Category Archives: Art

How to Cure the DSD/HRA Download Blues

 

A Cure for the DSD/HRA Download Blues…

Have you had some not so Aloha experiences trying to download some of the big DSD files? 24/192 PCM files are even bigger.

Maybe your Internet connection is not-so-quick.  Maybe your provider dings you for the amount of data you download above 2GB or 4GB each month. Maybe you want more than one album worth of files and don’t have the time to babysit the downloads. Maybe you are into 5.0 surround and know how big those audio files can be (average about 400MB per song as DSD64)…

Whatever the reason you can now purchase a single USB stick with the combo of my DSD albums and mixes (2.0 stereo and 5.0 multichannel) that you want.

You can purchase this option through my web page at
http://www.davidelias.com

The DSD USB Stick offer is good ONLY in the United States!

All my online purchases go through secure PayPal which I’ve used as a merchant online since 1999. They have been a great service to rely on.

If you would like the USB stick shipped to you and do not see the album(s) or mixes combined that you prefer, please reply to this email and let me know what you are interested in.

I ship the USB Stick USPS Priority Mail with tracking and can let you know when it goes out and the tracking number.

You can copy the DSF files from the USB Stick to your PC or Mac or simply plug the stick into your media player like an OPPO and play the songs. Pretty darn simple.


One More Cup of Coffee…

With the launch of Revelation9 at the T.H.E. audio fest in Newport Beach, Calif this weekend, I created my first “curated” playlist of my native DSD songs. The curated idea is not exactly new to me though the term is. It means (to me) that some thought and expression are put into making the playlist for some focused intentions by the curator.

In this case, the curator is me. So my intentions were to create a coffeehouse playlist that reflects some of the power of recording in Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and delivering those mixes to people interested in high resolution audio. All the songs in this playlist are mine ranging in recording sessions from over 10 years ago in Boulder, CO to fairly recently in an offgrid cabin here in Hawaii.

I started my rekindled approach to Independent Acoustic in coffeehouses in the SF Bay Area in the early 90’s. I think coffee and acoustic and DSD for that matter all go together very well.

I wrote about each of the 9 songs in the playlist and more about coffeehouse karma online. You can read about that here…

The Playlist is online for download as well for $15.95. It contains selected tracks from all 3 DSD albums as well as the “Aspen Rose” single. These are stereo mixes.

 David Elias - Coffeehouse Playlist #1

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Aloha!

– DE

New Album! David Elias – Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions

David Elias - Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions

David Elias – Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions

It’s Like You Were There In The Studio…

David Elias – “Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions”Released 11/04/2013

Download these 14 original songs as both DSD (DSF) and 24/88.2 FLAC audio files for the price of $24.95.

You get both formats! FLAC files are hi-rez lossless downsamples that can be played by all popular PC/Mac media players including JRiver, Winamp, Audirvana, Windows Media and many others.

http://www.davidelias.com

“What excellent compositions…exceptional performances…and rich, harmonic, organic sound, as natural and mellow via DSD as one could wish…10 stars…Love it, big time” – Dr. David W. Robinson, Positive Feedback

This collection of original material from the independent acoustic singer-songwriter David Elias is a special organic, natural sounding set of pure DSD recordings created at the Slipperworld Studios in La Honda, California (www.slipperworld.net). These 14 tracks feature David Elias (acoustic/vocal/harmonica), Charlie Natzke (acoustic/vocal) and Chris Kee (upright bass, Blue Coast Records).

This Acoustic Trio session release was captured in the studio on a single day as a series of live takes without any edits or overdubs. It was recorded by Charlie Natzke to no more than 8 tracks directly to a Sonoma DSD Workstation using Meitner converters.

The essence of the performance is the ambient and acoustic nature of all the instruments and vocals including natural resonance, harmonics, decay, and microphone bleed and decay using minimal micing without any artificial or digital effects.

Acoustic Trio DSD Sessions” was recorded on a sunny day among the redwoods with the windows open. The musicians recorded standing roughly arms length from each other in a small circle with no isolation. A pair of microphones were positioned overhead to capture a stereophonic image of “the room”. This was used as the only source of natural reverb in the mix.

The songs were mixed as DSD using a Sony mixer card in the Sonoma workstation. These tracks have never left the original DSD format, even as analog conversions for mixing!

As a result, what you hear from these pure DSD master recordings are the natural live performances of the trio, as if you were standing or sitting with them in the studio during the session.

Songs: 01 – If I Had My Way, 02 – Ohlone Dream, 03 – Above The Creek, 04 – Crossing, 05 – Changing Down, 06 – Take Me Down The Road, 07 – The Riddle Song, 08 – Rodeo On A Ridge, 09 – Summer Wind, 10 – One More Savior, 11 – Good Old Days, 12 – Vision Of Her, 13 – Transcendental Deprivation Part II Straw Dream, 14 – Morning Light Western Town

David Elias began recording to DSD in 2000 using a similar minimal microphone setup directly to the prototype 2-channel Sony SACD Project DSD mastering/archiving prototype workstation. Working with Gus Skinas (www.SuperAudioCenter.com) he went on to record live studio performances with a large acoustic band to 8-tracks in 2002. This resulted in the landmark independent hybrid multichannel SACD “The Window“. The followup award-winning SACD “Crossing” was released in 2005. Both SACDs received the coveted “Brutus Award for DSD Excellence” from Dr. David W. Robinson, Positive Feedback.

These and other DSD Downloads are available from his website at www.davidelias.com as well as from www.SuperHiRez.com and www.HighDefTapeTransfers.com.

David Elias - DSD Pioneer - Bio

silver pen… a journey to transformation

Silver Pen

She caught a long train gone
There wasn’t nothin to it
In the red red dawn
She just had to do it
Heard that lonesome song
And she could sing
Right through it
She caught a long train gone

She found a change of heart
In the changing light
Whatever made her start
Could not have been more right
She took her namesake’s part
In the dead of night
She found a change of heart

She found a new home town
And she moved right in
And the freeway sound
It didn’t come again
And in some drawer she found
Another silver pen
In her new home town
In her new home town
She’s in her new home town

———————————————————————–

silverpen

new beginnings … 20 years in the making

With the 2013 Autumn Equinox, I am releasing a collection of recordings that was made about 20 years ago. It was the beginning of my work as an independent acoustic artist in the SF Bay Area. I began performing my original songs back then in a retro solo coffeehouse style approach to live music.

I also began recording at my home studio with the encouragement and assistance from Gus Skinas and Roger Powell who helped set me up with gear (which included a nice 100-year commemorative Gibson Gospel guitar!). I recorded to Hi-8 video tape on a Tascam DA-88 8-track PCM 16-bit recorder at 48kHz. Gus loaned me 3 very good mics which was probably the biggest quality influence on the whole setup.


… A CDBaby is Born …

Those are my beginnings as a DIY musician and the first effort yielded my first self-released CD called “Lost in the Green” in 1995. A few years after that I found out about a brand new online retail outlet called “CD Baby” (what a name!) for independent arists.

I had 2 CDs released at that point (“Time Forgets” was recorded in 1997 and released in 1998) so I called Derek Sivers in Woodstock, NY who in 1998 had started this brainchild of hanging anyone’s self-made CD in his storefront window and letting the artist control 100% of everything about the sale through their online account.

This included the retail price and all the info about the release. It could be changed by the artist at any time. Derek provided the warehousing of the inventory and did all the online transactions with Visa/etc. and shipped the package to the customer. Then he told the artist about it via email and kept the history of the transaction online.

To this day, I can look up the first CD I sold through CDBaby online in about 5 or 10 seconds. That’s 15 or more years ago! CDBaby has not changed the price it charges to provide their service to me ($4 per disc no matter what the disc retails for).


 … Getting Online … Slowwwwwly ….

At this point, in the 20-year horizon of how I was encouraged to produce my work and find my way into the Internet and DIY music, I looked back to the first recordings I made. This was all before CDBaby, before iTunes, before Hi-Rez, before Napster, myspace, Dreamweaver, DSL and cable modems, and lots of other things I gratefully forgot about…

I was staying up late nights into early mornings writing HTML in a Notepad text window and uploading it to my account with Netcom.com out of San Jose, one of the first ISP’s in the Bay Area. I didn’t have a domain name of davidelias.com. I didn’t think I’d need one…

But I did use the Alta Vista search engine (no Yahoo! or Google yet) to find the web sites and playlists for public and university folk and country radio shows. In the days of 19.2k, 33.6k dialup modems that everyone had, there was no streaming of music online.

You could upload and download mp3’s and then play them through things like Winamp (which I still use sometimes) but the radio stations weren’t part of that. What they did was show you the programs they had scheduled and the playlists of what went out over the air in recent shows by the different DJ’s. (They were using the web to try to push you to the air waves!!) They often had email addresses for their staff.

So I started emailing those DJ’s who were playing songlists that I felt my work would fit in with. I let them know what I was doing as an independent artist with a web site, writing, performing and self-producing CD’s and asked them if I could mail them a disc to audition for their show. They usually said “Wow – you must be crazy and when do you sleep and sure send a disc to me”.

I could then track my work appearing in shows in the US and other places as far away as Hong Kong. I maintained my web page by hand and added radio info and pictures and mp3 downloads as time went by. There were very few rules as to the “right way” to do things…This was still quite a ways off in the future…maybe it still is…

MP3.com went online in 1997. It let anyone upload their music to the web to be accessed by the universe of listeners, many of which were also artists. I was in heaven!

I don’t remember any other artist songs as covers or copies like the YouTube of today. I remember all this original music. Maybe I’m glorifying it, I don’t know.

Before too long there were a million songs online at MP3.com from independent artists like me. By 1999 MP3.com went public and all the artists online there were offered an IPO price on some (small) number of shares of the stock. Good times!

A shared music platform with free exchange of styles and motivations. Too good to be true? Yep…MP3.com produced some very big rumblings in the record industry that was sitting back watching music being given away…. lawsuits and the rest followed as MP3.com departed. (It first got locked in a drawer by Vivendi, then went to CNET and exists today in another form.)


… Napster (free) … iTunes (not!)  …

In the wake of MP3.com, Napster and others, there emerged a new unfolding of the retail motherlode of digital downloads…iTunes. I had been online almost 10 years with free MP3 music downloads at that point.  But suddenly there was this very huge RETAIL thing looming in front of the independent artists. CDBaby took us (lowly unsiged artists) to that front door, and all the other OMD doors…

Since then, iTunes has sold some 28+ billion downloads…that’s a lot of noteworthy hamburgers so to speak…CDBaby is the Online Music Distributor (OMD) of my catalog to over 50 download retailers including Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon, Napster, MusicMatch, EMusic and last.FM. There are over 350,000 albums on CDBaby alone (2+ million songs!) that can be purchased as CD and/or downloads right there.  That’s just CDBaby, that’s not iTunes!  You want to make a living as a musician with some songs recorded?…uh you have a few competitors out there…

MP3.com proved that there could be a huge music community of artists and listeners using the web as a conduit for the exchange of music. MP3.com was visionary in this regard. they were ahead (meaning occured before) things like Ecommerce and ad-supported web pages. But they didn’t charge anyone anything to post music or to download music. It was just about the music for them, or so it seemed anyway. I, and I think millions of other people as artists and music lovers, liked that a lot.

Steve Jobs saw and seized the opportunity… iTunes became the vending machine for delivering music to a BUYER not necessarily a LISTENER. People who were involved in the approach (software) used to encode and compress the music files as MP3 were not necessarily happy with the resulting quality of the recording compared to the original. But modem speeds and expensive disk drives at the time were both catering to smaller files to download.

So iTunes jumped on the wave and created what I still think is one of the best media manager software packages out there. I spent years telling people that if they wanted to just catalog their CD libraries they could download iTunes software for free and do just that and play the music from the computer (or send it to their stereo system) or iPod or iPhone if they had one, and never buy a single download from Apple.

iTunes lets you rip CDs to WAV (if you change the settings) so the CD and resulting digital file sounds are identical. I don’t think most people understood how useful that was and still is. You can also sequence songs you want and easily burn a new CD with the same audio quality.

Newer software that can also play DSD now exists so iTunes hasn’t quite the same clout that it did…Still most media player software integrates WITH iTunes, it does’t try to REPLACE iTunes. Talk about market share…

What iTunes also did however, was assign a value ($.99 to be exact) to each song on the web. What a concept that Jobs had!  So free music became less interesting to a whole lot of people on both sides of the equation from then on.

The record industy had its serious competition forevermore; music lovers had to start being more judicious (mainstream?) about their choices of music; and starving artists (or some version of that) got this new gleam in their eye that said “hey if I could only put the right song up on that iTunes I could probably make….”).

Also In the wake of iTunes came a host of new challenges and opportunities, all of which I managed to get tangled in without a lot of guidance because most people didn’t know much about the How-To either.

Some were quite fun really as technology got kind of bolder on the desktop and then notebook then notepad computers. (Today I’m using an old iPhone as my portable tablet!) Plus I’m a persistent type so I don’t mind doing the research and experimenting for my own education.

A memorable list of emerging technology for music during those times is: webcasts, podcasts, live streaming broadcasts, highly stylized and customized media players, standardized media players and eventually videos.  Most if not all of these are still around.

So the waves of independent artist music grew large and poured out over the web, with me right in them.

Derek Sivers has since sold his CDBaby business (2008) which had grown to include HostBaby (where I’ve hosted my web site since he started that around 2000 I think) and other things. But the mechanics of how CDBaby works are the same.


DSD Wobbles Around and Then Sits Up Straight After 10 Years or so…

Time sure did race by… Now in 2013 I am 20 years into being an independent artist and also 10 years into the creation of the planet’s first independent (unsigned artist) hi-rez SACD recorded and mixed for stereo and 5.1 surround sound.

I made “The Window” available as a DSD Disc (stereo DSF files) download in 2009 – another first – to anyone interested in accessing hi-rez over the web as opposed to on an SACD disc. These were mostly being played on some of the 30+ million Sony PlayStation3’s out there that supported DSD Disc.

This same format (DSD as DSF / DFF audio files) was just this month, 4 years since my DSD Disc release, announced and embraced by Sony as part of their new High Resolution Audio (HRA) campaign that encourages DSD Downloads. Good friends to have in the DSD Download market!

You can read about their initiative through these links

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/personal/2013/09/03/cea-to-tout-high-resolution-audio/2758871/

http://www.cepro.com/article/sony_releases_8_hi-res_audio_products/

You can now also find my released DSD recordings online with the record label DSD Download crowd online at http://www.SuperHiRez.com — there lots of press and buzz about this:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue68/hi_rez.htm

I’m just happy that there is a (rapidly?) growing community of artists, producers and labels that care about how good their recordings sound.  They (Sony and retailers) might say it’s because their surveys say that the market wants good sound, but I think they have to want good sound as much or more than anything else… let it happen!


Independent Acoustic Roots…

This new release is where I started with this world-connected music. I’d already been playing guitar and performing my songs for 20 years (I know, I know…). But that’s another story. Everything changed with the digital technology that enabled DIY CDs to be created and web connected communities of art started flowing into retail pretty quickly.

So here are 16 songs that are from the Big Bang of my Independent Acoustic DIY universe as a singer-songwriter. Playing guitar is one of the things I’ve cared about my whole life as a young guy then young student, then young adult then … what am I again now?

It doesn’t matter. Music is timeless. You can find the track downloads online at www.davidelias.com right now.  They will be online at iTunes and the rest of the web download machine any day now. “Lost in the Green” never made it to iTunes for personal and then some bureaucratic reasons. So adding this release to my catalog on iTunes and the other download sites helps complete my story online for Independent Acoustic.

Thanks for Listening and thanks to all those who have helped and encouraged me to be Independent along the way.

Enjoy the change of season with the Equinox.  9/22/2013…4:44pm EDT


About the new release…

Independent Acoustic Roots — these are solo acoustic bare bones performances, original mixes. As a result there is only one overdub on these tracks. Calvin McElroy plays mandolin with me on “Season of the Fall”. John Caulfield added his fiddle part to “Time To Sleep Corrina” as an overdub.

Some of these tracks were used later in multitrack mixes for the release of “Lost in the Green“. Some were unreleased. 4 tracks are written by Townes Van Zandt and recorded during the same time in 1994. Only two of these appeared on “Lost in the Green”.

 1. The Great Unknown (David Elias)
 2. Season of the Fall (David Elias)
 3. Dollar Bill Blues (Townes Van Zandt)
 4. Lost in the Green (David Elias)
 5. Time to Sleep Corrina (David Elias)
 6. May People (David Elias)
 7. Field of Wood (David Elias) *
 8. Nothin' (Townes Van Zandt)
 9. Every Hour, Every Day (David Elias)
 10. Eye on the Wind (David Elias) *
 11. Mainland (David Elias)
 12. Hair of the Dog (David Elias) *
 13. Rows, Desolation & Angels (David Elias) *
 14. Stormy Early Warnings (David Elias) *
 15. Waitin' 'round to Die (Townes Van Zandt) *
 16. A Song For (Townes Van Zandt) *

* Does not appear on “Lost in the Green”

“Independent Acoustic Roots” is online at http://www.davidelias.com


   16 acoustic tracks from the DIY digital dawn... NEW Release! Original Acoustic Tracks from 1993/1994

it’s like this —

Let me put it this way. You are under a thousand blankets. It is not just dark but heavy. Every sound is muffled and distant but not without its own weight. Each and everything in your universe now has weight. Especially the thoughts you can’t subdue. They come at you like the negative spinning dark spots of fireflies without warning and without swarming yet they swarm nonetheless. They are Magical in a way but Heavy.  They are something that requires attention regardless of your inclinations. But it’s the weight that affects you more than anything else. It holds you captive. It creates the fabric of your captivity. “To each his own”, they say. What a sorrowful burden that can be.

I open my eyes. They feel dry. I guess it is a little before 6am. I turn to see the clock. 5:49. Through the years I have become deadly accurate at knowing the time during the night and into the early morning. I am usually no more than 15 minutes off in my guesses but more often within a few minutes, or dead on. My sleep pattern is consistently erratic, grasping a few hours at a time but usually no more. So sleep is a flaky visitor who I have completely externalized; nothing more than a visitor and a stranger.

I can’t concentrate. Concentration has left me seemingly long, long ago. My thoughts have no patience for themselves. They arrive like intruders on what otherwise would be a passive island of nothing or at least less than intrusive. I have no patience for planning or even a hopeful glimpse of something more than the empty landscape I have somehow whittled myself into. Art has almost no meaning. Nature is a force to be reckoned with much more than enjoyed. Like life itself. The reckoning is beckoning. What a joke, For who, For what? What organization have I ever wanted to sign up for? Yet I feel committed and obligated. I am being measured and graded. Still being evaluated and monitored. Freedom…

It feels like this. You have to go in to get out. But I have no patience for contemplation. I can be idle but not relaxed. I go nowhere in my mediocre meditations which are not meditations at all. They are excuses to myself for missing some ghost boat, for not being present and accountable, for paying too much attention to other guidelines, for wasting time, for following orders, for giving myself excuses, for not following my heart and being happy for myself.

I once breathed calmly underwater. It felt like a nicely encapsulated eternity at the time. It was summer…July…Hot humidity but sunny. Before ozone was a word anyone knew. The sun was our friend. It treated us to different types of celebration depending on the season. In the summer it was native. Life did revolve around it. There were few contingencies. The fine print in the global contract with Nature had not been written. We were healthy.

I was lying submerged in the water of a public swimming pool. I knew a lot about water then. It was part of many things that I was part of. Swimming was one of them. Creeks and reservoirs were another, sometimes lakes and oceans. Garden hoses with lazy mechanical sprinklers attached. The same hose could be used to soak holes dug in the yard for newly planted trees and bushes. It could wash cars on asphalt driveways. It played the upper hand in water wars where balloons and sandwich baggies were filled. It was just a hose. It was just water.

Now water has become the newest global currency, replacing oil. We The People are now scratching more and more of the surface of the planet than before. Fossils are disappearing. We scramble and compete for the living fabrics of Water and Air. The basics are all essential. Redundancy is required.

That humid hot summer day I lay flat on my back at the bottom of a swimming pool in no more than 6 feet of water with my eyes open to the blue sky above. It reflected in many directions all at the same time, a puzzle needing no further organization. The sun itself appeared in many of the pieces all at the same time as through an asymmetrical kaleidoscope. I have that feeling now looking at the pieces of experience I can conjure. It’s not balanced nor does it look complete yet there it appears to be as a complete and indifferent object. It is neither for me nor against me. It is similar to how we all carry our plastic shopping bags of assorted nutrients and elixirs around with us at all times. There’s almost nothing personal about it.