Music Industry Crisis - A Must See For Musicians and Music Lovers

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

My friend Brian sent me the link to this documentary film Music Industry Crisis "Before the Music Dies" about the state of the music industry.  I watched it and can easily relate to this being that I'm a musician.  This film which is broken down into 13 parts shows how the music industry has become all about money and not about the "creative" artist anymore.  It also talks about the fall of radio programming and how it has turned it's back on the "true" artist.  This film is a must see for musicians and music lovers alike who feel their tastes are not being met by local radio and the music industry and why this has happened.  It also brings up MTV who basically helped kill creative music and spawned the "Barbie" image of entertainers you now see these days.  Enjoy this film but most of all, if you like it and care about music, you'll pass this around to as many people as you can. 
Thanks...Glen "the Freq"

Music Industry Crisis Part 1
Music Industry Crisis Part 2
Music Industry Crisis Part 3
Music Industry Crisis Part 4
Music Industry Crisis Part 5
Music Industry Crisis part 6
Music Industry Crisis Part 7
Music Industry Crisis Part 8
Music Industry Crisis Part 9
Music Industry Crisis Part 10
Music Industry Crisis Part 11
Music Industry Crisis Part 12
Music Industry Crisis Part 13

New "Chris Belsito" Album "Revelation Come Late"

Posted: by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Here's a little plug for local artist Chris Belsito.  His new album has just been released.  I purchased the album from the Rad Zone, one of the few supporters of local music left in this city.

Chris Belsito’s "Revelation Come Late" 2011.
The 12-track CD was produced by Miguel Gauthier at Stereo Soul Studios.  The album features a wide array of sounds and styles. In addition to Chris, the album features performances by Craig West, Ed Young, Jay Case, Lindsay Pugh, Frank Deresti, Rachelle Risling, Dan Kreutzweiser, Brian Holmes and Miguel Gauthier. The biggest sound difference to me on this album is the addition of piano. Chris decided to stretch outside his normal realm of acoustic guitar to add this new dynamic to his music. Chris has always had a dark tone to his sound so adding piano seems to blend nicely with his writing style. Another added change is a little more rasp in his vocals, something not heard on earlier recordings.  Could this be a Tom Waits influence?  The CD is available for download on iTunes (or many of your other favorite download sites) and can be ordered online from IndiePool. It is also available by order through HMV, Chapters, and many other chains. In addition, if you live in Sault Ste. Marie, it is available at the Rad Zone and Case’s Music.

Official Website

Track listing is as follows:
1. Room 702
2. Candy Counsel
3. Blueprints
4. Best Silhouette
5. Strange Logic
6. One by One
7. Silence Breaks My Heart
8. Catatonic
9. Canopy of Stars
10. My Driver Comes
11. Curve of the World
12. Can I Change Your Mind

Important Updates From "The Barking Eye"

Posted: by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Many people have messaged me personally on various topics including some I've written about on the Barking Eye Blog and one of them is "why they can't comment" on this blog.  The reason is quite simple.  When I started this blog I had it open so that anyone could comment.   That was short lived as almost immediately, idiots with verbal attacks started flooding the comments.  Yes, these comments were from local musicians and readers that really had nothing to say that was worthy of posting.  So, because of a few bad apples, the forum is heavily screened.   Those on my friends list on Facebook and Myspace know how to get a hold of me and you can comment via email OR you can comment on links to this blog that I post on Facebook.  I'm sorry but to keep this blog positive, it's best to keep comments on track, without hostility.

Next, I have had a ton of responses to the project I mentioned about a website to sell local artists music.
Yes, I have been looking at grants to start such a site but also a main server computer base for such a project for all the material from local bands.  This is not an easy business to start so I want to make sure I'm not getting in over my head with this.  I am making sure if I do follow through on this that it will be a safe and secure site for local musicians to sell and promote their music.   Suggestions have been rolling in since I posted the article and all of these are welcome.  A few have commented on the single song format I mentioned in the main article.  The reason for single song downloads is that it allows artists that just can't afford a full blow album of tracks, to sell a single song they might have recorded.  Yes, full albums will be be made available but one song at a time.  This is no different that "CDnow". I have looked at access to downloading an entire album in ZIP and FLAC formats but I'm still not convinced on it. High quality MP3's seem the most logical.  Single song formats seems the easiest but it also seems to help the "little guy" sell a single song if that's all they have to promote.  Some artists never get to the full album stage.  I hope that makes sense.  Details of the progress of my venture will follow in future posts. Stay tuned. ;-)

I must clarify for some that "The Barking Eye" is a simple blog dedicated to my thoughts and opinions about the local music scene.  Some stories may be about current artists and some are from our cities past music scene.  The topics I write about are ones that interest me.  I apologize if they don't interest you. ;-)  Some feel I should be talking about more current topics and more mainstream artists.  I've also taken heat for not writing about Lop Lops and a few other bars or artists. First,  let me say that there are bands and musicians in this city that never get written about and there are some from the past that put out music that again, never got written about.  Forgotten bands and lost music. That alone, interests me to search these artists out and talk about them.  As for venues like Lop Lops and others, I will simply say that they are always in the media spot light and so are their regular artists.  I want to promote those that the media seems to ignore, miss or forget about.  Lop Lops has been great for many local artists as have some of the other bars but there are artists that just can't get their feet into these establishments and again, those are the ones that interest me.  Please do not take my blog the wrong way.  I love to support local talent but I'm really after supporting the underdog.  Other blogs like Sault Metal Scene have the underground metal scene covered and I'd like to in some way shape or form help the other local music styles find a voice in local media. ;-)

Lastly, whether my comments or opinions tick you off or make you think, they are still my opinons so all you have to do is take them with a grain of salt as the saying goes.  If you disagree, that is fine.  If you enjoy what I talk about, that is fine too.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion and so I voice those on my blog and forum.  That does not mean you have the right to attack my opinions on my blogs or forums.
It also doesn't give you the right to message me, phone me or email me with your displeasure.  You can simply start your own sites and voice your opinions there.  I don't have to hear everyones responses
because, like I mentioned earlier, these sites are about what's on my mind at the time and not about getting into verbal attacks or back and forth bickering.  In other words, I'm not into debating. ;-) That is not the purpose of this blog nor will it ever be. ;-)

Stay tuned
Glen "the Freq"

Website For Local Musicians to Sell Their Music

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

For quite a while now I have pondered the idea of creating a website to sell music by local Sault Ste. Marie musicians.  True, we have had some support with The Rad Zone and CD Plus in selling CD's we've created but with CD Plus now gone, an online site strictly for local artists to sell their music seems like a logical next step.   I have been researching this for some time and I've come to the conclusion that selling music via the MP3 format online in single songs would be best.  For the past few months I have been researching how I could achieve such a site, using Pay Pal, or credit card payments per song but also the ability to download full albums.  Over the next while I'm going to talk with some local musicians to see if this is something they might be interested in contributing to with their music.  Right now, local bands are basically selling their music by word of mouth, or like I mentioned earlier, through a few local stores.  Yes, you could put your material on "itunes" or similar sites but I'm talking your home town and giving local fans easy access to buying the material.   Right now, I'm researching online storage for such a venture and the cost to get this going.  This is just an idea I've been working on and I won't say for sure if it's something definite, but a few I've mentioned this to, sound interested.  The music has to be strictly local musicians but that can also be ones that have relocated.  The focus has to be on the local scene.   On top of all of that, finding a way to advertise to the city of Sault Ste. Marie is also a task and like any advertising, it costs money.   Finding a way to promote such a site so local folks can first of all find the site let alone download music is a task in its self.  I will keep you posted if I take the plunge on such a site or not.  I still have more research to do.

Glen "the Freq"

Attack of the Garage Bands - "Machines Dream"

Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2011 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

2011's first edition of "Attack of the Garage Bands" starts off this year with local prog rock band "Machines Dream" who have been working hard recording their debut album. Craig West (pictured right) the band's vocalist, bassist and second guitarist was nice enough to let me invade the band's rehearsel and recording lair which is situated in an attic space of a beautiful old war time house. Craig West has been a staple in the local music scene for many years and an accomplished song writer. In this new band, Craig also handles the engineering duties for this project. I talked a few hours with him and got the low down on the gear and some of the software the band uses to record which is the basis of this topic.
The first thing I noticed about Craig's studio is the atmosphere it has. The attic is roughly 3 room sections but with an open concept and every corner has something related to music. I could just tell it was a great place to create music. One area in the central room is dedicated to the main recording rig, computer and monitor speakers. Around that are guitar amps, keyboard area and a jam space for the everyone to stand. In one smaller room off the main one is the vocal room and on the other end is the drum area. Being that the band is all about progressive rock, the guys seem to address technology with open arms. With that said, I noticed that electronic drums were being used for the album. The kit which is a Roland TD4 set, just relays the midi data to the recording computer in which Toontrack's Superior Drummer 2 software takes over and supplies the sounds. This process eliminates the headaches of trying to achieve drum sounds from a real acoustic kit which can be a nightmare in some situations but also loud and uncontrollable in a small room. Craig says electonics are easier to record and control in their situation. Superior Drummer is quite popular amongst home studio engineers as there are unlimited combinations of drum sounds and editing you can use. The sweet thing about this software is that you can also control mic bleed in toms, snares and cymbals to help create room ambience from tight jazz situations to huge Led Zepplin sounding drums. You also get plug ins like EQ's and Noise Gates to help dial in your drum sound. Real drummers record the "samples" used by the software but it's the band's drummer playing his parts on the Roland kit that triggers these sounds through Midi. Understanding MIDI confuses many but if you just keep in mind that MIDI is control data being sent and received by hardware such as keyboards or electronic drumsets and not an actual audio sound, you will have an easier time grasping it. That sent data then triggers sounds in the software which in Craig's case is Superior Drummer. This modern technology using software products like Superior Drummer or keyboard software synths like Native Instruments is the wave of the future.  The physical keyboards or electronic drums are just controllers of the software on your computer.  No sounds are needed from these physical hardware devices.  You just play them, it sends the data to the computer and the software and you have rich full sounds without the hassles.

The main computer rig "Machines Dream" uses is Apple which is running Logic Pro software. This is the software that allows all the multitrack recording, effects and mixing.  There are so many programs to choose from and we all have our favourites but Logic Pro is a great program. The interface that brings all the sounds received by the mics and line ins and brings them to the computer is called the MOTU 828. This converts analog audio sound into digital. There are many combinations you can use to achieve this so do a lot of research and find out what suits your needs. MOTU is only one brand name. Craig tells me that some of their songs were recorded live off the floor as ghost tracks where as others were done in stages. Where tracks off the floor were used, layering of other instruments and vocals were added later.  Some of the ghost tracks were so good they were actually kept and used on the final versions. He also mentions that the entire band writes together for the most part but there are a few ideas that were created on his own.

Main vocals are recorded in a small room off the main room like I mentioned earlier. The microphone used is an Audio Technica AT4033 which Craig says was formerly used in a blues club in London England and sent over to him by a personal friend. Instruments are recorded with SHURE SM57 mics and a few pencil condensor mics. Shure SM57 are an industry standard for studio and live situations.  They are great on snare drums.

I noticed a group of speaker combinations in Craig's studio which included pairings of house speakers but the main recording rig utilizes Berringer Truth Monitors that handle roughly 150 watts of playback power. In reserve, Craig has a set of Tannoy 6.5 inches, and a KRK system with a sub.  Many studios use multiple speaker setups just to help make sure the recordings sound good on a variety of systems for example, car, home and ghetto blaster set ups. Also used in Craig's studio are Berringer Ultragraph Pro Equalizers with the main rig.  Equalizers are a much needed device in home recording.  Do your homework on these before you buy.

Craig let me listen to numerous tracks the band has been working on including "Everyone Says Goodbye" which has some edgy guitar happening in it, "Mad For All Seasons" (previewed on their Facebook pag) and "Traping Stars For Solitude" to name a few. My first impression was the dynamic factor of the music. There is a lot of depth to their music. My impressions of what I heard were simply that no one locally sounds like them and that's a good thing. Their influences to my ears are from bands like Alan Parsons Project and Pink Floyd for starters. Finding an audience locally might take a bit of time but in my opinion, the local music scene is due for a change and you never know, "Machines Dream" might be leaders in the direction people may want to explore. I know for me, their music is a breath of fresh air over what is out there currently. The musicianship is top notch and the material is well thought out and well written. I wish more bands took the care in writing as these guys seem to be doing. Another key fact to this bands recordings are that they aren't afraid to use layers of instruments. Keyboards are featured heavily in a lot of the music but acoustic and electric guitars also have magical moments. The bass and drum parts remind me of Pink Floyd and cradle the songs beautifully throughout some of these 8 to 10 minute epics.  The material is very experimental and it appears to me they are trying to give each instrument a chance to shine in each composition while not taking away from the lyrical content.   Yes, I like to call their efforts "music that makes you think".
I'm not sure when the album will be completed but I do know you won't be disappointed by the product and I know first hand these guys are puting a lot of time and effort into this judging by the tracks I've heard.  Thanks to Craig West for letting me pluck his brain for this article, letting me visit his studio,but most of all letting me hear the original material of the upcoming Machines Dreams album.

The idea of these articles for my topic "Attack of the Garage Bands" is to simply help those starting out in music to get into writing and recording their own material but to also give some insight into what certain bands use gear wise and software wise to aid you in building a home studio of your own.

Glen "the Freq"

Flashback Attack # 3 !!!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Starting 2011's Flashback Attack series is a killer local band that consisted of some of the Sault's most stellar musicians all wrapped up in really nice, neat suits.   Yes, the band that should have had a stronger following but slipped through the holes in the local music scene  were known as "Big Suit".  The band consisted of guitar greats Jay Case and Brian Oja who also handled most of the vocals, drummer powerhouse Ed Yound who also sang and local bass player legend George "the Rav" Ravlich.  George would later be replaced by Frank Deresti on bass.  The band came from a number of defunct bands like Crankshaft and The Crank Shop.   Big Suit's mission was to play all original rock material on their gigs but like most local acts find out, that doesn't get you a lot of gigs so the shows were few and far between.  I had the pleasure of seeing the band live a few times and they were an extremely tight band with no lack of music chops.The band wrote and recorded one CD simply called "Big Suit" , released May of 2005 at a release party show at the Galazy Cinema from which their killer tune "Big Man on the Motorway" quickly became a fan
favourite.   The band's song also made it to an "extreme video" release for snowmachining and or downhill skiing.  I have no listing of the actual title.  Big Suit officially went on hiatus in 2009 but do get together for the rare reunion show.  Band members are spread out into other projects these days but rumours have it they had written enough material for a 2nd album.  Time will tell if they release this material.   All links to their old website and sound files are long gone and officially dead.  Posted below is a video presentation of the band's song "Big Man on the Motorway".  ENJOY!

New Song "One Finger Groove" by Glen the freq Thomas

Posted: by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

To start the 2011 year off on a song writing note, I have recorded a new song called "One Finger Groove" that will be free to download at the link below for a short time.   The tune is a rock song with just a taste of prog thrown in for good measure.  Just click the play button to listen to it and if you like it and want a copy, just hit download.  It's all free.

Download the new song "One Finger Groove"
by Glen "the Freq" Thomas at the link below.

New Year 2011, New Stories, New Music

Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

First, Happy New Year to all Barking Eye followers out there in internet land.  I know updates on this blog are not regular and probably won't be just because I have so much on the go but I do hope you hang in there for the topics I do post.  Lots of stuff is in the works for the coming weeks and months so please be patient.

Coming in the next few weeks are:

1.  New Episodes of "Attack of the Garage Bands" featuring the band "Machines Dream"
2.  New music news on local artists Kalle Mattson, Mike Cliffe,  Glen Thomas, Jim O'leary and more.
3.  News of a possible local music scene download site for local bands only may be in development.
4.  Show case on a few local photographers that cover musicians featuring Brian Tremblay, Donna Hopper and a few others
5.  A history of some of the local music venues that have come and gone over the years
6.  A story on why Sault Ste. Marie Ontario has no true rock radio station
7.  Flashback stories on local guitarist Frank Adamo and the long lost album he released many years ago and also the band "Big Suit" and their only CD release.
8. Plus lots of other insight and gossip around ye old music scene involving new bands and band break ups.
9. The truth surrounding the rumour that Basswerx Studios is now making a trial run with recording.
10. Story on sound systems and why local bands have faultered in using them.

Stay tuned!!!

Glen "the Freq" Thomas