If You Do That, The Robots Win: Glenn McDonald, music critic and creator of Every Noise At Once talks about how algorithmic music recommendation happens:
So now I work at Spotify as a zookeeper for playlist-making robots. Recommendation robots have existed for a while now, but people have mostly used them for shopping. Go find me things I might want to buy. "You bought a snorkel, maybe you'd like to buy these other snorkels?" But what streaming music makes possible, which online music stores did not, is actual programmed music experiences. Instead of trying to sell you more snorkels, these robots can take you out to swim around with the funny-looking fish. And as robots begin to craft your actual listening experience, it is reasonable, and maybe even morally imperative, to ask if a playlist robot can have an authorial voice, and, if so, what it is?[more inside]
What do you get when you give the directors of such music videos as DJ Snake & Lil' Jon's Turn Down for What [previously] or Manchester Orchestra's Simple Math [previously] a movie to direct? You get Swiss Army Man (trailer). And when you have a movie that features the magical, flatulent corpse played by Daniel Radcliffe, how do you promote it online? With a virtual swiss army man (warning: possibly NSFW for optional* full-screen video bikini-clad women and a .. helpful erection) [more inside]
Route One is a 24 hour live broadcast by Icelandic state television RÚV of a drive on the Ring Road, which goes all the way around Iceland. Underneath a procedurally generated 24 hour remix of a new Sigur Rós song called Óveður will be playing. It starts now.
TRONICBOX (twitter) makes 1980s versions of current day pop songs including an absolutely spot on version of Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean."
Performers have had it with your shit: your phone is getting locked up.
Arena-folk rockers Mumford and Sons toured in South Africa earlier this year, where they took two days to record new music. The result is their Johannesburg EP (YT playlist with live and studio tracks), with Senegalese singer and guitarist Baaba Maal (documentary playlist), South African pop trio Beatenberg (playlist of live videos), and the team of Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya with British production/DJ duo Radioclit as The Very Best (their original mixtape). More music from the collaborators inside. [more inside]
The first rule of calling Smash Mouth a one-hit Shrek-coattail-riding wonder is do not call Smash Mouth a one-hit Shrek-coattail-riding wonder. The second rule of calling Smash Mouth a one-hit Shrek-coattail-riding wonderis do not call Smash Mouth a one-hit Shrek-coattail-riding wonder.
The origins of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' are pretty brief. In this 1970 demo (source), you can hear a short version, with the opening question but no piano intro and extended jam at the end. Though they recorded a long version for their debut album, they also cut a short version for the single. But people want "guitar sagas", such as "Whipping Post," by the Allman Brothers Band,and "Smoke on the Water," by Deep Purple, or maybe it was a silly thing to heckle Florence Henderson and other uncool cats. Decades later, people are still yelling "Freebird!" Sometimes people snap back, like Bill Hicks (NSFW), and sometimes people oblige, like Bob Dylan recently. In case that's not enough, there's (always) more! [more inside]
All Tomorrow's Parties, the independent festival organisation, is shutting down with immediate effect. [more inside]
- Band practices in the woods, cop appears and decides to join in
- Mom takes the drums for a cover of Wipe Out
- While waiting for Green Day to appear on stage, crowd entertain themselves by singing Bohemian Rhapsody
The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past - The Art of Conducting: Legendary Conductors of a Golden Era - The Art Of Piano: Great Pianists Of The 20th Century - The Art of Violin [more inside]
Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner were mates back in the day, digging into b-boy stuff as it came into England, mixing in sounds from Chicago and Detroit, acid and techno, and making it their own. They released three EPs on their own, and joined Warp Records in 1993 with the iconic album, Bytes, which already showed a fractured nature to the group, with eight different entities attributed for the album and individual tracks, but they wouldn't formally fracture for a few more years. Ken Downie kept The Black Dog, which he named in part for his battle with depression, while Ed and Andy became Plaid. With Plaid's newest album, The Digging Remedy, each now with 11 albums to their names. Read on for more history and tunes. [more inside]
Happy Birthday Cole Porter! In 1990, Red Hot + Blue, an AIDS benefit album was released featuring covers of Cole Porter's music by an electric array of performers accompanied by a TV special with music videos from the likes of Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders. Notable tracks include "Miss Otis Regets" by the Pogues and Kristy MacColl (video Neil Jordon) "Don't Fench Me In" by David Byrne "You Do Something To Me" by Sinéad O'Connor (video John Maybury) "Have You Evah" by Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop (video by Alex Cox) "From This Moment On" by Jimmy Somerville (video Steve mcclean) and "Ev'ry We Say Goodbye" by Annie Lennox (video by Ed Lachman)
So one of the great musical surprises of the year was Autechre dropping elseq 1-5, an... album, I think? - comprising five parts, FOUR HOURS in total, of uncompromising, intricately programmed algorithmic music. Not to editorialize, but it's really something. A challenge of an album by any measure, but also deeply rewarding and unutterably gorgeous. While they are usually pretty hermetic, Rob and Sean of Autechre have occasionally proven surprisingly open and willing to explain themselves. In 2013 there was an enormous, 1,500 question AMA on the music site WATMM, and on the heels of the new album, there's a long, wide-ranging interview on Resident Advisor covering their entire history, philosophy, method of working, and much more (spoiler: they'd probably work with Kanye if he called). It's fascinating. Dive in! [more inside]
The Djangobot. (Skip to the end if you just want to hear a computer improvising like Django Reinhardt (and Gonzalo Bergara, Stochelo Rosenberg, and some other gypsy jazz players)).
Koo Koo Kangaroo is one of the strangest bands I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats wedged into their music video, or why. [more inside]
What do you get when you combine the lead vocalists for Public Enemy, Cypress Hill and Rage Against the Machine? Why, you get the brand new supergroup Prophets of Rage. And now with their inaugural show at Whisky A Go Go last week behind them, they've now announced a touring schedule. First stop? Cleveland, July 19th.
The True Story Of The Fake Zombies. In 1969, the English psychedelic pop band The Zombies had a surprise hit in the States with "Time of the Season". Since they'd broken up two years earlier, the obvious thing for a promoter to do would be to recruit a bunch of young Texan blues-rock musicians in cowboy hats (including 2/3 of the future ZZ Top), call them the Zombies, and send them on tour. And that wasn't the only fake Zombies band out there.
Whyte Horses are a fantastically jangly, spacey psych-pop group from Manchester, headed up by cratedigging 'B-music crusader' Dom Thomas. They've just (re)released their debut album called Pop or Not and it sounds like nothing else, shapeshifting 'from Turkish psyche to Brazilian trip music, from acid house to electronica to punk rock to guitar classic in a heartbeat'. It stars underground 'no-fi' musician Lispector, who left the band between recording and release. Try out choice cuts The Snowfalls, La Couleur Originelle and Natures Mistakes and if you like what you hear, there's another fourteen great tracks on the album.
After a couple of teasers, the Avalanches have announced a new album on Twitter, entitled Wildflower. The first single is called "Frankie Sinatra" and has Danny Brown and MF Doom on it. [more inside]
A few months ago, I opened an email that changed my life. I vaguely remembered an urban myth about a man who throws his wedding ring into the ocean. Ten years later, he sits down to eat fish at a local restaurant, cuts open the fish and there it is. That’s how I felt when I clicked on an email from someone I didn’t know called Keith Rushton. What he said to me was this: “I’ve got your electric guitar.”The Guardian's film critic Peter Bradshaw got rid of the guitar he’d loved as a teenager during a clearout and regretted it instantly. He thought he’d never see it again—then an email arrived ...
"Many of the people involved in the Washington National Opera’s production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle say their first exposure to opera came from the same source—Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd cartoons." [SLWSJ]
Wendy Carlos is one of the most important composers living today. While primarily connected to the fields of electronic music, sound design, and alternate tunings, her compositions transcend these genres. It is certain that her music will be included among the major milestones of 20th century music.
Frisson (Wikipedia), dubbed "skin orgasms" by some researchers, is the sensation of shivers, often accompanied by the physical manifestation of goosebumps, which some listeners experience in response to particularly emotional or unexpected passages in music. Writing in The Conversation, Ph.D. candidate Mitchell Colver explores "Why do only some people get 'skin orgasms' from listening to music?" [more inside]
Leyla McCalla is a classically trained cellist who grew up in New York with her Haitian parents. She moved to New Orleans where she performed on Royal Street and learned about the Haitian history of the community. McCalla also joined the Carolina Chocolate Drops and diversified her style and sound. With the combined influence of place and company, she started performing Haitian folk music, which she paired that music with poetry of Langston Hughes for her first solo album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes (Soundcloud album stream). That was two years ago, and now she has her second album, A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey (YT, official video for the title track; YT playlist), where she sings in Haitian Creole, French, and English. [more inside]
Five of them still exist, albeit chiefly as artifacts and inspiration for luthiers. In 2011, luthiers Daniel Sinier & Françoise de Ridder got the job of restoring one of them, a process they describe in some detail. End result, the Sabionari can go back on stage. Here's Rolf Lislevand (and others) making it work. [more inside]
"Sanctuary is the world I imagine when I play the piano–a fantasy forest that grows around me and my music. In this virtual world, I can create an intimate and secluded stage where I can overcome my anxiety by minimizing my awareness of the audience." Yurika Mulase is a pianist and an Interactive Telecommunications student at NYU.
After a six-year absence, Toronto DIY-electro-rockers Holy Fuck return with a new album, Congrats. The video for the lead single, "Tom Tom," directed by Michael Leblanc, was filmed and cast on location in the Romanian village of Zarnesti. Congrats (released yesterday) can be streamed in its entirety on the band's Bandcamp page. [more inside]
“Safe”- MC Dumbfounded [NSFW Lyrics] [YouTube] Rapper Dumbfoundead Tackles Hollywood Racism in Amazing New Video [via: New York Magazine]
How the Toronto Symphony Orchestra uses graphic design to guide its audiences though its music [more inside]
Did you ever realize that the word "Hallelujah" has the same syllable count and stress pattern as "Waluigi?"
SO!: It's a Cold and a Broken Waluigi - And here, with adjusted lyrics (but without the voice) [more inside]
SO!: It's a Cold and a Broken Waluigi - And here, with adjusted lyrics (but without the voice) [more inside]
Rafael Reyes is a former gang member, author, restauranteur, and founder of Diamond Dogs, an art and music collective for retired gangsters. Together with Tijuana electronic artist Dave Parley, he is also San Diego's Prayers, a self-described Cholo Goth (or killwave or occultwave) project combining 80s synths and electronic loops with autobiographical accounts of street life in Sherman Heights and occult themes. They've toured with The Cult and collaborated with the Pet Shop Boys (h/t to hippybear's recent post) on the strength of songs like Young Gods and their cover of Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls. [more inside]
Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember? by Chuck Klosterman [The New York Times] The most important musical form of the 20th century will be nearly forgotten one day. People will probably learn about the genre through one figure — so who might that be? [more inside]
"Bloodlines make bonds irrefutable. You might hate your brother for what he's done, but you can't undo the blood; he's still your brother, you're his. A makeshift family, the kind many bands construct, may seem easier to leave behind. It's a musical partnership, a fraternity at best. But the bonds can be just as indelible, as sublime, as painful." -- The Curse of the Ramones by Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone
And Changed Music Forever! It’s 1986. Rap music is explosive and on the rise but still misunderstood and barely represented in the mainstream. [more inside]
Take on Me, one half-step out of key. Hungry Like the Wolf, one half-step out of key. Never Gonna Give You Up, one half-step out of key. Bohemian Rhapsody, one-half step out of key. [more inside]
"Serotonin is the drug that puts you in the situation where you feel safe and comfortable. The drug that gives you the awe is the dopamine. And the adrenaline is the thing that keeps you going." Paul Simon’s Ambition, and Inspiration, Never Gets Old [SLNYT, Jon Pareles]
...the ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her faceBlonde on Blonde turned 50 on Monday... [more inside]
Birds demonstrate how to dance to different types of electronic music, and part 2, featuring more of the same.
Guy Clark, 1941-2016. (Houston Chronicle Obituary). One of the most admired songwriters of his generation, a giant of Texas music, a master luthier, a beloved friend to and deep influence on many other musicians, and the loving husband of the gifted Susanna Clark. (See them interviewed together in 2004.) [more inside]
Eskimeaux is a music project started in 2009, led by Gabriel Smith, co-founder of The Epoch, a brooklyn-based community of creators. [more inside]
When he first started working with Imagine Dragons, music producer Alex da Kid was looking for some inspiration for the Broadway musical, "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark."--The songs that became Imagine Dragons' Night Visions are probably about Spider-Man.
"I thought they would be great to help me come up with ideas for U2," the Grammy-nominated English producer said.
There was just one problem: The demos they recorded were too good.
"Polish jazz, which was celebrating its triumphs in the 1950s and 60s, gradually became bogged down under the power of omnipresent and omnipotent institutions" ... "The 1990s saw the birth of a musical trend that wanted nothing less than to turn the established order of things to ash by the most drastic of means. This new trend was called yass." Though the headiest and most experimental days are behind them, "yass" is still used to indicate Polish jazz that's more than traditional jazz, and has been used to describe Skalpel, Jazzpospolita, and Pink Freud, who have performed Autechre live for Boiler Room and RBMA.
There are plenty of cover acts, but it's a rare talent that carries a crowd-pleasing repertoire, yet can still make each song their own. K.K. Slider pulls it off with simple acoustic stylings and howling vocals. He's covered them all: Adele. DJ Snake and Lil Jon. Lady Gaga. Outkast. Michael Jackson. Survivor. Bobby McFerrin. Celine Dion. Darude (yes, that song, and a vocal mix, natch). [more inside]