every Word video – happy Monday!

February 18th, 2008 · Comments Off on Behind Every Word video – happy Monday!

Here’s a video for a live version of Behind Every Word, most notable because it shows what I’m up to with using a slide on bass pretty well… Enjoy!

Tags: cool links · Music News

Michael Manring on improv…

February 16th, 2008 · Comments Off on Michael Manring on improv…

So the chain of links goes – the top ‘related video’ for the new duo video with Michael Manring is a trailer for a documentary about a musician called Michael Masley. Micael Manring used to be in a group with Masley called Cloud Chamber, a beautiful ‘improvising chamber group’ that made really beguiling ambient music.

So I googled them and found this interview with the band on Innerviews, Anil Prasad’s fantastic site. And in the interview, was a really pertinent quote from Mr Manring about improvising. So here it is. Damn, I love the internet. :o)

Manring: People often think of improvisation as meaning jazz improvisation, but I’m interested in the greater meaning of the word. I’m interested in the idea of improvising not necessarily notes, but phrasing, dynamics and articulation. For me, the thing that makes improvisation important is that it’s so directly connected to the moment. I think it’s a very necessary form of musical expression that’s existed in all cultures through time, but Western culture has sort of kept it hidden. It’s so responsive and it’s a great way to work with people. It opens up deeper possibilities for dialogue.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself… :o)

Tags: cool links · Musing on Music

Michael Manring and I on video…

February 16th, 2008 · Comments Off on Michael Manring and I on video…

Here’s another video from the gig in Santa Cruz – this one is of Michael Manring and I. It’s the second half of a REALLY long improv, and goes through about 5 or 6 big changes of direction, all seemlessly transitioned, thanks to the magic of the Looperlative.

Michael and I have been playing together for about 7 years, touring in England or California. We’ve never played together not on stage, and have only once or twice even vaguely discussed what we were going to do before a song, and that was usually because there was some hidden comedy element that one of us had come up with… We just get on stage, smile and start playing, and see where the muse takes us. It’s proper ‘pan-idiomatic’ improv (thanks to David Torn for the description) – it goes through any genre or idiom of music that we choose to steer it, from folk to metal, avante garde to funk, minimalist to contrapuntal neo-fugues…

Anway, here’s the video – it’s a lot of fun, but sounds pretty muddled on laptop speakers. Break out the headphones, or plug into a hifi to get some idea of what we were actually doing!

Tags: cool links · Music News