I like this

Beaut tracking shots of riders on a beautiful track.

Once I heard an experienced Steadicam operator say that you use the movement of what you're filming to disguise the movement of the camera. Which is probably why handheld camerawork only suits certain types of scenes.

Compare and contrast

I've been having a quiet weekend and revisiting some favourite music, including a couple of concert videos and some of my own stuff.

In 1 by bassling

This track is a remix I did in 2007 for the ninja.trax series.

The original track was a performance-piece also recorded for ninja.trax. Below is a video I made of one of my rehearsals.

Some idiot

Some idiot gave my kids recorders. I think the recorder must be the most terrible sounding instrument ever. (Those Japanese flutes are a close second though.)

There's good reason you never see a lead recorder in music these days. The only decent contemporary recorder playing I've heard is on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' BloodSugarSexMagik.

Those plastic recorders given to kids in primary school music classes are the worst sounding of a terrible instrument. They're shrill and kids don't understand the subtlety required to blow on them. When you factor in that kids can hear higher frequencies than adults, you must acknowledge how cruel it is to make entire classrooms of children inflict these piercing sounds on each other.

I distinctly remember hating music classes as soon as they introduced recorders. I loved singing but recorders scared me away from learning music until I got my hands on a guitar in year seven.

The original Rainbow Warrior

is a fascinating character in Australian history. An Aboriginal who fought against European settlement, he's since come to be presented as a kind of Robin Hood character but one wonders if he wouldn't also be described as a terrorist.

There's now a suburb named Pemulway in outer Sydney and it seems somewhat ironic that one who fought so hard against colonisation should now be remembered this way.

I see dead people

Attached are pics from Facebook where it has encouraged me to contact people I know are dead. It's a bit weird when it suggests I "reconnect" with them but maybe that's just me. I'm an atheist.

Facebook has been in the press a bit recently for defaced tribute pages. I think the issue of acknowledging dead people on the social networking site has further implications.

On Australian TV news they are obligated to warn viewers when they are about to screen footage of dead Aboriginals. Does Facebook meet this cultural sensitivity?

I'd guess it would require a lot of work for Facebook to check profiles and would cause problems if they disconnected profiles that hadn't been accessed in six months or so. Maybe they could have a Bring Out Your Dead event?

March of the blogs: Introduction

This month I've hit upon a new scheme for self-promotion and regurgitation which involves recycling blog content. Welcome to my other blogs.

I know it goes against the label but here are three posts from the ShowcaseJase blog. In the following posts you'll find three posts from each of my currently active blogs.

Traffic report - posted 8 February 09

This must be my most viewed page. One in six clicked through the link to see the lizard.

Deluxe schmucks
- posted 13 June 08

In the face of declining CD sales, it's interesting how a new format for music has emerged. Namely the hardcover-style packaging for albums that seems to often hold the deluxe version of the stuff that also exists as mp3, vinyl maybe and presumably standard-issue jewel case CD.

I confess to owning a couple of these and, to be honest, they mess with my storage space for CDs a bit as they're about four times the size of the others. It's like the upsized version of a CD, the boutique flavour of beer, the superlative of words or something.

I've bought two so far: Angus and Julia Stone because I was curious about the packaging and, Beck's Guero for the extra content.

The extra content is a defining characteristic of the deluxe edition, an incentive for the would-be collectors. With the Beck came a couple remixes and an over-designed DVD, the latter oft freezes up while playing these sorta interesting designs.

In fact, Beck seems to be strongly associated with the idea of a deluxe edition album. Odelay has recently been re-released in this format and I think The Information, with its DIY cover and accompanying DVD, was a kind of blueprint for the concept.

However, on this occasion I'm going to disagree with Beck. IMO the deluxe album concept would be better served by having people dream up new content as much as repackage it.

Here's what I mean:
  • Imagine your favourite album.
  • Now think about a similar and perhaps massively popular album. Say, Massive Attack's Protection album.
  • Now think about how excellent the massively popular Massive Attacks's Protection album was in the Mad Professor's No Protection interpretation of it.

That's the deluxe album I want.

Let me suggest some possible deluxe album releases, starting with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' BloodSugarSexMagik. In a recent interview with Tape Op magazine, John Frusciante said that album came back from being mixed with Rick Rubin and sounded different to how Frusciante had envisaged it. I would like to hear his version of the album. (And, while they're at it, they should include the track Soul to Squeeze since that was a strong single in its own right even after they squandered it on the Coneheads soundtrack album.)

Even though I often thought the success of Nirvana's Nevermind was largely due to the sparkling production of Butch Vig, it would be interesting to hear those seminal tracks reworked with a drier sound like that on their other albums.

Fugazi would provide great material for a remix. I liked what Luke Vibert did with Tortoise, so he'd be a good starting point. (BTW, the guitar picks below came from Kris Novoselic and Ian McKaye when they played the ANU Bar, Canberra in the '90s.)

EMI should think about splitting up the Radiohead master tapes amongst some talented producers. I'd like to hear Brian Eno take the edge off the electronic sessions that became Kid A and Amnesiac. Or it would be good for Photek to add new programming. Hell, I'd be happy if their greatest hits package had come with an album of remixes like the best of Prince CD I've got.

And Dub Side of the Moon has already shown the massive potential for Pink Floyd to be reworked. If the Mad Professor weren't available then Massive Attack could do something fascinating. Or that producer who did so many great remixes for them, I think the name was Underdog. Hell, I'd guess Pink Floyd could pick and choose by doing something like Radiohead and offering up the stems from their recording sessions. That could be interesting.

There are so many opportunities for recording artists to be given a new life through this sort of repackaging. It's a shame that all I see is new packaging in the shops when it's what's inside that counts.

Battering Ram - posted 6 November 07

This home movie about why kids and livestock don't mix screened as part of the 2007 Reel Is Real Film Festival.

March of the blogs: Leeton Art Deco

This month I'm going to promote three posts from each of my other blogs. Here's a collection of Leeton Art Deco.

March of the blogs: Shot Wildlife

This month I'm going to promote three posts from each of my other blogs. Here's some shot wildlife.

Bearded Dragon - might be too young to grow a beard?! - posted 13 February 09

Just saw my first living bearded dragon for the year and it looks a lot like an older version of the only living one I saw around here last year.

When I first moved out here I saw a few of these and one was always around the yard. Lately I've found a couple dead and it saddens me.

Visit to Coffs Harbour Butterfly House - posted 2 June 08

Snakes and staircases - posted 29 December 07

March of the blogs: Haiku4you

This month I'm going to promote three posts from each of my other blogs. Here's a taste of Haiku4you, where I publish short poems.

Downpour - posted 30 July 09

A cloudburst of rain
like the thundering of hands
showering applause

Optimism in drought - posted 21 June 06

Tractors stir the dust
outside my window tonight
Rain must be forecast

"Moon!" - posted 19 September 05

"Moon!" my son demands
and there's no choice but show him
the clouded night sky

March of the blogs: First Three Songs No Flash

This month I'm going to promote three posts from each of my other blogs. Here's a taste of my First Three Songs No Flash blog, which features a little of the gig photography I did for BMA Magazine in the '90s.

Some of the pics were in my exhibition of the same name as the blog at Wagga's HR Gallop Gallery in 2007. I've been considering preparing a follow-up exhibition of my colour pics from the Big Day Out, Vans' Warp, Satellite and other festivals.

Skin from Skunk Anansie

Mike Patton with Mr Bungle

John Lydon with The Sex Pistols

March of the blogs: hghlght

This month I'm going to promote three posts from each of my other blogs. Here's a taste of my hghlght blog, which shows off some pretty photography as well as the occasional rant.

Wired for sound
- posted 11 June 09

Among other distinctions, the Murrumbidgee catchment is home to two sound sculptures built by Dr Alan Lamb, a Western Australian whose career has combined neurobiological research, medicine, art and music.

Most recently Lamb has been working in Muttama, outside Cootamundra. There he has designed a massive aeolian harp with stretches of high-tensile wire up to 300 metres long. In 2004, Lamb worked with Scott Baker to build a smaller aeolian harp of around 50 metres in length at ’Pindari’ outside Wagga Wagga, where he worked with the present author in 2006 for the Wagga Space Program’s Unsound festival - see the video below.

Aeolian harps have a long history and were first recognised by King David when his stringed instrument was stirred by the breeze. Similarly, St Dunstan of Canterbury enjoyed the strange music produced by the wind on tightened strings (although that led to an accusation of sorcery). Aeolian harps have been widely popular in previous centuries, particularly among the Romantic poets, including Coleridge, and also among Victorian composers, such as Elgar. You can find many designs for windowsill and doorway harps, which were the styles popular in those times.

The principle behind the aeolian harp is simple: the wind blows, creating vibration on tightened strings, leading to harmonics that resonate a shifting pitch higher than that of the strings tuning. However, this simple science still creates a sense of wonder. In Victorian times superstitious types considered these sounds to be ethereal voices, possibly from those deceased.

Alan Lamb calls his large-scale aeolian harps “the wires” as they have evolved from his fascination with telegraph wires. His introduction was as a child in Scotland, when his nanny would stop and put her head to the poles to listen the “sound of the universe”. In the 1976, Lamb discovered an abandoned one-kilometre stretch of Telecom infrastructure and, after purchasing it, began experimenting. Since then he has released records, featured on soundtracks (most recently Wolf Creek) and indirectly influenced popular culture when he was contacted by the sound designers for the original Star Wars film — where the distinctive 'ping' of tapped telegraph wires was used for the sounds of laser blasters.

Alan Lamb has some interesting views on the subject of aeolian harps and has stated that “the underlying principles show commonalities with biological systems such as embryonic body plans and brain function.”

As a musical instrument, ‘the wires’ are something of an acquired taste. They are characterised by shifting patterns and have a huge range, from soft breathing sounds to high-pitched hums. They are also a bit magical, as Coleridge observed:

Methinks, it should have been impossible / Not to love all things in a World like this / Where e'en the Breezes of the simple Air / Possess the power and Spirit of Melody

Storm off Valla Beach
- posted 27 May 08

Wagga air pollution - posted 13 June 05

Pyromaniac farmers are why Wagga has been the most polluted city in NSW.

Here are some pics of pyromaniac farmers in action outside Wagga.

March of the blogs: bassling

This month I'm going to promote three posts from each of my other blogs. Here's a taste of my bassling blog, which focuses on some of my musical output and discussions of music production.

Bassling wants to be free - posted 11 August 09

Five years before Chris Anderson published Free, three years before Radiohead released their album In Rainbows for a donation (of potentially nothing); bassling was inspired by Creative Commons to offer his first LP for free.

Don't wait another five years - download it today!

- posted 20 April 09

One of a few tracks that I've written so far this year :(

Workspace and Environment - posted 14 August 08

Trash Audio have this cool regular section called Workspace and Environment where they ask artists a series of set questions. I always like reading it and imagining my own answers, so I thought I'd write my own response.

I grew up in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. I spent my teens playing bass guitar and was in a few short-lived bands in my early 20s, like the Pongrass Brothers. When I left town I sold my bass but ended up buying another one a few years later. Then I started making music on the computer. My track Cycleslut is one of the first things I wrote, built from samples off my CDs.

I've now lived in Wagga Wagga for about seven years and, as much as I'm ready to leave, I don't think I'll be able to go anytime soon. Having kids and another on the way means the decision isn't mine to make anymore. Luckily I live on a beautiful hill outside town.

The name bassling came to me when I misread something and it seems apt since bass is where I started and where I keep coming back - although these days I prefer synth bass sounds, the wires (a large-scale aeolian harp) and different things through an octave pedal or similarly manipulated with software.

There are two bassling albums so far, SHAKES (2004) and YOUR (2007).

The next bassling album is based on my recordings of the wires. You can hear some of the raw files at soundclick.com/aeolianharp and there's the bassling remix of a ShowcaseJase track written for the wires. There's also a dubby sorta track I made with the wires up at the website for Alan Lamb's current project at Cootamundra.

What are your current favourite pieces of hardware?
Macbook, drumkit, Zoom H4, Rode NT4, Epiphone 335, Boss OC3 and Nintendo DS.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
Ohmboyz has been a huge part of the bassling sound, I usually only use the presets but the filters and the tempo-locked delay create a swelling sound that's in most things I record. Thinking of Ohmforce software, everyone should have their Frohmage VST since it's free and does interesting stuff to sounds.

Steinberg's Cubase and Nuendo have a lovely sound about them but are a bit of a pain in the arse to use compared to Ableton Live. And I'm still shitty that I forked out all that cash for Nuendo 3 only to find it runs like a dog on Mac.

Glitch DS
is genius IMO. I enjoy it lots and have been meaning to figure out how to make my own samples, probably of the wires and quartz percussion.

Also, for generative sound applications, I like jamming along with Forester on my drumkit. Since it's winter at the moment, I'm not inspired to take my drumkit up to play along with the wires, so I find that putting recordings of the wires into this software gets similar effect.

How does your physical space surroundings influence your workflow?
This is a really interesting question. A few years ago I hung out with some noisemakers who called themselves the Wagga Space Program and they had a philosophy about recognising how the rural environment shaped their practices. It's something I've come to appreciate through living with the wires that were built on the property where I live by Alan Lamb and Scott Baker as part of their Unsound festival in 2004.

In 2006 I was fortunate to be invited to be part of Unsound but it wasn't until last year that I found myself more fully appreciating the stuff they were doing. Sadly, most of them have left town so there isn't going to be an Unsound 2008.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
I'd really like a room of my own to set up my gear. It'd be good to not have to worry about my kids getting into my stuff but it's also fun seeing them bash on the drumkit and sometimes we make music together.

Other than that, it's pretty inspiring to play drums on top of the hill on a warm evening.

What is on your current 'wish list'?
I've been lusting after a Musicman Stingray bass but don't really play bass enough to justify the expense. I'm also looking at the Alessis Performance Pad in the window of the local instrument shop but they're asking almost twice what it can be found for online. I'm also considering buying Native Instruments Komplete but might wait until I'm studying again so I can claim the student discount.

Do you have a setup for live performances
No, I've only started thinking about live performance in the last couple of years and at the moment it's usually just one-off sketches that I videotape and put online. I like making music but I hate the late nights involved in playing gigs and, frankly, there isn't much of an audience for the stuff I do locally.

Are you involved in any other projects?
Yep, I've always got a few things on the boil. There's an album of guitar-based songs I recorded for the RPM Challenge this year under the name ShowcaseJase that needs to be re-evaluated and produced and possibly re-recorded in parts.

Mic Main$tream asked if I'd make some techno tunes for his label and I was so flattered that I agreed but it's been hard to find the hi-NRG needed and also hard to find the time to work on them since I returned to full-time work. I decided to use the bassling moniker for my more experimental acoustic electronica-inspired stuff with drums and the wires but the dance music I've been making for him is more like the bassling albums I've released. He suggested calling it Jase of Bass, it kinda brings together all my alter egos.

Blank canvas?

This wall desperately needs something.

Almost anything.

With the aid of a spray can and a ladder, any type of marking will look immediately like art with that wonderful frame-like border.