Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Alessio Nanni

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Posted: December 25th, 2010
at 8:36pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: music

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Japan’s Stereo (Sour)

Sour have released a new music video.

Incidentally, the word "released" in that previous sentence could easily have been replaced by a verb like "uncorked", or perhaps "unleashed". The project deserves that much drama - it’s less of a video and more a state-of-the-art web extravaganza. To view it you go to a specific website, input your Facebook/Twitter/webcam details, and let the thing take over your life.

It’s fun, interesting and more than a little bit scary; click below to take the plunge.

sour-mirror.jp

Sour are making something of a reputation for themselves. They’ve already blown the internet’s collective mind once with their video for aa ("Tone of Everyday"). It shapes a collection of webcam footage into some incredible patterns.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s strange though, that here we are, this far into an article about a band, with no mention of the actual music. That’s Sour’s problem; they’re in danger of becoming known as a technological art project, rather than musicians. It’s a crying shame too, as they’re really quite wonderful. Internet comments highlight the problem: "Fun video and idea, which was entertaining to watch. Problem was it’s a mediocre song, with horrible singing," says one viewer.

I thought the same thing about the singing, at first. The voice in question is a flawed, cracked, fragile thing. It was only over time that its emotive power became apparent; without it, Sour would have much, much less impact. Unfortunately, most of the Internet doesn’t give the band enough time to let them reveal their more subtle charms; they watch the videos once and move on.

Perhaps people reading this with 3 minutes to spare wouldn’t mind trying out the music itself. Watch the videos on YouTube, then minimise the window. Don’t watch, just listen.

If you find something you like, then go ahead and investigate aaaaaa ("Ensemble"), the band’s recently-released third album.

Sour’s homepage: sour-web.com

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Posted: December 19th, 2010
at 6:51pm by mnp

Tagged with , , , , , , , , ,


Categories: youtube,music

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LCD Soundsystem "Home"

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Posted: December 17th, 2010
at 10:42pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: music

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Playing For Pocket Change: Episode 7

Playing For Pocket Change: Episode 7
Don Witter Jr. -Adonsguitarsite.com

Created by Mark Cersosimo and Michael A. Capasso

Playing For Pocket Change is a mini series featuring musicians playing on the streets and in the subways of New York City. Often overlooked and ignored, we find out who these people are and what makes them want play in the world’s strangest venue.

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Posted: December 16th, 2010
at 6:51pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: music,art

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The iPad Orchestra

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Posted: December 14th, 2010
at 12:21am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,music,apple

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Japan’s Stereo (AKB48)

The most famous band in Japan right now is AKB48. That’s not a conclusion I reached via any sort of statistical analysis; it’s just obvious. Their faces pop up on any television show or magazine cover you might happen to glance at. To live in Japan and avoid them you’d have to be living as a blind, deaf hermit, deep in some obscure mountain wilderness.

Part of the reason for the band’s omnipresence is their strength in numbers: that "48" isn’t meaningless. Never mind media coverage, they practically have enough members to visit each fan in person. Their music videos are a cuteness overload on par with a puppy-dog stampede. There are enough bright colours and dazzling smiles to give you a migraine.

YouTube Preview Image

This innocent, cheerful aesthetic is, while typical of Japanese pop acts, in direct contrast to the current Western style. Britain and America have taken the 90s "Girl Power!" ideal from the Spice Girls and run with it, ending up in a scarily aggressive place where fiercely "independent women" sing about ripping men’s testicles off even as they jiggle barely-concealed flesh in front of them.

The interesting part is that this rampant sexuality exists just as strongly in AKB48’s happy, smiley world. Their most-viewed video on YouTube, May 2010’s "aaaaaaaaaaa" ("Ponytail and Scrunchy"; see below) starts with a peek inside the ladies’ changing room, where a scary dog chases our scantily-clad protagonists into the showers. This sort of shamelessness is simple pop-star maths: the more boys who want to put bits of themselves inside the AKB girls, the more singles, concert tickets and merchandise is sold.

YouTube Preview Image

Speaking of merchandise, the available products take creepiness to a whole new level. Take, for example, the "AKB1/48" dating simulation video game, in which you can view various recorded-to-camera clips of the girls shyly confessing their love for you. The "Premium" version comes with, among other things, life-size lip-prints taken from all 48 mouths.

Of course, these are just symptoms of the obvious fact that AKB48 is an elaborate piece of marketing. But rather than being disgusted by this, I’m instead struck by a sense of respect at how skilfully the girl band concept has been shaped for maximum exposure and, presumably, profit. The groups stages daily performances in their native Akihabara. Fans are invited to vote for their favourite girls, who are then placed centre-stage in the next music video. Members regularly "graduate" the band, to be replaced by newer, fresher models. The actual songs are largely inconsequential. All that matters is encapsulated within the previous video’s astronomical view count - the economical fact that demand will always be met with supply.

I can’t stop watching.

[band pic]

The most famous band in Japan right now is AKB48. That’s not a conclusion I reached via

any sort of statistical analysis; it’s just obvious. Their faces pop up on any television

show or magazine cover you might happen to glance at. To live in Japan and avoid them

you’d have to be living as a blind, deaf hermit, deep in some obscure mountain wilderness.

Part of the reason for the band’s omnipresence is their strength in numbers: that "48"

isn’t meaningless. Never mind media coverage, they practically have enough members to

visit each fan in person. Their music videos are a cuteness overload on par with a puppy-

dog stampede. There are enough bright colours and dazzling smiles to give you a migraine.

[heavy rotation]

This innocent, cheerful aesthetic is, while typical of Japanese pop acts, in direct

contrast to the current Western style. Britain and America have taken the 90s "Girl

Power!" ideal from the Spice Girls and run with it, ending up in a scarily aggressive

place where fiercely "independent women" sing about ripping men’s testicles off even as

they jiggle barely-concealed flesh in front of them.

The interesting part is that this rampant sexuality exists just as strongly in AKB48’s

happy, smiley world. Their most-viewed video on YouTube, [release time]’s "aaaaaaaaaaa"

(Ponytail and Scrunchy) starts with a peek inside the ladies’ changing room, where a scary

dog chases our scantily-clad protagonists into the showers. This sort of shamelessness is

simple pop-star maths: the more boys who want to put bits of themselves inside the AKB

girls, the more singles, concert tickets and merchandise is sold.

[aaaaaaaaaaa]

Speaking of merchandise, the available products take creepiness to a whole new level.

Take, for example, the "AKB1/48" dating simulation video game, in which you can view

various recorded-to-camera clips of the girls shyly confessing their love for you. The

"Premium" version comes with, among other things, life-size lip-prints taken from all 48

mouths.

[1/48 premium pack]

Of course, these are just symptoms of the obvious fact that AKB48 is an elaborate piece of

marketing. But rather than being disgusted by this, I’m instead struck by a sense of

respect at how skilfully the girl band concept has been shaped for maximum exposure and,

presumably, profit. The groups stages daily performances in their native Akihabara. Fans

are invited to vote for their favourite girls, who are then placed centre-stage in the

next music video. Members regularly "graduate" the band, to be replaced by newer, fresher

models. The actual songs are largely inconsequential. All that matters is encapsulated

within the previous video’s astronomical view count - the economical fact that demand will

always be met with supply.

[band pic]

I can’t stop watching.

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Posted: December 12th, 2010
at 2:56pm by mnp

Tagged with , , , , ,


Categories: youtube,music

Comments: 1 comment


Modern Classical Music

The genre that is paradoxically known as modern classical music has always had its part in the New York music scene’s well-noted capacity for whipping up a maelstrom of heterodox sounds.

But compared to the Broadway-wattage lights powered by celebrity blogs, rap beef and Pitchfork over in pop’s new Midtown of the mindawhere Katy Perry is your shallowly vivacious morning host, and Kanye your talented primetime egomaniacamodern classical junkies conduct their trade in the near-darkness of a prior era’s Alphabet City. The long-term denizens of these parks and alleys are a bit proud of their obscurity, even though they are also starting to find satisfaction in the trend of new faces turning up and asking for product.

Replacing the old procedure of mostly performing this work for other performers and composers is a new marketplace of non-musicians showing up to try it. By now, a whispered air of curious awe surrounds certain names, even in unlikely circles. The black-metal and noise-freak fans, for instance, have heard about Karlheinz Stockhausen. So if it wasn't exactly surprising, it was still impressive to see more than two hundred people crowd into a small room in Brooklyn to listen with religious focus to a rare L.P. of the composer lecturing on his early electronic music for half an houraas mere prelude to the four-channel work itself being produced in perspective-blurring surround-sound.

.:capitalnewyork.com->

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Posted: December 11th, 2010
at 3:29pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: music

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Aloe Blacc

Thursday night, Aloe Blacc played at the Trabendo. He had projectors, he had a mic on one foot, a platform for the battery. The sound was good, the audience riled up, guys filming with their iPhones in the first row. All for a show, and a show was had. Aloe was wearing a vintage leather vest, bellbottoms, a small cap. He stepped up his dancing, teased the crowd, improvised medleys at the end of songs, danced, shouted, and the crowd responded. All confirming what we had stated two Sundays before: Aloe Blacc playsAfor the audience. He needs them. We'd had a different Aloe. Still classy, but of a silent class.

It was a grey Sunday, but we had recorded a beautiful, stripped down version of his song 'I Need a Dollar', accompanied by finger snaps and growls, in the restaurant of the Comptoir General. Up to this point, Aloe had barely said a word, standing tall and silent, scanning what was happening around him like a general silently counting his fortune and his conquests. And when he sang, he sang for himself. No showboating, just a smile to show his happiness. Two songs, a brunch, and we left.

In the metro, we asked him to play a song. He refused: there weren't enough people. We were on line 5 and we had to find a place with a guaranteed audience, on a nasty Sunday. This ended up being the corridor in the St-Michel station.

Aloe still wasn't speaking, and, without saying anything to anyone, he distanced himself from his musicians, leaving them looking like buskers with a guitar case at their feet. He was on the other side. Hands in his pockets, leaning against a corner of the wall, he sang without drawing attention to it, like he had picked up an overheard tune and carried it along. A few tourists took the time to understand that they'd heard this song before, on the street and in the garden. Once the song was finished, his hands stayed in his pocket, he said nothing. And a few levels up, outside, in front of a closed bookstore, he played the same game to an audience of passerby wishing for the end of the downpour - the man who

.:blogotheque.net->

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Posted: December 11th, 2010
at 3:23pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: music,film,et cetera,blogs

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Japan’s Stereo (using English)

"You can’t even understand what they’re saying!", parents complain of the almighty racket coming from their teenage offspring’s bedroom speakers.

The implied meaning is that music without comprehensible lyrics is as pointless as an inflatable dartboard. But where does that leave your average Japanese artist, or indeed any musician whose native language is less universal than English? If the listener is foreign, do a band’s songs become worthless? If a Japanese tree falls in an American forest, does it make a sound?

Perhaps the wish for a wider global appeal is what prompts many Japanese artists to sing in English. These days it’s rare to find a pop song that doesn’t at least stick some in the chorus.A Actual linguistic ability doesn’t seem to be especially important, leading to such original, insightful song titles as this:
YouTube Preview Image

["Baby Cruisin’ Love", by Perfume]

Often, English vocals from a Japanese artist are a pretty good sign that the singer in question doesn’t really have anything interesting to say. The country’s better lyricists use their own language, utilising their knowledge of its unique sounds and rhythms.

A good example is (Soutaiseiriron), who appear to create harmless, unhurried pop numbers with a cutesy feel. A closer examination of the lyrics, however, reveals a wide range of unusual topics, from time travelling lovers to philosophising ghosts. One song describes a schoolgirl’s unnervingly strong crush on her teacher - a plotline that gives Soutaiseiriron a sinister edge that is completely hidden from non-Japanese-speaking listeners.

YouTube Preview Image

Thankfully, cases like this are the exception rather than the norm, and removing the meaning from a song’s lyrics often does has little effect on a listener’s enjoyment. It’s not that Japan’s devoid of lyric-writing talent. It’s just that, as any racket-appreciating teenager knows, music is sound, not poetry. The instruments say as much as any vocalist, they just communicate in a language that doesn’t use words.

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Posted: December 10th, 2010
at 7:05am by mnp

Tagged with , , , , , , , , ,


Categories: youtube,music

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