Video Test

I don't know why this seemed like a good idea tonight. I tested my mac's built in camera for video, the sync isn't great. Also, a little tease of a new composition.


Music Without Borders

Just finished an interview with Iranian born progger Farzad Golpayegani, check it out:


WTF? for 11/12/09

A Cnet story reports that NASA has a new website to debunk all the 2012 crap out there. Kudos to NASA. That's not what gets my WTF. I say that to one of the comments below the story. It is a sad commentary on the state of science education. Really, wtf?

by startouch November 12, 2009 10:53 AM PST

I have a problem with this and i will say why ,
1) why do we find bones of ocean creatures in places like Colorado or embedded in the sides of mountains if continental drift is soooo slow & how did oceans exist on these continents / i think a deluge would explain this better (magnetic pole shift ) is logical ,if the Earth were to flip this would explain why ocean creatures were found where they have been ,since the earths oceans would wash over the earth taking these creatures with it and depositing there remains where we have found them..
2) how we find other planets is that we look at one and calculate its "wobble" to find others around it .the "wobble " is created by the magnetic pull on one planet by another ,and this can and has disturbed other planetary body's in the past and collision's have occurred or magnetic shifts on the planet affected.


Scribbles and numbers

Sometimes I write music as little black dots on paper. Sometimes the little black dots are scribbly lines and a bunch of numbers. Sometimes when I'm writing I just need a quick reference so I don't forget what I've written. Sometimes I just need my main ideas written down. There is a lot of improvisation in many of my acoustic tunes. Some are like blocks that can be re-arranged at will.

Here is one of my quick scribbles for a song called Moon and Snow. I haven't recorded this one yet, it will go on my next acoustic cd. This one is in TAB with general rhythm notated above. I prefer standard notation except in songs like this with drastically altered tuning. Too confusing in standard notation. I bend all kinds of notation rules depending on the techniques I use in the song. Sometimes I use standard notation. Sometimes I use a grand staff (like piano music) for right and left hand parts. Notation is a language and I think there's nothing wrong with creating new ways to communicate. As long as I know what I mean, that's all that matters.


Who Do You Think You Are?

Progulus listener Zaii recently commented in the forum:

Does anyone else get bored of new Prog Bands saying things like "for fans of Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and Opeth"? It's always the same few massive Prog bands and most of the time they actually don't sound anything alike. It would be nice if they named a band they actually do sound like. I have become so disillusioned by people saying such things that when a band claims to sound like DT, yes and PT for example I immediately become very skeptical and assume they are a not particularly talented group who are just trying to draw in as many listeners as possible by claiming to sound like the biggest band they can think of. When was the last time someone said "sounds like Karmakanic" for example??? 
This got me thinking again about the difficulty of finding your own sound and also finding a way to tell people what you sound like.  You want to be accurate, but you don't want to confuse people. Zaii also made reference to a band that's been spamming the Progulus tag board. Spamming will make people made to begin with, but they also claim to sound like Dream Theater, Rush, and Genesis. They aren't even close. I think it's bad form to try to ride someone's coattails in a deceptive way. If you say you sound like Rush and you don't, I probably won't take the time to find out what you so sound like. I'll probably forget all about you. 

Sometimes descriptions of bands are written by their label or promoter. In this case you'll probably hear an accurate comparison, but it will also be of the biggest bands. This is pure marketing, meant to catch the most ears. This isn't necessarily wrong either. I think you do need to speak your audience's language. Once after a Strange Land show one guy in another band (a well known guy in this area) said "Man, you guys have that Kansas thing down!" I know it was meant as a compliment, and I took it as such. But I also said to myself "Huh?!" I'm the only member of Strange Land that listens to a lot of Kansas, and they really are a generation before us anyway. But the guy who gave us the compliment was a little older and probably stopped listening to anything remotely prog in 1980. When people hear something unfamiliar the brain needs to find a place to put it. Sometimes the closest match isn't that close at all. Do we sound like Kansas? Well, more than we sound like Barry White. When I have to describe Strange Land to non-prog fans I'll say Queensryche, Rush, King's X, maybe Living Colour, maybe Dream Theater (if they're metal fans). Listeners of commercial hard rock radio will know some of those bands, and the comparison isn't inaccurate. If I start talking about Pain Of Salvation and Fates Warning I usually get blank stares. 

Another problem in describing my band is whether or not to talk about influence vs. inspiration vs. emulation. We are influenced by Devin Townsend, Echolyn, Dead Soul Tribe, and Nevermore but I don't think we really sound much like those bands. Sometimes I want to make the comparison though because I've been inspired in some way by such a band even though I'm not copying their sound. 

So, back to Zaii's point, and knowing your audience. If I know I'm talking to the prog crowd I can mention all of the above bands and more obscure ones. It's hard to make the comparison to the lesser known bands, there are so many and such variety. Strange Land is influenced by Fates Warning, but it's later material. We are influenced by Queesnryche, but mostly Rage For Order through Promised Land. 

It is a mistake to compare yourself to someone you don't sound like. I think  it's also a mistake for younger bands to say "for fans of" when they aren't ready or are not up to snuff quality-wise. If I say "Strange Land sounds like Symphony X" and we don't, you'll be annoyed. If I say "we're influenced or inspired by" then we still might grab your attention. There is too much emphasis on being the next [fill in famous name here] that bands are unwilling to let time and word of mouth work. I find it better to sound like me than to not sound like someone else but say I do. Unfortunately, in the marketing world, "I sound like me" doesn't cut it. So many bands try to say they sound like whatever you like.