Sunday, July 29, 2007

Using the Zoom H4 to record a Concrete Sprizzo's in Waukesha

We were hanging out at Sprizzo's in Waukesha on Thursday. They had a very groovy jazz band there called, "The Don Weast Quartet". They were playing some old jazz standards and gave the evening a nice summer-night vibe. E hung out with us for bit and then had to blast to do some work stuff. One of the purposes of getting together was to have a band meeting. M2 called the meeting and we discussed a bunch of stuff like the musical directions we want to head in and so forth and moneys (of which there always seems to be none). Musically, we are sticking to stuff we've been doing, but going to add some new elements... you'll just have to listen and see what's coming next.

There was talk about all the uncertainty of our day jobs and there was much commiserating on that. There's always a worry that one of us may have to hit the road and live out of state for a new job and that could put a damper on the Amp of course. M2 joked that he and I could become a 2 piece. We sure wouldn't mind making some money on this soul amp gig sometime.

Brad got us booked at the HOG for a Friday October 5 gig. We might have other stuff coming up as well. Just track it here for details.

Anyhow... after a couple of beers and food and listening to Don Weast we went outside Sprizzo's (out the back) to talk band stuff .... They have new concrete tables and at one point M2 started tapping out some rather tasty stuff on the table and we discovered that the table we were at had a good tonal quality. I ran out to my vehicle to get the Zoom H4 and recorded M2 and Brad (Brad is clapping). It turned out quite nice... It was recorded straight to mp3 and has no effects processing. You can hear a person coming out of Sprizzo's near the end of check it out:

I just held the Zoom H4 in my hand... it was not touching the concrete table. The gain was a bit low.... just still came out all right. I might normalize it sometime.

Here's a pic of M2:

Soul Amp's m2 listening to Zoom

Brad listening:

Soul Amp's Brad listening to Zoom

The Zoom sitting on the table (with the windscreen on):

Zoom H4 on a concrete table that has good tonal

M2 and Brad:

Soul Amp's M2 and Brad listening to the Zoom

Recording the Requisite Thunderclap using the Zoom H4

Yep, had to do also has some wonderful night sounds..the gain was too low, but here it is:

Smashed Finger Photos - The smashed fingernail is growing back....Smashed finger and fingernail after 20 days after the fingernail came off

Click here for the latest update on the smashed finger.

Here's a new update on the smashed finger. It's been 20 days since the fingernail came off. It's starting to growing back but growing back a bit oddly. It's pointing upward a bit:

smashed finger's fingernail is growing back 20 days after coming off ....

The area where the finernail is missing feels very strange when you touch it. There's really very little pain left to speak of. I'm looking forward to when it's all healed up. Here's another pic of it:

smashed finger's fingernail is growing back 20 days after coming off ....

You might want to click the pics to zoom in on them.

Here's all the posts documenting the smashed finger saga (in reverse order):

Anyone with a story of a smashed finger, I'll be happy to post it. Just drop an email or feel free to comment on this post or any of the others.

Here's one from a reader named Gordon:

And in the meantime, feel free to distract yourself with some delightful music from my band, Soul Amp:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Zoom H4

E got me a Zoom H4 a month or so back. It was $250 at Amazon. I've been digging it. The built in mics seem to do a very nice job.

Here's a pretty good review of the H4.

The coolest thing about the H4 is how it allows you to be creative and record that creativity very quickly. A big part of the killjoy for me with recording is the time it takes to set the gear up. That kind sucks the energy out of me. This thing lets me get down ideas in a format that's real listenable and requires virually no set up time. I realize that there are other flash recorders out there (and maybe some are better), but for the price and for what you get, I highly recommend this thing.

I've played around with the 4 track feature some and I've yet to get a new card (so I'm using the 128 MB SD card that came with it), but I've lately just been recording to stereo mp3 and have been very pleased. I've been running off rechargeable batteries and haven't seemed to have to recharge them that much.

I've also done some nature recordings which I will post later, but here's a couple of samples of improvisational music I just slapped down to see how it records with the internal mics (set at the lowest gain... so they are a bit quiet). There is no processing whatsover on these samples. They are record straight to mp3 and then dumped right to the web site.

This is a recording of our Hammond M3 using its internal speaker (not the motion sound):

Goofy Hammond M3 tune...

Here's me banging on our Tama drum kit (I know, I'm not really a drummer and I was just seeing how the Zoom would record it, so don't critic the playing... I already know it's horrible:

Goofy Drum track...

I may add more Zoom recorded tracks later....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Moved the Hammond M3

This weekend Brad, myself, and B transported the M3 from Brad's place to the studio.

This time we moved it in a minivan and that went pretty well. B provided a lot of good advice that Brad and I argued with, but of course B turned out to be right. One thing we kind of messed up is when you tranport the Hammond you need to secure the tone wheels. There are 4 locking screws. We locked two of them, but forgot that there were 4. So it rattled around a bit. We even stopped and checked the two we had tightened, but still forgot the other two... the inside ones. It's working just fine, so it appears no damage was done.

Here's pics of what I'm talking about...

Here's all 4 locking screws (in the unlocked position):

Here's one of the screws in unlocked position:

Here's one of the screws in locked position:

Here's what they look like locked in the cabinet:

Also, never lay the hammond on its back. If you do you will have oil leaking all over from the tone wheels as pointed out by this forum. We were at least smart enough not to do that.

As the M3 weighs 249lb, you really need at least three people to move it. Even then it's a bit cumbersome. When we first got it back in 2004, we hired a couple of guys (I think at $5 a piece) who were just coming down the street at 2 AM when we got there to help us put it into Brad's house. I'm sure they were glad for some extra beer money. With B's help this time, it wasn't any problem.

Here's a great page on Hammonds (how they work and maintenance).

We hooked it up to the Motion Sound (yep, not quite a Leslie, but still rocking) and the M3 just grunts and sings and wails. Very nice indeed.

Be sure to check out some free soul amp music by clicking here (lots of Hammond M3 samples to be found).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Park Place Milwaukee WI..... Find the Benches Around the Pond

So I've been walking around this pond that's at a business park near where I work. It's called Park Place. It's in Milwaukee, WI. I'm not talking about the "Urban Ecology Center".

Here's a map:

The pond is the big blue thing in the middle.

Well today I decided to find out how many of the wooden benches they put around this man made pond. It's pretty great how nature is just taking them over. Some of the benches are still pretty accessible and they are used by the folks who fish the pond, but a lot of them are overgrown or beginning to fall into the pond as the bank erodes. There are currently 12 of them. According to a guy I met tonight named Greg there were originally 13. One was crushed by a fallen willow tree.

They have a nice paved path (a .7 mile loop) around the pond and I've walked it hundreds of times over the years. This time of year there is a bunch of nature to observe which is just wonderfully at odds with the man made stuff. I45 is always roaring nearby (except on a couple of occasions when it was snowing hard). Just this year I've seen deer multiple times, tons of frogs, bunches of flowers (natural and planted), and hundreds of birds.

So here's a pic of the towers at park place (the pond is hard to see but it is in the foreground):

towers at park place pond - July_2007 - Milwaukee, WI -

And here's the pics for you to do a bench treasure hunt (or maybe just look at the pics if you like):

Bench 1 - Near broken tree (yep, that won't last, I know)

View from Bench 1

The broken tree... more like fallen over...

Bench 2 - Rock climb

View from Bench 2

Bench 3 - Patio view

View from Bench 3

Bench 4 - Tower view

View from Bench 4

Bench 5 and 6 - Path benches

Bench 7 - Fountain view 1

Bench 8 - Fountain view 2

View from Bench 8

Bench 9 - Hidden One pic 1 - hardest one to find

Bench 9 - Hidden One pic 2

View from Bench 9

Bench 8 and 9 - at either corner of the pic - that dude Greg is also in the pic - he's walking his dog Reggie

Bench 10 and 11 - Cow companions

These patio benches don't count in the count of 12 benches

Bench 12 - Falling in

Here's a couple of nice flowers I found today...

Yep, they're just lovely weeds, but then aren't we all?

Some perspective.... we're all phantoms

I think you'll like that one M2.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fingernail finally came off...Photo of smashed fingernail being pulled off the finger - gruesome photo of smashed finger

The smashed finger saga of the Soul Amp keyboardist continues. Finally my fingernail has come off. At the base of it, the new nail that was growing and started to push the dead nail up. Here's the pic of it hours before the nail came off (taken on 7/3/2007 at 2:18 pm):

smashed finger just hours before nail comes off -

I got it caught just a bit on my shirt a few hours later (7/3/2007 at 11:39 pm) and that loosened it up enough for it to start peeling away from the finger:

smashed finger nail coming off -

smashed finger nail coming off -

Finally, I just yankeed it off:

smashed finger nail coming off -

And here's the end result (the little bit of blood at the top right is where it was still attached some):

smashed finger just after pulling nail off - I'll post pics as the nail begins to grow back. I definitely need to write a song about this (this hasn't really affected my playing).... until I do please check out a bunch of our free mp3s to download here:

Free Soul Amp Music

1 year and 4 months later:

Here's all the posts documenting the smashed finger saga (in reverse order):

Anyone with a story of a smashed finger, I'll be happy to post it. Just drop an email or feel free to comment on this post or any of the others.

Here's one from a reader named Gordon:

And in the meantime, feel free to distract yourself with some delightful music from my band, Soul Amp:

Miller Park in Sunset

I just liked these pics... so I thought I'd share....

Miller Park in sunset June 2007 -

Miller Park in sunset June 2007 -

Friday, July 06, 2007

Snape evil? Dumbledore dead?

A friend and I were trying to find the odds on these two Harry Potter scenarios that will be answered in the upcoming book... we were hoping for some Vegas odds, but couldn't find any... We are trying to get bets going between on those two items and were hoping for some "official" odds... If someone finds some, please comment or email....