Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Echoes from a Prepared Piano*

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Years have passed; some tones have faded while others ring still. I've finally gotten around to posting last year's recording of "Future Returns" for Electromagnetically-Prepared Piano. Enjoy.

listen here

* this post was inspired by hearing an amazing performance at Fabrik by Hauschka, a modern day master of prepared piano (mit Ebow auch) .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The French Connection

Last May we went on an amazing trip to France. We wined, we dined, but most significantly, we reconnected with family and friends. It couldn't have come at a better time, as the isolation of living in a foreign country where you don't speak the language was beginning to "hit home," so to speak. Our French Connection was a glorious adventure into the extra-Parisian side of the country - the southern-central-a-little-to-the left region. I think the French call it Dordogne, and Ariège.

Our trip fell over Whit Monday, so naturally we had the day off of work. We managed to get in our longest stretch of vacation away from work yet - 6 days, Friday to Wednesday - which is almost laughable by European standards. What an amazing 6 days.

While traveling from Bordeaux, our flight destination, to Dordogne, our...destination,we stopped off in the famous wine region and commune of St. Émilion for lunch and a preview of what was to come. Then, we went on to rendezvous with our friend Susie and her family in Badefols-sur-Dordogne, for a few days in the charming French countryside, filled with biking, dining, and in general, a repetition of those things. It was so wonderful to be around so many familiar people, many of which we had just met, but could converse freely with.

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More pictures from Badefols-Sur-Dordogne here.

After our long planned trip to Dordogne, we ended up making a last minute stop in the Ariège region to visit for a couple days with my Aunt and Uncle. Dipping into the Pyrenees, Tarascon-sur-Ariège was just another "duck leg in the confit", if I might invent a saying. This place further cemented my understanding that France is so much more than downtown Paris - filled with pristine mountains, rustic countryside, and a sincere and venerable charm. We spent more time outdoors than in, and even managed to visit a medieval castle for a sunset dinner. What more can you ask of France?

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More pictures from Tarascon here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Being, Below Buda's Belly

We took a trip to Budapest in May. Hungary was the furthest east I had ever traveled in the world. It certainly differed from our home base of Northern Germany, but was still distinctly Western from a global perspective. Before our trip, I ran across this interesting article which sheds a little light on the state of modern Budapest. Our trip began with a rainy but pleasant departure from Berlin...



Once in Budapest, we stayed on the Buda side of the river at this hotel - on a boat - that Jen had picked out. Hmmmm....


Perhaps the best part of the trip was caving underneath Buda. We were taken on an amazing guided tour of a very large network of caves, where we got down and dirty - sliding on our bellies, squeezing through tiny holes (see Jen below! ;), and generally contorting our bodies in ways we would regret the following day. The caves are highly recommended activity if you find yourself in Budapest

More scenes from underground can be seen here

Budapest is a beautiful city that showed us yet another facet of small-but-sundry Europe. Here are a few more highlights from our trip:

























...and a whole lot more pictures can be found here

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dutch Tulips



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hiking in the Ith

A very nice hike in the nearby Ith "mountains" of Northern Germany. Some pics here. We opted to follow the trail with the mushroom marker rather than the one with the evil stinging bees marker.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Das Blaue Wunder




A few scenes from a hill in Hannover.  via a cellphone :(.  the rest here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Visions of Northern Italy



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We flew into Mestre (i.e. not-quite-Venice) late night, and found our way to the main station. After realizing we couldn't buy train tickets for the next day due to too many people sleeping on the floor of the ticket office, we settled on a panini and some much needed rest. In the morning, we hopped on a train heading to Verona, and spent the afteroon admiring the cheese in this charming city.








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Como

Another evening arrival at our next destination - Lake Como – though it was still light enough to be floored by the scenerey, upon seeing our surroundings after stepping off the train.  This was a little corner of Italian paradise that we had no clue existed...


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Bellagio
(a.k.a. not that far from Clooney's...)

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We took the 1 hour 'fast-boat' (hydrofoil) up the lake to beautiful-beyond-description Bellagio (yes, like the Casino), which is located at the point on the lake where its lower two legs meet. Looking straight out from the point, you're surrounded by the Italian alps and Lago di Como - it's absolutely stunning.

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more Lake Como (incl. Bellagio) pics here




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The rest of the Bergamo pics are here

All Verona, Lake Como, and Bergamo pics here

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Münsterland

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Münster, Germany"Bicycle capital of Germany"

Kaki King @ Gleiss 22.  
A little sunlight on the Promenade
A few more pictures here.

FLUFF-HEAD!!!!!!

FLUFHEAD

Thank you Mr. Miner, for a fine article
(and of course the links to the music)!

Monday, March 23, 2009

DB, take two

Hot off the heels of Hampton, we found ourselves attending another show, back home in Hannover. Seeing David Byrne at the Aegi Theater would be our first musical experience in our still-quite-new German hometown - not counting the manhole cover that sings, street performers, or anything related to work.

The theater was quite nice, not too far from the Maschsee (but still a little too cold at this point to even think about venturing towards it). We did however, find quite pleasant sushi (in Hannover!!!) at Gaststätte Kyoto.

Jen had waited in a very long line back in October, during a trip she made to Hannover, to get these tickets.  It turned out that the line was for AC/DC and not David Byrne, so when she finally got to the counter, there was no problem getting two nice seats.  We ended up literaly front and center of the balcony; it was excellent.  

I had previously seen Byrne play, much earlier in the tour, at Davies Symphony Hall back home in SF, and had been so impressed that I knew Jen would enjoy having the opportunity to finally see the show that she "missed".  We had planned to see the Davies show together, but a last minute trip to Germany prevented Jen from using her ticket - at least then and there.

The show was similar to the one I had seen in SF, characterized by a performance of most of the new material from David Byrne and Brian Eno's (somewhat) recent album, Everthing That Happens Will Happen Today, mixed with a healthy dose classic Eno-era Talking Heads material.  I'm always itching for a Crosseyed and Painless, and where Hampton "fell short" ;), Byrne delivered.  The music was complemented by well-thought out and visually void-filling dance by 3 (or more) dancers for most of the show, adding the depth and the theatrical component requisite for performing at places like the Aegi Theater and Davies Symphony Hall.  While this show didn't include an audience-humping leather-clad marching band (see: Extra Action Marching Band), there was still some excitement in air (a few dancers in the crowd, though none in our section).  If you have the chance, this is definitely a performance that has proven itself no-less-than-amazing to audiences worldwide - as if Remain in Light wasn't proof enough to warrent fighting it out with rabid AC/DC fans for a chance to see a great rock show.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Southbound

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During my recent East Coast reunion tour, I was fortunate enough to be able to swing by my old stomping grounds for a few days - North Carolina.  It was wonderful to be able to see a few family members and friends, as well as to introduce Jen to a little bit of NC.

A few pictures can be found here, including one of Prissy Polly's BBQ in rural Kernersville, which makes one of the best Eastern style BBQ pork sandwiches I've ever had!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How $1,500 Headphones Are Made

Hey, that's my office! ;-)

via Slashdot by kdawson on 3/15/09
CNETNate writes "A tour of Sennheiser's Hanover factory reveals for the first time how its audiophile headphones are assembled by hand. The company recently announced its most expensive and innovative headphones to date, the HD 800, which discarded the conventional method of headphone driver design for a new 'donut-shaped' ring driver idea. Only 5,000 of these headphones can be made in a year, and this gallery offers a behind-the-scenes look at the construction process."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

__________/-* HAMPTON *-\__________

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© 2009 Phish. All Rights Reserved. Photo by C. Taylor Crothers. 

Yes, we went.  From Germany.  All it took was three flights, a rental car, and a little luck in the lottery.  And it was absolutely worth it.

We hung with friends - those near and dear, nepharious, and new.  We basked in the amazing energy of the weekend.  We lived the life again.  We ate Virginia BBQ*.

My last shows were Vegas '04 (my few pics; more here).  Perhaps not quite as "disappointing" as Conventry, but I certainly had not made my peace with the PHiSH before they broke up, "forever".   After all, I had been roaming the country with this crew for almost a decade.  I was at IT, and I remember Mike saying "NO", whatever his (or other's?) reasons were (regretfully, my friends left a message protesting this on Mike's hotline on the ride home from Maine).  Well, no one could believe the Fluffhead opener, although, as one blogger pointed out, it was right in front of us:

FLUFF:
Hampton Coliseum - 3/6/09
Outside of the venue, 64 degrees and sunny. © 2009 Phish. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Julia Mordaunt. 

HEAD:
Hampton 3/7 Outside
© 2009 Phish. All Rights Reserved. Photo by C. Taylor Crothers.

I won't go on and on with reviews, as there are plenty on the net that are quite descriptive and well-written (a few here, here, and here).  I did especially enjoy the Fluffhead (of course), Stash (my first live song (Walnut Creek '97) and still a fav), Bowie, Taste, Ghost, Tube (always hoping for it), and the most exploratory endeavor of the weekend -DWD.

Strangest part of the weekend:  Feeling comforted by the strip malls and box stores, after struggling in Germany to find so many things.

Plenty of pics here.  Setlist here.  Audio here (pay for soundboards, since you didn't care, and missed the freebies) or, as always, get free AUDs here.

Thanks to Everyone who made this happen.  See you on Europe Fall Tour 2009 ;-)

--

*One of the non-musical highlights of the weekend was definately the local BBQ.  We managed to drop into a BBQ joint before all three of the shows, and in a rare flash of genius opted to even bring post-show BBQ platters to the lot.  My favorite, boasting a selection of six, count 'em, six sauces was the Country Grill and Smokehouse.  SW Texas and Eastern NC sauces were somethin' special!


Friday, March 13, 2009

A Phishy Night For The Allmans

I told you kids to hit this up! Trey and Page (and some guy named Buddy) joined the ABB at the Beacon on Thursday. Read about it here

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Allman Brothers '09 Beacon Run

Anyone in the NY area should definitely not miss this - annual ABB at the newly remodeled Beacon! I saw them at the Beacon (before the facelift!) there on April 7th, 2007. Was in the area for work, and ran solo to the show, which was absolutely amazing. Everyone freaked about Bernie Williams on guitar, but I was blown away (as usual) by Derek Trucks. Go see these shows if you can! Wish I could!

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via JamBase on 1/2/09


TEN NIGHTS IN MARCH TO CELEBRATE FOUR DECADES OF LIVE MAGIC

The Allman Brothers Band will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2009 the best way they know how: on stage and on the road. ABB have confirmed they will kick off the year with 10 shows at New York City's newly-renovated Beacon Theatre, where they've played 175 times since 1989. Ticket information will be announced in mid-January. The group will, as usual welcome many special guest musicians during this run. "I'd love to tell you what we have planned," Gregg Allman recently told Billboard, "but it's just kick-ass, that's all I can tell you."

2009 Beacon Theatre Dates
Mon 3/9 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Tue 3/10 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Thu 3/12 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Fri 3/13 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Sat 3/14 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Mon 3/16 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Tue 3/17 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Thu 3/19 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Fri 3/20 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
Sat 3/21 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Den Haag Blaag

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We took a long weekend trip to Den Haag, a modern city not nearly as overrun with tourists as others nearby (...).  It was a lovely and relaxing weekend.

Finally, some decent sushi in Europe at: NOH
Absolutely wonderful Sicilian meal on V-Day at: Vino e Cucina (thanks for taking such good care of us! Cannolo and Muscato - molto buono).
A nice walk from the city center, through the park to the beach "Scheveningen".
and of course, nice shopping (Dutch candy is so sweet and scrumptous).

Other than that, we just sat around drinking coffee in cafes, playing chess, browsing English bookstores, buying Dutch cheese, and taking in the city.  Nice, relaxing place.  Actually, it was a bit of a shock to be back in an "English friendly" area after our initial 6 weeks in Germany.

Some pics here

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

A friend makes it...


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Check out Dan's work on this album, hot off the net.  
(nice work, mayun!.)