June Newsletter

“Don’t let this crisis go to waste.”
From the podcast Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris and Roshi Joan Halifax. Link

Six words have been flitting through my mind since I decided to go online, live.

Life on Pause; Return to Love

This period in our history is unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetimes. It’s an aberration, an interruption, that for many, doesn’t feel good. We are in a crisis but we can use this to grow, to become a better version of ourselves.

This performance is not about me. I’d like to help you spend an hour with yourself or with someone you love and I will make music for you.

You can play my livestream in the background to a dinner that you cook for yourself, or for you and your loved ones. If not, you can burn some candles and make it romantic or perhaps let the hour find you lying down and listening.

But let it be a pause.

Allow this to be a break in your day where you return to yourself, or to your loved ones. Perhaps, you are in the place where this global pause is bringing you closer to yourself in a way that nothing has before.

Let this be an hour where you sit and reconnect.

Let the music facilitate a return to the bedrock of who we are as individuals and as humanity.

What I would like is for you to take a photo of what you’re doing during the hour. Are you alone? Does the hour find you on the carpet with your eyes closed?

If you are not on Twitter or Instagram, send me a photo of yourself during this hour and I’ll post it to my online diary. If you prefer, you can post it to Instagram or Twitter and tag me @OttmarLiebert.

When: Thursday evening, 6/4 at:

  • 7:30pm Santa Fe time
  • 6:30pm on the West Coast
  • 8:30pm Central time
  • 9:30pm on the East Coast

For folks in other time zones there will be a performance on Tuesday, 6/9 at:

  • 11:30am in Santa Fe
  • 10:30am on the West Coast
  • 12:30pm Central time
  • 1:30pm on the East coast
  • 7:30pm in most of Europe

How: the URL is Twitch.tv/ottmarliebert and you can watch and listen with any internet browser. If you want to watch and listen with a mobile device, you can use its browser or download the Twitch app.

You don’t need a ticket to experience the performance, but I will set up a donation box. The suggested donation for this performance is $10.00.

I wrote on my Diary/blog about live-streaming here, here, and here.

Monday

Email from Sony/ATV Music Publishing:

Dear Songwriters,

Sony/ATV will observe Blackout Tuesday on June 2 to help combat racial discrimination and social injustice.

Tuesday will be a day of reflection, connection and education for our company, and we are committed to fighting for lasting change that extends past Blackout Tuesday.

In conjunction with Sony Music, we are partnering with organizations to support their movements to end systemic racism and wrongful convictions. We will share further details soon.

Please stay safe and strong. Together, we can conquer hate.

Jon Platt
Chairman & CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Here are a couple of links from my morning reading:

Design Milk

The Verge

About Last Night

What I learned last night:

  • the software did not crash… a few days ago it crashed multiple times during testing, so this was a relief
  • I was told the guitar sounded good… there is nothing more important to me that this
  • when I spoke it wasn’t picked up well, because I relied on the guitar microphone… I am looking for an unobtrusive microphone with a silent on/off switch that I can use for my voice. In concerts I use a Shure handheld mic for this purpose but it would be nice to fid something smaller. (((the reason for the switch is that if the mic was left on the entire time it would pick up some of the guitar and muddy the sound)))
  • it was interesting not to get immediate feedback because a live-stream audience is silent. I didn’t mind this because a live-stream should be different from a concert and will never replace the feeling of a concert

So what’s next? I want to do two performances next week, one midday (((evening in Europe))) and one in the evening. I need to inform the folks on my mailing list and add a donation box to my Twitch page. I am eying the roof of my house for a future sunset performance. It would require carrying a lot of stuff up a ladder, but it could be fun – IF we have one of our glorious Santa Fe sunsets that evening.

This is the simple setup I used last night:

The set list was:

  1. Bombay
  2. Indigo
  3. Butterfly Dream
  4. Twitch
  5. Shadow

I hadn’t played Bombay, from The Hours Between Night + Day, in ages. Really enjoyed playing that piece again. Indigo is from last year’s album Fete. Fete is now available for streaming from Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and many others.

Thursday @ 2000

This Thursday at 2000 – 8PM in New Mexico, 7PM in California, 10PM on the East Coast – you will find me at Twitch.tv/ottmarliebert. It turns out that Twitch, which started as a platform to broadcast gaming events, sounds good. DJs have moved onto Twitch and perform there. I checked it out and was impressed with the sound quality. I also like what Twitch is not: YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.

Zoom is a great medium, but it is aimed at video conferencing and therefore the algorithms support clarity of speech, which is not necessarily good for musical performances. Eventbrite partners with Zoom to sell tickets for webinars. Only people who buy a ticket through Eventbrite are ushered into the Zoom call. That’s nice. But the sound…

The one drawback of Twitch is that one cannot sell tickets for a performance. The service is free for anyone and one does not need to create an account to watch, although one has to endure one ad at the beginning. No interruptions later though. At first I thought this would be a problem. A performance should have a value attached. This is what the performance will entail and that is what that experience will cost you.

On second thought, however, I realized that it would be worth experimenting with donations on Twitch. These are extraordinary times and call for extraordinary ways to move forward. Next week I will set up a donation box for Twitch but tomorrow’s performance is just a test and will be shorter… so come check it out and let me know what you think.

Thoughts about Streaming

It isn’t possible to perform at a time that fits every zone. That means performing at different times.

I do not want to record performances because I want the live aspect of the performance to be maintained. I always assumed that I would perform in the evenings, but that is clearly a norm that doesn’t need to be adhered to. What do you think? Would you be more likely to watch a live-stream performance in the evening or during the day? Maybe the question will answer itself… I can do a performance at 1100 one day and then play at 2000 (8PM) another day and look at the results.

I am looking to start a live-stream this Thursday, 28. May, @ 2000 (8PM MDT). I will share the URL tomorrow. The performance will be announced here only. If it goes well, I will make announcements via my mailing list and social media for another performance next week.

A few thoughts about the medium:

  • a live performance should live in that moment and not be recorded
  • a performance should contain elements that are specific to the format that is used
  • the format of live-streaming might allow more time for improvisation
  • every performance should perhaps include a piece of music that was created in that moment… something that is unique to that performance only
  • if it turns out that streaming is appreciated, and supported, I would expand the experience… I would add a couple of cameras to the simple setup I am currently playing with. For example, I could mount a small camera at the end of the neck of the guitar, looking down the fretboard, perhaps mount another camera on a tripod near my right hand
  • another possibility is projecting images onto a white wall in front of which I play…
  • playing in the late morning, next to a sunlit window will elicit a different performance than playing at night, with lights or candles

Because this is a new medium there really are many ways to be creative with it.

Rooftop

OL 1980 Rooftop
1980 on the roof of my loft on Thayer Street in Boston.

Streaming

It took me quite a while to get hardware and software set up for streaming, but yesterday I took the platform for a spin for the first time. I gave the streaming link to a musician as well as a few non-musicians and the consensus was that it was the best sound they had experienced with streaming. So far so good. I will write a separate post about how I envision this to work and what I am aiming for. Thursday evening might be when I will do a short performance for you, followed by a longer performance next week. More later.

Moths

Moths, moths, moths everywhere in Santa Fe. They love squeezing between window and frame, or doors and the frame. Shaking a bundle of keys makes them take off. I bought a high pitched wind chime and that seems to work. I have not seen this many moths in Santa Fe in thirty years.

If butterflies are elves then moths are Orcs!

… and so it goes

I think it is the power supply of the G4 that has been dying. I found an identical machine for $270 and bought it. It won’t arrive here before the end of next week and then I’ll have to move the hard drives and the RAM over from the old Old machine to the new Old machine. Hopefully it will work out and I can keep working. When the album is finished I will have the peace of mind to update my system and method.

Oh, and the odd iMac keyboard with a power button that was said to turn the G4 on… didn’t work.

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