Archive for the 'Music' Category

What we saw

Monday, February 1st, 2010

January 2010; visual answers to small questions.

Mini Ferarri.

You’ll be different in the Spring, you’re a seasonal beast.

The bigger they come.

Percussive organists.

A small corner of Wales.

Easy as 1 2 3.

What would Jesus do?.

Glorious.

Going underground.

Light as a feather, from 1.24.

Punch drukn.

“They hit themselves with spoons!”.

Bird song.

PM starts fight.

The Original and The Best:

Real people making real things

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The Trilogy Tapes: Nippon Folk, Japan Blues

Cassette, limited to 100 copies.

I paid for it.

Two Stories of Gyrgy Ligeti

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

The common stink

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

There is a common element to almost all the bad things that are and have been swirling around us for decades. Here are three examples.

We already know that ‘Global Warming‘ is junk science and a complete fraud. Now there are no doubts left for even the most ardent religious fanatic that spouts Anthropogenic Global Warming garbage or its latest incarnation ‘Climate Change’.

You can read the rundown at The Telegraph. Put plainly, these people have been caught with their pants down. They have been caught trying to nobble a scientific journal, deliberately leaving out data so that they can make their case and so on and so on; every single thing that honest scientists cannot do if they are to remain objective and true scientists, they have been caught doing.

This perversion of science and the truth is behind the Cap and Trade legislation that will destroy America’s economy. It powers the thinking behind the absurd ‘saved carbon’ displays that are attached to solar panels. (in this example one million pounds was spent on solar panels, whilst the castle itself is falling to pieces due to damp). It is behind the ridiculous and illogical ban on incandescent light bulbs. It is behind the absurd rainbow styled energy rating certificates that the EU mandates for all properties that are for rent or sale (the owner is forced to pay for inspection to get a certificate; a new burocrazy), and that even extend to devices. It is behind the proposed personal carbon trading schemes that will create an artificial economy based around ‘carbon’, where you will have to swipe an ID Card whenever you buy anything or travel anywhere.

These corrupt scientists have concocted a complex and difficult to penetrate lie, so that the world economy can be distorted and a few people can become billionaires in this new artificial economy that will sit on top of the real economy. They ignore the truth, suppress it and suppress and destroy the reputation of anyone that tries to uncover their lies so that they can personally benefit.

The same thing is happening with Education in the UK:

Governments key adviser on Academies makes millions …from setting up Academies

A key Government adviser on Labours flagship City Academy scheme is now earning millions of pounds in fees from the taxpayer by setting up the controversial schools.

The scheme was at the centre of the so-called cash for peerages scandal when police were called in to investigate claims that Labour was offering honours to businessmen who invested in the schools.

Now a series of leaked documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, reveal how the Governments vision of local business helping to rescue failing schools has been replaced by fat-cat consultancy firms earning huge fees to set them up.

Daily Mail

If you have been reading BLOGDIAL you already know that Home Education has been under serious and increasing threat for over five years, culminating in a scandalous, fallacious and vile report by Graham Badman, that, precisely like the Climate Change scientists involved in the scandal above, revolves around the misuse of statistics, fabrication, baseless opinion and fear mongering, all of which is designed to engineer legislation whose sole aim is totalitarian control over people who were previously at liberty to live as they chose, so that a few people can make money out of the existence of children.

This fear mongering was supported by evil social workers and fake charities (NSPCC) who all repeated lies about Home Education for the sole reason that it would provide them with unprecedented access to children for financial and other, more sinister purposes.

Finally we have the spectacle of ‘Lord’ Mandelson and his nauseating and corrupt intervention into the workings of the internet at the behest of the buggy whip wielding entertainment industry.

The entertainment industry has been spreading false reports of heavy loses due to ‘illegal copying’ for decades, whilst suppressing any evidence that copying music helps expand the market for music products.

The frictionless distribution offered by the internet represents the greatest opportunity ever for artists to expose and profit from their work. Copyright was originally envisioned as a way to encourage creativity by guaranteeing the makers of works a short time period where they would have the exclusive power to control who can do what with copies of their works, after which, everyone would be able to exercise their property rights over the copies that they own.

Now copyright is a weapon that is being used to destroy the property rights of individuals, as well as the rights of speech of people world-wide.

This is being done by Mandelson at the direct command of the entertainment industry, who, if they could, would shut down the internet entirely to preserve their ancient and hopelessly broken business model.

These luddites (the book publishers and newspaper hacks are no better) would see the greatest invention since the Gutenberg Press crippled and made less useful, for no good reason at all, simply because they lack the skills and imagination to make use of it.

Now.

All of the matters above have one thing in common; the common stink that you smell whenever you encounter matters like this. That stink is the smell of THE STATE.

Without the state, none of these things could happen; they all rely on the state to ruin progress, rape, steal money and destroy life.

The monsters involved in Education rely on money from the state to do their evil with children. That includes the people who designed and sold ContactPoint, who are making money directly off of children. Without the state, there could be no ContactPoint contract.

The same goes for those academies; the contracts to create them could not exist without the state. Some argue that education itself would cease without the state running it. This is completely false.

Every evil to do with education comes out of the state’s involvement in it. The Home Education scandal in the UK is a direct result of the state provision of education, and compulsory schooling laws; were it not for that, there would be no ‘School Attendance Orders’ that could be issued to parents. If the state was not responsible for the education of anyone, which it should not be, the idea that Home Educators should be registered would never have arisen.

The state is the rotten smell behind it.

The blatantly corrupt and evil Mandelson, plainly and clearly acting at the behest of the entertainment industry, would not be able to create a new set of laws in addition to The Copyright and Patents Act if the state did not act on behalf of industry to facilitate the monopoly on ‘intellectual property’. As is made clear in the book in the previous link, we would all be better off in every sphere of life without copyrights and patents. The internet has partially demonstrated how a copyright free world could operate and bring huge benefits to everyone who consumes and creates works. If there were no state, there would be no threat of the crippling of the internet, and the even more astonishing threat of unlimited powers to do anything as long as it is in the service of protecting copyright.

The state is the rotten smell behind it.

The Anthropogenic Global Warming hoax, a scam second only to the Federal Reserve System in its magnitude, is another example of how in the absence of a state, scientists would have little (or at least different) incentives for falsifying data.

Without a state mandating widespread changes in how people voluntarily interact with each other, it would be impossible to build a business on a lie like ‘Carbon Capture’ or ‘Carbon Footprints’, or gain employment based on a lie. Artificial stimulus of industries to cater to this Climate Change lie could not exist; the capital used to create them would be diverted into places where it is needed. An example of this is, once again, the incandescent light bulb. Capital has been diverted away from improving it and into new, unpleasant, poisonous bulbs. The incandescent light bulb, had capital not been diverted away from developing it, would have greatly exceeded its current efficiency, if indeed, that is what the market required of manufacturers.

The fact is that since AGW is false, energy efficiency is not a priority with regard to ‘carbon emissions’. You may want to spend less money on your electricity bill, but that is an entirely different matter to the artificial, state created pressure put on the light bulb industry, powered by corrupt and lying scientists.

Once again, the state is the rotten smell behind it.

The only way that everyone will be free to live to their fullest potential, is in a situation where there is no state. There is no need for a state. There is no need for one to protect anyone, ensure anything, to educate anyone or to foster creativity. All of these assumptions, that a state is needed for these functions, is false.

Finally, you cannot believe on the one hand, that we need a state for some things, but not others. As soon as there is a state, like a foul smelling weed, it will begin to rapidly grow and take over everything, killing every other living thing and strangling your liberty.

You cannot, on the one hand, be for your own individual rights, but be for the banning of smoking, or the banning of hunting, for example. If you are for the banning of anything by the state, you are against whatever rights you wish to claim for yourself. If you are for the taxing of the rich, so that they pay ‘their fair share’ then you are against your own individual rights, and furthermore, you are an advocate of theft by violence, as are the people who insist that ‘something must be done’ about Home Education, or ‘pollution’, or file sharers. The people who advocate these things are all violent types, and there is no escaping it. All of this is an unavoidable fact, and many people are having a great crisis in their lives because they are being unconsciously confronted with the stark reality that they hold and espouse two conflicting beliefs simultaneously.

Before you can begin to think clearly, you have to address the root of a problem and then align your thinking correctly so that there are no contradictions. The outcome might be unpleasant, but in the end, it is the only way to develop a mode of thought that when it is applied to or tested against anything, returns the correct, and logically consistent answer every time, giving you an opportunity to get to a solution.

The state is the cause of everyone’s problems. It destroys or distorts everything it touches. The sooner it has been gotten rid of, the better. This is the fact, the unspeakable, unthinkable fact that you must come to understand if you are interested in your rights and the protection of them.

There but for the Goude of Grace

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I was reminded of this the other day.

Who Sampled

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Who Sampled is a fascinating site; when they start documenting the ‘DNA’ of House Music and all its decedents, it will be…just incredible!

http://www.whosampled.com/

Sites like this are under threat from the Intellectual Monopolists. This tool, if applied to all music could eventually show us where every musical idea came from…its just BRILLIANT!

And while we are at it, take a look at this heart squeezing comparison. Here is the instrumental.

It is sweet perfection.

Turn off your mind, surrender to the void

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Recently, we posted on ‘why CD was a con’. Today we find a fabulous example not only of the audio side of that piece, but also the economic side.

The Beatles, Apple Corps and EMI Music have finally, at long last, agreed to rake in several million pounds. After more than two decades of waiting, all of the band’s original studio albums are to be re-released in digitally remastered stereo versions.

Honesty in a newspaper article? Shocking!

Anyway, to quickly skim over the economics, millions of people will now pay through the nose yet again for yet another version of the same thing. This time, they are told, it will be really good.

From Please Please Me to Abbey Road, the Fab Four’s entire run will be reissued on CD on 9 September, the same day that the mop-tops’ first video game, The Beatles: Rock Band, will be released.

Oh. My. Word. Seems like Mr McCartney is determined to be a billionaire before he dies. However, this is irrelevant.

According to a statement, engineers at EMI’s Abbey Road studios spent four years on the remasters, “utilising state-of-the-art recording technology alongside vintage studio equipment [and] carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings”. The recordings were last overhauled in 1987.

Now, if you have read our previous post(s) on the topic of audio ‘integrity’, and the links to Stereophile articles provided, you would spot the obvious non sequitur. Digital remastering cannot possibly “carefully [maintain] the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings”.

You really can tell the difference,” said Beatles expert Kevin Howlett, who wrote the new liner notes. “It’s an extraordinary thing to sit there and hear LPs that you know so well and hear little nuances that you hadn’t noticed before.”

To paraphrase Bastiat, the “little nuances that you hadn’t noticed before” are what is heard. What Beatles expert Kevin Howlett fails to understand is that in order to hear those nuances, something has been altered, and therefore the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings has been lost. This is what is not heard.

The albums will be available individually or as a box set. For traditionalists, a box set of mono recordings will also be available with each disc styled as a vinyl LP.

So now someone who like to listen to digitally altered versions of analogue music on a CD in a sleeve which looks like an LP (except smaller…) is a traditionalist?

Although the Beatles’ re-remasters have been rumoured for years, most Fab Four fanatics expected them to be part of the Beatles’ entry into online music sales. The Beatles are one of the last major groups to have spurned iTunes Music Store, and their music cannot be legally purchased in MP3 or any other digital form.

Negotiations between the Beatles, their labels, publishers and online distributors appear to have stalled, and these new reissues, among the year’s most important releases, will not be available for purchase in digital form.

Need I point out that CDs are a digital form? Bad writing aside, EMI and the ‘Beatles’ are idiots for not providing downloads. It is presumed they think they will sell more CDs, at greater profit, by denying online sales. This shows again how badly these people understand their market. I would wager that those who would buy the CD would buy it whether or not a cheaper download was available. Moreover, there are probably thousands, possibly millions, of people who would buy the odd album or track on iTunes, but not as a physical format. They will now either (1) do without, or (2) download whatever they like using BitTorrent within minutes of the CDs being released. For nothing. As 192kbps, 360kbps, FLAC or whatever else they could wish for.

On the bright side, Howlett remarked, “they sound louder than previous CD reissues.” Well worth the wait.

Pardon me?

On the bright side, Howlett remarked, “they sound louder than previous CD reissues.” Well worth the wait.

Please refer to our previous posts and linked article to find out exactly how this man has been duped.

Let me conclude by suggesting that if you really wish to maintain the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings, listen to the original analogue recordings. Buy a vinyl copy of a Beatles album – they are almost being given away! - and listen to it on a record player.

‘Why Cd Was a Con’, or ‘I told you so’

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Way back in 1992, we wrote the following piece, printed it on 12″ square pieces of card and shipped it with thousands of 12″ singles:

What is the essence of digital recording/reproduction?
Digital recording systems work on the principal of turning a signal into a series of binary numbers, which are then stored for reproduction. This system of encoding averages the input signal to minimize the amount of data generated. It was believed that 44,100 samples per second was a high enough resolution to sufficiently encode any music signal without the listener being able to detect the inevitable degradation.

Analogue encoding systems work by taking the musical information as it is and turning it directly into mechanical movements ~as in the case of vinyl or directly into magnetic modulations (as found on tape) which in the replay stage do not have to be decoded or mathematically reconstructed. There is no trickery involved; what you hear is what you had.

Reductionism
The scientific community has, over the past 10 years, slowly come to the startling revelation, that there are many systems in nature that cannot be broken down or reduced to a set of simple component parts. This realization has overturned the prevailing paradigm of nature which as ruled for the last 200 years. T he death of reductionism has direct implications for the field of audio, and confirms what everybody has been feeling and saying in private for some time about digital music systems; the resolution obtained at 44.1khz is not high enough to reproduce music properly.

The resolution of analogue systems however, depends on the quality of the materials and components used in the audio chain; in the case of vinyl, the resolution goes down to the molecular level. It is millions of times more sensitive than any digital system that has ever been manufactured.

Upgradability
Because digital systems irretrievably reduce the input musical signal to a series of numbers that is insufficient to encode all of the music, there is a limit to how much you can upgrade your reproduction system (hi fi) to obtain a better sound. No matter how much money you spend, the original musical signal can never be retrieved belong the fidelity at which the encoding took place. With analogue recording however, the amount which you can gain is enormous. I he molecular resolution of analogue tape and vinyl facilitate this upward mobility, and even if you don’t choose to upgrade your equipment, the quality of the signal is still preserved in your recordings, if you should ever desire to take advantage of it. Digital denies you this potential.

What’s happening in the studios: engineers reactions
Studio engineers are consistently confirming that digital systems do not measure up under close scrutiny. At a world famous audio mastering facility which specializes in the preparation of lacquers and PQ encoded tapes for CD production, the verdict has been that digital must be treated with extreme caution. At this facility, the production of masters is carried out from many different sources; DAT, Sony PCM 701, analogue tape @ 15ips and 30ips, 1630 U-Matic and Cassette. The Monitoring systems that this studio employs are among the finest in the world, custom built and calibrated by hand by an audio genius. Constant exposure to different kinds of music, heard through an exceptional reproduction system, from different source tapes, has given these engineers the experience to be able to judge audio. Here is the testimony of one of their senior engineers. . .

“There appears to be an unquestioning attitude to digital audio. It is generally and wrongly accepted that digital recorders provide a true to original sound, however there are many variables that can drastically alter the audio signal and there is a widespread ignorance to the various permutations. On the simplest level, one finds that comparable DAT players of different makes have markedly different sounds. The variety of digital interfaces also gives rise to further differences. The idea that a digital copy is an exact copy of the original music is simply not correct. One can look at all of the variables and reach a good compromise but manufacturers still have a long way to go. There is also a growing feeling that the digital sound is conditioning people to accepting the digital sound as the TRUE sound whereas in reality digital systems impart a texture to the sound which is invariably 'restricted' and 'stifled' as opposed to 'open' and 'breathing'. Sound engineers seem to be subconsciously working around the problem, working towards a compromise that 'sounds good on digital'.”

The analogue infrastructure
The knowledge gained in the manufacture and operation of analogue recording systems is invaluable and irreplaceable. Research and development into further improving the near perfect world of analogue audio reproduction has virtually stopped, due to the destructive influence of digital. It is not only the patents and designs that must be carried into the future, but also the personal expert knowledge of engineers, gained over many years, which must survive; knowledge which can never be replaced once lost – the knowledge of what quality to expect from the best possible analogue reproduction system.

Analogue computing
Digital computing is only an evolutionary step in the development of computers. There exists today, the working components of a new type of analogue computer which will revolutionize computing, and make digital computing obsolete. With the establishment of analogue computing, all tasks that are now being handled by digital computers will be switched to analogue computers, including the recording and reproduction of music. Much experience has been gained in the field of optical discs. High density optical discs will, without doubt, be a major resource for data storage and retrieval when analogue computers come on line. I he advantages of optical disc storage (when the disadvantages of digital encoding are stripped away) are many; durability, pitch stability, low distortion and track numbering to name a few. When these advantages are combined with the perfection of analogue encoding, we will have a system of playback and recording with a quality beyond all expectations. Such a system however will be of no use to anyone if the analogue infrastructure has been dismantled, and there is no one left who knows first hand what real, true to life audio sounds like.

The mass destruction of masters
For the moment, digital is here with us, and a terrible price is being paid. l he entire history of recorded sound and music is being systematically ‘saved’ into digital formats . . . at 44.1 khz. This disaster is taking place because of the life span of recording tape; the glues that have been used to bind the magnetic material to the flexible substrate of most recording tape have been found to be decomposing, putting at risk most of the master tapes that have been recorded in the last 50 years. In what seemed like a sensible move, all of these master tapes have been scheduled for saving to digital; (also, conveniently, this ties in with the re-releasing of the back catalogues of most record companies onto CD) I. What nobody bothered to tell these companies, is that digital sounds like shit; and so, thinking that they have permanently saved their masters, the record companies are THROWING AWAY their original analogue master tapes. . . to save space. When the penny drops it w ill be too late. All of~our favorite music will be lost forever in a quanitized quagmire of brittle, cold, shitty sound, and for no good reason, because analogue machines could just as easily be used to preserve decomposing masters.

The proper place for CD
CDs are very useful, just as cassettes are useful; they have a place in the audio chain, and should be used and sold; BUT NOT TO THE EXCLUSION OF ANY OTHER FORMAT, and certainly not to the exclusion of vinyl, which is the best mass produced reproduction carrier ever made.

Who’s in control?
You have to wonder how this sham has continued for so long, and of course, we all know who is behind this insane state of affairs. The audio equipment manufacturers have realized that if they design and manufacture the hardware i.e. CD players, mini-disc, l)CC, they must control the manufacture of the software I music) to ensure that their investment in time and R&D pays off. Sony learned this the hard way, with the failure of Betamax; it failed because there was no software available to watch; they tried to push the system, licensing movies from film companies at huge cost, but it was too late. NOW Sony owns Columbia Pictures, and every picture they have ever made, so if they want to launch any type of new hardware to play movies, the availability of software will be no problem, no matter how good or bad the system is; they can even release films on reels of spaghetti if they want to. Sony also own CBS records and the CBS back catalogue. Phillips own Phonogram and A&M. This is a terrible situation, not only because the production of music is in the hands of a small number of giant companies that are also the exclusive manufacturers of all audio equipment, but because these companies are deaf to sound quality, due to their need to launch more and more new playback formats. Mixed with the profits to be made from re releasing hijacked back catalogues, the resulting brew is poisonous; companies that profit from reissuing old music again and again into a never ending stream of different and inferior devices to a public addicted to electronic novelty. GOD SAVE US ALL.

It’s not too late
Most of the engineers and companies involved in the production of analogue recording systems still exist and are working. If we stop the digital disease now, music and sound in all of its intricacy will be saved for everyone. Keep buying turntables and vinyl records. Keep buying cassettes. Boycott any release that is on CD only for no good reason. Make sure that the labels you buy from are not controlled by the manufacturers of music systems. It is the only way we are going to save sound.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLIC SERVICE INFORMATION DEPARTMENT OF IRDIAL-DISCS

Now, in 2009, we read in The Times, the following…lets go through it together shall we?

Young music fans deaf to iPods limitations

Many people complain that pop music was better in the good old days. Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen are poor substitutes for the Beatles and Bob Dylan, the argument goes.

Older fans also insist that songs heard through iPods just don’t rock as they used to, compared with the clarity of CDs and the crackling charm of vinyl.

Research has shown, however, that today’s iPod generation prefers the tinnier and flatter sound of digital music, just as previous generations preferred the grainier sounds of vinyl. Computers have made music so easy to obtain that the young no longer appreciate high fidelity, it seems.

This is nonsense. Young people no longer appreciating high fidelity has nothing to do with the ease of getting a hold of music. They do not appreciate high fidelity for the reasons I outlined in 1992.

The theory has been developed by Jonathan Berger, Professor of Music at Stanford University, California. For the past eight years his students have taken part in an experiment in which they listen to songs in a variety of different forms, including MP3s, a standard format for digital music. “I found not only that MP3s were not thought of as low quality, but over time there was a rise in preference for MP3s,” Professor Berger said.

He suggests that iPods may have changed our perception of music, and that as young people become increasingly familiar with the sound of digital tracks the more they grow to like it.

False. ‘Our’ perception has not changed; the human ear is the same as it has been for generations. What has been changed are what young people are used to; they have been inured to the sound of garbage masquerading as music. They think that music IS what comes out of ear-buds.

He compared the phenomenon to the continued preference of some people for music from vinyl records heard through a gramophone. “Some people prefer that needle noise — the noise of little dust particles that create noise in the grooves,” he said.

No one has EVER preferred the noise of dust particles. Clearly this man has no idea of why vinyl and analogue are superior to compressed digital. Noise is something you sometimes have to put up with in order to hear music, which is what you get from a properly operating turntable and amplification system. It is important not to conflate the faults of vinyl playback and nostalgia for the facts about those high fidelity systems. They were and are good because of how they work and the audio chain, not because of their faults, which is why

“I think there’s a sense of warmth and comfort in that.”

is total nonsense. The quality of analogue reproduction is not an illusion; it is real and the emotional response you get from music that is played back correctly is your response to the music, which is being relayed to you faithfully.

Music producers complain that the “compression” of some digital music means that the sound quality is poorer than with CDs and other types of recording. Professor Berger says that the digitising process leaves music with a “sizzle” or a metallic sound.

First of all, music producers and mastering studios started compressing tracks so that when they are replayed over the radio they sound louder and more exiting. Tracks that were not compressed in this way sounded weak and not exiting next to those that had been pumped up, and so there has been a loudness war going on in pop music for a very long time. The only thing that has changed are the tools being used to do the compressing; now everyone uses ProTools to get this job done.

That is one sort of compression.

The OTHER type of compression is the Procrustean Bed type, which all young people are now suffering. As was said in that article from Sterophile, not only are we being subjected to sound that is destroyed by being sampled at 44.1khz in multiple passes from the multitrack down, but then these mangled, sterile tracks are then data reduced by the MP3 algorithms that reduce the file sizes to one tenth their original size, in lossy formats that sound nothing like music.

Some people say that the loss of fidelity is worth the trade off; there is more access to music than ever, it now costs nothing to listen to everything, and you get it the instant you want it.

As far as I am concerned, its like being offered immortality, but with the price being you can never eat food or have sex ever again.

Not such a good bargain is it?

Producers complain that as modern listeners hear their songs through iPods and their computers, music has to become ever-louder to hold their attention.

Not so.

“Now there’s a constant race to be louder than other people’s records,” said Stephen Street, who has produced records for Blur, the Cranberries and Kaiser Chiefs. “What you are hearing is that everything is being squared off and is losing that level of depth and clarity. I’d hate to think that anything I’d slaved over in the studio is only going to be listened to on a bloody iPod.”

Sorry Stephen, but your productions will never be recorded or heard properly again.

Other musicians have said that compression robs a song of its emotional power by reducing the difference between the loudest and softest sounds. Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone magazine recently that modern albums “have sound all over them. There’s no definition of nothing, no vocal, no thing, just like — static.”

Completely correct Bob.

Ken Nelson, producer of Coldplay’s first two albums, said: “An example of overcompression is the last Green Day album. If you try listening to it from beginning to end it’s hard work. After three songs you need to put something on that’s been recorded in the 70s.”

You NEVER need to listen to a Green Day album. For ANY reason. No matter how it was recorded.

Rennie Pilgrem, a dance music producer, said that he mixed his tracks while listening to them through iPod headphones to cater to the less refined tastes of today’s youth. “To my ears iPods are not even as good quality as cassette tape,” he said. “But once someone gets used to that sound then they feel comfortable with it.”

Cassette is a great format, and if you used it carefully, you could produce some really fantastic sounding masters with it. One of our most popular tracks was mastered directly from cassette, without any attempt to reduce the nose. It rocks.

Advances in technology have often resulted in profound changes in the style of popular music. Music historians point to keyboards in the 18th century moving from the plucked string of the harpsichord to the hammered string of the piano. For the first time, composers could devise songs that got progressively louder from note to note, something that was impossible on a harpsichord.

And yet, the Goldberg Variations are mostly known and loved through piano performances today, not harpsichord, which is the correct instrument for that work. It is the music of the Goldberg Variations that is great; it can be played on any keyboard and evoke its emotions. This is a completely bogus analogy. What we are talking about is the reproduction of recorded music not the technology of instruments.

In the early 20th century, the cylinders on Thomas Edison’s phonograph could play recorded music for only four minutes at a time, something that listeners became used to. Today tracks are still generally about four minutes long.

The Times

Well, that was a typically uninformed piece. Still, it confirms what we predicted; that one day, there would be no one left who knows what music sounds like. That day has now come to pass.

If you have any interest in this subject at all, do read the Stereophile article. It really is a nightmarish proposition that you are living in right now, and a most prescient piece of writing.

And who knows what is next? No doubt someone somewhere is working on a brain cap device that will allow a computer to directly stimulate the auditory processing parts of the brain so that ‘sound’ never has to pass through your ears at all.

The fact of the matter is that recorded music is a phenomenon that is very recent, that has not existed for the majority of the history of man and it may even disappear altogether. One thing is for sure, it is not going to remain the same. What I maintain is that you should be aware of what things are, why they are good or bad, what their value is to you and so on. What I am against is someone dictating how things should be for their own interests and not in the interests of music or the people who love it, which is exactly what happened with CD. It was designed and pushed (on the back of lies) for the benefit of companies without any regard for music or the public.

ZOMGZTT!1!!1

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

And What Have You Done With My Body, God?
4 cd digi box set including 56 tracks, 41 previously unreleased. Full “Into Battle…” EP “Close (To The Edit)” and “Moments In Love” cassette singles on CD for the first time. 36 page booklet containing track-by-track commentary by all five original members.

[…]

Tu-umb!

WTF did you read that?

FORTY ONE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS.

As you can imagine, it was ordered on teh spot. Yes, ‘teh’.

When this man:

took this man’s:

manifesto:


The slim volume of essays, presented here for the first time in English translation, is one of the significant documents of musical aesthetics of this century. If the book itself has remained the province of a mere handful of readers, its ideas, passed on through a variety of later musical and literary movements, became the inspiration for some of the most innovative artistic creations of modern times. Luigi Russolo anticipated-indeed, he may have precipitated-a whole range of musical and aesthetic notions that formed the basis of much of the avant-garde thought of the past several decades. His ideas were absorbed, modified, and eventually transmitted to later generations by a number of movements and individuals-among them the futurists, the Dadaists, and a number of composers and writers of the nineteen-twenties. The noise instruments he invented fascinated and infuriated his contemporaries, and he was among the earliest musicians to put the often-discussed microtone to regular practical use in Western music. Russolo’s views looked forward to the time when composers would exercise an absolute choice and control of the sounds that their music employed. He was the precursor of electronic music before electronics had come of age.

[…]

http://www.pendragonpress.com/books/bookdetail.php?PPNo=345B

used this to make it real:

used her:

to make it ‘musical’ very very beautiful…

and never forgetting J.J. Jeczalik, Gary Langan and the priceless Horn….

you received something that ‘raised the bar’ and which today makes almost everything look and sound like shit.

Once again ladies and gentlemen few, was how it was done.

That is what it looks like… and sounds like… when you put people who can THINK together and let them get on with it.

That, my friends, is why I RAIL constantly about the desert of the real, about the dearth of anything real, anything that contains even the faint echo of a single real person’s thought.

A famous bass player said, after being heckled ‘over and over’ to play a song about entomology, “all we need is one person with an original thought”.

That was in 1979.

Strings Attached

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Museum of Musical Instruments, Milan

Organ

Friday, December 19th, 2008

The Trilogy Tapes

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Form 696? I don’t think so.

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Today, I was informed about an incredible and outrageous new intrusion into everyone’s lives.

The police it seems, are trying to require that all musicians give over information for ‘Form 696’ which looks like this. Read it and try not to explode:

A dozen London boroughs have implemented a “risk assessment” policy for live music that permits the police to ban any live music if they fail to receive personal details from the performers 14 days in advance. The demand explicitly singles out performances and musical styles favoured by the black community: garage and R&B, and MCs and DJs.

However all musical performances – from one man playing a guitar on up – are subject to the demands once implemented by the council. And the threat is serious: failure to comply “may jeopardise future events by the promoter or the venue”

this is what it will detail:

names, aliases, private addresses, phone numbers of all musicians and ethnic background of the likely audience.

Clearly, this is totally unacceptable to any decent person. To be required to fill out a form like this two weeks before a performance and hand it to the police is the sort of thing you had to do in the former Soviet Union. It is certainly not something that people in free countries would ever dream of doing.

Apparently, they are ‘not compulsory’. The phrase ‘not compulsory’ is a new Orwellian catch-phrase for Britain; file under, ‘you are who you say you are’. But I digress.

According to this article on The Register:

In response, Detective Superintendent Dave Eyles from the Met’s clubs and vice office told us that 10,000 such Risk Assessments would be processed this year. He said they weren’t compulsory:

“We can’t demand it – we recommend that you provide it as best practice. But you’re bloody silly if you don’t, because you’re putting your venue at risk.”

At risk of WHAT exactly? And what the FUCK does ‘bloody silly’ mean? Bloody silly in that they will cancel your night and shut your venue down? Bloody silly that you do not just do as we say and STFU?

Public servants should not use language like that. PERIOD.

During all the years of IRA bombings, during concerts where fights broke out regularly and if a band was shit they would have a hail of bottles thrown at them, no one was ever required to fill out such an offensive form as this. These people are just INSANE and they are doing it because they just GET AWAY WITH IT.

The question now is, do you want to put an end to this absurd nonsense?

Of course you do. Here is how you do it.

  1. You get all the musicians country-wide to refuse to allow their details to be recorded on this form, and ask them to pledge not to perform in any place that submits this form to the police.
  2. You get all the promoters to pledge and update their artist contracts to say that that they will not book any of their acts in any venue that fills out Form 696. They will have no choice but to say this, because none of their acts will comply with any venue that fills out Form 696.
  3. You go to the venues, and tell them that no one will book their venues if they fill out Form 696. They will have to add to their contracts legally binding language that forbids them from filling out Form 696. No promoter should book a venue without both a pledge and this language being in the contract.

Once you have all the musicians, the promoters and the venues (specifically in that order) on board, you will have a situation where there will either be music in London or there will not. Music Culture is extremely important in the UK; if it means that no one will play, Form 696 will have to be abandoned. Permanently.

The freedom to associate is not a privilege granted to you by the state. In fact, none of your freedoms are given to you; anything given to you is a privilege i.e. something that can be revoked. Your rights belong to you and are born with you. They cannot be revoked, and you should never EVER comply with anything like Form 696.

If you want to be able to play what you want, where you want, this is the sort of thing that needs to be done; mass refusal to comply with anything that offends you or in any way obstructs your freedom to print, play gather and enjoy your life.

And it IS your life!

Monster Music 15

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Irdial Philosophy: ‘Synthesis of Music’

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

1. Music is a language through which all the following properties may be expressed: harmony, creativity, happiness, beauty, poetry, complexity, magic, humour, provocation and culture.

2. The use of top quality products and technical knowledge to prepare them properly are taken for granted.

3. All sounds have the same musical value, regardless of their origin.

4. Preference is given to structure and texture, with a key role also being played by rhythm, melody and other traditional methods that make up a light form of music. In recent years red electric guitar and piano have been very sparingly used.

5. Although the characteristics of the products may be modified (volume, texture, shape, etc.), the aim is always to preserve the purity of their original flavour, except for processes that call for long cooking or seek the nuances of particular reactions such as the Maillard reaction.

6. Mixing techniques, both classic and modern, are a heritage that the artist has to know how to exploit to the maximum.

7. As has occurred in most fields of human evolution down the ages, new technologies are a resource for the progress of music.

8. The family of sounds is being extended. Together with the classic ones, lighter sounds performing an identical function are now being used (drones, pads, scratches, found sounds, animal sounds, etc.).

9. The information given off by music is enjoyed through the senses; it is also enjoyed and interpreted by reflection.

10. Hearing is not the only sense that can be stimulated: touch can also be played with (contrasts of volume and percussive textures), whereby the senses become one of the main points of reference in the creative music process.

11. The technique-concept search is the apex of the music pyramid.

12. Creation involves teamwork. In addition, research has become consolidated as a new feature of the musical creative process.

13. The barriers between the notes and noise world are being broken down. Importance is being given to a new noise music, particularly in the creation of the frozen sound world.

14. The classical structure of music is being broken down: a veritable revolution is underway in technology and composition, closely bound up with the concept of symbiosis between the noise and notes world; in music the “verse-chorus-verse” hierarchy is being broken down.

15. A new way of serving music is being promoted. The tracks are finished in the mixing room by the artist. In other cases the listeners themselves participate in this process.

16. Regional music as a style is an expression of its own geographical and cultural context as well as its musical traditions. Its bond with nature complements and enriches this relationship with its environment.

17. Instruments and arrangements from other countries are subjected to one’s particular style of music.

18. There are two main paths towards attaining harmony of notes and noises: through memory (connection with regional music traditions, adaptation, deconstruction, former modern styles), or through new combinations.

19. A musical language is being created which is becoming less and less ordered and more open, that on some occasions establishes a relationship with the world and language of art.

20. Mixes are designed to ensure that harmony is to be found in small doses.

21. Decontextualisation, irony, spectacle, performance are completely legitimate, as long as they are not superficial but respond to, or are closely bound up with, a process of musical reflection.

22. Noise Music is the finest expression of avant-garde music. The structure is alive and subject to changes. Concepts such as beats, notes, voices, morphs, etc., are coming into their own.

23. Knowledge and/or collaboration with experts from different fields (gastronomic culture, history, industrial design, etc.,) is essential for progress in music. In particular collaboration with the food industry and the scientific world has brought about fundamental advances. Sharing this knowledge among music professionals has contributed to this evolution.

http://www.elbulli.com/sintesis/index.php?lang=en

We must eat our way out of the desert.

Psychological warmfare

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Some things we’ve been playing to feel cool:

Oval – Dok
Biosphere – Substrata
The Hafler Trio – Hljmynd
Morton Feldman – String Quartet II
CM von Hausswolff – Operations of Spirit Communication
Scott Walker – Tilt
Mika Vainio – Kajo
Esther Venrooy – Shift Coordinate Points
Coil – ANS

Whenever I hear the name Andy Burnham, I reach for my revolver

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Illegal downloaders to get warning letter in government clampdown

Internet service providers have struck a deal with government and the music industry to help clamp down on illegal downloading.

The deal, to be announced later today, is thought to include an agreement for ISPs to send out hundreds of thousands of letters to account holders responsible for illegal downloading.

The memorandum of understanding, struck with the BPI, the body that represents record labels, and the government, will be announced today ahead of the launch of a consultation on the introduction of legislation to clampdown on offending.

The memorandum of understanding has been struck with the UK’s six biggest ISPs – BT, Virgin, Carphone Warehouse, Orange, Tiscali and BSkyB – and includes a deal for all parties to work together to develop ways to deal with repeat offenders.

The agreement has been reached ahead of an announcement expected later today by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform of a consultation on regulatory options to punish ISPs if they fail to take action against the illegal downloading of music, films and TV programmes.

“We have looked to ISPs to acknowledge their responsibility to help deal with illegal filesharing, engage in communicating the issue to their customers, and put in place procedures necessary to effectively tackle repeated unlawful filesharing,” said a spokesman for the BPI.

“Achieving this would represent a significant step forward and demonstrate clearly the collective will that exists to tackle this serious issue.”

It is thought that BSkyB’s announcement of a digital music joint venture with Universal Music earlier this week – the venture has no name, no pricing and no launch date – could have been a move to prove that ISPs are supporting new, innovative, legal digital models ahead of the announcements today.

In February, the culture secretary, Andy Burnham, raised the possibility of introducing legislation to crack down of illegal filesharing as part of a wide-ranging strategy paper designed to look at ways of supporting the UK creative industries and digital intellectual property.

At the time Burnham said that the government preferred to find “voluntary, preferably commercial, solutions” but that it would look to introduce legislation next April if necessary.

The strong stance by the government has alarmed ISPs, which believe that regulation is a step too far.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/jul/24/digitalmedia.piracy

The Grauniad is up to their usual slack jawed shenanigans again, this time, acting as the mouthpiece for arch criminal Andy Burnham and the buggy whip entertainment industry.

What’s that you say? You recognise that name?!

You should.

Andy Burnham is the musical chairs minister who used to be in charge of the most illiberal, invasive, dehumanizing and wrong ID card in history. The card that prompted Danny Kruger to write in the Telegraph, in a headline, that New Labour are acting like Nazis.

Andy Burnham is the imbecile that tried to lie about the true capabilities of the ID card, as outlined in ‘Frances Stonor Saunders” email.

Andy Burnham is a bad guy, no doubt about it, and now this monster is in charge of Culture. Given his past, the title of this post is entirely appropriate.

First of all, file sharing is not stealing. The BBC had to do a big climbdown about this after transmitting a completely absurd ‘hit piece’ on file-sharing which equated it with theft, terrorism and … pedophilia. This is how the apology read:

First though, an apology. File sharing is not theft. It has never been theft. Anyone who says it is theft is wrong and has unthinkingly absorbed too many Recording Industry Association of America press releases. We know that script line was wrong. It was a mistake. We’re very, very sorry.

If copyright infringement was theft then I’d be in jail every time I accidentally used football pix on Newsnight without putting “Pictures from Sky Sport” in the top left corner of the screen. And I’m not. So it isn’t.

This groveling apology was needed because the first lines of this bogus ‘report’ started like this:

Now how could downloading a film affect the fight against terrorism or indeed paedophiles?

Well, it goes something like this; getting hold of movies, ‘Bittorrent File Sharing’ in the jargon…

So, child raping, mass murder, the name of a protocol and ‘File Sharing’ all in the first two sentences of one of the most scandalous reports ever on Newsnight. A report so absurd that even the ‘deny everything’ BBC had to climb down.

But I digress.

File sharing is not stealing. It never has been stealing. Anyone who says so (or who repeats it unchallenged like the Guardian just has) is either in the direct employ of the entertainment industry or computer illiterate.

In the case of Andy Burnham, we can safely say that he is in the direct employ of the music and film industry, just as he was in the direct employ of the ID card contract holders when he worked at the Home Office.

I do not need to go any further in this post about how filesharing is not stealing. We have been over this before on BLOGDIAL.

What is new is that Andy Burnham, a corporate enforcer and dongle without shame, is in the right place to introduce legislation that will be penned by the music and film industry – the buggy whip salesmen – to tax everyone with an internet account, and to prosecute those who are file sharing.

To bottom line it:

  • It is completely wrong that ISPs have been blackmailed into sending these letters at their own expense.
  • ISPs are not responsible for the actions of their users. The users are responsible for what they do. This is well understood by most people.
  • It is not for ISPs to, “…support(ing) new, innovative, legal digital models”. The internet is a level playing field; it is up to the music industry to adapt or die, and it is completely wrong for them to use prostitutes like Andy Burnham to apply pressure or introduce legislation that harms the majority that are doing nothing illegal or wrong and industries that are changing the world for the better.

There is nothing that any of these people can do about file sharing, any more than they can stop sunlight from reaching the earth; the users of the internet will always have the upper hand if the entertainment industry takes this approach.

These morons should take a page out of Apple’s book; look at what just happened with native applications on the iPhone.

Apple wanted everyone to write web apps for the iPhone, keeping native apps exclusively for Apple itself in order to maintain complete control over the platform. Within a short amount of time, developers cracked the iPhone and created a set of tools making it possible for any developer to write native apps. They also created a way to explore, distribute, install and manage these apps that was simplicity itself.

Many developers wrote apps for this ‘black market’ of iPhone applications, and Apple didn’t like it.

Instead of running to the legislators to fix their problem, they did something smart, which the likes of the entertainment industry and Andy Burnham are incapable of doing.

They gave the people what they wanted.

Give the people what they want, and what you don’t want will go away.

Apple opened up the iPhone and created its own way to distribute apps. You can even make money from distributing an app with Apple’s App Store. Every developer that used to write apps for the old ecosystem now writes apps for the ‘legit’ Apple ecosystem. Apple gets what it wants (control over what apps go onto the iPhone) and the developers get what they want (the freedom to write apps for the iPhone and distribute them), and the users get what they want; the functionality of their iPhones exponentially multiplied.

This solution has something for everybody, and it even pays Apple and the developers.

Now that is smart.

Andy Burnham is not smart. He is the opposite of smart.

If he were smart, he would tell the entertainment industry to go back to the drawing board before it’s too late (which it already is).

Instead, he is trying to put the genie back into the bottle with his puppet hands flailing about in the wind of change.

Yes, I wrote that.