Just Hear !t

Tanzi Festival Day Just Hear !t is a new streaming music service that offers you the ability to search for desired music. It'll deliver up related selections to you for your listening. This seems to be the future of online music. Just Hear !t is licensing and working out licensing with copyright holders so that the service is completely legal. Many listeners faced with the ability to hear what they want and where they want will probably accept using the music when they want to, rather than archiving it on their hard drives. Now it remains to see how extensive their catalog becomes. On initial play testing streaming rate seemed good and selection on queried artists seemed fair. Try it out yourself here.

Breathe Easy Benefit

This is mad creative and kooky (paraphrase: just my cup of tea). The Dandy Warhols have put together and inspired reverse-karaoke type project. Different bands and musicians get to contribute to the works started by others to create  new mashed-up musical pieces. The different mashups mp3's will be sold. Some pretty impressive names are on the list as well:

Spoon, J Mascis, David J (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets),  Swervedriver, the Raveonettes, the Black Angels, the Kooks, Saul Williams, and Midnight Movies.

The inspired lunacy has a good heart behind it too-the proceeds will go to charity. For more details See Breathe Easy Benefit here.

Breathe Easy Trailer from World's Fair on Vimeo.

Da Bridge

Wow really felt this piece deeply. Talking about one of the major icons of my home town- the Brooklyn bridge. Not only mentioning it but discussing it in such a way to bring inspiration and focus at a time when those are much needed. I walked over this engineering marvel numerous times. Did it to see the premiere of Star Wars at a midtown-Manhattan theater. What views, what a sense of presence being up there between Brooklyn on Long Island and Manhattan-true awe. This is a time when America really needs to recapture some of the entrepreneurial spirit not corrupted or co-opted by America, Inc. Good job by this writer pulling this piece of history into the present and making it timely.

5 Dimes…

Kevin close upJust having some random thoughts thinking back over the first 50 years of my life. Some of the obvious highlights were holding my daughter Michelle and son Kevin moments after they were born. Visiting Crater Lake and the Badlands-two amazing while completely different landscapes. Hanging out with Muhal Richard Abrams listeningto his piano playing and talking to him about stuff. Eating a Nathan's hot dog, Yonah Shimmel knish, most Brooklyn pizza , and Lundy's: anything on their wonderful menu. Seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time with Taiwanese business friend who simply said, "Hallelujah!" checking out the Triple Crown of Surfing in Oahu on the North Shore. Too many meals in NYC Chinatown to count. Most of Robert DeNiro's early fims. Being loved by my family and friends even when I make that very challenging. Having the opportunity for some more...

Cyber-Punk random thoughts…

graffLately I've been having some thoughts on how hiphop which grew out of graffiti culture is a very cyberpunk culture. Oddly many people would think of punk music as a natural bedfellow of cyberpunk because of it's bare bones approach to making art. Hiphop even more bare bones-rapper, beats, microphone and some samples. Graffiti is the ultimate-canvass is already provided no need to buy. Wait for subway car to stop and tag. Walls don't move as fast as the hands that spray them.

The legend of  Wicked Gary lives anew! BladeRunner is looking for skin jobs 2day!

Elevated Entity-Ancients Speak

mgibbsRecently on Twitter I met Melvin Gibbs a journeyman bassman who has played for a variety of talented and edgy musicians ranging from Rollins and James White to Ronald Shannon Jackson and Defunkt. Melvin has been focusing more and more on his own musical vision lately which he channels via Elevated Entity. One of the thoughts I had and mentioned to Melvin in a conversation is how widespread the African music cultural influence is in the Americas ranging from Brazil all the way up to Canada. That was when he informed me how his newest work  specifically addresses this African diaspora of musical influences viz a viz: reggae, hiphop, blues,  jazz,  rock, drum and bass, etc.

Melvin has the requisite educated, sensitive ear and the technical training and experience to blend  this melange into a coherent vision-Ancients Speaks. If you want to journey through a wide range of beautiful sounds, textures, and colors and yet not lose the context between each piece this work is a good starting place. Rather than me talking to you about it further, Melvin has arranged a sample listening here. All full tracks. Take your time and listen to each one and you'll feel what Melvin and his talented crew of music veterans from Brazil to Brooklyn have to say with their voices, hands and instruments. You can find further info about Melvin and this release here. Talk to him on Twitter and let him know what you think of his music. Melvin's My Space link is here.

Recycled Pixels

Monster on the avenue againThis image is some of my new Photoshop post process work. I have been inspired by some friends new and old on the post processing theme.. Thought it was time to get more than big toe in the pool. I used an older image I have and did different treatment. Never dawned on me to go the comic-style route. That just happened organically-the best way in my opinion.









Musical inspiration at press time: The Orb

Photographically speaking…

 Haven't posted photo essay in a bit. I've been getting more and more involved in PP(post processing) of my images. Why? 1) Because I can, 2) Because I like it. I feel that tools like Photoshop allow a photographer to better reproduce his feelings and vision. I also feel certain photographs(many for that matter) speak for themselves just fine with minimal processing. In Digital photography everything is synthetically processed to some degree.

Doraemon's rideThese little retro style Nissan's are very common here in crowded Taiwan. Doraemon stull maintains some iconic presence as well.

Eco-ScooterIt is not uncommon to see some crazy modifications of motor scooters here in Taiwan. I thought this EPA one was kind of cool.

Dress ladyI have always been fascinated with the markets here in Taiwan and still am to this day. Maybe it's the variety of merchandise that's available from delicious food to worthless crap (it's all in the eye of the beholder). Maybe it's the way it's merchandised or just the vibrancy of the marketers and marketees networking.

Hottie @workI seem to be becoming a fan of Art Street up by Dong Hai Universwity. It is the closest thing Taichung has to a Greenwich Village or Sausalito-type bohemian vibe. There are several cool shops nicely decorated and more and more nicely dressed hipsters floating around there.

Lady with dogThis lady noticed that I had shot her and her dog. She asked me if the young man next to me was my son. I replied, "Yes." She said, "This is my son too."

Go Red team!Sometimes the temples in Taiwan become very vibrant on auspicious days pre-ordained so in the HuangLi, kind of yellow emperor's Almanac. All the auspicious days and festival days requiring sacrifices and prayers are in that book.

So what are you seeing and hearing these days? Here and elesewhere?

Ezra Pound-The Seeing Eye

The small dogs look at the big dogs;
They observe unwieldy dimensions
And curious imperfections of odor.
Here is the formal male group:
The young men look upon their seniors,
They consider the elderly mind
And observe its inexplicable correlations.

Said Tsin-Tsu:
It is only in small dogs and the young
That we find minute observation

State of Music Now

SANY0130There have been numerous conversations going on now for a while now on music and how it it's business side are: changing,dying,being reborn or?? People like Lefsetz and Leonhard have made it the focus of there life. Lately I've been tracking and participating on this conversation here at this blog and on Twitter in virtual time shifted-time particularly with 3 people: Sasha Frere Jones, Dave Allen and Melvin Gibbs. Coincidentally they are all bass players. Can this be evidence of some subliminal desire of mine to forsake my guitar for the low end? Anyhow the fact they play bass is incidental. The fact they they are all musicians and passionate about music and have the intellect to analyze these matters and speak intelligently on them is of course the key . 

Some back story: I met Melvin on Twitter via his conversation with Sasha on the whole "where is music in the digital age going and how the hell do we get paid?" meme. Melvin was responding to Sasha's analogy of music via the Internet has become as ubiquitous as dirt.

@noahharlan the metaphor is water, or as @sashaferejones would say, dirt. something that's everywhere that everybody uses

@DanWhitley I think the point is alot of people don't "invest" much in music at this point in history- either monetarily or otherwise

@Pampelmoose for alot of people -and businesses- music is just a "thing" on their hard drive. it has the emotional value of a potato chip

@bbluesman re: http://is.gd/lfJ6 music has to have some meaning beyond being a commodity. it's the "content" issue once again

The other day during my early morning exercise walk (sans IPod I should add) I was reflecting on this topic and some of these thoughts in particular. I have to agree with Melvin that music has become less special and therefore less significant in this Net culture we now live in. Music ruled the pop culture of my youth and record stores were like temples with magazines like Rolling Stone, Melody Maker and Downbeat being the prophets. Then if you wanted this music you'd need to physically go to the store, look for the album, probably engage in a conversation with the priests of cool-the snobby record store clerks, and finally after you plunked down your real dollars you had a 12' squared record in possibly a gate fold jacket with it's cool graphics and all the trivia about the band or artist you could possibly hope for on it's liner notes and maybe even dust jacket. Now when people want music they simply click, click, click at the computer and the dirty deed is all done in seconds of time. Yet another variation of Erica Jong's  legendary zipless f**k, all in it's mp3 glory.

Another related problem in this equation is that the production of music used to involve the record company arranging valuable studio time with the band, engineer(s), producer,etc. for a recording that was often dragged out over time if the band were stars had a big entourage and endless supply of drugs... In any case people recognized that much work went into producing the music on that physical archive-the LP. Therefore the perceived value was much higher. If the music was great and the album sold well that perceived value of course were proportionally greater still. 

How about now? So much of the music is recorded, produced, marketed, sampled and purchased at the computer via the Net amidst Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, IM, Youtube, USTream and all the other always on new media pipe distractions,blessings and curses. Can you see how much shorter the cost to realization trail got in this process? I remember I started losing interests in CD artwork when I started loading 10 CD's in my car system and leaving them in rotation for several weeks ata time. I couldn't very well scan the booklets while I was driving. My point is that once we could take our music with us, the dynamic started changing. The Net made that whole process even quicker and more seamless. So how can you have some deep personal experience with an mp3 file? It's a song or music but also just an audio file, a codec. 

I remember my experiences in Second Life-the virtual world which has a thriving live music community there. I was involved as a promoter and podcaster featuring SL musicians. The problem and frustration many performing musicians had there was that they were doing well if they made $20 an hour for performing. The flip side was that many listeners who did in fact like the musicians and were doing their best to support them also knew that many of these people were performing in their underwear in the comfort and convenience of home. Whether they were really wearing underwear or any article of clothing is superfluous-the key point is it was perceived that way. It was perceived as too easy, hence limited value of the art performed and experienced.

So in summary, it is extremely interesting where this is all going particularly in light of the economic implosion we're all living through now. Dave Allen commented a while back that the music business is doing great but the CD business is awful.

Here are some samples of the music of Dave and Melvin