Monday, April 11, 2016

Superman vs Batman should've been several different really good movies.

DC just took a bunch of comics, put them in a blender, and called it a story.

Many scenes work well for comic fan service if taken out of the context of this movie. I will watch the extended cut to see if they really took out important story elements that the theatrical cut is missing.

If the entire movie took place in the dream?/flashforward? of Batman in the destroyed city and a dark Superman I would've been truly impressed. I mean it, that could've been one scene in a movie of amazing scenes, but instead it should've been on the cutting room floor because it served no purpose.

The movie has some fundamental story problems that would have been solvable if someone just gave a damn. This movie is told as a series of; this happens then this happens then this happens. At no point is it; this happens and therefor this happens which causes this to happen. No cause and effect at all.

One example is the title fight between Batman and Superman. The stated reason for the fight is Lex holding a hostage. Does Lex, one of the most brilliant villains in comics, bother to verify that they actually fight? No he doesn't. If Lex had cameras watching the fight it would've explained why Superman fights instead of flying around like he does at lots of other times. But how could Lex have cameras at some random location you might ask? He has a bunch of kryptonian drones from the first film at his command doesn't he? Wouldn't that have been a cool visual? And that would have allowed Batman, The World's Greatest Detective, to figure out that Superman didn't want to win this fight and at the last moment, when Superman was resigned to dying at his hands, ask Bruce to "please save his mom." No need for "Martha" or the millionth shooting of Batman's parents or tomb visits. Both actors could've really delivered on their acting abilities instead of causing my girlfriend to laugh (again) at an important moment. Think about the look of resigned defeat on Henry's face as Ben get's to unleash his award winning acting chops showing realization and sudden conviction that Superman is just like him, and even more that Bruce Wayne needs to become a mentor to young Clark Kent. The veteran of twenty years fighting evil could help the new guy overcome his horrible missteps that have lead to him being hated and feared! Like Elliot, he could help protect and save his new alien friend.

So much of this could've been fixed with the cutting of entire scenes and a few reshoots. I want to talk about what I liked but can't because this movie had Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and wasted all of them. All three actors did well. Batfleck had some truly amazing moments. The script and the 30 minute CGI climax wasted all their hard work.

Sorry for the sloppiness of this, I just had to get some of this out.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

NIN + Doudou N'Diaye Rose = A monster remix.


Plus this:

Equals this:

Bonus performances:

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A few of videos of Goldie worth watching.

Goldie has a lot of heart when he talks about music.  He's not a go to artist for me but the man loves music and it shows.

Thinking of ways to bring this back to life.

A lot of things are boring me enough that I might have to create my way out of the funk.
I'm beginning to lose faith in Twitter and other places I spend my mental energy.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Had hoped to have some newer music ready by now. I've played around with a lot of stuff but nothing's finished. Even worse, none of the one's I haven't trashed are getting me excited to finish.

Not sure how to fix this musical slump.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Listening to Podcasts.

By the time Howard Stern left the regular radio at the end of 2005 I was already listening to my iPod for both music and the newly emerged medium of Podcasting. My car radio was with me for the two hours every day that I drove to work and it now acted as a playback device entirely. I didn't bother with CDs since my 30GB iPod had a large chunk of my favorite music and I also would use it to sync new Podcast episodes from my computers iTunes almost daily before driving.

Three years later my iPod was replaced with an iPhone 3G but the syncing ritual was the same. Within a couple of years Podcast Apps started to come out for the iPhone.  Some good, some not. I tried several over the years.

  • The Podcasts App from Apple had a rough start but is better today. (And is now included by default in iOS 8.) It syncs across your devices with iCloud and is free so that's an easy way to get started.
  • Instacast is one that I liked for years (until my current favorite came out) and aside from a few glitches a few years back has always worked well.
  • My current Podcast listening App is Overcast. It's free, but spend the money on the in App purchase it offers to get the best out of it. 
What made Overcast my current favorite is the things that it can do with audio. I listen to several different shows of varying audio quality and episode length. Some of the less professional podcasters use poor microphones, bad mic technique or don't know how to correctly use a compressor to even out volumes. Overcast's Voice Boost feature fixes many of those. Some of my favorite shows have lot's of dead air when the host or guest are thinking about what to say next or the Skype connection they are using to speak remotely causes a delay. (That's one of the reasons I would use the 1.5 times (sometimes 2x) playback speed.) Overcast has a playback feature that can, in real time, cut out dead air. That feature has saved me a full days worth of dead air time!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Patronage in music history and present.

Sometime around 2005 I was a member of the Nine Inch Nails fan club. One of the benefits of paying  for the fan club (in addition to shirts, posters and advance concert tickets) was the forums that Trent Reznor would sometimes pop in to chat.

He would occasional offer his opinion on this or that or ask a question or two of the community. One of those questions has stuck in my mind for a long time.

He asked the forum members about how music might continue to be a profession given that the internet had begun to collapse the music industry and how could artists continue to make art in the future. My contribution to the conversation was that we could return to more of a patronage model as had existed before records (and sheet music printing before it) allowed for a "music business". My thought was that the members of the NIN fan club would be happy to pay the same yearly fees to support the creation of the art itself rather then the supporting materials that it generated. It worked for classical music and musicians, why not for us in an era where music is listened to and loved more then ever.

Sadly he didn't try it, but he has tried a lot of different ways and has thankfully kept making music. (He even release a free record as a thank you for his fans continuing support.)

So if NIN didn't go the patronage route why the hell am I bringing this up?

Because while NIN didn't, others have begun to embrace patronage as a way forward to support not only music, but all the creative arts.

Learn more about Patreon in their FAQ or watch these short videos.

So basically what I'm saying is, THE INTERNET IS AWESOME!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another good video from XOXO. John Gruber tells the story of how Daring Fireball became his job.

It's about 45 minutes long. This is the kind of video I add to the watch later list on YouTube and pull it up on my AppleTV to watch.

I'd like to highlight a couple points that I really agree with:

  • CPM based advertising is a corrupting agent on the web.
  • He shouldn't be the exception with his way of doing business, he should be the rule. 
  • We need more singular voices like his. (Personally I wish we had more interesting dialogs/monologues in areas outside of tech.)
Some other thoughts:
  • I think his kind of thoughtful writing about a subject he cares about, and is knowledgable in, is a very much a kind of American Revolution idea. Example A, Example B
  • Because he answers to no one but his readers, he can have an unpopular opinion or two and doesn't need to bend to fit a majority opinion. He can be spiky when he feels the need to be.
  • He controls his own destiny in a way not many other writers can claim to.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ethan Diamond of (musician friendly) Bandcamp at the XOXO Festival in Portland 2014

Bandcamp is a site I've always liked. It is geared towards the musicians first, audience second and technology third. Many other sites that sell music have put tech first and it shows.

The attached video is one of the Co-Founders telling the story of the site at the XOXO fest 2014.

I found several things to like in this talk:

  • The story of how and why they never became a VC heavy company.
  • What they did to keep costs under control.
  • His outlook on why streaming services might be good for the audience and discovery while still being bad for music longterm and the creation of art. (Which is exactly how I feel.)

Go here to find Marqui Adora's music on Bandcamp.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A new Aphex Twin record!

Yup, he finally released an Aphex Twin, not a side project, record. While I've enjoyed some individual songs from the not Aphex Twin releases, it's nice to have a solid body of work that doesn't make me skip a few tracks.  He's clearly learned in the off time and does explore areas he never has before but in the end he still gives the songs a clear artistic style that makes them his.

Unpredictable, unpleasant at times, interesting and sometimes astoundingly beautiful.  In a world full of music that tries to be everyones non-threatening best friend, it's nice to hear music that says "this may not be for you".

Here's one of the tracks Warp posted to YouTube.

Monday, October 06, 2014

A podcast to checkout if you are a comic book or X-Men fan. Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is a nice way to learn (or in my case be reminded) about what makes the X-Men such a popular multi-format success. While they mostly are talking about the X-Men comics (and many related titles) they do touch on the TV Shows and Movies.

It's one of the podcasts that moves to the front of the queue when a new episode is release.

Get it here on iTunes.

Or here if you use other Pod-catchers

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Q&A with Steve Albini that's worth watching if you're a music nerd or audio engineer.

He's recorded some of my favorite albums:

  • Pigface – Gub (1990)
  • Murder, Inc. – Murder, Inc. (1992)
  • PJ Harvey – Rid of Me (1993)
  • Nirvana – In Utero (1993)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Marqui Adora-Well Loved EP


So this week we finished mixing six of our songs that we started in "the long long ago. In the before time." We like them and we hope you do as well.  The Well Loved EP should be in all the usual places within the next few days. I'll post more links when they go live.

iTunes (We like money!)
Bandcamp (Pay what you like, including free.)
SoundCloud (Why not?)
YouTube (An easy way to give them a listen.)
BitTorrent Bundle (For those technically adept.)

Here's the YouTube versions for your listening pleasure:

Still flyin'

Monday, February 03, 2014

Final work on those Marqui Adora songs! (From the past few years.)

I'm spending a few days finishing the Marqui Adora songs that I started years ago. It's good to hear them (after a few months break) with fresh ears and be able to tell that they are as close to finished as I had hoped they were. I think the six of them will be up on iTunes and other places well before the end of the month. 

Feels nice!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Mixing An Entire Nation

I spent a few hours today refining a mix for a Marqui Adora song called An Entire Nation. This is one of the songs we played in the 2007 era of the band. It was always a fun song to play but every prior attempt at recording would end up feeling flat. Not sure if it was tempo or the playing but it always left me with less then I'd hoped for in the energy department.

The mix I've been working on does not have any such problem. It feels big and full of life to my ears. After a few more tweaks in the morning (after a while of working on the song sleep is the only way to have fresh ears) I'll send it off to Joe to get his go/no go. What's nice about this is I felt it was ready last week and Joe pointed out a few things he wanted me to try and I think it's better for it. (Either way it is better so I'm happy we waited.)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Simple Lies 2013 Pre-Release

In Motion 2013 Pre-Release

One of my favorites. I'm glad I can finally say this one is done and that it brings some serious energy. It might get tweaked a little more when it's released on iTunes (along with other tunes) so consider this a collectors edition.

In Motion 2013 Pre-Release on YouTube

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cracks in the Mirror

Here's a mix of Cracks in the Mirror. This one's an instrumental that's been kicking around for a very long time. It might get tweaked a little more when it's released on iTunes (along with other tunes to follow) so consider this a collectors edition.

Cracks in the Mirror

On to the next one...

Friday, March 01, 2013

Less human than human. Let's push things forward.

A warning:
Based on what I'm about to write don't assume I don't like music made with technology. My music collection has 155 Aphex Twin songs, 284 Nine Inch Nails songs and several days worth of music that would qualify as Jungle/drum 'n bass.

With that said, a group of music videos showing goats yelling as a replacement for dubstepish synths and singers over singing has opened my eyes to a fundamental issue with the state of pop music.

The singing in many of the songs featured in these goat versions are so detached from the way people sound (when they actually sing) that the goat can sound more like a human. In a pop song why do breathing and moaning have to be at equal level with the words? Why do I need to hear the soft singing at the same volume as the loudest belting? I think it's all about giving the impression of something that's not really present. It's the audio equivalent of the diva hand waving and MC shoulder dipping. It's an affectation that the music machine and it's chosen performers think will bring things that are fake into the realm of reality. To me these are examples of people becoming pigeons in a skinner box. They perform the ritual, they get the food pellet, and they have no idea why.

In addition to the audio self delusion, many of these videos also share a secondary bizarre feature, they show a "band" performing the songs. These are songs that feature no (or at most little) guitar, bass guitar, live drums or keyboard parts that could be played yet they have a group of musical instrument holders rocking as if they played something. It's like the directors all said music videos have people holding instruments and rocking out so we need that to. Again this feels like some bizarre conditioning that can't be explained. If no instruments are being played and no voice appears unaltered then what's the point of miming like it was? Why not just have an entire horn section and orchestra hold their instruments? (Add a troupe of drummers as well!)

I'm sure it's just because I'm old and cranky but what are they trying to achieve? To show how well you can increment/decrement a value? We should be in a much more interesting musical age not one that has had so much of the life sucked out of it. This is the era when we should have hybrids of Mozart and Public Enemy and Tom Waits and Marvin Gaye and Kraftwerk not people who can't play or sing becoming the emperors new clothes.

Here's some music made with machines that pushes things forward:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dropbox vs. Google Drive for musicians.

TLDR-Dropbox works well and fast while Google Drive is (currently) snail paced.

The members of Marqui Adora have been using Dropbox and before that MobileMe/.mac to share files for years. I decided to try using Google drive to replace Dropbox and it is the worst experience I've had with a Google product in a very long time.

The desktop client is startlingly slow. I've spent hours watching it slowly creep along with the huge pile of files I have. It's also reporting that it is having a problem uploading files. Files that are perfectly good and will upload when you tell it to try again. Restarting the App, restarting the computer or having no other activity on the computer and network make no difference. I can't understand how a company with as many server farms and knowledge of data storage, transmission, and tons of fiber can think this is a product worth paying for.

It's just bad.

I guess I can kiss that $5s goodbye.

Sorry Google but I won't be sticking around waiting for you to do what Dropbox already can do and MobileMe did years ago.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

GTD for musicians: I am my own roadie.

I started using the system described in David Allen's book Getting Things Done (GTD) in the past month and have found it works pretty well when adopted completely. (I say completely because 6 years ago when I tried reading the book I stopped at some point because of the business speak driving me crazy.)

The biggest change for me as a musician has been the way I have now become my own roadie.  I've had guitars and basses that have needed "help" because they've stayed half working or filthy for years. One day "the roadie" was given the task to clean them or order new strings or make repairs and when "the musician" next came to play he had nicely tuned working guitars with new strings. Not surprisingly "the musician" was also much more inspired to actually play the planks of wood he hadn't touched for many months.

I also seem to have hired an "assistant engineer" because when the "recording engineer" sat down to mix some music he found someone had updated and installed software on the latest computer in the studio. For months the "recording engineer" thought installing Soundtrack Pro 2 from disc would be good if he could get to those install discs buried in some spot or other. It seems like all the plugins that could be updated also got taken care of. I need to buy the "assistant engineer" a beer! Look old session files could be opened. Old files that needed bouncing somehow got bounced. Weird shit! Hey wait he fixed the nasty worn out headphone pads and fixed some broken headphones. He bought and installed a coat rack to hold cables and headphones at the ready. What a swell guy!

The bad news:

  • The book is clearly written for corporate executives in their language. It feels like pulling teeth to get through all the material.
  • It was written around 2002 when the first iPod was new and has no references to the many good tools available on the Mac, iPhone and iPad like Things and Omni-Focus. (It says the phrase "if you have a cell phone" at one point!)
  • It requires regular homework. Daily and weekly.
  • The book is very dry.
  • You will need to set aside time to really do it right.
  • Did I mention how painful it is to make it to the end and really have comprehended the ideas presented? I've read the book and audiobooks a few times already in the past month because I've found it was very easy to miss some of the finer points.
  • Most of the system is described using paper files and folders, which works, but I mostly use electrons instead of dead tree flesh, so adaption may be required. (I do use paper for mind maps and brain storming thoughts.)
The good news:
  • The audio version of the book is better. (Another audio version called Getting Things Done... FAST is even better but is out of print. Check your local library.)
  • A podcast I've enjoyed for years, Back to Work, covered the topic for several episodes starting here with episode 95. This might serve as a good way to test the water with a little less business speak. I should also warn you they do sometime wander into comic books and other things. (Episode 94 acts as a prequel in many ways.)
  • As a system it's well loved by geeks/nerds the world over, so in addition to the resources available from David Allen's website, you'll find the internet is full of good resources and tips on the google.
  • I've gotten a roadie and assistant engineer who will work for nothing! (Allowing me to play music or turn the knobs and push the faders.)
  • Things like this blog post seem to somehow get done when I'm not looking.
-John Tooker

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Music you should hear: Cygne Noir

If this voice sounds familiar that's because it's the sound of Marqui Adora singer Danny Ashe.

Find out more here: tracks by Cygne Noir

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The new Marqui Adora single - And It Begins

Here's something new for your earholes from Marqui Adora.

Marqui Adora - And It Begins by Danny Ashe

And It Begins on iTunes!

More to come...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I start mixing a Marqui Adora record tomorrow.

Hey folks,

At about this time last year I had decided which songs to record for a Marqui Adora album. I did this because I knew that world traveling chef Danny would be in our neighborhood and was itching to track some vocals.

Almost a year has past, but the finish line is in sight. No more music needs to be played so I'm putting down the instruments and firing up the mixer.

Stay tuned.

Marqui Adora

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reaching Out might be ready to mix...

I feel pretty good about it but I could be crazy at this point.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Fall added to the ready to mix pile maybe...

2 down 8 to go

It's a nice feeling to listen to recordings and think, "I don't need to record anything else." Hope the rest move over as easily.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The sound of the world ending...

So many of the Jungle/Ragga/DnB tunes are likely lost...

Here's a few I found floating on YouTube: