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About BluMunk

  • Birthday 01/29/1980


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    Burlington, VT

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  1. After some number of years believing in the concept of "the best" digital piano, I had a sudden realization that there are infinite variations of acoustic piano, and any individual will prefer one over another for all sorts of factors. Action, tone, color, dimensions, provenance, style, marketing ... personal preference is just that, personal. When talking about gear, I will share the things I like and don't like with as much context about my arbitrary desires as I can. Then it's up to other people to decide how much of my opinion they find relevant.
  2. I noticed this past week that the drug stores and grocery stores around here have changed their "seasonal" sections from "4th of July" to "Halloween".
  3. Not clicking the link to read the article, but I have a strong feeling I know what I'll find on the other side. 😛
  4. 0:00-2:00 ... 100%. 2:00-4:35 ... "what people are searching for on google" is of limited value, and even more limited in recent years. His thesis might be true, but this is not evidence. 4:35-5:52 ... true, but I'm curious about whether this is MORE true today than 20, 30, 40 years ago. I imagine it is, but that's just my own bias. 5:53-end ... also true. And I think this is one of the things missing from his first video that he talked around but didn't dive into. The role of music in 2024 is fundamentally different than it was in decades past. The reasons this is true are worthy of exploration. And, recognizing that this shift has happened does not need to include ascribing moral value to the shift. To me, my personal 'old man yelling at clouds' perspective is that music's role in society is wildly different than it was when I was young, and what society means when we say "musician" is also wildly different. That's fine, but I rankle when people assert that it's all actually the same, and it's just me who doesn't get it. It's like comparing [football player from 1919] to a football player today and pretending that it's even possible to compare the athleticism of each against each other. In so many ways they are doing completely different things under completely different contexts, even though it's all "football".
  5. Concur, and I think that's part of why those albums really stand out to me (and, while I don't consider myself a fan, it's those albums that made me sit and take notice, and provided a gateway to the rest of her catalog). In some ways, what I like about Taylor Swift is what I also like about Bruce Springsteen... he's got a very distinct voice, and his albums all sound like Bruce Springsteen albums, but he's taken many different approaches to genre, orchestration, songwriting, and subject matter over his career (despite the fact that popular discussion seems to think that Born to Run and Born in the USA are the be-all and end-all of his sound). For my taste, I start to get tired of the extensive "writing about personal relationships, all of which sound bad in the same ways" songwriting (not 100%, but a high percentage). To carry over the Springsteen comparison, I think Tunnel of Love is a great album, but I don't need more of it. But that's just me. It also could be just the velocity with which she's released music lately and the repetitiveness with which my spouse plays those albums 😛 .
  6. I think you have the right idea. One additional approach for you might be to consider that sometimes, you don't need to be playing chordal harmony or bass notes at all. It's also fine to not be playing at all moments. Maybe take a song and only play melodic and 'aux' parts. See what it feels like when you let the bass/drum/guitar give the rhythmic and harmonic backbone. I know for me it can be hard psychologically to not play all the time (particularly if I'm feeling like I need to show the other musicians that I'm good enough to be there). Try starting with less and add when appropriate.
  7. Yes. And while I might not frame my opinions as having more or less "respect", I do think that even though it looks like the same thing, many/most modern pop artists are just not doing the same "thing" as musicians of the past. The product we consume is still music, but the way it is crafted is fundamentally different. A myth of modern music (and probably this has been true for the entirety of the existence of recorded media, but to a much larger extent now) is that the process is not industrial, but is in fact creative and begins as a single person's creative impulse to express something specific. My "old guy" issue with modern pop music is the extent to which the image of authentic, intentional, and personal expression is used to hide a very mercenary, industrialized and impersonal process of music creation. And again, for 'pop' this has always been true to a degree, but it seems like it is more true for a larger percentage of "popular" music than it was in the past. Get off my lawn!
  8. In my inexpert opinion, innovation in electronic music in the last 20 years has been defined by production techniques and the maturing of the digital recording process as an "instrument" in and of itself. Synthesis (particularly subtractive synthesis and its various iterations) has become a solved problem. Yes, there will always be a repackaging of features/UX/build/price-point (with the occasional innovation) to keep the synth market plugging along. But new synths, at this point, represent new combinations of existing preferences, nothing more.
  9. And, to clarify this, this is the keyboard book for the 2003 revival arrangements, so find that album, not the original Broadway cast album. It does look like all those patches are literal patch locations/names from Roland romplers (JV-something or XV-something), referencing preset banks (Rol A .... Rol B ... etc) and unnamed expansion cards (Rol Exp ...). However, note that this patch list isn't curated... it is likely a port from whatever patch names the programmer used for the original production, and they have not been optimized or edited for reproducibility. "Acoustic" patch and "Piano" patch as separate items. Less than useful. Probably zero meaningful differentiation. Celli and also Cello Section? Use the same patch. This looks way more complicated than it needs to be. Most of those patches in the right hand column are hammond organ patches, some of them at least by name even referencing the same basic registrations/tones (there are 4 referencing Sly & The Family Stone). My approach to this would be: 1. Determine the basic 'type' of patch by looking at the notes on the page, considering the patch instructions, and listening to the album. 2. As you have time, further refine by picking up on references in the patch name (Sly & Family Stone, Vanilla Fudge, Del Shannon Runaway, Evil Ways, Trick of the Tail, Three Dog Night, Joe Zawinul's Rhodes, Easy To Be Hard (original recording of the musical Hair)... I'm not sure what 'Clark Farfisa' is referencing, but it's clearly someone)... but this can be a huge undertaking/rabbit hole. Don't get too absorbed here... most of the time, two or three organ patches, one or two rhodes patches, one wurli/pianet will be fine to cover all bases for a show like this. Only get detailed if it's fun for you to do so.
  10. For gigging? I know it depends on how you're using Mainstage, but I've been getting by fine with old (10 year+) Macbook Pros with 16 gig of ram. I am not running many VSTs outside of stock. I'll be replacing those laptops with apple silicon in the next year, and have no doubts that an M1 with 16gig will be more than adequate to get me through the next 10 years (currently running an M1 mac mini for my home studio, no complaints). So, for my use case (which may not be yours), a 16 gig M1 macbook pro should be great, and come in just at or under your budget.
  11. Since when is music about whether or not ability is “equivalent”? Is a bodhran player not “musically equivalent” to a pianist? What does that comparison even mean?
  12. If there's one thing I hate more than rap, it's BEATTTTTOOOOOOO!!!!
  13. So true. And, maybe not framed initially as much of a discussion, though there have been some great posts. Music and art is at its core about shared culture, and culture is at the core of politics (well, culture and taxes :p). It's pretty impossible to untangle "I don't like X because it's not good" and "I don't like X because I wasn't raised with it and/or don't belong to a community that celebrates and amplifies it". It's such a delicate line that we tread here, a forum of culture-creators and culture-amplifiers, that discourages political discussion (rightfully, perhaps, for the survival of the forums). Being unable to talk about politics means we really cannot dive into the "whys" of what music is considered good or not. It's fair to say that most folks who dismiss rap and/or hip-hop as unskilled or un-valuable genres do so having almost no exposure to the depth of them, and having spent almost no time understanding their contexts. Disliking or being uninterested in a genre is 100% appropriate. Writing it off as inherently non-musical is another thing alltogether. Also, for those who are specifically "concerned" about gangsta rap, there's a lot that's been written about it. It holds a complicated place in black culture and American culture. I recommend that anyone who remains confused in 2024 about what the heck it's all about find a good book or two.
  14. Being unable to naturally use inversions and voice leading is, in my mind, one of the key indicators of a pianist on the beginning of their journey. Bouncing root position triads around over an octave or two is rarely what is called for musically. Except for when it is, but it's definitely not the default option. Re: pure vs. anarchist... I mean, this is what arrangements are for. Also, consider that whether or not the 'bass' note (whether it's being played by a bass player or by your own left hand) is on the root is an independent question from what shape the chords take above it. And I have a suspicion that your bandmates might be more interested in the bass note than the upper structure? Otherwise, it seems kind of crazy to me that you would have a consistent experience across multiple projects with people noticing and caring that you are not playing 1/3/5 in that order. Like, does the band equally expect all chords from the guitar to be in 'E' or 'A' inversions (1/5/1/3/5/1 or 5/1/5/1/3/5)?
  15. Great point, and great post. To be clear, I'm not looking at lyrics as morally good or bad, just observing how they make me feel, and how they fit into my limited perspective of "popular music". This is maybe a discussion for a different time and place, but in considering language in song it's fascinating how different words that all mean the same thing can carry different connotation. I would push back slightly on the assumption that more explicit language is by its nature more frank and powerful, or that it represents a more free, less 'controlled by society/Big Music' form of expression.
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