Archive for March, 2009

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Music and tech news roundup

March 31, 2009

djhero

First off, the zed equals zee happy hour was a rousing success, with lots of terrific conversation. It was fantastic to meet so many Boston musicians and bloggers face to face, including some of the people behind Boston Band Crush, The Limits of Science, Electric Laser People, and Paul Lamere of Music Machinery and his colleagues at The Echo Nest. It’s a measure of how friendly the crowd was that there was waaaaaaay too much money on the table at the end of the night; if you came out last night, join us for the next zed equals zee happy hour in a few months and the first round is on us.

More news:

Activision and Red Octane have announced that DJ Shadow is signed up to help develop and test the hardware for DJ Hero, set for release later this year. The turntablist may also appear as a playable character. There are not-terribly-substantiated rumours (which I’ll happily spread) that Daft Punk may also be involved in the new game. [via Resident Advisor]

On a related note, MTV reports that Rock Band has sold over 40 million songs, for nearly a billion dollars in revenue.

According to a recent report, live music has now overtaken recorded music in revenue in the UK (£904 million vs £896 million). Although that includes neither sponsorship revenues nor digital licensing, which makes me wonder a bit about the author’s job title of Chief Economist. No word on whether the numbers include Rock Band downloads. [NME] [EDIT: removal of unwarranted snark; see comments for details]

Mission of Burma is blogging the recording of their new album! [via @clickyclicky]

DIY donk. Remix any track into the Northern England sound of bouncy techno. Music Machinery’s donkified version of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” made me laugh out loud, although I still had to turn it off after about 15 seconds.

DIY…keybass? bass keytar? Whatever, it’s pretty awesome.

MP3: Amanda Palmer – Such Great Heights* [more Amanda Palmer]

*the anti-donk version

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Great Lake Swimmers and Mother Mother

March 31, 2009

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Two bands I love are both playing tonight (Tuesday, March 31st) in Seattle – somewhat to my dismay, since I’m in Boston.

If you happen to be in Seattle, this is the plan: Head to the High Dive in Fremont around nine, to catch Mother Mother, the opening act for Sam Roberts. Then quietly sidle out (you can see Mr. Roberts next time) and head two miles up NW Leary Way to the Tractor Tavern in Ballard to catch Great Lake Swimmers (above). They’re supporting their spanking-new album, Lost Channels, out today. Go see both bands if you can.

MP3: Mother Mother – Body of Years [buy]

MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – Pulling on a Line [buy]

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zed equals zee happy hour!

March 27, 2009

miracleofscience

Live in the Boston area and interested in indie music and how the music industry is evolving as a result of technology? Come to the zed equals zee Happy Hour this Monday, March 30th, from 6 to 8 pm, at the Miracle of Science in Cambridge. Join me and a slew of Boston-based musicians and bloggers, including some of the people behind Boston Band Crush and our special guest, Paul Lamere of Music Machinery, as we discuss the future of music over snacks and beverages. We’ll even be taking over the Miracle’s soundsystem with a playlist of z=z faves for the duration. Please join us!

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Wintersleep and An Horse at Vera Project

March 27, 2009

an-horse

A Commonwealth double-bill tonight (Friday) in Seattle, as Australia’s An Horse (pictured)  share the Vera Project stage with Halifax, NS’s Wintersleep. An Horse are touring to support the US release of their first full-length, Rearrange Beds, which came out last week, and this concert is some US exposure for Wintersleep and their fantastic album, Welcome to the Night Sky. Should be a great show.

MP3: Wintersleep – Oblivion [buy]

MP3: An Horse – Postcards [buy]

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Neophile: The Craft Economy

March 26, 2009

craft-econ-s_on_your_side

I first came across The Craft Economy last year, through a post at Boing Boing. They attracted attention by stapling their CDs to telephone poles in Kensington Market in Toronto, their hometown (and mine). The CDs, released under a Creative Commons license, were part of a protest against Bill C-61, the Canadian analog to the justly-maligned Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Somewhat more to the point, however, I really enjoy their music – it kind of reminds me of a poppier, female-fronted Alkaline Trio. Their new EP, Is On Your Side,  came out in the fall, and it’s terrific (and did very well on Canadian college radio). I especially enjoyed the little CanCon lyrical joke embedded into the driving rhythms of “The Tonic” – the lines “Bye-bye mon cowboy/bye-bye mon rodeo,” which sounded really familiar. A few seconds of Googling reminded me that they were from Quebec pop star Mitsou’s first hit in 1988.

And if you’re interested, The Craft Economy makes their tracks available for remix, as part of its CC-license.

MP3: The Craft Economy – The Tonic [buy]

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Upcoming: music and tech conferences

March 25, 2009

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Two upcoming conferences that might be of interest to z=z readers, one on each coast.

This weekend (March 27th, and 28th), Berklee College of Music is hosting the Music and Entertainment Educators Association conference. Unsurprisingly, given its audience, the schedule is a mixture of industry panels—keynotes on “The New Entertainment Economy” and on “Marketing and Distribution in the Digital World,” for example—as well as academic talks (such as “Audio Mashups and Fair Use: The Nature of the Genre, Recontextualization, and the Degree of Transformation”). The speakers include executives from Sonicbids, Topspin and Electronic Arts. You can see a full schedule here [PDF], and you can register at the conference website.

On the other coast, the San Francisco Music Tech Summit is scheduled for May 18th at the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown. Scheduled speakers include Dave Allen (of Pampelmoose and Gang of Four), the founder of Pandora, the director of technology of Sub Pop, and more.  Again, you can register at the conference site, here.

If you can’t make either, never fear – keep an eye out for z=z reports from both conferences.

MP3: Girl Talk – Bounce That [buy]

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Threesome: Women in techno(logy)

March 24, 2009

ellen-allien

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, which celebrates women in technology, today’s posting is focusing on women in techno. DJ’ing as a whole is incredibly male-dominated, and I thought it would be great to highlight some females who are getting the crowd moving from behind the decks.

Classically-trained pianist Kate Simko came of age in Chicago at the height of the Midwest rave scene. On the one hand, she has formal training in music technology and composition; conversely, she was a key player in the Chicago electronica scene, including hosting the well-known Chicago night, Wake Up! Her own tracks reflect her roots in both Chicago house and Detroit techno.

Techno DJ and producer Ellen Allien (pictured) is based in Berlin. She organized the BPitch parties there and eventually started her own label, BPitch Control. She’s released several solo albums as well as a collaboration with Apparat, and her own compositions are experimentally-oriented techno/electro hybrids.

Finally, Seattle’s own Chloe Harris is best known for her DJing (including touring with John Digweed), for her show on Proton Radio, and for mixing up her genres to make her unique sound. She’s just started creating her own tracks, and here’s one of them.

MP3 link: Kate Simko – Soltera

MP3: Ellen Allien – Sehnsucht

MP3: Chloe Harris – Skooch (original version)

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