kansas city music

HTML5 disturbingly close to bringing a tear to my eye

Aw, man. It just got a lit­tle dusty in my office at Coop­er. See­ing my old child­hood home in Lea­wood, Kansas will do that, espe­cial­ly when the Arcade Fire pro­vides the sound­track and when Google engi­neers work with a music video direc­tor to cre­ate the experience.

8710 Lee Blvd - Wilderness downtown

The pho­to above is from an "inter­ac­tive video" called "The Wilder­ness Down­town," and it's actu­al­ly as tech­no­log­i­cal­ly inter­est­ing as it is emo­tion­al­ly-provoca­tive. (It's espe­cial­ly emo if the Google Maps satel­lite imagery from your home looks appro­pri­ate­ly old and nos­tal­gic; see image above). Any­way, it's referred to as an "exper­i­ment" with Google's Chrome brows­er, which is prob­a­bly why, at times, it start­ed to feel like a show­case of whizzy HTML5 ele­ments — win­dows get launched and shuf­fled around; you're asked to scrib­ble on the screen; graph­ics are ani­mat­ed and lay­ered. I don't know, maybe I'm just the right mix of cheese­ball and geek, but it kind of worked for me.

music the ancient past visual

Glorious, degenerate exile

In yet anoth­er shal­low record-indus­try ploy to sell the same album twice, the Rolling Stones recent­ly asked pro­duc­er Don Was to dig through their Exile On Main Street archives and pro­duce a remas­tered ver­sion with a few addi­tion­al tracks. Think­ing about Exile reminds me, of course, of Robert Frank's doc­u­men­tary with an unprint­able name, a chron­i­cle the Stones' dai­ly lives around the time of Exile. This film pre­sent­ed in very raw form (in the words of one review­er) "mas­sive, almost unthink­able amounts of ego-grat­i­fi­ca­tion, and rou­tine, tor­pid, every­day bore­dom," and it was essen­tial­ly unre­leasable, shown only in art hous­es and pirat­ed VHS. It's safe to say that no mas­sive­ly suc­cess­ful band has ever, or will ever, give the kind of access that the Stones gave to Frank. (The sex and the drugs, they are every­where amidst the rock 'n roll). The above video is some of the clean­er stuff culled from Frank's footage. Need­less to say, the whole thing is worth see­ing, even if you have to cov­er your eyes every once in a while. Addi­tion­al read­ing: A nice lit­tle NPR inter­view with Mick and Keef.

music visual

Uhhhhh-hot pants! That's where it's at.

James Brown - Hot Pants - Wordle

Wor­dle seems sort of per­fect for rep­re­sent­ing James Brown lyrics. I used Inter­net lyrics, which don't appear to be a true tran­scrip­tion of the ver­sion on In the Jun­gle Groove, which is 8+ min­utes of "huh!" and "hey!" and "Good God!" and "smokin!" Still, good enough. While you're con­sid­er­ing James Brown as a lyri­cist, you should check out Eddie Murphy's theme song for "James Brown's Celebri­ty Hot Tub Par­ty" — the video; and in Wor­dle, which is an inter­est­ing way of visu­al­iz­ing one ele­ment of the satire.

california music san francisco

In a cloud

In A Cloud - New Sounds From San Francisco

Oh wow, our pal Greg Gard­ner put togeth­er a real­ly nice col­lec­tion of new music from local bands. It's called In A Cloud, which describes the recent win­ter weath­er and the album itself is a time cap­sule of San Fran­cis­co sounds in 2009-10. My favorite song is a sweet lit­tle thing called "Baby Held" by the elu­sive and pseu­do­ny­mous Jacques But­ters; you can lis­ten to it below. There's plen­ty more on the album — a love­ly track by Son­ny & the Sun­sets, a good one from the Sand­witch­es, a keep­er from Kel­ley Stoltz. You can buy it direct­ly from Greg's label, Secret Sev­en Records. Yay.

music visual

Aw, woo-ooh, yeah, yeah, yeah

Wor­dle + The First 100% Accu­rate Tran­scrip­tion of Led Zep­pelin II Lyrics =

Led Zeppelin 2 lyrics - wordle
ideas music visual

Actually, *I* am the walrus

I've love info­graph­ics, and I've gone on and on about col­lab­o­ra­tion and the Bea­t­les before, so when I heard that some­one had cre­at­ed an info­graph­ic dis­play­ing the degree to which Bea­t­les col­lab­o­rat­ed on songs — well, "inter­est­ed" would be huge­ly under­stat­ing my emo­tions at the time. (Thanks, Dan, for the tip).

"The Bea­t­les: Author­ship & Col­lab­o­ra­tion" is a nice­ly com­posed graph­ic, clear­ly break­ing down the con­trib­u­tors to each song, Bea­t­le and non-Bea­t­le. The songs are laid out chrono­log­i­cal­ly, and the over­all effect clear­ly reveals that the Bea­t­les col­lab­o­rat­ed less as they pro­gressed in their careers. (If any­thing is true of the Bea­t­les, it's that they grew apart over time). The chart's data is drawn from Beat­lesongs, which quan­ti­fies the degree to which each Bea­t­le con­tributed to the writ­ing of a song, using a scale of 0–100%.

Beatles - Collaboration - Octopus's Garden

I can't quib­ble with the desire to under­stand and visu­al­ize the degree to which each Bea­t­le shaped each song, but I find the quan­tifi­ca­tion bit a lit­tle — well — false­ly pre­cise. It makes for a nice info­graph­ic, but a mere skim through The Offi­cial Abbey Road Stu­dio Ses­sion Notes, 1962–1970 makes it clear that there was quite a lot of col­lab­o­ra­tion among the four Bea­t­les — not to men­tion the var­i­ous "fifth Bea­t­les," the "Black Bea­t­le," and their pro­duc­er, George Mar­tin. Per­haps there's a dif­fer­ence between "col­lab­o­ra­tion" and "author­ship?" In the exam­ple to the right, "Octopus's Gar­den," is said to be 100% Ringo? Yes, Ringo does receive sole cred­it for "author­ship," but it is wide­ly known that George had a sig­nif­i­cant role in shap­ing it. In fact, George works out the song on a piano in the Let It Be movie. How to rep­re­sent this soft­er sort of col­lab­o­ra­tion? Good ques­tion. Shapes? Sizes? Col­ors? Dimen­sions? What­ev­er it is, it should fair­ly com­mu­ni­cate the organ­ic nature of cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tion. And dis­pense with the too-neat round numbers.

music tech

We come from the land of the ice and snow

Curi­ous about what songs I've lis­tened to most, I nav­i­gat­ed over to my pro­file and saw this:

Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin -

Do I love "Immi­grant Song?" Yes. Do I imi­tate its open­ing vocal, Robert Plant's rever­ber­at­ing war cry that gets as close to the heart of awe­some­ness as any lyric in the his­to­ry of rock? Fre­quent­ly. But have I lis­tened to it 3,000+ times in the past cou­ple of years? Rough­ly 5x per day?I mean, maybe? But there's some­thing about this ran­dom (and prob­a­bly wrong) sta­tis­tic that makes me won­der what kinds of facts and fig­ures will drift long into the future, passed from disk to disk, tied to my name, dis­cov­ered by future peo­ple and being puz­zled over. Some­one in some ver­sion of the future, comb­ing through old web stats, Immi­grant Song has become, like the nation­al anthem, and this per­son will think, "Doug LeMoine, man. What a maniac."


Morning Harrison

Jim James of My Morn­ing Jack­et has record­ed some pared-down, reverbed-up cov­ers of George Har­ri­son songs under the name Yim Yames. I've includ­ed one here: "Long, Long, Long" from the White Album, and I appre­ci­ate the qui­et, def­er­en­tial treat­ment that Jim James gives his songs. Good stuff, "Yim."Here's a good sto­ry in the engineer's notes from the orig­i­nal record­ing of "Long, Long, Long" on Mon­day, Octo­ber 6, 1968:

There's a sound near the end of the song [best heard on the right chan­nel] which is a bot­tle of Blue Nun wine rat­tling away on the top of a Leslie speak­er cab­i­net. It just hap­pened. Paul hit a cer­tain organ note and the bot­tle start­ed vibrat­ing. We thought it was so good that we set the mikes up and did it again. The Bea­t­les always took advan­tage of accidents.

From the indis­pens­able Bea­t­les Record­ing Ses­sions by Mark Lewisohn.


Friday milkshake: Panda Bear meets Atlas Sound

Fri­day for me usu­al­ly means James Brown and Stere­o­lab, but today it's Pan­da Bear and Atlas Sound, a guy from Deer­hunter. I have been play­ing the 1s and 0s out of their new thing. Warn­ing: It's going to give you a crav­ing to drink a milk­shake with equal parts Beach Boys, organs of the Motown vari­ety, and Ani­mal Col­lec­tive raspy echoes.Atlas Sound guy describes the begin­ning of the col­lab­o­ra­tion, from Brook­lyn Veg­an:

I toured for a peri­od in Europe with Ani­mal Col­lec­tive, whose band dynam­ic was very inspi­ra­tional to be around. On the bus, we often played impro­vised iPod games. We would take turns for­mu­lat­ing a theme or uni­fy­ing con­cept and then play three songs. The goal would be for every­one to try and fig­ure out the theme. Dur­ing one of these games, some­one played "What Am I Going to Do" by the Dovers. I was amazed at the hook — a weird organ thing with drums and elec­tric bass. I men­tioned to Noah that some­one should real­ly sam­ple that riff. He agreed and he taught me a lit­tle about sam­pling and match­ing up beats. This end­ed up as the col­lab­o­ra­tive effort "Walk­a­bout."

Via Tom Haver­ford, aka Randy, aka Aziz Ansari.

music visual

Memphis dirty go-go

Stop what­ev­er you're doing and watch this. It's called "Win­dowdip­per," and it's by Jib Kid­der, aka Sean Schus­ter-Craig. I remem­ber Sean describ­ing his music as some­thing like min­i­mal­ist crunk, or Dirty South boo­gie, or Mem­phis dirty go-go, or some­thing, but you real­ly have to see this to get it. Sean, if you read this, remind me of the offi­cial sub-sub-genre. In the mean­time, holy crap. Enjoy.