Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
 

Archives: April 2006


April 30, 2006

Fucktard Of The Week...

by Chris Randall
 



Hey, I've got an idea. Stop dancing around your bedroom for a minute so I can take this picture and put it up on the Interwebs. Is that okay?


This image courtesy of S&TG.


 
April 28, 2006

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday...

by Chris Randall
 



Here we have the home studio of one Meic Kluge. A pretty nice collection of synths, in my opinion. An MS20/SQ10, fairly large Synth.com modular, all the usual Roland suspects, etc. etc. Go to the pictures, then right-click->view image; they're quite a bit larger than the site is letting them display. I especially like his vintage effects collection, which contains several pieces that I would own if I wasn't obsessed with things that are either silver or a Sequential Pro-FX.

 
April 28, 2006

Craptastic Chording (with a bonus funny!)

by Chris Randall
 



I'm continually amazed at how bad fake sheets are on the internet. I mean, I'm perfectly aware that looking at sheet music (or what passes for such) on the internet is legally exactly the same as downloading mp3s, but it doesn't feel like it, you know? But that said, you're much more likely to find a good quality mp3 of a given track than an accurate transcription of the chord progression in that track. I have it in my head that every single lead sheet, fake sheet, and tab transcription on the internet was done by first-year Steve Vai wannabes at GIT and Berklee. Well, not Berklee, because you actually have to be able to read music to get in to the first year program there. So just GIT.


Anyways, I learn new chords and chord progressions by picking insanely complex jazz and pop songs from times past and learning how to play them; this is also how I practice guitar, an instrument I could be much better at. Tonight's goal was to learn the basic progression for "My Funny Valentine," which is a classic (and probably the best) example of the Im-Im(maj7)-Im7-Im6 progression, as heard in "Michelle," "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life," and about 70 other standards. It isn't in any of the fake books I have (surprisingly) so I go a-huntin', certain in advance of the comedic value, but fairly convinced I can parse out the major parts if I at least have a pretty good starting point. Just for clarity's sake, we're talking about the Tony Bennett version of the song, not the Elvis Costello or Miles Davis versions.


(As a brief digression, the Elvis Costello version has a fucking fantastic variation on this theme, with a decending bassline that just slays. But it is very nearly impossible to play on guitar, unless you have 8-inch-long fingers, which I don't.)


Anyways, look at the first hit (screenshot above) I went to when searching. The Bonus Funny is the auto-generated Google ad, "You can play guitar exactly like Tony Bennett!" Yeah, he's well-known for his six-string virtuosity. Sure. I should have kept clicking right then, but I made the mistake of looking at the chord progression. If you were paying attention above, you'll note that I said that "My Funny Valentine" is the best example of the oft-used Im-Im(maj7)-Im7-Im6 structure. Look at the progression in the screenshot. Try to play that, and see how fucking WRONG it sounds. I mean, really. It's a fucking Am(maj7), not a fucking Am7. One note off, and you've got a trainwreck.


Visiting several other sites, I didn't find a single example that bore even a passing resemblance to the original. I mean, I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, but shit. If you can't pull it off in the first place, why bother, you know? I now imagine a wedding band having to do this tune, and the leader of the band making fake sheets from that site. I wonder if they'd get paid at the end of the night.


(For extra bonus digression, this progression is also used to good effect in the second half of the bridge of "Cry Me A River," another standard which I can already play fine, thank you very much.)


 
April 27, 2006

Saturday In Seattle...

by Chris Randall
 

Anything interesting going on in Seattle on Saturday night? Like some good (non-trance) local electronica or something along those lines? The missus and I are trooping up to hang with friends, pick up a broke-ass CS-5, and spend money we don't have on shit we don't need.

 
April 26, 2006

Weevils, bugs, and loopers...

by Chris Randall
 



BugBrand is a new manufacturer (new to me, anyways) of various audio audities. Pictured above is one configuration of the Weevil, which "features twin ring-mod lofi oscillators connected to a massive copper touch-plate and it loves to click, drone and squeal." Pretty basic stuff, electronically speaking, but you can never have too many drones, clicks, and squeels.


He also makes various odd things, up to and including an incredibly strange modular system. Most of the stuff on his site is bespoke, so keep that in mind. Regardless, some fun little things.

 

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