Monday, November 27, 2006

Mash-Upical Mystery Tour

I have been listening to the "new" Beatles album LOVE for the past week. It is the soundscape/sound track for the newish Cirque du Soleil/Vegas monstrosity LOVE (housed in the former Sigfried and Roy space at the Mirage). I am absolutely torn by this project.
1) The Beatles are holy in my humble opinion but, a little mash up action is always interesting (Kudos to Dangermouse).
2) Cirque du Soleil are pretty cool but with 1,000 shows running simultaneously in Vegas their schtick is wearing a bit thin. To make things worse they have to tackle this well respected canon without offending a bevy of stakeholders including surviving widows, 2 band members, the real 5th Beatle Sir George and of course the legions of fans young and old.
3) so I am a fan of the band; the producer and actually his son too, and the troupe that has commissioned this work.
4) When it works Jesus its good, when it doesn't it isn't bad but it is certainly nothing new.
First impressions: The strings leap from being a mere backing track to a rich, soulful experience. For instance when listening to Elanor Rigby, it is as if you are sitting in a semicircle with the octet and Paul. You can hear the wood aching and creaking on the cellos. Just great.
I am the Walrus, again the poignant strings stand out but the new mix is a bit too crisp, the clarity is like lasix treatment for kaleidoscope eyes, too much clarity strips away some of the mystery and psychedelia. The mashups that work are Within You Without you superimposed over the monster drum beat/drone of Tomorrow Never Knows. The tabla beat sitting under Here Comes the Sun works not only sonically but also as a tribute to George.
The other thing I walked away with is how POWERFUL Ringo's playing is. He is maligned and underrated for sure but these remixes highlight just how remarkably powerful his playing is. From the Symphonic tom flourishes of A Day in the Life to the freight train chug of I am the Walrus (Sorry Bohnham fans, this is possibly the sludge rock freakin drum track of all time, it GROOVES like nothing I have ever heard.) (Ok, with several exceptions mostly from Ringo himself, Bill Ward and Bonham)(for those keeping track this si the 3rd paranthetical statement. I swear to God that Bonham's beat on "When the Levee Breaks" is a direct tribute to "I am the Walrus".)
I'd rather here the original mixes cleaned up and re-mastered or re-created from the original takes. Let it Be Naked showed how beautiful this could be. Stop screwing around with the limber limbed Canadians and get us the real stuff.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home Recording - Gearlust!

I have been lusting after one of these after hearing about it after last year's NAMM show.
The Presonus Faderport looks to be the coolest solution for home studios with limited desk space. A 100mm motorized fader that can be assigned to each channel as needed!
Awesome idea.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Portable USB Flash Drive Applications Rule!

portableapps logo, free software, open source, mobile computing

I have been using portableapps on a 1 gig USB Flash Drive from CFGear for a few months now. I am totally hooked. John Haller has created one of the coolest things ever. I think I could probably ditch my laptop all together and just carry the thumb drive loaded with PortableApps Suite. (The only thing I would add is Portable Skype which is essential.) And the best part? It is free.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Can I get this for Skype?!

I have been looking for a unit like this for Skype. I have been using portable Skype on my USB drive but still have to carry my Handset around.

Did you Grow up in the 70's?

If you were born during the Johnson or Nixon administrations you might recognize the kids clothes in this spot from my friends at This is their Christmas Promotion for USB sticks, Flash Drives and MP3 players:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

P2P is not killing the music industry!!

napster, all of mp3, itunes, mp3

I read the most rational, reasoned analysis of the state of the music industry on Save The Music Fan. Terry McBride, CEO of the Nettwerk Music Group, shares his insights on the current state of the record business, file sharing, piracy and the whiny idiocy that illegal downloads are ruining the industry.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

This Just In - iPod is Compatible with MAC OSX!!

ipod, zune, mac , vista, microsoft
apple, steve jobs, bill gates
But evidently the Zune is not compatible with Windows Vista. Can that be possible??
Read about it here.

Interview with Jimi Hendrix Photographer

There is an interesting interview with famed Rock photographer Robert M. Knight on FPE TV.
He discusses being onstage with Hendrix, taking photos during his last show in the U.S.
Always tune in to FPE for the latest news on guitars and guitar equipment.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Solar Power - Now!

solar energy
A few years ago I read "The Sun, The Internet and the Genome" by Freeman Dyson. It is short, insightful look at how current technological developments will shape our short-term future. He is not making wild sci-fi type predictions but looking at realistic developments that are already in the works. Here is a WIRED article about some new manufacturing techniques for solar cells. It looks like some of Dyson's thoughts on Solar power are coming to fruition.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

I was reading over the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Seems to be an easy bunch to sort through with the exception of Patti Smith. I have to admit that I have never really dug her. I tried but in the end I couldn't even fake it to seem hip. I mean the Springsteen cover was OK but other than that...
But I am sure the die hard music critic nerds will cry foul if she is passed over.
Here are my picks:

R.E.M. - Hard to believe they are eligible already (25 years since Chronic Town?!) but they deserve a place in the Hall of fame for Automatic for the People alone.

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - Everyone overlook what a ground breaking DJ this guy was, sure we have come to appreciate turntablists now but this guy was a pioneer. He did mindblowing stuff. The key was that he did it behind great rappers and good songs. A shoe-in.

Iggy and The Stooges - Lester Bangs said everything that ever needed to be said in praise of the Stooges.

Chic - Chic should be included more for their collective and individual influence than for their body of work. (Though the bass break on "Freak Out" ensures Bernard Edwards a place in Funky Valhalla.) They inadvertently laid the ground work for Rap when the Sugarhill Gang used the "Good Times" groove for Rapper's Delight. Nile Roger's production on Madonna and Steve Winwood and Tony Thomson's drums on Bowie's "Let's Dance" album set the pace for the 80's.

Van Halen - Van Halen I, Eruption, You Really Got Me. This is bombastic rock at its best and that goes without any mention of Eddie Van Halen's groundbreaking fret work.