• Digital Meets Analog

    f_18044While there’s surly enough styles of iPod speaker docs out there on the market, how many of those are entirely acoustic and need no batteries or electricity?

    Beyond the novelty appeal of this iVictrola, I can imagine several albums and artists that would sound awesome on a system like this: Iron and Wine, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, just to name a few.

    The combination isn’t simply a novel head turner, either. It serves to highlight various technologies developed over the last 150 years that have all aimed to solve the same problem: allowing people to  enjoy listening to music without a live musician present to perform.

    Steampunk is an interesting aesthetic response to all the plastic modernism that’s hard to escape these days. I saw this in the window at the downtown Design Within Reach store and it’s definitely a head-turner.

    From their website:
    “The sound is carried from a hole in the base, amplified by the metal Magnavox horn to fill the room.”

  • A Decade of Flying Lotus

    Flying Lotus

    Flying Lotus

    The Brainfeeder blog is currently hosting a special DJ mix celebrating 10 years of Flying Lotus that is nicely mixed by The Gaslamp Killer.

    It serves as an excellent introduction to Flying Lotus’ stellar productions, but also contains unheard tracks for those who are already fans. The mix is also an excellent way to get all hyped up for his new album “Cosmogramma” which will be released on April 20th, 2010 by Warp Records.

    Contributed by Ellis Graham Busch

  • Hot Music for a Cold Month

    CampFire

    Here is a new DJ mix from TRG to keep you warm this month.  It contains a lovely mixture of wonky hip-hop and downtempo chunky beats. Enjoy!
    Tracklist:
    1. Lone – The Twilight Switch

    2. Nosaj Thing – Quest

    3. Flying Lotus ft Andreya – Tea Leaf Dancers

    4. DJ Bootsie – Mosquito Dance

    5. Bibio – Fire Ant

    6. Mike Slott – Snow Birds

    7. Ras G – Spacewayz

    8. Heralds of Change – Sittin on the Side

    9. Bullion – Young Heartache

    10. Cosmin TRG – Masterplan

    11. Cosmin TRG – Modern Tribes

    12. Lone – Love Heads

    13. Cosmin TRG – Space Station Riot

    14. Boards of Canada – Telephasic Workshop

    15. Cosmin TRG – UFO Interlude

  • Katie Paterson’s Super-Limited Release

    ice_record-1

    Limited releases can be novel, artistic and fun to collect. But this ultra-limited release only lasted for 6 hours!
    Artist Katie Paterson collected glacial ice while traveling. She also recorded to sound of the ice and the water flow. Once home, she pressed the recording she collected onto records made out of the ice itself.

    It then took 2 hours of continuous play for the records to completely melt.
 This is a super interesting way to combine music, art and awareness of the environment together into one project.

  • Still Mourned After 29 Years

    This is one of those events that have been etched in my mind forever. I remember the exact place where I stood when first hearing the news, and the disbelief/denial that followed.

    The Exterior of The Dakota

    The Exterior of The Dakota

    As we heard subsequent reports I always hoped and thought he would pull through despite having bled profusely while waiting for the ambulance to arrive at The Dakota.

    With the release of Double Fantasy just 3 weeks prior, there was much excitement surrounding his return, and that his best work was still ahead of him. Since the Beatles break-up in 1970, I had been a bit disappointed with John’s solo work. I guess my expectations were just too high, but felt that with this second wind, we would finally hear John at his very best.

    Much like the senseless deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, there was such euphoria and hope, only to be snuffed out, leaving many of us heart-broken and empty.

    There’s not much I can say about the impact John Lennon had on my life that hasn’t already been said or felt by most of my generation, but that he was and will always be my hero, inspiration and champion.

    Thank you John.

    Contributed by Bill Spencer

  • Little Dragon Rocks The Casbah

    Little Dragon is a killer electronic band from Sweden who are starting to create quite a buzz with their live shows. They recently played the small venue The Casbah in San Diego on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009.   (more…)

  • I Speak Fula Reviewed

    333We just got the advance of the new album by Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba titled “I Speak Fula” which was released on iTunes this week and comes out on those round plastic discs on February 2nd, 2010.

    This is the first release on Sub Pop’s new African music imprint called Next Ambiance, run by Jon Kertzer who has an amazing African music radio show here in Seattle every Monday night called Best Ambiance. Sub Pop records continues to experiment and evolve and I wouldn’t be surprised if other indie labels launched similar side labels based on the success of other world-flavored indie bands like Vampire Weekend, Extra Golden, The Very Best etc.

    “I Speak Fula” incorporates elements of blues, rock and upbeat Afro pop that’s such a signature sound of Mali right now. I’m totally knocked out by the album and love the fact that they’re playing 2 performances at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver BC next year.  My personal favorite tracks are “Jamana be diya” (classic Mali Afro pop) “Torin Torin” (same pop appeal as Amadou & Mariam) and “Bambuga Blues”  (genre-busting song with some beautiful raw guitar work).  Highly recommended.

    According to their website:
    “Beginning in early February 2010, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba will share the bill with Bela Fleck for their inaugural tour through the United States.”

    2010 Tour Dates:

    2/2   Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO

    2/3   Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, NM

    2/4   Aggie Theater, Fort Collins, CO

    2/5   Wheeler Opera House, Aspen, CO

    2/6   Avalon Theater, Grand Junction, CO

    2/8   Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO

    2/10 Granada Theater, Dallas, TX

    2/11 Lyric Theater, Oxford, MS

    2/12 Murray State University, Murray, KY

    2/13 Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS

    2/14 (T) Urbana, IL

    2/16 House of Blues, Cleveland, OH

    2/17 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    2/18 Ohio University, Athens, OH

    2/19 Butler University, Indianapolis, IN

    2/20 Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha, NE

    2/21 Old Town School, Chicago, IL

    2/22 Miami University, Hamilton, OH

    2/24 Grand Opera House, Wilmington, DE

    2/25 University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

    2/26 Opera House, Waterville, ME

    2/27 Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

    3/1   Ottawa Jazz Festival. Ottawa, CAN

    3/2   Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME

    3/3   Penn State University, State College, PA

    3/4   Jefferson Center, Roanoke, VA

    3/5   Weinberg Center, Frederick, MD

    3/6   Georgia Tech University, Atlanta, GA

    3/8   Plaza Theater, Orlando, FL

    3/9   Sunrise Theater, Fort Pierce, FL

    3/10 Florida Theater, Jacksonville, FL

    3/11 BAMA Theater, Tuscaloosa, AL

    3/12 Orange Peel, Asheville, NC

    3/14  Vancouver Olympics

    3/15  Vancouver Olympics

    3/16  Triple Door, Seattle, WA

    3/20  Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA

    3/21  Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA

    3/25  Philidelphia

    3/26 Zankel Hall New York, NY

    3/27  Somerville Theater Somerville, MA

    3/28 The Strand, rockland, ME

    3/30  Sanctuary for Independant Media VS Iheg, Troy, NY

    3/31  Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT

    4/2   Savannah Music Festival with Bill Frisell Trio, Savannah, GA

    4/3   Savannah Music Festival with Bill Frisell Trio, Savannah, GA

    4/7   Outreach-Lee Theatre, Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, St. Louis, MO

    4/7   Lee Theatre, Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center St. Louis, MO

    4/8   Legion Arts Cedar Rapids, IA

    4/9   Legion Arts VS Madison

    4/10 The Cedar   Minneapolis, MN

    4/15  NMSU Music Recital Hall,Las Cruces, NM

    4/16  Outpost Albuquerque, NM

    4/17  Austin Reggae Festival vs Bulder H1, AUSTIN, TX

    4/18  International Festival, Houston, TX

    4/23 Festival International,  Lafayette, LA

    4/24  Festival International,  Lafayette, LA

    4/25  New Orleans Jazz Festival, New Orleans, LA

    Contributed by Dean Carlson

  • Welcome to the Jungle

    muzak3

    Long before Muzak was a pop-culture term, it was an innovative American company. Founded in 1934, Muzak delivered all the big-band hits of the era to restaurants, factories and certainly most infamously to elevators.

    That’s right. I said it. We totally invented elevator music. But hear me out.

    Elevators had just been invented. Before? Start climbing, because those stairs are going to take a while. But stairs weren’t going to cut it in the brand-new Empire State building, or the dozens of other skyscrapers newly towering over major cities across the United States.

    Imagine how folks cramming into this new contraption must have felt. Faint clinks and clangs were terribly unnerving. So Muzak brought favorite tunes to grateful passengers holding their breath all the way up to the 78th floor.

    Like anyone or anything fortunate enough to exist for 75 years, Muzak has seen much come and go: musical styles and tastes; recording, storage and playback technology; recording artists; record labels and even legislation about copyright and music licensing. Sometimes we excelled at predicting new trends and embracing change. And at other times we played The Girl From Ipanema.

    Somehow, though, the whole elevator music stereotype got stuck. Really stuck. It’s so stuck that we still hear it at least once a day, which is significant when you consider that Muzak moved to an original artist format, via Michael Jackson’s Thriller, in 1983. That’s a pretty long time to be judged based on outdated information. (If you were to judge me based on that time frame, there wouldn’t be anything to consider. I didn’t exist yet.)

    But because our customers are companies and not individuals, we didn’t take adequate time in the past to explain who we really are. And that needs to change.

    Muzak is where the most talented, knowledgeable and passionate people in the industry are. Some can outfit entire stadiums with massive speaker systems and never break a sweat. Some work to develop brand new hardware and software programs that just might change the way music is stored or distributed in the future. Some could write a dissertation on the history of Latin music in 30 minutes on the back of a napkin.

    All of these people deserve a venue to share their expertise, passion and insights. So welcome to Straight to Plate, a blog we’ve named after one of Muzak’s earliest methods of recording music. Only here, we’ll be recording more than just music. My name is Brittany. I’ll be bringing you all of the latest from Muzak’s in-house music, branding and technology experts, with some context and commentary along the way.

  • Beck’s Record Club

    psych-record-large-1If you haven’t checked this out already, please do so.  Beck is leading an awesome creative project called “Record Club” involving various artists for the last few months.

    Their goal is to record an informal album in just one day, just to play together and document what happens.  I’m pretty fond of several of the covers I’ve heard so far (especially the Velvet Underground covers) and look forward to checking for more.

    Collaborators include Wilco, Jamie Lidell, Feist, Devendra Banhar and Giovanni Ribisi to name a handful.