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The Importance of Details by Andreas Farmakalidis

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Meet Andreas Farmakalidis –

I always find myself engaging in conversations about the importance of “details” in music as a whole. If you check the dictionary, details are particulars considered individually and in relation to a whole. In other words, without the details, it is difficult to understand and see the big picture. These small, elaborated elements make the difference.

The last few years I have been trying to get deeper and deeper in the session scene. I had the privilege of working with many amazing music producers. The more I converse and discuss with music producers, the more I admire their skills, perhaps the same way we admire the skills of top bass players. Bassists like Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, Ray Brown or even some more contemporary bass players like Damian Erskine or Hadrien Feraud are simply remarkable. Their time, feel, sound and most important their “voice” are second to none.

The “best” music producers – or should I say the music producers who pay attention and know how to treat the subtle “details” of a musical composition – are extraordinary individuals as well as musicians. In addition to their amazing musical abilities, they can understand, oversee and know how to use small subtle elements, in order to make their music unique and exceptional.

Top music producers got their skills from working on details. They practiced small things again and again, repeating their lesson with – as well as within- every music principle. By using the information they learned in a normal study room, their skills became second nature. These producers make it look so easy, to compose, re-harm, arrange, program, record etc, when in fact they stumbled through their process for a long time until they became comfortable with all these information they mastered.

If you check top-notch producers such as Rick Rubin, Nicolas Farmakalidis, Peter Gabriel, you will understand what I mean.

A few days ago, I had a great as well as very educational recording at Neilaproductions, for an up and coming singer – songwriter style album. It was probably the most instructive experience of my life. Before the recording, the producer explained the particulars of the recording. The clearer the facts of the recording, the better the result will be and the sooner we will finish.

The producer creatively guided and directed the process of making the record, like a director would a movie. The music producer’s job is to create, shape, and mold a piece of music. What I really found amazing was that during the recording, the producer changed my bass line as well as the strings voicings, doing re-harmonization and arranging on the spot. I did study the “science” of re-harmonization as well, however to be able to do it during a recording session and be absolutely correct without having an instrument next to you, is simply astounding.

If music is played as an art, I personally believe that it is best to be learned as a science though. It can be as specific as chemistry. For instance, if you take a minor third and add a perfect fifth from the root, the result will be a minor triad. Consequently, in chemistry, if you take two atoms of hydrogen and add one atom of oxygen you form one water molecule. The important is to understand the difference. Music is an art that has always offered the best results to students who learn it as a science. However, after you gain knowledge of these certain methodologies, you perform those with passion and a desire to create and touch people’s hearts. My point is that, my friends in Neilaproductions must have been studying arranging and re-harmonization as a science and now they are skillful and knowledgeable enough to be able to use that knowledge in order to create and enhance the beauty of a piece of music.

My last point, which I understand the more I study and record, is the concept of “time”. The performed rhythm – for instance a bass line – can sound very straight, exactly on the beat, swinging laid back or rushed. Important is how a listener perceives the timing of these rhythms and recognizes it as being ‘rushed’ or ‘swinging’, as well as why a rhythm with a slightly shorter note not is simply a different rhythm. These are matters that we do not typically address in music theory. However, they are essential aspects during a recording session as well as they are fundamental in the development of a cognitive theory of music as performed and listened to. Research in the perception of music as well structuring of events in music, is quite different from the concept of time in physics. “Listeners to music do not perceive rhythm on a continuous scale. Instead, rhythmic categories are recognized which function as a reference relative to which the deviations in timing can be appreciated”. (Nicolas Farmakalidis)

In fact, temporal patterns in music combine two time scales that are essentially different: the discrete rhythmic durations as symbolized by, for example, the half and quarter notes in a musical score, and the continuous timing variations that characterize an expressive musical performance – what musicians referred to as “feel”. By being in the studio with talented musicians and producers you understand how important time is and how it varies from every style of music to another.

To sum up, pay attention to details. This is what makes the difference. Every major artist and every truly dedicated student in every art form knows this.

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Gear News

New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.com

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @loritabassworks @meridian_guitars @alpherinstruments @phdbassguitars @mgbassguitars @mauriziouberbasses @utreraguitars @sugi_guitars @branco_luthier @blasiusguitars

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Gear News

New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

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New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

D’Addario’s New Humidipak Absorb Protects Instruments Against Excess Moisture…

Utilizing two-way humidity control technology, D’Addario’s new Humidipak Absorb protects against damage to wooden instruments in environments with too much humidity. 

Humidipak Absorb allows players to safely return an instrument and case to the ideal relative humidity level. Using Boveda’s patented two-way humidity control technology, Absorb automatically soaks up excess moisture at a safe rate, re-establishing the right humidity level and eliminating the guesswork of revitalizing your instrument. 

Like all the Humidipaks before, using Humidipak Absorb is easy—there’s no dripping sponges or manual adjustments. All players need to do is put the humidification packets in the included pouches and place them in the instrument case, close the lid, and relax. The instrument and case will remain at the optimal 45-50% relative humidity level for 2-6 months. 

D’Addario’s other Humidipaks, Restore and Maintain, are still available for those who need to increase and sustain the humidity around their instrument. 

To learn more about Humidipak Absorb, visit ddar.io/absorb-pr 

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

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Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Interview With Bassist Travis Book…

Bluegrass music has had a very solid following over many years and I am always happy to hear from one of the pioneers in that genre.

Travis Book plays bass for the Grammy award-winning band “The Infamous Stringdusters” and has recently released his first solo album “Love and Other Strange Emotions”. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Travis also hosts a podcast, Plays a Jerry Garcia music show with Guitarist Andy Falco, and is constantly gigging locally in his neck of the woods.

Photo, Seyl Park

Visit Online:

www.thetravisbook.com
www.thestringdusters.com
FB @ TheTravisBook
IG @ travisbook

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