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  • It's Been a Long Time Since I've Written One of These

    22 Sep 2009, 15:44 by TheConfuzed1

    Wow.

    It's been since like, forever... since I wrote anything here.

    I know there are a number of people who follow me because they like the way I write, and I've had some people in the last year ask when they might expect to read something new from me.

    The truth is, I have a lot to write about, but I've been holding back. Partly, it's been because I've changed jobs and I've been focusing so much of my time toward pulling myself together for his new gig, but mostly it's been because I've been doing so extremely well with it, that I've been nervous to acknowledge it, in fear of jynxing myself... Even though I don't believe in that crap. Yeah, I know... I'm a paradox, but you can never be too careful with that kind of thing.

    Watch this space, because I intend to fill some pages shortly.

    I want to post more very soon, but mostly I just need to post this teaser.

    This will hopefully accomplish two things; it should put me back into the mood of writing again, and get some creative juices flowing, but more importantly, it speaks my commitment out loud (in a matter of speaking) to do so, which will hopefully make it real for me.

    I want to share about some of my car business experiences, and I believe this to be a very effective way to do so.

    There, I've said it. I made the promise, and now I have to go through with it.

    I'll return shortly--Very shortly.
  • [31 Mar 09] Stacey Kent's Knighted!

    8 Apr 2009, 20:51 by IanAR

    Way back in 2002, before this place, the collaborative filtering music discovery systems I used were Amazons' and my Yahoo! LAUNCHcast personal radio (now killed by CBS).

    I think it was LAUNCHcast that turned me on to Stacey Kent's 2001 Dreamsville album and - man - Did I feel I was in on something good?! If you're not familiar with the release, I strongly suggest checking-out You're Looking At Me, Hushabye Mountain, I've Got a Crush on You and Dreamsville.

    For years I felt like one of the select few who knew her. When I first joined AudioScrobbler in 2005, absence of her recordings was one of the standards by which I judged the LAUNCHcast's catalog better than here.

    During 2006 she became streamable and in July I tagged her as lesser known yet streamable artists which, by then prevailing standards, would've meant that she had less than 10K listeners, on Last.FM.

    Over time, her notoriety's grown'n'grown and, hey hey, my girl's: topped a million plays on Last.FM (with 130K+ listeners), her Breakfast on the morning train was Grammy nominated, won British & BBC jazz awards ... and now she's been knighted! - Awarded with the medal of Knight of the French Order of Arts and Literature (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by Christine Albanel (French Culture Minister), during a ceremony at the Quai Branly museum in Paris. 31 March 2009


    Bravo, Stacey!
  • 2008 Ten of the Best (albums)

    9 Nov 2008, 14:50 by mat35

    Not been wow’d away by all that much this year. Not that that’s a bad thing. 2008 the year of change, the year of Rat or at least more or less eleven twelfths of it is/has been. 2008 the year of quality over quantity.

    Early as ever, I am with these things, but in the age of the internet if you haven’t heard it by mid-November it’s out next year. So…

    My Top Ten:

    10) A Silver Mt Zion as Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band with 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
    Bombastic vocal Post-Rock from people that brought us such godliness as God Speed! You Black Emperor. This isn’t on the same level as that, and is more in your face get it straight away stuff than previous outings, so those who like it deep might be a little off put, Efrim’s vocals also could also be a little off putting for some people. I don’t entirely mind all that much to be honest, it has a distinctive flavour and is a good album in it’s own light. A light that will probably remain over shadowed for many by it’s gigantic brothers and sisters.

    9) Coldplay with Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
    In my Metal loving days of yesteryears Five seconds before I heard this album, I would have berated myself for considering it a good album, after all it is Coldplay. Who have previously never previously produced anything more than a good collection of singles that on there own merits are decent, but played back to back quickly cause high levels of boredom. This however is quite the opposite no real singles as such other than the it’s namesake which I shocked not to have seen in a sporting montage. I don’t I know what I can say to get you to listen to it because they are one of those bands. I suppose when you’re influences are U2 and Radiohead you’re just asking to have some quarters to refuse to listen to you.. But do, it’s a pleasant surprise.

    8) Mogwai with The Hawk is Howling
    One of my favourite bands, have been for the past two years, since the days I went to college in Manchester and Mr Beast adverts were literally plastered at every visible angle. Nothing really new here, to be honest there probably not that much they can did with regards to changing there sound, but quality wise the maintain their typically high standards. One notable thing is there are no vocals at all. None. No one on the telephone, no sample Iggy Pop chatting on about crap, none guy out of Super Furry Animals. Pick out tracks is Scotland’s Shame and the first single Batcat.

    7) Venetian Snares with Detrimentalist
    Gentlemen. Usually I’m a bigger fan of the Rossz csillag alatt született type Vsnares albums, and for now that will a far as I’m concerned will remain to be Aaron Funk’s magnum opus. That said this from the word go produces a party in my ears. This album his more Drum’n’Bass and Dub influenced than those previous to it, yet is very typically Vsnares with mad breaks. It’s just that this time it makes you want to dance and party more than ever before.

    6) Peter Broderick with Home
    Ever since I “discovered” the beauty of this man’s music when he supported Efterklang last year have I claimed his genius, and such a departure from ones usually sound can only come in one of a few categories. Sell out, disaster, or genius. This of course is genius. His usual beautiful ambience and piano melodies are replaced by with acoustic folkiness, and vocal melodies. Comparable to the likes of Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, just better than one, almost as the other. Of course it’s hardly shocking he can write/play in a different style to which he often does, after all he is a multi-multi instrumentalist, and one of the greatest musicians I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live.

    5) Peter Broderick with Float
    Bet you wasn’t expecting that! Yes, he scores two in a row. This album is his signature sound that I have come to love with the European Tour CD and Docile. Peaceful and tranquil, I’d recommend to anyone, and everyone. We can’t go at 100mph all the time, and this album is perfect to relax to.

    4) Portishead with Third
    This band are relatively new to me, having discovered them pretty due to this album coming out, and the push it was being given. It’s great! I’ve since gone on to grab hold of the two previous studio releases one of which Dummy challenges Mezzanine for greatness. But let’s rant about this album. The music is dark, eerie, and oddly beautiful. Beth’s voice can only be described as hypnotic - amazing - beautiful. This release more or less optimise the theme of the year (quality over quantity) as it is the first release from the band in over 9 or 10 years I believe! The Rip and Machine Gun are particular favourites of mine.

    3) Sigur Ros with Með Suð i Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust

    Not many bands are in the top 20 or my 3 month, 6 month, 12 month, and Overall (4 year) charts… In fact there are only two. Mogwai and Sigur Ros. Oddly enough neither of which at the moment I have seen live. I unfortunately had to yet again pass on Mogwai the other week because of being poor. Sigur Ros however is all fully booked and just waiting to happen in a few weeks… And I can’t wait one little second.. If I closed my eyes right now and suddenly it was time for me to get the coach down to London I’d be one happy boy! Oh, and did I mention they are number one on my overall charts.

    What was that waffle all for you might ask, well you don’t get that consistently high on my charts without having a number of great albums, and yes, you’ve guess it. Með Suð i Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust is another great album. In many ways it’s very similar to Takk, in many ways it’s not. The opening track for instance wouldn’t go a miss side by side with an Animal Collective (circa FeelsFeels) track. Yet it soon becomes signature Ros, but the transition is smooth it’s not like one second you’re listening to Animal Collective next Sigur Ros, oh no. It’s Sigur Ros all the way through. In that essence the album is more like one big journy of a track than many different songs. Nevertheless it’s one top notch album.

    2) M83 with Saturdays = Youth

    Fresh, Retro: I can’t think of two more juxtaposed adjectives, especially when it comes to describing music. However when thinking of how to describe M83’s new outing Saturdays = Youth. They both pop to mind almost instantly. Whereas previous M83 albums sound like an up-to-date reprisal of classic showgaze, Saturdays is the most perfect eighties pop album for the noughties. Everything from the album sleeve to the first and last beat screams “nineteen eighties!” loudly and proudly however what’s inside is so modern it, so much so it’s almost unbelievable. Yet it is believable, M83 make it believable.

    1) Bon Iver with For Emma, Forever Ago
    Recorded and released in America last year, Bon Iver finally hit these shores and my ears around May of this year. For Emma, Forever Ago is a collection of personal, heart warming modern folk songs. On first listen you think it can’t get much better than this. On second you think the same, or the hundredth and so on you still think the same. That is all until you see Justin and his band live. Oh my. Over shadowed only by the might My Bloody Valentine this year… The show? It’s a show stopper! After seeing that and dare I, dare I say it: this man could be as good as Jeff Buckley. Unfortunately I’ll never have the chance to see the late great Buckley live, but his works are masterful and his voice was all so amazing. Justin’s works are also on an extremely high level and I have never heard a better vocalist live. He packed out the medium size Academy 2 in Manchester earlier this year. If he keeps up this quality I can only see him getting bigger and bigger.

    Well that's it for now. Might do a Best of Gigs, Tracks, and EPs/singles as the weeks to 2009 count down.
  • TWO HUNDRED THOOOOUSAND SONGS! wowzers.

    25 Nov 2007, 21:15 by TS2Master

    Thats right, I'll be there in no time at all. Kinda made me feel like I should do a journal post. So yeh, I'm enjoying lots of different musics at the moment, just made a bad ass hiphop / rap / bassy mix cd for the car today. CD collection is piling up now after starting to buy them just over a year ago. Got around 300 now, woos!

    Need to rip lots of my cd's to the computer.

    Need to buy a new mp3 player and put rockbox on it.

    Need to put Hocus Pocus on my laptop.

    In the world of not so much musicness, I am super busy with uni work at the mo, but am defo looking forward to xmas and a break from the hefty schedule.

    I'm also hoping I won't get pissed off with looking at this journal everytime I log on to my lastfm page. Maybe I should just post more journals and send them down the list.

    Anyway, *toasting* here's to Christmas, here's to anyone who reads this and here's to reaching 200,000 songs in a few days.

    Cheers!

    Pete x
  • [Goldfrapp] Seventh Tree - 25 Feb 08 Album Release

    26 Oct 2007, 16:46 by IanAR

    At 15:57 today, Goldfrapp announced the planned release of Seventh Tree:Paraphrasing, Deer said:

    fourth album, Seventh Tree through Mute on February 25th 2008. Seventh Tree is written and produced by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory and was recorded at their own studio deep in the English countryside.

    A sensual counterpoint to the glitterball glamour of Supernature, Seventh Tree is gilded in the butterfly colours of an English surrealism shared from Edward Lear to John Lennon*. It shimmers and shines with the warmth of a hazy summer, an electric whirlpool over which Alison’s glistening voice soars.

    * - Only "Lear" & "Lennon" was said, further specification is by my assumption.

    No further details have been released yet. If history is our guide (I watched the Black Cherry release preamble quite closely), track names will be hush-hush until about the time that promotional copies are sent out and we can be pretty sure there'll be a track called Seventh Tree ;)

    I wonder how many sales will be lost and/or additional promotional effort will be required, through not releasing before Christmas - Although all forms of ad-space are at a premium prior to the 'Developed World's Annual Television and Overeating Festival (those who don't know it's Christmas can't afford to buy many CDs, anyhow).

    The prognosis sounds more toward the Felt Mountain formulation, which I like and's been the word on Midnight To Six Management's authoritative Goldfrapp forum for months now. If that's the way it'll be, I'm gagging for it, and every remix!

    More news as it happens - Ian My.Mashable.com/Scrawl



    Edit 11 Jan 08: Updated group submissions + relevant connections from comments: Spacer, Contrazoom, Mark Radcliffe, Stuart Maconie, Clowns, Little Birds, 4 Mar 08 @ Union Chapel, London, UK, Talking Heads, Remain in Light, Once in a Lifetime, Brian Eno & David Byrne & My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.
  • Samantha Mumba (Baby Come on Over) Can't Dance? Not Trashy Enough?

    29 Sep 2007, 01:23 by IanAR

    I think Samantha Mumba can sing, I mean - really sing - and well! Also, IMO (and that of a significant proportion of the planet), she has drool-inducing looks. I think, it's this double-whammy that got her plucked out of Ireland and placed centre-stage in the / world.

    I've not followed her career closely enough to draw conclusions about her abilities in other vital areas, of her initial stardom niche, e.g. dancing and songwriting. However, somehow, I get the impression that she's, either uncomfortable with portraying the sexually alluring stereotype, so often seen in contemporary female leads, and/or her dancing's not up-to expressing it.


    This video looks like it cost a gazillion bucks, to produce. It appears it's trying to be sexy but, for me, somehow it's not - the supporting dancers are excellent, such that the end result is slick and jolly - but my pants remain dry and flaccid.

    Please, don't misapprehend me, I think Baby Come on Over is great! The lyrics are clever / meaningful and the result is a top love-song / i am a party girl here is my soundtrack tune! Samantha's delivery is heart-rendingly sincere and engaging - m'be this, in itself, is in-part to blame, for my 'suspension of disbelief' inhibition, as regards the smuttier realms.

    I've not heard much about Ms Mumba, in recent music happenings (I hope Universal've not dropped her) - However, I wonder how she'd've got on with, more like, Missy Elliott's looks or Beyoncé dancing ... m'be then she'd not've been jammed into an unfitting mould or'd be better able to fit such.


    She had a good part in the 2002 The Time Machine remake, which I'm yet to see (oddly, what lead me to be reminded of Samantha and write this) and she's subsequently been married *curses* I guess, some spawning will ensue and perhaps she'll return to music, possibly then dazzling us outside the arena.
  • How Eclectic Are You... Really?

    21 Sep 2007, 00:33 by TheConfuzed1

    I see the word 'Eclectic' thrown around a lot on Last.fm.

    Unfortunately, it seems that many people use this word because they think it brings them elitism, and quite frankly, it also seems that these people don't understand the meaning of the word.

    A lot of these people listen to only those artists that they think will make others perceive their music as eclectic.

    The funny thing is, many of these people all listen to the same stuff!

    Yeah, I get it, you're eclectic. You're not mainstream.

    Does that really gain you something? Listen to your music because you enjoy it, not because it gains you membership to some elite club. Listen to your music because it moves you, inspires you, motivates you, relaxes you, whatever.

    Don't listen to it because of the number of people who either do, or don't listen to it! Just because an artist that isn't popular today, becomes popular five years from now, does not make them a sell-out!

    In fact, if you like someone today, because they are obscure, and you stop listening to them, because they become popular, I'd say that makes you a sell-out.

    This rant works with genres too. Anyone who limits themselves to any specific genre(s) is missing out on a whole world of musical goodness.

    Am I telling you to stop listening to your music? No. Am I telling you to start listening to my music? No. Am I telling you to listen to more, or less, of what is mainstream? No. I'm telling you not to listen to what I'm telling you, and do your own thing. I'm telling you to stop listening to those around you, and stop letting them influence the way you listen to music!

    I'm not telling you not to try out new recommendations. I'm just telling you to form your own opinion, and break away from the crowd, whether it be a large crowd, or a small one.

    I'm sure no one cares. I just had to get that off my chest.
  • Vote For Last.fm

    3 Sep 2007, 23:40 by TheConfuzed1

    If you use this site more than any other, and if you want to cast your vote for best site online, do so here!

    Slide the slider to 100%, and submit!
  • Burning Man Gets Owned

    1 Sep 2007, 04:53 by TheConfuzed1

    Burning Man festival loses its innocence

    After the signature effigy of the Burning Man festival went up in flames four days ahead of schedule, festival-goers vowed to rebuild the 40-foot icon by Saturday's planned climax.

    The oringial, 40-foot Burning Man was supposed to go up in flames this weekend.

    1 of 3 But not everyone was disappointed by Tuesday's incineration.

    The alleged torching of the wood-and-neon figure by a San Francisco performance artist has cast light on the disillusionment of many who feel the annual celebration of radical self-expression has lost touch with its spontaneous, subversive roots.

    "People have been trying to set that thing on fire for years," said Hugh D'Andrade, a San Francisco artist who attended the festival for many years. "This is not a new phenomenon."

    Organizers trace the first Burning Man back to a 1986 party on a San Francisco beach where Larry Harvey, who still runs the festival, set ablaze a crude 8-foot wooden figure.

    Since then, the event has evolved into a weeklong gathering of nearly 40,000 people who descend on the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada around Labor Day each year to celebrate countercultural creativity.

    In San Francisco, especially, Burning Man has emerged as a kind of underground high holiday as legions of so-called Burners devote the rest of the year to choreographing fire dances, decorating art cars and building elaborate interactive sculptures.

    The event has become such a mainstay of the city's cultural calendar that Burner parents in 2005 unsuccessfully urged the San Francisco school board to postpone the first day of school so their children could attend.

    But the rise in Burning Man's popularity has also brought a backlash.

    In the immediate aftermath of this week's unscheduled burn, gleeful expressions of approval for the alleged prank rained down on blogs and Internet forums.

    Some comments came from conservative posters ready to mock anything carrying a hint of hippiedom.

    But many originated from self-described former attendees complaining that Burning Man has been spoiled by crowds of "yuppies" and "frat boys" mostly interested in doing drugs and ogling naked participants.

    Steven Black, a 40-something librarian at the University of California, Berkeley, has attended Burning Man 11 times. But even though he had a ticket this year, he said, he didn't go.

    "What has happened here is giving pause for a degree of introspection and reflection on what it means to burn this man that is perhaps long overdue," Black said.

    According to Black, Burning Man's huge crowds have attracted heavy law enforcement attention to an event that was originally meant to be an exultation, leaving him feeling "less secure and less free" than if he had just stayed home.

    Paul Addis, 35, of San Francisco, who is accused of setting fire to the Burning Man, posted $25,632 bond and was released from jail in Pershing County, Nevada, on Tuesday. He was arrested on suspicion of arson, illegal possession of fireworks, destruction of property and resisting a public officer, according to the sheriff's department.

    Known on the city's art scene for playing gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson on stage, Addis has apparently had long-standing gripes against the festival. In a letter published in a local alternative newspaper in 2002, a person using the same name complained about the imposition of rules he felt were spoiling the event.

    "Those rules and judgments, such as what art is permitted in B(lack) R(ock) C(ity) and radical free expression's outer limits are determined in line with what will make the most money for B(urning) M(an) and generate the fewest potential controversies in the media," the person wrote.

    Law enforcement officials said they did not know Addis' whereabouts after his release. Calls to a telephone number listed for him in San Francisco were not answered.

    A spokeswoman for Burning Man organizers did not respond to messages seeking comment.

    Despite the criticism, even disenchanted Burners like D'Andrade haven't completely written off the festival.

    "When I first started going, they already said it was over," said D'Andrade, who went to his first Burning Man in 1999 and designed the ticket for this year's event, though he hasn't attended since 2005. "New people are still getting a big blast of all the positive elements that have made it what it is."


    Seriously, when was Burning Man ever innocent?

    Also, isn't this supposed to be about spotaneity? I'd say this qualifies. Ha!
  • Time To Boycott NBC

    31 Aug 2007, 18:38 by TheConfuzed1

    Apple: iTunes Store to stop selling NBC TV shows after NBC demands more than double price increase

    Apple today announced that it will not be selling NBC television shows for the upcoming television season on its online iTunes Store. The move follows NBC’s decision to not renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple declined to pay more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99. ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode.

    “We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, in the press release. “We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers.”

    Apple’s agreement with NBC ends in December. Since NBC would withdraw their shows in the middle of the television season, Apple has decided to not offer NBC TV shows for the upcoming television season beginning in September. NBC supplied iTunes with three of its 10 best selling TV shows last season, accounting for 30 percent of iTunes TV show sales.

    Don't pay for any content from NBC. Use BitTorrent instead. Those bastards deserve to feel some pain.

    Just in time: TVShows for Mac OS X automatically downloads your favorite TV shows via BitTorrent (Of course, if you're not on Mac OS X, you can download your torrents the old fashioned way.) ;)