Author Archives: David Elias

About David Elias

Acoustic music, Ultra high quality hi-res audio recordings including DSD and MQA, nature, photos, poetry, video, the nature of art, the art of nature, the art of listening...more at www.davidelias.com

On Relearning the Listening Thing

I have finally returned to my spinning roots of vinyl. For the past 13 years or so I’ve selected, sheltered and moved 4 boxes of what was once a 3000+ LP collection and kept the chosen few in humidity and temperature controlled storage along with other audio gear and material (including 1/4″ tape, digital audio and video tape, CD/DVD masters) in the oh so hostile-to-equipment Hawaii climate that over too little time literally destroys everything from aluminum/tin roofs to any plastic and paint finishes and metal on cars, to window frames and doors in houses to anything with organic traces or PCB electronics and beyond. Only PVC seems to survive untouched by erosion and decay, though can mold easily into bright or black colors.

Kilauea volcano Sulphur Banks...all albums in DE Bandcamp discography are $7 (50%+ discount through end of July)

Kilauea Volcano Sulfur Banks Hawaii Volcanoes Nat’l. Park – photo by David Elias

Still, everything is temporary anyway (one of Edie Brickell’s very best lines from a New Bohemian’s debut) so it was time to get on with it and begin bringing albums back to life in my listening room. And that’s exactly what happened. They came back to life.

Running through my discs which seemingly began collecting themselves in crates at the beginning of the 70’s I soon realized that my ears learned how to listen to music in this exact same way long before I even started buying my own albums. Forget about hi-res and sanitary listening conditions and even stereo. FM radio was just getting going late at night where I grew up with AOR DJ shows talking softly to you for a change and giving you new info on new sounds.

The listening happened from the instant the needle (no stylus then, just needles) hit the wax. We came to know each disc’s signature scrapes and pops and occasional skips. Like road workers or excavators grading a new line, some were a lot more quiet than others but all were fully immersive.

Discerning music from analog tape masters transferred to vinyl was a serious art and skill for the pop culture groomed through the 60’s onward. I figure I learned it well, beginning in memory at a ripe young age of 4 hearing it all through single speakers in any given room where I grew up, to acquiring my first Harmon Kardon (330B) receiver + Electro Voice speaker kit I mysteriously mail ordered from luxuriously beat Southern California to the mystical midwest, long before I could legally drive.

I’d already been steeped in many musical flavors which my parents owned ranging from Wes Montgomery to Robert Goulet, Bach, Sinatra, PPM, Mariam Makeba, Louis Armstrong, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, 5th Dimension, Sergio Mendez, Doors, Anthony Newley, John Fahey, not to mention Dylan, Beatles and Simon & Garfunkle for posterity, and then began adding unruly beasts like Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, The Who, Uriah Heep (2nd or so concert attended with friends driving, opening act was Rush), Santana, Stones, Cream, James Gang with Joe Walsh (first rock concert attended at a local college ’71 or ’72).

Mauna Loa volcano at about 9000 feet, photo by David Elias, from artist's "Poor Polly" video on YouTube

Mauna Loa at about 9000 feet (volcano is largest mountain mass on Earth) – photo by David Elias

A huge difference between then and now is that the music community nationally seemed nearly 100% aware of what was new as far as bands releasing albums. This was a timeline managed collectively by all without a world wide web, email or text, nay, barely even Texas Instruments and HP (RPN) calculators. It all happened through LP’s on store shelves and in our collections, through radio and word of mouth. And letter writing. On paper. With pencils. It was an analog way of learning about an analog art form. Think about that for a minute because it came and went for a long time for most and then maybe came back again in new degrees.

Today I don’t think 0.01% of the music released each week is ever ever ever even known to those wondering about new music, let alone listened to. In those early vinyl days I knew, I think I heard nearly all of everything rock oriented (which then included rock, folk, folk rock, americana, newgrass, country, metal, acoustic, soul, funk, r&b, motown and probably 100 other easily forgettable genre labels on today’s music map) through friends’ albums, a few stores to browse through, radio, and the ones I bought with my brother.

So listen hard we did, and pay attention to who was writing and recording and performing, as well as how they were writing and recording and performing. Now when I put the vinyl back in my airwaves at home I am taken to those times and places of first learning how to listen.

Since then I have groomed my ears to listen to cassette (still viable and very healthy in the new world), 1/4″ tape, 8-track, CD, MP3, DSD, hi-res PCM to DXD, MQA, digital streaming (usually MP3 between 64 and 320kbps, then 16/44.1 and MQA on TIDAL) through endless wired and wireless arrangements of gear from elaborate golden Monitor Audio 5-way surround setups to the tiny AM radio-like speakers I still like to listen to (tilted at the best angle to one ear or under my chin) since buying the first iPhone in 2007.

Every one of these audio formats had their own signature sound characteristics. The differences between them are usually huge and obvious and easy to identify especially with the same source track playing as converted media formats to compare. I think I learned how to discern these kinds of differences by first learning how individual LP’s from the early years sounded compared to one another.

They all had a signature of their own to my ears. It took years of listening but by the time CD rolled around in the early 80’s I knew what I preferred to what I didn’t prefer. Saying it like that as a preference is by far more important to me than saying which is better in an altruistic suburban way.

Mono vinyl through a 60’s Lafayette tube amplifier into an unknown 2-way speaker buried in a wall at the top of the room still sounds good to me. Which brings me back to the point that it’s not about how good it sounds but how well I am listening.

Be Safe & Well, with Extra Aloha & Safety to Hawaii as Douglas passes through this weekend.

~ DE
https://davidelias.bandcamp.com (All albums are now just $7 through end of July with MQA)
https://youtube.com/davideliasvideo
https://art-of-listening.com
https://davidelias.com
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Onomea Bay Jungle, Hilo, Hawaii – photo by David Elias

All  text and photos by David Elias
Copyright © 2020 David Elias – Independent Acoustic, All rights reserved.

Bach vs Beck…is it all just Nature’s Noise

Bach          Beck

I am listening to both Bach then Beck on Spotify and noticed they had a similar 5 million listening audience for the month. What else do these guys have in common? To start they both wrote music for infinite audiences. This is something Beck no doubt always knew and Bach probably knew as well just assuming there were multiple Bach performing ensembles and orchestras in his day that he was aware of, all playing to their own audiences.

Both composers had fans, comprised of the yaysayers and naysayers. But who were the composers trying to please if anyone but themselves. Their works are presented as complex arrangements with artistic messages and signatures. Who are these messages and signatures intended for? For that matter what are the differences between these types of messages and signatures and those of a tropical storm across the Hawaiian Pacific Ocean? I say that no one can say for sure.

As a listener I am inclined to assign anonymity to both playlist recording sources, meaning they could be written and performed by anyone, even the same person. I first heard Bach on vinyl some 30 years before ever hearing Beck. Bach arrived on the scene (Earth) 285 years before Beck. Will there still be Pacific rains to listen to 285 years from now, let alone Bach or Beck churning the ether for some millions (billions?) of ears each month?

No one can say for sure.

Listening to anything artistic beats making noise every time. That’s what I say.

Wishing you all Aloha & Good Health…

~ DE

https://davidelias.com (includes DSD & Hi-Res MQA studio masters)
https://davidelias.bandcamp.com (includes all MQA studio masters)
https://youtube.com/davideliasvideo (artist produced videos)
https://art-of-listening.com (artist blog)
Highest Resolution DSD up to DSD512 remasters at NativeDSD.com

(PS thank you to all the new signups on my mailing list. Remember that all you have to do is reply to the welcome email message you received (in private to verify you are human) and I will send you a free hi-res album download with streaming of my “Coffeehouse Playlist #1“.)

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photo by david elias
Copyright © 2020 David Elias – Independent Acoustic, All rights reserved.

Extra (acoustic): Free through July 4th

Extra (acoustic)
– by David EliasI say easy don’t come easy that is alright
The sassafras root’s now hard to find
And extra is the thing that’s bound to break me
Extra roots and extra time to mind

Gardens start to flower in the morning
There’s nothing like that morning glory’s eye
Satisfied the daybreak’s done and over
Satisfied the night’s done passed us by

I wish I had a book of all my poems
And a diary of my drawings of my life
And snapshots of the front doors of my past homes
And one braided lock of hair from my last wife

But extra things don’t fit in my pagoda
And extra things don’t fit my afternoon
I’ll just turn them all into the things I owe ya
And call it quits one day before too soon
Call it quits one day before too soon

_________________________________________________

Released June 28, 2020

Written, Performed, Recorded, Mix/Master by David Elias
Sketti Sandwich Productions
David Elias Music (ASCAP)
davidelias.com

David Elias on Spotify…

Cover art photo of dead, dried koa tree by David Elias

© David Elias, All Rights Reserved

Extra-Video

David Elias - Extra (acoustic) - Lyrics

Square One

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Free Download – Tom Petty cover song (enter $0 for price to get the free download)

Friday Only Save 15% on Any David Elias Bandcamp Purchases using this discount code:  FRIDAY15

Thank you Bandcamp for supporting artists with this discount and letting me pass it on to listeners!

15% Discount Expires midnight PST (Los Angeles) on Friday May 29, 2020.


“Square One” – Tom Petty

Had to find some higher ground.
Had some fear to get around.
You can say what you don’t know.
Later on won’t work no more.

Last time through I hid my tracks.
So well I could not get back.
Yeah my way was hard to find.
Can’t sell your soul for peace of mind.

Square one, my slate is clear.
Rest your head on me my dear.
It took a world of trouble, took a world of tears.
It took a long time to get back here.

Tried so hard to stand alone.
Struggled to see past my nose.
Always had more dogs than bones.
I could never wear those clothes.

It’s a dark victory.
You won and you are so lost.
Told us you were satisfied, but it never came across.

___________________________________________

released March 19, 2020
Words & Music by Tom PettyDavid Elias: acoustic, vocal
Recorded & Produced by David Elias

40% Off Everything – May Day Sale

EXTENDED SALE NOW THROUGH MAY 3rd 2020, ending midnight PDT (Los Angeles) 5/3/2020.

Save 40% off anything/everything you buy on my Bandcamp Catalog.

Use this discount code at checkout:  MAYREPEAT

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Bandcamp is waiving their artist fees on May 1st so I pass that and more savings on to you for that day. Offer ends May 3, 2020 @ 11:59pm PDT.

Currently 49 titles on this catalog including MQA remasters up to 24/352.8k.  All titles will play on any player, the hi-res is transparent until you have the proper MQA decoding software and/or hardware (DAC).

If you’re not into MQA don’t worry it doesn’t matter — you can download and play any of the 49 titles on Bandcamp :)

Hope you are safe and well and thank you for continuing to listen to my music online and as downloads.

Don’t forget to find me on Spotify, TIDAL, iTunes Music, Amazon Prime, Deezer, Qobuz, Last.FM, Pandora and all the rest.

Again many many thanks for supporting independent artists!

Sending Aloha,

~ DE

SendingAloha

 

Album of the Week: “The Window” on NativeDSD.com

AOTW facebook twitter

Get 20% Off “The Window” in any DSD Resolution up to DSD512.

NativeDSD.com in the Netherlands has selected “The Window” as their Album of the Week. The 20% discount is good through May 1, 2020.

Go to the NativeDSD website here…

Use the checkout promo code: AOTW to get 20% off.

NativeDSD.com has original DSD masters and remasters up to the highest resolution DSD512 (stereo). “The Window” has both stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround downloads available (MCH downloads up to DSD256 resolution).

Download one of the best known reference quality recordings, recorded live studio directly to DSD64 by Gus Skinas, mastered by Gus as DSD for SACD release in 2003.

“The Window” contains no edits, overdubs, digital effects or any compression of any kind. It is a pure acoustic recording made using vintage EMM Labs ADC DSD converters and the original Sonoma DSD Workstation (8 tracks max.).  It is mixed on the Sonoma using the Sony Wide DSD Mixer Card and mastered as native DSD on the same workstation.

This recording never has been converted to any other digital or analog format and is considered a PURE DSD recording, one of very few anywhere in the world. It only gets converted to analog for the first time when you play it on your DSD enabled system. What you then hear is 100% identical to the studio master recording.

“The Window” features some especially talented musicians backing me on these live studio recordings: Matt Flinner, Ross Martin, Sally Van Meter, Eric Thorin, Marc Dalio, John Magnie. Recorded in 3 consecutive days at Immersive Studios in Boulder, Colorado.

AOTW Instagram - Layout

https://www.nativedsd.com/albums/SSP3162D64-the-window

Don’t forget to use the discount promo code AOTW at checkout!

Many thanks – please share with your social media and friends online.

~ DE

Listen to the newest song release "Stand In The Middle" online at davidelias.com -- other new song releases and the album collection "Nighttime Music" with unreleased songs also here.

Listen to the newest song release “Stand In The Middle” online at davidelias.com — other new song releases and the album collection “Nighttime Music” with unreleased songs also here.

Shared Music – Free Download or Stream

david elias hawaii

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We are all staying home for the most part these days. Here is some music of mine to listen to as a free download (any format you select) or streaming (web browser and free Bandcamp Music smartphone app).

Use Google Drive Worksheet here… to get a download redeem code

You can choose from any of the 4 titles in the shared Google Drive worksheet and then go to the redeem code page at:

https://davidelias.bandcamp.com/yum
Type in the code as-is including the hyphen! (XXXX-YYYY)

Once you have redeemed the code you have unlimited downloads in any format forever as well as streaming forever via web page or free Bandcamp Music iOS/Android app.

PLEASE – mark the code in the worksheet as used by typing ‘X‘ in the column by the code you used so that other people don’t try to use the same code, as it won’t work once…

View original post 30 more words

Free Album Download for Inside Times, Stay Healthy: Voice Memo ~ Songs From Hawai’i

See “Something He Already Knows” video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/nRiN2JP2ngw

LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD FREE HERESTAY HEALTHY

In these dangerous times all are encouraged to stay home when possible. I created the CD “Voice Memo: Songs From Hawai’i” from voice memos I had recorded on my iPhone in various cabins I lived in Hawai’i prior to the CD release year 2016. Writing and recording these tunes and songs, along with a couple of loud rainforest storms on tin roofs is very much a reflection of prior inside times for me. So I thought I could share this inside music with anyone interested in playing it at no cost.

It can be streamed directly from my website link here: STAY HEALTHY

From the same link you can download the MP3-320 version of the album tracks (all 30) as a single Zip file.

Overall I am home more, listening to music more, reading more, writing more, communicating online with others and praying for those who need it most on the planet.

Take Care to All, Sending Aloha…

David Elias

David Elias - Voice Memo - SongFromHawaii - 1600px-MQA-2


VOICE MEMO: Songs From Hawai’i – Album/CD Notes

These songs were all recorded as memos to myself on my iPhone while I was writing them. They are me writing music for myself. Voice memos to myself for myself.

People tell me my songs connect to them, usually they are complete strangers. But my songs are written by me, for me, but not about me. They have no objective or mission or point to make. They come out as music, words or both the way they come out. This album “Voice Memos” tries to show you that songwriting process for me.

Recorded directly to the iPhone using the standard iPhone mic (mono).

~~~~About My Songwriting~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Listening to this album is a way to listen to the way my songs get created. I get asked this often enough. Dave, do you write the words first, or the music, or do you look up random things on Google and get ideas… … … ??

I can tell you there is no research in my songwriting. No Google, no references. Not even an idea of what I am going to write about 99.99% of the time. I am a tune player and creator on guitar. That’s usually what I do when I pick up the guitar, play something new whatever comes out. It comes through me sitting there and I don’t think about it much except trying to hear what it’s saying. 99% of the time I play and play and play for awhile then forget it all.

But sometimes the tune is catchy to me and I work on it and keep trying to get it right and eventually it sounds like it has the right shape and notes and well, tune.

So I might start singing along with it at some point during that sitting and see if there’s a singing part to go with the guitar part. No real words but then usually there are real words coming out of me, I didn’t plan them.

So there’s the idea for the song and I just write down the words as I come upon them and turn them into the melody and the song. That’s how I remember the song – that and then I often turn on Voice Memo on the iPhone to record it at that point. Like I just discovered something I don’t want to forget. Which is what I did.

Voice memo….

Sometimes the tunes on guitar don’t have any words. They are enough they way they are. Or words could come later. Or words I’d written down (poetry ok) another time can be randomly matched to a tune. That happens too.

So tune first, words next, song maybe. Or tune first, no words, song maybe. Or tune not quite there, no song, maybe later. Or words sitting on a page to tune just written or written and remembered, song maybe. See what I mean? No plan :)

Just trying to get it right…

Voice memos can help. Decided to try to share some of those in the honest fashion they were created sitting at home just playing for me.

~~~~~ The iPhone part and tech mumbo jumbo ~~~~~

Every song in this collection was recorded on my iPhone using a 3GS, 4, and 5S. All used the phone’s mic (no external plugged in). I recorded the using the Voice Memo app that comes with the phone from iTunes.

These songs are then recorded in very low bit quality AAC by our friends at Apple who have a penchant for incredibly poor sound quality. They invented its use for retail in 2004 when iTunes came out. Before that MP3 downloads were free worldwide among millions of musicians and music lovers on forums and music sharing sites.

I’m all for putting music out there and Apple/iTunes has certainly done that in a digital way. But in the 21st century when technology spins over every 6 months and Apple themselves often at the head of that turnstile, don’t you think they might owe the public a little better sound?

Having said all that, I have found over and over again that the little AM-radio sounding like speakers that Steve Jobs put in the iPhone have a remarkably natural kind of old transistor radio sound I’ve liked since I bought my first iPhone in 2007 when they came out and people lined up on the sidewalk in Silicon Valley to buy one (I waited 2 weeks and walked right in the store).

That iPhone AM-radio sound is how I started recording my Voice Memos. Just ideas often. A handy memo tool so I wouldn’t forget some things I played for myself in a cabin here in Hawaii or maybe by the water or wherever. I learned how to sing and play “carefully” into the phone at good levels and good proximity for my ears. In the higher eschelons of audophiledom they call this approach to recording carefully for the highest sound quality “provenance” now. Ok Provenance. Just an iPhone though, nothing else.

I converted the AAC (m4a) files that are about 48kHz lossy in mono (like MP3’s lowest ranking) to a CD quality level (16/44.1 lossless FLAC) and “master them” as such. I don’t mess with them otherwise (i.e., adding compression, reverb, other effects or edits).

Then these voice memos were encoded with MQA by MQA Ltd., UK along with lots of other CD, HD and DXD quality masters I have as PCM. They sound better this way, even if you don’t have an MQA decoder DAC. Lots of MQA DAC models are for sale from various manufacturers at all price ranges up from there.

My song/voice memos are just that. Songs for myself to myself when I am writing them. I don’t always know how they go when I am recording the memo. I can’t always read the words I just wrote down perfectly or get the timing just right. They are rough and raw and new songs I just wrote. Before I even come to know them myself. I often want to record them and capture the original song for myself.

Now I want to share some of those with you. They are not the “best” ones per se. In fact they are just more of snapshots in time, where I was and what I was doing in Hawaii where I’ve lived since the beginning of 2008. But they are honest and they are all new songs for anyone who has listened to me recording since 1995. And I like how they sound.

Independent Acoustic has meaning to this end as it has for me since I started playing guitar at the ripe young age of 11.

Here’s to all the independent artists all over. Fer Fock’s Sake…

[Full Album/CD Lossless/MQA download is available at Bandcamp Catalog]

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PS — A BRAND NEW SONG (and a digital audio digression) – released March 2020, “The Data Tech Blues” written at the suggestion of my Hilo auto repair shop owner guitar buddy Jeff when I said I’d come help him sort out his credit card processing problems that were holding up his payment settlements (he wasn’t getting paid!). Jeff said maybe a song would come out of it all. And it did….

Listen/Download Free Here (use price $0.00 for free)

David Elias - The Data Tech Blues - Cover Art

While I recorded the original track on my iPhone, I moved that crappy iPhone AAC (m4a) audio file to PC and messed with it using the free Audacity editor/mastering tool on Windows. You will hear my synthesized version of what is called pre-echo ringing in the digital audio world. I added the effect more and more as the song progresses. A data tech nightmare for an audio engineer normally. What better place to put it than in a data tech blues song?

The pre-echo ringing means you are hearing my voice singing before it starts singing … What The…?  Yes pre-echo ringing is a reality since the earliest days of commercial digital audio which was the CD about 1981 or so. One or more echoes of the impulse (fancy word for a loud sound) arrives to the listener’s ears (that’s you) before impulse itself. Other echoes trail the impulse and are called post-echo ringing. This happens over and over again when you listen to typical CDs or even hi-res PCM (24/96, 24/192). It throws your ear-brain sync off. Our ears are very (VERY) sensitive to timing and location of sounds we hear.

Sony and Philips who invented the CD standard didn’t care about that. They thought frequency was more important (20 kHz limits for human ear). So they whacked sounds above 22.05 kHz) using what’s called a Brickwall filter. The mathematical result of using that radical filter is the creation of the echoes that ring and ring and ring when you listen to the music. Ouch.

That’s why digital audio typically comes off to many people’s ears as edgy, fatiguing, and even irritating, or it sounds cold, mechanical and without natural feeling. Things that correct this problem are MQA (for CD and higher res masters) and DSD which has very little to no noticeable ringing to begin with.

I like DSD for lots of things. I like MQA for lots of things. To me they don’t compete at all with each other. I wish the rest of the audio world was as forgiving that way. The absence of pre-echo ringing is something both technologies have in common. I like that!

(….. If you want to hear what the original song sounds like without the ringing and other effects send me a message and I’ll send you a copy…..)

The Data Tech Blues

On the less serious side I wrote this song immediately after talking to my local auto repair mechanic/owner guitar buddy in Hilo who called me to ask for help with the processing of credit cards at his shop. He’d been down for several days with an old dialup line that went off line and he couldn’t get telephone repair to come anytime soon.

I told him I’d come down and convert his dialup credit card processing to Internet data which would be better anyway. Then he told me maybe I’d write a song about it and I said maybe I would. Then I did before I drove down there on Saturday. So I recorded it to my iPhone then messed with it on the computer and am now releasing it. Comedies of Errors! We all live in the midst of a huge Chaos we cannot see.


The Data Tech Blues
– by David Elias

Come you ladies and you gentlemen listen to my song
You might think it’s right or you might think it’s wrong
Just a little bit of everybody’s story out today
The data tech blues gonna carry us away

I got the blues
I got the tech blues
Lord I got the data tech blues

I was born on analog both the vinyl and the tubes
Dialup was working on the phone lines that we used
Everything was slow but how were we to know
That the fax and the modem were the first that had to go

I really don’t know why but then I had to try
The cleaner sound of audio they wanted me to buy
It’s Compact Disc they said, your ears are not misled
By the hiss of tape and scratchy noise your albums always make

Then Ethernet caught up with me, an RJ45
But I’d rather hear a jukebox with a 45 archive
Now I have to plug it in with something called CAT5
And USB is using me it’s eating me alive
Every time I turn around I need another thumb drive

Now they put it in the air just to get it in my ear
It’s WiFi and it’s Bluetooth with a 5G nearly here
I can’t see or taste or smell it but I sometimes hear it clear
When I shout out to Alexa, “Would you play me something Dear?”

I got the blues
I got the tech blues
Lord I got the data tech blues
____________________________________________

credits

releases March 19, 2020
Words & Music by David Elias – all rights reserved worldwide
Performed by David Elias