The Music Industry Is Literally Brainwashing You to Like Bad Pop Songs — Heres How – Mic


smartphone lady

Here’s an interesting article on how the pop music industry exploits neurobiological traits in humans to foist their products on us. Kindly brought to my attention by my Facebook buddy and singer extraordinaire Adriano Prestel:

via The Music Industry Is Literally Brainwashing You to Like Bad Pop Songs — Here’s How – Mic.

Challenging Your Conventional Listening Stereotypes: Zach Danziger and Owen Biddle TEDx Performance


After last night’s concert of O.S.Z. – short for: Owen Biddle (bs), Sixtus Preiss (keys) and Zach Danziger (dr) – at Kongress Bar Munich, I ventured a little further into finding out about the concept that Owen Biddle and Zach Danziger started with Oli Rockberger, who manned the keyboards at last year’s performance in the same venue in Munich. And I came across this:

Zach Danziger and Owen Biddle TEDx Performance.

Now, as an avid live music buff or culturally inclined individual, I think it’s a good idea to be prepared for the fact that you can leave your typical ways of conventional listening to music at home – and this doesn’t even account for your preferred genre of music. Instead, what you’re going to experience transcends downtrodden, stale ideas of genre, musical form and performances thereof: You’ll experience a sonic vortex that will challenge not only your musical self – be it as an active musician or music lover -, but what the congenial power trio are bringing to the stage in real time is nothing short of a new approach to sonic perception per se. Forget about figuring out, where the predominant beat of any given bar is placed, cast aside ideas of “four on the floor” or even just regular measures, but try to open your mind to the idea of a pulse being generated from a free form of audio triggers that will still amalgamate into an inimitable blend of phrases, beats and heavily throbbing sub-tones coming from Biddle’s bass with its equally outstanding looks sporting an acrylic body, thus exposing the electronics built into the instrument.

With this year’s lineup the sound seems to have changed a little bit over last year’s, probably due to a new, less cumbersome approach of the band to setting up and handling the electronic hardware involved in creating these fireworks of signals, both conventional as well as MIDI-triggered/electronic. In a nutshell, you could say that each instrument is connected to an audio interface that functions a little bit like a microphone at its core, thus sending the regular audio impulse to a piece of software on the laptop, from which a series and layers of electronic signals are being generated. I hadn’t really asked for a proper interview slot nor asked for such a thing impromptu (thus respecting the band’s schedule and existing agreements with other parties), but managed to get this one inquiry in when overhearing another interviewer’s question, while the band finished setting up and checking sound. For the tech geeks amongst  us: From what I derived from Zach Danziger’s reply was that they now use an approach, which takes the raw audio signal, sends it into the software, the software reads “transient spikes” of audio and uses those spikes to generate a MIDI signal to be interpreted by sound generating plug-ins, such as e.g. MIDI synthesizers or arpeggios coming from said plug-ins. I would have loved to follow up on this and get the specific details, but this time, I hadn’t really arranged for such an opportunity in advance. But if you watch above video closely – in particular the media screen behind the musicians – you get the basic idea of how the equipment is wired and who controls what at any given moment during the performance.

What’s interesting about this approach is that there is a stronger place and role for the conventional sounds coming from the instruments. In other words: Whereas last year’s sound was almost purely electronic, this year’s sound provided a more prominent place in the mix for the instruments per se, which became visually and sonically apparent via Preiss’s vintage Fender Rhodes piano on stage, which created a nice antidote to the purely electronic sounds coming from all sorts of other keyboards and hardware they had set up. At the risk of contradicting my own headline here: You might say that the instruments’ natural sounds being more present in the overall “audioscape” might be taken as a kind of sonic “guardrail” or “anchors”, whereby you might have an easier time discerning all of what’s going on on stage.

The most impressing thing – to me, anyway – was the connection between the band members and just how they’re capable of keeping that pulse going without form, lead sheets and acting purely on feel, instinct and a few cues here and there, while they seemed to take turns in “leading the pack” musically with the other two responding immediately and making musical sense of whatever was introduced at any given moment.

If you had to put it in one phrase, I’d say this outstanding act represents a musical force majeure that can barely be explained, but needs to be experienced in order to get the full effect of their art. And isn’t true art about challenging conventions of any kind here and there? If that was true, O.S.Z. fully deliver!

Challenging Your Conventional Listening Stereotypes: Zach Danziger and Owen Biddle TEDx Performance


After last night’s concert of O.S.Z. – short for: Owen Biddle (bs), Sixtus Preiss (keys) and Zach Danziger (dr) – at Kongress Bar Munich, I ventured a little further into finding out about the concept that Owen Biddle and Zach Danziger started with Oli Rockberger, who manned the keyboards at last year’s performance in the same venue in Munich. And I came across this:

Zach Danziger and Owen Biddle TEDx Performance.

Now, as an avid live music buff or culturally inclined individual, I think it’s a good idea to be prepared for the fact that you can leave your typical ways of conventional listening to music at home – and this doesn’t even account for your preferred genre of music. Instead, what you’re going to experience transcends downtrodden, stale ideas of genre, musical form and performances thereof: You’ll experience a sonic vortex that will challenge not only your musical self – be it as an active musician or music lover -, but what the congenial power trio are bringing to the stage in real time is nothing short of a new approach to sonic perception per se. Forget about figuring out, where the predominant beat of any given bar is placed, cast aside ideas of “four on the floor” or even just regular measures, but try to open your mind to the idea of a pulse being generated from a free form of audio triggers that will still amalgamate into an inimitable blend of phrases, beats and heavily throbbing sub-tones coming from Biddle’s bass with its equally outstanding looks sporting an acrylic body, thus exposing the electronics built into the instrument.

What was interesting this year is that the sound seems to have changed a little bit over last year’s, probably due to a new, less cumbersome approach of the band to setting up and handling the electronic hardware involved in creating these fireworks of signals, both conventional as well as MIDI-triggered/electronic. In a nutshell, you could say that each instruments is connected to an audio interface that functions a little bit like a microphone at its core, thus sending the regular audio impulse to a piece of software on the laptop, from which a series and layers of electronic signals are being generated. I hadn’t really asked for a proper interview slot nor asked for such a thing impromptu (thus respecting the band’s schedule and existing agreements with other parties), but managed to get this one inquiry in when overhearing another interviewer’s question, while the band finished setting up and checking sound. For the tech geeks amongst  us: From what I derived from Zach Danziger’s reply was that they now use an approach, which takes the raw audio signal, sends it into the software, the software reads “transient spikes” of audio and uses those spikes to generate a MIDI signal to be interpreted by sound generating plug-ins, such as e.g. MIDI synthesizers or arpeggios coming from said plug-ins. I would have loved to follow up on this and get the specific details, but this time, I hadn’t really arranged for such an opportunity in advance.

What’s interesting about this approach is that there is a stronger place and role for the conventional sounds coming from the instruments. In other words: Whereas last year’s sound was almost purely electronic, this year’s sound provided a more prominent place in the mix for the instruments per se, which became visually and sonically apparent via Preiss’s vintage Fender Rhodes piano on stage, which created a nice antidote to the purely electronic sounds coming from all sorts of other keyboards and hardware they had set up. At the risk of contradicting my own headline here: You might say that the instruments’ natural sounds being more present in the overall “audioscape” might be taken as a kind of sonic “guardrail” or “anchors”, whereby you might have an easier time discerning all of what’s going on on stage.

The most impressing thing – to me, anyway – was the connection between the band members and just how they’re capable of keeping that pulse going without form, lead sheets and acting purely on feel, instinct and a few cues here and there, while they seemed to take turns in “leading the pack” musically with the other two responding immediately and making musical sense of whatever was introduced at any given moment.

If you had to put it in one phrase, I’d say this outstanding act represents a musical force majeure that can barely be explained, but needs to be experienced in order to get the full effect of their art. And isn’t true art about challenging conventions of any kind here and there? If that was true, O.S.Z. fully deliver!

Eric Gales Trio @ Bayerischer Hof Nightclub, Munich, 11/19/2013


This artist is simply incredible! Jimi Hendrix would have loved his approach and style! So much raw energy and a wall of sound from a TRIO! (I get dizzy from only LOOKING at a left hand guitar played in FULL reverse, meaning the strings are wired vice versa, with the deeper strings farther away – sheesh… I’m sooo confused just LOOKING at this, haha!!! 😀 ) Not to be missed, November, 19th, Bayerischer Hof, Nightclub!

via ▶ Xotic Nite @ Lighthouse, Full-Length, Vol. 3 of 5, “Eric Gales Part 1” – YouTube.

Also found a cool interview at Stratoblogster.

Michael Nitsch Band @ Bayerischer Hof Nightclub



Who would have thought that Bayerischer Hof Nightclub turns into a Lower Manhattan-type Jazz club on a random Tuesday night? But Michael Nitsch and his band of brilliant collaborators on the band stand made exactly that happen with natural ease and verve.

We had saved the date for weeks looking forward to Michael Nitsch presenting his recently released CD “Time“, which he masterminds as a leader while having the finest music talent of the “Northernmost Italian city” in the South of Germany collaborate on the album.

Opening the set with the first cut from the album, “Dawn“, the band set the tone right away for what was to become a state-of-the-art concert that confirms Bayerischer Hof Nightclub as one of the leading contemporary Jazz venues of the world. While Nitsch on lead guitar and Götz Grünberg on tenor saxophone wove a light-hearted mid-tempo theme, Patrick Scales on bass and Guido May on drums had a rock solid four-on-the-floor groove with a funky edge going from bar one, cleverly interspersed with off- and counterbeat accents, thus providing the rich rhythmic, dependable tapestry the soloists could break away from. And speaking of solos: While each of the collaborating performers proved their reputation as a-list talent being on promoters’, booking agents’ and studio owners’ speed dial, they even grew beyond their already impressive performances on the album, clearly enjoying themselves that night and bursting at the seams with energy and raw joy of performing!

Freedom“, the second tune on the album and on the setlist, opened on a sophisticated, funky slapped bass theme exquisitely delivered by Patrick Scales and joined in on by the band after four bars, going into a Fusion-informed main theme seasoned with some (Blues-) Rock guitar riffs that speak of the diverse music foundation Michael Nitsch is inspired by. With “Dawn” leaning towards mid- to uptempo, Freedom sported a more laid back, “pumping” beat that highlighted Scales’ and May’s “in the pocket” playing, impressively revealing their longstanding musical companionship as a highly sought after rhythm section.

Further exploring Nitsch’s musical influences, “Uncle Jack” took us right into the era of outstanding Bluesrock “stringslingers” the likes of which Nitsch so authentically channels through his guitar playing, while leaving his own personal signature on each of these styles. The intro to this tune gave Tino Derado one of his many shining moments that night by having him open the song on eight bars of improvising on an alterated turnaround chord progression sitting on top of a swung rhythm with a shuffle feel to it. Again, Scales’ and May’s playing fit like hand-in-glove as you’d expect of a well-versed and thoroughly experienced rhythm section.

The band closed out the first set on the title track “Time“, a contemplative Jazz ballad demonstrating the breadth and depths of musical interpretation of each of the artists, particularly so with May’s delicate handling of the brushes as well as Grünberg’s precise command of the reed.

Having listened to the incredible drum solo Guido May delivered on “They Will Return“, which sees the bass line accompany May’s most sophisticated offbeats and polyrhythmic kick and snare drum hits all throughout, one might have wondered what rendition of this challenging part of the cut they might come up with in a live setting. It was refreshing to see them throw in well-calculated fermatas on the one to keep the time of the song, thus most cleverly also keeping the audience’s attention firmly focussed on the drummer.

In order to relax a bit from this high energy tune with plenty of masterful soloing going on, Overberg, a composition contributed by Götz Grünberg, took us to calmer waters of the Jazz ocean tempowise, featuring Grünberg with a superbly structured, tension building solo channelling an influence most sax players will inevitably have to mention as a formative one: John Coltrane. Dynamics, tone, most refined musical expression are the qualities that need to be attributed to all band members and which became obvious in the most extraordinary way again during Grünberg’s solo.

Followers of Michael Nitsch’s Facebook profile will have noticed a number of inspirational posts drawing on the history of Native Americans. One might infer that the title “Wounded Knee” was at least in part informed by this stretch of early U.S. history and it starts on a chord progression delivered with a wah-wah guitar, thus adding another flavor to the mix of styles and episodes of music history. It wasn’t hard to see the band’s leader thoroughly enjoy himself while blasting out a whaling guitar solo that effortlessly connected Fusion with straight Rock and all the way back again.

Mousie is the closing track on the album and it marked the end of the second set that night as well, reiterating a straight Bluesrock informed chord progression and the shuffle feel typical of that genre, which certainly is Michael Nitsch’s musical forte.

Undeterred by some audience leaving after the second set in order to get an early start during a typical work week, the band performed a scintillating third set well after midnight, playing original Nitsch compositions as well as tunes by his and his band members’ musical role models, the likes of whom span Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Robben Ford to name just a few.

What better way is there to turn an otherwise slow Tuesday night into a memorable evening than by treating oneself to a show packed to the brim with music talent, tasteful delivery and inclined listeners who really appreciate what they’re seeing and listening to? I can’t think of a better option. Kudos to the band, the venue and – the audience for keeping refined music a defining aspect of our culture.

©W. Nieke, Oct. 2013

Torsten Goods – Guitar Solo/Berlin P.M. – Live in Munich (13.09.2013) – YouTube


▶ Torsten Goods – Guitar Solo/Berlin P.M. – Live in Munich (13.09.2013) – YouTube.

Sweet Jesus, Lord help me! This is where the bar is at in terms of… well, pretty much everything, e.g. instrumental virtuosity, groove, creativity/artistry, stage presence/presentation, oh and not to forget: FUN! Germans, you’re in for an extra treat! Find upcoming and current tour dates at Torsten’s website.

Max Merseny feat. Torsten Goods: A Musical K.O. – Right in the Face!


Max Merseny, Torsten Goods

My goodness, in my country boy’s innocent naiveté so thick you can cut it with a knife, I never saw this coming! How could I have even known for a split second that a bunch of young and young at heart Jazz crossover renegades would rob me – and with ease! – of my barely presevered inch of artistic self confidence only three songs into the concert, roll it into an imaginary doobie and suck it up their lungs backstage (only figuratively speaking, of course)? How was I supposed to see any of this coming in my post-post-post-puberty-like nervous anticipation? But let’s back up for a sec and create some context: What exactly had just happened?

Alright, we’re in the year 2012, stardate 09-06-12-09-00-pm-+2-GMT, at coordinates http://goo.gl/maps/mjMgG, which stand for internationally known and acclaimed Jazzclub Unterfahrt, Munich. On one of the cooler nights of the approaching fall season, a rather heterogenous demographic with mixed cultural preferences has gathered in the deep basement of Kulturzentrums Einstein, following a Facebook event invitation issued by Max Merseny and his posse of musical collaborators. Strictly speaking, each of these collaborators are musical heavyweights in their own right, who look back on a considerable number of renowned projects they have worked on or are currently a part of. For one, we have Christoph Holzhauser on drums, who currently works the drumsticks with Moop Mama, calls the beat with Matthias Bublaths Groove Connection, drums with Jazz in the City and is a highly sought after session and studio drummer. Claus Fischer, who travelled to Munich’s “Jazz Summer Week” from his current city Cologne, provided the deep notes on the bass and has largely come to national fame for his work with TV studio band of Stefan Raab’s “TV Total” show. He has also worked with Anastacia, Kylie Minogue, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie and many more international artists and is also an internationally working music producer and studio musician. Guitar wiz Ferdinand Kirner, who has also worked with nationally and internationally known acts.  whom we have in particular seen working with Max Herre (German HipHop-/Soul-/R&B producer and artist), Roberto Di Gioia, Samy Deluxe etc., completed the rhythm section and lived up to his reputation as a most versatile as well as musically experienced sideman, but who was also given the opportunity to showcase his skills as a sophisticated soloist with this formation. Matthias Bublath, who next to numerous of his own projects is also in high demand as studio musician and arranger, worked the Hammond B3 organ, piano and keyboards. While having lived in New York for seven years, he managed to establish himself in the Jazz scene there and thus caught the attention of Funk legend Mike Clark and Tower of Power-sax player Lenny Picket. Other than head of the band Max Merseny, who won the audience over from the first few bars both with charming emceeing and energetic solos, DJ, rapper, freestylin’ MC Roger Rekless worked the decks and found his way into listeners’ hearts right away with his impromptu rhyhmes – all of this set against the backdrop of an apparently sold out venue. And although Max Merseny seemed to mumble something about “warming up”, they hit it right off with the audience from the moment they got on stage – and in ya face!

As if it hadn’t been enough to process this richly filled musical package of energy, passion and groove, these guys put yet another log in the fire upon the second set: Guitar player and singer extraordinaire Torsten Goods, who had travelled from Berlin and whose list of references is equally well-stacked with internationally acclaimed artists, sort of channeled the musical essence of a young George Benson, a Biréli Lagrène, Norman Brown and more top-of-the-line guitar artists and fused them into a blend of his own. Although each of the well-merited musical “alpha males” on stage claimed their presence, Torsten managed to win stage and audience over for himself from the first notes he played. Musical ingenuity and pure energy bubbled from his solos by which he warmed himself up, playing along to a song from Max’s debut album “Thank Y’all”, and having arrived at maximum operation temperature no later than with “Weekend in L.A.“. This blast of talent and musicianship had me almost lose my composure! Was it possible you could top this? Sure thing! And they did by delivering a cover version of Toto’s classic “99”, chock full of groove and delicate rhythmics, which gave Torsten an opportunity to show off not only his skills as an instrumentalist, but his vocal wizardry, too, where his musicianship manifests again in a fashion that marries self confidence to a surprising measure of experience and technical finesse considering his young age. And needless to add that the glances from the female part of the audience in the direction of the stage confirmed his stage presence as reaching out to even the most remote seats in an apparently sold out “Unterfahrt”.

All of this goes to show that present guests witnessed an exceptional musical event and not only so by e.g. one of Max’s first mentors Axel Kühn, who payed homage to his musical protegée with a touching announcement and stressing his words through virtuoso musical onstage contributions to “The 4th”, another song of Max’s album. Their mutual respect climaxed in a musical “four by four battle of the saxes” later into the song. Even Jazz celebrities like e.g. Pete York of “superdrumming” as well as music journalist Oliver Hochkeppel, who writes for Süddeutsche Zeitung and JazzZeitung, wouldn’t have missed to check out Max Merseny’s band of musical aces.

If you got a chance, don’t miss out on the closing night of Summer Jazz Week at Unterfahrt, Munich. You’ll surely be rewarded with a concert, which is in a class of its own. To place a reservation go directly to Unterfahrt’s web site or show up on a wing and prayer. For more information on the artists, follow the links above or via this list below:

Images of photographer Lena Semmelroggen with her unique way of portraying live music events will follow. Lena’s references include an exhibition of her work at Jazzclub Unterfahrt as well as feature reports in Sueddeutsche Zeitung and SZ Magazin.

And now for the fabulous images from Lena Semmelroggen’s lense:

©wesbound, September 2012, all rights reserved