Lama's World August 2017
Aug 17 2017
I haven't posted news for a long time. Nor have I uploaded new product for a while. It becomes increasingly difficult to finish a piece of music to my personal satisfaction. Still - flipping Maslow's hierarchy on it's pointy peak - music remains a survival need for me. I play keyboards or guitar daily, write as often as I can, keep up on music theory and tech, futz around with my modular synth, transcribe, and work toward my musical goals. A main goal is to be able to play jazz piano by the age of 60. More specifically, I wand to be able to sit down at the piano and improvise something that doesn't suck. That greatest example of that particular talent, IMOVH and limited opinion, is Keith Jarrett. Unfortunately, I lack actual talent and have to work for every little bit of forward motion. And then there are roadblocks. For good or bad I've become interested again in both guitar and my older instrumental music. I'm relearning to play my old tunes because I think a number of them are worth keeping alive, playing live, rerecording, or something.... Remember - all my music is free. You just have to get to it. Lama Out
Two Tunes In Downbeat Top Ten
Mar 18 2011
While I was out of town for a while it seems as if I compiled a number of excellent reviews for my songs "Speechless" and "Ascent To My Garden". Not only were the ratings excellent - the quality and depth of the reviews were far above average for Broadjam.
Based on that activity both tunes spent time in the the Downbeat Top Ten at the same time. I don't know if that's a first. But it has been a while...
Thanks, Broadjam artists!!
I wish I had more time to work on music. I know the best is yet to come...
Ascent To My Garden...
Apr 26 2010
...of Curious Things is now out. I wrote a long news item about it and it evaporated. So I'll make this far too brief. My music is still free. You can download the latest - including "AtmGoCT" - from Spittinglama.com
Finally!!! - New Music "Surfing Photons"
Sep 18 2009
I just posted "Surfing Photons" to Broadjam. I also created a new album project - Spinning The Prayer Wheel - for which "Photons" will be the first song. Call it wishful thinking.... It's been an eon since I released some new music. I know that there are 10 (maybe even 11 or 12 people) out there that actually look forward to the next Spitting Lama tune. And to you - I apologize. Maybe I am naive to think that crafting a tune is so much easier for other artists. For me, the period of initial conception, creating the basic sections, and doing sound design are the fun part. The rest is just plain grueling work. But it is something that I have to do. It is my entry in the Akashic record, my terrestrial indulgence, and my spinning of the prayer wheel. Thank you to my Punkin and to all my friends who sacrifice because I need to do this. I know this is not my best song ever but I still hope you enjoy it.
Spitting Lama IS Returning!
Aug 8 2009
This newsflash is to let all the friends of Spitting Lama MIDI know that I have not achieved equilibrium and am still a functioning inhabitant of Earth, #3 Sun System, Milky Way. The best music is still to come. The studio has undergone a complete rejuvenation and now has Genelec monitoring, Lynx and Crane Song A/D/A converters, and Dangerous Music analog summing. The song "Surfing Photons" is in production and is my second attempt at the Trance genre. Thank you for bearing with me. I am looking forward to finally getting some new work out there.
Venting About Skyfish Review
Mar 18 2007
I recently received a mediocre review from a folk-rock artist named Skyfish for my tune Organism. In his comments he wrote that "anyone can do this with the right gadgetry." That review kicked Organism off the Top Ten chart for Ambient music. I should be happy as Organism has been extremely sucessful for me. I would like Skyfish to know that no - not just anyone can do this. This tune was done almost completely in Reason from scratch. I have spent hundreds of hours honing my skills in that particular piece of software. Add to that 30 years of working with synthesizers, MIDI, and other electronic tools. Not to mention learning how to play keyboards and guitar and studying music theory. I would put Organism up against anything by Aphex Twin or other similar "sucessful" artists. Skyfish doesn't even have the courtesy to have a contact email. Come on Skyfish - either bring it or put a cork in it.
New Song "Starway Avenue", Minimoog, Other Artists
Dec 8 2006
I finally cranked out a new one. In the middle of working on the followup suite to Las Palmas I started a Berkleemusic course in Ableton Live. I did the entire tune in Live 6. Near the end the software was crashing every few minutes. I do an edit, save, crash, restart, repeat. "Starway" is traditional "Lama" music in the sense that I wasn't trying to emulate anybody or following some arcane idea. It's just a happy song with a strong melody and a couple of solos and some cool sounds. Anyway I'm glad it's done and I'm REALLY looking forward to working on something else.
I bought myself a Minimoog for Christmas this year. If you read my bio you probably know that I had one when I was a teen back in the 70s. For all the improvements they made it's still monophonic. Anyway, I used it all over "Starway". And if it wasn't the Minimoog it was Arturia's Minimoog V. See if you can tell which is which. I can't.
I've been listening to a couple new artists lately. (New for me anyhow). Squarepusher has been around for years and, for some reason, I never gave his music the time it deserved. The guy is brilliant and in league with Sasha, bt, and the other pioneers in contemporary electronic music. Also of note is a new artist from Denmark - I think she's from Denmark - that goes by the name Ane. Her work Anish Music is sublime. The level of detail is extraordinary and reveal the "high art" of some of the music coming out today. AFTER you're done listening to some Lama music go and check out Squarepusher "The Modern Bass Guitar" and anything else rated high on iTunes and then go listen to Ane's Anish Music.
Organism, Engage and BT's New Recording
Sep 2 2006
Been a while since I've written anything here. Here's what's up.
Whithin a week I got 5 reviews for Organism. Must not be much Ambient music out there on Broadjam. I got three 4/5 Overall reviews on it (with a bunch of catagory 5/5). Unfortunately somebody came along and - even though they seemed to like the tune - gave it a 2/5. Thats enough to yank it off the chart.
Engage made the Trance chart. Even though it's at #10 I'm thrilled. I personally like the tune and had a lot of fun doing it. It's a bit long for what's there IMO but I didn't know what to cut.
Listened to BT's new DTS DVD "This Binary Universe". It's no less of a landmark recording in electronic music than Carlos' Switched On Bach or Zappa's Jazz From Hell. Be warned - it leans heavily ambient. If you're looking for more "Emotional Technology" you'll have to wait. I'm looking forward to thr BT/Tiesto collaboration. Should be interesting.
I'm working on a jazz ballad now. I'm trying to screw with it enough that I can place it in one of the Electronic genres.
I'm Back From Europe - Looking For Vocals
Jul 20 2006
Firsrt, I'm interested in colaberating with a real vocalist - male or female - that "gets" my music. I'd really like a male blues vocal for Little Red Flower which is a song about opiate addiction with sexual over tones. The lead guitar plays the main melody in the verses. I happen to do this for fun and give my music away. If you don't - that's fine. We'll work something out. Maybe I could just pay you a flat fee. I'm interested in vocals for any song you might like so just let me know.
I left elated with Helixism at #1 on the trance chart. Then a couple reviers came along and slammed it. One said that it sounded as if it came of his Sega game console. Not bad - considering it is game music. Too bad people cant read the storys about the songs they are reviewing.
Got a couple 4*s on Helixism but it wasn't enough to get it back on the chart just cause of the one review.
LasPalmas is still doing good. I had a peson say it sounded like both Weather Report and ELP but it was too much a medley and not enough a song. So it got a 3. Hint, hint - Las Palmas IS A SUITE. It's other title is Cozumel Suite 2. I have yet to upload the original Coz suite cause I'm thinking of redoing it with some better sounds and making it more cohesive. It's somethin like 15 minutes long (Cozumel Cue 1-15) and then theres an unfinished second movement (Cozumel Cues 16-20. If you enjoy my cinematic electronic stuff you can download those a www.spittinglama.com. Select the "Qs" collection.
I decided to quit school for a while. Technically I'm retired. In actuality Ive been working harder then ever. I need a break. There will still be new music but not at 1 every 3-4 weeks. It used to take me 3-4 months to do a song. There's a happy medium in there somewhere.
Best - Thanks for listening.
Reviews and Vacation
Jun 21 2006
There's a lot to be desired with the review process on Broadjam. No rating for performance or just plain effort. No ability to look at the song notes to see if it is loops or composed from scratch. No matter what though, I believe if you are going to give a person a mediocre review that you owe them the time it takes to tell them what they could do to make it better. That as well as listening to the song objectively. I've given 5s to stuff I would never listen to and I've given 2s to stuff I listen to all the time.
It should be painfully obvious at this point that "Ritual of Light" got a bad review. It's going to be hard as hell for me to get it on the charts now. I just want the reviewers to know that I put a lot of effort in that song. Every drum hit and every note was composed. Every track was recorded, processed, and mixed with care. I spent a lot of time getting the levels/eq/compression correct on the 2 track master. The it had to be compressed, documented, uploaded, and publicized. So, when you do a review, I beg you. Take the extra minute to be helpful. Be objective. And I will do the same for you.
I'm finishing up a class at Berklee and then I'm going on a much needed vacation so I can recharge and fall in love with music again.
Spitting Lama MIDI
New Song, Reason 3.0, DUY Magic EQ
Jun 15 2006
I posted a new progressive new age/trance fusion tune called Ritual of Light for your enjoyment. This one was done in Reason and I exported the individual tracks at 96khz/24 bit for mixing in Pro Tools. The quaility of the MP3 is a step up and I'm gonna make this my MO.
For all it's supposed limitations Propellerhead's Reason 3 can be a very powerful tool and, with the ability to import samples into NNXT, it does not have to "sound like Reason". And the best thing of all - it is the only major piece of music software I have ever owned that has NEVER CRASHED. NEVER.
I also want to add that I used DUY's Magic EQ on the master bus for this tune. It lives up to it's name. I predict this plug-in is going to be as ubiquitous among Pro Tools engineers tool kits as Waves L2/L3.
New Song "Binary Symmetry"
May 23 2006
I'm now done with the experimental piece I had described earlier. (I have yet to post that photo I promised). It was a long slog. Sometimes I'm not particularly thrilled with something I've done. But - as I've found many a time - that doesn't mean that somebody won't like it. The inverse is also true. I can think something is the bomb and everybody else thinks it just plain is a bomb. Disk space is cheap. If you have nothing better to do with 4 1/2 minutes then take a bath in the timbral syrub of Binary Symmetry.
Las Palmas Makes Top Ten
May 20 2006
Las Palmas broke the top ten and reached #2 in the Electronic/House category on Broadjam. Pretty great - considering it's film/game music. Thanks a bunch reviewers, listeners, and friends.
Productivity and Composition
May 12 2006
I've been working my butt off and and can't seem to get anything done. It's the opposite of writers block - it's a flood. But its a long journey from idea to the finished product.
I'm working on a more typical "Lama" song with a working title of Broken. It's based an an idea I had about the four main elements of music - melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. If each has 2 states and you change one state at a time then how many iterations would it take to transform the whole works from state "A" to state "B" by altering only one element at a time? It's simple binary math. Each element would have to work in each state. Melody A would have to fit with Harmony B and so forth. I drew a picture of the arrangement using geometric figures. I'll take a shot and put it in the photos section.
May 5 2006
This is an age of great democracy in music making. The abundance of packaged perfomance in the form of loops, midi files, canned audio tracks, etc... has created the means for any computer literate person to produce a studio quality track. Each person has to decide for themselves where the line is between musician/composer/songwriter and computer jockey. DJ technology and programs like Ableton Live! have turned working with packaged performance in to an art form. I have great respect for the the skills of a good DJ, remixer, or mash-up artist.
That being said, I don't use (never say never) packaged performance in my work. I'll quantize, slow a part down to nail a solo, use arpeggiators, etc... I'll listen to a loop and recreate it by performing it myself. And just maybe my work sounds dated because of this. Maybe I work slower than most. It's just a restriction I've placed upon myself in order to bring just a touch of honesty to the music.
May 1 2006
I'm now taking Critical Listening at Berkleemusic.com. Although we don't write any music for this particular class I continue to write anyway and have just finished a new electronica piece called Engage. You can find it - as well as the 2 songs I did in my previous Pro Tools class - on the songs page.
In this new age of music production a single person can be responsible for every part of the process from writing and performing to mastering and distributing. In an effort to reduce the amount of time I spend not actually making music I have decided to forgo further development of my old site at spittinglama.com. Soon all my tunes will be availiable through a Broadjam hosted site. I will still maintain a comprehensive library of my music at spittinglama.com for download as only the newest stuff will be available at Broadjam. My Broadjam site address is www.spittinglama.net. No matter, my music will still be free.
In other news - My final round of Pro Tools upgrades are now complete and went smoothly. Spitting Lama MIDI now offers the power of a Pro Tools HD4 system running on a Quad G5 with a Dual G5 at the ready for additional synthesis and processing power. Also, I've been exploring additive synthesis and have purchased VirSyn Cube as well as a Camel CA5000. Mastering capabilities have been expanded with Sony's Inflator plug-in. (Inflator spells the end of a long relationship with Waves fine L2 limiter). I am currently demoing DUY's Magic EQ and I could see it becoming an indispensible tool.