Digital technology has enhanced music production, recording and distribution in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago, but are we losing something more essential in the process? Chris May (of The Vinyl Factory) talks to ambient pioneer and friend of technology Brian Eno about the dangers of digital dependence in modern music. “It doesn’t just apply with African recordings. It’s a problem everybody is having at the moment. Do I resist the temptation to perfect this thing? What do I lose by perfecting it?"
The CBC Radio 3 Digital Magazine ran from November 2002 until March 2005, garnering numerous accolades in Canada and abroad with its unique blend of music, journalism, literature and photography. Here is the complete archive of 105 issues. [more inside]
Clavilux 2000 - Interactive instrument for generative music visualization. The music visualization consists of a digital piano with 88 keys and midi output, a computer running a vvvv patch and a vertical projection above the keyboard. How it works. [more inside]
A decade of digital music Vaguely styled as a timeline, this end-of-the-decade blog post (from UK digital music news source Music Ally) could prove valuable to anyone studying the music business or the intersection between entertainment and technology. The piece links to ten years of stories on digital music - from Napster through to Spotify - allowing us to look back on the issues without the 20/20 vision of hindsight. Gems include the Bluematter scheme from Universal Records in 2000, which comprised 60 non-transferrable, non-burnable tracks for $1.99 each.
Corey Arcangel is perhaps the internet's most infamous hack, masher-upper, digi/net artist. His work stands for a growing culture of artists who run wildly through animated GIF landscapes populated with corrupted data-compressed bunny rabbits and tinny, MIDI renditions of Savage Garden ballads. As the Lisson Gallery, London, opens its archives to Arcangel's curatorial eye, could digi/net art be set to infect the real, fleshy world, like a rampant Conficker Worm? Has YouTube become the truest reflection of our anthropological selves? Are we destined to roam the int3erw£bs like the mythic beasts of yore, hoping, in time, that digi art can free us from the confines of this fleshy void? [...previously]
RjDj "is a music application for the iPhone. It uses sensory input to generate and control the music you are listening to. RjDj is mainly listened to with headphones. Think of it as the next generation of walkman or mp3 player." l Michael Breidenbruecker initiated the project, now joined by a team of musical and technological thinkers and coders l "What it’s really about is a new approach to how to listen to music, how to develop musical tools, and how communities own and share that work." [more inside]
The Futility of Flogging Music "I was pondering the other day whether I actually have a field of expertise. I thought for ages, and couldn't come up with anything, and then in a blinding flash I realised, with a slight sense of despondency, what it might be: being in bands that people have never heard of." Actually you may have heard of Rhodri Marsden if you're caught the current Scritti Politti line-up in action, if you've ever followed the broadcasts of the late DJ John Peel, or if you've read Rhodri's technology column in UK newspaper the Independent. This week, in a speech to the Oxford Geek Night, Marsden shared his caustic yet heartfelt observations on DIY music from the early 90s through to the digital age, sighing "I can think of nothing more soul destroying" than social networking and quoting post-punk icon of Pere Ubu as saying musicians should "screw the audience".
What is the monome? A sequencer? A trigger? A sampler? A trippy rave machine? A general-purpose turing device? Just a toy or the open-source future of digital music? [more inside]
First the Sub Pop Single of the week club brought us Nirvana, then the Moshi Moshi Singles Club, brought us Kate Nash; now more and more labels are having a go. What's more, the kids are buying seven inch singles again. Is this a backlash against digital downloads? Or just nostalgia for the 45?
Will Vinyl Survive? Is vinyl on its last legs? Or like Gloria Gaynor, will it survive? Most home listeners chucked out their turntables years ago, but are DJs finally giving in and following suit? DJs face off in a pair of articles discussing the merits of vinyl vs. digital...
A Cello Rondo A cello piece digitally combined from 37 different cello parts all played by the same musician. With funky video. [Qucktime, 45mb], [Quicktime, 22mb]. Other formats available through the link. via Digg.
Traditionally, (video) a DJ uses two turntables, but recently a series of new products has challenged the primacy of vinyl. While local record shops have been closing left and right, online stores have begun offering digital downloads. One digital-only outlet recently sold their 1,000,000th mp3. And now, a new store has taken the DJ completely out of the equation by making mix cds on demand.
How to convert LPs to CDs. Many audiophiles will mock the software they suggest using as well as the hardware pictured, but this is aimed for the everyday people that don't have a laser turntable or ProTools. All in all, a decent introductory guide.
The future of music retail... will be nothing like this. Echo Networks, a Los Angeles based "digital venture", in partnership with Best Buy, Tower, Wherehouse, Virgin & FYE, has launched an instore downloadable purchase initiative whose chances of failure are only exceeded by the extreme vagueness surrounding the announcement. For more, read the news article at CNET.
The end of Vinyl II? Stanton ships Final Scratch, which enables a DJ to manipulate (mix, scratch, cut...) any music on their PC with their turntables. Besides not needing to carry all the weight and bulk of crates of records around, DJs can now skip the expensive and complicated step of cutting their own records in order to play original tracks. Is vinyl going to die for real this time?
Music fans are being offered "the biggest ever official give-away of digital music" in a campaign to tempt them away from unofficial download sites. Visitors will be given £5 worth of free tracks, which will buy 500 streamed songs, 50 downloads or five tunes to copy, or "burn", onto a CD. (Via BBC)
Does anyone care that nobody needs to sing well anymore? Spot-on piece about the way that digital music tools aren't just making rotten singers sound OK (with software that shifts their pitch upwards), but good singers lazy ("hey that's fine, just copy'n'paste it into the next chorus"). And removing the excitement from studio performance. Is the only honest response to this electro-fakery to go all Daft Punk? Or am I just an old Stevie'n'Retha'n'Marvin nostalgist?
Chiariglione steps aside. SDMI over?