The Internet campaign succeeded and Rage Against The Machine's "Killing in the Name" is the UK's Christmas Number 1 selling single. It was a pretty close run thing though. During the campaign Rage performed the song on Radio 5 Live. Before the broadcast they were asked to self censor the F-word but, as you might expect, Zack ended the song the way it was meant to be played with the refrain "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me!". Classic! The BBC were a bit slow fading it out and apparently received a number of complaints. Meanwhile, The Metal Reporter has posted uncut video of the performance - Rage Against The Machine Gives BBC The Finger (Seriously).
Bass Poverty & the Politics of Frequency: Kode9 on Treble Culture
They rehearse in a tumbledown zoo, they are disabled and they come from one of the poorest nations on Earth. Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili have overcome more than most to put together an acclaimed tour of the UK.
I just watched There Is No Authority But Yourself, a Dutch film directed by Alexander Oey documenting the history of the anarchist punk band Crass.
This is the Eigenharp - described by its developers as "the most expressive electronic musical instrument ever made".
I remember seeing The Bauls of Bengal perform at a Womad acoustic event at the Globe Theatre in London either in 1997 or 1999 and they were amazing. Someone just sent me a link to an article about them in Resurgence - Waves of Joy.
The BBC has announced that it will be airing Synth Britannia, a documentary "exploring the impact of electronic music on popular culture in Britain," as part of its autumn/winter schedule.
Havana is preparing for the biggest open air concert since the 1959 revolution, featuring some 15 top Latin American, Spanish and Cuban performers.
Notes & Neurons was filmed at this year's World Science Festival. Here is the description:
Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment? Join host John Schaefer, Jamshed Barucha, scientist Daniel Levitin, Professor Lawrence Parsons and musical artist Bobby McFerrin for live performances and cross cultural demonstrations to illustrate music's note-worthy interaction with the brain and our emotions.
I have never been a fan of Michael Jackson but must admit that his dancing was pretty cool. I just read an article by John Niven which questions the fawning media coverage of his life and unfashionably recalls the darker side - Michael Jackson: Bad! And very dangerous. I love this pragraph:
A laptop is showing pornography, opened bottles of Pinot Noir and SKYY vodka are strewn around. Jackson is watching Disney's Fantasia over and over again, drifting off up to the ceiling as a wave of the Dilaudid or Demerol hits him. He cuddles the nearest boy. His newest, most special friend. The medical bag in the corner glistens darkly, filled with brown tubs of prescription candy and pre-loaded hypodermics. Man, sweet dreams for the King of Pop.
Pianos placed on streets, public places and train stations are offering Londoners a musical break from their daily routine.
TENORI-ON is an interesting digital musical instrument designed by media artist Toshio Iwai in collaboration with Yamaha.
The music collection society - PRS - have unveiled a new pricing plan it hopes may entice YouTube and Pandora back to the UK market.
Update: Changes to UK music royalties unlikely to impress YouTube, Pandora
Last night I went to a free organ recital at Westminster Abbey. James McVinnie performed two pieces by J S Bach and two contemporary pieces, including the first performance of "Scherzetto", written for him by Graham Ross.
Holger Czukay will be performing at the Roundhouse on Thursday:
Using both video and audio, this performance will lead audiences through all stages of Czukay's work, starting with a homage to Karlheinz Stockhausen, a live remix of Canaxis, previously unheard CAN material and his own back catalogue.
Last weekend I was staying in a house where there was a banjo lying around and it was the first time I had tried playing one. Some of us were discussing its origins and we thought it probably came from the Southern United States. Today I happened to see something about a film called Throw Down Your Heart, in which Grammy award-winning banjo player Bela Fleck travelled to West Africa to explore the roots of the banjo.
On March 20th I happened to turn on the radio and catch the end of Desert Island Discs. Someone was talking about Africa and I thought the voice sounded familiar - it was the incomparable Baaba Maal. I only heard his last two track choices (So What by Miles Davis and One Love by Bob Marley) and unfortunately the program is not available to listen again on iPlayer due to rights restrictions. I was interested to know what other tracks he chose and I found the listing on a blog about The Gambia. Nice to see a Burning Spear track amongst them.
From the Paul Williams website and support fund:
Called by many the "father of rock criticism" after founding Crawdaddy Magazine at the age of 17, crucial early champion of Philip K Dick, author of the underground classic Das Energi, confidant of John Lennon, biographer of Bob Dylan and traveling companion to the Grateful Dead, Paul Williams has lived a half dozen remarkable lifetimes, and his work as rock critic, holistic philosopher and avant-garde underground gadfly forms a unique and indespensible link through the past 40 years of pop and rock culture.
Eye Mind (The Saga of Rocky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound) is a biography of the band by Paul Drummond, with a foreword by Julian Cope:
Lead singer Roky Erickson was put away in a maximum security unit for the criminally insane for years. Tommy Hall, their Svengali lyricist, lived in a cave. Guitarist Stacy Sutherland was imprisoned. The drummer was involuntarily subjected to electric shock treatments.
Here is the Government's response to the the petition about noise control devices I signed I January. It starts by saying:
We are pleased to tell you that there is no truth in claims that the Government is planning to introduce a requirement for entertainment venues to fit noise control devices.
I have just watched a couple of bizarre music videos by Bat for Lashes.
Here is another petition about a different threat to live music:
The 696 Form compels licensees who wish to hold live music events in 21 London Boroughs to report to the police the names, addresses, aliases and telephone numbers of performers, and most worryingly, the likely ethnicity of their audience. Failure to comply could result in fines or imprisonment. We believe this places unnecessary and frankly Orwellian powers in the hands of the Metropolitan Police, an institution which does not have the best record of racial fairness. The 696 form can only serve to deter the staging of live musical events - a positive form of activity in London and all cities - stifle free expression and quite possible penalise certain genres of music and ethnic audiences. It is an intrusion too far.
You might want to think about signing this petition:
It has been brought to attention that the government wish to consider it a legal requirement in the new tax year to introduce laws insisting anyone applying or re-applying for an entertainment license must have a noise control device fitted to the venue. This will be the final NAIL for ALL entertainment in the UK as the level at which these devices CUT you off is dreadfully low and damaging.
Electro-Harmonix have got some cool effects gear. Check out their Voice Box demo by Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn.
I have been listening to Wilson Dixon, the hilarious alter ego of Jesse Griffin.
Chris Carter's original GRISTLEIZER 'Industrial' audio effects unit.
Eddi Reader and Thomas Dolby performing What You Do With What You've Got.
I have watched a few TED talks on science subjects, but I have just finished watching a music one for the first time. The Stories and Songs of Appalachia with David Holt.
Here is a list of 35 Places to Download Free, Legal MP3s (I would say that it is never illegal to download an MP3, it is just that someone (hello RIAA) might try to sue you for copyright violation.
A few months ago I mentioned Magnatune and I have been meaning to check it out so I just so I just did, and ended up buying an album. I clicked on the "Ambient" category and started listening to a lofi stream of "Box of Fysh" by Etherfysh. It sounded really good and I thought I would want to listen to it more than once so, knowing that the artist gets 50% of the purchase price, I decided to buy it. I could have ordered a CD but since I will be listening to it on my computer or an mp3 player I went for the cheaper download option. The suggested price was $8. I could have paid as little as $5 but that seemed a bit stingy so I paid the suggested price using PayPal and got a download username and password in return. When I went to the download page I was faced with a choice of formats. I went for the 128meg zip of high quality MP3 VBR files but I can always download again in one of the other formats at no extra charge. Once it had downloaded I double clicked the zip file (this is in Mac OS X Leopard on an iMac) which unzipped it and then dragged the resulting mp3 files into iTunes. It all looks fine and I am listening to track one "Sanctuary" now.
Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture is another book by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid. I haven't read it but it looks like it is probably worth a read. It comes with a 45 track audio companion CD that I would like to get hold of too. Check out the website.
A hidden hoard of recordings made by the electronic music pioneer behind the Doctor Who theme has been revealed - including a dance track 20 years ahead of its time.
Ishkur's excellent guide to electronic music has moved from the Digitally Imported to Techno.org but there is a slight problem. If you click on my previous link to the guide it redirects to Techno.org but (at least using the current version of Safari on a Mac) although you can hear some sound effects the Flash site does not display. This is also the case if you click on the link at the Techno.org homepage. In fact you have to add "music.swf" to the URL to get it to work - so here is the working link to Ishkur's Guide.
Magnatune is a place where you can buy music in the form of CD quality WAV files as well as super-high quality VBR MP3's, AAC, FLAC and OGG, all without any form of DRM. They seem to have some excellent music and you can listen to all albums in their entirety before you buy.
Trent Reznor Shows Why "Freeconomics" Works.
An "ethereal" 10 second clip of a woman singing a French folk song has been played for the first time in 150 years.
If I didn't have a cold I might well have been in the Jazz Cafe for a Lee 'Scratch' Perry gig tonight (the blurb at that link describes Perry as "perhaps the only 70 year old that can dance on one leg for one hour straight!").
I just got an email from Tim Westergren at Pandora which began "This is an email I hoped I would never have to send. I have mentioned Pandora on this page before - it is a service which allows users to effectively create multiple Internet radio stations to listen to, each playing a different style of music. I have developed nice stations for "Reggae", "Jazz" and "Chill". Apparently in July 2007 Pandora had to stop streaming to most countries ouside the US because of a lack of a viable licence structure. They didn't block UK users because they hoped that they would be able to work something out, but due to music industry stupidity it has not been possible, and the email was to inform UK users that they will shut down UK streaming as of January 15th.
I hope that SomaFM is not forced to do the same thing as Pandora. I know they have been woried about the viability of even just maintaining streaming to US IP addresses so I have helped out with a couple of small donations. I listen to their "Groove Salad" station a lot and I would hate to loose access. There are loopholes that allow users outside the US to access streaming services that are notionally restricted to US users but they are not optimal and are probably liable to being closed without notice.
The MicPort Pro from CEntrance seems like a really nice (though not cheap) solution for connecting a microphone to a computer.
Tim Bray reviews one of his favourite albums - a 1990 set of remixes and retakes of songs by The Cure called "Mixed Up".
I just found When Pigs Fly: The Death of Oink, The Birth of Dissent, And a Brief History of Record Industry Suicide.
Radiohead fans pay more than £2.90 for digital album. (Maybe)
Fans across the world are mourning the South African reggae star, Lucky Dube, who has been shot dead.
Radiohead is making their latest album "In Rainbows" available exclusively on their own website - cutting out the middleman. Not only that, but it is up to customers how much they want to pay for it!
Check out Math for Poets and Drummers (pdf) by Rachel Hall.
At the end of January I contacted Linn Records to suggest that they include a FLAC option on their online music store. I recently got an email from them to say that they have done it:-)
I just found out that there has been an interesting music festival happening this week in and around London. I will have to remember to keep an eye out in case it happens again next year. See Planet Tree Music.
Djembeschool.org is a performing arts organisation dedicated to exploring the world of West African Drum and Dance.
John Gruber comments on the announcement that EMI is to offer DRM-Free music through the iTunes Music Store.
Sunscreem (according to Wikipedia) is a "techno/house band from Essex, England, who scored a number of big hits on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart throughout the nineties and into the 21st century". Until today the page claimed that they were active from 1993 onwards but in fact "Love U More" was first released in 1991 on the Sony Soho Square label. I have just updated the Wikipedia entry to reflect this. Why my sudden interest in Sunscreem you might ask? Are you sitting comfortably?
Whilst exploring the "Trance" section on Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music I stumbled upon his HI NRG category where he said:
I'm completely confused as to what this is or was or is trying to be. Part Italo Disco, part Synthpop, part EBM, part Electro Boogie, all 80s.
Now, for each category Ishkur has put together a selection of short samples of representative tracks (which are all very nicely looped). The first sample track for HI NRG is "Sunshine After the Rain" by Berri, which I really like despite (or perhaps because of) its cheesiness. So I clicked on the second sample track and immediately recognised it as something from a compilation tape a friend made to remind me of an excellent party in August 1994. I never knew the name of the track or the artist until now - it is "Love U More" by Sunscreem. I just dug out the tape and listened to it again. As well as "Little Fluffy Clouds" by The Orb and a couple of tracks by Orbital, there are at least two other tracks by Sunscreem - "Perfect Motion" and "Chasing Dreams". These are all from their 1993 album "O3", which I am going to have to buy now for old times sake.
But I still haven't really explained the significance of all this have I? The party in question was the Fifth Fairfield Festival, which you probably won't have heard about unless you were there. It was an invite only, weekend fancy dress party at a big old house in Biggleswade. Bear in mind that I had missed out on the Second Summer of Love in the late 1980s because I was still in the United States, busy failing to get my PhD. I had arrived back in the UK in June 1990 but then I returned to the States for four months in 1991 and really only settled back in the UK in 1992 - with a lot of catching up to do! I had already experienced my first acid trip while I was in America but I had never tried ecstasy, and although a lot of people were on E at the Fifth Fairfield Festival I (for some reason) abstained. At that time I had access to a remote cottage in the Kielder Forest and I decided that it would be a good idea to have a similar party up there at New Year. Well the idea was realised and eighteen of us spent an epic three days in the forest. Someone known as "Chemical Ken" had sorted out enough high grade E for everyone and at the appointed time on New Year's Eve everybody popped a pill. By midnight the atmosphere was unbelievable. I had to go outside occasionally to check the the level in the diesel tank for the generator - it was pitch black and about ten degrees below freezing but everything was good [I have just realised that I already mentioned this New Year's party in an earlier entry on this very page].
I went to similar parties over the next few years and took ecstasy probably about half a dozen times but that first E was by far the best, and the music we were listening to back then holds a special significance for me. Unfortunately (because I was dancing and not DJing) I don't know the names of many of the tracks or artists, which is why I was excited to discover the Sunscreem sample. The other sample tracks in Ishkur's HI NRG category include ones by Sparks, Dead or Alive and Jimmy Somerville (which I certainly don't remember listening to at the time).
Tim Bray has found that Bob Marley and the Wailers "Natty Dread" album is the ultimate weapon for when he can't get his two young children to sleep, with the other advantage being the sheer excellence of the music - see his blog entry Baby Dread.
I recently read a good review of a new album by veteran dub producer Adam "vudu". You can listen to samples of dubstyle and buy the album at CD Baby.
One of my favourite ambient albums is "Synesthetic" by A Positive Life on the Beyond Records label. Beyond Records began as a partnership with U.S. label Waveform, which has released a lot of seriously good ambient stuff. One of their "Various Artists" releases is called ONE A.D. and includes a couple of tracks from A Positive Life. I have not actually heard ONE A.D. but as well as tracks by Higher Intelligence Agency and Banco De Gaia it also includes "Soma Holiday" by G.O.L, the lyrics of which are taken from Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World":
half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon
I have never read it myself, but I did just read Brave New World Revisited which was written by Huxley in 1958, twenty six years after publication of the original.
Since the Brit Awards began in 1977, the annual ceremony has become notorious for bad behaviour among the musicians themselves - and a string of headline-grabbing incidents.
On New Year's Day, while driving home from the Lake District, I happened to tune in to Radio 2 and heard two solid hours of excellent programming.
First off was Tim Minchin and Friends. Tim won the 2005 Perrier Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe with his "dark comedic cabaret". He is a wizard on the piano and kept me thoroughly entertained during the long haul down the A1 with songs such as "Inflatable You", "Canvas Bags" and "We Don't Eat Pigs".
Following that was an excellent programme called The Record Producers featuring the work of Chic songwriter, guitarist and arranger Nile Rodgers. It a real eye opener and a fascinating insight into the world of popular music.
Steve Jobs's "Thoughts on Music" have really stirred things up. Check out John Gruber's Command, Option, Control piece for his thoughts on the latest reactions.
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 The Dixie Chicks got the last laugh Sunday night. Rejected by the country establishment, the polarising group was tickled to find itself in the warm embrace of the broader Recording Academy, which honoured the Chicks with five Grammy Awards -- including the three biggest: album of the year, record of the year and song of the year.
Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, has urged the world's largest record companies to begin selling songs online without security software. For a detailed analysis of what Jobs had to say, check out John Gruber's Reading Between the Lines response. Or how about this for a humorous response at the Crazy Apple Rumors Site.
I notice that Linn Records have a great selection of Jazz and Classical released available on CD and for download in formats unencumbered by DRM. Unfortunately the lossless files are only available in WMA format. They say they will make other formats available in future and I contacted them to suggest FLAC as the obvious choice.
Essex rock band Koopa could become the first unsigned group to land a UK top 40 hit thanks to new chart rules.
In a bizarre thread on comp.sys.mac.system, "Phantasy" made this post in which he stated quite unambiguously that "KMFDM invented industrial rock", and "Clever Monkey" retorted ""Invented industrial rock", indeed. I have one name for you: Throbbing Gristle". Now I am no expert on the subject, but for some reason I felt compelled to investigate and respond. If you follow the thread on Google Groups you will be able to read the subsequent exchange, but here I present the basics.
My first port of call was Ishkur's excellent Guide to Electronic Music which I have referred to before on this page. According to Ishkur (and confirmed from other sources), "Industrial Music" is a term which was coined to describe the distinctive sound of bands released on "Industrial Records", a label set up in the 1970s by Genesis P'Orrige of Throbbing Gristle. However, "Industrial Rock" did not really happen until the first half of the 1990s, and although KMFDM were certainly an influential band within the genre, I have not found anyone else who claims that they "invented" it. Indeed, other bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Big Black seem to have better credentials. Apparently Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM jokingly referred to himself as "The Father of Industrial Rock".
But "Phantasy" also claimed that Kraftwerk, rather than Throbbing Gristle, were the true originators of "Industrial Music". This was odd, since I have never before heard Kraftwerk described as "Industrial", and certainly not "Industrial Rock". Kraftwerk were a successful "Krautrock" band, a genre which started in the early 1970s with bands like Tangerine Dream and Can.
This all reminded me of a concert I went to on April 2nd 2000 at the Royal Festival Hall. Julian Cope had been given the chance to organise a weekend in the prestigious venue and, influenced as he was by Krautrock, he persuaded Ash Ra Tempel to reunite after thirty years for a performance. Julian did a spot himself but the most memorable set (for me) was by Coil, an Industrial band formed originally by John Balance together with Peter Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle. Alison Maxhuni reviewed the concert on Dark Star Audio. I can't find my ticket stub but I just dug out the free CD and promotional flyer and used the built in camera on my new iMac to photograph myself holding them whilst wearing my suitably Gothic Siouxsie T-shirt. And finally, I will allow myself to sneak in some off-topic information by noting that Julian Cope is not known only for his music, but also for his interest in megalithic sites. I have a cherished copy of his book The Modern Antiquarian - an eight-year odyssey in search of prehistoric Britain.
For anyone into ambient and downtempo albums, AmbientMusicGuide seems like an essential website. The review of Ott's "Hallucinogen in Dub" persuaded me to order it right away.
Tim Bray has a feature on his website called 5 Star Music Mondays and his latest entry is about "Better Get Hit In Your Soul" by Charles Mingus. Previous entries featured Patti Smith, Desmond Dekker, Arvo Part, Sun Ra etc.
Although Tim said it would be silly to provide a sample of "Better Get Hit in Your Soul" and that you should go out and buy it, I have found a site where you can listen to a short sample. It is on a page called Choose Your Music where you can listen to short samples of eight Jazz classics:
But my favourite tune of the moment is "Lost of Love" from the album "Suspicious Activity" by the excellent trio The Bad Plus.
Cat Stephens returns to music as bridge builder.
A number of people have mentioned the Channel 4 television series How Music Works presented by Howard Goodall. If I had a television I would have watched it. However, the program about rhythm apparently featured the O Duo who I had the pleasure of seeing live recently at Campus West in Welwyn Garden City - I particularly enjoyed their rendition of Minouru Miki's "Marimba Spiritual".
Great news for music lovers (and bad news for corporate greedheads). The copyright on sound recordings will not be extended after an independent review commissioned by the Treasury.
Dancing Turtle Records have being doing a lot to help raise awareness of the disastrous consequences of the illegal Indonesian occupation of West Papua. They are putting on International Human Rights Day party at Babalou (formerly Bug Bar) in Brixton on December 20th - details available at their home on Myspace.
On the basis of me having bought "Suspicious Activity" by The Bad Plus, Amazon has suggested that I might want to pre-order "Skinny Grin" by Acoustic Ladyland. I listened to the samples on their site and was tempted - so I added it to my Amazon wishlist:-)
The Official Groove Corporation Website is streaming some sample tracks from Overproof Sound System (a cover of Kraftwerk's "The Model") and The Elephant House. You can also check out Jah Grizzly's choice dubs.
Years ago I picked up a copy of a periodical publication on the subject of esoteric music. I have looked for it in my shelves a couple of times in the last few years but it seems to have gone missing, and I can't remember what it was called. There were two particularly good articles in it, one about a "Large Hot Pipe Organ" and the other about "listening" to radio waves from the sun.
With the aid of Google I tracked down plenty of information about the large hot pipe organ and it's creator, Bastiaan Maris. Its "pyro-acoustic explodo-rhythmations" are described on this page at Protein Feed.
I had less luck with finding anything directly related to the second article, but came across Altair's Natural Radio Projects.
Whilst searching for these things I also came across samples of music in progress by Charles Chapman and the website of Test Dept who did sessions on the John Peel show in the 1980s. I had better stop there before I get too nostalgic:-)
Someone just gave me a ticket for a BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert featuring Joanna MacGregor playing works by composers including Heitor Villa-Lobos and Egberto Gismonti.
I am also thinking about getting a ticket for a concert at Lauderdale House featuring a Ronal Stephenson song cycle of Blake's complete "Songs of Innocence".
There is a good Wikipedia entry for polyrhythm.
A wi-fi music device developed for audiophiles will offer better audio output than CD players, says its maker.
The Cult are one of the bands I first heard on the John Peel show when I started listening to it in the early 80's and I went on to buy a few of their records which were sadly destroyed in a house fire in the late 80's. I still have a couple of tapes that I listen to occasionally but I never did see them live. I mention this now because I just noticed that they are playing on the main stage today at the Exit Festival in Novi Sad, just north of Belgrade. I had not heard of the "State of Exit" until I read Festival helps Serbia exit the past on the BBC website today.
I have just started looking at Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music.
Aki Nawaz of Fun-da-Mental (and former drummer with Southern Death Cult) has done an album called "All is War" which is making waves before it has even been released. Apparently two silent directors of Nation Records have threatened to resign if the release goes ahead.
The Small Nations Festival runs from July 7th to 9th near Llandovery in Wales and the international focus this year is on music from Africa, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Decklin Foster has some good music quotes on her website.
Brighton based folk/world music band Nimomashtic are planning to walk 900 miles across the UK playing over 40 gigs in 60 days and planting apple trees along the way.
Aston Barrett has lost his court battle for £60m in unpaid royalties.
John Gruber has written a great article on The iPod Juggernaut.
UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell apparently broke the law on International Women's Day by leading a singsong in Victoria Tower Gardens Royal Park. The supreme irony is that she broke a law that she herself introduced! Here is the Guardian article where I read about it.
The Barrett brothers formed one of the best rhythm sections in popular music, driving the sound on 12 Bob Marley albums. Drummer Carlton was murdered in Jamaica in 1986 but Aston 'Family Man' Barrett is still alive and travelling the world promoting Bob's music. The Observer reports on the legal action in which he is claiming £60m in royalties from the Marley estate. The article contains lots of links to Marley related websites.
On New Year's Eve 1994 about 10pm I took ecstasy for the first time. There were eighteen of us in a remote cottage in Northumberland and by midnight the atmosphere was incredible. Although it was a small gathering it is what defined "rave" for me. Over the next few years I went to about a dozen more raves - all invite only with no admission charge - just bring stuff to share and a good attitude. Did I grow out of it or did the scene change? Probably both, but one thing that does seem to have changed is the rise of the "Superstar DJ". There is an excellent cartoon which looks at what went wrong - see The Trancecracker!
I started listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees in about 1984 and had the privilege of seeing them live at an outdoor concert in Boston, USA in the late 80s. I used to own "A Kiss In The Dreamhouse", "Hyaena" and "Juju" on vinyl until all my records were destroyed in a house fire. Here is a nice photo of Siouxsie, taken from the Siouxsie and the Banshees homepage on The Darkside.
Track #4, "The Big One" from Nellie McKay's forthcoming album "Pretty Little Head" is available for preview in it's entirety for a limited time on her website (the one linked from the Columbia Records website). I hadn't actually heard of her until I read this entry on Aaron Swartz's weblog, where he claims she is having trouble getting the album released due to "artistic differences" with her record label. Apparently it is the track "Columbia is Bleeding" that is problematic. Aaron thinks this is the best song on the album and quotes the lyrics, but they are not the same as the ones here (on nellie mckay dot net).
On January 6, 2000 a group of musicians and music-loving technologists came together with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music ever. Read about The Music Genome Project. Now there is an excellent website called Pandora which uses the data from this project to allow users to create up to 100 personal radio stations that play particular styles of music. I won't describe it any further, just try it. If you like it you will need to create an account to keep using it. In theory you have to live in the United States to create an account but the only check seems to be based on entering a US zip code.
Pop composer Burt Bacharach has written his first lyrics in a career spanning nearly 50 years, expressing his disillusionment over the war in Iraq.
DJ Fatboy Slim and Talking Heads singer David Byrne are writing a musical about former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, to be shown next March.
New Order are to headline a concert dedicated to the late BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. The gig precedes the official John Peel Day on 13 October.
Opsound is a record label and sound pool using an open source, copyleft model, an experiment in practical gift economics, a laboratory for new ways of releasing music.
While I was at Dartmouth College in the late 80's I discovered a band called Ed's Redeeming Qualities who ventured up from Boston for a number of gigs at Phi Psi (since renamed Panarchy). After returning to the UK I got a postcard from the band informing me that they had moved to San Francisco so when I returned to the US in 1991 and travelled across the country I stopped by their house for a chat. They were about to go on tour but I didn't ask about their schedule so when I was in Seattle a week later I was surprised to see a poster for a gig! Not only did I see them play there, but I also caught up with them twice more on their tour, the last time being in Boston the night before my flight home. I recently found Chris Piuma's ERQ Page.
Synthesiser pioneer Dr Robert Moog has died at his North Carolina home aged 71, four months after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
The veteran Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer has died in a Havana hospital, aged 78.
I has been pointed out to me that a track from the f P c N issued album "Tribes and Tribulations" was played on Late Junction in May. The track called "Our Men are Dying" is a field recording of Batwa pygmies.
When I went to my local cafe today for breakfast I noticed the words "System of a Down" scribbled on a piece of paper next to the till. I immediately recalled that this was the name of a band that for some reason I had meant to check out. So I just looked it up and found their website, and the genre is basically Metal, which I am not really into, which is why I didn't know who they were. But listening to the track that plays when you go to the site I was impressed. And then I remembered dancing to Rage Against the Machine while on mushrooms outside a warehouse in Glasgow during the G8 Bike Ride. OK I am rambling now - signing off.
Riot-Folk are a US based collective of radical musicians acting as an anti-profit record label/performance troupe. They will be touring Europe this summer, making Folk a threat again!
Berklee college of music have published a book called The Future of Music. Lawrence Lessig said of it "I know of no other text that as beautifully and concisely presents the fundamental challenge that music now faces. This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand what is at stake in this debate."
The Small World Solar Stage will be putting on a party at Unity Works in Hackney on 2005-02-05 which they are hoping will become a regular first Saturday of the month thing. Unity Works is mentioned in this List of London venues.
I recently switched on the radio and heard a piece of music which turned out to be "Oh Superman" by Laurie Anderson. I had of course heard of Laurie Anderson and I think I even remember looking at her website a few years ago, but I don't think I have ever listened to her stuff - an omission I clearly need to rectify. Apparently (from a Laurie Anderson FAQ I found) "O Superman (for Massenet)" made it to number two in the UK charts in 1982.
Way back in January I ordered the ANIMUSIC DVD after seeing a clip from the amazing "Pipe Dream". I haven't watched it for a while, but was reminded about it recently when I got an email about the progress they are making on a sequel.
Not being a music "critic" I was unable to convey why I thought "The Bad Plus" were so impressive at the recent gig I attended. Never mind, Martin Longley does it for me in his review of their previous gig at Birmingham's Glee Club.
I just linked to an article called I Am Become Death - The Destroyer Of The Worlds and recognised the title from the intro to track three of Jocelyn Pook's excellent 1997 album "Deluge". The track is called "Oppenheimer" and the intro is J. Robert Oppenheimer expressing his thoughts about the first atomic bomb:
We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that one way or another.
I found an audio file of this at atomicarchive.com but I would recommend buying "Deluge" anyway.
A couple of nights ago I had the pleasure of seeing The Bad Plus playing at Kettle's Yard Gallery in Cambridge. Being such a small venue there was no need to mike up the drum kit but there was some amplification of piano and bass. This was the best Jazz experience I have had since December 1999 in NYC when I saw my old friend Madhav Chari play piano with a trio at El Taller. If Brian Flemming had not mentioned The Bad Plus in this blog entry I would probably not have been there so thanks Brian!
Last week I was listening to a ska compilation tape that someone gave me earlier this year and I got hooked the Prince Buster track "Madness" which inspired the band of the same name.
Rather than seeing The Bad Plus at the Jazz Cafe I decided to catch them when they play Kettle's Yard Gallery in Cambridge in a couple of weeks.
On Friday I finally got to see my friend Gary playing bass with his band Barabica (website unavailable due to suspended account?). They were playing at the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town and I am glad I made the effort to get there.
I was chilling out the other night, listening to Groove Salad on SomaFM when I was struck by a track which actually roused me from my mattress by the fire to find out what it was. It turned out to be "I'm Smoking Anyways" by Momma Gravy from their Pork Recordings album "Dribble It On".
I have not been to a gig for ages but within the space of a few days I have been hearing about all sorts of cool stuff. First off, there are a couple of interesting free events at the Royal Festival Hall which are part of the London Jazz Festival. This coming Sunday at 13:00 is a Sun Ra inspired performance called Space is the Place and then the following Saturday bassist Arnie Somogyi appears with Magic Feet.
On 2004-11-30 the legendary Lee 'Scratch' Perry is playing at the Islington Academy. In the late 1980's I was given a tape of his awesome album "Time Boom X de Devil Dead" which I eventually lost. Recently I bought it on CD and it is still awesome. I probably won't go to this gig for various reasons, but somehow I feel I should.
On the other hand, I am determined to see The Bad Plus at the Jazz Cafe on 2004-11-26.
By the way, there is an excellent "What's on" section at Serious.
Another so called reggae star, Sizzla, is in trouble for anti-gay lyrics. He was due to play in Milton Keynes tonight, and a friend of mine had organised a protest with the theme "Totally Tropical Hate". As it happens the gig was cancelled.
It was not until I went away to University in 1982 that I started listening to music seriously, and my first major influence was the John Peel Show on Radio 1. The first few albums I bought were all ones from which John Peel had played tracks (Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen etc). One of the things I used to look forward to at Christmas was listening to his Festive Fifty. I was therefore a shock for me to learn today that John Peel has died at the age of 65 while on holiday in Peru.
I have thought a lot about musical scales in my time, and will probably write up something at some point. In the meantime, a friend recently pointed out this amazingly comprehensive directory of scales.
Oddmusic.com is for anyone interested in unique, unusual, ethnic, or experimental music and instruments.
Last night I was listening to Analogue Voyager at Radio Power and heard a track which knocked my socks off. Turns out it was "Cowgirl" from Underworld's 1994 album Dubnobasswithmyheadman and I found a copy of the mp3 here. Apparently it was used in the sound track of a film called Hackers.
One of the artists performing at Reggae in the Park is Vybz Cartel. I had never heard of him but reading some of his lyrics on the Internet was a bit of an eye-opener - what a load of crap! One song (Bedroom Slaughteration) has attracted particular criticism for advocating the murder of homosexuals - see Gay group protests over Mobo list. That settles it, there is no way I am supporting such rubbish. Incidentally, I just checked the website and for unspecified "technical reasons" the event has been moved to Wembley Arena.
Actually, I had pretty much decided not to go to Reggae in the Park anyway. I thought it might be nice to see Gregory Isaacs but a friend told me that the last time she saw him he kept walking off stage to powder his nose. Some of the yet to be announced UK acts might be OK but I am getting a bad feeling about the whole thing now.
A quick digression to put this in perspective by explaining how I first got into reggae. It was back in the late 80's when I was a graduate student at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and I guess it started when I got involved in the divestment campaign and became friends with a group of black South African students who listened to a lot of stuff by Mutabaruka, The Wailers (Bunny and Peter as well as Bob), Black Uhuru etc. I had also recently started smoking cannabis which helped! I was fortunate to be around for the early years of the Vermont Reggae Festival. This free outdoor event was held annually on the shore of Lake Champlain and one of the great things about it was that there was just a single huge soundsystem, which meant that I could float on my back in the lake and listen to the music wash over me with none of the chaos induced by multiple competing stages. The weather was always hot and sunny and the proximity to Toronto ensured a good supply of excellent music - those were the days!
I just found out about Reggae in the Park on 2004-09-05 in Victoria Park, London. It is being billed as the "largest gathering of reggae artists in the UK this year". Barrington Levy and Gregory Isaacs will be among the international artists performing.
Downhill Battle is a non-profit organisation working to end the major label monopoly and build a better, fairer music industry.
MPERIA looks like a cool place for musicians to make their music available to the public and earn something in the process. It works using BitPass for payment and it doesn't use any form of DRM!
The goal of Agnula Libre Music is to create a publicly accessible database of Libre Music, i.e. works which have been put by their authors under a license which allows free redistribution and usage.
Andreas Berlind is a Cosmologist at NYU who has put up mp3s of some of his favourite music since 1991. His selection of mid 90s stuff pretty much sums up the kind of music I grooved to during my "rave period":-)
There are some excellent Internet Radio stations out there. I often listen to iTunes "Ambient" streams like dub beautiful collective, analogue voyager and groove salad. Another good one is Resonance FM which is run by the London Musicians Collective and mixes some esoteric music music with a bit of progressive/radical politics.
Until I get some content up here you should explore my friend Malcolm's Music Page.
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010