Thursday, October 11, 2007

Free Radiohead

In the lite of a recent win for the RIAA in a lawsuit against a file-sharer, Radiohead has released its new album In Rainbows via digital download, free to everyone. Donations are taken upon download, all amounts are taken.

The band is now label-less, making all donations go directly to the music. Those who want a better quality version of the album will need to wait until December to get the $80 Double CD/Vinyl box set. Songs are now being distributed as MP3's with a 160kbps sample rate. (Not the greatest quality available to MP3 players).

To download the album, visit

This is fucking great! Radiohead is giving a big middle finger to the mainstream record industry and will probably make a killing. I've been reading a lot on the blogs about this type of marketing and it seems to be very successful. Some musicians say they make more when they distribute their album as donation only instead of charging $9.99. in their own words,

"It’s really liberating not to feel part of the record company structures. It should be an extremely positive place to be in but I think at the moment it’s like the cartoon bit when Roadrunner comes of the cliff and keeps running - then looks down."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Brad Barr live at Pete's Candy Store

Last night i strolled down the street to Pete's Candy Store and saw one of my favs, Brad Barr perform a rare solo acoustic set. Brad is the guitarist/voxist from The Slip, a boston-based rock trio that stylistically cover ground from funk to indie to jazz to acoustic to jam and so on and so on. Most of their new fans started listening after their song "Even Rats" was featured on the game Guitar Hero. Their new album Eisenhower has been playing in my car for the past 6 months and i'm still hearing new things in it every time i listen.

Brad's solo stuff is a bit different than what the Slip have been playing the past 2 years. When he's by himself, he tends to get real folky, finger picking and strumming simple progressions and letting his voice explore ranges not ususally covered at a slip show. The lack of backing instruments really gave his voice a chance to shine.

The place was packed. I managed to find a little spot on the floor towards the back nudged in between 2 chairs. The setting was perfect. The stage at Pete's resembles a 30's burlesque stage but shrunk so that only a duo can comfortably fit. Old dull light bulbs border the procenium and frame the performer quite nicely. Brad, fresh from a wedding, was dressed in a jacket and tie. I walked in during the opening jam and prepared for an intimate evening.

It has been about 4 years since i've seen a solo set from Brad, and it was well worth the wait. I didn't really know what to expect. I did know that there were rumors of a solo album coming soon and I was excited to hear some of the material that could be on it. The set started with a free acoustic jam on a nylon string, something resembling a raga melody form, with a drone tambura sample in the background. The jam slowly evolved into a song, one that I was not familiar with, but still enjoyed. The first tune I recognized was "Sarah through the Walls", a Leo Kottke -esque instrumental tune that i've been listening to for quite some time now. Brad posted it to his myspace over a year ago and i've been anxiously waiting to hear it live. This tune was the highlight of the night for me. The whole room went silent from beginning to end. Pete's was the perfect place to hear it.

Next was a tune called "Ooh Belle", a song that was just recently added to the myspace playlist, similar vibe to "Sarah" but with vocals. Next was a sultry break-up song written by Brad's friend who joined him on vocals.

A few more tunes, Life in Disguise (off the new album Eisenhower), Before you Were Born (written by Barr and Nathan Moore from the album Aliveacoustic) and a closer that i didn't recognize.

All in all a very personal and inspiring show. He made me want to run home and break out the acoustic. Oh did I mention it was FREE? We are truly fortunate as a city to be able to see people like Brad on a Monday night for free.

check out brad's tunes here on Myspace

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Social Music Networks:

I found out about a new social network centered around music whilst searching for songs by one of my favs, Marco Benevento. I stumbled upon his imeem account and gave it a listen.

Imeem is is the same vein as myspace, with a few perks. First off, you can upload as many songs as you want. This means streaming entire albums if the band so chooses. Members can display their own music, as well as customizable playlists of other tunes uploaded to the Imeem database. Users can also upload and display videos on their profiles, blog, post pictures, and host groups.

Imeem beats myspace in my book for a few reasons. First off, their is no upload limit. This means more music. The site is also a bit slicker in appearance (it has pages that are editable like a blog) and thus feels more fluid. The media player sounds, looks, and operates better than the myspace version.

The user base is obviously much smaller, because of its age, but I can see this changing soon. As of now, their are no annoying ads displayed on music pages (although it looks as though that will change simply by noting the vacant space at the the top of every page).

I've already almost my entire album, Sound about Sound here; plus a video. Stop by and make a post if you dare.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Kitchen Diaries

The Martha Stewart of Breaks, cookin' up something real tasty.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Indaba Music: Get Your Jam On

Indaba Music is a new social music site where members can exchange musical ideas in the form of mp3's and mix and master songs together. The idea is that each member posts guitar riffs, melody ideas, drum loops, etc. and through the Indaba search engine others can preview and use those musical ideas. What you end up with is a song that is essentially written by people from all over the world.

For example, a member's home page could contain a simple 4 bar guitar riff. That user may want a bass line to accompany his riff. So, he goes onto the search engine and types Rock Bass Line and up pops other users who have posted bass lines. Indaba's online editor lets you import the audio, set levels, and BOOM, you've got yourself the beginnings of a song.

Indaba also supports those musicians who like to mix and remix. You can set your profile as solely a mixer and production assistant and even receive payment for your mixing abilities through PayPal.

Whether you're amateur or professional musician you'll find something fun. Check it out HERE

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Akron/Family: Cool Media

Akron/Family @ The Bowery Ballroom, 6-12-07.

A couple nights ago I saw one of the best concerts of my life. It was a band called Akron/Family. I had never heard or seen them before. What made the experience so unique was their ability to totally engage the audience. They represent cool media in its purest form. All throughout the show, audience members would sing along and "jam" with the band. What ensued was a musical conversation between performer and listener that I have never seen before, and i've seen tons of shows.

The concert opened with an a capella piece. Slowly but surely the audience joined in in 4 part harmonies, soaring above the musicians on stage. Once a groove had been created, they slam into the second song, a wash of noisy improvisations that slowly evolves into a loud, sing-along rock anthem. Below is the first song. It's worth watching until the end to see the audience join in.

At the end of the show, they started calling audience members up onto the stage, handing them shakers and flutes and drums as they climbed up. Once 30 or so people got up, they band members started coming into the audience, totally reversing the dynamic. We must have jammed for 30 minutes together. They ended the night with a song, Circle, Triangle Square with YMCA-esque choreography. If you haven't seen them, please do so. I promise it will change the way you think about live music.

Now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to go call all my friends and tell them about the show.

Click here to listen to their myspace

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Media: Hot or Not?

Margaret Thatcher
The State of the Union
Philosophy and the Analysis of Music
Heinz Tomato Ketchup


Open Source Software
Salads at the cheatery
MarioKart 64
Riding in a Taxi
Wayne Shorter tunes

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Nixon Doctrine

Here is a video I made over the weekend for my song "The Nixon Doctrine". All of the sampled video is from, a good spot for public domain media. Some of the slides are from random spots around the internet, like here. The music was made from effected samples of regional Cambodian folk music and a news conference given by Nixon. The song will be available on EarthTone Records sometime next year. More on EarthTone later on.

Click here to hear more music of this kind.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Imogen Heap: Just for Now

I woke up this morning and my friend had sent me this link, Imogen Heap performing Just for Now a capella. I've only heard one of her songs, Hide and Seek before seeing this one. I was very impressed with her performance and thought I would share it. Although it's not electronic music, it is derivative of electronic media. As you'll see, she is acting as her own sound mixer as she loops and layers her voice. She brings tracks in and out as she sees fit while still managing to continue the song. On top of all the slick electronic manipulation, she has an incredibly pure voice, lovely to wake up to.

For me, I don't really listen to what she's saying; not to discredit her lyrics. It's just the sound of her voice that moves me. As we've talked about in class before, sometimes you want to talk to your loved ones just to hear their voice, not to hear what they have to say. If this video doesn't convince you of that, watch Hide and Seek. You'll understand.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Consumer becomes the Creator

The discussion in this video mirrors quite nicely what we've been discussing in class. Now everyone has the capabilities of major publishers. Musicians have the same access to distribution that the record companies have. Amateur Film Makers have access to the same tools the Hollywood studios use. It's amazing how it is shaping the record industry.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Prep that Thigh

Straight from the Fall 06 MAPEC concert in the Kimmel Center, it's "Prep that Thigh". This is a video of me and my bandmate Calvin Pia performing his song. Its our attempt at some live electronic music.

As I've said before on this blog, I'm very interested in the new ways electronic music is being performed. Previously there has been a barrier between audience and performer in these types of concerts. Musicians hide behind laptops, moving their fingers around, and the audience sits and listens. Calvin and I have incorporated some video and a little choreographed crowd interaction in an effort to make live electronica more fun. Did it work? I dunno. What do you think?

Here are two other performance from that night. The Volt Collective and Space Disease is an excellent resource for public domain audio, video, and text. There are concerts, speeches, old newsreels, books and tons of other fun stuff. Typically you can download or stream the material in multiple formats. It is an excellent resource for musicians or filmmakers looking for media to sample.

I've been browsing the pages a lot recently. Here is a candid interview with Jerry Garcia. Here is what's considered THE archetypal sensationalized anti-drug movie. Here is a live concert of the Derek Trucks Band, in my opinion the best slide guitarist of all time, and he's only 28!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Reactable: Communal Modular Synthesis

Below is a short documentary about the Reactable, an interactive multi-user synthesizer. Developed in Barcelona, the Reactable is a synthezier with a revolutionary interface that stumps the learning curve of modular synthesis. With it, multiple users can interact with each other on the same table combining and effecting each others sounds. Like JoJo Meyer, the Reactable gives new life to live electronic music. Whereas before performers might sit in front of a laptop or fiddle with knobs on huge modular synths, now we are seeing a new breed of electronic music performance, where the audience can litterly see the textures and sounds being created in a very accessible way. Very Exciting.

To see demos on how each aspect of the Reactable works, click the video screen and look at the related videos on YouTube.

104th Street Curve

This is a video of the New York City Metro when it was above ground, up at 104th street. One of Edison's early films. Because it was originally a silent film, the audio has been superimposed. It is an original track of mine called "you are now About to Begin". It should be noted that I wrote the song before even seeing the film and made little effort to sync the two. What we see is a natural rhythm inherent in the movie, that shows itself at particular musical junctures in the song. I find this happens often when I am soundtracking video. It is a testament to the rhythm that is all around us in the natural world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

JoJo Meyer: Live Electronica

Here is a video of a live performance by JoJo Meyer and his band Nerve. Jojo's concert's are typically 100% improvised and EVERYTHING is played live. Meyer uses a technique called reverse engineering, in which he takes sounds and textures that he loves from sequenced electronic music and recreates them with a real drum kit. The result is stunning to say the least. Check the video below to see a song or click here to watch a short documentary about the band and its philosophy.

Salad Fingers

The Blogular Synthesis overture: Salad Fingers. This is a cartoon by David Firth that me and some classmates redid the audio to. We stripped out the original soundtrack and dialogue and embedded our own. Enjoy!