Friday, February 25, 2011

Look What I Did Arrangement Session (VIDEO) Interrupted by Tornado (NOT ON VIDEO) & More

We got together Thursday to go over our scratch recordings for our upcoming Zanzibar III EP. We have maybe 70 or 80 riffs or skeletal parts this time which is quite an abnormally large number for us. This session, our objective was to listen through and associate parts with the appropriate section of the storyline. We decided to do some sort of "Peter and the Wolf" type entrance segments for certain characters, and we are using an unusual song structure for the whole mess.

We intend to go "open source" in the future and post those clips and snippets on Soundcloud. We are even considering letting people use them as found-art samples for other songs as we are likely to change the music quite a lot before it gets burnt to vinyl for Zanzibar III.

Here is some video of us listening through a few of the 70 some-odd snippets we have at the moment.

The Tornado Strikes

About 3 hours into our arrangement session, a vicious tornado flew overhead and caused a serious blackout that put thousands of Nashville homes out of power. The Panamint Mansion was one such domicile.

While waiting in the basement for the tornado to pass (literally overhead on its course to strike ground and destroy property at nearby Smith Springs Road), I took some pictures to pass the time.

In Other News

We firmed up some plans today that may bring us to your town with some exciting friends (that is a not-so-subtle hint about news you'll hear more on later). Also, I wrote a gazzmic blog entitled Dealing with the Press: Public Relations Tactics for the Independent Musician

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why You Should Write "Look What I Did" on Your Paper Money

We are officially recognizing a fan-driven effort to start a "chaos drive" where everyone is writing "Look What I Did" in the top margin of their paper money. This is typically legal, and, to our knowledge, is only being done in a  legal fashion. Back off, Justice Department! :)

It IS illegal to completely deface currency so as to make it unfit for circulation, so simply write it somewhere legal and non-disruptive like the top or bottom margin. With everyone doing it, we are certainly creating a viral and interesting buzz. If everyone works together and does it, soon, the world will be very confused as to what that means, and the resulting Googling will increase Skeet's fame™.

Everyone participating in the chaos drive should do so only in a manner befitting the laws pertinent to them, and LWID is not responsible for any legal issues that may arise from this spontaneous, bottom-up word-spreading effort.

Join in what will be remembered as one of the most creative and interesting such efforts of all time. ALL YOUR MONEY ARE BELONG TO US!

All this, in honor of our tune "Jekyll Island Fiat Scratch" from Atlas Drugged

In Other News

I sat down (nowhere near him) for an interview with the top music journalist in the history of  New Zealand, "Young" Beezy, and I wrote an article for gazzmic entitled The Economics of Music. Also, we released a video update from a writing session the other day for Zanzibar III: Analog Prison.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Skeet's Elron Side Project Makes the Front Page of & Other News

Today's episode of Who Is Increasing Skeet's Fame™ features some exciting news! Info-punk meets infowars as the afore-linked protest video featuring the music of Skeet's side-project Elron made the front page of today. Also, I wrote an article for Gazzmic called How the Selection of Band, Song, and Album Names Can Cause Your Music to Go Viral.

We're still looking for blogroll trades, so hit us up in the comments if you'd like to do that. Also, music equipment companies, future blogs could contain features about your gear if you provide it for us to use and it's good. Most of Look What I Did's fans are musicians, you know. ;)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Current Look What I Did Live Vocal Rig (Music Gear Enthusiast Content Herein)

To whom this may be of interest, I submit to thee my live vocal rig.

This is my Sennheiser e945 mic. I picked this one up on the cheap on Ebay for around $170 nearly a year ago. It sounds crisp and full, though I EQ the lows out pretty substantially as Look What I Did's overall mix is a bit heavy on the dirty and rich bass, and too much low end can turn our sound into a wall of mud thus muffling the vocals. Turning the bass frequencies down tends to resolve this issue, and I love the sound of this mic. Chris uses the Shure Beta 58A and Skeet uses a traditional Shure SM58. The blend of the different tones of the mics works quite well, and, ever since we switched to this rig, we've had no problem getting the harmonies out into the front of house mix even when we're running two full stacks on each side in smaller rooms (depending of course on the strength of the PA).

After struggling for years to explain how to mix our vocals live to local sound engineers that we've never met before (imagine saying, "OK, we are very heavy and loud as much so sometimes as a death metal, grindcore, or hardcore band, but we have delicate three part vocal harmonies that appear periodically. Oh yeah, and Skeet and I scream bloody murder very frequently at a loud volume, and Chris is soft on the mic. So... just figure that out."), we decided to take matters into our own hands. I use this Behringer 1204FX mixer to mix down all three of our vocals live on the fly, and I run the effects through it on a loop, allowing me to apply them to each or all of the vocal channels.

This particular mixer comes with more channels than I need and 4 XLR inputs. It has on-board effects which I sometimes use, the most frequent one being a very light application of the chorus effect listed as #63. The outputs are balanced which makes using it live far more practical. I have had very few problems using this mixer in nearly any venue. I picked it up for under $200 on Ebay and scored a USB interface attachment with the deal.

For additional effects and samples, I use:

The KORG KP3 KAOSS Pad is primarily marketed to DJs, but I find it quite useful for live vocals. I have yet to take advantage of the sampling features, but intend to in the future. If anyone would like to collaborate with me by providing me with some sample tracks via email to load onto an SD card to use live, I would be open to discussing such matters in the comments. I'd love to have fun experimental or electronic samples to play with live during technical difficulties or interesting speech samples and other such content to play during and between songs.

A Future Addition?

I'm considering adding a microKORG to my live rig, pictured below.

If any of you have experience with it, I'd appreciate your input in the comments. Should I get one and incorporate it into my existing live rig? Your thoughts may well influence my decision as I am on the fence.


This is a crucial component of my live rig for when "alertness is required." Look What I Did is in no way responsible for any of the jittery feelings you might experience if you choose to incorporate this element of my live rig into your setup.

In Other News

Look What I Did will soon go open-source. We can't yet explain what this means, but it will be innovative, and you will hear more about it very soon. Also, I wrote a new article for Gazzmic called A Seasoned Road Warrior's Grab Bag of Tour Tips, and the Gazzmic blog got a visual upgrade!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Barry's Egypt Video Timeline, Skeet's Fame Increases, and Download Situation Handled

Everyone knows I'm a political activist, but I try to keep the written content about minutiae relegated to personal blogs or publications that deal in that specific business. Politics can be contentious, and I don't want anyone to feel like they have to subscribe to identical views in order to listen to Look What I Did. That said, there are some technically political events that transcend politics.

While I personally feel that the USA has a moral responsibility to stay out of the crisis in Egypt officially, everyone in the world who wishes to live in a free society is cheering right along with these people who just woke up overnight to the fact that they've been suffering under multiple decades of tyranny. Since I'm the type of person who obsessively watches world events like these, I figured I would provide some Egypt Revolution Cliff's Notes in the form of a video timeline of exactly how this sudden flash mob internet revolution came to be. I've been watching Al Jazeera's English Live Stream off and on for days due to their superior coverage of events on the ground in that part of the world. I have drifted off to sleep the past few nights watching swirling swarms of Egyptian patriots defeating tyranny by exercising the rights recognized in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Free and unrestrained speech, social media websites, and direct protest action just took a 30-year dictator down in a flash. This should be inspirational to us all.

For those who haven't been keeping up with this ongoing crisis, check out this video timeline. This is intended to show the events that lead up to this remarkable philosophical paradigm shift.

Barry's Egypt Video Timeline

I first learned of Egypt's ongoing tyranny from Coptic Christian refugees that I met while living in Los Angeles. (Back when we were pursuing the Koch/Combat record deal that ultimately increased Skeet's fame and resulted in Minuteman for the Moment.) However, not until the internet began to show abuses did these issues become more well-known to the average person. It was the arrest and imprisonment of bloggers for writing critical speech of Mubarak's administration that first sent shockwaves throughout the internet.

Anyone who is familiar with the FreeKareem movement will remember where the Egyptian Revolution really started. In my view, while the people of Egypt deserve praise for their courage, the real battle at play here is the technology of the internet versus Mubarak's corrupt government. The internet is a vehicle of instant and unchained communication, and this is in direct conflict with a government that seeks to suppress speech.
The above video is a plea from 2007 to Mubarak's government to free Kareem Amer, arguably one of the Egyptian revolution's first major players, whether he knew it at the time or not. The tyranny so inflamed the world that countless worldwide protests went on demanding his release. He had been sentenced to 4 years in prison for words he typed into his blog. 

The suppression of free speech was unfortunately only one of the tyrannical activities carried out by the unchecked executive power of Mubarak's administration. Security forces were routinely committing egregious human rights abuses against citizens, and this was reaching a fever pitch when the Tunisian revolution happened.
A Tunisian college student, after having his street vendor business shut down by security forces for foolish bureaucratic reasons, set himself on fire in protest. The nation exploded into protest in turn.

I will warn you that some of the footage in this timeline is going to be hard to watch. However, it is medicine we need to take. It was much harder for those appearing in the videos, so I think we'll all able to tolerate watching them considering that fact. Of course, feel free to exercise viewer discretion if you feel you can't handle watching what happened to real people in Egypt. These things can happen to anyone when government is allowed unlimited police power.

Inflationary food prices plunged Egypt into the brink. Abusive security forces demoralized the population. Things went nuclear after 48-year old Abdu Abdel-Monaam Hamadah, an Egyptian restaurant owner, set himself ablaze in front of the parliament in Cairo to protest rising food prices.
This videoblog by Asmaa Mahfouz is widely considered the video that officially started the Egyptian revolution.
In the video, she appeals to the machismo of Egyptian men by warning them that she and some female friends intend to protest Mubarak in Tahrir Square on January 25th. Since most Egyptians were aware that security forces regularly responded to protest with human rights abuses, it was clear that these young girls were facing serious danger. They compelled viewers to come join them in protest if for no other reason than to protect them from being hurt or killed by security forces. This may have significantly contributed to the protest going viral. No one likes to see young women getting hurt.

Turns out, people showed up.

If you have a soul, that video will bring you to tears. It is obvious something amazing is happening at this point. However, this is when widespread smartphone videos emerged online showing unbelievably heinous human rights abuses. To bear down on the spread of information, Mubarak shocked the world by shutting down the internet. This came at the same time the US Government was asking for that exact power, so we are very lucky as Americans that this foolish policy was being considered while we were watching a veritable clinic on why it is an example of an abuse of a fundamental human right.

This stuff is not for the faint of heart, but, if Mubarak hadn't already inflamed everyone left in Egypt or -- Hell, the whole world, these types of videos did it.

Mubarak called off his security forces after they were overwhelmed by the protesters, now of such great number as to nearly shut down society. Like any true tyrant, he sent in the military. However, he forgot that, due to the fact that Egypt has a praetorian system of government, the military might not carry out the human rights abuses that he had in mind. They didn't. They just stood there and watched the protest, sometimes even joining in.
When Mubarak's military proved to be the Egyptian version of the Oath Keepers, he decided to encourage his security forces to go home, dress in plain clothes, and engage in violent protest by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at peaceful anti-government protesters. This struck me as not only insanely tyrannical, but petty and childish.
Also, these "security forces" thought it was in the security interest of the Egyptian people to senselessly beat reporters from major news organizations from around the world. Al Jazeera was banned, and even American news journalists like Anderson Cooper from CNN caught savage beatings by "pro-Mubarak protesters" which is newspeak for Egyptian security forces.
So on February 11th, the protest grew its largest ever after Mubarak delivered a defiant speech on February 10th that Egyptians thought would be his farewell address.

Then, realizing he had nowhere left to turn, Mubarak stepped down, and the internet and the Egyptian people defeated decades of continuous tyranny.

So there you have it, a flash mob style revolution in videos.

In Other News

Today's segment of WHO IS INCREASING SKEET'S FAME?™ sees Skeet's Elron project from his Destined for Increase brand featured in a political protest video by the gentlemen over at Resistance Is Sexy
Also, I wrote a blog for Gazzmic that, if read by all music fans, would fix the music industry. It is called For Music Fans: To Download or Not to Download. 

Please contribute to the viral spread of this blog. Y'all rule.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

R.I.P. Guitar Hero

So, apparently playing Dance Dance Revolution with a "band themed" user-interface has finally bit the dust as Guitar Hero was canned by Activision. Such a turn of events puts this old controversial (100+ comments?) blog about Guitar Hero from our MySpace page into an interesting perspective.

Rock Band's parent company Harmonix appears to be having some issues as well, so it looks like the kids are just going to have to start playing real instruments.

I kicked out a gazzmic blog yesterday called Make Them Remember Your Name, and today is Jake Omen's Birthday! Wish him a Happy Birthday, internet!

Feel free to discuss your sense of anguish or ecstasy over the demise of Guitar Hero in the comments! This is an important matter with serious implications for humanity. (translated: Video games are srs bsns.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Trolling for Blogroll Trades and This Day in Blogging

For those of you who have blogs and would like to be included in Co-Conspirators: The Blogroll™, simply add  to your blogroll then list your URL and title in the comments of this post or send an email to relentlesstouring (at) gmail (dot) com with the same information.

For the record, we will soon be pegging this media outlet to a dot-com so don't think we're lame.

This brand-new page needs a fresh selection of sketchy and scurrilous bloggers to help us launch the Information Revolution. By joining our blogroll, you will gain the distinct privilege of having those alliterative adjectives apply to you! We mean that of course in the most loving possible way. (For those keeping score at home, that was the kindest rhetorical usage of the words "sketchy" and "scurrilous" in the history of literature, so it would be appropriate for the history of language to somehow reflect that fact. The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar, are you listening?)

In other news, read this review of The Great Unimaginer by This Hideous Strength from Valdosta, Georgia and Music in the Information Age: Tags As User-Defined Genres from the blog of the Gazzmic revolution. In the interest of full disclosure, I am going to say the phrase "full-disclosure" twice in this sentence. You can consider that information to now be fully disclosed.

The Info Revolution continues.

At ease, warriors in the fight for free expression in music.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Beez Approves

Amid the countless (for someone with limited counting skill) calls for our record Atlas Drugged to be held among the top (insert number here) albums of 2010, "Young" (per our arbitrary coinage) Beezy claims it to be among the best on his shortlist that includes The Melvins The Bride Screamed Murder.

We're just tickled silly that you appreciate our handiwork, Young Beez, et al.

And with that, Skeet's fame further increases.