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Listening

is about being quiet, being open, being non-judgmental, being alert, being ...

On the other hand, if there is nothing to compare to - there would be no music at all.  Music is not born in a vacuum, but rather in the mix of influences we are exposed to and the unique voice that is found within. Instrument Notes:  One of the biggest differences you may hear in these albums is the instrumentation. In place of normal set of drums is a grouping of handmade drums:  three from Africa, and two which I made quite a few years ago - one from a giant cheese crate which originally housed a sixty-five pound wheel of cheddar, and the second from a nail barrel - together I've called them cheese congas. The set is rounded out with a couple of given symbols and a cow bell. They are played mostly with the hands with a modified tabla style, though sometimes sticks are used.

kalimba/baliphoneOn the first two CD's, there is no bass guitar; the music is filled in in other ways, but it makes for a very different sound.  Two instruments used which you rarely hear in conventional pairings are the baliphone and the kalimba, (kalimba on top).

Recording Notes: Without exception on these albums - the first tracks recorded and recorded together are the voice and guitar - or in one case, voice and piano, or voice and bass.  The recording is done this way because it is more authentic to how it was written, it is more natural to play, and it gives a more live quality to what in all other ways is clearly a studio project. 

What is interesting about this process is that I think it better allows for the kind of improv which is ordinarily reserved for group play. Throughout these recordings one can hear conversations between instruments, conversations between voices, conversations between voices and instruments - all of which takes place while listening and playing at the same time.

Other things which will set this music apart from other music is that it is all played by 1 dan - interacting like a band but having the advantage of musical intimacy that comes from being both author and performer.

In addition, it is recorded at a home studio (Outhouse Studios) and despite what I believe to be very impressive sound quality for such a studio - it cannot be quite as good as what would come from a much better invested professional studio. Although one would probably only know by comparing.

And to top it off, it is all music which is uniquely Dan Beck: the sense of melody, rhythm, life experience, musical abilities, and limitations.

Mp3 Sound vs. CD Sound:  My feeling here is that mp3's sound pretty good ... until you compare them to their CD source. 

On their own, which is the way they generally are listened to, they sound ok and are about a quarter of the file size of a CDDA,  which is the type file found on a typical CD.  I suppose it is not surprising that the bigger file would have the better sound.

The parallel in this recording process was the use of the reel to reel tape deck.  By mastering on to a reel to reel before encoding on to CD, the signal to noise ratio as well as the dynamic range, were increased. The tape can take more sound before distorting than the CD Recorder is able to.  I found this to be quite surprising - but I can tell you this, that by the reel to reel's being broken at the beginning of the "About Time" project, it became clear what a valuable asset it really is.

It's part of that need for comparison thing.

So if you haven't already, please go listen to some excerpts.


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