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 Post subject: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:49 pm
Posts: 124
Location: PA, USA
Some shameless self promotion here... I apologize haha! Just thought Id share some of my stuff with Funk U :) Its all solo bass material! I like the dark but dreamy sound and I usually like to do my videos in the format of an old school horror movie.. Hope you like it! Post your projects here!!!

"Surreal"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBKT2yoXAhM

"Lost Meditations"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgAPgbnl ... re=related

"Infinities Beyond"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoxuZ_hX ... re=related

"Lazy Dog Swing"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5WSQJZF ... re=related


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:38 am 
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These songs are from my band's latest EP. Released back in July. We're working on a full length album right now. Any feedback would be great.

http://www.marko-vukovic.com/Reckon%20With%20One%20-%20Suffocate.mp3
http://www.marko-vukovic.com/Reckon%20With%20One%20-%20The%20Collector.mp3
http://www.marko-vukovic.com/Reckon%20With%20One%20-%20Transmission%20Channel.mp3
http://www.marko-vukovic.com/Reckon%20With%20One%20-%20Ancient%20Judgements.mp3


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Location: PA, USA
Hey those are really good! When you get the album finished lemme know Id like a copy!! How did you do the intro to Transmission Channel.. thats genius!!


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:49 am 
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Great thread... .honestly - one of the best parts of Funk U is hearing everyone's stuff. It's seems like you know everyone and its interesting to see how that translates, etc.

So, my shameless bit:
http://www.aquariusrecords.org/bin/search.cgi/artist=bassdbler
http://www.bassdbler.com/ - main site. Also, like my facebook page as that is starting to be used most (please, please, please) http://www.facebook.com/bassdbler

I mentioned a lot about this in another thread http://www.thefunkuniversity.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=567 - so I don't want to waste anyone's time if you've already read that thread.

The offer still holds... If you don't want to buy the cassette (which is a charity thing for a great indie record store <insert guilt>), message me and I'll send you a link to download the files - FU family is just that important. :)

The BassDbler album doesn't have a lot of bass pyrotechnics, but I do think there are some decent lines on there. I biased though.

_________________
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http://www.BassDbler.com


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:44 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
Well, I waited til I had some time to sit down with GOOD listening gear as opposed to my work laptop (through my studio monitors) and listen to these properly before responding. You've put yourself up here so you deserve my full attention if I'm going to comment. With my ebay account down (another story) and finally getting a break from overtime at work, now is the time.

First up Marcoism:

Now bear in mind having taken the time to actively listen I am going to give you constructive criticism (actually thats a bad word, analysis or impressions is perhaps better) and also take into account I am probably not your target audience. Anyway my impressions...

Now my overall impression - while I shy from 'genres' they are a useful shorthand so when I listened to these it sounded to me like you (meaning your band) is trying to be metal...but may in fact actually be prog rock. Now I haven't really listened to metal (or prog rock for that matter) much since the late 90s so take my interpretation with this in mind. Remember this is an impression and bear in mind that I am not really familiar with recent development in these genres so this mix is a relatively new idea to me.

If you really want the metal sound the drums need to come way up in the mix and possibly need to be a little more 'filled in' (less space). Personally the non-metal (or reduced metal) sound of the drums is one of the key things I liked about your sound. To harness the power of the metal sound you really need to raise the drums to meet the guitar while dropping the guitar a little so the combined sound does not to drown out the vocals completely. The drums is a large part of the reason I hear prog rock in your sound (as well as the fluff...see below). The keys also brought an interesting mix of electro/ambient and prog in equal parts to the mix.

The vocals while occasionally threatening to do so never broke into screamo - appreciated. The complex song structure and musical shifts throughout the songs highlighted a commonality between prog and metal I had never noticed before, these two styles have more similarity than I realised. So I even learnt something by listening to your songs! The guitar parts (and I'm using the only references I can call to mind here...your influences may be otherwise) I'm hearing equal parts Metallica / Pink Floyd here. In the mix I think maybe the guitar is a little prominent or otherwise the drums (and bass to a lesser extent) need to come forward. Both these suggestions are based off using the vocal as a reference baseline to build your mix around. Always use the mix to support the vocal! Aside from some Gilmore-esque noodling I enjoyed in Transmission Lines I was really impressed by the use of guitar in Suffocate, seeming to capture the feel of the 'angry bees' violin sound in the main riff.

And now to the bass, I thought your parts to be totally appropriate to the band you are in. A high complement indeed. For the purpose of analysis it would of been nice to have them a touch higher in the mix. The fact much of your work passed unnoticed til I applied the equaliser to bring it out is in fact a great compliment. The moments where you broke through in the little windows your band left open, you really used well to set off the songs. I didn't hear ANYTHING that detracted from the songs in any way coming from the low freqs and that is more than most of us can hope to achieve.

Now the 'fluff' I mentioned before are all those little effects achieved both musically and with samples (I'm assuming) as well as the intros/outros/bridges have all been applied tastefully and not gratuituously. The 'stuka' siren effect at the beginning of Ancient Judgements served to let me know in seconds the sort of thing I might expect to follow. It is a good thing to include a device like this that sets up your audience for what is to follow. While metal often applies this sort of thing for effect, I actually drew from it everything I understand prog to be, hence prejudicing the way I heard this from the start. Hopefully that was your intent and if not then food for thought.

Song by Song (brief summary):

Ancient Judgements - a great intro, I've been listening in alphabetical order and frankly that is the correct order for these songs. I don't know if you are old enough to remember 'albums' but there is an art to sequencing tracks and this song sets up the others beautifully (and suffocate following pulled me in to listen to the last two with the same attention as the first two). The musical mainstay - the vocal 'oohhh's are really used effectively and the slow tempo blast beats through the bridge(?) towards the end of the song were waay more effective than just about any blast beat type effect I have ever heard. As a drummer I make no apologies if I steal that!

Suffocate - after repeated listens this emerged as your strongest track. As an old school techno fan I dug the classic dancefloor anthem riff that kicked it off only to be absorbed into the engaging main riff reminiscient of violins (and reinforced with string-like keys under the song). The powerful and dramatic vocals and clever dynamics through the song really kept me hooked from beginning to end. The unison riff sections under the verses are used to great effect.

The Collector - reminiscient of Tool(?) Hey I know a recent (well kind of) metal band! This possibly your slickest track but somehow didn't resonate so much with me. Maybe it was because it was heavier than the others, maybe to my ear it seemed a little more genre specific and hence containing less spark of originality. That is the curse of a tight slick track - by its own nature it is unlikely to be as fresh! But if Tool is a big influence for you I am surprised because while I never got into them I now find myself liking two bands directly influenced by them. I hope you don't find facepaint necessary. I know it is almost a genre requirement these days (and as such almost a duty to your audience to do it) but it always reminds me of kiss and looking at them today...what a crack up!

Transmission Channel - as mentioned before THIS is your track to end on! The cruisey intro, the ambient techno chatter, the lazy late pink floyd guitar solo all add up to a great way to deliver your audience home after the journey of your music. This might have been my favourite but I have to give it to Suffocate for the violin-stab guitar - that really gave me something new. But this track very much more contains for me the experiences that I seek in music. It takes me on a journey, it coaxes me along for the ride, inviting me rather than grabbing me and throwing down the rabbit-hole. I could really *ahem* light up to this one!

Final Summary: Well, to be honest when I began this review I was impressed but not a fan. Having heard these songs 8 or 9 times each and analysed them I am now really enjoying them. That is a sign of a really good song. In the days of albums you bought it for the single but loved for the ones that never reached the radio. I'm not sure whether the mix achieves what you were actually going for but other than the guitars needing to come down ever so slightly I like the balance as is. For future direction I would limit the metal influence where it is now and explore the other sides of your sound more fully - you have begun a direction here that is the first step to setting you apart from the endless 'same' and I would like to see that direction explored. The hard energy is well balanced but I don't think you could go any further in that direction without bland-ing out. Perhaps thematically you could try to explore some positive territory. I don't suggest this because I think songs should all be shiny and happy (happy is HARD to do, I rarely explore it myself) but I hear potential for you to straddle and explore both positive and dark energy within the same band - a rare treat! Hope my comments are useful to you. Good luck in the future and let us hear the direction you ultimately take with your next songs. Your band is tight and cohesive and demonstrate a common vision. I wish I could say the same in ANY of my own abortive projects. Respect!

Well, that's my first review. Wow - back to my old habits. Looooooooong post :)
Hope to make the time to give Mark and BassDbler equally in-depth reviews soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:21 am 
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Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
Brace yourself Mark. I may have gone overboard but try and digest the whole thing before you let your mind talk back to you, please. I may be making assumptions about how you are gonna react but I put myself in your shoes and I think I'll be at least half right. I hope the others will chime in both in backing me up and also in telling you that what I am about to say does NOT make us think less of you in ANY way. But you are so talented I could not hold back! I have both criticism and suggestions here...take from it what you will. I think you were hoping for something of this nature but I may have gone further than you could have imagined...

Analysis:

Surreal - okay, first the good. The techniques you employed in the intro blew me away. I wish I could do any of that (although exactly what I would do with it I don't know). I liked the groove that kicked in around 0.50 and thought something could really be done with that and then the main groove - that is the root of a good song there. Pity I had to wait until 2.40 before it kicked back in. You almost kept it going under your solo but despite a few fluffs with your time you did a great job with time given no drum machine to tie you to it. Perhaps a tick could have reinforced the subtle groove through those tricky sections. Now, I know it was a bass solo and the technique even when you wavered was dazzling but the problem is I just couldn't see how you could play that with a band. With the exception of the main groove and a couple of other small sections there was just no room for anyone else. Maybe just a drummer on the hihat going tick-tick-tick but thats about it. I think what turns me off personally about this sort of thing is I just wonder why you aren't playing guitar. Same goes for the best. Victor Wooten is hands down my favourite educator and one of my favourite musicians but I just don't dig most of his music for these reasons (even though he does make it work with a band - a rare talent). I admire him, I collect his educational DVDs but have never bought his music.

You have clearly put in the work here (it shows) and it pains me to think these words may cut you to the core but I feel I don't think I do you any favours not to be honest. The main groove is what you should take out of this piece if you want to use it with a band and scrap the rest - and then re-build it (of course you can re-use a few elements but scrap em first - if you can be THAT brutal to yourself you've taken the first step to becoming one mean songwriter! Plus the criticism from others loses it's power). That groove was wicked and was totally doing your job! I would really like to hear you take the main riff and maybe for your B riff the groove from 0.50 (or use that for intro/bridge) and rework it into something for us and show us something tight. Less fancy stuff more groove. Trust me, with that riff we will not get bored. Use a drum machine or drummer if you can get one and even some simple guitar or keyboard chords to lay out the structure. Imagine vocals even if you don't record them but leave ROOM for them! If I haven't offended you I would LOVE to hear you do that! Respect for putting this out for us to see - you're one up on me just for that (although with my new camera just arrived I hope to rectify that soon - then you guys can tear me a new one!).


Lost Meditations - This one was a big improvement over my more (constructively I hope) negative analysis of the previous song. The riff you start with was the winner here. It is a much better example of how to employ 'tricks'. While the second quieter refrain with the fills that recalled the first one wasn't quite carried off (although got better as the song went on) I think with a band behind you that could have really worked. And that is the most important aspect of this song, with very little alteration this one could work with a band. I liked the staccato solo but whether it fit the song I don't really know - the slap at the end looked like blowing off steam so not sure if it was supposed to be part of the song but could have made a decent bridge section with some work. The key points to this one is that your fancy tricks were much more appropriate and usable in a band situation here - even the live tuning (if intentional) used in moderation like this can be a great performance trick. But leave them wanting more - don't show all your cards at once. This still smacked a little of someone who wants to play guitar but one or two songs like this in a set can be a great crowd pleaser and show case of your talent if you are sticking to your job at all other times.

Infinities Beyond - Now we are talking! You are displaying technical prowess and superior understanding of theory without calling attention to what yourself. You are laying down a groove that a good band could lock in with very easily with virtually NO modification (sure you'd have to give up your loop pedal and give that part to a melodic instrument but hey, thats okay - we're jammin' now man!). Even when you started going nuts about 2.01, that's okay man - you held up your part of the bargain, you've been holding down the groove all night, the audience are with you and NOW they're ready to take this ride with you! Other good points to note - playing along with your loop pedal I could see you CAN play with other musicians and a slightly simpler line might've been all you needed to open your ears up aaall the way! I saw a lot of good things here.

I would like to note at this point that I realise that there are probably a number of nitpicky things I am saying here that will trigger an instant reaction from you that you may or may not suppress. The instant reaction (I am TOTALLY guilty of this myself by the way) is that "it's only because I'm recording - I don't normally do that". Well in my experience, yes that is a little true but by putting yourself under that kind of pressure, especially knowing you are going to put it out there, brings out the things you ACTUALLY need to work on. In my music lessons I play the worst I ever play and this is a good thing, because sooner or later I have to accept that what I am told EVERY time I have a lesson is true EVEN THOUGH at home in my bedroom I never make those same mistakes and pursue other areas of improvement. It is your "under pressure" game you should improve - especially someone like yourself with the stunning breadth of techniques that you have developed and made available to yourself. Now I may be putting something on you here that isn't the case but this is a nugget of self-realised wisdom that I have only just stumbled onto recently that I think I should share with everyone.

Lazy Dog Swing - I am so glad you finished with this video. I think I can sum up all my points with examples from this video. I am going to be brutal because I see so much greatness in you it almost makes me cry to see how CLOSE you are and I'm not sure if you can see it yourself. In this video I finally saw the bass player. I really did. Take that as the positive to keep your heart open as I close up my analysis. The first thing I want to note is although the applause at the end seemed somewhat more enthusiastic than the token clap that is the hallmark of the open mic night, the audience chatter was ceaseless. You didn't have them. You didn't drive them away (good start) but i suspect that noone besides the people there for you gave you more than an occasional glance. With one song to play (hence no time to bore them) you should have been able to grab them for 3 minutes. Maybe some of that is performance - Bootsy, a 10ft tall sparkly thing could grab their attention but he wouldn't have even needed his bass to do that, even if noone knew who he was.

Now I'm not a famous musician - I don't make a cent out of it and when I eventually post my own video you are gonna think "who the hell is this guy to tell ME what I'm doing wrong?". Well I'm giving it to you straight and I truly hope you take it in the spirit it is meant. YOU ARE A TALENT, but I think your head is wrong. I don't think you understand your place or your audience. If you reached every bit of potential that you are aiming for right now you would get ONE gig a year at bass day and other than that your phone would never ring. Harsh, yes, but I want you to hear that because with a shift in thinking you won't have to look for work - it will find you. If you count up all the bass players in the world the number of people you find interested in solo bass would add up to a small fraction of that number. If it is your passion I have two words for you - SIDE PROJECT. It is an absolute waste of the obvious years of no life studious effort you have put in to your instrument. Not because it doesn't have the potential to be good, not because you are not carrying it off but because NOONE wants to hear it. I feel terrible being so blunt but I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight without laying it down in a way that is going blow your headspace right open.

Now the good news is this. You ALREADY have all the tools. Some may need to be honed and polished but that is a hell of a lot easier than working up a new skill from scratch. You've got the gear, the drive, it's almost all there. I WISH i had the talent, the skills you've developed and the BALLS you have to put yourself out there. The sky really is the limit. I will now outline what I think you need to do now - take it or leave it.

First: DRUM MA-CHINE-NAH!!!! I am a bass player who is now mostly a drummer so why am I suggesting a drum machine - weird. NO! Work with it, learn to program it - understand the drummer. A drum machine NEVER complains about humping his ridiculously ENORMOUS kit to your house. He never sleeps (unless you want him to). He keeps PERFECT time. He fills in the SPACE so you don't have to. I sense in your playing the main original failing I had...the fear that you are being BORING. Maybe this is why you can't leave the GUITAR tricks in the bedroom where they belong. If you feel like you are boring your audience that means you are on the verge of achieving GROOVE. You have between 2 and 30 (if you know Mr Clinton) other musicians keeping things interesting. NOT YOUR JOB. Read my other review and listen to Markoism's tracks again. Yes I know he has a full band and production values but try to listen to the bassline alone - even as a bass player I doubt you could even FIND it half the time, even listening for it exclusively - but it is there, holding the whole thing together. And note that when he does burst through the mix with a fill that simple or complex...it is delicious. And he is not necessarily the greatest bass player in the world (even the greatest bass player in the world isn't) but he is doing his job and it works!

2: Maybe I'm wrong and you already do but I think I may be right: start playing with OTHER musicians. You are ready, you will blow them away with your tricks but when the drummer counts it in...think SIMPLE, think SUPPORTIVE, think GLUE and don't show a single trick while you are playing. Before you know it they will ASK for you to give them a little more but never give quite enough to satisfy or they will change their mind. LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE. By playing with other musicians when you do your own little thing on the side your new thinking will soon find a couple of people in the audience at least pause in their conversation and give 20 seconds undivided attention.

3: To reinforce point 2 (I'm sure you've got it now but I will repeat) keep the tricks in the bedroom. Never play your whole deck at once. Teasing tastes make for second bites. Get me? I saw a bass soloist on a Bass Day video with a loop station. It might have been Steve Bailey - I'll have to check an edit if I'm maligning the wrong bass genius. Now he was playing to the right audience - this may even have been the exact footage that inspired you. Well, even though he is a famous musician and playing to the right audience and I was impressed by his product demonstration (which may even have been what it was supposed to be) I could help but think that he takes...shall we say...long showers... Be aware that that is exactly what at LEAST one member of ANY audience will be thinking when you play a solo bass act... food for thought?

4: Practice playing less. MUCH less. Save the best of what you can do for key moments (sometimes a key moment in a song calls for 4 measures of whole note rests...now that is musicianship!) and spread your bag of tricks across a whole gig, even a whole tour. I know a lot of what I'm saying sounds like the same thing but it is all a matter of freeing up your head. When you are challenging yourself with these basslines - phenomenally difficult and so nearly carried off - I bet your mind is a-clutter with this guitar hero-like barrage of notes crashing down the screen. With what you can do at the bleeding edge of your ability imagine what you could do if you just backed off a little. You could begin to relax and ENJOY it, SAVOUR the joy of playing and open up the flexibility to IMPROVISE in the moment and then you can REALLY begin to apply your hard won theory chops.

If even 10% of what I say is true and you only absorb 10% of that I think you will be TEN TIMES the bass player you are. I TRULY look forward to seeing you develop over the next few weeks and months. Keep posting - joining Funk U is going to prove to be the defining moment of YOUR LIFE! Count on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:27 am 
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Posts: 161
Location: Perth, Australia
I hope my previous post hasn't scared anyone else from putting up their work for criticism! I promise I won't go that hard on everyone but I think you'll ALL agree how frustratingly close Mark is to greatness. Please back me up and let him know because if someone did to me what I just did to him it would cut me in half but I think it needs to be said to get him across the line. I will make an effort to get something of mine up so you can all pull me down a peg! Mark, I'm so sorry but I can't stand by and see all your talent and hard work go to waste. I do this out of love.

EDIT: I just checked out your version of thee ram jam video and THAT's what I want to see, so maybe i've really misinterpreted where you're at on the basis of these 4 videos you shared but in that context I stand by what I say!


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:54 pm 
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Heyy thanks so much for the thoughtful and very in depth reviews!!! Thanks for taking the time to analyze and do all that!! and I cant thank you enough for all the massive compliments! Why you thought what you said would be painful..Im not sure..but Ive never expected anyone to call me perfect or anything! I dont have the ego for that! You never said anything nasty or insulting..only thoughtful and honest and actually gave constructive criticism!!! Yes..I am very VERY open to that! Just chill man :) None of it was anything to be remotely upset about... actually Im very happy with what you said!

But responding to what you said..yes.. it is a painful truth that there is a small audience for solo bass pieces. I know this and can deal with it fine.. I do that because I love to. as do guys liek Michael Manring and Jeff Schmidt. But..the way Id approach a solo bass piece is massively different from how Id approach a band situation! Its a whole different game. As a solo bassist, you do have to worry about layign down a groove AND a melody..and sometimes it takes a few tricks and some innovation to be able to hack such a big bunch of jobs and its not easy! It is fun though and will push your theory game right through the roof! Thats the good thign about it!

But to approach a band..as I said..very different ballgame! You would see me play more as I did in the thee ram rendition video! Any tricks and fills would be similiar, but less is more in that situation moreso, and you have a lot less to worry about, so it would be easier in that situation to play the less is more style! As a solo bassist, Ill be learning how to do that the rest of my life probably!

But..to apply the pieces youve seen just now to a band setting, youre right1 No I would not be able to do most of those pieces as I do them when I play them as solo bass pieces. but what I can do, is take certain licks of mine from those pieces and use them in either improvising situations, or to make grooves for the band to play to! All great players have their signature licks from one thing or another..so these will end up being mine hopefully! but your righty about it being hard to play this way with a group..I have to pick and choose what will fit with a group!

But thanks so much for taking the time and effort!! I hope I can use your reviews and information to keep makign better and better material and I will always take the valuable lessons to be learned from reviews and constructive critiques to heart!


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:58 am 
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Phew! Glad you took it that way. I know this was on the basis of 4 videos only but they represented what is close to your heart so I think it was even more important to give it to you straight.

If you hadn't already you should get Groove Workshop by Victor Wooten. I know I bang on about this video but EVERY musician should own a copy. Note I said musician not bass player. Because he will not teach you a single note or technique in the some 6 hours of this DVD but will open up your thinking in ways that will help you find yourself musically. He doesn't have a yin yang bass for nothing!

If you already have it then rewatch it, but don't watch him. Watch the students he is teaching and how he pulls great performances out of them that were in there all along. They were just getting in their own way. This is what I was reminded of watching your performances. The difference between mediocre and being ready to join the best was simply a mindset and that can be taught in seconds. You've already done the hard work that takes years.

There is also a great lesson in a funk u video way back in the first or second month where a professor recounts his experience of playing jazz for charles mingus I think. Which professor eludes me right now and seems my account has lapsed (probably because I've been too busy to log on for a couple of months) so I can't track it down until find my credit card so I can't track it down for you just yet but your solo stuff would benefit from that lesson.

If your thee ram jam video is indicative of your normal playing that is great. Add a couple of huge doses of that into your solo stuff. I don't think it would take much for you to move from being a guy playing bass by himself in a room full of people to a guy who shakes up a room for 2 or 3 minutes and then walks out with people wondering what exactly they have just seen. I can see by watching you play all those hours in your room nutting out the theory, building strength and dexterity while your mates go out, the sacrifice, the blisters and everything else we do to ourselves. I don't want to see concentration, I want to see enjoyment in your body language when you play. You already have all the tools and I can't wait to see you put it together in a natural way that brings you joy in the moment. Whether it be solo or in a group.

And I should have mentioned last night that every semester someone new hits this forum like a tsunami and reinvigorates the debates. This time it is you. Perhaps if he is still doing it Soup should nominate you for topic of the month for your collective contribution.


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 Post subject: Re: Post your projects!!!!
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:13 am 
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Location: Perth, Australia
And Michael Manring - I'm sure THAT was the guy I saw on the bass day video (sorry Mr Bailey sir!).


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