Sunday, December 27, 2009

time playing

finally after 20 years i figured out what was wrong with my time feel ...
i was thinking about what would be the best way to organise accents within a phrase ..
i realised it made sense to dig into the groove at the top of the phrase ( 4 bars say ) and play each 1/8 ( or 1/4) with the same intensity on the downbeat at the start of the phrase so that the rhythms sounded resolved ..
no i can play any rhythms or accents I like within the phrase and its easier to hear the form in what I am doing

Thursday, December 24, 2009

digitize me

digital world took my fantasy
you took my mind
you took my imagination

linear ADC will never quantize me or my least significant bit

i'm not a zero or a one
digitize me ,
but you cant sample my soul

on the 7th day Lawrence Roberts created TCP/IP , packet switching

Friday, December 18, 2009

gerry lopez

just stumbled on this apt description of Gerry Lopez surfing from the 1972 surf film " five summer stories"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

harry's cafe de wheels

Most Sydneysider's have enjoyed a pie and peas from Harry's cafe de Wheels in Woolloomooloo

I recently concoted a ridiculous serial music process involving assigning a different chord to each note of the chromatic scale .
I liked the idea so much I decided it needed a name , and for no real reason it became " Harry " .
There is an unlimited number of possible " Harry's " .

I wrote a funky tune which uses 3 note triads on each chromatic note :
D , Asus , G2 ( no 3 ) , C sus , B sus , F#2 ( no 3) , Db , Ab5( #11) , F2 ( no 3 ) , Eb5 ( #11) , Bb5 ( #11) , ( the last chord has a C in the root and contains the notes C , D and C# and is hard to name ) .

The first section of the tune utilises this harry , the rest is written by ear loosely in the key of D .

I decided that it would be good to honor Harry's cafe de wheels ...

Here is the lyrics :

funky harry
pie and peas
a chilli dog
cafe de wheels
try a tiger
pie floater
chilli dog
ooh ... groovy gravy
ooh ... harry baby

colonel sanders ate 3 pies
de law say each day he must move 12 inches

Sunday, November 29, 2009

IPN ( i'm posting naked )

This ( stupid ) song consists mostly of internet acronyms which have entered the language recently .
translations are available here ...

Here is the song lyrics :



Friday, November 27, 2009

slide to the snake pit

" like thunder
hereford shipwreck , 2035
thru the battle of the coral sea
slide to the snake - pit
happy valleys here and then gone

koori .. mark ella .. the flat attack
malabar mansion .. pewulwuy wanted dead or alive

allan turnbull's old holden on olympia speedway

dig that sewerage plant "

song about area of sydney from Maroubra to La Perouse

Maroubra is aboriginal for " like thunder "
2035 is the postcode found tattoed above the buttocks of members of the "bra boys"
many streets ( including my old address portland crescent ) are named after the battle of the coral sea .
Residents of Portland crescent included Phil Slater , Nick Mcbride , Jason Raiss , DAve Goodman , Anthony Kable and almost Sandy Klose . Peter Zografakis was close by .
The snake-man can still be visited on weekends in La Perouse
A Koori is a local aboriginal
Mark Ella is a great Australian rugby player , koori , and ex resident of matraville

Happy Valleys is the name for the shanty towns that existed in the 'bra during the 1st depression

Drummer Allan Turnbull is one of Sydney's greatest jazz musicians and continued to drive his holden ( car) long after the rego ( government registration papers ) expired thru the streets of Southern Maroubra . " Where else in the world will the government give you such a cheap apartment with a view of the beach " .

Malabar Mansion is Long Bay Jail

Pewulway was one of the Aborigines who resisted the white occupation of Sydney and died in battle at Paramatta .

The story of Olympia Speedway and the Hereford Shipwreck were told to me by Sydney jazz writer John Clare who grew up in the area .

They used to have a sewerage outfall right in the middle of the surf at Malabar . The sh#t-pipe has the words "locals only" on it ( as if anyone else would have been crazy enough to surf in that water ) .

I never managed to surf at Cat Bay near the ship of the SS Minmi , but I did catch ONE wave at Bare Island bombora on a big day . It scared the BEANS out of me and I paddled in and left it to the "speed bumps" ( boogie board riders ) .

The incredibly beautiful area always had a strange fascination for me . I could never understand why such a fantastic natural environment so close to such a big city existed . The area gets is fair share of southerly storm weather in the winter months . The often cloudy conditions that existed when I went looking for surf combined with the jail and the area's dark history leave it with a forboding "vibe" . As Doctor spock says " Frightening yet fascinating " .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

australian website

stumbled on this today ... and i promised not to spend so much time sitting in front of the puter

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Australian tour

Hello readers,

I just got back from a successful tour of Australia. It the first time I have traveled around most of the major cities and performed and given master-classes. I took Mark Guiliana with me from New York and picked up James Muller and Brett Hirst. The band sounded really fantastic and had great responses and press reviews. We packed out venues in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra. Adelaide wasn't as good as the rest but it was still a great gig. We broke even financially which was surprising for me touring jazz in Australia, which is tough because of the large size and small population. It is also difficult often dealing with the one "jazz club" in town in each city. They struggle to survive I guess. Some of them cancelled shows at very sort notice and most expected us to let in everyone for as little money as possible so that they could sell more beer.

As expected Australians all over the country were relaxed, friendly and warm. Australia has a small population with little mainstream exposure for contemporary music and jazz, yet in every city there is an enthusiastic well educated audience for jazz music. The food and weather and hospitality was just superb for us. We loved soaking it all up. The highlight for me was the coopers ale on tap in Adelaide "close to the source". Despite the world recession there seemed to be a great deal of prosperity I suspect thanks to our natural resources boom in Western Australia.

On a sour note, it was sad to see how little Australian Arts culture is in the media. What little space on television and in newspapers is dedicated to music / theatre and film other arts seemed to be at least 50% (at a guess) dedicated to American culture. Commercial television has oprah / judge judy / jerry springer ... guests on TV shows included Harry Connick / Liza Minneli ... The newspapers had previews of a tour by Madeleine Peyroux, Diana Krall etc ... The Australian newspaper had reviews of American CDs and a one page article about a Keith Jarrett concert in the UK with the headline "D flat and the lonelyness". (apparently his wife left him and it made D flat major come in to his head). Sitting on a Qantas airplane ("The Australian Airline") music choices are mostly American and most shameful of all "Jazz with James Morrison" features only one or 2 local jazz musicians, one of whom is a pianist born in the USA. The next post in this blog shows an article in the drum media (a sydney music paper) which edited a photo of me and Guiliana so that I wasnt visible and went on to mention that he had recently released "pistachio".

All the cities have more than their fair share of enormous bars with the emphasis on drinking alcohol. A 2 minute horse race was surrounded by about 8 hours of continuous drinking with little food. The largest proportion of space in the media is given to sport, cricket players, and footballers are household names. Alcohol advertising is banned on TV, but they get around it by having "Fosters" in 20 metre high letters on the football/cricket ground. The news shows the winner having a beer or champagne after the match. Often the news a few days later revolves around the sports stars getting drunk and involving in loose sexual activity or rape.

Coming back to the USA, the television is chock o block here with American culture 98% created by Americnns. Tv shows / music / comedians etc ... The cheaper TV shows (as opposed to the "news") have exposes on musicians and actors getting drunk/stoned and sleeping around instead of footballers.

One wonders that in Australia if more emphasis could be put on the arts that there would be less alcoholism. With not enough music etc the only thing left to do is to drink. It's pretty hard to play football after the sun goes down.

I was lucky enough to be given a fantastic video of the late great Jackie Orsascky produced in Hungary. It's wonderful to have a document of him, but it was ironic to think that it had to be produced in hungary and not in Australia after it was too late...

If I ruled the world , the ABC (australian broadcasting corporation) would set up a venue in each capial city. It would have various sized venues (70, 150, 300 etc.) There would be cheap accomodation on top. It would be equipped with concert instruments (steinway, drums, amps, sound system etc). Cameras and recording equipment would be in place to record digitally without any personel involved . Musicians could take the recordings/video home and edit them themselves (which pretty much anyone can do with a computer). The ABC would provide a seperate music channel which would broadcast the stuff 24/7 and also be made available online. Musicians would interview each other during the day. All types of music would be represented. There would be travel subsidies given to musicians. Musicians could hire the venue for a low cost. I think that this would be a much better solution than to hand grants to musicians and/or pay orchestras to play repertory music at prices only the elite can afford. I also have a problem with arts "festivals" where an artistic director can assign money (often funded by governments) to musicians based on their "cultural value" which seems arbritary to me and easily corruptible. It should be a "trade issue" and countries whose artists perform at Australian festivals should be expected to reciprocate. Ditto overseas content in our media should be at the requirement of a reciprocal arrangement I think. The government stands up for Beef etc why not our music?

We have conservatoriums, radio stations / television stations set up all over Australia, but a serious lack of affordable venues and media exposure for Australia music and musicians ... Bus drivers, Lawyers, Doctors, Truckies etc all have the necessary infrastructure in place in Australia but for serious musicians unless you are interested in performing dead European composers it is a hard road.

Despite all this the depth of Australian musical talent never ceases to surprise me, especially amzing to me is the compositions. I heard some outstanding new music by Carl Vine, Cameron Undy, James Muller on this trip .. As time progresses I expect that more and more Australians and others will take pride in our cultural heritage. Aussie musos should fight for our music to be recorded, made available and preserved ... The internet provides a great opportunity for this.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

drum media australia

OK OK .. I confess .. Guiliana actually wrote all the music on "pistachio" ... and he actually plays drums on it . I just put keith carlock's name on the cover to sell more CDs ;)

click on the image below to read the article

Monday, September 7, 2009

play today ... pay tommorow

I am doing a little gig tonight in New York at a venue called spike hill with a great saxophonist Ian Rapien
He's a bit younger than me and so is his band . Most of them graduated from the New School or Berklee college with master's or bachelor degrees in music performance within the last couple of years .
None of them have health insurance . I lived here for 7 years without it so I know cheap doctors which I have referred them to when they get sick .
After a brief chat during a break in the rehearsal I figured out that they collectively owe about $500,000 in student loans .
Some of the loans have an interest rate of up to 8%
They have been deferring payment due to " economic hardship" for a while but the "dollar will fall soon "

Doing the maths ( math for you Americans ) , just to pay the interest on $500,000 at 5% costs about $ 136.99 per day . The law in America also makes it impossible to declare themselves bankrupt in relation to these loans ( although the big car companies can do it ?? )
Tonight's gig is a tips gig . I reckon the whole band will get about $75 in the tip jar ( there are 5 other jazz bands playing on the bill tonight ) .
The guys cant even pay for the interest on their student loans let alone rent , food , insurance etc ...

Welcome to the jazz business 2009

post script : the band recieved $25 in tips in total :( . I estimated 50 people in the room during the gig . The guys in the band all live in the same house with other musicians who are also in piles of debt . Instead of going to university they could have collectively purchased their own house in park slope and built a jazz club in it .

Saturday, August 22, 2009

wayne krantz = ouch

I am no music critic ... don't touch the stuff really , but occasionally something comes along which deserves "honorable mention "

It's been a long time between drink's for improvised music I reckon . Maybe its a result of the shifting world scene . America and the world is a very different joint since the internet , terrorist attacks , no Queva Lutz and now the "great recession" . Combine that with destruction of copyright and the ability of any tom, dick or harry to post any musical crap they like for the whole world to sift through and things get difficult for "serious" music . Anything decent is buried in a sea of "noise" . There is probably a lot of great stuff happening elsewhere , but it's still hard to beat NYC for a collection of great improvisers . Even here though one wonders about the state of the "scene "

The rise of jazz education in New York and elsewhere with young musicians spending $100,000 on an education probably hasn't done the music much good either . Everyone is more versed in the 144 modes than they ever were . From my perspective the "jazz education" lacks having enough formal training in composition ( improvisation is composition isnt it ? ) and the old "Street school" of learning on the job . Still with so few little gigs around to play I guess school is the only place a youngster can play in front of other people ... Combine that with rents in NYC going sky high and clubs going bust left right and centre and you have 1000's of musicians fighting over a few crumbs . That has the tendency to produce nepotistic little cliques of cold musicians trying to negotiate their little scene to power ( OK I am generalising here ... the truth isnt that bleak ) . It's getting to harder to find an original voice in jazz or pop music . It's rare to see a musician in search of real expression as opposed to playing whatever the last guy played to become famous .

I really got into Allan Holdsworth , but his last CD was released in 2001 or something so it's been a long wait for me .

Complaints aside In the meantime there has been a lot of great jazz around ... James Muller , Miles Okasaki , Brad Mehldau , Wayne Krantz , Dr Lonnie Smith , Hank Jones and countless others have done plenty of outstanding things in the last 10 years . But none if it has REALLY grabbed me by the b#lls . Lots of great playing and writing but nothing that works as a complete musical statement to my ( jaded?) ears .

Of music written since the terrorist attacks most of the stuff I have fallen in love with has been songwriting based : The Shins , Nate Wood , Steely Dan , Mindy Smith , Tift Merrit , James Taylor , Kris Bauman , Robynne Dunn ... etc

Wayne Krantz has been really great to go and see play over the years . His regular gig at the 55 was THE live act in NYC for me in the last 10 years or so of spending most of my time here .

If you could be bothered buying every live record or download he has put out since " 2 drink minimum " and you could compile a CD yourself from it you would have the "best" mostly improvised music of the last ten years recorded . I am too lazy for that . I want a great album I can listen too with more than one decent cut on it .

The new CD " Krantz Carlock Lefebvre " lives up to that expectation for me . Its genuinely one of the few things I have listened to in the last 10 years that has really made me rethink things . Music is going to sound different to me now .
There is loads of great writing and playing . Wayne is a fantastic composer and I think he underrates himself .
The guitar playing is really out of sight on this one .. fantastic sounds , groove and ideas .
Wayne has his own take on minimalism which is also groundbreaking I think . Other improvisers repeat stuff ( notes , phrases , even one bar for the whole song ) , but wayne has really turned minimalism into an improvisational artform . Triplets and uneven subdivisions is COMPLETELY removed from his rhythmic language . Almost all of the tracks are 16th based . Wayne's playing is very precise almost computerish on top of Carlock's "southern" lilt . Krantz' playing is so strong and the downbeat's are covered by him so elegantly that it feels like he is pulling the rest of the band along with him . It's pretty incredible to hear the GUITAR acting as a metronome instead of the drums . The singing is cool and the phrasing in the solos is just extraordinary . Maybe it's not revolutionary , but its still creative how Wayne sustains notes on his guitar to create tension . I have never heard anyone do it quite that way .
It's also pretty groundbreaking to hear an improvised record mixed and mastered this way . It's LOUD . That is actually probably my one quibble . ( Well a couple of fast licks on the album would stop me feeling like I overplay all the time ) I would prefer to "turn up" something a bit warmer than to artificially have the music made louder using compressors and limiters . Maybe it's just the sound of the .mp3 that I dont like . Welcome to the future .

" footnoote : Joe Zawinul " Brown Street" I think deserves a mention here as being one of THE "jazz" CDs of the 2000's . It doesnt quite qualify as NEW since most of the compositions where written in the 1970's and 80's . "

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

band constitution 3A

synthesizers and singing will not be permitted .
multiple keyboards are not permitted .
in fact sean wayland will only be permitted to use ONE NOTE . The note will be an acoustic piano string and hammer assembly . The NOTE will be UNAMPLIFIED . The piano that the note is taken from will be selected by an imperial council consisting of pianists who refuse any electronic keyboard or stylistic device concieved after 1948 . A second commitee will be chosen via secret ballot and religous preferences to decide which variety and strength of marijuana may smoke before choosing the piano NOTE . One standardised US "cone" is permitted before choice . Committee members are encouraged to play Chess during choice ( no pawns, knights, rooks , or queens allowed ) . The piano that the note is selected from must be a maple wood Steiwnway "B" . The trees used to build the piano must be from New York state . The piano chosen must have been used on a selected list of 1948 archive recordings of Elmo Hope or Dodo Marmarosa ( chosen by independant scientific double blind control experiment ) . Rueckert will use only ONCE cymbal . No other drums , but one stick is permitted ( no plastic tip ) . The cymbal must be "OLD JOHNSON" a legendary old "K" that baby dods discovered under a sleeping turkish woman in Bakırköy . Charette is permitted 3 notes . 2 for walking bass (pedals only ) , and 1 for comping/soloing . The 3 notes will be chosen by the widows of legendary american organ players . The deceased organ players must have used foot pedals . "Walking" bass using left hand by BC is frowned upon . An all vacuum tube amplifier must be used for the organ if edison phonograph horn is insufficient . The organ amplifier tubes will be chosen by committee . The aforementioned committee will be selected by similarity of DNA to median jewish new york ancestry , paying particular reference to hair "curlyness" . Preference will be given to tightly coiled or 'kinky' natural afro type hair which may have evolved to prevent the entry of UV light into the body during the gradual transition period towards the evolution of dark skin .

Sheet music is frowned upon .

In case of "utterances" and vocalisations unwittingly expelled during improvisation which may be deemed in breach of "singing" ban , each band member will recieve one stick of board designated chewing gum . The chewing gum will contain no sugar . The gum board will consist of a panel of experts including board members from wrigleys , adam nussbaum and joe locke . Any references to gum in advertisements will use the older brand name "orbit" for the sugarless product , unless Australian Lizz Smilie can be found to reenact the pronunciation of "extra" with charateristic lisp . American "voice-over" artist with imitation Australian accent and lisp is not permitted except on tuesdays .

Advertising , flyers , posters , spam is not permitted . Exception is that gig may be mentioned in "cadence" magazine gig calendar .

The band will not mention "the war"

One audience member is permitted ( not wearing any rock band "merch" ) .


No mixing "in the box" .

An engineer may be present , but said engineer must have a degree and wear a white coat . Engineer is permitted to drink English breakfast tea and eat Arnott's brand biscuits . The engineer's hearing must not be disturbed by any mood altering substances . Les Paul is permitted as assistant engineer for authenticity purposes if still breathing at time of recording .

There will be no "overdubs" or edits .

The "album" must be recorded in less than 3 hours .

First "take" which band manages to perform written " head" with no mistakes must be used . No further "takes" permitted .

Voicings , intros , outros , shout choruses , vamps , repeat signs etc is not permitted from single page of music allowed for composition . Tunes based on 1930's popular music preferred. 32 bars preferred ( with 3 times tag for ending ) .

Page of music used must be "lead sheet" . Chord symbols are permitted above melody ( no maj7 chords with alterations ) . 6th chords should be given preference to major 7th if possible . Music must be memorised before performance . No sheet music is permitted in the studio building . No photocopiers or music notation software . Sheet must be notated by union member "copyist" by hand with 3B pencil . "Eraser" or "rubbers" not permitted .

No "modal" or "free" playing is not permitted .

Drummers chart may use the term " elvinish" , but never "straight - 8 " , " ECM " , "funk" or " jungle " .

If engineer runs out of biscuit's and tea and has ability and ingredients to make a "Sazerac" , then a "bossa-nova" may be recorded . Sazerac must use an "old-fashioned", Western-style glass prepared with absinthe or pastis .

Album must be released on "vinyl" .

Use of any A-D converter is strictly prohibited and punishable . Punishment will be 35 year sentence for entire band and engineer . For duration of sentence Band and engineer will be confined to the offending recording studio . Band must survive on cocktails and Arnott's " Monte Carlo" biscuits and will be forced to listen to an exerpt of Terry Riley's "At C " continuously . Excerpt will be put into runout groove of 78 looping back into itself .

Turntable motor must run at 3600 rpm with a 46:1 gear ratio to produce 78.26 rpm. In parts of the world that used 50 Hz current, the 77.92 rpm is acceptable (3000 rpm with a 38.5:1 ratio), this is the speed at which a strobe disc with 77 lines would "stand still" in 50 Hz light (92 lines for 60Hz)

Long Playing vinyl is prohibited .

Runout groove looping back into itself ala "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" , unless written member is granted from members of "The Beatles" still breathing at time of issue .

"Stereo" is not permitted . Any distributed recording must be mono only .

One "ribbon" mic is permitted set to "omni" with no pop-filters or "blimps" .

Vacuum tube preamp is permitted , but no other circuitry or equalization .

Compression and RIAA curve may be used during one-step "mastering process" ( computer not permitted ) to limit damage to vinyl from needle .

The microphone may not me "moved" , but musicians and instruments may be moved in relation to microphone .

No "click-tracks" . Mechanical design of metronome is permitted to check tempo before red light is on .

Microphone must be calibrated at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) based in Braunschweig ( not Berlin ) . Both German atomic clock CS2 and the longwave time signal DCF77 must be in agreement .

One pistonphone is acceptable for calibration . This is an acoustical calibrator (sound source) using a closed coupler to generate a precise sound pressure for the calibration of instrumentation microphones. Pistonphone must not be used for any other purpose .

Piston must be mechanically driven to move at a specified cyclic rate, on a fixed volume of air to which the microphone under test is exposed. The air is assumed to be compressed adiabatically and the sound pressure level in the chamber can be calculated from internal physical dimensions of the device and the adiabatic gas law, which requires that the product of the pressure P with V raised to the power gamma be constant; here gamma is the ratio of the specific heat of air at constant pressure to its specific heat at constant volume. Test frequency will be 254 Hz.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

aussie nut

So I bought the new keyboard . I tried it out ... The organ sounds pretty authentic . I had to have a lie down and a couple of tylenols after . The volume pedal aggravates my sciatica as I expected . Rigged up a solution with a mackie mixer and my big toe . Its not ideal and takes away from my focus at the moment but its an improvement pain wise .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

organ clones , genetically modified corn and gladitorial combat

should I spend $1900 and buy a nord electro 3 with improved copy of hammond guys ? why dont the smart people from sweden who made the nord organ make it touch sensitive ? I much prefer my synthesizer but you have to live in the real world i guess .
do you want to live in the modern world or would you prefer the eight century ? gladitorial combat anyone ? Don't give me that genetically modified corn either it's bad for your health .

From Wikipedia :

The organ (from Greek όργανον organon, "organ, instrument, tool") is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is one of the oldest musical instruments in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with the invention of the hydraulis. By around the eighth century it had overcome early associations with gladiatorial combat and gradually assumed a prominent place in the liturgy of the western church; subsequently it has reemerged as a secular and recital instrument.

Friday, July 10, 2009

various letters to professional digital audio manufacturers , synthesizer makers ...

Hi there all ,

I want to build a strange "resonator" . an incoming audio signal is split into a number of "frequency" bands .. up to 88 . Different sized ( but small ) speakers amplify each band inside a lightweight wooden? resonator . Perhaps 3 or 4 small resonators that can be miced up ( as well as having pickups ) so that it is portable . Each resonator has a number of small speakers corresponding to different frequency bands . The resonator can be adjusted .. materials can be added or removed .. perhaps its shape is "bendable " . The resonators are used to give "life" and character to digital synthesizer signals . Perhaps frequencies below 300 hz could be sent to a conventional bass amplifer via a crossover so that the resonator could be portable . Each frequency band could be adjusted ( delays , filters etc ) with software via a computer hookup . Please help me . I need help
best regards
Sean Wayland

my FM8 synth sounds thin at higher frequencies . useless for performance .. trying to figure out why . i know my hearing diminishes up around 30hz ... I remember clearly from the test being able to recognise the attack and timbre of the synthesized sound they played me . Is there any scientific data about timbre recognition at high frequencies ? It would be interesting to vary the timbre with a synthesizer and use a filter to cut off all frequencies above a certain threshold . I wonder when changing the threshold would affect the " timbre" . I wonder if even around 96K would affect our ability to detect timbre changes ? Switching my synth from 44 to 96 seems to make a big difference ...

Hi Sean,

Thanks for your interest in the Pacarana! In answer to your question:

> discontinued. The latency of the soft-synths makes them hard to use in jazz performance . Could I use your parcana and get better latency results than with soft synths ? Please email .

Yes, having the Pacarana dedicated to computing sound means that we can compute audio and update parameters at the sample rate (we do not have to compute blocks of samples as is sometimes necessary in soft synths. In other words, time is not quantized to blocks of samples, audio is evaluated and output on every sample).

If you have other questions, please let us know.



> Hi there ,
> I am interested in your product . I have a nord modular G2X which has been discontinued. The latency of the soft-synths makes them hard to use in jazz performance . Could I use your parcana and get better latency results than with soft synths ? Please email .
> Best regards
> Sean
> --

Its been a while . Hope you are well . How about a "micro" version of the rhodes piano . Some sort of scaled down "tine" system . A much smaller and lighter version of a rhodes piano . The mechanical part is just used to generate real time digital information which is processed by the computer as a musical instrument . I imagine optical sensors picking up the "tine" or string movement and generating data . The Tines/strings wouldn't need to be the real size , but they could be MANIPUATED BETTER by the artist in real time which is what the synth lacks . When you hit it hard the thing responds like a real instrument . Shrinking things down might also get around the problem of a real piano and a rhodes in that it is sluggish and can't be played as accurately as a guitar ...

That's what I want to build. Just one key with a tweeter and cpu. I can connect as many as I want and send the low frequencies to a woofer for the whole lot. Let's build just one key first. If it works we can raise the venture capital one key at a time.

Just got back from a gig by brad meldhau . One of the most famous jazz pianists. I am a "vip" at the jazz club so I got to sit 2 feet from the piano. It was a bit repetitive but the guy was playing great stuff using all ten fingers in an innovative way. I get tired of the sound of a piano but you just couldn't perform what he was doing on any keyboard. Someone needs to build a synth with a speaker and software for every note. That way I think it wouldn't sound thin in the high registers like they usually do and chords would work properly. It makes no sense for all the notes to come out of 2 speakers . You need to adjust the eq/filters etc for each note . I don't know why it was never built. Hope you are well. Sean
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Hello ,
I am a professional musician. I would like you to make for me a 2 octave midi controller keyboard with a "C" as bottom note and a "B" on the top with no edges so that I can travel with more than one of them and "put them together" at the gig . Airlines are making it harder and harder to travel with equipment . I believe this would be a great help to me and my other musician friends . I also have a few other design ideas I would love to implement if possible ! I studied Electrical Engineering before becoming a musician . It is frustrating that so much of the modern technology seems to be designed for " bedroom enthusiasts" as opposed to "serious" musicians , I would love to see things improve .
Best regards
Sean Wayland

Hi len ,
i doubt I would ever get these things built but would love to try ...I have been reading "musical aplications of microprocessors" (hal chamberlin 1986) . Its old but interesting . I recently purchased the native instruments " komplete 5" . It's an enormous tool with lots of potential . Some of it is pretty poorly designed I think . It came with 10 DVDs of samples and there are l0000 patches or something, and the manuals are good for toilet paper . It comes with a hardware interface ( with no audio ? ) and no master volume knob which seems pretty silly to me ... One cool thing is they have designed a system for the knobs which has greater resolution than midi . It "feels" really good to turn the knobs ( sounds pornographic dont it ! ) . Well see if i can get it to work . The latency is OK if you just use the FM8 , but complex patches and effects and it craps out . Its more stable as a stand alone than with cubase , when I really think I can hear the jitter . To me that is the critical thinkg . You can cope with 5-10 miliseconds of latency if it is constant .
I would love to build a one key synth with a CPU , with a string or a tine ... and an advanced interface , perhaps tracking the key movement constantly and generating continous messages . Each key could be connected to your personal computer , tuned , voiced , etc . They would lock together and you could change " patches" from your personal computer . It would be programable so that other people who cant play can design patches for me ;) You could bring as many of them as you wanted wherever you went . Each one would be super light and indestructible ... well its nice to dream over here ... each key would also have minijack out and could be connected to some sort of "resonator " ... an array of tiny speakers in a lightweight box which was adjustable in shape ... you could stretch you resonator , or line with materials to change its acoustic properties ... i saw that harmoniser online searching for my string idea ... it looks and sounds fantastic . thanks for your emails and putting up with my ridiculous rants and raves

Hi len ,
hope you are well. I have had my best idea yet I think . I think constantly about how to capture the way the timbre of a note changes when you play a piano harder . I found a new physical modelling patch for my nord synthesizer which someone built recently which sounds really rich . I would still love to get more control over it . There already exist a "moog guitar" and roland has a VG99 guitar synth or something . I think it would be cool if there was a single stringed instrument with no frets ( just a short string ) which created midi signals . You could play the string anyway you wish to create different amplitude/timbre variations , but the pitch could be controlled with a keyboard . I probably should talk to the guys at moog or Roland . I imagine it would be cheap to produce , and the technology is in place . There is already a "breath-controller" , which is cool , but nothing like this . You could hit the string with piano hammers and would sound like a piano ....

Is there a synth that allows you to map a different attack envelope to every possible midi volume level?
I think I need a combination of that , fm synthesis for timbre and a few attack samples thrown in also mappable to midi volumes. I want each key to be seperate and the whole thing can be dissasembled. Each key would have an audio out and a usb in/out. Large numbers of keys could be connected via usb to a computer to group the outputs if it was too noisy to have a whole lot of audio outputs...hope all is well . I must come and visit. Sean
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Hi len ,
can you help me build a little box with a CPU , midi in/out , usb , and a couple of sliders .
The thing could be programmed to reassign notes via midi . the sliders/wheels would let you scroll through scales/patches on the fly .
With me playing the thing on gigs and making it famous , I think there would be a market for it if it was small and cost less than $500
If can't do it , tell me how to go about making it happen ....

best regards

I just had a conversation with a guitarist friend in Sydney. He is
planning to come over and record some music with me in NY in April .
James like many guitarists doesn't like the sound of headphones when
recording. He was asking me if he could sit " in the control room "
with the speakers and engineer during the recording session. This is a
problem because he smells kinda funny and will upset the engineer and
various band-members girlfriends who will be hanging out in there .
Being a guitarist he also hates volume and will want to listen to the
music so quietly that it will spoil the good-times the engineer and
hangers-on would usually have. Is there someway you can build us a
little DSP box to make the headphones sound like you are sitting a few
feet from a pair of Yamaha NS10 speakers in an acoustically treated
room ( treated so there are no standing waves from parallel wall
reflections or bass frequencies building up in the corners of the room
) . If not a standalone DSP box , an audio plug in for protools might
do the trick . Funnily enough many of the worlds best guitarists like
to have speakers to record too. There are a lot of guitarists in the
world and with an endorsement from james or eddie van halen you might
be able to move quite a lot of units assuming the thing could be built
for around $200 .... I see itunes has already stolen your wifi speaker
idea . Might be time to get back to music/synthesizer where you belong
. I have a few other synth ideas , but that is another 15 emails which
I dont have time for now .
hope your good .
best regards


I was going to write my opinion here today about various subjects including .
1) The lack of good reporting about new scientific research in the contemporary newspapers .
2) Organic food
3) Home Births
4) Synthesizers
5) Wynton Marsalis
6) Which music is more important : Gerald Finzi or James P Johnson

Unfortunately I didn't have the time

Friday, May 8, 2009

sean wayland mark guiliana (drums - NY )Australian tour

Sean Wayland performing "arc is enough" with Mark Guiliana ( drums )/ Jeff Hanley / Pete McCann / Luca Benedetti .

Sean will tour Australia in October 2007 with Mark Guiliana / James Muller and Brett Hirst

Tour Dates : 12th oct ( the basement , Sydney )
14th oct ( Bennett's lane , Melbourne )
15th oct ( Bennett's lane , Melbourne )
17th oct ( The Ellington , Perth )
19th oct ( Adelaide , the governor hindmarsh )
20th oct ( ANU , canberra )

More dates will be announced soon

Sunday, May 3, 2009

love is all that matters

If you repeat the same bar , change it occasionally that is "minimalism" , serious contemporary music . If someone sings it is "pop" .

Saturday, April 18, 2009

soft oz rock video

dont get me wrong

i sang this song from my new Cd " pistachio " playing along on my synthesizer using a "sequencer"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

recession music , jazz food and chewy

Monday's tips jazz gig is canceled due to venue being closed by health department .
Usually they get the jazz in when there are no patrons due to poor food/coffee/service .
The jazz sometimes comes at the beginning of the establishment's life but more often signals the end .

On a brighter note you discover that the local Rite-Aid is a heavenly smorgasbord of chewing gum choice . You can recommend the new Extra " fruit sensations" which come in a variety of flavours ( aussie spelling - f@ck you google spellcheck ) and take the edge off the food at your local jazz venue .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

too much funk is bad for your health

 "Grocery chain recalls pistachios over salmonella fears"

From CNN 


Saturday, April 11, 2009

who needs good new music

The internet is an unsustainable addiction .
If you don't allow people to pay for quality information it will be hard to find decent stuff in amongst the junk , spam and porn .
I think all artists , musicians , writers , journalists philosophers etc should fight for this right .

It may be too lot to stop piracy online , but its not too late to stand up for our rights and ask people to pay . 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

chorale video

Hi there good folks ,
I made a little video today of an improvised solo . 
I have decided to "up the amount of posting " on youtube . 
It uploaded fine , unfortunately it wont offer me the option to play in HD unless I add " &fmt=18" to the end of the URL 
to the end of the video . Does anyone know how to force youtube to play your videos back in HD ? 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

im just a jazztafarian

I have been thinking recently about the idea that living a life as a jazz musician is something akin to a form of addiction . I imagine it becoming illegal in the future . From the outside it looks like a life of suffering and the music seems unusual to many ears , but for the performer there is immense pleasure . I bit like a heroin addiction . I have also been listening a little recently to "Thin Lizzy" . Phil Lynott's story is a classic musician's tale of addiction , ruin and eventually death at the hands of his narcotic. Fortunately , not many people have died yet from improvising . Still jazz musicians can be seen as some sort of religious cult without polygamy . We improvise to put ourselves in touch with a higher " jah" . I have coined the term " jazztafarian" as such .
Here's the lyrics to the song :

" just a jazztafarian
get in touch with jah
ive got to give it up
jazz monkey on my back
people say I've changed
They say I look sick
But inside I feel good
Im just Jazztafarian
Where getting in touch with Jah "

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New York Dermatology

I went to a New York dermatologist worried about a strange looking mole on my back . 
First thing they did when I arrived was hand me this form :
All the staff were female , young , beautiful and had great skin . 
The walls were adorned with articles from so called "newspapers" and other gutter magazines featuring the doctor's treatments .
There was a TV screen showing ghoulish videos of treatment's shown on so called "News" television shows . 
Does Rupert Murdoch get a taste ? How does it work ?
A lady  doctor saw me and she had great skin  .
She complained that she didn't have enough room in the office due to all the different Laser machines . 
After looking at my mole she scheduled me for a biopsy .
I decided to visit a different dermatologist for the biopsy. 

update april 16th :
Its not cancer , but you have the mole removed surgically as the cells " look weird " under the microscope . Your newly acquired health insurance company ( the freelancers union ) rejects all claims stating " previous condition " . Yes ... I have had moles on my back for my whole life . If I broke my arm would they say " sorry we cant pay for that as you had that arm BEFORE you applied for insurance " .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

vale hardware synthesizers

looks like I am going to switch over to the computer for synthesizers ... I think with a new macbook pro quadcore , my dream of a low latency , seriously programmable music machine are in reach . It's an exciting time despite the world and the music business' woes 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

email to creator of continuum fingerboard

Hi lippold ,
I may have contacted you before . I cant remember . I am a musician . I studied electrical engineering briefly in Sydney , Australia before the pull of jazz music became to great . The music pulled me all the way from Sydney to New York . I like synthesizers , and I think your instrument looks great . I was thinking about a certain problem today and your thing came up again as a solution .
Is it possible to fix the X-axis to discrete pitches ? I want to use the Y axis to select "octaves" and play chords/melodies that are not possible on a conventional keyboard . Can the "Y" axis be converted into 12 discrete areas ( one for each octave higher than the key that is being pressed ? ) . I have a nord modular G2X synth and use the "samchillean" system on it occasionally . I would eventually want the geography of the instrument to be the same as a standard keyboard ... I like the fact that a keyboard is discrete pitches ( and the good lord has given us pitch bend ) . I dont want to relearn 30 years of practice .

I am also interested in how well the thing "tracks" . The computer synths sound great , but I am yet to find a way to controll them properly in real time . That's why I use the nord G2X which sadly has been discontinued. I consider myself the world's only virtuoso synthesizer player ( well Allan Holdsworth is better but he doesnt use a keyboard ) . I figure if I could change octaves on the one key I might be able to figure out a way to beat him and I might even have a musical career as a performer .

Sorry for the long email.
Hope you are well. Congrats on your work .

best regards

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

youtube / metube

You enter show-business with the most honorable of intentions. Hoping to make a contribution to culture available to all of mankind for eternity .  The counter on youtube becomes a yardstick of your success in the world .  Your own attempts to push the vanguard of technology and humour ( Australian spelling ) are a dismal failure managing to achieve only 130 hits after almost a year of "airtime" .

 You take solace in the fact that what you consider to be mankind's greatest artistic achievement , the Brahms Violin Concerto 3rd movement , performed by the great David Oistrach , has only managed  36,897 hits . 

You take further solace when you realise the Brahms violin concerto is easily out-trumped by a drum solo competition between Buddy Rich and a Puppet . ( 753,146 hits)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Letter to Wall St Journal

If a website such as youtube, myspace  can put a counter on its site which counts the number of hits , it should be fairly easy to set up an automated payment system to owners of copyrighted material .  My website sells downloads automatically and payments are administered via paypal without me lifting a finger . 

I recently cowrote a song with Madeleine Peyroux and Larry Klein which she recorded on her new Cd " Bare Bones " . 

Watching her perform it online on the Wall St Journal , I thought she had done an awesome job of playing it and singing it , but wondered if I would ever see a penny from this particular performance . 

Musicians here will argue in the local Cafe about the plight of Israel or the Iraq war , but when their own rights to remuneration are being eroded they seem strangely mute to me .  Why isn't there a greater effort by musicians, journalists , actors etc to get together and force people who sell "streaming" entertainment to pay to use it ? I would posit the thought at this point that in the near distant future ( perhaps 2 years away) , it will be useless to "own" any piece of digital art . All will be available free as a stream online and most people in the developed world will have 24/7 access to anything on their iphone or equivalent . I believe we are in a "now or never" situation .  I think it's time to act . 

Sincerely Yours 
Sean Wayland 

berklee college of music website

"Q: Can I play electric keyboards as my principal instrument?
No. Although there are many playing opportunities for keyboards/synthesizers in ensembles, instrumental labs, and recitals, acoustic piano is the official principal instrument of all keyboard players. Proficiencies, private lessons, and auditions are all performed on acoustic piano."

Annual cost of study towards jazz Degree $ 38,100 


From " The Business of Music" 9th edition ( Krasilovsky/Shemel/Gross) 

Excerpts from chapter " Copyright Legislation " 

" Under the Copyright Act of 1976 , an individual cannot be convicted of criminal copyright infringement unless he or she willfully infringes a copyright " for the purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain " 

" Further , this act also criminalizes the electronic reproduction or distribution of copyrighted works by electronic means , if more than $1000 in total retail value during any 180-day period is involved "

" At the same time the act created certain " safe harbors" for ISP's . eg " Where the service provider acts as a "mere conduit" for an infringing transmission "  or " Where the service provider has unknowingly stored infringing material and has recieved no financial benefit and responds " expeditiously " to remove the infringing material  " or " Where the provider has unknowingly linked users to sited containing infringing material and responds " expeditiously " to remove the infringing material " 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

horizontal is vertical

horizontal is vertical 
and vertical is not too cool 
when you do it all day 

too much candy
too much zorn

a pleasant diversion
becomes and unpleasant problem
time is running out 
as time becomes relative

another day wasted
another day gone
it seems to me 
that zorn is the new smack 

all day today 

Monday, February 23, 2009

email to clavia ( nord keyboards)

Very sorry to see the modular synth discontinued. I have a G2X and a G2 . Looking for an engine to tour with but they seem to have disappeared from the US . It's frustrating trying to make a "career" out these instruments when they are constantly discontinued. I have an oberhaim xpander which sits in my studio . I am too frightened to take it to gigs. I should have learnt guitar . Could you design an instrument that looks like I am playing a guitar , but sustains , stays in tune like a synth and you can play cluster type voicings on ? Preferably an instrument that doesn't cost half its value to repair if you " break a string " . best regards Sean

Friday, February 20, 2009

jerry beads and busta rhymes

This week I sang and played at a benefit for the bushfires . In New York at "The Australian Bar" together with Lisa Parrott, Ben Van Der Vaal and Fiona McBain we performed pieces by : Bernie McGann , Mike Nock , INXS , The Divynils , Midnight Oil and Daddy Cool . We also performed Lisa's lovely bebop arrangement of "the road to gundagai " .We would have played more jazz , but tell that to the 400 beer-soaked Aussies singing Jimmy Barnes " Working Class Man " to the jukebox when we arrived .

I am a big fan of American music . 1900-2000 was the "American Century" as far as culture is concerned . In my lifetime ( born 1969) I have seen a great deal of amazing Aussie music too , most of which has yet to receive much international recognition . I received an email today from the Melbourne Jazz Festival and saw that they have booked : Jim Black , Ornette Coleman , Cecil Taylor , Ethan Iverson , Bill Frisell , Nels Kline , Tim Berne and Joshua Redman and a few Australians for their festival . All outstanding American musician's to be sure , but personally I wonder if the Australian tax-payers money could be better spent .  Especially considering many of those artists have already toured Australia in the last 5 years or so . I doubt that we will see many Australian's performing at U.S festivals soon ...  Why not invite musicians from Japan , Germany , Africa etc and try and form some sort of reciprocal partnership instead  ? This is a changing trend I see down under , especially if you consider that the Sydney Sympony Orchestra now regularly performs with American guest artists which is also funded by the taxpayer to some degree . It's difficult for these orchestras to survive and they have to get " bums on seats" I guess . The combination of our popular culture , radio , TV , press giving a great deal of time to American music means that Wynton Marsalis and hundreds of other American jazz and other musicians are household names in Australia yet James Muller is not . I think the taxpayer's dollars should be spent on a better infrastructure for Australian musicians . There should be small venues built in each city which could be hired for a small fee , which come with government subsidised accomodation for touring artists . There should be a good network of international festivals featuring Australian composers and performers with similar accomodation ( in New York , London , Paris , Berlin etc ...) . Australian musicians should get their travel costs subsidised . I am trying to set up such a festival in New York and hope to get it off the ground in September . I don't think handing money to individual artists in the form of grants is a great idea . The infrastructure should be provided first I think . If the government is to fund orchestra's , they should expected perform a good percentage of Australian music and feature Australian performers . In my opinion , the concept of an "orchestra" with an instrumentation devised by 19th century European's is best suited to performing music written before any music was written in Australia . There should be more emphasis on funding ensembles that feature music written by Australians, for Australian performers and for Australian audiences . I am not for "tearing down" the institutions that exist , and sincerely hope that future generations continue to play European classical music , and great music and concepts created by American's such as Duke Ellington , Charlie Parker , Ornette Coleman etc . That being said I think it is high time that we stood up and took a greater value in our own rich cultural history . It should be taught at the conservatorium . When I was there we where forced to learn about 50 Amercian tunes written mostly in the ( first !) great depression .

I remember living in Sydney watching "Jerry Springer" etc on the television and wondering who made the decision to broadcast it down under . I also couldn't forget seeing Busta Rhymes on a Sunday Morning TV music show in Sydney around 2003 . I imagined a future generation of Aussie kids force-fed the very worst of America without getting to see the best that Australia has to offer . I have reprinted the lyrics of Busta's timeless rap " Nigga's gonna break your motherfucking neck " below :

"Break Ya Neck"

[Busta Rhymes]
Yea.. Check it out, see
The only thing you need to do right here is,
Is nod your fuckin head
Yeah, yeah
Break ya fuckin neck bitches
Yeah, yeah
Here we go now..

Where we goin now?
Where we goin now?
Give it away, give it away, give it away now
Give it away, give it away, give it away now
Just give it away nigga
Yeah, here we go now

[Verse 1]
Tell me wat'chu really wanna do (Come here ma)
Talk to a nigga, talk with me
You look like you could really give it to a nigga,
from the way you talk and the way ya try to walk for me
The way you really try to put it on a dawg
Threw ya hips like ya never did before for me
The way you break yo' back, and I break yo' neck,
and the way you try to put it on the floor for me
(Come on!) Come on (Come on!) Oh yeah
Tell me where my niggas is at (Ok!!)
Lemme address y'all niggas one time,
while I lock that down, and I hit'cha wit that (YOU GONE!)
That bomb shit, y'all niggas gone all day
Be the nigga in the drop,
Y'all niggas know every time I come through,
this motherfucker, where we always takin the ride
(So let me do this bitch)
Y'all niggas know when we come, we be makin it flop,
the way we makin it hot'll make a nigga wanna stop... [pause]
Get money, then cash that check for me
All my niggas just bust yo' tech for me
Everybody from every hood bang yo' head,
'til you break your motherfuckin head for me!

Just let me give you real street shit,
to rap in yo' shit with
Recline yo' seat rewind this heat
Keep bouncin up and down these streets
So nod yo' head and
Break yo' neck nigga!
Break yo' neck nigga!
Break yo' neck nigga!
Bang yo' head until you start to
Break yo' neck nigga!
Break yo' neck nigga!
Break yo' neck nigga!
Break yo' neck!

[Verse 2]
Come along now (Let's put it down nigga!)
When I bounce back and you know I done caught my breath,
y'all niggas all know how we do,
when the way we bang niggas in the head, and we do it to death
(We fold 'em back whodi!) The fire boy, you know we bakin a ounce
I know you love the way we be givin you the music, makin you bounce
Now fuck it up just a little for my niggas,
everytime we come through niggas know that we did it for y'all (Uh-huh)
And the way we do it for the people,
niggas know we always give it to y'all
I said bounce (Come on!)
In the day time or the night, when ya creepin along,
Well just bang this shit up in the truck,
while you break yo' neck, now motherfucker try to figure my flow
See the way we come right through (When we come right through!)
We be always blowin the spot, again and again,
and make a nigga really wanna STOP... [pause]
Better tell yo' crew, yo' peeps,
all my niggas better put they troops on
And gather up your soldiers nigga,
you know you better keep yo' boots on
All my niggas in the place (Aiyyo!)
Wave your hands high now, and the way we put it down,
make a nigga wonder what he really gonna try now
What'cha really wanna do?
Just place your bet, and put'cha money where ya mouth is (Ah-hoo)
All my niggas in the street just break yo' neck and keep on boun-cin!


[Verse 3]
Here we go, and you know everytime Busta-Bus be holdin the fort,
my nigga watch how we shuttin it down,
The way we put it on, comin through like a steamroller,
me and Dre nigga ain't no fuckin around
My nigga (WHAT!) Yeah whattup,
Me and my team got a link cuz you know we stay choppin it up
And when get up in the club,
or how my niggas at the bar how we lockin it up
And we get a little (High!) And we get a little (Drunk!)
And we get a little (Crunk! Come on!)
Lemme give y'all niggas some shit,
that'll make you wanna bang this out yo' trunk (Come on!)
Get money, then cash that check for me
All my niggas just bust yo' tech for me
Everybody from every hood, bang yo' head,
'til you break yo' motherfuckin neck for me!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

armen's tone deaf

I know it's unamerican to complain but I am an Australian person . Playing "keyboards" as an "artform" is a frustrating business . I have trouble sitting due to dodgy discs in my lower back , which I am convinced are a result of lugging a fender rhodes around in my early twenties . I have a 54 key rhodes now , with a lot of the wood removed which occasionally my wife helps me take to gigs .It's lighter but  I fear her frame will be the next to go . I have a hammond C3 here , which sounds great , but is not portable at all . It also aggravates my back due to the extremely poor ergonomic design of the volume pedal , bench and manuals . I love my oberheim " xpander " , but it can realistically only produce one or 2 decent sounds which resemble a saxophone or accordion . You cant play " piano " type stuff on it . It is ancient , built in 1984 ( although the organ is from the 50's ) . Turning it on is like turning on an old Tandy computer . You hope for the best . It's not feasible to bring something like that to gigs . It also has a "tune" function which needs to be repeated after every song as the oscillators constantly drift out of tune . These days the computer has synths on it , but they are very difficult to use live. My mac computer has no "volume knob" or EQ knob .  The computer is also prone to crashes etc which makes it terrifying on a gig . I have a nord modular G2X which I also love . It's a great machine BUT it's already been discontinued after having been on the market for less than 5 years . The good thing about a guitar or drum kit is that they don't get "discontinued" . 

My Nord has been acting strangely lately . It occasionally drifts out of tune . I looked it up online and saw that it might be a faulty " pitch-stick " .  I decided to take it to a repair shop in Manhattan . It takes about 45 mins one way to get there by car . I found the place . It's a dingy inudstrial type of shop with a buzzer on the door. You can't just walk in . Eventually I was buzzed in to the place . It's like a museum of Synthesizer's . There must be 300 different " discontinued" products on the walls . Most of them are for sale . The owner let's me in . He's the only guy there . He's repairing a keyboard and talking to a few customers . At regular intervals different African-American and Carribean gentleman  ( UPS / Fedex delivery drivers , cabbies etc ... ) come in looking at the stuff with a view to purchase . Considering the cost of repair is usually around half the cost of one of these 2nd hand , I suspect a lot of people just sell their broken gear to the owner . The fact that I actually want something repaired seems to piss the guy off . I explain to the guy that it has pitch problem's and plug it in . He says he can't hear anything wrong with it even though I am convinced that it is moving from 1/4 tone flat and back to pitch . The guy leave's me standing around for about 1/2 an hour . My car outside has the hazard lights on . I am in Manhattan and I am sure I will get a $150 parking ticket so I take my keyboard and walk out . 

I tried to write a song with words , but this one got a bit too complicated so it has become an instrumental . It's been a while since I have written one . It has an "easy" melody and a "hard" one in case the musicians complain when I ask them to play it . It's called Armen's tone deaf . 

Monday, February 16, 2009

china future

The year is 2157 

Wang Armstrong is born in New York , USA . He is  descendant of the American Jazz fusion musician Randy Diego . Wang shows an early interest in computer science but ends up entranced by the chinese yang qin instrument  . Wang is named after Wang Wu , the famous Chinese musician who was one of the first creators of a new improvised form of music which fused traditional Chinese music with Western influences and improvisation . Wang's father , developed a passion for this Chinese music names  "Jing Zi Zi" ( supposedly a slang derived  from the chinese word for "semen" ) . 

In 2130 in Shanghai there was a new movement in "Jing Zi Zi " , which involved amplified and computerised versions of traditional chinese instruments . This style was very popular but proved controversial , and in 2140 a new generation of chinese musicians had returned to their unamplified traditional instruments , and where helped gain fame and fortune by press / club owners who where older and disliked the new Electric version . In Shanghai the conservative young musicians had created a new scene at the now famous " xiao" club . Just across the street at the " wu shi wu "  dive bar , the aging old guard of electronic musicians still performed in depressing surroundings. Amongst them was a younger musician Jang San who was a master electric " erhu" player . He had combined the older electric Jing Zi Zi styles with a new sensibility , greater rhythmic accuracy and concepts based on atonality . 

Atonality had long been banned in America by the "Musicians Council" . The council was formed when the American government abolished copyright laws in 2078 . Until then musicians had been able to make a living from streaming their performances and charging micropayments to viewers . The new laws had made these payments effectively illegal . Atonality was considered by musicians as something akin to Heroin use . Extremely enjoyable for the musician participant , but eventually leading to personal destruction and inability to charge for ones streaming service and often starvation . Many American musicians , some "atonal addicts"  had fled the dire situation in America and could be found busking in the Chinese Subway's in it's numerous big cities . These buskers often played guitar through battery operated "polytone" amplifiers , complete with battery powered " line 6" delay pedals . Often they would perform American songs written during the "First great depression"  of 1930 , much shorter than the depression that started in 2008 . The buskers often played these songs in unusual time-signatures , which like atonality was regarded as a form of "self abuse "  and addiction . 

Anyway , by 2187 our man Wang Armstrong had become a great "Yang Gin" player . Entranced by the Electronic "Jing Zi Zi" and with his background he traveled to China to pursue knowledge and with a dream of building a better Electrified "Yang Gin " .  The Chinese had built an electronic version of the instrument , but it had never been perfected and the company that built it had gone bankrupt during the conservative period of the 2170's . Wang hoped to use his computer skills to build a combined mechanical/computerised version of the instrument .  He struggled with the Chinese system of naming rhythmic values based on the old "crotchet" and "quaver" , a relic of the British occupation of Hong Kong in the 20th century . 

He made his way to the "wu shi wu" bar , and met the great amplified "erhu" player Jang San . Jang San was welcoming to Armstrong at the bar and gave him his email address . The Chinese still used the ancient " internet" system . America had long disgarded this system in favour of a new system which allowed communication via chip implanted in the armpit .  The communist party had finally collapsed in 2140 . It had banned the use of the "armpit" system and internet pornography . With a new democratic government in place , and the loose environment of the 2170's , pornography was suddenly available everywhere on the internet , causing it to nearly collapse . 

Wang Armstrong sent numerous emails to Jang San asking for lessons and the opportunity to play together but never received a reply . With the Chinese aging internet system almost collapsing under the weight of illegal downloading of the new chinese porno many emails never made it through . Wang wondered if his email had reached Jang , or if Wang had recieved it and his reply had made it back . Perhaps Jang just didnt really care .. he was more interested in perfecting his exacting rhythmic requirements  for his  erhu playing . 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

midi into face

In New South Wales , Australia a small glass of beer is called a "midi" . Hence the musicians expression "midi into face" , especially favored by synthesists such as myself . Being a self-confessed lightweight , and without the stamina of my formative years, I am quite fond of a midi shandy actually . I was working on a piece of music which had a particularly electronic element . I was thinking of how cool it would be if you could plug a USB cable into your face and then "save as" your memories for full technicolor retrieval at a later date. It all fused together to form a song . Kiddies dont try a midi interface or plugging a firewire cable into your ear-socket as you may well blow a fuse .

Here's the lyrics

" midi into face
drink it nice and cold
catch my memory and "save as "

I'm storing you
you're just numbers now
bit by little bit by bit "

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Summercloud Bay

the long highway south

the winter mist is low in the Royal National Park

you pass Gerringing

an ancient rock platform wearing a midden

still your minds with guys that go out at Summercloud

a can of VB in the campfire light

aboriginal the originals

they're attached to this land

now you are too

as far you as go

your heart's in Jervis Bay

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Australian music

Australian music I recommend ( partial list ! ) 

Jazz : 

Bernie Mcgann

Mike Nock

Paul Grabowsky

Chris Abrahams

Dale Barlow

Phil Slater

Steve Mckenna

Carl Orr

Carl Dewhurst

Mark Fitzgibbon

Matt Mcmahon

Australian Pop 

Midnight oil / Jim Moginie

Clouds / Jodi Philis


Robynne Dunn

Kara Grainger 

Papa Lips

Jackie Orsascky

Matt Finish 

The Church 

Olivia Newtown-John ( songs by John Farrar) 

Monday, February 2, 2009

if you see something say something

I was on my daily walk today and I saw a bus with the words " Si ves algo di algo"
on the side . It translates to " if you see something say something " .
Since 9/11 there have been various advertising campaigns in New York and elsewhere alerting the citizens to get involved in keeping the city safe . Here in the big apple we are expected to keep an eye out for "suspicious packages" on the subway etc . In Sydney, Australia they ran the ad " be alert not alarmed " .

The New York subway is a glorious melting pot of cultures and races . When I see the " if you see something " signs on the subway I always imagine what is going through the minds other riders in their own native tounges . Seeing the sign translated into Spanish today , reminded me that this would be a good idea for a song . Most of the lyrics revolve around a pretty lady that happens to be on the train spotted by the strap-hangers . I also learnt the other day that my computer can read text to me . I put the lyrics into my mac OSX and got it to read it into the track . It had a bit of trouble with the spanish and chinese ... Wasn't to great at the english either . I guess we will have to wait for version 3.0

Here's the lyrics :

If you say something see something

Si ves algo di algo

que bien te ves



Liene una sonrisa muy bonita ( spanish )

ni kan, da pangzi ( chinese)

that guy looks suspicious he's got a beard

no man that's santa klaus ( english) "

Monday, January 26, 2009

humphrey b bear
Humphrey B bear is an Australian children's television character .
I had a friend who was a stage manager . They used to refer actor's wearing costumes as "suits"
Apparently there are quite a few different "humphrey" actors. My friend told me a story that one day "humphrey" showed up with a really terrible hangover and actually threw up in his suit , and still managed to complete the whole show which was being filmed live . Not sure if it's true but it's a great story . I guess you could call this song a children's song with a bit of an edge to it . Not sure if Justine Clark would sing it but here's hoping .

Heres's the lyrics

"Im just a little bumble bee
and I can fly everywhere
and where I want to bee
is just next to you
You've got such pretty flowers
I could spend hours right next to you
I'm smelling your honey
and don't seem funny to this bumble bee
dip dip dip
and i will down into your sweet honey
I'm thinking 'bout stinging you all the bloody time
you're the sweetest waratah
Humphrey Bee Bear stole my honey !!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

williamsbeard song

Why do people in Williamsburg all have beards and tattoos ? It might not be a good idea to admit that I listen to Olivia NJ but I can hear the John Farrar influence in the music surrounding the word "prosciutto" . Here's the Lyrics

"Williamsbeard's hip . I live in Williamsbeard. I try to look poor. I dress like a homeless person who's lost his razor . A few blocks away , amigo is almost homeless. I live in Williamsbeard. I like prosciutto . Half a piggy died for my lunch . Just a few blocks away same sanga costs 2 bucks. Williamsbeard's hip .

Sunday, January 18, 2009

fried chicken

I wrote this song when I was working as a musical in a mental institution in Queens 2000-2001 . The teenage patients where mostly the result of the crack epidemic . They where heavily sedated and also heavily into Fried Chicken and music that involved a drum machine. They where fed a cocktail of various drugs , which made them controllable and fat . I suspect that most of them have heart disease and diabetes already . I tried to teach them musical instruments but ended up getting them to sing and rap along with my drum machine . We made a little CD . Despite their problem's they where actually lovable , many of them charming .

I see the song as a metaphor for what happens when a population has no health insurance and no musical education . The end result if taken to the extreme would be something like this tune .

Over the years I have rewritten several different versions and eventually translated it into chinese :
" You Zha Ji .... Dian Nao Gu "

The "deep fried" version is the final one . The whole population becomes insane and has a brain meltdown .

At the request of Tassie "drummer du jour" Jordan Perlson, " fried Chicken" is now the bands chaser .

Listen to them here ( the live one is the "headmasters" playing in sydney at the basement in 2007

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I like to move forward as a composer ... I try to write quickly ( usually a piece is finished in a couple of hours ) . I like to think of it as improvising really slowly ( like 15 mins per bar ) . Occasionally a piece will get worked on for a couple of days or revisited a month later . This piece was written in way back 1994 . Back then I got my first sampler ( an EPS 16 plus ) . I wrote a bunch of music on it . It was the beginning of my songwriting ( as opposed to instrumentals ) . The pieces I wrote back then have a special place in my heart . A great deal of it was lost . I didn't document things properly then . I had about 30 tunes on a 90 minute cassette which used to live in my car and was finally lost . The sampler was also stolen after a year or 2 with plenty of tunes on it . We lived in a "sketchy" neighbourhood in South Maroubra , Sydney .

A lot of the tunes didn't have many lyrics . Often it was up to the discretion of the singer Lily Dior that was singing for "Banana" which tunes ever got performed . Many of them never saw the light of day , often my favorites .

As years past I kept revisiting the surviving recordings from the sampler , just to listen . Recently I was so inspired by them that I rerecorded a few and added new sections etc .

Today I was reading the newspaper and I read an article about a new pharmaceutical product called "lumigan" . Made by the people who made Botox , it supposedly gives you longer eyelashes , and various unfortunate side effects. It is pretty amusing what people will do to try and return to their youth . Physically I am happy to grow old gracefully . If I want to remember the past I have my old recordings . Some bitter-sweet memories from back them I might prefer to forget , but couldn't if I tried .

OK enough already here's the lyrics

" I don't need no Botox
I don't need no Rograine ( well i do actually ;)
I just need to dull the pain
I don't need no Lumigan

I'm passing over
You're memory
I can't over your good self

I can't forget 94 "

Saturday, January 10, 2009

stan stapleton song

I found this guy Stan Stapleton giving away James Muller's music for free on the internet . He plays guitar in a Santana tribute band in St Louis ( true !! ) 
I find it profoundly depressing that the guy is a musician and not a teenager who doesn't know the difference between right or wrong . I thought if I wrote a song about him it might publicly shame the guy ( since the governments and court's have failed to protect our rights as composers/musicians ) . Unfortunately it has backfired . I emailed him this song and he loves it ...he can't wait to become "famous" . 

"Stan Stapleton plays guitar in a Santana tribute band 
I love James Muller's playing I am giving away for free on my blog 
without his permission
Stan Stapleton from St Louis " 

Here's the song 

Here's our email exchange . As far as I am concerned , if James wanted to give his music away for free he would . This guy has NO RIGHT to hand it out . 

On Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 8:57 AM, stan stapleton  wrote:

Hello Sean.

 First i must comment you on what a great player you are, your music really awesome.

It seems no one has heard of the fantastic James Muller, that guy's one of best i've heard, truly amazing. I wanted to share this with the masses, i hope it helps get the word out about you guys.

I play lead guitar in a Santana Tribute Band, which is not even close to the music magic you guys are throwing down. I also own approximately 98% of the cd's i post, i buy these cd's to support the artist, i post cd's in lame mp3 and hope it helps spread the word about your work.

If you or James Muller ever comes to St. Louis MO. i will buy a ticket and attend the show.

Thats another way for me to support the artist.

--- On Tue, 12/2/08, Sean Wayland wrote:

    From: Sean Wayland
    Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 4:08 PM


    re: james muller blog .

    I dont think it's the right thing to do mate

under d tree restaurant song

I imagined a carribean guy moving to NY to follow the American dream and ending up working in a restaurant in Crown Heights called " Under D Tree restaurant " .
A restaurant by that name exists in the east village I believe .
He works hard but eventually decides to go home to an easy life . Unfortunately the french test a nuclear weapon and blow him and his mates to pieces .
My wife thinks the song should have a happy ending .
Any suggestions gladly accepted

No more Crown Heights
No more funk
and there'll be no more Under D tree restaurant

I wont be cooking
No Jerking Chicken
I wont be serving no African American


No more goat stew
No Gizzades
No pickapeppa
No more Matouk's Flambeau red sauce

No more Codfish Ball's
No Boiled Yam
No curried callaldo
no more oven-baked breadfruit