How to deep-clean your vinyl records: wood glue.

August 1st, 2014 by David Gerard
Audio

Really. Pretty laborious, but this seems to actually work. Anyone tried it?

Today’s unbelievably terrible sounds for your delight: neo-Nazi rap.

July 28th, 2014 by David Gerard
R'n'B

Hey, it worked for Christians,[citation needed] perhaps co-opting rap music will work for neo-Nazis! Multiculturalist site Imagine 2050 writes of White Power rap used as a recruitment tool in Germany. Artists include N’Socialist Soundsystem, Sprachgesang zum Untergan, Natürlich, MC Bock and Makss Damage.

Imagine 2050 fears the power of this stuff for recruitment, but anyone with ears will laugh within thirty seconds and switch it off within another thirty. I’m not linking any, but you can find it readily enough with a search.

(I am particularly pleased to categorise this story under “R’n’B”. “I turn black music into white music – like Elvis did back in the day.” Yeah, no.)

What it feels like to lose the ability to perceive music.

July 3rd, 2014 by David Gerard
Writing

Quite possibly the scariest thing you will read this year.

The audiophile woo motherlode: Wat Hifi?

May 31st, 2014 by David Gerard
Audio

Some kind person has been collecting this stuff. Enjoy. HT Paul Makepeace.

The stupidest audiophile argument against double-blind testing to date.

May 23rd, 2014 by David Gerard
Audio

Paul Wilson writes, in Audiophile Review, possibly the stupidest argument against double-blind tests I’ve read in some time. He doesn’t just argue the case for a special exemption from joined-up thinking in general — he dodges even arguing the case, and just asserts it. Oh, and double-blind tests are inherently biased against audiophile manufacturers. (That one I might buy.)

The commenters note at length that, by previously asserting that he can tell cheap from expensive HDMI cables, Wilson could handily win James Randi’s million-dollar challenge for proving apparently-supernatural phenomena in the lab. HT Peter da Silva.

Punk rock is alive and well in Myanmar.

May 12th, 2014 by David Gerard
Punk

A great photo essay by Olaf Shuelke in Roads and Kingdoms of punk rockers and their kids, in full mohawked peacockery, putting on unlicensed shows with a generator and speaking out against injustice.

(Rone: “what, no ‘Mission of Burma’ jokes? son, you are slipping.”)

Helvete, an open-access peer-reviewed journal of black metal theory.

May 6th, 2014 by David Gerard
Metal

Helvete is a new open-access electronic and print journal of black metal theory.” Conceived after Melancology, the second Black Metal Theory Symposium, in 2011, and finally out. This definitely outdoes me for rocknerdery. The first edition. “Black Metal theory is an infection in danger of becoming an epidemic … Black Metal theory is the infection of Black Metal by theory; it is the brutal vivisection of Black Metal’s heretofore incorrupt body.” HT Ms. 45.

The Moog Music factory tour.

May 4th, 2014 by David Gerard
Musician

Robert Moog’s second company to be called Moog Music still exists and still makes analogue synthesizers. Cool Hunting went on a tour of the factory.

Rappers, sorted by size of vocabulary.

May 4th, 2014 by David Gerard
R'n'B

Matt Daniels answers the question you hadn’t thought to ask: who has the largest vocabulary in hip-hop? Counts done from first 35,000 released words. Ah, the trials of the popular poet in the modern age.

The Church of Scientology has its own kiddie pop groups.

May 1st, 2014 by David Gerard
Esoterica

As if the Scientology rap wasn’t enough, Tonedeaf gives us Kids Of Today For A Better World. “In time we’ll become the leaders of the brand new world.” You weren’t using those ears for anything, were you?

A librarian reviews her husband’s “Stupid Record Collection.” All of it.

April 19th, 2014 by David Gerard
Record

In which a relatively normal person decides to sit down and review her husband’s entire vinyl LP collection. In alphabetical order. “I can’t believe there are so many records here that I have never listened to. I should try to listen to all of them. And then write about it.” HT Redcountess.

Playing to the demographic that actually has money.

April 11th, 2014 by David Gerard
Rock

Pete Farnan of Boom Crash Opera writes about playing A Day On The Green, to the most irony-free audience possible. “The Hunters and Collectors recently did a tea towel which apparently sold out.” He’s still whinging about rock critics, though. Dude, the internet killed us too. Talk about yer disintermediation.

New Wu-Tang Clan album available only as no copies at all.

April 2nd, 2014 by David Gerard
R'n'B

JOHN CAGE MATCH, Praxis, Wednesday (NTN) — The Wu-Tang Clan has announced the nonrelease of their new album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, to be made available in an edition of no copies.

(Read more …)

New Spotify stratagem: get your fans to stream your silence.

March 19th, 2014 by David Gerard
Industry

Mashing together public domain audio to get cash out of Spotify is too much like work. Vulfpeck, a funk band from Ann Arbor, have released an album consisting of ten 31-second segments of silence; they have asked their fans to stream it continuously on repeat so they can fund their next tour. That’s about $5 from each person for seven hours’ streaming. Spotify know about it, but don’t yet appear to have pulled the plug. This would be why Pandora and Netflix have the “I’m still listening/watching” button. Update: And it’s gone.

You didn’t know you wanted a robot J. G. Ballard until this moment.

March 18th, 2014 by David Gerard
Writing

Courtesy Mike Bonsall on the jgb list. “It took months to painstakingly analyse 7,000 answers JG Ballard made in over 300 interviews and turn the result into 50,000 lines of AIML code. Now you decide if it was worth it — the artificial intelligence that is the Ballard-bot is now online.”

Subscribe using an email function that works!

March 17th, 2014 by David Gerard
Rocknerd

We’ve previously sent out email via the Subscribe2 plugin, but it keeps ending up in spam filters. The Jetpack plugin (turn your blog into a vassal state of wordpress.com!) includes email that gets through, so use that little box on the right of the front page and you’ll get new posts straight away.

Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay: documentary film later this year.

March 16th, 2014 by David Gerard
Industrial

Now this is an interesting thing. Amélie Ravalec and Travis Collins (the one from RTR) track down the conceptual origins of 1970s and 1980s industrial music, interviewing a pile of the original participants. The trailer is marvellous. They’ve put up mixtapes. There’s a Twitter and Facebook too. I’m looking forward to this one.

Why we love repetition in music.

March 14th, 2014 by David Gerard
Esoterica

Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains. Do anything repeatedly and it is music. And even if you consciously avoid repetition, listeners in studies consistently rate the same piece with a bit of repetition inserted higher than the version without.

Daniel Miller from Mute’s top five German prog rock albums.

March 12th, 2014 by David Gerard
Industrial

Miller is not quite comfortable with the term “Krautrock”, and neither am I. But this is a delight for any decent record nerd, and particularly any record nerd who likes their bleep. I’m surprised he rated Radioactivity above Trans-Europe Express, but given it’s Daniel Miller I’m not going to quibble.

As a bonus, here’s Daniel Miller’s Modular Synth Masterclass at LEAF 2013 (including lack of fandom for Switched-On Bach — any bleep fan needs to watch this) and the BBC documentary Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany.

Neil Young launches new music player based on magic beans and unicorn poop.

March 10th, 2014 by David Gerard
Audio

Neil Young has unveiled at SXSW a new $400 pocket music player that only plays one specific file type, encoded at “high resolution”. The file type will only be sold through a single proprietary store.

Look at these bloody things.

Just look at this bloody thing.

Quite apart from the bit where the triangle edge sticks into your thigh — I think Jony Ive is losing no sleep here — just imagine how much of your expensive high-resolution audio will make it through your earbuds. Or your Beats by Dre. This is like bringing Betamax to the market in 1994.

The actual sound format appears entirely made of audiophile woo. Dig this from Friday’s press release:

Ayre’s custom designed and implemented digital filter. It is minimum phase, with no unnatural (digital sounding) pre-ringing. All sounds made always have reflections and/or echoes after the initial sound. There is no sound in nature that has any echo or reflection before the sound, which is what conventional linear-phase digital filters do. This is one reason that digital sound has a reputation for sounding “unnatural”.

Or, from today’s press release:

PonoMusic is a revolutionary movement conceived and founded by Neil Young with a mission to restore the soul of music – bringing the highest-quality digital music to discerning, passionate consumers, who hunger to hear music the way its creators intended, with the emotion, detail, and power intact.

I can play FLACs — including 24-bit ones — on my phone. Bit-perfect copies of my CDs. And it’s also a phone.

If Neil Young, age 68, who’s played feedback-drenched noise on stage for the past forty-odd years, can reliably tell a Pomo file from a FLAC prepared from said Pomo file in A/B/X testing, I will give you a lollipop. Two lollipops.

(HT Daniel Lopez on the RationalWiki Facebook group.)

That Tyson guy? Eh, I could take him.

February 28th, 2014 by David Gerard
Your rights

Liberation Music really don’t like people using their music on YouTube. So when some guy used a recording they owned, they got it taken down. Then he claimed fair use. But they decided no, they weren’t putting up with that shit.

As it happened, the guy in question was Larry Lessig. Gentleman, scholar … copyright lawyer … founding member of Creative Commons … argues copyright cases to the US Supreme Court … former board member of the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Law Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation …

So it turns out that calling Mike Tyson a cunt may be bad for your facial integrity. And Lessig has proceeded to paint the canvas with their blood. Liberation Music has had to admit wrongdoing in issuing the takedown notice, apologise and pay Lessig compensation for the privilege. Really, we expect a better choice of battles from Mr Gudinski.

The levels of musical appreciation.

February 5th, 2014 by David Gerard
Esoterica

From The Dark Side Of The Room. I’ll note that Rocknerd has already reached the later levels. HT Ms45.

How a major record deal works in the 2010s.

February 4th, 2014 by David Gerard
Industry

From Cracked, one-hit wonder rapper Spose describes his major label career trajectory. Thankfully his story had a happy ending and he’s now making a living selling directly.

Deaf from birth, Austin Chapman hears music for the first time.

January 13th, 2014 by David Gerard
Audio

Filmmaker Austin Chapman was largely deaf from birth until, a year or so ago, he finally got hearing aids that didn’t suck. “It was like seeing the world through a pair of high definition 3D goggles, when he’d previously only witnessed monochromatic pixelated visuals.” See also his initial musical explorations on Reddit. The worst music he’s heard in this time? “‘Call Me Maybe’, Bieber, and ‘What Does The Fox Say’.”

Renaissance by the Village People: the Highlander 2 of disco.

January 12th, 2014 by David Gerard
Record

It’s 1981. The disco empire has fallen. The Casablanca label has been bought by PolyGram and all the disco artists have been dumped. You are the Village People. What to do? Why not … a New Wave comeback!

Figure 1: What the shitting Christ.

Figure 1: What the shitting Christ.

Despite the Visage makeup, the sound dumped all danceability, taking its cue from the AOR of the time. Here’s the terrible single, which is probably the least-worst song on the record.

There exists a torrent. Pray for a lack of seeds.

A year later they went back to disco with the slightly less terrible Fox On The Box, a.k.a. In The Street, and the world was slightly safer.

HT Brad Coleman for bringing the existence of this thing to my attention. Thanks, I think.

Kim Jong-Il was the North Korean Roger Ebert.

January 9th, 2014 by David Gerard
Film

Amongst his stupendously many literary achievements, Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il was an accomplished film critic. LET US CREATE MORE REVOLUTIONARY FILMS BASED ON SOCIALIST LIFE. And opera, too.

The trouble with actually learning how to write.

January 7th, 2014 by David Gerard
Writing

This is entirely and horrifyingly accurate. Chris Bucholz, Cracked: 4 weird side effects of learning how to write.

If only you could collect this well.

December 21st, 2013 by David Gerard
Record

How a working-class couple amassed a literally priceless art collection. “They were artists, and the collection was their work of art.” If only I could believe anyone would care this much about my record collection.

Macaulay Culkin has formed a pizza-related Velvet Underground tribute band.

December 10th, 2013 by David Gerard
Esoterica

That is all. Available on Bandcamp.

Don’t be this embittered ex-rock star.

December 5th, 2013 by David Gerard
Industry

There’s a lotta David Lowerys out there.