Blog

This blog contains regular updates on my recovery from a stroke involving right side paralysis. I primarily wanted to record my progress after 22 months. Also if other stroke survivors want to see how recovery progresses, I thought it might be useful.

A number of things are clear. No one is the same, everyone is different. Recovery appears to be possible. It is not the muscles that have stopped working it is the neuro messages. To recover you have to use the muscles and eventiually your brain finds another way to make neurological messages work automatically. In fully able bodied people whe you for example learn a new musical isntrument, a part of your body learns to operate the muscle movements.

I also wanted a blog to chart my mood, which as most people know after stroke does tend to change.

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To sign or not to sign?

Posted on July 21, 2009 at 1:44 PM Comments comments (0)

I just read a fascinating article by Janis Ian (for those of you who haven't heard of her before, she is a singer songwriter still active now but having her major success in the early 70's).


She has written a piece on the Record Industry's reaction to free download material on the likes of the original Napster, Kazaa etc. The full article can be found here:

http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.html


As an artist for over 40 years she has some very interesting insights into the Record Industry stating the following points:


!) She has never been out of debt to her record company, the money paid to her in advances never been fully paid back by the return on record sales her current percentage of which is about 8%.


2) What musicians need most of all is exposure, the free downloads of material is the entry point for most people to an artist's music.


3) Free downloads are not necessarily an alternative to paid for CDs or downloads from itunes etc. It is for most people a chance to hear music before you decide if you want to buy some more.


From my perspective I have had two major record deals. The record labels were useless. They need an artist or an artist's management to create the buzz or the vibe for an act...their only routes to market, historically have been to spend money on adverts...(inappropriate for some artists - not so bad if you are a pretty boy or girl with MOR appeal)...or pay songpluggers..this only works if the music is radio friendly.)  Thereafter an artist's buzz comes from their own activities not the record label. I am not particularly complaining about this....but if you are a young artist....it would be foilly yo believe that signing to a record label is any help on its own...and then they take 92% of the music earnings!


I already decided when I set out on this Tango adventure to try to build an audience before even contemplating a record label or publisher route. It seemed to me I had to see if anyone actually liked this music before I spoke sensibly to the Industry.


After a couple of months of loading songs etc on the Internet, I now realise the enormity of the challenge to be heard above the constant melee of music and promotional attempts, but also I am further resolved to stay away from the industry for the time being and if possible stay away permanently.


The reason for wanting to make this music is that I love creating, starting with the song, moving onto the recording and production and then I am quite enjoying the "marketing".....including thinking about videos etc, although i am not yet ready to produce a video of my own, hence the hijacking of other videos.


For me fame and money is only secondary consideration. If I had independent wealth I would still do this and still be faced with the same problem of getting people to listen to the music before they decide whether they like it.


If you are a musician reading this you will know that it is possible to engage with your friends and other networks. If that network is big, you will play gigs and maybe that network will snowball. However that is not enough to make music your full time career.


If you are not a musician, you might not realise that the world does not find new artists without serious promotional effort (I suppose I am making a case for the Industry). 


However in this connected world, I have decided to set myself the challenge to blitz the world with Egriega. I have my first round targets, and second round ambitions. First we need to get to early adopters. Either those committed to Tango or those who think I have a good point to prove.


See you later on this subject.




Why I keep a fish bowl in front of a mirror

Posted on June 27, 2009 at 6:48 AM Comments comments (0)

According to the writer Jorge Luis Borges, there is a French story from the 18th Century that tells of an early legend from the Canton Province of China.


Apparently there was a time when the World of Men was differentiated from the World of Mirrors.


The creatures from the World of Mirrors rose up and invaded the World of Men. There was much ferocity on both sides, blood was spilled but somehow the World of Men managed to vanquish the invaders. The "Yellow Emperor" ordered that the forms of the creatures from the World of Mirrors be removed and that forever after they were to be replaced by replicas of the World of Men. Furthermore, the creatures were forced to imitate in servitude, the actions of those in this reality.


However, Legend has it that the World of Mirrors will rise again led by The Fish, who will come from the murky depths of the Mercury in Mirrors. This time their insurrection will not be crushed and they will triumph.


So I keep a Fish bowl in front of a mirror at all times, in order that when the insurrection changes and the mirror varies from the reality....I will know that this time has come......

New Music

Posted on June 25, 2009 at 3:24 PM Comments comments (2)

In a previous century, every musician wanted to get signed. Every signed Band then discovered that getting signed wasn't even the beginning...it was still twenty yards behind the starting line. 

Memorable classic quote from Simon Fuller "Wham's manager...." I knew Wham were going to be big the first time I saw them on Top of the Pops!"


At the time, it did not compute.....but the flaw in most musicians world view is that  signing to a label is everything.....last millenium that idea was flawed....


This millenium...it is laughable......


FACT Record Labels did not know anything then,,,they know even less now.


What is the point of musician trying to make music....?

Is it 


a) To get signed to a 5 album deal?

b) To get a Top Ten album or single?

c) To break America?

d) To party, get laid and do more drugs than humanly sustainable?

e) To spend years in recording studios?

f) To make poilitical statements and quaff wine with the Pope and the US President?

g) To make a ton of cash so that there's no need to do a proper job?

h) To be a fashion icon?


All the answers are correct for most .....


For me, I want to be creative..... if I never sign a record deal, or do a paid gig, release an album is today irrelevant?


I have already done d) and e) and quit years ago ...I've already worked hard at another job outside of music for a number of years and succeeded....... 


I want to produce a variety of work and if there is an audience then brilliant.......!


The Universe intervenes

Posted on June 25, 2009 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (2)

Just got an email from a musician/pal I used to work with....cue twilight zone music.....could this really be the universe preparing me for getting together a working band?


Do we accept the concept of the Cosmic Ordering Service as promulgated by Barbara Mohr.....or do we accept that Fate keeps throwing the dice.....but it's up to you to make your move on the monoploy board? Or is there no structure to the sequence of co-incidences.?

Spread the Word

Posted on June 22, 2009 at 2:08 AM Comments comments (0)

Last night, I uploaded a new song, Thieves, Lovers and Hooligans along with a "club dance" version, although I accept that it isn't a true "club dance version. It's just the original tango with a 4/4 thumping bass drum and bass line....


Any comments would be welcomed.



Next steps

Posted on June 21, 2009 at 4:57 AM Comments comments (0)

Met a nice chap the other day who is a qualified sound engineer and is experienced at mastering and he gave me some solid, on the money insights into the technical aspects of music production. It was just good to get unbiased ears, critique-ing my music production. Russ Hepworth Sawyer - I am taking on board your comments - thanks.


Secondarily as visitors across the video platforms grow, I am going to produce three tangos in the next weeks , that are one way or another "populist", without losing the essential qualities that I am keen to present. After that, it is currently my intention to look at a Tango Waltz.


One of these, I have been working on for weeks called "Thieves, Lovers and Hooligans" has changed a lot in the last few weeks and in my mind references Frank Sinatra. Another is an Tango/Funk Hybrid. And the third is, I hope an anthemic dance song.....


I need to create the videos for all three.


After that and the waltz, I have some ideas for a few really intimate tangos, almost entering into story-telling in song.....

SEO

Posted on April 14, 2009 at 5:47 PM Comments comments (0)

I have posted my videos on a wide range of video sharing platforms mincluding www.metacafe.com; www.revver.com; wwwdailymotion.com and www.fastclips.com.


Each get different profiles of viewers and each site seems to have a different community connected to it and therefore using videos embedded in other websites. Each embedding further assists in search engine optimisation. Still not yet extended SEO to non specific search terms....i.e. I am continually building the amount of results for the search term Tango Egriega....but i haven't experienced mush with things like Tango on its own or the names of songs.


I also joined Twitter...but not seem much evidence of value ahtough Google picked me up on that.

Talking Business with a Prostitute

Posted on April 14, 2009 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (0)

Last week I posted a new video song called Talking Business with a Prostitute. Good favourable responses on most of the video platforms I am using, but not as many views as "Love or Sex got or is still getting.


Got a good response from an old friend over the weekend who described the music as "honest". 


Now my big thrust is towards creating my own videos.


Made overtures in two or three areas in order to get some inspiration for video productions.


I had a try at doing a film incorporating shadow puppets..but so far I have been unable to get the flexibility of movement that I want.


However, spoke to an old colleague and he suggested some very interesting strategic thoughts that have got me in a place in my mind as to where I need to be to create a viral gem of a video.



Small Progress

Posted on March 16, 2009 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I am now rerecording and remixing all the songs. I need to get fairly definitve versions of each of the tracks so far.

 

I will then remove the multiple versions off You Tube and this site and get it down to a core of the best songs and versions.

 

These will be

 

Love or Sex

Neath the Tango Moon

My Temptations

Flesh and Bone

Lies Lies Lies

Don't tell me when I'm dead...

 

I am probably going to drop "Dark Need"....for the time being.

 

There is some additional material including possibly...

 

The Hunger

Fragile Thing

Kiss Me

Let go if you want to Tango

The Kiss of Life on Saturday Night

 

As stated before, once I am content with a nucleus of material...I will start sending off to Tango Teachers and Tango Clubs and Schools around the UK and then further afield.

 

Interesting to note that on the You Tube stats, there are strange and occasional pockets of interest. from people who happen on the material unexpectedly...last week it was Macedonia.

 

I need to build on this so that those pockets snowball .....it might happen without the Tango School marketing....but one has to do al one can.

 

 

 

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Tango Tango

Posted on March 16, 2009 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I went to see Tango! Tango! last week. This is a dramatised account of Astor Piazzola's life featuring a small Tango band caled Tango Famenco and illustrated by two dancers.

 

Thoroughly enjoyable.

 

Obviously I knew most of the songs....but disappointed that it did not include "Vuelve Al Sur".....although the actor recounting Piazzolla's life did sing out a few lines without music for dramatic effect.

 

The audience was predominantly the kind of people who undertake ballroom dancing or who regularly go to provincial theatre, irrespective of what is on....so no great assurance that a market of music lovers are already desperate for Tango music.

 

The idea was confirmed that in Argentina they do not dance to Piazzolla, although they revere him it is for being famous for making tango music not for his music...to which is not easy to dance.

 

Also, either the Argentine Tango danced to Piazzolla allows little variation, or the dancers and choreography were not inspired...but I found the dancers undertook the same moves virtually every dance...although there was some variationn throughout.

 

Interesting to discover that he owed a lot to Bach...which you can hear on a couple of things....particularly "Adios Nonino" the lament ot his father...which clearly has a Bach bass figure underpinning.

 

Still I continue in earnest.


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