March 18, 2005

off for the week


Luke and Sarah with Seattle skyline
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Tomorrow morning I will be heading to the Yakama Indian Reservation on a mission trip with 22 folks from RUF. I won't be back until the 24th, so this will be my last post (hence the extra posts today about recording this week).

Hopefully the Jayhawks will still be in the tournament the next time I post!

piano recording session


Piano from front
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

On Wednesday, I set up shop in the GLPC sanctuary. I mic'ed the piano with a C1000 on the high and a KSM32 on the low.

In the morning I recorded piano for Luke Morton's forthcoming solo work. I played accordion already at Elliott Bay Recording Studio, and they didn't have a piano there! So I got the files from the engineer and did them myself. I think they turned out really well and can't wait to hear the final product!

Then Leah came in to play piano for the RUF CD. She added some beautiful texture to "Not What These Hands Have Done" and "The Law of God". It was her first time in the studio, but she was a natural.

Things are coming along well!

djembe recording session


Dan on djembe 1
Originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.

Things went great yesterday recording Dan on djembe at the church. I mic'ed things the way I talked about in the previous post (check below), and it sounds great!!!

He played on "Man of Sorrows" and "Micah 7:7" (which I also added tambourine to). The drumming helps a ton on songs that I felt needed more life!

The finalization of the CD is almost at hand... you don't have to hold your breath much longer!

March 15, 2005

Scripture talk

At last week's RUF, I gave a "Ministry Minute" on the Bible. Here are my notes:

One of my favorite things to do is listen to really good songwriting, no matter what the style of music it is. Folk, alternative, country, Motown, you name it; if the songwriting’s good, I’ll listen. I think the thing that draws me to pay attention to a songwriter is their ability to artistically express themselves, while giving you this opportunity to get to know them in the process. The more songs I listen to by a particular songwriter, the fuller a picture I get of that person; many times to the point that I feel I know them like a close friend. And once I’ve consumed all that I can find by a songwriter, I’ll start reading interviews and articles about the writer so that I can hear their thoughts about what they wrote and why they wrote it.

It’s this kind of progression of digging deeper to understand the writer that makes me think of the way we approach the Bible. Second Timothy 3:16 says that “all scripture is God-breathed”, which means that everything written in the Bible has come from the Lord’s mouth. These words were written down by many men, but it all comes from God. We read God’s word so we can know what God has to say: about life, about creation, about history. As we learn what He has to say about these things, we find that we get to know Him better: who He is, why He does what He does. And hopefully the end result is that we come to know Him. If you’re here tonight and you say you don’t know who God is, I challenge you to read this book from cover-to-cover. Trust me, all that you need to know about God is written on these pages.

Now once we say that all scripture comes from God, there are some pretty big things that we have to stand up to. Like I said, by reading the bible, we come to know God. One thing that is said about God is that He is unchanging. Now for us humans, we’re constantly changing. We’re changing our clothes, our minds, our hearts! What would your life look like if you never changed? So if we believe that God is unchanging, then we believe that His word is unchanging. What is said in the Bible is always true, no matter who’s hand it came from: Moses, David, Paul, or James.

So what do we do when we come to a part of the Bible that is difficult to understand, or at least one that could be saying multiple things depending on how you approach it? Well, since we believe that this is God’s word, He’s not going to say one thing on this page, and then later say something different on another. In order to interpret something that isn’t clear, we need to look at what is said more clearly elsewhere in the Bible to find the right way to understand the text in question. If you’re looking for some direction in how to do this, I highly recommend Knowing Scripture, by R.C. Sproul. He will give you some strong tools to use when you’re reading and interpreting the Bible.

Going back to the songwriting analogy, I think what draws someone the most to a songwriter is not just that you know them, but that you feel like they know you. When they write songs, it sounds like they have written them for you and about you. Sometimes they write something so “perfectly you” that you’re almost frightened to think that they might be reading your diary, or at least they’ve surfed your blog to find their new material. And not only that, a great songwriter writes things that help you to get through the hard times, giving you hope in saying that they’ve been there and they made it through.

This is also what we see in scripture. When the Bible points out that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, it cuts a little close to home. When scripture says that “the wages of sin are death”, we see that all the good we have tried to do is still in vain. And when Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life… everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”, we understand that redemption is ours if we only just believe. Do you believe tonight that God has spoken in the Bible? Do you believe that these words are from Him to give you life? And do you believe that you can know Him through these words? If so, that’s awesome; keeping reading and you’ll get to know Him even better. If you don’t believe these things, I encourage you to pick up a Bible tonight and read. I guarantee that you will know God better once you’ve finished it.

March 09, 2005

the passion, part deux

on morning television, I saw a preview for "The Passion Recut". I thought to myself, "so what happens now, Mel made the film a bit more Catholic?" I don't mean to rip on the original, but I think a lot of my protestant brethren missed some very Marian imagery that we haven't had around since John and Martin turned the church on it's ear.

not to be ignorant, I went online and found the recut version of the film is a less gory version, hopefully allowing it to be viewed by a younger audience. the film was still given an R rating, so the producers of the film are releasing it without a rating to give movie houses the option to allow younger viewers if they choose to.

I didn't think that the gore was uncalled for. If you're really going to portray the crucifixion truthfully, then go ahead and spray blood at the camera and have the actor flogged senselessly.

But that's the point... Christ's death was senseless, if you merely understand it from the earthly perspective. A man, who no one denies lived a perfect life and whose teaching has now influenced people for over 2,000 years, is publicly mutilated and the crowds were cheering for it. Imagine if that happened today. Human rights activists would be all up in arms.

From the eternal/redemptive/heavenly perspective, the whole process makes total sense. Christ died for the sins of those he came to save. He took the death that we deserved for our sins.

I applaud Gibson for his excellent piece of filmmaking. I think Roger Ebert sums it up the best at the end of his review:

Is the film "good" or "great?" I imagine each person's reaction (visceral, theological, artistic) will differ. I was moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians, by their desire to see this project through no matter what. To discuss individual performances, such as James Caviezel's heroic depiction of the ordeal, is almost beside the point. This isn't a movie about performances, although it has powerful ones, or about technique, although it is awesome, or about cinematography (although Caleb Deschanel paints with an artist's eye), or music (although John Debney supports the content without distracting from it).

It is a film about an idea. An idea that it is necessary to fully comprehend the Passion if Christianity is to make any sense. Gibson has communicated his idea with a singleminded urgency. Many will disagree. Some will agree, but be horrified by the graphic treatment. I myself am no longer religious in the sense that a long-ago altar boy thought he should be, but I can respond to the power of belief whether I agree or not, and when I find it in a film, I must respect it.

from http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040224/REVIEWS/402240301/1023
I do hope that the film's success does not go to the heads of its owners, Gibson and Icon Productions. Should we be reminded of Christ's death on a regular basis? Yes, daily. Is Easter a glorious day? Yes. Does it take watching a movie every year at Easter to convince us of this? No. If you read the Bible (and not just the Gospels and the New Testment, I mean the whole thing), you should be able to understand the passion of Christ, and probably more fully than the vision of Mel Gibson can give you.

March 08, 2005

facebook fogy


for those of you young folks reading this, it won't be news to you.... but facebook is crazy fun! especially when you're not even a student. I am deeming myself an old fogy, or someone who isn't currently enrolled in any school but somehow has a facebook.

for thos of you who don't know what I'm talking about, facebook is this new website that students can sign up for with their school email address and then see everyone that they're connected to, either in their classes or clubs or dorms... I'm not a student, but I got on... amazing, isn't it?

and I had no idea I had 240 friends!

March 06, 2005

films to think about

Sarah and I rented Mean Creek last night. I read about it in Paste Magazine, reviewed by Jeff Overstreet, a member of Green Lake Pres. Sarah decidely did not like it.

It is a rather brutal representation of how kids treat each other in middle school. A group of teenagers decide to teach the school bully a lesson, and things end up going awry. I honestly don't think that I can say aything as intelligent about this film that Jeff already said in his review, so I'll let him take it from here.

It is interesting to see a film that is painful to watch, kind of like the Passion was painful to watch. Nowhere near as violent visually, this kid is more brutal verbally than I have ever experienced. By the time they push the bully in the river, I wanted him to get what was coming to him. Which shows the darkness in my own heart. Was I faced with the prospect of pushing this kid overboard, I doubt that I would have done anything different.

I think this is the mark of good art, when you are faced with a truth about life and you're forced to decide what you think about it and does your response hold true to what your view of the world.

Next up for us is hopefully Million Dollar Baby, and from what I've read ahead of time, I think we'll be faced with more moral challanges.

(Check out Jeff's website at http://www.promontoryartists.org/lookingcloser/ for more great reviews)

March 05, 2005

iPod me, baby

fish_ipod
fish_ipod,
originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.
Sarah saw this great blurb in Real Simple Magazine about a website that will turn any picture you send them into your very own iPod advertisement. Pretty neat for just $20! Now I can finally be like Bono!

March 04, 2005

kansas holds at #7, washington at

Somehow, Kansas lost 3 in a row, culminating with an always painful loss to Corn Shuckers (where the "N" stands for "knowledge"). They have one game to go, this Sunday against Mizzou, and then on the Big 12 Tournament. As long as they hold on this weekend, they'll take the Big 12 regular season championship.

On a local note, Washington is about to take it's first Pac-10 title in something like 20 years! I'm a fool for not having made it to a game since I've been here. And I never got to see one on television. Nate "The Great" was amazing last year when I saw him, I can only imagine he's gotten better.

So will I be a Husky or a Jayhawk for the month of March?

Well, my blood pumps crimson and blue, so I think I'll have to be a Jayhawk till the end, even when I move to South Carolina in the fall and it will be tempting to be a Tar Heel, you'll never see me deny my roots, even if certain coaches decide they need to leave certain schools to go to other certain schools.

Way to go on a great season, Huskies. I'll be cheering for you as you make your way to the Big Dance. But let's hope that a Jayhawk never meets a Husky in a dark alley; I'd be afraid to see who would win that one...

recording tips: djembe

GarrettDjembe
GarrettDjembe,
originally uploaded by garrettwilkin.

This afternoon I will be recording djembe for the first time. Well, perhaps to clarify, I will hopefully be recording djembe "correctly" for the first time.

Drums in general are a difficult thing to mic properly. An acoustic guitar, it's obvious where the sound is coming from, and you can move the mic to the sweet spot. Likewise with a vocal, a piano, or a violin. But drums, now that's a different story.

When I record drum kits, which can have anywhere between 5 to 8 different drums and cymbals, I prefer to have at least 5 different mics set up. There are the obvious kick mic, snare mic, 2 overheads, and then a random other mic that I stick somewhere in the room to catch reflections of the walls. This seems like the obvious way to do things, mainly because the personality of each drum is emitted from one source. (sometimes you can mic the top and the bottom the snare drum to get the hit of the head and the rattle of the snares... and a little more rarely, crazy guys like to get the kick drum from both sides to get the beater hit and the whump of the drum... I rarely do the former, and never attempt the latter)

Hand drums are a different challenge all-together. Djembe for instance is made up of (at least) two distinct sounds: the slap of the head and the low-end drone that comes out the bottom. Mic only the top, and you get this pitter-patter that lacks any down-low rumble. Sometimes that could be desirable, mainly when you have a full kit in the mix and you just want the percussive slaps to drive the groove.

So comes the issue of micing the top and bottom. Do you mic the sound hole, getting all that direct low-end? Or do you try to mic a short distance away at the floor?

Karen Kane suggests putting a bass drum mic down at the bottom. Unfortunately I don't have access to one of those. Anybody want to buy one of these for me? Thanks, I appreciate it!

So we'll have to see what works the best. I have a good large diaphragm mic, but I don't think that it will respond properly if I stuck in the drum. I'll probably mic it away from the drum and mix it with the mic on the head. I'll take pictures so all of this stuff isn't too esoteric.

Check back soon as I'll talk about my experience in micing cello for the first time and trying to get the right sound on a grand piano!

March 03, 2005

album update

As March commences, this will be the last month that I work on the album. By April 1st, it will be on it's way to the manufacturers.

There are 3 more musicians to have into the studio: Dan on djembe tomorrow, Nikki on cello next week, and Leah on piano in 2 weeks. I am moving my computer back to the church so I can mix on better studio monitors (see post below).

This has been a long project, but I've learned a lot, and not just about music. Maybe I will elaborate at some point (I'm a bit winded after biking home from Lake Union).

Here's a treat... the track listing!

1. My Redeemer
2. Awake My Heart
3. Begin My Tongue
4. Christ the Life of All the Living
5. My Hope Is Built
6. The Law of God
7. Man of Sorrows
8. Infinite Divine
9. Psalm 86
10. Just Are Thy Ways
11. Faint Were We
12. Micah 7:7
13. Lift Up Your Heads
14. Not What These Hands Have Done

Hope that satiates your appetite... check out cyberhymnal.org if any of these lyrics are unfamiliar; most of the melodies are unique to RUF here in Seattle.

March 02, 2005

seminary update

For those of you wondering, the application process to Erskine Seminary is going well. I have only 1 more recommendation to arrive in Due West, SC (yes, in the middle of nowhere, check it out!). When that gets there, then my application will be submitted to the board that decides on applicants. I'm not terribly worried about being denied admission, but you never know.

Thankfully, they have a brand new website, one that is much more attractive than the old one. You should check it out!

goin back to cali

at lake tahoe
at lake tahoe,
originally uploaded by Luke and Sarah.
Sarah has never been to California. There are a number of states that she hasn't been to, but I guess California is rather significant, mainly because of it's size, and some fascination with the Governator (not really!).

Over President's Day, we were skiing at Lake Tahoe. For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of the Sierra Nevada Mtn's, Tahoe sits right on the Nevada/California border.

Sarah was really hoping to go to Heavenly Ski Resort (which straddles the border) and ski into California. No such luck. We stayed in Nevada the whole time. She was a bit sad, but I think she got over it in a few seconds.

So she'll have to wait for our moving/road trip this summer. I'm sure I'll post about that sometime soon as we solidify our plans.

(hmm, only 28 days since my last post... not bad!)