Archive for June, 2008

zZz is playing: Grip.

Monday, June 30th, 2008

A brilliant single-take music video, for “Grip” by Dutch band zZz. High-quality MPEG4 also available.

86 year old great-grandmother hoists the Jolly Roger.

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

“In short, I turned a 86 year old Marlboro-smoking, Chrysler Sebring Convertable-driving, Pinochle-playing, Maroon-Five listening Great Grandmother into a music pirate. An enthusiastic one at that.”

After all, is there anything BitTorrent can’t do? Listen to your elders: Piracy, the better choice™.

Recording industry decries humming tunes to yourself as ‘a form of piracy.’

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

With income from physical discs dropping through the floor and the iTunes takings not being enough to sustain the fruit and flowers budget, the RIAA has decided to take this year’s swing at getting radio to pay them. Instead of the payola that’s flowed continuously the other way for over fifty years. Yeah, that trick’ll work this time.

(The aim is to knock out the small players, leaving the six five four majors and Clear Channel. Now if only they can get rid of the Internet and ban computers, it’ll be fruit and flowers for all!)

If it’s too tinny, you’re too old.

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

I must have grown up in an era of instruments. When did music from ’80s home computers become a genre? With its own wikis and radio stations and pseudo-CDs? GIVE ME SOME BASS.

EMI innovates in legal actions.

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Specifically, not just going after companies, but trying to personally bankrupt their CEOs — specifically Michael Robertson of MP3Tunes, an MP3 locker service that doesn’t even allow sharing. You might think a little corporate veil piercing would be most useful, but applied to try to intimidate people from even thinking up new things that a major label may not like, a little less so. So much for the New EMI.

Marked down 1 star because it still won’t let you do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.

Friday, June 20th, 2008

A caution to people buying these: if you do not follow the “directional markings” on the cables, your music will play backwards. Please check that before mentioning it in your reviews.

I was disappointed. I consider myself an audiophile – I regularly spend over $1000 on cables to get the ultimate sound. I keep my music-listening room in a Faraday cage to prevent any interference that could alter my music-listening experience. Sending any signal down ordinary copper can degrade the signal considerably. While ordinary listeners might not notice, to somebody with even a rudimentary knowledge of sound, the artifacts are glaring. Denon should have used silver wiring (hermetically sealed inside the rubber sheath to prevent any tarnishing, of course), which has a significantly higher conductivity than copper. Furthermore, Denon needs to treat the wires they use in the cable with a polarity inductor to ensure minimal phase variance.

Needless to say, I returned the cable and wrote an angry letter to the so-called engineers at Denon.

— from Amazon customer reviews of the finest cable in existence.

Brucie Teardrop.

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Back in my day, Bruce Springsteen was a ridiculously mainstream live rocker made pop star with “Born In The USA” and its ilk. I’d just like you to imagine that guy, flannel shirt, doing Suicide live, vocals and foot-pumped harmonium like Nico used to favour. Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine it. WHAT.

There’s no fool like an audiophool.

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

And to think Denon used to be respectable. Dig this US$500 1.5 metre ethernet cable for audio use. ‘Cos the professional quality ethernet cables (at £47.50 for 100 metres) that banks rely on to transmit millions of dollars can’t possibly be up to the requisite snake oil quotient. This one beats the fine products of Machina Dynamica for the sheer audacity of the price tag. (This can’t be for real. Can it?) If I had a useful lack of ethics I wouldn’t be working as a sysadmin. Though I do have a kid to feed. Hmmm.

Update: Worse.

The thing on the doorstep.

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Old-school industrial MP3s — obscure tapes and tiny pressings you’ve only ever heard of. Before drum machines ruined everything. I particularly recommend Rising From The Red Sand, volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Fodder for your late ’70s personal soundtrack device.

Also recommended: Brainwashed Radio. Just the background noise for an hour’s polite discussion over tea with religious salesmen.

The dream world of Dion McGregor.

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Dion McGregor was the most prolific somniloquist in recorded history. A somniloquist, or voluble dreamer, is a person that talks during their sleep. Dion is unique due to the way in which he sleep-talked. Rather than mumbling random incoherent words like most sleep-talkers, Dion narrated his dreams eloquently at a conversational tone, making them an incredible and surreal experience for the listener.

Through the 1950s, Dion McGregor’s roommate Mike Barr got up at seven o’clock every morning and taped Dion’s surreal narrations; in March 1963 he passed on 150 tapes of material to Nancy Green, who in turn played them to her husband Jules L. Green. Struck by the surreal yet coherent nature of the material, Green sold the idea to Decca of releasing the material as an album; and in 1964 Decca released The Dream World Of Dion McGregor (He Talks In His Sleep).

Out of 150 tapes’ worth of material, 10 tracks made it onto the album – and you can download the tracks as MP3s here. There is also a MySpace page.

Patti Smith, St Giles In The Fields, London, Fri 18 May 2007.

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Patti Smith entered St Giles In The Fields, a small but beautiful working church built in the 18th Century in the heart of London with her band and a big smile on her face under her broad brimmed hat. The pastor that introduced her spoke of her love for the church, and that her appearance this evening was in aid of the restoration of the church’s organ which has pipes dating from the 17th Century. I had waited 29 years to see Patti Smith, and despite the lack of her more prurient material like Because The Night and Gloria, I was not disappointed.


Promos are freebies in the US.

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Troy Agusto goes to second-hand shops, buys rare promos and sells them on eBay. Universal decided this was a copyright violation. Judge says: Wrong! The “promotional use only, not for sale” label is at best an internal record company directive — if they give you a promo absent a contract to return it, it’s yours. “Copyright holders can’t strip consumers of their first sale rights just by sticking a ‘Not for Sale’ label on a CD.”