North by Northeast

In Headphones
8 June, 2008, 12:43 am
Filed under: music

Spent a good portion of the night in my headphones, after completing a bunch of work for school. After listening to a bunch of Radiohead podcasts (search iTunes to see if they’re still available, I downloaded them months ago) which had rough cuts of all their tracks from In Rainbows, along with video of the band laying the tracks down in the studio, I decided to finally, actually purchase the “new” album at iTunes.

I’m way behind on this, I know.

I should have participated in their “download and set your own price, if any” experiment, to show my support for their innovative attempt at breaking the stranglehold that traditional labels have on music distribution and rights.

Then, once the album was fully, regularly released, I was happy to see it was an EMI track, at least, so that it qualified for iTunes Plus (no DRM, 256kbps). I’ve set out a rule for myself that I no longer buy DRMed stuff.

But to take it to the next level, Radiohead then on iTunes released the “stems” from their song “Nude.” Stems are the individual musicians’ tracks, eg the bass line, the drum track, etc. You could buy them and remix them at will. They would also send you a link to a fully editable GarageBand file to remix. Very cool, except that artists like Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) have already done such experiments, without asking people to pay. The whole experiment is great advertising. I don’t think you should make the participants pay to do your advertising.

Never the less the results have been impressive. So many masterfully made tracks, all very different from each other. This week I saw a full-fledged video built around Nude, in a way that defies explanation. You need to watch it. Be patient, it takes about a minute to really get into it. Brilliant.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Big Ideas (Don’t get any) on Vimeo", posted with vodpod


Great Take on the Modern Hip-Hop Video (plus bonus info)
26 July, 2007, 7:29 pm
Filed under: music

I found a link to a version of one of Kanye West’s newest tracks “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” from his upcoming album “Graduation.” This alternate version features comedian Zach Galifianakis, who you may recognize from a previous music video, where he was the co-star with Fiona Apple.

Zach’s Take on “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” Go and watch it now, it’s a great analysis of what goes into the average hip-hop video.

Bonus material: While poking around KanYe’s site I stumbled upon another video–“Stronger”–done in Japan-chic, in which Kanye collaborates with Parisian House, Euro-pop-dance group Daft Punk. They make for a great combination on this track.

You can buy both these songs at iTunes (that link will launch the iTunes app).

PS – Speaking of KanYe and Apple, I might mention that KW is one of the celebrities I met while working for Apple. He was in town for a show at BC. I attempted to extract his data from his custom-laser-inscribed PowerBook (provided by Nike) which had been pretty badly trashed. It took about 36 hours of work (well, counting the time it attempted to run on its own overnight) but we were able to get his data on to a new machine. He was happy. KW is a very friendly, soft-spoken guy. He gave us some tickets to his concert, but BC wouldn’t let us in because we weren’t BC students. That sucked.

Chronically Stuck in My Head
16 May, 2007, 10:25 am
Filed under: music

This song has been chronically stuck in my head for about two weeks. If you’ve been out riding on a trail with me, chances are you’ve heard me whistle this.

Artist: Peter Bjorn and John
Song: Young Folks

If I had the time
30 April, 2006, 1:36 pm
Filed under: dreams (not literal), music

This will be the first in a number of posts where I will ponder, what would I do if money were not a factor and I could do anything I want with my time. This is in no particular order, so just since this is the first such post, it doesn’t mean I want to do this the most, it just happens to be the one I thought of today, when I decided I’d post this type of thing to my new blog.

Today’s “If I had the time…”

I would buy an electric bass and amp, plus a vibraphone to complement my existing drum set, and a set of mics for all the above. Then I would record my own music (that’s always playing in my head) with something like GarageBand, or if I grew out of that, move up to something like Logic.