It's Easy Being Green

I really enjoyed your article on going green (see the May 2008 issue of EM). Excellent timing when energy costs are going sky high. I just thought I'd

I really enjoyed your article on going green (see the May 2008 issue of EM). Excellent timing when energy costs are going sky high. I just thought I'd pass along a link for recycling CDs and DVDs: If your local recycling center doesn't accept CD and DVD waste, you still have an option.


I was checking my email when I got a forward from a certain Laurie Spiegel (with whom I have had correspondences through the years), in which she informed me of the passing away of my mentor, Allen Strange. To say the least, I burst into tears. I was able to visit Allen during the summer at his beautiful Bainbridge Island home in Washington, where we had good Mexican food, discussed music, and had a one-on-one teaching session in Max/MSP. It was a time I will always remember. After hearing about his passing, I posted in what forums I could find, recollecting memories and sharing with others his stories. I also found out about the far-flung influence he had on a lot of people, some of whom had not even had the pleasure to know him personally but were influenced by his writings. (His book Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques, and Controls is still available as a download from

Some stories I recall: I first met Allen at De Anza College (in Cupertino, California), where I took the electronic-music course. I went into the class not knowing a filter from an envelope. After a year, he recommended me as a tutor for the class. I also took private lessons from him. One of his methods was to bring me into his room full of Buchla synths, unplug all the patch cables, hand them to me, and then leave the room! Another neat fact was, although well known for his avant-garde compositions and techniques, he also taught a class in country music. I also found it interesting that he played bass in a jazz ensemble with David Bristol, who was one of the main programmers for the [Yamaha] DX7 when it came out. When I got to visit him last summer, he told me all sorts of stories about Don Buchla and how he came up with the designs for his synths.

Through the years, I still kept in touch with him. After getting into sound design for soft synths and working with Camel Audio, I was able to interview him, in which he discussed his past work and what he was working on.

After opening this April's issue of EM, I was very surprised to see yet another influenced soul in the form of Gino Robair. I was thankful that EM had a touching write-up about Allen and his influences (see “First Take”). He has been a big influence on my own work, as well as on countless others, as he was a pioneer for electronic-music education and a composer for new music. May he continue to influence us all (in strange ways!).


I read with great interest the Brooke Wentz Q&A (see “Industry Insider” in the April 2008 issue of EM) on expanding opportunities for music licensing. It raised a question that I hope you can answer.

She suggested that we send our material to music supervisors on CDs. She gave instructions for labeling the CDs and said, “I hate … throwing a CD into my iTunes and then having to put the titles into the songs … The coding should be correct.”

ITunes looks up the titles of songs from the online Gracenote CDDB database. This database is restricted to commercial CDs. Is there software that we can use to encode a home-burned, noncommercial CD so that the track titles will appear in iTunes?

EM executive editor Mike Levine replies: Bill — Fortunately, the Gracenote Media Database (formerly referred to as the CDDB) is not restricted to commercial CDs, so independent musicians can use it for their demos. Here's how to upload your CD's track info to the database:

  1. Put the CD into your computer and open iTunes.
  2. Select all the tracks in the iTunes window.
  3. Select Get Info (Command + I on the Mac or Control + I in Windows), and enter the common info (album name, artist, year, genre, copyright info, and so on).
  4. Select each track individually, hit Get Info, and enter its correct name.
  5. Go to Advanced→Submit CD Track Names. Your info will be uploaded to the Gracenote database. Once it's processed in their system, whenever somebody puts your CD into iTunes, all of your information will show up. (According to Gracenote, it can take up to 48 hours for a CD to process.)

Before uploading, be sure that you have everything correctly entered, including the song order and genre. If you submit the wrong info, it can be a hassle to change it. To do so, you have to contact Gracenote. It can take a while, and in the meantime, people will be seeing incorrect info when they put your CD into iTunes.


In EM's interview with Mike Barbiero (see the April 1 “EM Cast”), did you happen to notice how Mike had kept his [Digidesign] 192s in sync with his [Apogee] Rosetta? There has been much talk on forums and in the digital community in general regarding the use of a master clock versus an internal primary clock. In any case, when using multiple interfaces, there must be a master clock.

With Mike's setup very closely resembling mine in doing the same function (mixdown), I was curious as to whether he was using the internal Rosetta clock sent to the Digis that provide his multitrack (stem) output to the Dangerous Two Bus. In my setup, this is performed by the Lavry Blue clock to Digi and Apogee D/A.

EM executive editor Mike Levine replies: J — I recently asked Mike Barbiero about that issue, and he said, “I use the first 192 as the master, set to word clock.”


As a longtime EM subscriber, I have always looked forward to the April issue because I could always count on there being at least one article full of pomp and bloat extolling some impossible technology.

And then (usually in the following issue): April fools. It was always great fun to read the newbies' letters to the editor pointing out the flaws in the proposed gadget, and having the editor say, “Gotcha.”

I searched from one end of the mag to the other: I found the pomp and bloat, but no farce. I fear that a time-honored tradition has fallen by the wayside.

Say it isn't so, EM.

Editor Gino Robair replies: Gotcha. April fools!


I enjoyed your article on Derek Sivers of CD Baby (see “Industry Insider” in the May 2008 issue). I've known Derek for years, been a member of CD Baby for many years, and have attended a number of the seminars where he speaks. Derek is a fountain of incredible information on how indies can take their music forward.

My guess would be that many, if not most, of your subscribers are indies. I hope you'll consider featuring Derek on a regular basis in your magazine, as I'm sure his suggestions would be of great interest to virtually all the subscribers of your excellent magazine.

I've noticed that you're featuring an indie artist on a regular basis now in each issue, which I think is a wonderful addition to your magazine. Keep up the great work you do at EM, and I hope you'll take my suggestion under consideration.
George Finizio


This month EM focuses on nine of the latest pocket-size digital recorders. What's the strangest or most interesting thing you've recorded with a field recorder? Email us at


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