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Messages - Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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I have been listening to this VIA Bandcamp all afternoon.

I am not typically a fan of old school sequencer music most of the time with the exceptions of a few classic, usual suspect albums from Tan Dream and Kluase and despite that, I think this is just fantastic and mesmerizing music. This may be my favorite Roach release since Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces. Great depth, sound choices, treatments, recording quality, a great album!

I plan on grabbing the 24/96 version from Spotted Peccary.

Everything and Nothing / Re: April Fools Day ignored and denied???
« on: April 10, 2015, 10:17:00 PM »
Just a thought, maybe she has been picked on or teased at some point in her life, or is self conscious and does not like attention being drawn to herself. By acting as if it did not happen then she does not have to deal with any personal, public or internal embarrassment.

...or maybe she just did not find it funny and does not want to give you the satisfaction of putting one over on her.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Did you ever like KISS?
« on: February 13, 2015, 09:53:19 AM »
Got to see them on 79 tour with original lineup.  It was pretty mind blowing.  I think even my Dad enjoyed it (one of the best presents he ever gave me, namely because he knew how much I loved them and was willing to take me ).  I'd have to say Dressed to Kill from '75 is my favorite album, with Destroyer and the debut self titled one close behind. Not to mention Alive, a legendary live album.

You gotta give them credit for spending two hours putting on the makeup for all those years. 

Looks like we're in the minority here.  I can understand most negative opinions.  I'd call them a guilty pleasure these days.  Cheesy,  yet oh so good.....

I could have written everything you wrote verbatim! The 1979 Dynasty tour (with Judas Priest opening) was my first concert ever! As a kid/early teen they were one of my favorite bands...along with the Beatles and Stones.

I actually have all of their albums including the new ones although the early years are still the best and what I listen too most when I put them on. I proudly admit  that they are still a nostalgic guilty pleasure!!!

I have seen them live twice since 79, both times with makeup and the original 4.

In fact my cousin got free tickets to Ace about a month ago, so I went. yes it was cheezy, but so what  ;D

Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: February 09, 2015, 10:02:16 PM »
Thanks, Paul. That means a lot. I was just listening to Silence Speaks In Shadow a few days ago as I was compiling my top 20 "desert island" discs for the ambient@hyperreal listserv survey...and yes, once again, it made the cut. What a brilliant piece of work. Absolutely essential ambient and should be in everyone's collection (I actually own two copies "just in case.").


Independent Music Reviews / Re: PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: February 04, 2015, 12:17:11 AM »
Awesome Bill, issue two has your review of Ma Ja Le's 1st release "Dreams In The Orchards Of Saturn" to this day it remains one of my favorite reviews I have ever received on one of my albums!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 27, 2014, 08:18:32 PM »
It's funny Loren, I kept looking for the like button as if this was facebook...

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 27, 2014, 12:22:41 PM »
Wow great space Loren!!! I would love to come over and check it out on one of my NAMM trips  ;D

I am really impressed by what Antelope are doing lately. I still think the overall most impressive piece in thier line right now is the zen studio. It's just a killer forward thinking complete package.

As such I can't wait to check out the new devices they announced at AES

All three are very cool. I will be getting a " tour " of them tomorrow !

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 03, 2014, 09:13:45 PM »
Is the Elements tour box worth picking up? How are the tracks from the new band?

His album Angel Song is one of my all time faves.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Eventide UltraReverb
« on: September 18, 2014, 03:36:26 PM »
Once it is authorized to the iLok you no longer need an online connection. I play live shows with my mac with an ilok and I turn off wifi during the performance and it works fine.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 15, 2014, 07:28:51 PM »
I might do one of the Chicago shows...but I doubt it. I'll probably just wait for a release of one of the shows live on DGM

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 15, 2014, 06:40:06 PM »
Getting ready for King Crimson coming to Madison, WI next week.

King Crimson - Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Alternate Takes & Mixes)
King Crimson - Red
King Crimson - Islands
Fripp, Jakszyk & Collins - A Scarity of Miracles

I'm jealous Dave, I was too late in getting tickets for Madison and now its sold out.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Online Mastering ?
« on: August 31, 2014, 12:07:21 PM »
I guess I would never trust online mastering in a generic sense. I think that the danger is that mastering is then viewed more as a process rather than being an art, which I happen to believe it to be.

As a process it becomes too much about the tools and what is done in a logistical sense, IE just making a track louder, fit a certain eq profile or whatever.

As an art form it is about presenting a collection of songs as a whole and making sure they hang together and flow as an experience.

A great quote I recently heard from well respected audiophile mastering engineer Stephen Marsh, is that "Mastering is the completion of the process of mixing." He views them as part of the same process and I really think that is true.



If I don't like parts of an artists repertoire I have choices - accept I don't get it and don't listen or listen and see if I can find the music.

I love this quote Seren. I have always tried to live by this, and I usually find and force myself to do the later. Its how I have learned to truly appreciate and enjoy everything from Ravi Shankar to Willie Nelson and everything in between.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Any Genesis fans?
« on: August 17, 2014, 04:22:54 PM »
Cool idea Dave!

If I was to put all of the Genesis albums in order for me it would be:

1. Selling England By The Pound
2. Duke
3 Trick Of The Tail
4. Wind & Wuthering
5. Foxtrot
6. Abacab
7. And Then There Were Three
8. Trespass
9. Nursery Crime
10. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
11. Genesis
12. We Can't Dance
13. Invisible Touch
14. Calling All Stations
15. From Genesis To Revelation

I do like the live albums too and would rank them

1. Seconds Out
2. 3-Sides Live
3. Live
4. Live Over Europe 2007
5. Live The Way We Walk

For Gabriel

1. Gabriel 3 (Melt)
2. Gabriel 4 (Security)
3. So
4. US
5. UP
6. Scratch My Back
7. New Blood
8. Gabriel 1 (Car)
9. Gabriel 2 (Scratch)

And I should mention that Gabriel's Passion is one of my top 2 favorite albums of all time!


I would like to add that I prefer ambient music by a person with no technical skills and superb creativity. In my area technical experts are the people doing TD jobs which consists assisting REAL artists when they reach technical difficulties. Both are necessary of course.

But don't underestimate the raw power of naivety, children are the most creative humans using divergent thinking and divergent thinking should be used plenty in arts.

I am in no way underestimating that. There is great stuff done through naivety. I love the naive happy accident just as much as a tool in the hands of a master. However I have also witnessed naivety turned easily to arrogance in the arts when someone finds out that they did not invent the wheel or that someone is actually better at something then they are.

The inherent problem of naivety is that it really only happens once. In the example of a child, their mind being open and divergent is not the same thing as them being skilled at something and able to communicate it successfully so others understand it.  A baby may be the smartest or most creative person in a room, but if all they can do is babble and drool, their brilliance may take time to be understood until they learn how to talk.

I am not one of those parents who tells my child he is good or worse yet, the best at everything he tries. As a good parent it is my job to let him know when he fails and teach him to do better. If I see that he is good or even gifted at something then it is my job to set him on the right path for his growth, challenge him to keep growing and even push him to reach his full potential in a given area.

In any school, be it a university or a person seeking a mentor or a guru, the job of the professor, mentor, teacher or guru is much the same. To find and unlock the inherent potential in a person and push them to reach it.

I think of a master musician like Ravi Shankar who devoted his life singularly to the pursuit of his art and craft equally. I can truly think of few musicians who ever lived that were better than him. It would be ridiculous and even disrespectful to put a sitar in the hands of a person who has never played one before and believe it to be equal or better than what a master can do. It would be a starting place, it may even be interesting, but it would not be what the master could coax out of it.

What we really want is a person who is a master, but one that can retain the beauty of child like wonder in what they do  ;D

Gently wading back in here... :-[

Lest I be misinterpreted as attacking any one specific person or not...all I was pointing out with my previous post on low end and where it sits in certain songs hitherto being discussed here, I think that it is perfectly valid to like or dislike anything based on ones own personal taste. I like low end in my ambient music...Great!!! You don't Great!!! I do think the line gets crossed when a person makes presumptive statements about the music along the lines of "so and so must be loosing their hearing" "or "its all due to their switch from gear X to gear Y that said artists music now sucks".

Again, you can say, "I don't like the music now as much as I did before", you can even say that in your opinion you preferred when said artist used synth X, reverb A or mixer C.

However the statements here lately take on a tone which is more along the lines of, "The artist is making a BIG MISTAKE because they switched their gear, or workflow, or they are going in a different direction". Again, you may not like it as much. This is valid. Accusing them of going backwards or not knowing what they are doing or whatever based solely on your personal flavor taste profile is not alright. Its the artists decision to go in what ever musical direction they want, with what ever gear they want, in whatever studio that they want. If you like it or not, thats what you get to decide.

One other thing that seams to be popping up here often which is a very interesting blend of gearslutz meets audiophile discussion. In this arena of gear geakdom there are two schools of thought:

1. Good music can be made with any gear no mater how expensive, cheap, hard or soft.
2. It takes the highest end, cream of the crop gear to make it

In some ways, both are right, but it depends completely on who is wielding the tools. No more and no less. It can also be equal parts studied expertise or naive happy accident.

This brings me to my final point which is tolerance and respect of each other...probably not in the way you think though.

One thing internet culture has dumbed down is opinion vs expertise. (there are many interesting articles on the subject so google it). The crux is that "my opinion is just as valid as another persons years of study, use and expertise in a given subject."

The reality is that there ARE experts in the audio field when it comes to gear and its use. There are experts at mixing and audio engineering. There are people who have spent years learning composition theory. There are people who are expert craftsmen at creating and shaping sounds. Best of all, all of these exist within our own genre.

You would be wise to consider their opinions with an appropriate weight. Not that one never challenges or questions ones elders or sages in any given area, but a wise person always gives them respect and takes what they have to say to heart. A fool does not.

Example if someone has used high end gear gives a new person advice on how to do things better, the new person would do well to listen and consider what is being said. The key here is that the person with the experience should give the new person advice on how to succeed first with what they already have, and only suggest upping their gear if said gear is wrong for them or is causing them to hit a wall. This is the same for compositional advice or whatever. Its the old adage that before you break the rules, you should learn them or at the very least be aware of them and respect them.

Ok...I lied, one final point which rears its head every few years is "what is ambient music anyway?" Well in this day and age, good luck describing it and pigeon holing it. Some of it is deep and droney with little reverb or tonal movement. Some of it has "gasp" a melody played by "gasp" a real instrument...often which may be "gasp" acoustic in nature. Some of it is tribal with ethnic hand played drums. Some of it uses electronic programed beats. Some of it is bathed in more reverb than the deepest reaches of the galaxy. Some of it is lo-fi, some hi-fi. Some has analog sequencers. Some has string sections and choirs.

Its ALL various facets of what we call space music or ambient or whatever.



With all due respect, there is no "Low End issue". These tracks sound great to me and I am sure that the low end is intentional. What this comes down to is a matter of taste. I personally like some nice low end in my ambient music from time to time and even song to song, others here don't. I am not sure anyone could make the leap that this low end is due to a lack of skill, equipment or even something like a person's hearing.

I say this because the low end, love it or hate it taste wise is indeed well seated in the mix and not overblown, crackly or boomy.

Just sayin'

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