by Jimmy Leslie
1/7/2013 1:45 PM
I admit I never wanted to see an over-the-hill Zeppelin because prime
Zeppelin always meant so much to me. I kept afar of any footage from the
2007 reunion show with John Bonham’s son Jason filling in on drums, but
now it’s out on film and in all sorts of take-home formats including
the 2DVD/2CD package I just had to check out. I’m so happy I did.
main thing going for Celebration Day is the sound. Led Zeppelin may not
look like the rock gods of yore, but they sound amazing, and the sound
of these discs is clear, deep, and punchy. Zep Fan’s main reason not to
be interested in Celebration Day is Zeppelin’s 2003 double live CD set
How the West Was Won and the associated eponymous dual-DVD that
immediately became the definitive video document of the band during its
1970s glory decade. But nothing on either is sonically close to
Celebration Day’s state-of-the art sparkle. These audio CDs...
by Jimmy Leslie
8/15/2012 10:12 AM
There was no better place to be a guitar fan this past weekend than at the fifth annual Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. With icons such as Metallica, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters, and Jack White topping the delightfully ecclectic bill (Norah Jones played right before Metallica!), Outside Lands was totally sold out in advance for the first time at 65,000 fans per day. This year’s event ran flawlessly—like a seasoned band that’s got its set totally locked and loaded.
Beck Still Tied to Pawnshop PrizesBeck performed at the inaugural Outside Lands Festival in 2008, but he’s kept a low profile since, so I was curious to see what my favorite Loser was up to now. As it turned...
5/14/2012 7:32 AM
I've noticed lately that there is a trend toward odd voices. I think perhaps it grew out of Macy Gray’s colossal impact. Once something hits that big, everyone gets in line to follow. Like anything else, there is a good and a bad side to this “I want to sign someone like her” approach.The upside is that singers with truly interesting voices actually get a chance to be heard, and deservedly so. Gray’s voice is inimitable, and she is a pleasure to listen to. If her success allows other equally interesting singers a modicum of success, that is a great thing. Who wants to hear the same type of voice over and over again? Singers like Gray bring the excitement and passion back to music that can become too predicable.However, the downside to this search for the next ‘most interesting voice’ is that many artists begin to sing in quirky, odd voices that are not in any way natural. I’ve heard (mostly) guys sing with a dark, covered tone, which won’t hurt the voice, but it just doesn’t sound right. I know what they are going...
5/1/2012 10:46 AM
I recently reviewed the i2M audio MIDI interface, which works amazingly well in a monophonic capacity. But if you need polyphony with perfect tracking all the time. The best solution is still a fretboard controller.Perhaps you remember the SynthAxe: a synthesizer controller constructed roughly in the shape of a guitar, where notes were triggered by pushing down rows of buttons arranged like frets on a fingerboard? Between the average guitarist’s lack of interest in all things synthesizer and a price tag of $8-$13,000 dollars, it is no wonder it never caught on—Allan Holdsworth notwithstanding. But for the last couple of Winter NAMM shows, two companies have been showing products that recall this relic of the Eighties. Misa Digital and You Rock Digital are betting that the increased interest of guitarists in all things digital, combined with a lower price point can revive the concept.Read the rest of this blog and check out more of Michael's musings here:www.guitarmoderne.com/gear-2/guitar-style-midi-controllers-synthaxe-redux
4/17/2012 12:53 PM
The ICTUS label has been dedicated to Improvised Music, New Jazz
and Contemporary Classic Music since 1976. Founders Andrea Centazzo and
Carla Lugli had to close it down in 1984, but the label was rose from
the ashes in 2005 featuring new productions and re-releases of the old
recordings. The Stone in NYC, in conjunction with Andrea Centazzo,
presented a series of concerts in April celebrating ICTUS’s 35th
anniversary. April 6th was dedicated to a tribute to Derek Bailey,
featuring six of the worlds best known free-improvising guitarists.
Read the rest of this blog and check out more of Michael's musings here: www.guitarmoderne.com/hidden/derek-bailey-tribute-at-the-stone
3/21/2012 11:50 AM
Since this is my first blog, I suppose I will start at a beginning of sorts. When I was a little kid, I somehow got the notion that great singers were just born. All they had to do was open their mouths, and magically, this wondrous sound came from within to thrill us mere mortals who were born, alas, with no gift. I have no idea where this idea came from exactly, but I think you will agree that most singers do little to dispel the grand illusion that they possess a ‘gift.’
A gift. This is an interesting way of looking at a person’s ability to sing. On the one hand, it anoints that person with mythological power. Cue the Spinal Tap scene: “I am a Golden God!” on the balcony of the Riot Hyatt on Sunset. We all know where that attitude leads….
But on the other hand, it diminishes how hard that person worked to develop this so-called ‘gift.’ As a result, the emphasis is on the greatness itself. Forget about the hours of vocal work, the voice lessons, the trial and error, the terror of not being able to trust yourself to repeat what you do on your good nights. So the process of achieving that greatness becomes overshadowed by the greatness itself. This makes a compelling story arc for VH1’s Behind the Music, but in the end, it allows for too little credit to the artist’s involvement in the process. Oh yeah, and this is usually where the tragic fall of our lead singer occurs due to drugs, booze and scrapes with the law...