John McLaughlin — Meeting of the Minds

Meeting of the Minds (DVD cover)

The DVD of my dreams has just been released by Abstract Logix, and I’ve already started buying it by the dozen: John McLaughlin’s Meeting of the Minds, the making of Floating Point. It is my hope that when Manifold Recording opens and The Miraverse comes into existence that we will be hosting musicians and archiving such creativity and experiences as the Meeting of the Minds DVD captured.

I’m a big fan of John McLaughlin’s music and musicality. When he came to Durham last year, I was lucky enough to procure 4 tickets to his Fourth Dimension concert so close to the stage I could touch it. At that time we had already received zoning approval for the studio complex, but we had not yet received a building permit. I went to that concert at the Carolina Theater of Durham both as a fan and as a prospective producer. How would his live concert measure up to what I believe could be an even better experience–an opportunity to see and participate in the creative process with a musical genius like John?

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Construction photos: week 16 (new footings)

This past week saw very little in the way of visible change, at least from the perspective of my photos, but the gravel pile shrunk by 50%, so something must have happened. Actually, the main change was that new footings were dug for walls that have evolved from drywall to masonry. I took some pictures from those footing holes, but not of those footing holes. Doh! In any case, the new wall design will give us better acoustics (isolation) and better aesthetics (consistency and integrity), and because the walls are so small, not much more cost.

Here are a pair of pictures showing very subtle differences in the level of gravel fill now evident in the booths and the Music Room:

Topped Up Booths

Music Room From New Bath Footings

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No Fortissimo? (from the New York Times)

As a rule, I hate unnecessary volume levels at most concert venues.  And I am no fan of recorded music that is compressed to sound as loud as a TV commercial.  So it is with some ambivalence that I read No Fortissimo? in the New York Times this weekend.

My mother was a professional violin player some years ago, and she attributes her hearing damage to not protecting her ears when seated too close to the trumpet section.  I don’t know, but I do know that I basically avoid amplified musical performances of any kind due to the fact that nobody seems empowered to control the volume in any sensible way.  I do understand the need for some sound reinforcement, and when it is done tastefully, that’s OK.  But that, too, is becoming rare.

But what will become of the symphony without fortissimo?  That’s a tough one, but I’d rather see one cannon of music pushed to the back shelf than the canons of music making us all deaf, ruining everything for everybody.

Construction photos: week 15 (gravel fill)

This week marks an important milestone in the progress of pouring the slab: the gravel is in!

I’m not sure if the picture properly conveys just how “full” the foundation now looks, but it was quite a shock to see the level up to the minus-8″ level. As for the rest of the pictures…

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How would /you/ outfit the studio?

There are hundreds of posts on the various recording studio mailing lists and bulletin boards asking people to indulge in the fantasy of deciding how to spend large $$ on gear. And the most frequent response given is “FOR WHAT PURPOSE?” followed closely by “You have to match the gear to the room. If you’re not going to spec the room, the question of gear is meaningless!” Most of these threads intentionally omit any consideration of the room because the people posting all have roughly the same situation: a basement or bedroom studio with 8′ ceilings, tons of prosumer gear they’re ready to upgrade, and enough money to buy some serious pro-quality equipment, but not enough money to build the space needed to really utilize the gear. And so these threads rarely lead to anything.

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If you were famous for 15 people, what would you do?

Amy was listening to Sound Opinions, a radio program brought to us by WUNC on Saturday afternoons, and told me somebody was describing The Miraverse. I only caught the last exchange between the host and his guest, but the comment was highly google-able. The guest said “the world is changing from one where everybody gets their 15 minutes of fame to one where one is famous for only 15 people”. And voilà, here is the link to perhaps the first utterance of such, back in 1991.

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Construction photos: week 14

In the past two weeks the Triangle got something we’ve been needing for a year: lots of rain. Good for the plants and the earth, not so good for construction. But with now nearly 12″ of rain replenishing the groundwater (and 12′ or more of water runoff filling the local reservoirs), we were happy when the rain stopped and the crew could get back to work.

As you saw in the previous photos, the site was quite exposed in week 12. By the time I got back to the site, things were pretty much put back together, although there’s still plenty of evidence both of the progress that was made and the infrastructure that’s being laid. Compare this lovely spring panorama with the mayhem two weeks ago:

Spring Panorama

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