This is the Guitar I Want!

February 22, 2006 03:30 by keithkaragan
As a long-time Steinberger guitar owner and fan I was floored to discover that Martin Guitars produced a model in 2002 with Ned Steinberger called the DCRNS. Which incorporates a technology called TransAction, which allows on the fly neck action adjustments. This is the acoustic guitar I have to have. Unfortunately only about 200 were made, and it'll be difficult to find one.
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Guitar Tech

November 17, 2005 01:30 by keithkaragan
I've been playing guitar a lot more lately, and my chops are much stronger than they've been in the last 6 months.So I think I'm ready to start recording some new OuiCast stuff using the guitar I bought (used) pretty recently. The problem is that it sounds 'buzzy' when recorded using the internal pick-up - a Fishman piezo bridge type.
I'd love to replace it, and there seems to be several nice options for doing so, but I really want some of the features I've seen on Takamine and Ovation acoustic guitars - notably, a built-in tuner. I re-tune often to various tunings, and this feature would be an excellent addition. At the 100 or more pickup/transducer options I've looked at, none have this feature ... Really frustrating! If it's available from the manufacturer's in new guitars, one would think that the aftermarket would pick-up (no pun intended) on the desire of musicians to have this feature.
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Bob Dylan - No Direction Home, Part 2

September 28, 2005 00:30 by keithkaragan
What came to mind in watching the conclusion of the PBS American Masters biography of Dylan was the concept of Bob as the bridge between Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, and Kerouac and the cultural revolution of what was to become the 1960's. Not the hippie, Haight-Ashbury culture per-se, but the underpinnings that would become this phenomenon.
Ginsberg said that when he heard Hard Rain for the first time that he wept, knowing the torch was passed on to the next generation. That's (to me) the exact thing that occurred, Bob carried this ethos forth into the future. He was the champion of the underdog, while staying away from direct involvement in the politics, opting to say his part through his art. Evolving this art from taking the folk movement to a wider audience, to honing his own unique and compelling style that came from nowhere and echoed everywhere, to taking it to new places by going electric - like putting salt in an open wound.
Documented in the film is the 1965 Newport folk fest, where the electric set set mild mannered, folk purist, Pete Seeger into such a rage he needed to be restrained to keep from cutting the power to the stage. This is someone who saw Bob as a kindred spirit who was taking the works and style of Woody Guthrie to the people - was at that moment, by that one act, a mortal foe - a traitor to the cause. The dangers of zealots are revealed. Zealots in fans, in friends, in all areas - pushing Dylan further, by his own determination, into new ground.
The film ends in 1966, really just a few short years after the start of his career and after his famous motorcycle crash that began an exile of 8 years from public performance. Its amazing how much happened in this short period. Some favorite moments: Seeing Dylan at the March on Washington with MLK - I had no idea; Al Kooper's comments about how he conned his way into the 'Like a Rolling Stone' recording session as the organist ... and how prominent this part was in a song that is so iconic.; and another Al Kooper moment where he states why he quit the band. He didn't want to play the gig in Dallas, to paraphrase - 'They had just killed Kennedy, and if they didn't like him what hell were they going to think of us, I was really scared...'.
Like I've said before, I've always liked Dylan ... and last night I wanted to be Bob Dylan for the first time. Tonight it occurred to me that Dylan was the artistic shot heard around the world, and throughout the country, more so than the Beatles. The Beatles may have wielded more influence in later times, but I now think it was Bob that really turned the tables on everything in popular culture pre-1966. As a single entity, not a band, not a moniker, an identifiable and personal force that made the difference ... carrying that torch of the Beat movement forward and finding a much larger audience with genuine genius and authenticity.
The literal palette for songwriters, and the aural palette for singers changed in this period, and have remained changed ever since. Think of all the artists that had something to say, and have said (or sang) them since then using the platform Bob erected it. Even if they are unaware of him, they've benefited from his actions. This was dangerous, mind altering art. More dangerous than some more avant-guard art due to the audience, yet made through the same muse.
If you don't care for Dylan, ask yourself what you don't like. Is it the attitude, the politics, or the music that you don't care for? This may be a good question for a personality test ... it may reveal things about how you adapt to change, or uncomfortable circumstances, or something (I don't have any particular insight here, but I'm curious about what the reasons might tell about someone that likes or dislikes this artist, for particular reasons).
When can I get my Bob Dylan collector series US Postage stamps?
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PBS - American Masters, Bob Dylan - 'No Direction Home'

September 27, 2005 00:00 by keithkaragan
The Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Part One aired tonight on PBS. Wow ... What a compelling and interesting biography. I've always liked Dylan, and always found him to be a really interesting personality, but I never wanted to  be Bob Dylan - until now. I can easily see the draw singers like Springsteen, and Wainwright had to this icon of their day. Still an icon, really, still relevant. Works from 40 years past are alive and well in 2005. We need a Bob for today.
Striking in this part of the documentary is the anger and hostility of the fans when Dylan went electric. Outcry against the sell-out. Well, he did what he needed to do, and the fans either would have to open their mind or step aside. The closed minds of the cult of 60's folk had a rude awakening to what may have been his most creative period.
I can't wait for part 2. And yes, there is something special about watching it as it is broadcast rather than buying the DVD you can always do that later) - perhaps the collective consciousness :-)
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Room Full of Mirrors - A Biography of Jimi Hendrix

September 20, 2005 04:00 by keithkaragan
I read Room Full of Mirrors - A Biography of Jimi Hendrix [link] while on vacation a couple weeks ago. And while I was hesitant that I'd have the attention span to endure such a longish book on the subject - even as a Hendrix fan, and a guitar player - the book became addictive, and it went by extremely fast.
There is no deep insight into Jimi's playing (technically) in the book - however there is plenty of 'meta information' to give the reader a great insight into the development of his style, and anecdotes regarding his frustration finding himself in his playing.
The book deals with Jimi's childhood and developmental years very well, and gives the reader a perspective they may not have had about what a tragic character Jimi was. The psychic trauma endured in his youth was never overcome, even with the fame - The specific elements of his mother's death, and his lack of closure with the event haunted him through his brief life.
This matter of longing for approval and for meaning in his and his mother's lives ours out in the lyrics of his songs, and the subject matter of his art. I've never been all that impressed with the lyrics of Hendrix songs, for me it's the playing and the rhythms that come across as a channeling of pure emotion through the instrument in such a fluid and dynamic way that it's still striking today. He was truly connected and in the moment in much of what he produced.
The tragedy and pain endured in his life set a course for him, though, that he couldn't escape. The fame became more of a trap, and some of those that were closest to him (emotionally) were put off (or pushed off) leaving Jimi extremely vulnerable, essentially an emotional raw nerve that ended up substituting real love for adoration. Even in his death, he ended up with no support system at his side. What a shame of an ending for such a rare talent.
The books is recommended for fans and the curious
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"Oh, your from Jersey - what exit?"

July 17, 2005 17:07 by keithkaragan
Ok, I have to admit that I was never a Bruce Springsteen fan. As a lifelong Jersey resident that might be heresy. If so, I am now born again (or is that 'born to run'). Devils & Dust is a great record. The songs are deep and emotional, the arrangements have space to come alive and convey the strength of the songs without being either overly arranged, or being so stark as to be distracting. Add to this that the CD is a Dual Disc (One side DVD and one side CD - giving you DVD Audio  as well as standard recordings, plus a video of Bruce singing many of the recordings in a documentary style ... makes this worth a purchase).
The closest that I've gotten to being a fan was the Nebraska album, and I still like that one - but this one is top notch. If Springsteen was one of the 'New Bob Dylans' as Louden Wainwright put it, it just have taken him this long in his career to achieve peer status, in my book at least. Perhaps the phenomenal successes of his career have left him free to pursue music he wants to make regardless of the commercial viability of it - what is special here is that he's done that while many other artists with similar freedoms haven't.
info on Devils & Dust can be found at http://www.brucespringsteen.net/news/index.html
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"Oh, your from Jersey - what exit?"

July 17, 2005 02:30 by keithkaragan
Ok, I have to admit that I was never a Bruce Springsteen fan. As a lifelong Jersey resident that might be heresy. If so, I am now born again (or is that 'born to run'). Devils & Dust is a great record. The songs are deep and emotional, the arrangements have space to come alive and convey the strength of the songs without being either overly arranged, or being so stark as to be distracting. Add to this that the CD is a Dual Disc (One side DVD and one side CD - giving you DVD Audio  as well as standard recordings, plus a video of Bruce singing many of the recordings in a documentary style ... makes this worth a purchase).
The closest that I've gotten to being a fan was the Nebraska album, and I still like that one - but this one is top notch. If Springsteen was one of the 'New Bob Dylans' as Louden Wainwright put it, it just have taken him this long in his career to achieve peer status, in my book at least. Perhaps the phenomenal successes of his career have left him free to pursue music he wants to make regardless of the commercial viability of it - what is special here is that he's done that while many other artists with similar freedoms haven't.
info on Devils & Dust can be found at http://www.brucespringsteen.net/news/index.html
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Artist page on Music.Download.Com & Archive.Org

May 10, 2005 01:30 by keithkaragan
I applied for an artist page on Music.Download.Com, and it seems that after about a month of review, it's up and available - Yippie!
The account is limited to 50MB of material, so there are a few things up there, and I'll rotate the files occasionally unless it turns out to be a 1 month turn around again.
I've also put an item under the Creative Commons license on Archive.org. I attempted to add some more material to this because I think it's really cool in it's philosophy and implementation (they transcode the files to a variety of formats auto-magically). I'll have to see how this goes though since, when I tried to upload additional material the server was out of space - but these now appear to be available under the OuiCast podcast name.
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OuiCast for 08.May.2005 - Orange Pulp

May 9, 2005 01:30 by keithkaragan
Orange Pulp is a pulp inspired, surf homage. Recorded with Garage Band -2 min 18 sec. Link
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Nine Inch Nails - 'The Hand That Feeds' GarageBand files released

May 4, 2005 03:00 by keithkaragan
On April 15th Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails released a single from their new recording as a GarageBand file for fan remixes. The cut is 'The Hand That Feeds' (70MB).
Besides this being a really really cool thing to do that fans should love, it really flys in the face of the recording industry by being brazen enough not only to give away the song to mac users, but to allow them to remix the tune any way they want. A community popped up around this, and is archiving 500 remixes of the song around a contest they are running. They're up to 330 remixes (mine is #287 or here).
I'm looking forward to see who follows NIN's lead, or what the ultimate outcome or fallout from this approach will be. Awesome idea!
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