The Music Of JC Harris

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

Rants By Topic

The Advertising Thing

I’m in the process of adding ads to this thing, strictly as a means of survival. I’m sort of opposed to it, but obviously not enough to shut ‘er down. Nevertheless I am a bit sad about it in some ways and thought that some clarification was in order.

Everyone that blogs is to some degree narcissistic. I have to be, because I’m an entertainer. And because I’m an entertainer I have no problem asking people to pay for my “deep thoughts.”

But ads are a bit insidious, first of all because they seem so innocuous. Just having the things sitting there subtly changes the experience. Even if I tell you (and you believe) that I have no investment in any of the specific companies (and in fact, may have no idea which ads are being “served” at any given moment.) Their presence changes the game, just like billboards in the outfield of a baseball field change the game a bit.

The second point is that they will help make up for a […]

The Lesson Of Michael?

After I heard about Michael, I started thinking about this guy ‘Bev’ I worked for years ago who helped organise The Crossroads Festival. For those not ‘down’, this is a very famous get together for Transvestites and Transsexuals. People come from all over the country for the a totally swank party where the only rule is: Ya Gotta Look Fabulous.

As I said, I worked for the festival. They would put a call out for musicians to play in a big band at their big Gala Ball and it was a gig that was coveted by almost everyone in the biz… In addition to being paid an UNFUCKIN’ BELIEVABLE amount of money for a 4 hr. job of really excellent charts, we were all fed scrumptously and generally had a total blast.

The common thing about all these gals (?) in their Halston gowns was that all of them wish they were someone or something other than what they were. And this ball was a chance for them, if only once a […]

Big Champagne: P2P Re-Purposed For Profit

A while back I ranted on the enormous number of ‘free’ downloads of my stuff.

Now here is a very interesting article about how at least one company is making serious money helping record companies convert some of this activity into sales.

In short, Big Champagne gathers stats on P2P file sharing data as demographic marketing information; the frequency by which songs and artists are being downloaded in various cities, states and countries. They then sell this in digestible chart and spreadsheet form to record companies so they can determine which artists to push in which markets.

So while the record companies are trying like crazy to shut down P2P sites, they are also not above getting whatever benefit they can out of their predicament.

I’m sure you’re at least vaguely aware of all the valuable medical information that came out of those Nazi experiments during the war. Same deal. People have to hold their nose to use such data, but it’s just  too valuable to ignore simply because the source was so reprehensible. […]

Bamboo Percussion

My neighbour has a totally annoying and invasive bamboo forest which is constantly threatening my garden. As part of my strategy to fight this monster I began cutting this stuff back and turning the dead into musical instruments.

I’ve made a range of things from Boobams to Kung Fu style transverse flutes to big  clavés like the ones you see polynesians beating on at those touristy Luaus.

Making musical instruments is fun and educational. As a starting point I would suggest checking out the action-packed little book ‘Vibrations’ by David Sawyer. It’s pretty much the Bible for DIY noise making projects.

I used various home-made, bamboo percussion sticks and drums extensively on the title song off of the recent Beautiful Sounds album starting at about 6:00 in.

Totally apropos of nothing, at least one inspiration for that section came from a song off an old Cat Stevens’ (néé Yusuf Islam) record ‘Catch Bull At Four’… where there is a percussion ‘breakdown’ in […]

DIY (Part 2) My Bedroom Vs. Your Bedroom

Way back in the day, I had the great fortune to watch Prince one night doing his thing as a young man all alone in a Minneapolis studio. The talent the guy had was palpable. And the fact that he not only sang like Prince,  played like Prince, but could also run a complex studio? That was really something. No amateur could do that back then. You had to pay your dues simply to learn to get a proper sound on tape.

It’s technically a lot easier to do it yourself nowadays.  The past decade has delivered the same revolution in audio computing that occurred in the mid ’80’s with desktop publishing. The parallels are many and in fact, I would describe most music software programs as something like ‘Desktop Music Publishers’.

Like DTP, DMPs make it very easy for pretty much anyone with the right hardware to create something that kinda/sorta looks ‘professional’. Kinda. Sorta. And like DTP, the output devices have been dumbed-down which can make it harder see the […]

March, 2009
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