Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dipping a toe in the Audiophile market

As you may... or may not know, one of the key differences in the recording of “Hobson's Choice” was where and how it was recorded. “Hobson's Choice” was recorded at Unipheye Music, in an Audiophile recording studio. 

What does that mean? Glad I asked.

Audiophile means Sound Lover. The Audiophile market is comprised of people that take sound very, very, very seriously.  The amount of money most would spend on a car, the Audiophile will invest in a sound system. Most major label commercial recordings (well honestly all) don't really shine on an Audiophile system. The mixes are dense, compromised and designed to sound good on your I-Device. This is why Audiophile record companies like Unipheye exist. To provide music that sounds exceptionally... well... real.

Now I'm not suggesting you need a 10,000 $ sound system to enjoy “Hobson's Choice”, Good sound also sounds good on your computer speakers or whatever I-device you may have. The reason most recordings don't fall into the Audiophile sphere is because it takes a lot of talent on the performing and engineering end to make it happen. The performance must be live, and you must capture it with very costly hardware and …. cross your fingers.  There is a lot of talent and knowledge behind it, but a big portion of the equation is pure luck.

We got Lucky.

Yesterday we sold the very first Audiophile version on “Hobson's Choice”. Here is the consumer's review of his purchase.

“now i had the Time to hear "Hobsons Choice" at my "big System" ( Mac 8GB/PureMusic via FireWire to WEISS Dac2 ; GryphonPreAmp and big, selfbuild semiaktive Monitors) .... an absolutely awesome Recording ! Wonderfull tonaly Balance, great Dynamic and perfect Resolution of this small, little Details that make an Recording "real". Very, very good Job and the Music itselfs is so great, that i´ve heard the Album directly over again ;-)

Best Regards


While I, and the members of Kinagree Smith do not intend to make the Audiophile market our prime target, we do care a lot about how what we do sounds. We plan to Record “Ashes and Dreams” at Unipheye Music, and there is talk of yet another Jack Kinagree solo recording.

One of my favorite stories about the sound quality of the recording of “Hobson's Choice”, is a while back I was testing an HTML5 file player on the back end of my web site. Kenn Kweder had dropped by, and Kenn has an I-phone so I asked him to test out the file player for me. He loads the page, the file plays and he put the phone in his pocket and leaves it playing. Kenn and I start talking, the music is playing in his shirt pocket on his I-phone speaker and about a minuet later he stops mid sentence, pulls the phone out of his pocket it and exclaims “Wow, the guitar sound here is amazing”.

I'm very proud of “Hobson's choice”. It's a great recording on all levels, and I'm glad people are starting to appreciate the amazing sound of it.

Keep expecting great things. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Incredible Re-cycle-able Second Life Music Scene Commentary

It's been brought to my attention there is craziness afoot in the Second Life Music Scene. Back in the day, I use to write about such shenanigans with great relish, but after a while I started to realize I was writing the same article over and over again, only the names would change.

Currently (and if you are reading this six months after I write it... this is still current. Just a new instigator ) some disgruntled individual doesn't like the way things work in the Second Life music scene so they are just going to change it by strength of will. They scream, post insane delusional rambles all over the place, call people names (If they disagree with them), ban people, get banned, and generally cause much hate and discontent.

The end game always plays out the same. The person making waves shuts up and sits down. They get tired of fighting and while the wounds remain, things go on as they always have. The instigators never leave, even though they all threaten to do so all through their hissy fits.

Now while these people cause much trouble, I would not call them troublemakers. I think most really just want to make things more fair and equitable, even if it is just more fair and equitable for them. But in the end, they are metaphysically trying to fly, and no matter how hard they flap their arms and think happy thoughts, gravity is a bitch.

There are immutable laws in the Second Life music scene, you have to understand that or you'll parish on the rocks.

Music venues lose money. Nobody running a venue breaks even. Some have commercial properties that also feature a music venue, but the venue itself is always s money pit. While it's possible the surrounding commercial ventures might cover the cost, the venue itself will not.

Now I mean absolutely no disrespect with this following comment. But venue operators open and run a venue because they want to. While they are indeed the backbone of the music community with out live music, they would not be a music venue. As much as musicians need a place to play, venues need musicians to make their venues an attraction featuring live music. Yes, it cost money to run even a “Tips only” venue. But in most well informed cases, the people that choose to run a venue understand this. It's no different from any pet project in Second Life. Be it an art gallery, Fashion center or virtual dream house.

When somebody ask me to play their venue they often give me a Land Mark to check it out. When I got there between shows, unless the owner is there, there is nobody there. With out Live music venues are just empty sims. Ever hang out five minuets after a show ends? In most cases everybody leaves except for the couple that have been dancing together for the last three hours and are probably talking dirty to each other in their IM box.

Every time there is a hysterical out burst, the legend of the Artist that charges 100 $ a show pops up. If there is an artist that ask for this fee, and a venue owner choose to pay that amount they must think the artist is worth that amount. They can't possibly expect to get it back in venue tips.

Personally, I charge 5,000 L$ (About 20$ US) per-show. I hardly ever get that amount. As a matter of fact I play an considerable number of “Tips only” shows. I have during my 4 years stint in Second Life made over 100$ at a show on three separate occasions. But this was due to a combination of a small fee, brisk sales of recordings and some incredibly generous tippers.

When I get a fee, whatever the amount, I understand this is coming right out of the venue operators pocket. It is what they can afford to pay me for my time. Outside of that, I depend of Tips to make up the lion's share of my income. Audience members tips me in accordance to their ability to tip me. Be it 10,000 L$ or 10 L$, I appreciate it all.

The music scene in Second Life is remarkably de-centralized. I remember once I was informed I was the most hated man in the Second Life music scene. In truth, I was unpopular in a certain enclave of people, but still playing shows, still drawing an audience. And still making a few dollars here and there.

The fact of the matter is, no matter what an ass you make of yourself, some people are more then willing to forgive and forget. Some people never find out about your crazy antics

The whole scene is in constant flux, and venues come an go as do artist and various phylum of music scene leaches. In the end, as long as you can bring something people are interested in, there is a room for you in the scene. Regardless of why they find it interesting.

In the end, venue owners pay money and supply much needed venues and artist come and try to draw a few people to those venues. The artist don't get rich, and in most cases, venue owners don't spend more then they can afford to.

While it might be on some level, unfair to Venue operators and Artist, in the end, the Listener benefits. And in the end, isn't servicing the musical needs of the listeners what this is all about?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Your Kinagree Smith, News you can use

The Return of Lexie Smith

Last night, at “Bob's Secret Music Island”, Lexie Smith (AKA Lexie Luan) played her first full Second Life show. The show featured most of the fan favorites and two of the three Suits from the upcoming “Ashes and Dreams”. After the show, Lexie was exhausted but she has made great strides in her recovery. While she is still officially on the “Injured Reserve list”, you'll be seeing a bit more of her and as time goes on and she gets stronger, she'll be “all up in your face”.

For those of you out of the loop, Lexie is recovering from two heart attacks (within a weeks time), flat lined three times, and spent five days on a respirator. The fact she is alive is a miracle, the fact she is doing shows after a month out of the hospital is a testament to her resilience, determination and

“Ashes and Dreams”?

Now that Lexie had kicked the Grim Reapers butt and is on the road to recovery, We are beginning to work on our EPIC master work “Ashes and Dreams”. During the heart boo boo incident and recovering from said incident, it's safe to say there is a little “Rust on the Blade”. But we are working on getting back up to speed, and once there. You can expect something amazing.

Jack Kinagree's : Hobson's Choice Virtual World Tour to Start

“Hobson's Choice” could arguably be the best recording I've ever made. However, the sales have not reflected the quality of the work. How good is it? The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, so have a listen if you haven't already.......

My past recording efforts have sold far better, but back in the day I was playing three or four shows a day. Now I'm playing one or two shows and day, and I'm not reaching enough fresh ears to support the release properly.

If you know of any good Venue's in Second Life I should contact, feel free to leave a comment. Trying to work my way back up to three shows a day and every once and a while four shows if there are no “Kinagree Smith” Events listed.

What about the Zombie Apocalypse Rock Opera?

With the return of Lexie Smith, the Rock Opera is put on the back burner. We'll work on “Ashes and Dust” next, and when I have a few moments to work on the Opera I will.

However, there is one more “Demo” of the music from the Zombie Apocalypse Rock Opera. This is a song about the guys that create the “Prosperity Ray”, and features several characters. There is no Art work for this bit, because frankly, the music is easy and the artwork takes a lot of time. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek behind the scenes.