Category Archives: Nature & Environment

weather has changed for the better

[audio:weather.mp3]

…but my head is still in the clouds.

The title of this post is intended as my response to Elspeth’s tagging me. I was meant to write a six word memoir about myself. Of course this doesn’t allow for much, and I had to break the rules by adding a contrasting sentence…

(I’m not really part of a blogging community, so everybody who would like to write a six word memoir about him- or herself is kindly invited!)

guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, ’67 Vox AC 30, Tube Reverb

open island dream

[audio:7erzupf.mp3]

This time it’s a dream we experienced in 1999, traveling Brazil. Close to South America’s biggest megalopolis of Sao Paolo, there is an island called Ilhabela (“beautiful island”), where at last we found places nearly untouched by civilization. It took an adventuresome tour to the backside of Ilhabela, though, and there were only few people due to the “winter” season, which was not winter at all.

We don’t travel much for several reasons, one of them being the pollution caused by too many planes world wide. But we’re still feeding on that experience. I can’t recall being so exposed to pristine nature any other time in my life.

guitar & gear: ’67 Stratocaster, Vox AC 50, Tube Reverb

hidden island dream

[audio:hidden.mp3]

It could be the dream of an hidden island.

Or it could be an island dream hidden in the middle section of this track, framed by a not so dream-like beginning and ending.

Or is there a hidden dream within you?

guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, 1967 Vox AC 30, Tube Reverb

dead tree

[audio:deadtree.mp3]

It’s a monument. This “august” tree I photographed last August has lost none of its dignity, which I guess is the reason why the farmers in the area have saved it.

guitar & gear: Stratocaster, Vox AC 15 Heritage, Cry Baby Classic Wah

But death is the source of new life:

conference of the birds

[audio:birds.mp3]

Following my habit of stealing titles (not music) from other artists – this is the title of an album I greatly admire: “Conference of the birds” by Jazz-bassist Dave Holland, who played, among many others, with Miles Davis.

But improvising in a similar manner as birds do, was an idea that came to me out of the blue (the association with the above-mentioned album being called up afterwards).

Yes, it is a conference they are holding, and no, we usually don’t even take the time to listen.

guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Vox AC 15, Tube Reverb

the kiss

[audio:kiss.mp3]

An improvisation using the tremolo channel of the AC 30.

I encountered this fountain in the center of my hometown, and instantly decided to make up a post named “the kiss”.

The world fades away in this special moment, water freezes, and only the echoes of togetherness remain. The word “tremolo” this time made me think of weird expressions like tremor amoris or fontana tremi.

Again, the resonance strings of the Jaguar and switching to different sounds can be heard.

guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, 1967 Vox AC 30, Tube Reverb

switches and caps

My new Jaguar has a whole bunch of switches that repelled many a guitar player before. You know, they usually like to play without having to think about knobs or buttons. Just plug and play, and that’s okay.

But for me switches are paradise! I now have three different capacitors instead of one in my guitar, and I can even switch from foil to ceramic, if I like to, and I simply love all of the sounds they produce.

For years now I use to modify my guitars by replacing their tone capacitors by better ones. Capacitors obviously are the poor cousin of even the best manufacturers. Usually you don’t see them, and that seems to be enough of a reason to provide only the cheapest ones.

But anybody with ears to listen can hear the difference, though it’s never spectacular. With a Gibson Les Paul or the like I prefer foil caps that give a much smoother sound than the ceramic caps provided. You can turn the tone control all the way down to produce the “woman tone”. Still it will sound good and present, while ceramic caps strangle the tone until it virtually disappears!

With a Fender Guitar, they say, you should use a ceramic cap, but one that’s much bigger than the cheap ones. It is called “Orange Dime”. But the really old Strats had foil capacitors, too. After trying one of them, I would never return to a ceramic cap. But that’s a thing you can argue about.

With the Jaguar it took me some time to find out the right items, though. As always, it was trial and error, and I had to change one capacitor’s value from 0.01 uF to 0.005, for instance. The result is amazing. There is a right-in-the-face Rock sound as well as a smooth Jazz sound, and so the Jaguar has become the most versatile guitar I ever played. Oh, I forgot to tell you about the “resonance strings”: they have their own, harp-like sound adding to the many possibilities of this guitar.

For those who want more information, there is a recent post on guitar caps here.

clouds (2)

[audio:clouds2.mp3]

This music in 6/8 + 7/8 odd meter is additionally intended as an hommage to Carlos Santana, one of my all-time-favorite guitar players. Whoever heard what Senor Carlos did in the early Seventies (the jazzrockydevadip-phase) will feel reminded. Ethereal.

guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom, Vox AC 15 Heritage, Tube Reverb, Big Muff

fire

[audio:fire.mp3]

(This post has been drafted right before the disastrous fires in California. For some reason I felt I should publish later. Now we know… This is not meant to take lightly what is happening, but to reflect on a different level what is always there and all too easily being overlooked).

In ancient times people used to dignify the natural elements we are confronted with, mostly in the shape of gods and goddesses.

I feel there is a lack of this approach in our times, even if there’s no way of returning to ancient practice. We should honor from time to time what is mightier than us and lies at the base of our existence. Fire is an elemental force, at the same time warming, delivering energy, and threatening. A sense of this, which has been very lively in our ancestors, still lives on in every one of us.

clouds (1)

[audio:clouds.mp3]

This is actually not on clouds alone, but on the interplay of light and water in the skies.

Take your time to stop and watch what is shown up there every day! It’s for free, and it’s terrific.

guitar & gear: Gibson Les Paul Special, Vox ToneLab SE, Gerd Schulte Phaser