Bandcamp Friday – May 2021

Tomorrow is Bandcamp Friday again. That means Bandcamp will not take a commission on the music they sell. Very nice of them.

My entire catalog on Bandcamp will be discounted 15%. The code word for the discount is “spring”. If you thought about getting high definition FLAC files so you can hear the music in all its dimension, tomorrow is the day. :-)

MDMA Reaches Next Step

MDMA Reaches Next Step Toward Approval for Treatment – The New York Times:

In an important step toward medical approval, MDMA, the illegal drug popularly known as Ecstasy or Molly, was shown to bring relief to those suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder when paired with talk therapy.

As far as I know, MDMA only became illegal in the summer of 1986. At least that’s what I was told by my dealer. ;-)

Prior to that time it was also used by a number of prison psychiatrists. I heard it was used in the State Prison near Santa Fe, for example, and I was told it made a difference, as it enabled hardened men to speak about their emotions.

The Sea Between

Here is the last minute of the version of “The Sea Between” I recorded for “Bare Wood 2”.

The guitar melody that starts after the chorus ends came from an improvisation. I liked the vibe of the improv but the strings had been on the guitar for too long and one of them was clearly out of tune. I tried to get used to it, hoping that the mood of the playing might outweigh the handful of notes that were out of tune, telling myself that most listeners might not hear what I was hearing, but I could not. This week I learned the phrases and re-played the melody. It was interesting to learn the notes and spaces of an improv and turning them into a prescribed melody. I rarely if ever do that, often preferring a slightly strange sound, as from a piece of nail-glue that is coming loose for example, to trying to recreate the vibe.

It turned out alright though and I am happy with the feeling of it. I added an octave below for the start of the melody and like how that grabs the attention.

This is the first version of the piece, from my post on 24. December

I always find it fascinating how a song changes when I can use several guitars rather than a solo guitar performance. Of course, adding Jon’s upright made a huge diff as well. :-)

What Makes Music Universal

What Makes Music Universal – Issue 99: Universality – Nautilus:

This spring, in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, more than 100 scholars sound off on evolution and universality of music. I love the din. The academic discord gives way to a symphony of insights into the meaning of music in our lives. It may be a cliché to say music is the sound of our shared humanity. But it feels transcendent to be in tune with a person from another culture. There’s something alchemical about knowing we share the same biology. Originate from the same place. Share the same desires. But there’s more to the story. My recent adventures in the fields of music research have instilled in me, deeper than ever before, the feeling that music is what makes us human. I also have a new appreciation of what universality in music really means.


“We’ve shown you don’t need to be familiar with a particular culture to understand and enjoy its music,” Samuel Mehr, lead author on the paper, told me. Mehr is a research associate in the Department of Psychology at Harvard, where he is principal investigator at the Music Lab, a psychology laboratory studying music perception and music production. “You can find music meaningful and artistically interesting, and even glean reliable information, objective facts, from music made in different cultures. That’s really interesting socially because it shows there’s a common ground in this artistic product across cultures.”

Music is the stuff that really connects us. We don’t have to know or understand or even like another culture in order to dig their music. Even more universal than food it is music that brings us together. It has been thus for millenia.

Science of Building Better Relationships

I really enjoyed this podcast.

#342 The Science of Building Better Relationships | Marissa King — Ten Percent Happier:

In this conversation, we talk about: how your social networks impact your mental health; how, when it comes to social networks, quality and structure are more important than quantity; why you’re not as bad at being social as you may think; the importance of humor; how status and privilege play into networking; the benefits of calling up old friends you haven’t spoken to in a while; and she will ask you to consider whether you are a convener, broker, or expansionist.

Incense Smoke Photos

I enjoyed playing with the incense video and decided that I should take photos of incense, too. Smoke can move unpredictably and can create all sorts of interesting shapes. I would gently blow in the direction of the incense and then smoke would begin to dance. I couldn’t rely on what I saw because by the time I could release the shutter the smoke would have changed shape already. It was mostly guess work and then eliminating the photos that didn’t work.

You can check out the photos at this link.

I find that these photos make excellent wallpaper for my computer as well as my phone. Feel free to download any image you like for that purpose.
Smoke 1

Bandcamp vs Streaming

A little math for a Friday morning. :-)

I sell my albums for $9 on Bandcamp. This is a good and fair price point, I think. For those of us who prefer high definition files it is a very good deal, because digital vendors of hi def albums will usually charge around $16 per album, and often more. You own the music in the file form you prefer and you can download a booklet in the form of a PDF.

Let’s look at the streaming equivalent. Apple pays $0.0056 per stream. Google is not far below that at $0.0055. Spotify pays $0.0032 per stream.

If you buy my album on Bandcamp you are giving me the equivalent of streaming an entire album of ten tracks 163 times on Google music or a massive 281 times on Spotify. There are very few albums I have listened to, in their entirety, nearly 300 times. Listening to an entire album once a week it would take you five and half years to listen 281 times. Listening to the album once a month it will take over 23 years.

This does not illustrate how expensive an album is to buy, but merely how ludicrously low streaming rates are. It’s great to be able to access so much music through a streaming subscription and I use such a subscription myself. Knowing what the streaming rates are I make a point of buying the music I love. I even tracked down a CD of the album “Dokunmak” by the brilliant Turkish fretless guitarist Erkan Ogur.

A big thank you to everyone who buys my music on Bandcamp. You will always get the best quality and I will always release new music to Bandcamp many months BEFORE it appears on streaming services.