Showing all posts tagged: music

A timeline of electric guitar invention and innovation

19 September 2022

A timeline of electric guitar invention and innovation, by Dutch guitarist and tutor Paul Davids. Starting from 1950, when the Fender Telecaster guitar arrived — originally called Broadcaster — followed soon after of course by the Gibson Les Paul, and then right on through.

Almost all guitars currently on the market are either a direct descendant of, or very similar to, a handful of instruments that came to life during the span of one decade: the fifties.

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Relive the good old days of Daft Punk at the Daft Punk cafe

14 September 2022

The Daft Punk cafe, by Ukrainian developer, and fan of the erstwhile French electronic music duo, Vadim Demedes.

With daftpunk.cafe, I wanted to create a fun corner on the internet for Daft Punk fans around the world. Listen to the radio, play some tetris or test your knowledge of track names and just have a good time!

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The ingenious sampling techniques of Daft Punk

3 September 2022

Fans of defunct French electronic music act Daft Punk will love this… Sample Breakdown, by Tracklib, shows how Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo composed some of their signature tracks.

Oh to have a job that required listening to just about every recorded musical composition since the 1970s (it seems) in order to compose original material. And then to hone on just the right samples from a song, and create something else from it: amazing.

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Holiday new music from Australian band Crooked Colours

29 August 2022

Just what the doctor ordered on a Monday morning, Holiday, the new single from Perth, Australia, three-piece alternative dance act Crooked Colours.

Take me away…

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From woe to go Triple J ratings rebound in latest survey

26 August 2022

Last time I wrote about listener survey ratings for local and alternative music Australian radio station, Triple J, the news was not good for the broadcaster. Results of survey four for 2022, conducted between Sunday 22 May and Saturday 25 June, and released on Tuesday 5 July, showed a sharp fall in the number of people tuning in.

The findings of survey five though, where radio listeners were polled between Sunday 10 July and Saturday 13 August, revealed a jump in audience numbers, among Sydneysiders aged 18 to 24.

Australia’s national youth broadcaster Triple J has seen a noticeable bump in its key 18-24 demographic in the fifth radio survey of the year, after struggling with its core audience in Sydney for most of 2022. The latest survey has seen the broadcaster more than double its 18-24 audience share, leaping from 4.4 per cent to 9.6 per cent of all listeners in that age group.

Despite the overall increase of listeners in the 18-24 demographic, Triple J’s breakfast and morning shows saw a decrease in audience numbers.

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Jacoténe wins Triple J Unearthed High with I Need Therapy

12 August 2022

Talking of Triple J… Emerging Melbourne based Australian soul and pop singer Jacoténe has won the radio station’s Unearthed High for 2022, with her demo single I Need Therapy. Those vocals though…

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Triple J losing listeners to commercial radio, go figure

12 August 2022

Government funded, alternative music Australian radio station, Triple J has been losing listeners for sometime among their target demographic of 18 to 24 year olds, but recent surveys show the decline has picked up pace, as Tim Burrows at Unmade writes:

However, the fall for average listening to Triple J is much worse. Now, a much bigger proportion of that young listening audience is choosing commercial radio. In 2014, there were an average of 22,000 members of Triple J’s target audience listening at any given time. In the most recent survey in 2022, that had fallen to 10,000 – a fall of 55%.

What puzzles me is the migration to commercial radio though. Listeners haven’t gone to TikTok to discover and listen to music — at least not all of them — instead they’re tuning into commercial radio stations. Surely the ads that choke commercial radio broadcasts don’t have some sort of hitherto unrealised appeal to Generation Z?

I’m somewhat outside Triple J’s target audience, but one reason I still tune in (stream in) is precisely because there are no cheesy commercial jingles. There are ads of sorts on Triple J, but usually for other shows, and music related events and happenings. Certainly not the kind you encounter on commercial channels though.

And surely 18 to 24 year olds aren’t being turned off by Triple J’s focus on new Australian music? Interestingly, radio listenership in general is down some seventeen percent among those aged 18 to 24, so while the jays are losing audience share, they’re not the only ones.

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Vale Judith Durham, lead singer of the Seekers

8 August 2022

Judith Durham, lead singer of Australian folk/pop band the Seekers died last Friday, 5 August 2022, aged 79. Formed in 1962, the Seekers, along with Durham, who joined the group a year later, were among the first Australian music acts to achieve international success.

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Michael Spitzer: 40000 years of music history in 8 minutes

6 August 2022

Because music is so accessible today we’re drowning in it, says Michael Spitzer, professor of music at the University of Liverpool. That’s a far cry from a few hundred years ago when people attended, at best, two recitals in their lifetime, and music went unrecorded until 1877 when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph.

But the arrival of the phonograph is only a small part in the story of music. Changes in the way music was performed, and the instruments created to make that possible, evolved as we moved away from our hunter-gatherer roots, and eventually began living in towns. Spitzer’s recounting of forty-thousand years of musical development, in the space of eight minutes, is fascinating.

If you’re looking at the broad picture of the evolution of sapiens, then the epochs are hunter-gatherer, farming community, and then the founding of cities and city-states. Each of these epochs is associated with mentalities. So, hunter-gatherers tended to be nomadic. And if you’re essentially journeying through a landscape, what you don’t do is carry heavy instruments. Music has to be portable, ideally, just a voice or if not, a very light flute or a small percussive instrument. And if you look at the music that is played by the Cameroon Pygmies, every time they play a piece, it sounds different. It’s very much music of the moment.

Now, what changes when you invent farming? You settle down. And your whole mindset becomes fixed on the circle of the seasons, the circle of life. And you invent repeatable work. And the structure of the work becomes as cyclical as life itself. You invent a circle in music, invent musical rituals. And once music migrates from the farm to the town, certain changes happen. Instruments can become heavy because you start to set quite permanent roots into the town. You create heavy instruments like bells and gongs, but also very delicate ones like harps and lutes which would be damaged over a journey.

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Spotify has bought music trivia game Heardle

19 July 2022

Heardle, the invention of a web and app designer based in London, who last I read wished not to reveal his identity, has been bought by music streamer Spotify. That’s probably not a surprise to too many people.

Spotify announced Tuesday that it has purchased Heardle, one of the many themed trivia games that cropped up in the wake of Wordle’s blockbuster success. Heardle is Spotify’s first game acquisition, and the company hopes it will play a dual role: in addition to keeping music nerds engaged, it can act as a music discovery tool.

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NSW Police attempt to remove OneFour music from steaming

19 July 2022

In 1988 California based hip hop act NWA released a protest song called Fuck the Police. Written as a reaction to police brutality and racial profiling, the song raised the hackles of the FBI, who believed the single incited violence against law enforcement agencies. Although the Bureau made life difficult for the group, they ultimately failed to stymie NWA’s music, partly because the first amendment to the constitution of the United States protects freedom of speech.

Today in Australia, Sydney based hip hop group OneFour, are facing similar pressure from the NSW Police Force. Police claim the group have links to banned bikie gangs, and that some of their lyrics incite violence. Unlike the United States though, freedom of speech here is not explicitly protected by the Australian constitution. Meanwhile, in an unusual step, police are trying to remove certain OneFour songs from streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube.

This week the NSW Police Force confirmed it would attempt to remove certain songs from streaming platforms such as Spotify and YouTube if they believed the lyrics incited violence. Police don’t actually have the power to force those companies to remove songs, but the fact they believe it’s within their remit to deplatform music they believe poses a danger to the community is quite extraordinary.

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The Global Music Vault, saving music for 10000 years

15 July 2022
Quartz glass data storage platter, Global Music Vault

Image courtesy of the Global Music Vault.

Much like the Svalbard Global Seed Vault which is intended to preserve plant seed specimens in the event of happenings such as natural disasters, wars, sabotage, or disease, the Global Music Vault, an initiative being supported by Microsoft, will safeguard and preserve the sonic arts for up to ten thousand years.

With the abundance of music in a variety of formats, vinyl, digital optical disc data storage (i.e. compact disc), and digital audio for instance, why is there a need take such a step in the first place? The thing is, none of these storage formats last all that long:

By Microsoft’s estimation, hard drives protect data for five years before they can go bad. Tape lasts about a decade, while CDs and DVDs can make it as long as 15 years before their contents are at risk of becoming illegible. While we seem to live in an age of progress — the iPhone can store thousands of songs in your pocket and stream countless more from the cloud — even in the best of cases, those songs will deteriorate millennia earlier than hieroglyphics carved into stone by the ancient Egyptians.

To conserve the music stored in the music vault — which incidentally will be located not far from the Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen — compositions may be etched into quartz glass, using technology developed by Microsoft to store data as 3D patterns in a glass platter:

Microsoft begins with quartz glass, a high-quality glass that features a symmetrical molecular structure, which makes it far more resilient to high temperature and pressure than the glass in your home’s windows (and, like all glass, it’s immune to the electromagnetic scrambling of nuclear weapons). Then, using a femtosecond laser — a laser that can fire for one quadrillionth of a second — Microsoft etches information as 3D patterns into the glass. Once this data is stored, another laser reads the quartz, as machine learning algorithms translate the pattern back into music, movies, or any other digital information.

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SXSW is coming to Sydney Australia in October 2022

1 July 2022

Long running Austin, Texas, based American music, film, and interactive conference and festival South by Southwest, better known as SXSW, is hosting a week-long event in Sydney, from Saturday 15 October 2022 until Saturday 22 October.

While SXSW has held a number of spin-off events in the past, usually in North America, this is the first time the festival is being replicated outside of the United States. While details are yet to be finalised, most events will be taking place at the International Convention Centre (ICC), in Darling Harbour.

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Elvis Presley’s Edge of Reality remixed by Tame Impala

28 June 2022

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis bio-pic has a lot of talking points. But then again what films by Baz Luhrmann don’t? The near three hour runtime (four for the director’s cut apparently), and the accent Tom Hanks uses in his portrayal of Colonel Tom Parker, for starters.

Then there’s the contemporary remixes of Presley’s classic hits, including Edge of Reality, reimagined by Perth based Australian one-person act Tame Impala. Plenty to talk about here.

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Ringo Starr, maybe not a drumming genius, but a drumming genius

28 June 2022

One for fans of the Beatles, and in particular, the drumming of Ringo Starr, here’s their 1966 track She Said, She Said, with isolated bass and drum lines. Compared to the likes of John Bonham, Hannah Welton, Charlie Watts, or Dave Grohl, Starr may not have been a master keeper of time, but he could sure play a fill.

Via Far Out Magazine.

And on a related note, footage of Paul McCartney performing at the Glastonbury Festival last week with John Lennon. Yes, indeed.

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Mars Junction, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ new band

14 June 2022

If you know the Facebook origin story, and or saw David Fincher’s 2010 film The Social Network, then you’ll know who Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are. Long story short, they once tried to hire a young Mark Zuckerberg to help them build a social network called originally called HarvardConnection, but later renamed ConnectU.

Short story really short, Zuckerberg liked the concept, but didn’t think much of the Winklevoss twins, whom he studied with at Harvard University, and quietly began developing Facebook. The Winklevosses accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea, and launched legal action against him. But watch The Social Network, it may not be one-hundred percent accurate, but it’ll give you an idea of what happened.

Following the Facebook debacle, the Winklevosses went on to establish Winklevoss Capital Management in 2010, a company offering seed-funding to start-ups. Several years later they founded Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange.

And in July 2021, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss formed Mars Junction, “a hard-hitting rock band”, and if this footage from a show recorded by Arch Nem a few days ago is anything to go by, they’re going off. The mosh pit is chock full of fans wearing Mars Junction t-shirts. Truly, how many other bands can boast similar such images from their gigs?

Between being at Harvard, their start-up experience, rowing for the United States in the 2008 Olympics, cryptocurrency, and now hard-hitting rock, it’s about time the Winklevosses were given a movie of their own…

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Star Wars tops the ABC Classic soundtrack music poll

14 June 2022

The soundtrack for the Star Wars series of films, by American composer John Williams, has been voted the number one favourite by listeners of Australia’s ABC Classic, in their recent Classic 100 poll.

Despite spanning forty-odd years, Williams’s Star Wars scores are a coherent, singular musical project. ABC Classic’s Screen Sounds presenter Dan Golding described the music’s timeless appeal: “John Williams’s music emphasises what is emotionally familiar about this young boy who dreams of saving the galaxy. It is much more myth than metaphor, more Camelot than Brave New World.”

In addition to the Star Wars soundtrack, other works by Williams also featured in the top ten of the poll, including Schindler’s List, the Harry Potter films, and Jurassic Park.

While there’s only one hundred entries though, looking through the full list seems to reveal the presence of just about every known film or TV series. How can that be?

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Triple J losing radio listeners en masse says new radio survey

2 June 2022

Radio listeners have been abandoning the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in droves, according to the latest rating survey conducted by GfK. Youth radio station Triple J — incidentally about the only station I listen to, if I listen to radio at all — in particular has seen a tumble in popularity, with listeners aged 18 to 24 especially, tuning in elsewhere:

In the last survey, Triple J dipped 4.6 percentage points in the 18-24 demo, from 20 per cent to 15.4 per cent, but has seen that number almost half in this survey, dropping 7.4 percentage points for an 8.0 per cent share. This places Triple J behind Smooth FM (8.5 per cent, up 2 percentage points) and WSFM (8.3 per cent, up 2.9 percentage points) among younger listeners.

That’s an alarming set of numbers. While recent government funding cuts to the ABC have undoubtedly contributed to the fall off, I’m wondering what else might be at play.

For further reading on ABC audience numbers, Tim Burrows, formerly of Mumbrella, offers some deeper analysis of the latest radio survey findings.

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What If the Future Never Happened? The Daniel Johns story

1 June 2022

To accompany his latest album, Never Future, Australian musician Daniel Johns, formerly of Silverchair, will be releasing a short film (trailer), set in 1994, based on his experiences as a fifteen year old fronting Silverchair, which will feature orchestral reinterpretations of the band’s hits.

In a press release, Johns described What If The Future Never Happened? as “a grunge, sci-fi short adventure inspired by the pop culture I was immersed in before a curious case of child stardom”. It follows a hypothetical timeline wherein Johns’ trajectory was interrupted by “a mysterious figure from the future”, presumably stopping him from making the leap to stardom.

Johns, who will be portrayed by Australian actor Rasmus King, in addition to making a cameo appearance himself, describes the film as “at once the most honest and most fantastical thing I’ve ever done”.

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Mental health, well-being, prime concerns for music workers

30 May 2022

A recent survey of people working professionally in the Australian music and live performing arts industries makes for grim reading. Conducted in March by Support Act, a charity assisting artists and workers in the Australian music industry, the findings reveals many are fearful for their livelihoods and mental health:

  • 66% of participants had high/very high levels of psychological distress, more than four times the general population
  • 59% experienced suicidal thoughts, which is over four and a half times the proportion of the general Australian population
  • 29% reported having a current anxiety condition and 27% reported currently having depression, both more than twice that of the general population
  • Over one third of participants reported incomes from their work in music/live performing arts as less than $30,000 per annum, which is below the poverty line
  • Just 15% said they felt safe at work all of the time, with 35% saying they were exposed to unsafe working conditions in the last year
  • Over 47% lost their jobs due to the pandemic

The full summary of survey findings (PDF) can be read here.

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