October Newsletter

02018-10-02 @ 19:10

I sent out the Fall newsletter today. If you are not on my mailing list you can read it here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed using this address:


02014-03-21 @ 10:03

Yesterday our monthly (in reality more like 8-10 times per year) newsletter was sent out to our mailing list. The recipients received “secret” links and can listen to one song from each of the two new albums that are officially dropping in mid-April.

If you would like to be on that list in the future, you can sign up here.

Pirate Bay

02009-07-03 @ 21:07

Pirate Bay’s purchase proves they’re not altruistic | Behind the Music | Helienne Lindvall | Music |
The Pirate Bay is not the first company (and, yes, whatever image they tried to portray, it was always a business) to have built their entire existence on making copyrighted material available for free, without asking, or compensating, the people who created the material. As far back as 2000, Napster was in the dock for copyright infringement; in 2008, the brand was bought by the American electronics retailer Best Buy for $121m (£74m). As I’ve previously reported, LastFM built their business on unlicensed music only to sell it to CBS for $280m (£171m). And let’s not forget Google’s purchase of YouTube for $1.65bn (£1bn). For supposedly “altruistic” ventures, these companies sure made a lot of money. Some would argue the artists whose music built these businesses should have received some of that money.

Read the whole article. Couldn’t agree more. I didn’t know all of this background stuff about the Pirate Bay.

That’s a pretty long sentence…

02009-03-09 @ 07:03

Tom Friedman: Mother Nature and the Market Say “No More.”
We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese …

However he does end up on a more positive note, quoting Australian environmentalist Paul Gilding:

“We are taking a system operating past its capacity and driving it faster and harder,” he wrote me. “No matter how wonderful the system is, the laws of physics and biology still apply.” We must have growth, but we must grow in a different way. For starters, economies need to transition to the concept of net-zero, whereby buildings, cars, factories and homes are designed not only to generate as much energy as they use but to be infinitely recyclable in as many parts as possible. Let’s grow by creating flows rather than plundering more stocks.

Cello Scrotum – the truth at last

02009-02-02 @ 10:02

Cello scrotum — the truth at last | Oddly Enough | Reuters
“Cello scrotum,” a nasty ailment allegedly suffered by musicians, does not exist and the condition was just a hoax, a senior British doctor has admitted.

Back in 1974, in a letter to the British Medical Journal, Elaine Murphy reported that cellists suffered from the painful complaint caused by their instrument repeatedly rubbing against their body.

The claim had been inspired by reports in the BMJ about the alleged condition guitar nipple, caused by irritation when the guitar was pressed against the chest.

Ah, live performance

02009-02-01 @ 08:02

Monotonous Forest: Ah, live performance
Last night’s fascinating evening of music by Peter Eötvös at Zankel Hall had some unanticipated “extras,” beginning with a particularly startling cell phone going off right before Encore, a brief string quartet written for György Kurtág’s 80th birthday. The woman answered the call. As the musicians waited, the violist tried his best, grinning, “Anyone else?” By this time an usher was glaring at the offender, who apparently didn’t know how to turn off the device. After it beeped the third time, the exasperated staffer finally grabbed it, shook a finger at the woman and left, accompanied by more than a few bursts of applause.
(Via The Rest Is Noise)

And here is another version of the events.

Journalism (and Radio and the Music Biz)

02009-01-27 @ 20:01

Discussion Piece: Why We Need a National Endowment for Journalism
So what’s the problem? Industry insiders blame the Internet for all of newspapers’ woes. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Here’s my basic take on what really happened: As control of papers and other news sources were consolidated and corporatized over the last decade, decision making was wrested away from editors and publishers who actually know and care about journalism, and into the hands of businessmen and boards of directors who brought the wisdom of the business world to newspapers… and promptly ran them into the ground.
(Via Worldchanging)

That’s exactly what happened to radio and the music biz. Record companies used to be owned and run by people who loved music, but once these companies became very successful they were bought by large corporations. Musicians and producers (e.g. Arif Mardin at Atlantic) gave way to the suits – business graduates, attorneys and CEOs. Owners gave way to presidents and CEOs who catered to stockholders and for whom it was most important to get the biggest four-year pay-off.

Suddenly, making a cool recording which then became an album and sold a ton of copies turned into maximizing profits and controlling the market.

Once radio stations became giant corporate entities, the accountants took over. After your company spent 115 million dollars on buying a radio station, you had to make sure the debt could be serviced… You couldn’t possibly trust the music director’s taste. You had to be sure. So you ordered research to help the music selection process. You found a company who sent employees to the mall with a stack of forms and a few CDs of music. They would ask people in the mall to listen to 20-30 seconds of any given song and to rate it on a scale… Meanwhile the Program Director jumped out of the window, maybe because he saw that radio had nothing to do with music anymore.

Something awful happened when record companies, radio stations and then newspapers became too corporate. I am all for making a profit, but should one start one’s day focused on profit? Shouldn’t we create music, broadcast music and print news because that’s what gets us excited and worked up?

I find there is a void, a gaping hole that cannot be replaced. A void where good DJs once played a meaningful set of music, combining songs I knew with strange and unfamiliar tunes – instead of merely reading the names of songs and artists, put together in advance by a computer program, from a screen. A void where people in the music business helped artists in their struggle for expression and where journalists were free to pursue news-items that might not be popular…

Maybe the void will get filled again, once these giant corporations go up in smoke.

Fiat Gets 35% of Chrysler

02009-01-20 @ 18:01

Could you have imagined this a year, no six months ago? What interesting times we live in.

Fiat Gets 35% of Chrysler in Exchange for Small Cars
So the hedge fund that owns Chrysler has just sold 35% of Chrysler to Fiat. Not for a big fat check, but simply for access to Fiat’s small car platforms. Chrysler, apparently, sees this as a step on the path toward redemption.

I’d wondered why their extended-range EVs all looked so gigantic this year in Detroit…and now I know, it’s because Chrysler simply doesn’t have the ability to build small cars. Both Ford and GM at least were able to demonstrate that they could build smaller cars, but the shortsightedness of Chrysler is pretty stupefying.

At least Fiat has shown that they think Chrysler is somewhat viable, or else they wouldn’t be dealing with them at all. Let’s hope Chrysler finds a way out of their hole, and that Fiat’s small car platforms are a shining lite for them.

Tea Leaves

02009-01-17 @ 07:01

A County in China Sees Its Fortunes in Tea Leaves Until a Bubble Bursts –
MENGHAI, China — Saudi Arabia has its oil. South Africa has its diamonds. And here in China’s temperate southwest, prosperity has come from the scrubby green tea trees that blanket the mountains of fabled Menghai County.

Speed Merengue

02009-01-14 @ 08:01

Email received:

Hello, I came across your speed merengue version of ‘Barcelona Nights’ and was intrigued by this new form of merengue. I understand you coined the term. I have seen many people using it recently. Is it a new trend?

I write about music scenes for the Guardian and would like to write about this.

Do you plan to make any more speed merengue?

No, not exactly a new trend. The email is signed John McDonnell, who does appear to write for the Guardian. Barcelona Nights, the Speed-Merengue version was released on the Rumba Collection in 1997. (((click on the link and then the green triangle to hear the song)))

When I discovered this type of very fast Merengue in the Summer of 1996, while playing guitar on Nestor Torres’ album Burning Whispers in Miami, this trend was likely already a few years old. That type of fast Merengue has interesting similarities to Drum ‘n’ Bass… double-time drums + half-time bass.


02009-01-07 @ 08:01

Clay Shirky pontificates
The collapse of daily print journalism will mean many things. For those of us old enough to still care about going out on a Sunday morning for our doorstop edition of The Times, it will mean the end of a certain kind of civilized ritual that has defined most of our adult lives. It will also mean the end of a certain kind of quasi-bohemian urban existence for the thousands of smart middle-class writers, journalists, and public intellectuals who have, until now, lived semi-charmed kinds of lives of the mind. And it will seriously damage the press’s ability to serve as a bulwark of democracy. Internet purists may maintain that the Web will throw up a new pro-am class of citizen journalists to fill the void, but for now, at least, there’s no online substitute for institutions that can marshal years of well-developed sourcing and reporting experience—not to mention the resources to, say, send journalists leapfrogging between Mumbai and Islamabad to decode the complexities of the India-Pakistan conflict.
(Via Beyond the Beyond)

It’s time to redesign the guitar

02009-01-06 @ 12:01

Blog: It’s time to redesign the guitar | Music |
Why are they still making guitars with “real” strings that are difficult and boring to learn how to play and really make your fingers hurt? What is the point? Do we still slaughter our own cows? Dig our own wells? Work in the turnip fields for 18 hours a day, six days a week? No. Buttons have proven themselves to be much easier and more efficient.

U.S News on Bike Commuting

02008-12-28 @ 11:12

EcoVelo » Blog Archive » U.S News on Bike Commuting
If you weren’t already convinced bike commuting has gone mainstream, U.S. News and World Report lists riding your bike to work as one of the top “50 Ways to Improve Your Life” in 2009. I couldn’t agree more.

Read the story in U.S. News

Holiday News Stories…

02008-12-20 @ 09:12

BBC NEWS | Europe | Milan poor to get seized caviar
Beluga caviar seized by Italian customs officers is to be distributed to poor people in Milan as a Christmas gift.
About 40kg (88lb) of caviar was confiscated in November after two couriers travelling from Poland were stopped with the hidden cargo.Newspaper Corriere Della Serra says the caviar had an estimated value of $550,000 (£370,000). Tests showed the caviar to be edible, so it is to be given to canteens, hospices and shelters for the poor.

I love that line – Tests showed the caviar to be edible. Did somebody grab a crust of bread, put some caviar on it, eat and pronnounce it edible… or did they take it to a lab?

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Goa bans Christmas beach parties
Christmas and New Year beach parties in tourist resorts in the Indian state of Goa have been banned because of security concerns, say the authorities.

30 years ago you would have found me at the New Year beach party in Goa…

U.P.S. adds bikes to the fleet| TerraPass: Fight global warming, reduce your carbon footprint
Of course, each U.P.S. bike delivery system (typically a $350 mountain bike pulling a custom trailer) can haul only 15 to 20 packages per trip — a mere fraction of what a truck can deliver. Nonetheless, the company estimates that for every three bikes deployed during peak season on the West coast, it will save around 17 gallons of fuel per day and about $38,000 dollars in vehicle maintenance costs.

Music Nationalism

02008-12-09 @ 11:12

Is it just me or do these words found on a UK news site smack of music-nationalism? Does it sell ads? Is it wide-spread? Is it contagious? Does it matter? Am I too sensitive about this issue and this is just a little home-band pride and not music-nationalism?

Coldplay sued by Joe Satriani for copyright infringement
On the one hand, you have Satriani’s six-and-a-half-minute instrumental from 2004, with cheese-ball guitar wailing, moments of shredding, and long bouts of soloing. On the other hand, you have Viva La Vida: Eno-produced, Grammy-nominated, full of strings, church bells, drum rolls, chorales. And a sort of harpsichord solo. Certainly Viva La Vida is cheese-ball as well – but it feels more cheddar than Dairylea.
(Via Guardian Unlimited Music)

Not sure what Dairylea is, but this is their website.

And, just for the record, I don’t like either Satriani or Coldplay.

Damn, will this ever end? Here is another contender for the same song. (Thanks LR)

Powerful Slideshow

02008-10-30 @ 14:10

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Audio Slideshow: Photos compete for the Prix Pictet
A major new global prize celebrating the work of both professional and amateur photographers has been awarded in Paris.

The Prix Pictet is the first competition of its type to focus on the global issue of ‘sustainability’ – and, this year in particular, on water.

The winner of 100,000 Swiss francs (£53,000) is the Canadian photographer Benoit Aquim.

Here – the head of the Prix Pictet jury, Francis Hodgson, shows off Aquim’s work and images from some of the 17 other photographers who made the shortlist.

Watch the slideshow here.

Natural resources crisis worse than financial crunch

02008-10-29 @ 09:10

World is facing a natural resources crisis worse than financial crunch | Environment | The Guardian
The world is heading for an “ecological credit crunch” far worse than the current financial crisis because humans are over-using the natural resources of the planet, an international study warns today.

The Living Planet report calculates that humans are using 30% more resources than the Earth can replenish each year, which is leading to deforestation, degraded soils, polluted air and water, and dramatic declines in numbers of fish and other species. As a result, we are running up an ecological debt of $4tr (£2.5tr) to $4.5tr every year – double the estimated losses made by the world’s financial institutions as a result of the credit crisis – say the report’s authors, led by the conservation group WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund. The figure is based on a UN report which calculated the economic value of services provided by ecosystems destroyed annually, such as diminished rainfall for crops or reduced flood protection.

And to illustrate the urgency there is this quote:

This had led the report to predict that by 2030, if nothing changes, mankind would need two planets to sustain its lifestyle.

Unless you have another planet in mind and think we will be able to move people across space, I suggest we need to start changing the way we do things.

Meltdown + Smeltdown

02008-10-28 @ 10:10

After financial meltdown, now it’s smeltdown | Björk – Times Online
The men who made Iceland go cap in hand to the IMF are now bent on ruining its landscape
– Björk

Björk writes in the TImes Online.

Not the End

02008-09-10 @ 09:09

LR sends me this:

“If the collisions in the LHC produced a micro black hole, and this is unlikely, it would just evaporate away again, producing a characteristic pattern of particles,” Professor Hawking said.

Link to Times Online article

How to get thrown into a Chinese prison

02008-08-30 @ 07:08

How to get thrown into a Chinese prison | Politics and Law – CNET News
How to get thrown into a Chinese prison

Related link
to slideshow of non-destructive graffiti and tagging


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