Leads Music

Tales of A Zoom H4n – Shane Howard – Portarlington

Shane Howard - Portarlington 2009
Shane Howard – photo by Jools Thatcher

Back in September last year Jools and I went off to see Shane Howard play at Harvester Moon in Portarlington. (If you aren’t on their mailing list you should be). We decided to make a bit of day of  it so we found a B&B  (with a bay view) and a totally unexpected “pick you up after the show” delivery service. Seriously cool.

On to the show.

Shane’s performance was just brilliant. With one or possibly two exception’s, all of my favourite Shane Howard gig’s have been down in Geelong/the coast/Bellarine. The evening started with Shane sort of playing his own support, his daughter Myra opened the proceedings with a really great set (Shane accompanied on guitar and backing vocals). I believe you can hear more of her on the new “Goanna Dreaming ” album. I will rummage through my recording and see if there is a track that does her justice.

Next up was Shane, just him and a guitar. It really doesn’t get much better. The set list was a reasonable stroll through his catalogue of songs, some old and some new. Of the old ones Solid Rock was my favourite (it always has been – my all-time favourite version was was the day Goanna played the Lygon St Festa, back when the Festa had bands and that was a long long time ago (someone has suggested early November in 1981? – really that long ago huh?). We walked around the corner from Queensberry Street and there they were. Complete with a Meyer sound system. Totally brilliant sound and an even better performance. and as usual, I digress.

I figure it will be the perfect song to put up.

Yes you have all heard it a million times before and one more isn’t going to hurt. Let your mind wander back to where you first heard it.

If you ever get a chance to see Shane play, grab it, he is not to be missed.

Sorry this took a year to post.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting in a pocket on my messenger bag and just pointed at the stage. We were about 2.5m back from the stage (second table). The room is a long skinny room with the PA above our heads.

The audio recording was cleaned up in Sound Forge.


Leads Music

Tales Of A Zoom H4n – Ian Bland @ Melbourne Folk Club

Ian Bland  & Greg Hunt - MelbFolkClub
Ian Bland (right) & Greg Hunt @ Melbourne Folk Club - photo by Jools Thatcher

Jools and I both decided to go out and see some live music and seeing that My Friend Ian (MFI) had scored  a gig at the Melbourne Folk Club, that seemed like a great place to start.

The Melbourne Folk club is currently down in West Brunswick and seems to have a fairly wide ranging selection of styles and performers. (Tonchi is on next week – look for us down the front).

Ian was accompanied by Greg Hunt on fiddle and mandolin and between the pair of them, the just flew. I honestly think that this is one of the best gigs I have seen Ian do and Greg ever so “subtly” reminded us of just what a monster musician he is.

The track I picked is “But For Chance”, it’s one of the contenders for Ian’s next album, I will be really miffed if it doesn’t make the cut, the song has managed to up residence in my head and it shows no sign of leaving.


Have a listen or three and see what you think. Jools and I had a great afternoon, there are lots worse ways to spend a Saturday arvo.

ZoomH4nBoring Tech Stuff:
The Zoom H4n recorded in Stereo @ 44.1kHz/16 bit. It was sitting on top of the mixer ( thanks Russ)  and just pointed at the stage. We were about 2.m back from the stage.  The stage right PA speaker is basically what we are hearing.

The audio recording was edited in Sound Forge and all I did was fold the left and right in to about 50% to tighten up the stereo image.

Leads Mondays

Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20090504

Zoom H4 ToyHi,

So for the time being let’s be wildly optimistic and assume that this missive is going to go back to it’s regular schedule (the odds are against it but as Leonard Cohen said “the optimism keeps breaking through”)

Anyway let’s get started shall we.

As I mentioned I have a new guitar, and showing you a picture of it , while all well and good on the “Oooh. Shiny” meter. Well lets face it, you really need to know what it sounds like (and ooh shiny just isn’t a good enough description). So I recorded me playing a little something I was messing with in D(?).

Now here are the ground rules. A while back I was having a long conversation (email) with Bill ( I have mentioned him before ) about things he could do to get his music heard. The short version is

  • Wake up on a Sunday morning
  • Turn on Zoom H4
  • Tune guitar
  • Start stop watch.
    I now have 60 minutes to record a tune using nothing more than the Zoom and the guitar.
    No overdubs, only the processing that is built into in the Zoom and only 4 tracks, no bouncing down tracks
  • Now play lots (the clock is ticking)

At the end upload the finished MP3 to the website and link it to the impediments post.

Elapsed time not to be greater than 60 minutes.

In the words of Jeremy Clarkson “How hard can it be?”

Well as it turns out… you can hear today’s first attempt at this here

The things you can do with a Zoom H4 dept

Ted Talks – I have listened to so many of these in the last few months that the best thing to do is pick some at random. They are all amazing and all thought provoking.

Lets Begin with Margaret Werthein. Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician — celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.
(We mentioned her project last April)

Next. In this talk from TED University 2009, veteran rock climber Matthew Childs shares nine pointers for rock climbing. These handy tips bear on an effective life at sea level, too.

This one fascinated me, Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.

Fractals and Snacks – this from Kalene

“i thought hat you might appreciate the math that goes into these cupcakes. The fondant looks more accurate (well as accurate as it can get with a little softening,) but the marzipan looks prettier as it has softened more.

thankfully for cupcake lovers the possibilities in the fractal fondant decoration are endless. I’d say that i would try this, but I know that I would give up too easily and just eat the marzipan.
Kalene “

Well if you ever do give it a go put Jools and I down for a dozen

Jools spotted this mashup

It broke me up.
Also from the Inbox was this from Doreen.

I am pleased to announce my web site is now live!
Have a look


Now I have mentioned Doreen in the past, but this website is a time soak. I found myself looking at a bunch of old favourites and still ended up wondering “How did she do that?”
Seriously recommended.
Duggup continues to stumble through music genres with abandon. Head over to and have a look. Recent gems include Steve Lawson and Field Mice. Both are brilliant but totally different.

Flash Game Time:
Over the past few years we have all tried out some great web-based games and you would have to agree that things have coma along way. Well the bar just got raised, Scarygirl is a a way better than average platform game. I believe it’s based on a comic by Nathan Jurevicius, this game is just gorgeous. The art is just phenomenal, the controls are drop dead easy and it just oozes “Play Me” fun.

You play the title character, Scarygirl, as she attempts to locate a moustachioed dude keeps showing up in her dreams. Help is available on your quest from characters like Bunniguri and Blister (the giant octopus), as you proceed through treehouses, eel-infested water (shades of Princess Bride), caves and other levels, performing an assortment of deeds as you go. (I feel sure that Joseph Campbell would have approved of this one)

Scarygirl is entirely free to play online, and you can register to save your game. You will probably need to do that, this is a wonderfully addictive world.

Question: What does this XKCD cartoon signify?

Answer: Yep, Numb3rs is back on tele this week and this is probably one of the rejected plot devices

Have a good one.


{Currently listening: Papercuts, Everyday Jones and me}
{Currently reading: Risk Analysis manuals}
{Quick Status Check: Hell, is doing budgets in an economic downturn}
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, still nothing to see here ’til later in the year.}