June 15th, 2014  Posted at   Technology
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wcsdseoA truly skilled SEO Company always keeps you present at the top sites displayed on the various search engines and when it comes to online marketing, a good company keeps you abreast of the fast changing dynamics. Certain firms are proficient in different ares like marketing strategies and web design; online marketing strategies are kept updated to offer you the best SEO services. By hiring this SEO Company (which actually specializes in San Diego based clients), you get lots of benefits that will greatly increase your company’s sales.

These benefits you can accrue are as follows: you can be able to maintain your higher ranking on the various search engines; you will be able to get more traffic which will eventually translate to more sales; you will have a user friendly and more responsive site and you will be able to utilize the current disciplined approaches and strategies when it comes to online marketing.

Techniques used in search engine optimization are back linking, keyword optimization, social media integration, analytical reports, and article submission among other services. These services work flawlessly together to produce results; this can be done only by certain Internet marketing companies. Other reasons for choosing a professional SEO company are that they offer many services and packages to meet your individual needs such as safe methods that really work, quick results and proven experience. Also they can set you up with customized SEO plans and most importantly, honest communication from SEO experts.

What Other Things Can You Learn About SEO Services?

Everything we do in life teaches us a lesson and most of the time we later on learn how we can improve the things we have learned. One of the things that we can learn about is how to optimize your website’s rank in the search engine results. Good optimization firms can also offer basic tutorials on how you can do what they do from the beginning until you become an expert in this field. Another specialty is giving hands-on tutorials to everyone’s who wants to learn. Of course, the lesson has a limit of age for those that want to learn because a person must strictly have an idea about certain things before they enroll in this program.

This is to make sure that everyone enrolled can understand everything that will be discussed about the optimization of certain websites. Maybe if you are lucky enough, they can give you a sample of their tool. And because this is only a sample, it is limited and has expiration. It is only to show you what it looks like and how it is different from other tools.

May 1st, 2014  Posted at   Technology

dspIt is with many things in mind that the TO Works Powercore was designed. This PCI card effectively adds a 200 MHz CPU and 4 digital sound processors (DSPs) to your computer, for running its included VST and MAS plug-ins on a digital recording program like Cubase, Digital Performer, Nuendo or Live. It is capable of handling 24/96 audio files (or less of course), and can handle 8 reverbs or 24 compressors, or any combination of those and other less demanding plug-ins. For my tests I used a 500 MHz G4 Mac, running Logic Audio Platinum v5.5.0.

The Powercore installation went exactly as described in the manual, basically just pop the card into an open PCI slot and run the installation disc. It is a full-size card, so some older mini towers might be too small (check first). The VST plug-ins from the included CD were easy to install (and easy to install into different VST folders for using the Powercore with more than one host application). There were also bonus plug–ins to download from www.tcworks.de and that also worked as expected.

The included plug-ins consist of two compressors (the 24/7C limiting amplifier and the Powercore CL), two reverbs (TC Megareverb and Classicverb), an EQ (TO EQ sat), a delay/chorus and the all-in-one TC VoiceStrip which features a compressor, EQ, de-esser and gate. As an extra bonus users can download the TC Powercore 01, a nifty recreation of an old monophonic analog synth, which is great if your host program supports VST instruments.

The sonic difference between the TC plug-ins and the VST plug-ins included with Logic and Cubase is remarkable, especially the reverbs, which are smooth, airy and warm. I had never fully appreciated my monitors until heard these reverbs. TO Works parent company TC Electronic is well known for its outboard effects units and apparently the same algorithms are used to generate effects on the Powercore card. Of course, since bussing out to external effects often requires the sound go through a couple of digital to analog conversions, keeping the sound in the digital domain will also maintain the integrity of the original track.

The compressors are also great, especially the 24/70 which has an interface and sound familiar to anyone lucky enough to have worked with a UA 1176 compressor/limiter. All the interfaces will seem familiar enough, if you have done any previous work with plug–ins, and there are lots of great presets to get you started, especially with the reverbs which model dozens of different room sizes and shapes.

Beyond the included plug–ins, other developers have also started creating Powercore versions of their plug-ins, including Sony and Waldorf. I tried out the Waldorf Decoder, a very powerful Vocoder plug-in, which includes a virtual Waldorf Synthesizer for sound generation. I could write a whole other review on this one plug-in, but you really need to hear it to appreciate it. also experimented with the Assimilator plug-in, which will apply the EQ of a reference track to an individual track or full mix. This is a great tool for matching vocal tracks recorded on different days with different mics, for trying to emulate the sound of other mixes or for post-production effects.

One basic reality with a system like this is audio latency, simply because any tracks using a Powercore plug-in needs to travel the extra distance across the PCI card, putting it slightly out of sync with any unprocessed audio. This was an issue with earlier sequencer programs and with earlier versions of the Powercore card, but TO works has included a few solutions. The amount of latency can be controlled through playing with the buffer settings on the host program, but I didn’t bother getting into that. Instead I simply made sure that the automatic “Plug-in Delay Compensation” feature in Logic was activated (other programs may call it something different). For using older software without this feature, TO Works includes a utility plug-in called “Compensator” which effectively calculates a delay for every audio track that isn’t being processed through the PCI card, so that the processed and unprocessed signals match up. For monitoring recording without latency (which can’t be compensated for by my system), t he plug-ins can be switched to a “no latency” mode, which puts a great deal of strain on your CPU, but is handy for monitoring recording with reverb, or playing the Powercore synth.

Native-based audio recording continues to improve as the host computers get faster, and the TC Works Powercore is a great solution to some current limitations. Although faster computers will mean more available CPU for audio processing on the host computer, it will also raise the expectations for what can be achieved in a studio that needs no outboard gear, and having a dedicated CPU for demanding processing like reverbs helps native- based systems compete favourably with dedicated hardware systems like Pro Tools. The wide range of plug-ins already available, and the commitment of third party developers like Sony and Waldorf to develop plug-ins for the Powercore is encouraging and leads me to think that this type of audio solution will soon be a standard part of future professional native-based studios.

April 22nd, 2014  Posted at   Groups

wthdwltb“Does it really need an explanation?” asks Ira Robbins, editor of the Trouser Press Record Guide. “Not to be dismissive, but this is essentially a marketing moment. It’s not as if people are suddenly rising up and saying, ‘God, those Beatles were really great!’ We’ve just seen Lennon’s 60th birthday, the 20th anniversary of his death, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Exhibit, the miniseries. It’s just one of those years that’s going to be good for the Beatles.”

And there’s The Beatles Anthology, a coffee-table compilation of pictures and interviews heavy enough to kill a cat, that lists at $92 and sits at No. 1 on the Washington Post’s General/Non-fiction best-sellers list. Two weeks ago, Rolling Stone declared “Yesterday” the greatest pop song of all time, while in August, Mojo declared “In My Life” the greatest song of all time. In June, Q opined that Revolver was the greatest British album ever.

Yet none of this explains why 1 went to No. 1. It does offer better value for money than other Beatles compilations, but these songs have been endlessly repackaged, and there are no rarities or other extras. So who’s buying it? Jay, a clerk at the downtown Vancouver Sam The Record Man, reports that about half his store’s sales are to the middle-aged .

For the boomers, the Beatles need no explanation. Oldies radio stations claim they play the “soundtrack of your lives,” but for the ’60s generation, the Beatles were more than just the soundtrack. It is hard to explain to younger people just how ubiquitous they were. There had never been a phenomenon like Beatlemania, and there never will be again. The Beatles were the standard-bearer for a youth movement that was beginning to feel its power and would soon bring governments to their knees. Lennon apologized, in typically sarcastic fashion, for his outburst to Maureen Cleave, but what he said was arguably true. His blasphemy made the front page of every newspaper in the non-Communist world.

But it was impossible to stay angry with them for long. Young people dressed like them, talked like them, wore their hair and beards like them, took drugs because they did and adopted Eastern spirituality because they took a short-lived liking to a “giggling guru” called the Maharishi. Eat your heart out, Slim Shady.

Langdon Winner wrote that with the 1967 release of Sgt. Pepper the Western world was more unified than it had been since the Congress of Vienna in 1815. It sounds fatuous today, but it was true. Tony Palmer was ridiculed for comparing the Beatles’ songs to Schubert’s compositions, but it is doubtful that the great poets Schubert set to music–even Goethe–moved youth as intensely as Lennon and McCartney did.

Enthusiasts even claimed the Beatles were the Beethovens of their day. Thirty years–even 130 years–after his death, people listened to Beethoven’s works with greater enthusiasm than they had when he was alive. Brahms despaired of writing symphonies because it was believed that Ludwig van had exhausted the genre. Nobody has ever claimed that the Fab Four exhausted the pop song.

So what do today’s youth see in the Beatles? Rachel Sa, a 19-year-old Sun Media columnist and University of Toronto undergraduate, says, “They are really huge at my university.” In her opinion, “If music or any kind of popular culture can transcend a generation, it’s going to survive.” She confesses, “I’m not an avid fan, but I do enjoy their music.” She prefers David Bowie, who became a star in the 1970s. Coincidentally, Bowie has recently been named the most influential living musician by the New Musical Express. Radiohead was second, the Beatles third.

When asked to give a visual image of the 1960s, Ms. Sa chooses the movie Woodstock. She has never known an unsegregated musical world. “When I was in school the teenyboppers listened to New Kids On The Block; now they listen to Ricky Martin and Britney Spears,” she says. “They’re huge now, but will they last? God, I hope not.”

Editor Robbins says the recrudescent popularity of the Beatles is “one of the very rare cases in recent years where you’ve seen cultural memory actually extend backwards. Bands that were exciting to us in our 30s [he is 45] are not even on the radar screen for people aged 15. Young people today grow up fully capable of denying that anything they didn’t live through didn’t happen. You watch VH1′s Behind The Music, and all the stuff that happened more than five or 10 years ago is comical to young people. Charlie Chaplin, the Beatles and the Clash are pretty much equivalently in the distant past.”

When asked earlier this year what his favourite album was, Al Gore picked Revolver. But then, as Mr. Robbins points out, Mr. Gore also claimed his favourite novel is Stendhal’s The Red and the Black. Mr. Robbins concludes, “The Beatles fit in a box called ‘Greatest Band.’” Here is the secret of their continuing success: they have become a cultural artifact, Jane Austen with yeah, yeah, yeahs. John Lennon would not have liked that. So maybe Christianity has won after all.

April 15th, 2014  Posted at   Musician Advice

litkdmA little while ago I set up a few microphones in the room and recorded a few solos in an effort to pinpoint the moment where I run out of talent and just start regurgitating whatever it is I know. Turns out that it was about a minute and a half. I hit a few books for a while, (Rick Gratton’s book to be precise) to unlock the gates and then listened to a few of my favourite recordings. Four and More from Miles, 80/81 from Pat Metheny, Chick Corea’s Three Quartets, whatever I pulled out randomly from the Blakey pile and then a little Keith Jarrette, The Koln Concert, to get the drums out of my head. I then sat down, hit record and did my best to let it flow, whatever “it” was. It was quite good actually. I was happy with the results in that it seemed as though there was a sting of thought rather than a collection of thoughts. I was proud – for a moment. Though there was a wayward path, it was very narrow and defined by very concrete borders. The pulse was definitely within my comfort zone and on a dynamic range scale of one to eighty I may have hit three.

A few years back in Germany I was fortunate enough to perform in a sort of drum duet with my good friend Dom Famularo. We took turns establishing a theme until it came together as a musical idea. Dom, the gentleman that he was, and is, allowed me to introduce myself first, drum wise. When he entered the conversation, he left me sitting there like a hormone laden teenage boy dropped into one of Hugh Hefner’s mansion parties, jaw agape, nowhere to hide. For a moment, time stopped as I was introduced and overtaken by a flurry of dynamic range. Not indelible groove or outstanding pace, but three-dimensional sound. He was in the same tempo ballpark that I had established but was the field as opposed to the path. In 45 seconds he altered whatever preconceived idea of a conversation I thought we were going to have. Caught having to express rather than think, I/we explored sound and space and as a player, grew tenfold in that 25 or so minute conversation.

So I reflected on this apparently forgotten experience and once again hit record and sat down behind the kit. What happened didn’t change the world and I wouldn’t exactly say that I went where no man went before, but what I will say is that in listening to what I recorded I could hear that I was listening to what I was doing. I wasn’t just “doing”. I was listening to the sound of the instrument and sometimes took the time to listen to the decay of the instrument without interrupting. Sometimes I was asking the instrument to speak to me and at other times shouting back. At one time I got a little lost in trying to extract as little sound, not volume, sound, as possible and then in the abyss, felt that I was catching on to that place where Dom brought me a few years back.

Exploring one’s dynamic abilities is an arduous task as it requires you to be relaxed and focused. You have to listen, and listen carefully to both the instrument and to your own thoughts. It’s not as simple as loud and soft. It’s about breath and breadth. It’s about the “thing” and the space around it. As a person, your dynamics, to a great extent, determine how intently people listen to you. As a player, your ability to make people focus on your groove becomes three fold. Combine this ability and mind set with a few like-minded compadres and the level of musicality becomes a trance.

Listen, and listen carefully.

Perhaps you are a parent and Apocalypse Now is a two-and-a-half hour epic that just won’t happen unless you’re just too buzzed out to sleep at two in the morning after a gig and you’re trying to watch it all the time thinking that your children will be jumping on your head at 7 a.m. If this is the case, check out Bambi. Particularly the scene where Bambi is with his mom in the meadow, just before the smell of gun happy predators. This scene is also punctuated with a decay of ambient sound.

March 12th, 2014  Posted at   Groups

mgbThe first thing you notice about The Matthew Good band’s The Audio Of Being is that the album is a heavier affair. We’re talking big time guitar riffage here. The lead-off track, “Man Of Action” comes at you like a sonic avalanche, tumbling down guitar necks and crashing off of drums. Listening to the opening chugging riffs of the first single “Carmelina” makes you wonder if Matt and the boys have been buying up stock in vintage ’80s hair spray, trolling the Sally Anne for spandex pants and practising their devil-sign hand gestures. [We already know bassist Rich Priske admits to owning a closet full of spandex.]

That’s not to say that the band has morphed into a new millennial Motley Crue. You’ll still find evocative and spacey Matt Good ballads like “Advertising On Police Cars”, a likely candidate for the next single. But the band did try to transform itself during the recording of the new album. And that effort proved to be something of a torturous one for the band, as we shall see as the story unfolds.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to talk to Good this time around – I suspect he was off somewhere promoting his book — but I did get to talk with the other members of the band, guitarist Dave Genn, drummer Ian Browne and bassist Rich “Rock” Priske. It was they who told me the real story about The Audio Of Being.

But first, what’s the story behind that title?

“I think he had the title before he had any of the songs, actually,” says guitarist Genn, “in typical Matthew Good fashion.”

But while he is cautious when it comes to saying too much about Good’s lyrics, Genn does have his own theory about the title.

“I think it’s reflective of the fact that, lyrically, this is his most personal record.” he explains. “It’s most about him in the present; whereas Beautiful Midnight was a record that was more about his past, and Underdogs [MGB's 1997 major-label debut] was more of a record of him observing other people.”

For a project that would ultimately result in a certain degree of conflict and turmoil, its beginnings were decidedly idyllic enough, as Genn explained with respect to the writing process.

“Matt had the songs written, and he and I got together in a hotel room in Whistler, BC for a week before the pre-production process,” says Genn. “He basically showed the songs to me and I worked out most of my initial parts up there in Whistler in between golf games.”

Not a bad way to go about business. But from there on in, the band changed its methods of operation in several key ways.

“This record was sort of a double-sided sword,” says Genn. “Matthew presented us with songs that he had written that were quite a bit simpler and stripped down than in the past. I mean, musically simpler in that there were less chords and less sections, generally, than Beautiful Midnight. So, as a result, the songs that Matt came in with on this album were a little bit more of his vision, initially, than the collective. Once we got in the practice space, however, I think that we were much more experimental. We were much more interested in finding absolutely the right parts for these sort of simple chord progressions. As a result, I think all four of us had much more input on the whole level on this record.”

Usually, a band will record demo versions of their new songs, and then use those as a reference point — to a greater or lesser degree — when beginning the job of recording the songs proper. However, because they were making their third record with the same producer, Warne Livesey, and because the band had been doing things pretty much the same way over the six-and-a-half years they’ve been together, they decided to shake things up a little bit this time.

“We were really trying to make a conscious effort to do things differently,” says Genn. “So as a result, we didn’t demo the album before we recorded it. Basically, Matt came to us with 12 songs and we learned them very, very quickly over a period of two weeks, and then went into the studio and recorded them right away. We kept things very fresh and we were very open to new ideas and different ways of doing things.”

Because they didn’t demo the songs or play any of them live before going into the studio, none of the band members was overly attached to his parts.

“So basically we were just throwing caution to the wind,” Genn explains. “And although it can be somewhat of a scary process, at the same time, because you’re not too attached to your parts, you’re very open to quick changes or maybe even throwing a part out entirely and starting fresh.”

The band took full advantage of having time on their side, and the luxury of exploring in the studio, trying different things, experimenting. But for his part, drummer Browne has some doubts about this method of recording.

“These days, you can record very cheaply, and I don’t think people get the experience of actually spending weeks doing guitars, or weeks doing drums,” Browne says. “It was a good experience that way, spending that much time labouring over parts. I’m not convinced that it actually yields better stuff than when you just set up a mic in the room and everybody’s playing and you have a vibe or whatever. It’s definitely more polished, but whether or not it’s better, I don’t know.”

Both Underdogs and Beautiful Midnight had been recorded at Greenhouse studios in Vancouver and then mixed with Warne Livesey at his preferred studio, BJG in London, England. But when it came time to begin recording The Audio Of Being, the band decided a change of scenery was called for. The album was actually recorded in two sessions. First, they went into the Armoury in Vancouver for an eight-week period last year, from the beginning of October to early December, during which time they laid down tracks for about 14 songs. After a winter hiatus, they moved things over to the city’s other prestigious recording facility, the Warehouse, for two weeks in the spring of 2001, where they recorded two more songs, “Anti-Pop” and “Truffle Pigs”. They remained at the Warehouse for the mixing of the album. The band found the new venues to be a welcome change.

“We just figured that we needed a change of scenery,” says Genn. “Although we wanted to stay in Vancouver so we could be close to our families and our friends and our girlfriends and the comforts of our own beds at night, we did make a conscious effort to change the scenery around us and see if we could come up with a record that was a little different”

“It was a vast improvement,” agrees Browne on the change of studios. “These rooms were extremely well equipped. They’re really nice rooms. So it was kind of nice to feel like we were one of these very lucky select group of bands that get to go in there and spend the big money and entrench ourselves for months on end to make an album. It’s so rare that you get to do it that way.”

The new studios also provided the band with access to some pretty nifty gear. The Armoury was the late Bruce Fairbairn’s studio, and it seems he was quite a collector.

“He collected cars and guitars and amplifiers and fine wines,” explains Genn. “They didn’t let us drink the wine and they didn’t let us drive the cars, but they let us at most of the guitars and amps, which we were very grateful for.”

“It’s an absolutely incredible collection,” Genn says with discernible awe. “And it’s not just great guitars, it’s the fact that you’ve got the finest example of the best year of a particular make, and then it’s signed by the guy who made it famous. There’s a ’59 [Gretsch] Duo Jet signed by Malcolm Young, a ’67 Rickenbacker 330 signed by Pete Townshend, there’s a ’63 SG signed by Angus Young, an original ’59 tweed Bassman — I mean the list goes on. I think the best guitar amp I’ve ever heard in my entire life is at the Armoury. It’s a 1971 Hiwatt Custom 50 head and cab. It’s just an absolutely amazing amplifier — it sounded so good. I think Matt may have used it on every single one of his tracks, actually, and I think I used on about half of mine. So that is the real perk to working in a studio like that where you have access to basically unlimited amounts of guitars and amps. We were like kids in candy shops.”

And having access to all that “candy” proved to be beneficial when it came time to fatten up Good’s sonic aspirations.

“We were really trying to go for a much bigger, fatter sound for Matt, and I think we achieved that,” Genn says. “In the past, he’s been using a lot of Fender guitars through Fender amplifiers, which was doing the trick. On this album we were really looking for something that really took up a lot of space for Matt. We did that with Matt playing a lot more [Gibson] 335s and SGs through not only his Fender Pro Sonic rig that he plays live, but also through the Hiwatt Custom 50 that I was telling you about earlier.”

Although bassman Priske can lay claim to a whole arsenal of Thunderbirds, he also found some vintage axes to wield. “They had a couple of really nice, old basses there,” he says. “A ’61 Fender Precision that I used on a couple of tracks, then an old ’66 or ’67 Jazz bass that basically looked like it just came from the store, it was in just amazing shape. I don’t think we ended up using it, but it was fun to play.”

Browne, on the other hand, stuck with what was familiar. “They had a nice Ayotte kit there, but there’s something about having your own instrument there that’s pretty important. You develop a connection to instruments: you know what they can do, you know how they sound, and you know how they’re going to react. I always use the Ayotte bass drums and pretty much always use Gretsch toms, so that’s kind of where it’s at for me.”

Unlike the last two albums that were mixed in London, with Good and Genn flying over to work with producer Warne Livesey, this record was mixed with all four of the band members present at the Warehouse.

“I really had a good time with this one actually, just because we were there for the mix,” says Browne, “so we were able to contribute ideas and actually change the way the thing actually ends up sounding.”

Priske’s take on the mixing is a little bit different. “Mixing is probably the most boring and laborious task of making a record,” he laughs. “The way I approach it is to just be the objective third party. I’m sort of the one who steps in when his opinion is needed in order to maintain freshness. I see my role as being able to come in and go ‘hey guys, you’re worrying too much about the little things. Just worry about whether it rocks or not.’”

“There’s definitely a time when you have to know that there are enough cooks in the Kitchen,” adds Browne. “I wasn’t trying to get in the way when they were doing guitars or keyboards or anything like that. Once in a while I definitely felt like I could make a suggestion, but I’m pretty happy to just do my part and also just to try and create a bed track that’s exciting and that parts can be added to and it’s going to enhance it.”

“That’s one of the good things about our band” says Browne, “is that we have departments, and we know our department.”

Each of the band members also has his own preferred way of recording his parts, according to Priske.

“Matt likes to set up all the atmospheric stuff with the mood lighting and that kind of thing, the smoke machine and all that,” he recounts, “and he generally kicks everyone out of the studio except for Warne, especially when he’s singing. Ian obviously has no choice,” the bass player says, laughing. “We all have to be there to play along. And I think for Dave and myself, it’s the more, the merrier. It almost ends up turning into a bit of a party, with friends dropping by, just sort of keeping the vibe light and the mood up.”

“Making a record can be really a lot of fun,” continues Priske, “the experimenting and the exploring, and that sort of thing; but it can also be very painful. Trying to get a point across, and if it’s not quite coming across right, it can lead to a bit of frustration. Every individual has their own little way of finding that happy space where they can lay down a good track.”

What becomes evident in hearing the story of how The Audio Of Being was recorded, is that the band decided to purposefully knock themselves off-balance, by trying different recording approaches, new scenery and altered procedures, to see if they could come up with something new and different from their previous recordings. The band seems more or less unanimously pleased with the results. But it also seems clear Chat the process of recording the album was a painful one. How painful? So painful that it almost destroyed the band.

In late August, in a message posted on the band’s official Web site, www.matthewgoodband.com, and on the fan site www.runningforhome.com, Good announced that guitarist Dave Genn and the band had parted ways. A few days later, however, it was announced that Genn was back onboard, And as if that hadn’t raised enough eyebrows among music biz observers, in late September, Good was saying it hadn’t been simply a matter of Genn leaving the band. What had occurred was a complete dissolution of the group — at least for the space of a few days, until cooler heads prevailed.

Maybe we’ll never know exactly what happened. But this project has obviously 1eft its mark on the band, in one way or another.

Ian Browne simply chalks up Genn’s temporary departure to “the usual band strife.”

“It’s an unfortunate turn of events, and it doesn’t really feel that resolved,” Browne admits, “but it’s just what happens when you get to know somebody so well. When you spend six years in a band with a guy, it’s a closer bond than just being co-workers where you just work nine-to-five and then you can go home and you have your family and your friends or whatever. This is like, you’re all wrapped into one; it’s your family and your friends and all that stuff. It’s a really odd relationship for men to behaving in this day a and age, so it’s only natural that there should be some conflict. It’s too bad that it has to be so cliche, that all bands have to have these kind of problems, but it just goes to show you that everybody’s the same.”

“A band is almost like a family after a point” adds Priske. “You end up being each other’s brothers and sisters after a while, and anyone who’s got kids or brothers and sisters knows that they’re gonna fight once in a while. I don’t think it’s anything more or less than that. Dave’s one of the finest guitar players in the land, and I we’re just happy to have him along.”

As for his part, Genn didn’t have anything to say directly about his fleeting exit from the “band, except to say that the group was moving forward.

“This record, in a lot of ways, was our most difficult to make,” he offers. “The band is growing, and as the band grows we also realized that we have a certain M.O. that we do things. There’s a certain M.O. that makes us sound like we do, but at the same time we always want to try and stretch the boundaries. So this record, for us, was an attempt to do things differently, to sort of examine our processes and see if there are different directions that we can take it in, and I think for the most part we succeeded.” However, he pulled up short of saying that the strife within the band was as a result of changing the way they do things. “The experience of making this record was a difficult one for all of us,” says the guitarist, “and I think once we all realized that, we felt much more united.”

“I think we’re definitely moving forward,” says Browne confidently. “The material’s getting better, more interesting. I think it was a good experience overall. There were definitely some tense moments, as there are in any kind of album situation; people fighting and that kind of thing, but it’s all just part of being in a band. I don’t know any band that gets along in the studio. It’s one of the most tense things, but it’s for the record.”

“It was somewhat painful,” Genn allows, pausing briefly, “because change is always painful. But I would say that making a record with the Matthew Good Band is a lot like taking a painful shit; it kind of hurts when it’s coming out, but you feel a lot better when it’s done. And it’s only a matter of time until you have to do it again.”

Jim Kelly is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

RELATED ARTICLE: PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE

Warne Livesey, Matthew Good Band’s producer [for three albums now] was tracked down in England for a quick e-mail interview. Here’s his take on the making of The Audio Of Being:

How do you see the sound of the band changing, from Beautiful Midnight to the new album?

The new album, The Audio Of Being, is a rawer record. More edgy and aggressive, at least in places, but its greater dynamic also affords some very spacious atmospheric moments too. If Beautiful Midnight used a dynamic range from 1-10, then this album goes to 11 … and probably down to 0.5 too.

What new musical direction does this album represent for the band?

Matthew’s songwriting has obviously progressed. This new album is, in fact, simpler than Beautiful Midnight. Matt is able to say more with less. The chord structures are simpler, more straight down the line’ rock changes, so the interest and dynamic is created by what happens over the top of that. Instrumentally, this album is more evenly balanced too, giving room for the whole band to shine. The bass has particularly moved on. Beautiful Midnight was recorded when Rich had just joined the band. Now he has been in the band for a few years, the dynamic has changed and the bass has a more assertive, driving role on this album.

The band went for a heavier sound on the new record, a) Was that something they came to you with, or did you develop that direction together? And, b) what did that entail from a production standpoint?

Matt certainly came to this album with songs that already demanded a heavier approach and he also wanted to use big rhythm guitar parts in places. We worked extensively on developing a wall-of-sound guitar tone for some of the bigger moments and this also entailed the other instruments being more sonically precise to be able to cut through and work with that.

Sonically, we went for a different approach than Beautiful Midnight. The drums are spikier and less roomy and the bass more grindy. This leaves more room for the big saturated guitars, but that is really only part of the story. A large part of this album is very atmospheric with lots of space. There are places where the drum sound is just one ribbon mic going through a few guitar pedals, and other places where it is full on multi-miked sound. We use a full-on wall of guitars one minute, and then quietly play acoustic guitar the next. I tried to create a sonic roller-coaster rather than stick with the same sounds all the way through.

Did you use any interesting or new techniques or approaches in the studio?

I can’t really draw attention to anything specifically. I don’t think it really works like that, Most of the time it is context that makes something interesting … not the specific recording technique. I used a lot of weird processing. I had some weird shit going on the drums and vocals sometimes and we had the guitars going through every box under the sun at one stage or another. Let’s face it, if I say we used a wah-wah or a whammy pedal, that ain’t going to be something new. Using weird combinations of things and using stuff in the wrong way is what makes it interesting. Not unlike sex!

Many of the songs have a little sonic prelude of some sort. How did that come about?

When I was mixing Loser Anthems with Matt, we did this little piano interlude thing really quickly, which we really liked. We wanted to do some similarly cinematic pieces for the album. Some were planned, like the start of the album. Matt wanted the airplane announcement to start the record and the atmosphere and the strings were written to work around the picking guitar part, which runs through most of the first song, “Man of Action”. It’s kind of “Baba O’Riley” meets [world-class, soft-orchestral classical guitarist Luiz] Mantovani on an in-flight audio channel. But some of the other intros and outros developed organically. We pulled in this Optigon keyboard, which plays flexi disks with sounds on them, and it demanded to be used. I think, with songs as intense as this record, it was a natural tendency to create some interludes which introduce you into that intensity, and perhaps give light to the shade. We also wanted the album to be a piece of work in its entirety. All the songs hang together lyrically an d the interludes help to bind the whole thing together musically. It’s a concept album, but no one wore cheesecloth smocks … except Ian!

February 25th, 2014  Posted at   Ladies Of Rock

lrtbThe was a time when everything changed, and suddenly you hear more girls on the radio, and Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair festival became the woman’s Lollapalooza. But it was the more palatable, less political artists such as Jewel and Alanis Morissette who made it big, as well as lesbians like k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge who came out after they were famous.

Today, although the pendulum of mainstream rock journalism has swung away from the highly touted and self-congratulatory “year of women in rock,” girl bands continue to make raucous and innovative music. “Queercore” bands like San Francisco’s Tribe 8, whose rallying cries are “Castrating Bitches Unite” and “Don’t Leave a Stump, It Can Be Re-attached,” mingle hardcore punk sounds with queer politics. Drawing on the riot grrrl tradition, Sleater-Kinney, based in the Pacific Northwest and hailed by Robert Christgau as “the world’s greatest rock band,” played to sold-out crowds in New York City recently, along with Durham, North Carolina’s the Butchies and Olympia, Washington’s the Gossip. Backed by Janet Weiss on drums, Sleater-Kinney’s two guitar players, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein, are simultaneously girly and tough as they interweave their voices and guitar lines. “I could be demure like/girls who are soft for/boys who are fearful of/getting an earful/But I gotta rock!” they chant in “The Ballad of a Ladyman” from their most recent CD, All Hands on the Bad One (Kill Rock Stars). Wearing men’s coveralls and drawing on classic rock posturing, the Butchies are more unequivocally lesbian, with songs like “The Galaxy Is Gay” and “Sex (i’m a lesbian),” and their declaration that being out “is not done to prove anything to the straight world, it is to prove something to each other.” The Gossip riffs on Southern rock, with a singer in lingerie and a beehive do flanked by an androgynous go-go dancer. In New York the Gossip were joined onstage by many eager girls from the audience as well as members of the other bands.

This scene has brought back a sense of urgency to music. It’s not like older male managers and cynical record-company execs are sitting down together to say, “OK, it’s Sleater-Kinney’s turn to be hot hot hot.” No, this is success of their own making, based on touring regularly, recording on their own labels and playing at the local coffeehouse. And they are explicitly encouraging other girls to give music and self-expression a try.

In 1996 Kaia Wilson of the Butchies and her girlfriend, visual artist Tammy Rae Carland, founded Mr. Lady, a record label and music and video distribution company. Adapting the “Sisterhood Is Powerful” logo for the cover, their compilation The New Women’s Music Sampler, which features the Butchies, Tribe 8, the Need, Sarah Dougher and others, is reminiscent of seventies women’s-music compilations by independent labels like Olivia Records, which helped launch the careers of such lesbian music icons as Cris Williamson.

Mr. Lady’s lineup also includes Le Tigre, the new band formed by Kathleen Hanna of riot grrrl fame, along with Johanna Fateman and video artist Sadie Benning. In 1998 Hanna took a break from live performance because she was burned out on the unrealistic expectations generated by the riot grrrl scene, but she returns committed to punk and feminism for the long haul. “Sure, I thought about giving up sometimes. But then I think about those feminists in the seventies. They created phrases like sexual harassment and domestic violence. They started rape crisis centers in their apartments. They fucking got abortion legalized. How can I give up? I haven’t even gotten started yet.”

Punk’s DIY (do it yourself) sensibility has merged with feminist values of the seventies in an underground culture evident not only in music but in a range of genres and venues. New York’s Bluestockings bookstore for women, which just celebrated its first anniversary, is run collectively and serves as a space for public events. The annual Sister Spit spoken-word tour has the energy of a punk-rock show; twelve women tour in broken-down vans and sleep on filthy floors in order to perform onstage for seven minutes each in all-ages clubs across the country. And in this web-centered era, a search for just one of the above-mentioned bands yields links to articulate and eclectic discourse on bisexuality, transsexual inclusion, self-defense and the Spice Girls; the web provides a forum much as the long-running magazine Maximum Rock and Roll did for punk culture.

The parallels and contrasts among different generations will be visible at two events this summer: the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (August 8-13) and the first Ladyfest in Olympia, Washington (August 1-6). The Michigan festival still provides a home for longtime favorites such as Holly Near and Ferron, as well as for Tribe 8, the Butchies and Toshi Reagon (daughter of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Bernice Johnson Reagon). This year they’ll be joined by the Indigo Girls, who’ve been associated with progressive causes but who have, in the past, been reluctant to play women-only shows. Meanwhile, Ladyfest builds on the tradition of the 1991 International Pop Underground Convention, a pivotal event in the alternative music scene. Although the Michigan festival remains a women-only space and Ladyfest is open to all, they share a commitment to building community, encompassing workshops, readings and political networking. The protests in Seattle and Washington, DC, this past year were exhilarating in part because they provided visible evidence of popular opposition to capitalism. The dyke music scene has that same power to suggest that you are not alone and that you have the power to build alternative worlds.