Tag Archives: Music

Arts and Jazz

Another night out playing some jazz music. This time for the visitors of the vernissage of Austrian artist Jörg Wascher.

wascher

The gig was ok although for me listening to Jazz while looking at art (mostly paintings, but also some sculptures) and drinking wine is a little bit too much of a cliché. Plus I don’t like background music in grocery stores, so why would anyone like it at a vernissage?

But it’s not my call, we got paid for the gig and I really enjoyed playing with that group. We were four and we have not played in that setup before, but interestingly all share some kind of common history or are linked otherwise.

The trumpet player, Erwin, and I are friends for a long time. He also studied mechatronics, and obtained his PhD a couple of years ago. After being a post doc at KU Leuven he’s now back at JKU for another post doc position. His office is on the same floor as my office.

The bass player, David, was the youngest of our group, about age 20. He studies bass at Anton Bruckner university, the school where I studied jazz piano for some time. And here it comes: We also were neighbors for most parts of our lives! Our parents are still neighbors. David has an older brother Joe (we’re almost the same age), who is a brilliant guitar player. It really is interesting that neither my personal, nor Joe’s or David’s musical paths crossed while we still lived in Thalheim. – I played in a band with Joe later and with David for the very first time tonight, but not before anyone of us was older than 20.

The drummer, Markus, played in Joe’s band while we were teenagers, and I would see him every now and then from across the street. Also he was one of the best friends of a very good friend of mine, who I met much later – they went to the same music highschool. So I have met Markus again at a couple of birthday parties since then. – He went on to become a professional drummer.

It is funny to see how all of us are connected to other people in such diverse ways, how we develop our own paths. And sometime, like magic, they cross again, or lead into different directions …

Another Round Of Pro Scientia

I guess I keep repeating myself. But the truth is if you blog every day for 30 days and if you do not start repeating yourself, something’s probably wrong.

Apart from my day job (which is more than a day job, but which I can’t or don’t want to talk about that much) I did indulge myself in the world of PRO SCIENTIA  again. I left work early to listen to the organ concert of Christiane Hornbachner. She’s one of the 3 “PRO SCIENTIA student representatives” and a gifted, professional organ and piano player.

I think the last time I’ve listened to an organ concert was 5 years ago, and to be frank it always amazes me what kind of music these people (read “the organists”) are able to get out of the per se inaccurate and dynamically disabled instruments. – Sorry, please don’t kill me for that statement.

Later that night we had another PRO SCIENTIA presentation. This time from a member who has an engineering PhD and went on to become an engineering manager. The topic: Product Development. We spent the whole evening discussing graphs like this one

General Assembly

Some suggestions what you can do to live up to the stereotypes about Upper Austria/Bavaria:

  1. Play a brass instrument
  2. Be a member of a local wind band
  3. Go to church
  4. Go to a Gasthaus (tavern, inn) after you’ve been to church

I guess I can say I payed my dues today. 1/2 are things that I am doing for years and 3/4 were part of today’s general assembly of the Stadtkapelle Laakirchen (a local wind band), which I took part in. During the 3 hours event we were informed by the ExCom of the registered association about the past year, future plans, the financial situation, …

Jahreshauptversammlung_2014

Lots of talking, lots of fun, lots of beer (not for me actually as I was the designated driver), lots of photos from past events, lots of awards (especially for members of age 60+) and a great evening for all of us.

Choices, Perfectionism and Photoshopping

Today I stumbled across yet another video

Many people on youtube gave it a like. I disliked it and some people asked why.

To begin with, I’d like to make one thing clear: The video is georgeous. The song is beautiful, the lyrics are convincing, the setup of people making music in a backyard is awesome. It really has everything that justifies it to be called “beautiful”.

What I don’t like about the video is that it is trying to sell the image that this actually was the setup that they used to record the whole thing. You can see mics all over the place and they left some imperfections in the video that probably are supposed to make you think that this was the original way it was recorded. E.g., how the drum pickup at around 1:55 is not perfect, or the imperfect intonation of the brass instruments, which for instance can be heard at around 3:30.

I do still doubt that it was recorded in that backyard, as they try to lead you to believe. There is musical photoshopping going on. If not entirely, at least at quite a few points. Like at 1:32 (“And I”) when you hear Emily sing background vocals while her mouth is not moving.

Again you can still say that the video is beautiful, there is no argument about that. – But so are the photos of those superficial models on the covers of the magazines at your local newspaper kiosk. I would rather prefer it to be a little bit more authentic with less photoshopping. Even if that meant it would turn out to be less perfect.

There is was a time when

… I was a musician. The time when I practice the piano for hours every day and the time I played at least a gig every week. Today I am an engineer with a profound understanding of music but with a lack is practice. Maybe that’s a good thing. Because there’s no pressure, no need to make a living out of music.

Today I had one of those once-or-twice-a-month gigs that I still do with a band called Bojazzl at a small bar, about an hour from Linz. Their piano player had broken his clavicle and they had asked me to jump in, which I really enjoyed. Although I would have needed more rehearsals to really make the most out of it.

canape

Twentysomething in an Alternate Universe

I stumbled across this video last weekend and it made my jaws drop in a way I did not anticipate. Seriously, I have not seen a single video on youtube, that had a similar effect on me.

They are called the the Dirty Loops and they blend pop and fusion in a musically perfect way. All three of them master their respective instruments at simply unbelievable levels.

I still can’t stop watching their videos over and over again. I just love their music so much and a part deep inside of me wants to be able to play like that really badly. I can’t. But if life is fair, making music like that is what I did during my 20s in an alternate universe. Too bad I’m stuck in this one :D

The Open Music Model

Recently I blogged about my Spotify experience and that I am premium user now. I was amazed by how many people contacted me online as well as in real life, voicing their concerns, which ranged from topics like intellectual property law, the problem that they don’t give you anything that you may keep after your membership ends to net neutrality. All of them do really have a point.

Screenshot-from-2013-07-23-195423

Apart from the interesting discussions I’ve had, this also triggered me to dig deeper and so I happened to stumble across something apparently known as the Open Music Model (OMM).

One of it’s major aspects is a shift from understanding the music business as product-based to a service-based understanding. If you are willing to accept this mode of thinking about music and given the benefits of the OMM, paid, online streaming makes total sense – at least from my perspective.

That being said, I do have to add that Spotify does not implement the OMM to its full extent and leaves out critical parts, which would silence a lot of critics (especially on the consumer side) right away. E.g., the OMM asserts open file formats, without DRM restriction, which may be freely shared by users as requirements. So we’re absolutely not their yet.

Spotify?!

I am really not exactly sure how it could happen, that I haven’t signed up to Spotify earlier. For 10 € per month they let me stream almost 90% of all the music I’ve ever wanted to hear + I can store music on my mobile for offline use for 30 days. – All of this in 320kbps vorbis quality (= very good)

Spotify

This almost sounds too good to be true: I am aware that there might be problems such as bad compensation for musicians, the possibility that the service might stop some day and that there will be nothing tangible that I will be left with when that moment comes, but the great time I’ve had listening to awesome music.

We are all left to wonder what the future of the music business will bring. Still I believe that this kind of service is the future some way or other.

How do you access your music? CDs from your local store, CDs via amazon or ebay, an online service such as Spotify, sharing with friends, FM or internet radio or – heaven forbid – illegal downloads?

Whatever it is: the most important thing is to not forget to go to concerts and listen to whatever music gets you in the mood: LIVE!

Spotlight: Panzerballett

“Wellness-Death-Jazz” is printed in large letters across the T-shirts of some loyal fans who are head-banging right next to me. It is also what the guys on stage say their musical style is. Let me introduce to you: Panzerballett.

Oddly enough the head-bangers are not the only distinct group that the audience is composed of. There are also those of us who are apparently enjoying the musical fireworks in a more introverted way and who start clapping after each solo, as etiquette dictates. Even without hearing the music, just by looking at the audience, you can tell that Wikipedia is absolutely right by calling their music Jazz-Metal. But then of course you should hear their music!

Seemingly effortless they pump monstrous, rhythmically complex metal and jazz inspired themes, riffs and solos into the auditorium. What can I say: THEY ROCK! They’ve almost made me a heavy metal convert. And the best thing: they ask you to try this at home. From the shop on their website you can get transcriptions (thanks Waschtl for pointing this out to me ;) ), T-Shirts and also their new album CD Tank Goodness.

I am glad they played at the Kulturzentrum Hof in Linz and that I had a chance to be at their concert. And of course I got myself a copy of their brand new album.