Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ryley Walker and Bill Mackay at the Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis on April 23, 2018

I was visiting a relative in Minneapolis and flew in on April 23rd, not realizing when I booked the flight that I would be able to check out Ryley and Bill open for Calexico on the evening of my arrival. I was shocked to see what a large group of live music fans the Twin Cities were able to produce on a Tuesday night at one simple location (just one of four live music clubs which the "First Avenue" organization runs).


Photo uncredited. 
If you can help me identify the photographer, I would appreciate it!

I wasn't able to take any photos of this shorter opening set because I was not only using a stealth setup (even with permission to tape, I didn't feel like dealing with the notorious security guys at the Fine Line) but also using a new Shure MV88 microphone which is a sophisticated and quality microphone that is inserted into the lightning port of an iDevice and when used with the Shure Motiv app, produces some excellent sound for videos (such as this one of Steve Gunn). I was field-testing that particular setup for audio-only sound quality so I couldn't also snap photos.

The set of four songs was lively and had quite a bit of Ryley's trademark between-song goofy banter. For convenience I placed all the talking at the end of each file so each file will start with music.

setlist:
01 The Halfwit in Me (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)      13:08
02 Spoil With the Rest (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)     5:32
03 The Grand Old Trout (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)  13:30
04 The Roundabout (2018-04-23 Minneapolis)        12:44

This set was recorded after obtaining explicit artist permission by Richard Hayes using a modified pair of Audiotechnica AT853 cardioid microphones fed directly into a Sony M-10 recorder at 24/96 resolution. i stood 6 feet in front of the right stack (the room mix was in mono). The files were trimmed and gentle compression and careful EQ were applied using Audacity. The files were extracted to ALAC and mp3 format using xAct.

I will eventually add embedded links to souncloud so you can stream the whole show if you want, and also the show will be uploaded soon to Ryley's section of the (truly amazing) Live Music Archive on the archive.org website. In the meantime -- feel free to download the show from my server (see below)

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. If they don't mind.




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 50-60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
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 huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.


downloads:





Monday, April 30, 2018

Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on October 20, 2017

This was a wonderful show. Ryley Walker and Bill MacKay have worked together for years, both as part of Ryley's touring band as well as a recording duo.

This concert was on the same day as the release of their most recent collaboration, SpiderBeetleBee on Drag City Records. Like the LP, this is an instrumental show except for one surprising cover song (I'll let you discover it on your own as you listen).

There has been a lengthy delay between recording the show and posting it, as I attempted to split the tracks and attach names to them. That is a much easier task when there are lyrics. I eventually decided to upload the show as two 40-minute sets. I think most people are going to listen to the concert that way anyway.



photos by Andrew Lyon

This performance was recorded with explicit artist permission by Richard Hayes using a pair of Beyerdynamic MC 930 microphones with cardioid capsules and fed into a Tascam DR-70D recorder at 24/96 resolution. Audacity was used to provide very gentle EQ and minimal compression.

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. If they don't mind.



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 50-60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
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 huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.



Sunday, April 29, 2018

Gunn-Truscinski Duo at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on April 20, 2018

My last post featured a great set by Steve Gunn performing solo during Record Store Day, and this is the amazingly intense instrumental set he and John Truscinski performed the night before. As you can see from the photos below, the lighting (featuring purple-tinted lightbulbs above the stage at Acme) was a bit on the low side during the performance, but the music is really on fire.



photos by Andrew Lyon


This performance was recorded with explicit artist permission by Richard Hayes using a pair of Beyerdynamic MC 930 microphones with cardioid capsules and fed into a Tascam DR-70D recorder at 24/96 resolution. Audacity was used to provide very gentle EQ and minimal compression. As I often do with instrumental music, I decided to not break up the pieces into individual files and instead allow the set to stand on its own, which it does with ease.

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. If they don't mind and have the time, of course.



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 60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
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 huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.






Sunday, April 22, 2018

Steve Gunn at Acme Records and Music Emporium in Milwaukee on April 21, 2018 (Record Store Day)

As the chaos and unbridled consumption of yet another Record Store Day descended upon the land, there was an oasis of sonic beauty taking place on the small stage at Acme Records, located in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee. 


A packed room of shoppers -- most too intrigued by the sounds from the stage to continue casually flipping through the bins, slowly began to make their way across the room to check out the guitar playing and songwriting of Steve Gunn. There wasn't much room to move closer, but those who could did and they were rewarded with a relaxed set from a master of the fretboard.

If you haven't had a chance to hear much live Steve Gunn, definitely check out the blog nyctaper.com -- there are plenty of excellent shows there.








Setlist:
1  Night Wander
2  Water Wheel
3  Way Out Weather
4  Park Bench Smile
5  Ancient Jules
6  Mr Franklin




Please support this fine artist and decent person by going to his shows, buying multiple copies of his merchandise (your friends need the music), and talking to him like he is a real human being after shows. If you can.

Video of this set was recorded by Richard Hayes with an iPhone 8plus using a Shure MV88 microphone (that is inserted into the lightning port and overrides the built-in microphone) and Motiv Video software at 1080 resolution and 16bit, 44.1kHz WAV audio. 

Audio was captured from the mixer using an aging but still trusty Edirol R-09HR at 24 bit, 96kHz resolution. It was edited in Audacity with minimal EQ and elimination of a few silences as Mr Gunn tuned his guitar between songs. Thanks to Michael Slaboch for his excellent live sound mix in a difficult situation!

I down-converted the WAV to 'Redbook CD' specifications in Audacity and also used xAct to create ALAC (lossless) and mp3 (lossy) versions.


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 60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device).
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 huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.



Downloads:





Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ballister at the Sugar Maple, Milwaukee on September 27, 2017

Here we have a powerful set by the trio of Dave Rempis on reeds, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and Paal Nilssen-Love on percussion. The Sugar Maple has been host to a long list of free jazz luminaries, and I believe they have hosted Ballister several times. This concert was, as expected, full of energy and intricate interplay between the three members of the group, which has been releasing albums since 2011.



photos by Jan Erik Dyke

These two sets were recorded by Richard Hayes with a combination of a pair of Beyerdynamic MC930 microphones (with cardioid capsules) on a stand in the back and a venerable Shure SM58 up in the performance area a few feet above the floor near where Fred was playing, all fed into a four-channel Tascam DR-70D recorder. I was able to mix the three channels in Audacity to capture the sound of Fred's cello (and amp), which has a tendency to be lost in the room when playing a few feet away from a powerful drummer.

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.

http://www.paalnilssen-love.com
http://www.daverempis.com
http://www.lonberg-holm.info
http://aerophonicrecords.bandcamp.com
http://paalnilssen-love.bandcamp.com
http://fredlonberg-holm.bandcamp.com

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 60% of the space required with a WAV file. You can natively play these files on any Apple device and enjoy the same resolution and sound quality as a WAV file (it just takes up half as much space on your hard drive or device). 
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 huge fan of mp3 but still find it useful because a high quality mp3 file will take up about 25% of the room on your storage device compared to a WAV file and about half as much as a ALAC file.

Downloads:






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 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 after much effort I found two CDs of local music, but thought there must be more to Bhutanese music than that. I checked out Bandcamp by entering the word 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 using the acoustic guitar in very unconventional ways and even at times 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 AT853 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 AT853 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: