Archive for 2007-11

Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft

02007-11-30 @ 09:11

You want some good news? The great classical music label Deutsche Grammophon appears to have put a very nice download store online.

Gizmodo says:
• First, their store is international. You can buy from anywhere in the planet with no stupid geographic limits.
• Second, they are not only publishing their current massive catalog, but reviving out-of-print recording as exclusive downloads. A hundred of them are available now and a thousand will be in the next weeks after launch.
• And finally, the music is all DRM-free (YES!) so it can play in the iPod, Zune or preferred MP3-compatible player.

Prices are $1.29 for a full track (that’s lots of music in the classical music world) to $11.99 for an album, which often come with PDF booklets covering the materials, like actual CD editions do. Unfortunately for classical music maniacs, the tracks encoded in MP3 format. Fortunately, they come beautifully encoded at 320kbps, so most people except Pear-cable buyers won’t be able to tell the difference.

Trust me, 320kbps encoded mp3s sound great. I would say ninetyfive out of a hundred listeners will not be able to tell the difference between that and an AIFF/WAV or FLAC file. Hm, maybe 98/100.

I checked out the DGG store and bought the Kite Runner soundtrack as I am a fan of Alberto Iglesias’ music. The buying process is painless and am now downloading a zipped folder containing the mp3 files.

In other music news:

Warner Music Profits Are Down
Warner Music actually did take a hard beating this past quarter, losing almost $7 million in profit versus last year’s—more than half, for a take of $5 million. While profits were down, digital sales shot up 25 percent to pull in $130 million, though that didn’t particularly mollify the industry-wide 14 percent plunge in CD sales this year.

EMI to Slash RIAA Funding
EMI, one of the “big four” record labels that feeds $132.3 million every year to trade groups such as the RIAA and IFPI, has decided that its money could be better spent elsewhere.


02007-11-29 @ 17:11


Wednesday Music

02007-11-29 @ 09:11

Regarding this posthere is a video – Thanks VH

Started the day by taking out the garbage.

Later a listen to the newest Lingua Franca master with Jon, followed by a meeting with Michael Motley, the designer of the CD package. Michael came up with a great cover and at noon we went to Brian’s for lunch. The conversation was all over the place, but I do remember this web site Michael mentioned: BUY (LESS) CRAP!.

That’s a great xmas tree.

In the afternoon I read this article and had to laugh out loud at the last paragraph:

I hate Tom Cruise, but see no reason why, in a movie, he shouldn’t play von Stauffenberg. Objections to that simply show how much emotion still surrounds the issue, especially among the German chattering classes.

Indeed. If it has juice, if it makes us emotional, then it might point to a shadow we have.

And regarding the biz of music, BoingBoing reports this:

On the 5th of October 2007, the Swiss law makers adopted a new law to comply with the WIPO treaties. Thanks to the entertainment lobbies, apart from criminalizing DRM circumvention devices, you can now win a one year visit in jail if you share a copyrighted file on a P2P network.

And this:

The Canadian government is about to bring down Canada’s version of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it promises to be the worst copyright law in the developed world. It will contain an “anti-circumvention” clause that prohibits breaking the locks off your music and movies in order to move them to new devices or watch them after the company that made them goes out of business — and it will follow the US’s disastrous lead with the DMCA in that there will be no exceptions to the ban on circumvention, not even for parody, fair dealing, time shifting, or other legal uses

I see both as more extreme measures, which in turn will make the file-sharers feel more righteous. There is a middle way. It is called CreativeCommons and here is a link to my 2005 interview with CC.

Guy Hands, the new boss of EMI, discovered waste and was congratulated by Robert Fripp:

Mr. Guy Hands of Terra Firma is to be congratulated on his acquisition of EMI. Perhaps. Majors have a diminishing role to play in the future of music-provision. No doubt this is the fault of the artists – only interested in garnering huge advances (which seems to be partly the view of Mr. Hands). The economic base of majors is copyright ownership of the work of others. They are exploitative, incompetent, failed to take a lead in the emerging digital music-world, have problems providing accurate accounting, and fail to honour responsibilities to others that they claim for themselves (eg RF/KC copyrights).
A good buy, EMI?
Goodbye, EMI.

That remids me… the licenses for “In the Arms of Love” and “The Santa Fe Sessions” will return to SSRI on February 24th, 2008.

And, this article on global warming…

Undercover Restorers

02007-11-27 @ 13:11

Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark’s clock | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
‘Cultural guerrillas’ cleared of lawbreaking over secret workshop in Pantheon

What a great story!

Universal Music CEO

02007-11-27 @ 10:11

Universal Music CEO: Record industry can’t tell when geeks are lying to us about technology
“There’s no one in the record industry that’s a technologist,” Morris explains. “That’s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn’t. They just didn’t know what to do. It’s like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”
(Via BoingBoing)

It’s easy to make fun of a guy like this and I am sure the net will be abuzz with that. But the fact is that any industry, any business hit with a paradigm change like the one experinced by the music industry will take a long time to recover. Just imagine Google if advetising were to be outlawed…

Since the beginning of time, if you borrowed something from me, I didn’t have access to that until you brought it back. That is true for flintstones and hammers and iPods. Well, are there exceptions?

I can think of fire. If I lend you fire, give you a burning twig, my fire is still burning. Knowledge – if you ask me something and I give you an answer we now both have that knowledge. I think we won’t come up with many great examples, because it just is not the way things work out side the digital realm, is it?

Air Quality and the Olympics

02007-11-26 @ 22:11

WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: China’s Air Quality and the Olympics
Shanghai is only around two-thirds as polluted as Beijing. But to put that into perspective, Shanghainese go to Hong Kong to enjoy clean air — and Hong Kong air contains around 30 percent more particulates than air in Los Angeles, America’s most polluted city. At the Hong Kong marathon last February, one man died and 20 people were hospitalized.

And you thought that marathon running is boring! The next olympics promise to be the most exciting ever.

Two Years Ago – 2005

02007-11-26 @ 07:11

Conversation in the dressing room after the second show at B.B.King centered around the flow of awareness during a musical performance. I explained that in my view consciousness naturally flows and does not rest in one activity, that in fact concentration is not effective for a performance.

Attention flows from that harmonic is a little off – try to bend the note to the lights are hot in the back of my neck to I cannot hear the bass clearly enough to that cajon is funky etc. Now, if one were to concentrate on the melody only, one’s rhythm might be off, if one were to focus on the bowing of the string, the flow of the melody might be off etc. If one gets stuck on just one aspect of the music (rhythm, pitch, melody, sound-production etc.) the result will sound wooden and not musical. In other words, letting our attention naturally flow between all of the different elements of making music is better than concentrating. Concentrating is what we have to do when we learn to play an instrument, or when we learn a new piece – but it is not the way to perform music. This flow-concept is something I feel can be applied to everything from creating art to cooking to parenting.

Another example where we use this flow on a daily basis: when we learn how to drive we concentrate so hard on releasing the clutch without stalling the car that we might rev the engine much higher than is necessary – which we suddenly realize. After a while we learn to let our attention flow naturally between checking the rearview mirrors, looking at the distance to the car ahead, checking the RPM based on hearing the engine, shifting, breaking, steering… The worst thing we can do is stare at the blacktop ahead – that is exhausting. Much better to let one’s eyes and attention flow to where they are needed.

This morning I taped a one hour radio show for NPR called The Song is You. The host, Bonnie Grist, played some music from Winter Rose as well as some music she allowed me to pick – Jimi Hendrix, Brian Eno (from On Land), Bjork (from Vespertine) – and we talked about music. It was wonderful to talk with a radio person who loves music and is knowledgeable and passionate about radio – rather than a commercial radio jock who reads the name of the next song in rotation from a playlist on their computer screen…

BBC NEWS | Australia sweeps Rudd into power

02007-11-24 @ 14:11

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Australia sweeps Rudd into power
Correspondents says key changes will be the signing of the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

That would be nice.

Dreaming 2007

02007-11-23 @ 11:11

New in the LL today: a dreamy remix of Dreaming on the Starlight Train – in the Unreleased album. The original version of the song appeared on the album In the Arms of Love in 2002. This new remix features flies, great fretless bass guitar playing by Jon Gagan, and an electric guitar solo.

Up Close – A Binaural Dummy Head Recording

02007-11-23 @ 09:11

Can somebody who is familiar with wikipedia editing add some info to their entries on Binaural Recording and Dummy Head Recording ? I think it would be nice to add the Snakecharmer video – link to the QT version and link to the Flash version on HumbleVoice – as well as the Up Close album in our LL. Thanks!

Rockefeller Center

02007-11-23 @ 08:11

NYC Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree goes green
This year New York’s finest Christmas landmark is going green in the spirit of the Christmas season. For the first time in its history, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, will be getting a new set of energy efficient LED Christmas lights which will be fully powered by solar panels.
(Via Inhabitat)

David Keith and Paul Crutzen

02007-11-22 @ 15:11

TED | Talks | David Keith: A surprising idea for “solving” climate change (video)
Environmental scientist David Keith talks about a cheap, effective, solutions to climate change

Brilliant talk.
This is related:

Paul Crutzen – Heroes of the Environment – TIME
We would be wise to heed Crutzen on global warming, too, because he can fairly be described as the chief scientific caretaker of life on the planet. He suggested the potential climatic danger of nuclear war, a threat later popularized as “nuclear winter” by Carl Sagan. He has made major contributions to our understanding of acid rain and the effect of aircraft on the atmosphere. He has not flinched from speaking out even when it annoys industry or governments, and he does not hide his concern for the lack of U.S. leadership in addressing global warming. In contrast to the prompt attention paid to the ozone threat, foot-dragging on climate change has convinced Crutzen that major geo-engineering may be needed to cool the planet. He suggests a massive injection of sulfur into the stratosphere to form particles that reflect sunlight away. It’s a radical proposal that just might jolt some politicians into realizing what researchers learned long ago: that this scientists’ scientist always seems to be one step ahead of everybody else.

More about Paul Crutzen here.

Oh, and don’t forget this talk by Larry Brilliant.

Predictions & Prescriptions

02007-11-22 @ 10:11

Predictions & Prescriptions
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses a mathematical model that is based entirely on game theory to predict the outcomes of political conflicts. He takes a very literal interpretation of the phrase “political science” and focuses his analysis strictly on issues of strategic interest, ignoring any cultural or historical aspects of the parties involved. He believes that the theory of rational choice can accurately predict the actions of any political actors as long as the data underpinning the determination of interests are correct. An analysis of his model’s predictive abilities done by the CIA found it to be accurate 90 percent of the time.
(Via Long Views)


02007-11-22 @ 10:11

That would be enough for my needs at least 90% of the time. I could borrow or rent the remaining 10%…
(Via Vedana)

Play With Your Food

02007-11-22 @ 10:11

Play With Your Food
The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra must be the only band in the world that buys its instruments fresh and organic before each performance. They must also be the only ones to use DIY instruments such as cucuphones in the wind section. For the uninitiated it’s made out of a carrot, cucumber and pepper. Also in the winds is the recorder made out of a carrot with drilled holes, the most difficult instrument to create. If you slice an eggplant horizontally, but not all the way, so that the slices are still attached then you have a castanet. Naturally, a pumpkin is used as a bongo drum and celeriac is a bass and violins are leeks. The 11 orchestra members prefer to use organic vegetables…
(Via TreeHugger)


02007-11-22 @ 10:11

LongPen makes short work of distance
Author Margaret Atwood, perhaps best known for the near-future fable The Handmaid’s Tale, has invented a device called LongPen which allows writers to sign their works at a distance, replicating their hand movements.
Says Atwood:

It is the world’s first long-distance, real-time signing and handwriting device… In other words, the LongPen is not an Autopen, which signs your name over and over without your presence being required. Instead, the LongPen does whatever you have just done at your end, including ‘Happy Birthday Marge’ and a picture of a pussycat — making whatever marks you have just made, in the order and with the pressure you have made them. (The signature is a legal one – which LongPen has just had reconfirmed by an expert in this field.)

The LongPen is known in tech circles as a ‘disruptive technology’, which means – I’m told – that it came out of nowhere, was not anticipated, is not an enhancement of a pre-existing technology, and will radically change how things are done. Author signings are just a small part of the picture!

(Via Long Views)


02007-11-21 @ 18:11

I brought something back from Mexico with me. It’s either a cold or a flu, can’t figure out which yet. A virus in any case. Made me think of the whole human race as one big virus. It’s fairly smart, incredibly robust, multiplies like crazy and there is a good chance it will wipe out it’s host. Don’t say save the planet. The planet will be there for a long time. It’s a matter of saving us, the human race. In India they say the entire cosmos is an out-breath of Brahma and when he breathes in, it’s gone again. At least that’s what I remember. They also say this isn’t the first turning of that wheel.

That reminds me of the time my brother became really ill in the Eighties. On a Friday afternoon the local hospital called him and told him that the blood-sample they had taken from him contained a rare African virus and he had two or three weeks to live. He slept with his magnum under the pillow that weekend. At one point I said to him, we don’t know enough about re-incarnation, whether it happens or not, but what if you have been at this point many times before and every time you chose to end it. Somehow Monday came and the hospital called again. Oops they said, our bad. You only have mono and will live a long life after all – if you don’t get run over by a bus.

So, have you put the two together yet? What if this is the big hump and every time a bunch of cells get complex enough, large enough, conscious enough, powerful enough they end up doing too much damage. In other words the virus is not able to mutate into something less vicious, something more benign, something that doesn’t replicate so much…

And slowly life starts again… on another planet maybe, another solarsystem, taking on an entirely different form…

With that off my chest, I shall go back into the studio to finish a mix of this song. I should upload it to the LL sometime soon, as a reminder that we will release the SSRI DigiPak version of ITAOL sometime in March.

La Semana

02007-11-21 @ 18:11

As you might have noticed if you looked in the LL, the “La Semana” album now has a new and slightly different cover. After the Januay 2007 bancrupcty of distributor 33rd Street, which was owned by Tower Records, the SSRI CDs (“La Semana” and “Winter Rose”) they had in stock were sold to the highest bidder. We were not given an opportunity to buy the product. As a result we have not seen a cent from any of the “La Semana” or “Winter Rose” CDs you find in stores now. Since we sold out of the copies we had I thought it would be nice to create a new cover for the album, which will be released in a 6-panel DigiPak – just like the other recent releases 1G, Thira and Transit 2. The new “La Semana”, with identical content, will sell from our online store and through our new distributor Burnside sometime in December.

Here is the new “La Semana” cover:
New La Semana Cover
– and this was the old one:
Old La Semana Cover

If you want the new artwork, and you already have the CD or the files, you can download the PDF here.

Digital Media is NOT Stuff

02007-11-21 @ 09:11

Amazon’s MP3 store rips off your fair use rights – Boing Boing
Amazon’s contract says you “may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content” for personal use. But then it goes further and specifies restrictions, saying you “agree that you will not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content.”
Oh, ffs. All we want to do is buy MP3s, like we used to buy CDs and records and tapes. Stuff we could make some claim to owning. You’d think that a group of people as property-obsessed as the recording industry would understand the desire to own one’s music collection and have all the rights to it that copyright normally confers on those who buy copyrighted works — like the right to sell, edit. adapt, loan, modify, etc. All the stuff the law give law-abiding customers who buy stuff.

Why s this so hard to understand? A digital file does not equal STUFF, you know, things you put in your bag or carry with you or place in a drawer. A song in mp3 form is not the same as a song on a CD and therefore the same rules cannot apply. When I sell or give away the CD I bought, I have given away my ONLY copy of the song – certainly true prior to the late nineties before anybody with a computer could burn a backup CD for themselves.

(When I think of how hard it was to buy a DAT recorder in the late Eighties, because the music business had convinced law-makers that DAT recorders were dangerous in that they could make perfect copies of music… There was even a tax on DAT recorders and on DAT-tapes that went to BMI and ASCAP to be dispensed to composers… and then came 2001 and Apple’s slogan “Rip, Mix and Burn” and that was that. Did nobody see that coming? Was a fight futile? Was it the tipping point?)

In a way the value of the piece of music had been transferred to the piece of plastic it came on. Selling the piece of plastic meant selling the music. But, when I sell or give away a copy of an mp3 file I bought, what would make me give up the copy on my HD, huh? An honor system? A kind of DRM? What?

All we want to do is buy MP3s, like we used to buy CDs and records and tapes. Stuff we could make some claim to owning.

Music is no longer STUFF, folks. Let’s get over that as soon as possible. What we have here is a new way of dealing with ideas. Those ideas are no longer put on a piece of plastic or vinyl or tape, married to something physical. They are no longer transferred to something tangible which can’t be copied. They have become zeros and ones. This is a HUGE change. What if you made wine for a living and suddenly the grapes you grew and with much expertise and care turned into wine… could be turned into zeros and ones and replicated like yoghurt. You see, yoghurt is a mix of bacteria and if you like a certain yoghurt’s taste you could easily add warm milk and make more! Let’s say people found a way to replicate wine like yoghurt? You buy a bottle of wine and turn it into 10, 50, 100 bottles of wine. And since bottles are easy to come by and paper-labels can be copied easily you can start giving away or selling this wine.

Actually, I believe that this WILL eventually happen to almost everything in our lives. What was once something you could store, put away, sell, loan, hang up, present… will all become something, hm, different, more intangible. Once again art is getting there first, presenting the problem we need to solve. Nobody has, in my opinion, found a decent solution yet. DRM is not a solution – at least not in the shape it has taken so far. Music wants to be free is bullshit, but music wants to be locked up is bullshit, too. Watch this TED talk by Professor Lawrence Lessig for some clues.

This is about money, and it is possible that the first person/company to figure out a fair and righteous way to sell music might become very rich, but it is also about CULTURE. How do we view artists, musicians? How do we view their work? What is ownership? How do we deal with the fact that it is no longer about the object (CD, Photograph, Wine-bottle, Book etc.) – but the content? I don’t know the answer, but I know this: let’s stop making stupid statements like this:

All we want to do is buy MP3s, like we used to buy CDs and records and tapes. Stuff we could make some claim to owning.

If musicians can’t go back to how it used to be ten years ago, then neither should the public. Moving forward is the only way.

The Plumen Project

02007-11-21 @ 07:11

The Plumen Project
Despite there being an abundance of producers, we see only three basic bulb formats available: The Radiator, The Ice Cream Whip and the Tungsten-esc types. Each style is uniform in shape, with no variation, tension or interest. It seems strange that the bulb, an object so synonymous with ideas, is almost entirely absent of imagination.


© Copyright 2019 Ottmar Liebert • Site by Canton Becker • Diary powered by WordPress