Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An interesting proposal

I'm not sure what to make of it yet...and sort of doubt it will get off the ground either in Canada or elsewhere. But it is certainly interesting to read about a positive approach to file sharing.

ISPs Choking Bandwidth?

Yes - it is pretty obvious they do as described in this article:
Comcast nefarious activity
I believe Network Solutions also does this. Correction, I should say RCN as they are the ISP I experienced this with. Network Solutions suck in other ways. Their 'hold' 'music' is some of the worst on the planet and their help people are mostly rude attitood exuding assholes. Though to be fair i have talked to a couple of very decent helpful people there...
Regarding the bandwidth choking, it all goes to show that the ISPs have no idea what is legal and what is illegal P2P activity.

...well...this bollocks from U2's manager

I wrote a few words on this earlier but frankly the linked transcript speaks for itself. On the surface a lot of what he says seems to make sense - but really it is just all about corporate business as usual. Particularly nasty is his urging that ISPs be held responsible for stopping piracy on their networks. Almost as bad, his promotion of music subscription services. Bloody hell. Can that idea still be viable? Surely not!
So read and be very wary...
Here's his industry rant

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dubbing Too Hard?

Working on a track this week which is totally based on the Seeds 'Pushin' Too Hard', a track I like a lot and have for many years. It is not reggae or dub. Big surprise. I like all sorts of things, but most of the things I like are honest, straightforward direct things. I have little patience these past several years for works of art (of whatever kind) that ask you to watch, listen, observe, contemplate and take the experience away with you to digest in your book 'n' art lined study. Don't f**king have one thank you very much. Rather I would listen and be directly confronted. This is what it is. This Seeds song is a real classic that bounces around my head and so this week it bounced back in again and was suddenly cover version material.

Part of the fascination with the idea of doing a dub version of 'Pushin' Too Hard' for me was the fact that I had done a couple of recent mixes that were just too hard, too loud. The mixes didn't suit the melodic softer nature of the tracks. So, naturally I thought I should do a Dub of something hard. Listening to 'Pushin...' it's not really hard in most ways, but it is driving and relentless for all of it's 2 minutes plus. It's an edgy track. Angular is a word that comes to mind but that must be something from earlier today. It's a great song in many ways, but it is really a teen song about a boy wanting to do his thang and not have a girl tie him down. But the fact that he is so passionate about it brings it loosely into the realm of a freedom song. I will not reproduce lyrics here and hope nobody would bother to mess with me for honouring the song with a cover version (of sorts). Let's see how it pans out... so Dubbin' too Hard...

UPDATE: Here it is: Dubbin 2 Hard

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ACEtone ALLstars go commercial (sort of)

The number of downloads of such tracks as the Dub Canon was sufficient for me to ask myself if I should not be charging money for it and the others: Fine loose jammed dubby tracks recorded live at 6/8 Studio and mixed at ACEtone Studio to a point of DUB righteousness. Why not? But then I thought - maybe the downloads will dry up. They serve promotional purposes don't they? He says weakly...

So I just offered the choice. Either download for free or pay for it.

Go on, buy a track and tip the me a cup of coffee...for spending hours on the beautiful things...

I'm already owed $104 by the original and the current one wants to know nothing about it. Can you imagine that multiplied by 100,000 artists? er, maybe that was 10 million virtual dollars debt that Vivendi bought (or was it they who were bought out? Can't remember) and no artist ever saw a penny. I'm just hoping the 'new way' is more responsible.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

To be FREE, or not to be FREE that is the music question

Excuse the lame Shakespeare paraphrasing. ACEtone Studio has been giving away for free several tracks with the best intentions of generating interest in the music produced here. And along with the best intention was the hope that it would drive some listeners to actually buy other tracks specifically released as commercially available music. It may have worked to a small degree, but the financial rewards are miniscule, hence my decision to make the same freely downloadable tracks available for sale. I'm working on this right now. The ACEtone ALLstars music has been hugely downloaded worldwide - now I'm working on selling it to see what happens. A crappy myspace page and the Snocap code to go with it. It will be interesting to see.

Surely it is better to dedicate yourself to your work and be rewarded for it. It is nice to hear kind words, yet the words ring a little hollow when there are not a few $ to help keep it going.

Happily the major record companies are in their 'last throes' and we are currently enjoying or suffering a period of flux that will result in some kind of new business model for music. One hopes that it will be a positive step towards rewarding the artists and frankly punishing the suits and marketing departments.

The only thing record companies really have going for them is their marketing. That is where all of the money is spent. So the marketing types should go independent - or the companies should set them apart and have them do what they do assholes...and promote music. So as a musician you get to pay for someone who knows your music not what the label decides. Personally I couldn't give a crap. The kind of music the majors release is mostly dreadful rubbish. But it would be nice to think of them somehow adapting to the internet age.

There is much more I'd like to add to this topic, and I will in the future. But for now, free music is a good thing, but reward the artist if you value him or her. Most of my favourite artists either live hand to mouth or are dead due to extreme poverty. Make you think?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A few JA 45s

ACEtone's skinny collection of phat JA 45s

Click on the above link for lots of sweetness, a bit of righteousness, a 'ole 'eap of Jah JA music. Just part of my likka collection of JA 45s. I got some of these in Jamaica and some others in NY at the unbeatable Jammyland on 3rd between 1st and 2nd avenues.
Some of this stuff is out there on CD in some shape or form, but as far as I know some of it isn't. Still it's nice to hear it coming from the record player rather than mangled by someone who thinks he knows how it should sound (often getting it wrong).
These are directly digitized with no filtering of any sort. I minimized a few major clicks and normalized. No messing around with music destroying plug-ins.

Track list and credits as follows:

Miss Wire Waist - Carl Malcolm - Impact Records - Prod. Clive Chin
Wire Dub (with skip!) - Skin Flesh and Bone - Prod. Clive Chin
Jah Foundation - Anthony chambers - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
Jah Foundation Dub - Anthony chambers - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
In the Right Way - Rod Taylor - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
In the Right Way (version) - Rod Taylor - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
I Need Your Love - Phillip Saunders - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
I Need Your Love (version) - Phillip Saunders - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
Fancy Make Up - John Holt - Studio One - Prod. Coxsone Dodd
Fancy Make Up (part two) - Sound Dimension - Studio One - Prod. Coxsone Dodd
Ethiopian Kings - Rod Taylor - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
Ethiopian Kings (version) - Rod Taylor - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
Danger Zone - Jah Stitch - Success - E. Carter
Dub Zone - Jah Stitch - Success - E. Carter
Blood A Go Run - Prince Alla - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
Sweet Africa - Don Carlos - Thompson Sound - Prod. Linval Thompson
Sweet Africa (version) - Don Carlos - Thompson Sound - Prod. Linval Thompson
2000 Years - Phillip Fraser - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown
2000 Years (version) - Phillip Fraser - Freedom Sounds - Prod. Bertram Brown

The purpose of this podcast is to share some excellent sounds but most importantly to encourage others to support the artists listed. If anyone has a problem with this, just let me know in the comments. It is not my intention to take anything away - more to add to the legacy of these players and vocalists I love so much.

A few comments on the tracks.
Miss Wire Waist is just such a sweet track. Bought the very worn 45 from Randy's in Kingston JA. I suspect it is an ex Juke Box single (Chin family business). Picked it up in the actual studio space where it was recorded. It was a gratifying experience. So the bacon frying sounds are worth it and the bass still comes through. The dub has a skip. Sadly unavoidable. but to be in the same space as countless wonderful artists had passed through, rummaging through the 45s - an the same space as the track was recorded...still boggles that, that recording space was just let go. It is probably gone completely now...

Jah Foundation. Nice track. I know nothing about Anthony chambers and have never heard any mention of him which is all the more reason to like the obscurity of this. The dub is OK. Sounds like an early Jammy. I really don't know...

In the Right Way by Rod Taylor - one of the Greenwich Farm 'youth men' singers promoted by Bertram Brown. I love this stuff. Blood and Fire have release different sounding versions of this dub version. Nothing wrong with a bit of crackle.

Phillip Saunders is another unknown to me. Perhaps he is a superstar in Croatia or somewhere. I certainly hope so because I like this a lot. The dub is fairly well mutilated by surface noise, but a bit spooky sounding. Not bad at all.

John Holt's Fancy Make Up is surely and exercise in misogyny yet the voice is golden as ever. Jackie Mittoo on the organ. What more could you want? A sax break from Tommy McCook. Not on this track...
Sublime stuff this Rod Taylor track. Tubby on the dub. Nice.

Jah Stitch didn't do a lot but he was good and he has an interesting story concerning a gunshot wound to the head that he weirdly survived and came out of hospital with a different voice. I believe you?

Prince Alla is one of my all time favourites. A bit trebly this. Love the riddim, loose as fuck and super drum fills. Note the possible influence of the young Jacob Miller towards the end - or is it the other way around? This is a vocal on the Only Love Can Conquer track released by Blood and Fire (Only Love Can Conquer) Support him all you can. Buy his records, even the crap ones which are actually pretty highly regarded by others. This guy is a diamond and his missus is as sweet as can be. The B-side of this 45 was some 80's DJ shite I preferred to not include...

Sweet Africa: I must have some more stuff by this guy somewhere. A nice mellow track. The somewhat dull bass line comes into its own in the dub. Drum and Bass YAH!

2000 years: Phillip Fraser again. Tubby (or assistant) shaking chains. A lovely jaunty track with a serious message. A 'ole heap of emoting going on. Nice crude gtr from chinna. The dub? Seems Tubby was high-lighting the guitar at the beginning. Nice progression to spring reverb snare. He must have really liked this song, leaving so much vocal in. It is a very 'safe' dub. Nice though...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

what's going on at acetone studio?

Right now at work on a new collection of Dub tracks to be titled 'Every Spoil a Dub'. Currently 8 tracks in progress with working titles which will surely change, as day follows night all too swiftly, as follows:

Goodness Dub
Dub Invader
Fast Dub
Heavy Dub (yu can hear this in completed song version here):
Troy Davis Innocence Matters Dub
Long Bassline (informative title, isn't it?)
New Dub (the first of the bunch)
Raggedy Ass Dub (intriguing, no?)
Progression Dub

I have been very fortunate to be able to buy a few new studio toys in recent months to augment the Dub experiments begun on Eating Betty In Dub and Reverbalism - jus a few likka cheap ting yunno?

Top of the list is the Fostex 3180 Reverb unit. A reasonably priced piece (ebay) of early 80s gear to approximate the lush sound of a Fisher or similar 70s make. Well, it's really all about how you use it and...coupled with a variable hi-pass filter it seems to go to just about where I want to get the sound. Always struggling for a good Tubby's sound can hear it on the Innocence Matters track. I'm sure I can do better than this - but you must admit, this is a good track.

Behringer Xenyx 1002FX mixer: I bought it because I thought I might need it for a Dub workshop think I did in Gothenburg in Sweden. It's a tiny thing, no great burden in the luggage and as it turned out I didn't need it for the Swedish gig but I have subsequently found it very useful for getting sound in from more than one source or doing some simple EQ. Drawbacks - it gets really hot, so something will burn out some time. No on/off switch. Many rag on Behringer for their cheap shit, but I say - I can't afford the expensive shit. And considering the fact that most people have ears of cloth, the quibbles are often vanity driven admixtures of pseudo audio science and umbridge at the fact that they paid at least twice as much for basically the same box of components. Behringer are knockoff artists for people on my kind of budget...and cheap bastards...

Behringer condenser mics: I don't know what to make of these yet. It is better to have three microphones than one. My trusty Shure SM57 has served me well for more years than the price does justice to the manufacturer. Thanks Shure. I doubt I'll be thanking Behringer for these weak sounding mics in 14 yrs time. I'll get back to you on that.

Digitech Synth Wah: Not sure what to make of this yet. Very difficult to control. The sample settings in the little booklet that I will surely lose seem to work sort of OK, but when I got it first and just played around with it everything was pure shit. Yes. Pure. Maybe I need to get a real outboard envelope filter. i thought this would get me by to do some little gtr solo bits - and it probably will, but with more difficulty than I thought. It is a strange effect. I can get more manageable envelope filtering in software, but I want that really played, really soloed with the effect on feel, as I'm going for a more hugely analogue sound and feel for the new dubs. Hell. I'm playing most of the music rather than sequencing - back to di roots...

Classical Guitar: (a cheap one) for color and rhythm and sugar and spice. A little rounding of the harsh corners of otherwise all electric/electronic music. No steel string acoustics please!

I won't do an equipment list because it's not that kind of blog. I have what I can use to do what I need to do. When I need something else I try to find a way to afford it. I am not into synths. No space for such unrequited gear lust.

However, sometimes people throw things away. i won't details the computers but I did get a very useful Line 6 Flextone II amp from the street in my neighbourhood.

All the rest is innate talent, playing ability, composition and decide

First Post (heavily edited and revised)

Let someone else do the work! A few days trying to make my own blog template has convinced me that my time and abilities would be better utilized writing rubbish on a hosted blog...I'm a musician Jim, not a code monkey!
I'll write something intensely meaningful when the mood is right...there will be a lot of ellipses...

OK, now before I start kicking myself. Blogger is not fully functional when using Safari as I tend to do by default. The insert link and blockquote and add video functions do not all!

Now to try to enter a link. How about this page for laughs?
If Diebold advertised honestly

It works! So all you Mac users out there, be sure to use Firefox, not Safari to get full functionality.

Now on to another post...