Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tashi Dorji and Tyler Damon at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on September 14, 2017




I first got into Tashi Dorji's playing after I came back from an amazing 8-day trip to Bhutan in early February 2014. My wife and I visited that unbelievably beautiful Himalayan kingdom with a group of about a dozen people including Ajahn Brahm, a Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition who provided us with two Dhamma talks per day to go with our meditation sessions and trips to Buddhist monasteries and nunneries. We went back and forth between Paro City and Thimphu, probably the two best known cities in Bhutan, and visited the famous Tigers' Nest monastery. 

While in Bhutan I asked one of our guides for a chance to purchase CDs or cassettes of Bhutanese folk music. Given the near-ubiquity of Bollywood soundtrack songs in that part of the world, the guide approached this request with the look of being asked to find a rare and endangered animal. Eventually I found two CDs, but thought there must be more to Bhutanese music than that. I checked out Bandcamp by inputting "Bhutan" into the tag search engine, and one of Tashi Dorji's first cassette-only releases appeared on the screen. Imagine my surprise when I listened to it and heard a vastly talented and creative acoustic guitarist who was channeling the late Derek Bailey. It took me about 5 seconds to purchase it and start looking for more by the musician, born in Bhutan but currently living in North Carolina.

"This," I thought, "Is amazing music, and no one is going to like it except me and maybe 4 or 5 other crazy people." 

I eagerly awaited each new release from Tashi, moving from a few more self-released cassettes to cassettes on limited-edition boutique labels, and finally onto slightly more stable super-indies like Family Vineyard and VDSQ. I quickly became his friend on Facebook (to this day, the only person I have ever asked to be a friend on FB whom I have not yet met in real life) and patiently watched his tour schedule slowly drift away from his native North Carolina. Once or twice he barely made it up into the midwest, in places like St Louis or Champaign-Urbana, and I fantasized about traveling to those shows. I would keep buying his music and checking out his soundcloud feed (see below). A year or so later, there was a tour he was on with the legendary guitarist Marisa Anderson, but he stopped his leg of her tour just before she came to perform at Acme. Drats!




Finally, in early April 2017, Tashi together with drummer Tyler Damon made their way to Milwaukee, performing at the venerable Acme Records. That night was a stunner. The energy level in that room was higher than it was possible to measure. I was so happy that others in Milwaukee were getting to know these two musicians.

I was surprised and delighted when I learned that Shopkeeper Ken had asked the pair to return on their next trip through America's Dairyland. Again we have a very powerful performance which somehow does not sacrifice beauty to the altar of overwhelming sonic delivery.

I've gone on and on about Tashi, but that is mostly because I have a much more interesting story to tell than the one about Tyler, who is fantastically gifted and quite active (check out his website below), but without any exotic back story. He is fully qualified to knock you over out of your seat with power, but in my opinion he really shines when he is using bells and hand percussion as well as extended techniques such as scraping the cymbals with the end of the drumstick. 

The original mix I was working on for over a week (in my spare time of course) was captured using a pair of modified audio-technica AT843 microphones at the back of the room, on stands about 9-10 feet in the air. However, I was unhappy with the balance of instruments in that feed and felt that from that perspective, Tyler's contributions were not as "up-front" as I would like. I experimented with mixing sources but soon found out the problems inherent in that approach (basically, the internal clocks on different recorders are not synced, and the two sources keep drifting away from each other. Plus there are phase issues to contend with). 

Eventually, I decided on going with the recording which used a pair of small condenser mics up on stage, attached to the music stand on the piano and pointed directed at Tyler's drum kit with Tashi's amp directly behind him. 






Tashi Dorji: electric guitar
Tyler Damon: Drums, bells, and hand percussion
in the "Bay View" neighborhood of Milwaukee 
Thursday, September 14, 2017

This recording was captured by Richard Hayes using a pair of Church CA-14 microphones (cardioid) which were placed on top of the unused piano (see photos) and fed into Church CA-9200 preamp and recorded with a Roland R-05 recorder at 24/44 resolution. Audacity was  used to clean up the sound a little. I decided to not use Fission to split the performance into three tracks, because in my opinion it flows well enough to be considered one long freely improvised piece... Conversion into ALAC and mp3 were accomplished using xAct.

With many thanks to Robert Szocik for the excellent lead and final photo above. 




Please support these fine artists and decent people by going to their shows, buying multiple copies of their merchandise (your friends need the music), and talking to them like they are real human beings after shows.


A guide to download formats:
WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.
ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 50% of the space required. With any apple device such as iPhone or laptop, you can natively play these files and enjoy the same resolution as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive).
mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 20% of the room on your storage device as a WAV and about half as much as a ALAC file.

Downloads:





Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bill MacKay at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on September 14, 2017



Bill MacKay is a versatile guitarist who is perhaps currently best known as being Ryley Walker's favorite guitar foil when Walker performs in a band setting. He's quite active and plays out very often, as his website (below) shows. He has an excellent solo recording on Drag City and on October 20, 2017 he and Ryley will be releasing a duo album (also on Drag City (see links below).


This was really an excellent performance by Bill -- solo electric instrumentals with a few simple effects boxes. He was the opener for Tashi Dorji and Tyler Damon (with whom he had played in Chicago the previous night). His obvious deep concentration while performing allowed his fluid guitar lines to build and fall into quite beautiful patterns. There was a clear structure with enough freedom to make repeated listenings especially rewarding.


Bill MacKay: electric guitar
in the "Bay View" neighborhood of Milwaukee 
Thursday, September 14, 2017

This recording was captured by Richard Hayes using a pair of modified Audio-technica AT843 microphones (cardioid) which were fed directly into a Sony PCM-M10 recorder at 24/96 resolution. Software such as Audacity and Fission were used to clean up the sound a little and also to split the tracks. Conversion into ALAC and mp3 were accomplished using the program "xAct."

With many thanks to Andrew Lyon for the two excellent photos above. The crappy one below is by me.




A guide to download formats:

WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.

ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 50% of the space required. With any apple device such as iPhone or laptop, you can natively play these files and enjoy the same resolution as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive).

mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a fan of mp3 but still find it useful as a high quality mp3 file will take up about 20% of the room on your storage device as a WAV and about half as much as a ALAC file.



Please support this fine artist and decent person by going to his shows, buying his merchandise, and talking to him like he is a human being after shows.

Downloads:








Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Robyn Hitchcock at Colectivo's Back Room in Milwaukee on June 18, 2017




This was a very pleasant surprise. After seeing several shows at what used to be the main roasting site for Alterra Coffee (remember them?) where the audience chatter had been louder than the performers, I was expecting the very worst at this show.

Maybe it was the arrangements of the seating, maybe it was the older average age of the concertgoers  -- in any event what transpired was a lovely concert in a lovely space with a polite, attentive crowd.




Robyn Hitchcock needs no introduction from anyone and won't get one here. He's a legend who has survived the late 1970s and early 1980s and continues to produce compelling albums up to the present day. Unlike many of his peers, he does not dwell on presenting "The Best of My Back Catalog" concerts but rather performs mostly new material with some amazing cover songs thrown in for good measure.

My recording was accomplished with a pair of my trusted and tiny Church Audio CA14 cardioid microphones (individually hand made by Chris Church in Canada) fed into a Church Audio model 9200 preamplifier. My position, about 6 feet in front of one of the speaker stacks, made for a recording heavy on the music and light on the room acoustics.



Robyn Hitchcock: Guitar, vocals, and anecdotes

Tracklist:
01 I Pray When I'm Drunk
02 Banter - "Totally Not the Shank Hall"
03 Saturday Groovers
04 Banter - "Fractured Democracy"
05 Fifty-two Stations
06 Banter - "Dreamy State"
07 September Cones
08 I Want to Tell You About What I Want
09 Lost Madonna of the Wasps
10 Beautiful Girl
11 Banter - "Goldfish in the Water Bottle"
12 Strawberry Dress
13 Banter - "We've Reached the Harmonica Part"
14 Serpent at the Gates of Wisdom
15 Virginia Woolf
16 Airspace
17 I'm Only You
18 Mad Shelley's Letterbox
--------------
19 Encore - Olé Tarantula
20 Encore - The Ghost in You
21 Encore - She Belongs to Me
22 Encore - The Queen of Eyes


Software including Audacity and xAct were also very helpful in bringing out a full-bodied sound.

FLAC, mp3, ogg and other interesting file formats can be found at the Live Music Archive hosted by the Internet Archive at www.archive.org. Individual songs can be streamed (at lower bit rate mp3 resolution) as well.

Check it all out here:




Saturday, September 2, 2017

Alexander at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on August 14, 2017



Our second upload is a recording of the opening act for Rob Noyes (our first music offering).

It was not easy finding out information about Alexander. A google search was as useless as you might expect. I asked Ken, the owner and overlord of Acme Records, what he knew about the performer and whether or not it possibly was an oversight about the missing last name. He told me that he had very little information about Alexander except that he was coming to town on tour with Rob and that his bandcamp page has some fine acoustic guitar music on it.

I checked it out and had to agree.

Having met Alexander, I must say that he is an extremely friendly and amiable person (as is Rob Noyes). We talked at length after the show and discovered a mutual love of Indian Classical music and especially performers in the style known as "dhrupad." Needless to say, that was not exactly something I run into everyday.

Alexander's music is bit more melody-based than Rob's. He tends to work in smaller units of music, often in 3-4 minute tunes. His picking style is clean and faultless. It bears repeated listenings quite well.

I hope Alexander decides to change his stage name a little to aid in getting the word out. I hope you, my dear readers, can check out his bandcamp page and purchase his very fairly-priced cassettes.





Alexander: guitar

Tracklist (no names as far as I know)

Track 01
Track 02
Track 03
Track 04
Track 05
Track 06

(I hope to get around to uploading tracks or samples of tracks to soundcloud in the near future)

in the Bay View neighborhood of 
Milwaukee, WI
September 14, 2017

This recording was captured by Richard Hayes with a pair of omnidirectional Church Audio CA-14 microphones fed into a Church Audio CA-9100 preamp and then an Edirol R-09HR at 24/48. Audacity was used for EQ (including removing several thumps from folks walking around the back of the shop and crinkly sounds from people shifting around in their metal chairs). I like the natural sound of this night's capture -- not a pristine studio date, of course, but a good representation of what the lucky crowd was able to hear that night.


A guide to download formats:
WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.
ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 50% of the space required. With any apple device such as iPhone or laptop, you can natively play these files and enjoy the same resolution as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive).
mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic strategies to drop certain audio information which is supposedly not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 20% of the room on a storage device as a WAV file and about half as much as an ALAC file.


downloads:





Please support this fine artist and decent person by going to his shows, buying his merchandise, and talking to him like he is a human being after shows.

http://davidalexanderguitars.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/jaya.jones.3192

Monday, August 28, 2017

Rob Noyes at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on August 14, 2017



The first show to be posted on this blog is a delightful acoustic guitar set by Boston's Rob Noyes.  I will let Ken, the owner of Acme Records, introduce Rob with his blurb from the Facebook event page for this show:

"Late last year (December 2016) when his fantastic record "The Fuedal Spirit" came out, Acme Records ordered 10 copies without knowing the first thing about it really, other than it was a solo 6 & 12 string guitar record, and that the always great Poon Village label was putting it out. It was limited to just 330 copies, and I figured if it takes some time to get rid of, that's fine, I'll get to (presumably) enjoy listening to it in the shop for a while...

"After unpacking, opening, and putting it on the turntable at the shop, I listened to the first track and immediately contacted Forced Exposure and attempted, foolishly, to get more. I was informed they were all gone even before the release date, and that I was one of a lucky few shops that even got as many as I did. 


"I sold eight copies of the record THAT DAY. Just like that, it was gone....and with good reason, it is an object of great beauty. Please check the link below to the Poon Village bandcamp page where you can listen to the record."

Here are some words from Byron Cooley:

"Rob Noyes has been on the Easter Massachusettes scene for a while, but what we've heard him play is music from within the context of electric bands, most of whom are loud as hell and exist somewhere within the rim of the post-core continuum. 


"Most recently Rob has taken to displaying his solo acoustic guitar chops and they are massive. The Feudal Spirit is the first vinyl evidence of their 'shoulders.' Like Western Mass's Tony Pasquarosa, who mines the same widely-variant style-pits, Rob's approach to acoustic playing resembles his electric work only through shared-belief-in-a-strong-downstroke. On the way to developing his own compositional/performance approach, Noyes sometimes seems to have absorbed an almost infinite reservoir of influences. Apart from some superb Basho-like 12-string tunneling, most momentary fragments tend to recall legendary Limeys like John Renbourn (and through him, Davey Graham), because Rob's overt melodic structures tend towards the non-bluesoid. But then you'll maybe hear a note-sequence spiced like something dropped from the hot strings of Michael Chapman or even a powerful throng that makes you think of Wizz Jones. When that happens, you realize there's more of a blues base to some of the songs than you'd been able to untangle. 

"Mr. Noyes hits a vast array of sub-genres on this album, and he hits them all pretty damn hard. Rob's playing carries the weight of many possibly-imaginary forebears, but the way he smears them all together shows a holistic mastery of touch and imagination that defies a lot of today's players, who tend to shine in short bursts, then allow their dreams to outrun their technique. Rob Noyes has no such apparent limitations. 

"Like Raymond Pettibon, whose artwork graces The Feudal Spirit's cover, Rob's able to create a true form-gobble, making some real beautiful noise in the process. Around the world, licensed Hodologists whisper, 'Make mine Noyes.' Why don't you join them?" --Byron Coley, October 23rd, 2016, South Deerfield, MA.








Rob Noyes: guitar

in the Bay View neighborhood of 
Milwaukee, WI
September 14, 2017

This recording was captured by Richard Hayes with a pair of omnidirectional Church Audio CA-14 microphones fed into a Church Audio CA-9100 preamp and then an Edirol R-09HR at 24/48. Audacity was used for EQ (including removing several thumps from folks walking around the back of the shop and crinkly sounds from people shifting around in their metal chairs). I like the natural sound of this night's capture -- not a pristine studio date, of course, but a good representation of what the lucky crowd was able to hear that night.

A guide to download formats:

WAV = files which are able to be burned as a CD without any conversion steps. This is the largest size of file on offer here.

ALAC = stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec, which is a method of making a lossless copy of an audio file with about 50% of the space required. With any apple device such as iPhone or laptop, you can natively play these files and enjoy the same resolution as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive).

mp3 - this is a lossy compression codec which utilizes psycho-acoustic "tricks" to drop certain audio information which is not noticeable under normal hearing situations. I am not a fan of mp3 but still find it useful as a high quality mp3 file will take up about 20% of the room on your storage device as a WAV and about half as much as a ALAC file.


downloads:





Please support this fine artist and decent person by going to his shows, buying his merchandise, and talking to him like he is a human being after shows.

https://poonvillage.bandcamp.com/album/the-feudal-spirit

https://www.facebook.com/robert.noyes.750?pnref=friends.search



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Welcome to this blog!

Thanks for checking out this blog. As the title suggests, this will be a repository for recordings made of live music performed in and around the great city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The full range of the blog will be the triangle of Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison. That is somewhat of a cumbersome title, however, so "Milwaukee Taper" it will be. 

My goal is to have this be a shameless copy of the brilliant "NYC Taper" blog.
  
In fact, I emailed the owner of that blog and asked him if it would be okay for me to tell people that the rules, rights, etc of this blog will be exactly like that of the NYCTaper blog, but just devoted to Milwaukee and environs. He was kind enough to answer me and give me the go-ahead.

So my rules for this blog are essentially the same as NYCTaper's:

milwaukeetaper.com is a live music blog that offers a new paradigm of music distribution on the web. The recordings are offered for free on this site as are the music posts, reviews and links to artist sites. All recordings are posted with artist permission or artists with an existing pro-taping policy.

Redistribution of milwaukeetaper recordings without consent of milwaukeetaper.com is strictly prohibited.

milwaukeetaper.com hereby waives all copyright claims to any and all recordings posted on this site to THE PERFORMERS ONLY. 

If any artist posted on this site requests that recordings be removed, those recordings will be removed immediately.


I want to be extremely clear that all of these recordings were made openly with the explicit, advance approval of the artists, with the exception of those artists who have already given approval for their performances to be recorded and hosted at the Live Music Archive.

If for some reason you, kind reader, are not familiar with the treasure house of recordings in the Live Music Archive, please check it out.

And if you, dear artist, have not yet written to the Live Music Archive and given permission (with any caveats you choose) to them to host live recordings, please do so. Bands and solo artists who are taper-friendly get free publicity and attention for their music.