I’ve got about 50 minutes recorded toward the next album. It snuck up on me — one day I feel like it’s barely started and going slowly, the next I think I’m “halfway done” but really could master and release it right now, except that I want to try another couple of tracks first.
I found that the set of bass strings I bought a few years ago, intending to put on the Ursa short-scale fretless but never getting around to it, are exactly one of the ones that many players like very much on the Ibanez Mikro: D’Addario Chromes. There are a lot of different string characteristics, varying in tension, materials, and winding. The big divide is generally round vs. flat, with rounds generally being brighter and more “zingy” but rougher to the touch and noisier with movement, and flats being warmer and mellower and smooth. But there are some exceptions and alternatives — tapewound, groundwound, half-round, coated, and then different core profiles and a few other things that matter. Chromes are flatwound but people describe them as having “a round wound sound” as well as “deep and punchy,” although some have called them “twangy.”
I’m trying to decide whether to put the Chromes on the old bass and maybe rescue it — because with the current variables I don’t like it very much in feel or in tone — or just go ahead and put them on the Mikro. I suppose I won’t damage them in some way trying them on the older bass first, though.
- I mentioned Dune. I’ve finished it, and my overall feeling remains: it’s a mixed bag. But I can see how this book, released when it was, was highly influential. I already coincidentally compared the Jedi to the Beni Gesserit but I think that’s more apt than I realized; this book went deep into space magic/mysticism, space feudalism, a space empire. It’s essentially fantasy wearing SF clothing, which is where Star Wars went. Trek instead combined Westerns, a space navy, and handwavy technobabble.
Dune is also remarkably dark. Testing the pain tolerance of children under threat of death as part of their training, a culture of oppressed people who have to drink their own body fluids to survive, a whole empire dancing to the tune of a capitalist cartel, a massive conspiracy using eugenics and the manipulation of religion and culture to achieve its mysterious aims… but also the theme of the whole thing seems to be that every victory is a kind of defeat. Try as you might, you could win but you will also lose, and a hero is the most tragic and disastrous figure there is. Huh.
- Project Hail Mary. This was a ray of sunshine after Dune, even though it’s about a desperate attempt to save the human race. There should be more books where the protagonist is a cool science teacher who has to solve problems with science, rather than violence or treachery. This was the most science science fiction I have read in quite some time, and also wonderfully funny several times. Loved it!
- There is No Antimimetics Division. This is a novel of SCP Foundation fiction, and it is humorous, absurd, very clever and very dark and scary. It’s in the paranormal conspiracy genre, where an organization which exists to protect humanity from “anomalies” also must deal with deadly memes and antimemes — ideas that encourage their own spread and ideas that resist/prevent their own spread. Trying to contain cognitohazards when simply knowing that the hazard exists exposes you to it. Drugs that cause people to be unable to forget, or unable to remember. Enormous creatures of the deep and omnipresent parasites that most of us simply cannot become aware of — and the frightening, bewildering lives of the few who can see them.