Monday, February 28, 2005

Moving up the charts on MP3Tunes

Utenzil's ranking has been getting better on and the Utenzil:Utenzil album is now among the top ten Experimental Electronic albums. That's really cool, there are some good selections there, and I'm looking forward to hearing sales numbers. There are some leads for internet radio airplay and I hope to post with more info about that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Utenzil on Accident Hash

Episode #8, a nice assortment of independent artists assembled by C.C. Chapman, host of the Accident Hash podcast. Included is the track "Miissing U Badly" which is led off by a promo I did for the podcast. I'd have to say that the promo is a little more exciting than the tune :-) which is one of my earliest efforts, but it's great to be included on Accident Hash.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

wired magazine articles this issue, musical futures, recap checkpoint.

There are some really good articles in Wired Magazine this month, there were some good ones last month also.

Here's the way I see the future of digital music in the next couple of years. DVD will be the more desired medium, because of surround capability and also because the major labels can afford to bundle music and videos. Internet radio and podcasts will have more indie music than they can consume to play, and there will be improved indie offerring due to software and general technology improvements.

The most important thing all around will be wireless broadband. This is where telephone, web, radio, digital media player and TV begin to become indistinguishable when melded together in the device of choice. The majority of people who listen to music in a digital format do not just listen to music: they are walking between classes, driving to work, running or working out, studying or reading, keeping an eye on the kids... there are relatively few people among music listeners who have time to actually sit around and just listen to music. As all the various "convergence" pundits have noted previously, it get tedious to switch between various different devices when one or two at most will do, it is the nature of device in question that will remain to be seen.

So, let's consider briefly what's happened since the beginning of this blog. The blog began because Utenzil announced intending to release a CD in the fall of 2004. CD was largely assembled, finalized and sent in mid-November 2004, appeared on CD Baby late Nov 2004. In January 2005, the Utenzil CD is available through Tower Records site.
In February 2005, Utenzil is listed on where theUtenzil CD and individual tracks are available for purchase and download.

Things I did well: Hitting my self imposed goal of releasing in the fall. Signing up for CD Baby digital distribution. Shipping my discs to them shortly after signing up. The 12 tracks on the CD is a bonus given the download price, basically 2 tracks for free if you buy the whole CD, and the $0.88 per track is a great price.

Things I did less well: Should've gone first with the Discmakers printed labels but didn't discover that until later.

I will not conjecture whether I "did well" with the music per se, I think it's fine, I enjoy doing it and people either like it or they don't.

My next goal is to release again this year, and then perform some. One thing I really want to do but may not be able to do is to project computer generated imagery along with the music. It is certainly technically feasible but the projectors to do this well are very expensive to rent.

Modern Day "stamp act" and music vs. Creative Commons

There is a phenomenon whereby DJs will spin records in public venues so that that patrons of that venue might dance. There are, of course, various strictures about the public performance of recordings that are part an parcel of the "reserved rights" of the ...well of either the creator of the music or the entity to which the creator has transferred those rights through some agreement involving compensation. At any rate, there is a "music licensor" who is the artist or the label, and there is a "music licensee", who is the purchaser of the music, and whose license is generally limited to personal use and no copying. Purchasers of the music wishing to play the music to an audience must pay the licensor, who then grants rights to that licensee. To facilitate this, there are those organizations that the music licensor and venues belong to that ensure that when music is played by those licensees who are allowed to play it publicly (radio stations, clubs, arenas, for example) that the royalties for playing that music are collected (BMI for one, in the US). There are also records shipped specifically for promotional purposes, where the radio station doesn't even need to purchase the music, and somewhat counter to the whole thing, the record promotion companies pay money to the radio stations usually referred to as "maintenance fees" (not to be confused with "payola" where individual radio DJs would be paid to ensure record airplay)

Now, there are the "DJ's set", which may or may not be legal depending on the venue's disbursement of royalties to the proper organizations, and then the mashups and the remixes and the compilations and all these other blends of music that are recorded and fixed in some media that are popular, but which are basically illegal "derivative works" *unless* the music licensor has granted rights for these to the people who make them.

So the music's licensor/owner/creator can reserve as many rights as they please, which means they may choose to relinquish some. This is what the Creative Commons license facilitates, providing a well crafted "access port" in the copyright that relinquishes some rights, in the interest of an improved licensee experience in the hope of making music thus licensed more appealing.

Now, because of the spread of modern DJ'ing, where the DJ's set is crafted as a blend of beats and music and thousands of songs can lay on a hard disk to be thus blended, a good DJ can be very well compensated, and so as licensee wants to use the music in his possession for commercial purposes. This is largely where the "line is drawn" in any of these licenses: once you set out to make money with another person's music, you have to compensate that person in some manner they agree to. In reality, that "another person" is usually a record company, of course, but the point is that the licensor is due their compensation because it's their music (regardless of how you might regard record companies). To complicate things, the line between "producer" and "DJ" has been blurred to a significant extent, where the DJ produces recorded music from fixed pre-assemblies, and the producer proper might use some fixed pre-assemblies and live musicians. The nature of the fixed pre-assemblies in question in either case (commercially produced full songs not intended for creative re-use or loops/sounds from sound libraries primarily intended for creative re-use) and the licenses which the user has to produce music from either of them are the key here.

Having said all that, it is the case that in Europe, music is "tagged" a lot like software, and if a DJ cannot prove that they legally purchased the music, they can be fined. Sometimes, they can be fined A Lot. Moreover, in many countries, they cannot play MP3s in this way-- the "MP3J" concept is illegal . Now, they may be able to if the original "stamped" copy of the item the MP3 was derived from accompanies them, or at very least later prove in court that they were using music they had purchased, simply converted to a more convenient form, but in either event they risk some legal entanglement.

This sort of law is perfectly reasonable on one hand and slightly insidious on the other. What it does is to protect the licensor and uphold copyright, but it also serves to enshrine a particular type of distribution channel as the only bona fide source of licensable music. You can buy an MP3 album on line with the full support of the artist/licensor. Download it, burn it, save it on your iPod. It would be the case that you would still need to compensate via usual channels when using this music for commercial purposes, but personal use rights are greatly expanded, and you can sample, purchase immediately and conveniently. In the case of CD Baby, the artist need only create a few physical copies for digitization pay a small fee for registration through CD Baby, ship the copies to them, and then the digital distribution occurs through CD Baby's partnership channels. The general strategy is this- if you have an established act, you do your CD, duplicate a 1000 or so, send a few in to CD Baby and then sell the rest at shows.

It's just very convenient for the artist, and you can adjust the amount of work you do to achieve the desired effect. Just like not all potters want to become Pottery Barn, not all independent musicians want to become Major Label Artists. So either the modern day "stamp act" will need to accomodate this new channel, or the differences between high quality independent and major label, and their respective audiences, become more pronounced.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


So I go to my CD Baby account and there is an indication that a new digital distributor has gotten a delivery of the Utenzil CD. To an OMD called "".

Ok, well, it usually takes a while, like a loooooong while, for anything to happen with these-- that's ok, I'm sure they get tons of submissions. For grins, I go over to "" and search on Utenzil, to see what their "not found" looks like. However, rather than the familiar "Did you mean utensil?" I am greeted by a crisply designed webpage offering the album for sale!

Then, clicking on the album cover takes you to this page, where the individual tracks are available for 88 cents! This is wonderful, this is the way I wanted it to work-- I don't want to make people buy the whole CD unless they want. Just absolutely fan-tastic.


I am very pleased to announce the availabilty of Utenzil "Utenzil" on, available for download at the extremely reasonable price of $8.88.

Musings, logistics, shopping for Headphones and local distributors-- and a neat free Visualizer

So I am going around bothering various shopkeepers about two things: high quality headphones and selling Utenzil CDs.

The high quality headphones are helpful to me because I live in a cramped place with limited opportunities to crank up monitors. Could a good pair of headphones like these DT-770s help-- they go for about $200, are they worth it?

So I went to the local Guitar Center and they were kind enough to give me a listen.

Yes, Ok.. well, they are worth it. The bass response on these is phenomenal, you can hear the mud that is missed otherwise and which adds hidden overhead on the VUs. So, sigh, something else to long for, but $200 is not a huge expenditure.

Among the wildly expensive things that are huge expenditures but are needed to do what I want at some point are good monitors, a small mixer, and the aforementioned Bose Personalized Amplification system.

Combined, these things will cost around $3000. Understand what this means: in order to create music that sounds good enough for you to be happy with, and to be converted into MP3s for people to be willing to take the time to download them for free and in order to put together a performance that people might be willing to listen to for free you have to be willing to spend a fair amount of money.

There is something amusing in all of this that I may have noted previously and that is that a street musician who sets out a case and begins to play with skill lying somewhere between "people will not run him off" and "virtuoso" will generally make more money more quickly than "independent self produced recording artist oooh he's got a CD out" but of course the two things are pretty different aspects of music. Suffice to say that there are many many many independently produced CDs out that are dirt cheap and which likely make nobody any money.

...this is all very therapeutic, thanks for reading thus far, by the way...

so there are maybe some local shops where I can sell my CD, working on this. There are likely some places that will permit me to play my music, that would be great... I'm targeting playing in the spring/summer, and I'm sort of envisioning a charity benefit type situation that would showcase diverse multiple groups as being a good start. No commercial pressure as far as being 'the sole draw' but also an opportunity to possibly sell some cds. So I'm going to look around for that sort of opporunity... now, I've got one limitation to grapple with as far as providing a compelling performance-- I'm not particularly fun to watch, sitting at a computer and all, so I need some visual stimuli added into the mix.

There is some interesting freeware, called Bomb that has been used for this. I've downloaded it, it's cool. I need to adjust the various parameters to get the best results, so something else to experiment with.

Now, there is a secret, and here is the secret-- even though I do not have all the time in the world, I do, because I don't have any deadlines and massive commitments to meet by making music. As characterizations go, at worst, I am a nobody in the music business. At best, I am my own label with a unique offering presented by a multitalented composer, performer and producer.

I am not quite an amateur, because I have been paid money to play music.. LOL... but being paid money and actually making any are two different things... I'll stop talking about the money part of things for a while. It's just that this is the quantifiable aspect of the thing, and as we set up base camp and continue on this journey, funds are part of the provisions that will assist us and are part of the goal, because remember we're also putting some aside for at least one worthwhile cause and others are likely to follow.

But not all of the goal. All of the goal is to play some really interesting, exciting, pleasant sounding, sometimes wild and always unique electronic music.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Check out these podcasts.. a good time

The Accident Hash Podcast is a great listen, very down to earth ... what's a podcasting DJ, anyway, a "PJ"? ... at any rate, C.C. Chapman, the host, sounds like he has a great time doing it and chooses some really well done independent music, mostly towards the indie rock/alt folk side of things but also very eclectic. New England oriented and based, but plays music from all over.

MWS Media's Podcast is on the opposite side of the country, Matthew W. Selznick is the host, Southern California laid back but outspoken at the same time. Imparts a really nice vibe, great for listening to while on a coffee break at work.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A site of interest by way of a comment

Okiekine is kind enough to comment, right off you will see that the site includes some interesting thoughts and a good pointer to info on mastering.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Using the P5 glove with Ableton live

I also posted this in the Ableton forum .

The P5 glove is intended as a game controller. It is USB and uses an IR receiver to send movment signals. It slips over the hand, and has function buttons on the back of the glove. You can pick one up here for about $25

Then, you go here: to get some free software that will convert it into a MIDI controller.

Then, you can go here: to get some free software that will convey your signals into Live.

Then, when your glove is installed and loopbe1 is running, you set up your MIDI map for the glove as you will, start up Live, click the MIDI map control, and assign finger and hand movements to faders, panners, whatever.

Practical... maybe yes, maybe no... but it's a lot of fun for under $30.

LOL, i'm sitting here panning a track by waving back and forth, and crossfading by twitching my pinky. This would likely be good for scratching, you can move the controls very quickly by making a mid-air tapping movement with your index finger.

New developments!

Ok, I mentioned "big things in the works"... big is relative when you are an obscure artist in a niche genre, but it's really pretty cool:

Also, a Utenzil track was featured on MWS Radio's weekly podcast-- one of my more depressing efforts, from what I'm starting to refer to as my 'recurring blue periods' and many thanks to Matthew Wayne Selznick, the podcaster of that weekly show and the primary force behind MWS Media, for taking a chance on including some music that is more than a little bit off the beaten path.

Also, Utenzil is being promoted on IndieRadioLive (IRL)...

Indie Radio Live...Keeping the World in Tune
Thanks to Kathi and all the great people at IRL, for their dedication to independent music.

Now, dear reader, it might seem somewhat kind of 'show bizzy phony' to be thanking people who have full blown music websites in this out-of-the-way blog, but its like this: you come to realize that things are very confusing when you're dealing with music even on the micro scale that this project is, and things can move in ways and at speeds you don't expect, slow or fast, for good or for bad. Everyone involved with their own music related project, regardless of it's current outwardly perceived success or apparent lack of success, is in kind of an 'embroiled state': anxious, energized, unsure and resolute all at the same time. It helps to know that the connection and contribution is appreciated by anyone who appreciates it.

It's easy for the oak to scoff at the seedling, but we all start somewhere, and acorns often fall on less than ideal soil: it's not about being bigger, it's about continual growth and improvement. I read long ago that Jimi Hendrix would jam with anyone, regardless of their ability, and that's something to always keep in mind.

Monday, February 07, 2005

If you haven't seen this, you should...

Saturday, February 05, 2005

OH boy geeky fun

There is a thing called a "P5 Glove". You can get it at for $25. It is primarily geared towards gaming, and it would appear that it didn't go as successfully as it might have in that arena, but there is also MIDI controller software called P5Midi, freely available for it. So you can put on this glove, point it at an infrared receiver that's connected via USB to your computer, and send midi control information by waving your hand around. You're going to have to search for those terms, sorry, low bandwidth connection at the moment and don't have the links offhand.

Then, you need some way to route that midi info into your MIDI instruments. There is a program available on this site called 'Loopbe1' that will allow routing of midi in this way.

Then, you need some minutes that may turn in to hours of quiet to set up all your MIDI mapping, and then you are waving your hand side to side and panning, up and down and controlling amplitude.

I'll be providing more info on experiments with using this controller in conjunction with Ableton Live.

(edited) links added: Nicolas Fournel, P5 Midi. A fellow who clearly knows alot who has provided a very interesting site with some sound design apps.
VST plugins that provide a variety of interesting spatial effects, and some that are created with this controller in mind.
Link to for P5 glove

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Another experiment with Podcasting via RSS

The files on are mp3s with CGI arguments that enable the system to find the file in question. Here is a test of one, attempting to get it recognized as an "enclosure" by a piece of software that will check podcast sites However, this is a little different from the way that most podcasts provide MP3 files, hence my experiments.

Testing RSS feed

testing RSS feed. I am attempting to see if this will support podcasting directly from files hosted on

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

OK, some news

I recently joined the IndieRadio Live website and they were kind enough to post a news article announcing Utenzil's debut CD.

Somewhat unexpectedly, I've climbed to the #1 position on's Electronic Genre Chart. This is good.

I'm sending around CDs to some Podcasters who are banding together. Podcasters are the underground of internet radio, more undeground than college radio is to FM. Mostly, I'm sure, they are doing this just for free CDs, but it can be very fun to listen to.

I've been going to a few small stores in my area, looking to see if they would like to set up a display to sell CDs from. I have gotten some favorable responses, and so I will be putting together some small displays.

I know this all seems very small scale, but I am seeing more and more that this is the Independent Record Business, and in addition I am putting a portion of proceeds to a cause that is very worthy so that kind of keeps me going at it.

Now, what I want to do, dear reader, is announce when Utenzil will be playing live, what I CAN say is that is not on the radar until the weather is warmer.

Miscellaneous Items of Interest:

Some really wild artwork I came across on the web, by a very talented artist. Dark, surreal and mysterious-- drawing on some of the ancient worlds more obscure mythology.

Also, if you are a musician, and you have not checked out Ableton's Live 4.1 then I would encourage you to, because I've really enjoyed using it.