Archive for May, 2009

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Small-scale tiered pricing models

May 20, 2009

geoff edgers

Guest blogger Scott writes:

As technology has enabled increased efforts by musicians to sort customers by willingness to pay, it’s no surprise that people would be developing Web sites to bring those tools to smaller-scale creative projects. Kickstarter came to my attention when my friend Eric started a non-music-related project there, but musical projects are well-represented, unsurprisingly: you can also support the editing for a documentary about The Kinks (which I’d already heard about – it’s getting local press), for example, or you can buy a Creative Commons-licensed album on vinyl. Or, if it’s more your thing, you can support creative begging. According to Eric, there are still some minor process issues, but the developers are in the process of working out, well, The Kinks.

MP3: The Kinks – Low Budget [buy]

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Moderat at Neumo’s, and a call for better visuals

May 19, 2009

What is it with naked women in the visuals at techno shows? I went to see Dietrich Schoenemann at ReBar a week or so ago, and the images included, yup, women in various stages of undress. This was a persistent peeve for me at Midweek Techno in Cambridge (I haven’t been there in a while, so I don’t know if it’s still heavy on the softcore, although I imagine it is).

Here are three excellent reasons to avoid female nudity in visuals. VJs, please listen up.

It’s boring. Do something more creative! Resorting to porn basically tells the world that you are bereft of good ideas. It must be easier than ever to find interesting videos or (better) to create your own graphics – do it!

It’s distracting. Human beings are hard-wired to look at people. Really. Lots of T and A in your visuals is incredibly distracting from what we are really there for, the music. It’s also difficult to abstract people; no matter how much you visually distort the images, our monkey brains persist in focusing on them.

It’s off-putting. Techno is, at least in the US, a sausagefest. There’s a reason why women frequently get discounted admission. Putting naked women on a screen sends a message to any females that do show up that they are not the target group and that they are somewhere they don’t really belong. And honestly, would you rather have two-dimensional women on the screen, or real women in the crowd?

Tonight (May 19) is the Moderat (Modeselektor + Apparat) show at Neumo’s in Seattle. Based on these great examples, I’m looking forward to the visuals, by Berlin-based Pfadfinderei.

MP3: Simian Mobile Disco – Tits & Acid [buy]

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Sorry for the radio silence

May 17, 2009

radio telescope

As you probably know, zed equals zee is a mostly one-woman show, and occasionally life gets in the way. My apologies for the unscheduled hiatus. I’ll be at the the SanFran MusicTech Summit tomorrow, so stay tuned for a report on the events, and for more incoming transmissions later this week.

Image: Parkes_01 by Flickr user swingtan, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.

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Lawnapalooza at UW

May 13, 2009

Cave Singers

So tomorrow (Thursday, May 14th) is the University of Washington’s annual Lawnapalooza, put on by the student union. There are assorted carnivalesque activities, but the real draw for me is the music—three local bands are performing. The Cave Singers (pictured) headline, and they are being supported by Telekinesis and z=z faves Hey Marseilles. The festivities get going at around 11 am on the Husky Union Building lawn. Unfortunately, it’s not clear if the weather will cooperate (it is Seattle, after all), but if you are on campus or in the area, you should certainly check it out.

MP3: The Cave Singers – Seeds of Night

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Hypetape: new playlist site

May 12, 2009

mixtapeblack600

Hypetape describes itself, somewhat redundantly, as ‘the illegitimate lovechild of The Hype Machine and Muxtape.’ It scrapes the web for MP3s, and lets you put together playlists, which you can save and share. They don’t host any of the music (so they aren’t vulnerable to filesharing charges). It’s a neat idea, with a straightforward interface, but there’s one major problem: music posted to blogs is almost always ephemeral, whether by choice or necessity.  That means that the life expectancy of your playlists is shorter than a snowball in a supernova. I did a test search on British Sea Power and I think that the resultant songs were ordered chronologically (“Come Wander With Me” was at the top), but it would be useful to see a posting date, so you’d at least have a sense of when the best-by date would be.  What would make this a really compelling application, as far as I’m concerned, is if I could use Hypetape to pull together a mixtape, and then for it to automagically find and download the MP3s, and have them appear as a labeled playlist in iTunes. Ideally, it’d be coupled with a good music exploration or recommendation system, to make it easy to find artists that I didn’t already know about (if anyone is listening, I would also like a pony).

What do you think? What would you want to see in a playlist site?

[image: buy the t-shirt!]

MP3: British Sea Power – Come Wander With Me

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Upcoming: SanFran MusicTech Summit

May 11, 2009

hotel kabuki

Next Monday, May 18th is the SanFran MusicTech Summit, and it’s shaping up to be pretty interesting. Speakers include Dave Allen (of Pampelmoose), Terry McBride of Nettwerk (who gets around), and Fred Von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, with panels on social networking, digital delivery, monetization (with the description, ‘idealism in practice,’ which sounds promising), and more. It’s at the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, and full conference and registration details are here. I’ll be heading down to SF for the weekend, and there’ll be a report-out on z=z. If there’s something you are particularly interested in hearing about, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best.

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Listen local: Visqueen

May 8, 2009

Okay, now I’m really annoyed at the music industry. How come my local radio station played all kinds of crappy third-rate Nirvana wannabes on the other side of the continent, but I had to wait until 2009 to hear about Visqueen? (Seattleites and dedicated indie-music lovers, feel free to upbraid me for my cluelessness.) I caught their song “Beauty Deluxe” on KEXP a few weeks ago (off their sophomore release, Sunset on Dateland) and I’ve been exploring their back catalog since. Their power-pop sound has a bit of a harder punk edge, like The New Pornographers laced with the Buzzcocks. Couple that with lyrics like, “Circuitry has soldered me like fuses to a frame/a tiny dial, and love erupts on broadband” (from “Crush on Radio”) and I’m a goner. The best part? It looks like they are set to release a new album this year, their first since Sunset in 2004, so I’m crossing my fingers for a chance to see them live.

MP3: Visqueen – Beauty Deluxe [buy]