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Messages - MarkM

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Wish I lived closer. Your series of concerts are a great help in keeping this fragile genre alive.

What a tremendous festival! Great lineups and well organized. Congrats to Jim Comb. Paul, you and Gerber were outstanding. It was a very inspiring set.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mini Synth Recommendation
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:49:36 PM »
I find the Korg Electribes wonderful to work with. I have the ESX1 but you might want to check out the EMX1. Their not analogue, but they make great sounds and are fun to program.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:44:37 PM »
Well....I just braved this movie and yet again, I am disappointed in a movie called Sci-Fi....the whole feel of the movie felt like saving private ryan with nothing but action, action, guns, and a little bit of aliens thrown in the mix to call it a sci-fi movie...
yet again, just like skyline, they did not really explain why they were here, yes, maybe they did, but through newscasts, about using our water resources and to conquer us..blah blah blah.....
I can not believe the drivel that hollywood keeps pumping out of so called sci-fi movies...esp enough with the shake camera moves....gets old and drives me nuts....:)


So often action or horror movies are erroneously labeled Sci-Fi. I will go so far to say that Aliens, a movie I love, is really just an action/horror movie that is set in space. A setting does not necessarily define a film's genre.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Recent music purchases
« on: January 22, 2011, 08:08:17 AM »
My recent purchases aren't ambient.  They are The Prodigy's The Fat of the Land and The Heavy's The House That Dirt Built.

I have a couple of The Prodigy's CDs, and I find their beats and use of synths inspiring. At school (I am a middle school teacher) I will blast a tune or two during class changes. Kids enter my class dancing.

The Heavy have a retro soul sound. Their front man is exceptional, and it's the only band I have seen Letterman request an encore. Check them out.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Reactable on the iPod Touch4
« on: October 10, 2010, 05:34:04 PM »
I just downloaded the app for Reactable Mobile, and I am having a blast with it. I love the fact that you can use your own loops with it. It's nice to get away from conventional user interfaces and use a synth that you can carry in your pocket. I created a nice patch while in the waiting room of my doctor's office.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Recent music purchases
« on: October 10, 2010, 05:28:28 PM »
Devo-- Something for Everybody.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: show us your field recorders-
« on: September 14, 2010, 04:44:09 PM »
Anyone using an iPhone or iTouch for field recording?

Jesse, yes the Voyager has quite a bit more mod possibilities than the D. I own a Voyager and not a D, but it has been said that the D has a much bolder sound. The Voyager is said to have a smoother and more refined sound than the D. I also own a Phatty, which has a bolder sound than the Voyager and fewer routings, but it is great for ambient as well.

As to soft synths, I love Reaktor as well as Absynth.

the truth is the Moog is sort of a one trick pony.  What it does, it does well - I have a Model D - but it's not a very good synth for ambient, IMO.

I disagree. I find the Moogs to be very useful for ambient and have many more than one trick in them.

Thanks for playing our track from "A Life Incandescent" on your Aug 6 Podcast. That was a neat intro to the podcast!

Dave, each episode gets better and better. Despite his horrible bedside manner, the Doc becomes an endearing character as time goes on.

Doc Martin
A wonderful ensemble cast of top-notch British character actors. It's a very funny and intelligent show about a brilliant surgeon with a horrible bedside manner who develops a blood phobia and relocates to a small seacoast village to become their town doctor.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: SoundQuest Fest 2010
« on: June 14, 2010, 05:25:32 PM »
That looks like an awesome bill. Wish I could go.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich Tour Blog
« on: June 08, 2010, 08:15:42 PM »
Paul, thank you for the kind words. I like the term, "rolls his own drum grooves."

We're sure not getting a whole lot of radio play, so I think live performance is critical in keeping this genre alive. By going out and playing to the public, musicians can help spread ambient music to the unaware public. As Paul mentioned, I do use Ableton, but I think of it as one instrument in my kit. I don't consider my laptop the center of my performance nor my main "voice" or sound.

When Robert Rich played to a tiny number of people in Asheville, NC, there was an opening act that featured a fellow sitting next to his laptop smoking cigarettes as his Reason sequence played unaided. I think that was pushing live performance envelope a bit too far.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich Tour Blog
« on: June 04, 2010, 06:55:33 PM »
It was just a guy standing on a stage, mostly still, while a bunch of studio-based recordings unfolded.

I've seen solo pianists just sitting on a bench not moving anything but their hands (which are not always visible.) However, I don't think one has to be a Liberace to entertain an audience.

The nature of many genres of electronic music is repetition via automation. What's the difference between an arp, step sequencer, sequencer, loop-building, pre-recorded loops, or an iPod?  It's all hands-free music (with an occasional tweak, sometimes.)  Does Dilberto also include Tangerine Dream in his criticism because of their automation?

I think what sets Klaus Shulze apart from a talented top-notch laptop performer is mostly stage presence and name recognition.

As technology advances and new and innovative user interfaces are introduced, both performer and reviewer have to get with the times. There has to be something more than just music coming from the stage; be it emotions evoked by body and facial expressions, dancing girls, colorful blinking lights, mind-bending video projections, odd and oversized glasses, playing the keyboard with your feet, etc.

On second thought, perhaps Liberace was right.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich Tour Blog
« on: May 25, 2010, 05:16:24 PM »

 a good website and connections with the experimental music media is very important.

Good point.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich Tour Blog
« on: May 23, 2010, 02:47:21 PM »
I saw Rich play in Asheville, NC about 6-7 years ago. You would think a hip place like that would draw some kind of a crowd. Including the three of us from Tenn. there were about 13 in attendance (including the other performers.) It was bad promotion. I had called the venue (a seedy one at that) to confirm Rich would be there. They were unsure which Robert Rich was going to be there. Asheville also had a DJ by that name. The promoter dropped the ball.

Yesterday we had a show in little Johnson City, TN, and with a little bit of promotion we had over 35 paid listeners in the audience. There was no big name like Robert Rich or Steve Roach. We had mention with pix in three newspapers, and we promoted it heavily on the internet. In the past, with more promotion and before the local college let out, we had shows with as many as 90 in attendance.

So I guess my point is, perhaps the promoters are not doing their job. Publicity, timing, and venue are critical.

Thanks, Paul.  We had a great turnout, and all the performers put on a flawless show. Thanks to the Stillstream folks for streaming the show.


You can also listen to this live on

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