Sea of Noise

Fri, 08 Aug 2008

Eno & Byrne Return!

Nearly three decades after they blew minds with My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Brian Eno & David Byrne have collaborated again on the forthcoming Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (due out August 18).

This groove is out of fashion,
these beats are twenty years old

Not at all, gentlemen. Not at all.

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Tue, 01 May 2007

Save Internet Radio

Internet "radio" needs your help!

Many web streams, like my own Swinglover's Lounge, will be silenced unless something is done soon...

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Fri, 08 Dec 2006

Jay McShann

The great Kansas City piano player and bandleader Jay McShann died yesterday at the age of 90. Rest in peace, Hootie.

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Tue, 06 Jun 2006

Billy Preston, R.I.P.

Billy Preston died today. His Simple Song lives on.

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Mon, 15 May 2006

Introducing Lily Allen

Apparently, Lily Allen's mum (film producer Allison Owen) has great taste in music; so it's no surprise that classic British groups like Squeeze and The Specials sprang to mind when I first listened to Allen's music. At the same time, though, her sound is fresh--mixing and updating genres while adding a dash of sunshine and twenty-year-old optimism. (Not unlike another new favorite of mine, Spanish popsters The Pinker Tones.)

Perhaps the surest sign that Allen is a music star for the new century, though, is that she has an album (Alright, Still) due out July 17 on Regal, but played her first live gig earlier this month. While that could have something to do with having well-connected parents (father Keith Allen is a musician and comedian), Lily Allen is no Pauly Shore: I get the feeling that she'd have 28,320 friends on Myspace without the major label deal. (And, I suspect, that's exactly what her label wants to hear, while it works the "underground" "buzz". But, so what?)

The music is the bottom line. That's more true now than ever. And Allen's music delivers, bringing a ray of sunshine into what, here in Connecticut, is a very rainy day.

[via Miss Erma]

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Fri, 17 Mar 2006

Why Top 40 Radio Sucks

Though maybe it didn't take scientific research to figure this out, apparently popular music is popular because it's popular, not necessarily because it's good.

Researchers found that popular songs were popular and unpopular songs were unpopular, regardless of their quality established by the other group. They also found that as a particular songs' popularity increased, participants selected it more often.

The upshot for markerters: social influence affects decision-making in a market.

[via brenda]

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Mon, 16 Jan 2006

Happy Birthday, MLK

Two great MP3 blog posts today from Soul Shower and The Smudge of Ashen Fluff. (Hint: Be prepared to rush out and buy some Nina Simone DVDs and/o CDs.)

Some words from the man himself:

It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Also see Moistworks for audio of two of King's best-known speeches.

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Thu, 15 Dec 2005

Google Enhances Music Search Results

Yet Another Way That Google Rocks My World

Well, it's got potential, anyway.

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Thu, 08 Dec 2005

In Memory: John Lennon

John Lennon died 25 years ago today.

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Fri, 23 Sep 2005

Charles Gets All Old School

Continuing in the theme of the ways technology changes the way we relate to music, Charles writes that his iPod has made it harder to appreciate songs over repeated listenings:

My music used to be delivered as a concrete object that I owned and could, to at least some degree, fetishsize. The bits and bytes on my computer help keep the music that's stored on it ephemeral and disposable. I can't be the only person experiencing this problem.

Indeed, he's not alone!

A surprising angle for me, personally, is that I miss the visual association between album cover and music. I don't just mean that I miss the great cover art of the LP days (though I do). Recently, I've been "burning down" my CDs for DJing--consolidating tracks onto compilations so I can carry more in my case. But I've discovered that I have more trouble finding a song I want when the songs aren't arranged by album with the original artwork to guide me.

Anyway, Charles' response has been to get out the old mix tapes his buddy Howard gave him and start digitizing them. Check out workbook and hear for yourself.

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Wed, 21 Sep 2005

Music Piracy Bad for the Soul?

It seems that Nick Southall isn't the only music downloader worried about his soul. Kyle David suggests that we go ahead and screw the government and the major labels, but seriously think about what it's doing to our personal legacies:

By downloading, not only do I not have a story to tell, I don't actually get to talk to anyone. The internet is based strongly on the friendliness of strangers, and while I seeded over two gigabites [sic] off of someone else's computer, we never once exchanged pleasantries. And when I do burn this CD, and when I spin it at the club and people ask if it was hard to attain (because it's an indie club full of like-minded people) I can't say that I had to look through over thirty places to find it. I can't say it was difficult. All I can say is that I burned it, that I'm a pirate, and that I took the easy road. What am I left with? The music, which is obviously a plus, but there's no context surrounding it. There's no spirit there. I know exactly what mood I was in when I bought the Vanilla Sky soundtrack when I was 18, and how I felt when I first heard the voice of Jeff Buckley, but I barely remember thinking anything at all when I downloaded Radiohead. And to make sure I'm not stepping on my own toes, I know for certain that it's not because it's Radiohead.

In other words, it's not the destination, it's the journey; and we make our own musical meaning.


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Too Much Music For Our Own Good?

Nick Southall has overdosed on music and wants his childish wonder back:

What drives the need to consume everything, why was I happy as a teenager to dismiss whole swathes of stuff that I now feel compelled to try and understand? There's an inverted music snobbery which demands that I, the gifted, erudite and trained listener, can get things out of listening to Yes or The Crazy Frog that other, less erudite listeners simply pass over on point of principal, a relativism which decrees that everything has some value, no matter how base or hidden, and that, if you only listened the right way, you too would see what that value is. There is also the demand, a perception heightened and perhaps solely manufactured by the proliferation of easily-available music and music criticism on the internet, that we all be infinite dilettantes, that simply because we have the opportunity to sample everything at the click of a mouse that we necessarily should. But if you're a dilettante then you are a dilettante.

I don't necessarily agree. But I do know that bloated feeling of overconsumption he describes...

[via largeheartedboy]

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Sat, 17 Sep 2005

The dB's Are Back, Baby!

The dB's are back, with a new album and a tour! Even better, donate to Katrina relief via their web site and get an MP3 of their new cover of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?". Sweet!

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Tue, 09 Aug 2005

Baby Got Book

"I like big Bibles I cannot lie, / You Christian brothers can't deny ..." [via The Tofu Hut]

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Sun, 10 Jul 2005

I Touch Myself

Belgian Girls Choir Scala sings Divynls' "I Touch Myself".

No, I don't know why. Don't question, just listen.

[via tastypopsicle]

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Wed, 06 Jul 2005

Newsweek on Music Preservation and Sales Online

Newsweek asks, "The recording industry likes to grouse that Internet piracy is hurting sales. So why is some of the best online music also the oldest?" I'm not sure they ever actually answer that question; but they do point to several great online efforts to preserve and distribute old music, some commercial and some not.

For all the fire the recording industry breathes about the dangers the Internet poses to their survival, it's ironic that some of the oldest recordings are once again seeing the light of day thanks to new technology.

[via Honey]

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Mon, 20 Jun 2005

Another Day On Brian Eno's Earth

Brian Eno's new CD, Another Day On Earth, is out and it's fantastic! I'd heard that it would be something of a return to the style of his 70s-era albums with lyrics: Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Another Green World, and Before and After Science. That's true, in the sense that the songs are short, have lyrics, and are quite accessible; but the sound of the album is completely contemporary. Not having kept up with all of Eno's recent releases, I'd call it Wrong Way Up meets Nerve Net, but in a good way.

At any rate, I've listened to Another Day On Earth several times in a row today and heartily recommend that you buy it, too.

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Wed, 08 Jun 2005

R.A.M. Interviews Four Outsiders

This amazingly good program with footage of Daniel Johnston, Antony & The Johnsons, Andrew Bird, and Albert Ayler ran on Dutch television earlier this year. If, like me, you don't understand Dutch, forward over the first couple of minutes and check out the interviews, which are in English.

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Tue, 31 May 2005

Oscar Brown, Jr., RIP

I was privileged to meet Oscar Brown, Jr. and mix sound for his performance at a dance weekend this past February. Here's what I wrote about it at the time:

As always, this was a great weekend. But I have to say that Saturday night in particular was one of the best nights so far in my 4+ years of dancing! Not only was it an honor to mix some sound for Oscar Brown Jr. and the great musicians accompanying him, everyone involved (the organizers, musicians, instructors, and DJ--as well as Tim and Jean, the awesomest hosts ever) worked together to create an amazing vibe that, for me, lasted well into the next, sleep-deprived day.

I'm serious: if it were possible to distill the vibe from Saturday night at about 1 AM and put it in a bottle, both Viagra and Paxil would be driven from the market.

I hope I'll have the same kind of energy at that age; and, should I ever accomplish as much as Brown did, I hope I'll have the same kind of humility. He was an amazing guy and I'm glad I got the chance to meet him before he died this week.

"When out of men's hearts all the hate is hurled, you're gonna live in a better world." Requiescat in pace.

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Thu, 10 Feb 2005

Jimmy Smith, RIP

Requiescat in pace, Jimmy Smith. [edited to fix link to NPR story]

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