02 December 2007
Currently listening to: Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds
“The intersection of dark, spiritual music and radical ecology is quite natural,” explains Aaron, who has not given up on the DIY punk scene’s penchant for packaging radical political platforms with music. In interviews, he’ll make favorable mention of the Earth Liberation Front — some of whose monkey-wrenching adherents have been branded as “terrorists.” He also expresses cautious admiration for Finland’s merciless eco-philosopher Pentti Linkola, who argues that the best way out of the environmental crisis lies in a swift, lethal, and authoritarian process of de-industrialization.
I saw Wolves at the Independent in San Francisco, opening for Earth (awesome!) and Sunn. As a black metal non-fan I can’t really review them properly, but I wasn’t amazed.
27 November 2007
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
o o o o o o
I been told baby you been bold I won't
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
o o o o
be your fool no more
You could analyze this as a “rock syncopation” in Temperley’s terms — the strongly-accented words “told”, “bold” and “fool” have all shifted from the fifth eighth-note of their bars to the fourth. In the standard, square (4+4) organization of those notes, this is a shift from one of the strongest positions in the meter to one of the weakest. But in the (3+3+2) habanera pattern, the fourth eighth-note is exactly where the ictus belongs.
So was it the “square” setting of the previous line that was actually “syncopated”? Not really — the (4+4) pattern is also simultaneously available. Neither setting really represents a shift away from the strong positions in the musical rhythm. Instead, the setting is shifting between one polyrhythmic definition of metrical strength and another.
Currently listening to: Monolake’s Polygon Cities (Monolake also offers free tracks)
Musicians are starting to get it: hooking up with techies, getting sufficiently pissed at the bloated goats running the music industry, and doing something about it.
Perhaps not surprisingly, master songwriter Kristin Hersh is one of them. She’s started the Coalition for Artists and Stakeholders, a web site where artists can release music and music lovers can pay for it, download it, and remix it. And there’s no MAFIAA numbnuts taking a cut, either.
Kristin kicks it off at her CASH Music site with ass-kickin’ style: MP3s in two bitrates, lyric sheets, ProTools stem files! so you can remix the song, and artwork. It’s all Creative Commons-licensed and available via HTTP and BitTorrent downloads. The convenient PayPal form is right there, too.
We could have had this in 1994, but it’s better late than never.
23 November 2007
I meant to post this a while back, but as you know I am the laziest blogger evar. Macrovision, a digital restrictions management vendor, is the source of a vulnerability in Windows. The linked article uses nerd jargon like “Ring 0”, but the gist is that a device driver in the Windows operating system, supplied by Macrovision, fails catastrophically when processing data provided by the user. Because it is a device driver, it runs inside the most sensitive part of Windows. When it fails, it mistakenly starts corrupting its memory in a way that can enable the adversarial user who sent it the data to process to run whatever machine instructions they want. (We call this “arbitrary code execution”.) Because the now-corrupted driver runs in the most privileged mode of the computer, the adversary gains complete control over the computer.
The result is that a software component that was created to provide “security” against the user — i.e., to stop you from copying media — can now be used by mean people to break into your computer. For example, if you download a carefully but maliciously crafted file from the internet, and it is of the type that is processed by SECDRV.SYS driver, the creator of that file could break into your machine. (They’d probably make it part of their botnet.)
On the bright side, perhaps this vulnerability can also be used by nice people to break the “protections” on the DRM'd media.
17 November 2007
We all have the right to poetry! How could I still think it’s for other people? Smarter people. What’s doubly confusing is I don’t have the same reservations when poetry is accompanied by music. Perhaps I feel that way because there is music all around us — it’s the wallpaper of our lives. It’s not considered precious in American culture unless a symphony is performing it.
11 November 2007
Instead they commenced suing Napster. We were naive to be sure, but we were genuinely surprised by the approach. Suing Napster without offering an alternative just seemed like a denial of fact. Napster didn’t invent the ability to do P2P, it was inherent in TCP/IP. It was like throwing Newton in jail for popularizing the concept of gravity. [...] Make it easy, I wrote, and convenience will beat free.
Here’s a somewhat more wonky take on the same topic from Stephen Dubner.
Currently listening to: Prince kick a ton of ass in another of Ian’s posts
05 November 2007
27 October 2007
25 September 2007
Well to me, when I first heard punk rock, being a dude that was open-minded and into Return to Forever, the first thing I thought was, “If the Ramones think they’re playing fast, and if they think that they’re playing some hot shit, watch this shit that I'm going to rip, listen to this riff that I’m going to make and how fast I play this shit ’cause I got Return to Forever that I’ve been feeling that’s really technical,” and I thought, “I’ll work me some jazz riffage around this punk shit.”
23 September 2007
And it hadn’t hurt that Bobby was himself a musician, though not in the old plays-a-physical-instrument-and/or-sings modality. He took things apart, sampled them, mashed them up. This was fine with her, though like General Bosquet watching the charge of the Light Brigade, she was inclined to think it wasn’t war. Inchmale understood it, though, and indeed had championed it, as soon as it was digitally possible pulling guitar lines out of obscure garage chestnuts and stretching them, like a mad jeweler elongating sturdy Victorian tableware into something insectile, post-functionally fragile, and neurologically dangerous.
“In the early 1920s,” Bigend said, “there were still some people in this country who hadn’t yet heard recorded music. Not many, but a few. That’s less than a hundred years ago. Your career as a ‘recording artist’ ” — making the quotes with his hands — “took place toward the end of a technological window that lasted less than a hundred years, a window during which consumers of recorded music lacked the means of producing that which they consumed. They could buy recordings, but they couldn’t reproduce them. The Curfew came in as that monopoly on the means of production was starting to erode. Prior to that monopoly, musicians were paid for performing, published and sold sheet music, or had patrons. The pop star, as we knew her” — and here he bowed slightly, in her direction — “was actually an artifact of preubiquitous media.”
“Of — ?”
“Of a state in which ‘mass’ media existed, if you will, within the world.”
“As opposed to?”
In Part 1 we learn that the RIAA harrasses a single mother and her 7-year-old girl. They refuse to look at the woman’s computer, presumably because forensic examination might show that she is innocent (a key part of the RIAA’s strategy is to maximize pain while minimizing due process). The kid is deposed, and the RIAA accuses her of illegally distributing gangsta rap.
EFF’s Fred von Lohmann sums up the RIAA’s “legal” strategy:
VON LOHMANN: One of their spokespersons once said, “Sometimes when you go fishing with a driftnet, you catch a few dolphins.” And that, I think, really is their attitude about that.
Meanwhile, wonderful music is available legally and for a decent price (DRM-free high-ish bitrate MP3s, playable on any platform) from emusic.com. Some of my favorite, non-RIAA-affiliated artists:
- Neko Case (label: ANTI)
- Nels Cline Singers (label: Cryptogramophone)
- Isis (label: Ipecac)
- Matmos (label: Matador)
The RIAA has made a helpful page so we can check the consumer abuse factor before we buy: RIAA Members.
Ultimately, the solution to this whole mess will be something like collective licensing.
18 August 2007
14 July 2007
10 June 2007
[The magical sound] was coming from Rick Wakeman, prog rock’s wizard — the guy even wore a glittering silver cape onstage — and the keyboard Wakeman was playing cost thirty-five hundred dollars new. Biro didn’t have anything near that, and his unemployment checks weren’t going to last forever.
But he could get nineteen automotive 8-track decks from the junkyard for twenty dollars each — and an old piano from a friend, pulling the keys out one by one — and he could stay up thirty-six hours at a time in his father’s garage, working and working — recording, splicing, wiring, cross-fading, figuring out the action of the board, grinding the ivory off the keys to glue in electrical contacts...
Also, don’t miss the sound samples of the Birotron and other wacky devices.
09 June 2007
Brian pointed me at this fun-sounding goodie:
There is lots of footage of the band performing parts of several different songs live, as well as a generous amount of vintage interview material of the bright and talkative Zappa expounding upon his approach to music. Further, Dweezil demonstrates some particulars of Frank’s style on guitar, and Ruth Underwood gives a fascinating marimba demonstration to explain an aspect of Zappa’s compositional technique. Among the songs that get partially dissected are “I’m the Slime,” “Dinah-Moe Hum,” “Montana,” “Stink-Foot,” “St. Alfonzo’s Pankcake Breakfast” and “Cosmik Debris.” Did you know that Tina Turner and two other members of the Ikettes sang on “Zombie Woof”? I didn’t, but Dweezil isolates their track for us and then shows us how it fits into the whole of what is a very weird song. On another tune he shows us how Frank multed a horn and violin part on a single track to make a singular sound.
Currently listening to: “Dick Suffers is Furious With You” by Don Caballero
12 May 2007
All these questions about the possibility of interference to the SB3 from stoves, microwave ovens, cell phones, vibrating toys, etc., has me wondering if it is possible for the titanium implant and porcelain crown in my skull to cause interference that would affect the sound of my SB3. I mean, maybe the saliva in my mouth, the electrolyte that is my blood, and the titanium metal and mercury-amalgam fillings could set up a sort of battery and the current could generate a magnetic field.
Any ideas if this is something I should worry about?You claim that an
( ) audible
( ) measurable
improvement in sound quality can be attained by:
( ) upsampling
( ) increasing word size
( ) vibration dampening
( ) bi-wiring
( ) replacing the external power supply
( ) using a different lossless format
( ) decompressing on the server
(X) removing bits of metal from skull
( ) using ethernet instead of wireless
09 May 2007
06 May 2007
21 April 2007
Photos of the x0xb0x on Flickr
Currently listening to: Headhunters, Survival of the Fittest (with Blackbird McKnight!)
ROME - Pope Benedict XVI has called for an end to electric guitars and modern music being played in church and demanded a return to traditional choirs and Gregorian chants.
“It is possible to modernize holy music,” he said at a concert conducted by the director of music at the Sistine Chapel, Domenico Bartolucci. “But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music.”
“Benedict XVI’s supporters argue that the music played during Mass is a vital part of the communion between worshippers and God” — which is, of course, precisely why the music should respond to and interact with modern culture in an other than dictatorial way. Imagine if a religious leader suggested taking gospel music out of African-American churches: unthinkable, absurd, and offensive.
07 April 2007
Andrew “bunnie” Huang is just the person to help us out. He’s got a PhD in electrical engineering from MIT, is a technical advisor for Make magazine, created the Chumby hackable digital toy, and cracks computer hardware security for fun on weekends.
He has a pair of blog posts about how you can build your own analog-to-digital converter out of cheap, general-purpose parts. (Note: an FPGA is a “field-programmable gate array”, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s a chip you can redesign on the fly. You can feed it a new design specification, and it will change its behavior from a USB controller to a digital radio receiver to whatever you want. As such, it’s perfect for making an A/D converter. Another cool use of FPGAs is the Universal Software Radio Peripheral, which you can use with GNU Radio, a free software-based radio system.)
One interesting thing from the theory part of the article is that, as bunnie says, “digital technology is on the verge of coming out of the analog closet” (emphasis added):
At very high signal speeds or densities, there is an important energy-time trade-off that digital signal designers must consider. The faster/denser you send/store bits, the less energy and time are available to interpret the information. In fact, the term Bit Error Rate (BER) is starting to appear more and more in product literature. BERs are typically specified in terms of expected failures per bits transmitted. For example, a brand-name hard drive today has a non-recoverable error rate of 1 per 1014 bits—in other words, once every 12,500 Gbytes transferred. This state of the art hard drive today stores 500 Gbytes of data. Chew on this: if you were to read data off of this drive continuously, you should expect an unrecoverable bit error just once every 25 times through the entire drive’s contents. Another way of looking at this is one in 25 hard drives performing this experiment should expect a bit error after one complete beginning to end read pass. Feel worried about the integrity of your data yet? Don’t look now. Hard drives encode data so densely that quite often there is insufficient energy stored in a bit to detect the bit on its own, so hard drives use Partial Response, Maximum Likelihood (PRML) techniques to recover your data. In other words, the hard drive controller looks at a sequence of sampled data points and tries to guess at what set of intended bits might have generated a particular response signature. This technique is combined with others, such as error correction techniques (in itself a fascinating subject), to achieve the intended theoretical bit error rates. Have valuable data? Become a believer in back-ups. Our robust digital complacency is starting to ooze back into the analog days of pops, clicks and hiss. Bit errors are not confined to storage, either. Many high-speed serial links are specified to perform at BER’s as low as one error per 1012 bits. While error-free enough for a single user to tolerate, these error rates stack on top of each other as you build more complex systems with more links in them, to the point where managing error rates and component failures is one of the biggest headaches facing server and supercomputer makers today.
Currently listening to: Leg End by Henry Cow
MP3 samples of the Oakland version of the trio and of the Portland version are available.
Here’s the info:
Saturday April 7th, 2007
Jim Ryan’s FE3 Oakland Performance
With Scott R Looney, piano & Stephen Flinn, drums
1510 Performance Space
1510 8th St. Oakland CA
Also performing Dave Sewelson and Friends Jam [bring your axe and participate in a free jazz jam session]
Sunday, April 8th, 2007
Jim Ryan’s FE3 Portland performance
With Bob Jones, double bass & Andrew Wilshusen, drums (OR)
SIMM Music Series
116 9th St. @ Mission, San Francisco, CA
7:30pm $10, $8, $5
AND SBTG-Quartet David Sewelson sax (NY) / Carolyn Torrente sax/ Antony Bichon bass / Nicolai Gvatua drums
05 April 2007
04 April 2007
Don’t sign with a label, don’t sign with a record company; because the minute you sign you will lose all the rights to your music. And you will never see a dime. Build up your following by continuously playing; save up your money and record your own stuff on your own CDs, and learn to market yourself.
He goes on to explain the Ani Difranco business plan quite persuasively. “And that’s the reason why the system hates Dick Dale.”
Currently listening to: “Ouch” from Meg Nem Sa by Hilmar Jensson
20 March 2007
Formed in 2001, TEXTURES – Jacobs, guitarist Bart Hennephof, drummer Stef Broks, bassist Dennis Aarts, synth maestro Richard Rietdijk and then vocalist Pieter Verpaalen – decided that the only way to truly capture their musical manifesto was to tackle every element of creating an album themselves – from production through to artwork.
As dubious as it is to denigrate music sharers as "pirates", it's just as goofy to adopt it as a term of pride (ironic or otherwise). Technology, ethics, law, and business models are crazy unaligned right now, but "pirate", even as a denial, allows the moribund middlemen the rhetorical floor. There's nothing wrong with trying before you buy or sharing with friends. Like it? Be honest and buy the t-shirt, go to the show, subscribe to eMusic and (re-)download it, give the musician free advertising on your blog. But whatever you do, kill the pimps!
Currently listening to: "Tabula Rasa: Silentium" and "Collage über Bach: Toccata" by Arvo Pärt. The "Sarabande" is heavy as hell!@$#
Kris Delmhorst at eMusic, and sample song "Weathervane".
18 March 2007
A super-sharp, super-portable screen would be used to read all day long, but most of us won't spend most of our time reading anything recognizable as a book on them.
Take the record album. Everything about it is technologically pre-determined. The technology of the LP demanded artwork to differentiate one package from the next. The length was set by the groove density of the pressing plants and playback apparatus. The dynamic range likewise. These factors gave us the idea of the 40-to-60-minute package, split into two acts, with accompanying artwork. Musicians were encouraged to create works that would be enjoyed as a unitary whole for a protracted period — think of Dark Side of the Moon, or Sgt. Pepper's.
No one thinks about albums today. Music is now divisible to the single, as represented by an individual MP3, and then subdivisible into snippets like ringtones and samples. When recording artists demand that their works be considered as a whole — like when Radiohead insisted that the iTunes Music Store sell their whole album as a single, indivisible file that you would have to listen to all the way through — they sound like cranky throwbacks.
The problem, then, isn't that screens aren't sharp enough to read novels off of. The problem is that novels aren't screeny enough to warrant protracted, regular reading on screens.
I'd try to rebut Cory, because I do think he's wrong, but I wrote this post halfway through reading his article and edited it while watching a movie.
12 March 2007
18 February 2007
But Drama and Cannon's studio was not a bootlegging plant; it was a place where successful new hip-hop CDs were regularly produced and distributed. Drama and Cannon are part of a well-regarded D.J. collective called the Aphilliates. Although their business almost certainly violated federal copyright law, as well as a Georgia state law that requires CDs to be labeled with the name and address of the producers, they were not simply stealing from the major labels; they were part of an alternative distribution system that the mainstream record industry uses to promote and market hip-hop artists. Drama and Cannon have in recent years been paid by the same companies that paid Kilgo to help arrest them.
Although their business almost certainly violated federal copyright law, as well as a Georgia state law that requires CDs to be labeled with the name and address of the producers, they were not simply stealing from the major labels; they were part of an alternative distribution system that the mainstream record industry uses to promote and market hip-hop artists. Drama and Cannon have in recent years been paid by the same companies that paid Kilgo to help arrest them.
10 February 2007
28 January 2007
On February 3rd, 2007 Sean will demonstrate the effect of Morrissey on his life by painting a massive canvas on a stage in the gallery, recreating his private studio atmosphere. A selection of Sean's favorite Smiths and Morrissey songs will be playing while he paints. Dozens of other paintings will be on display throughout the gallery, most titled after Smiths and Morrissey songs.
Starr considers Morrissey "the world's greatest living poet"...
Al notes this paranoid Christian web site which has a list of must-hear musicians, including "Morrissey (?questionable)", "Merzbau" (sic) and "Ted Nugent (loincloth)".
Drugs are bad, mmkay...
24 January 2007
Living Colour, "Broken Hearts"
Living Colour, "Information Overload" intro
"Information Overload" guitar solo
Living Colour, "Flying"
Extra bonus stony-faced funky bass shredding (check out the tape on the high strings! hahaha!):
Fredrik Thordendal and Morgan Ågren, Sol Niger Within medley
Robotspeak sessions is our every-other-monthly electronic + computer [electronic] music event. Our goal with sessions is to create a comfortable venue for the performers and audience to interact, ask questions, trade ideas and techniques-you name it. Hosted here in our semi-underground shop in SF's lower Haight, each sessions features three 30 - 40 minute performances followed by an open forum and very informal "question-and-answer" session.
Unfortunately I'll be out of town this time.
15 January 2007
Weirdly, it's hard to find pictures of the Double Rainbow (or maybe my Google-fu is weak this night), but there is this one: