DJ Schedule Saturday 11/19 I Love Vinyl @ Louie & Chan 10:00 p.m.–4:00 a.m. 303 Broome Street NYC
Monday 11/21 Friends @ Kinfolk 8:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m. 90 Wythe Ave, BK 11211

Archive for the 'Prolix' Category

Protection (Sirius Mo Remix)
Ben Mono
Universal Unit – EP, 2004 (on iTunes)
Compost Records

Warning: this post gets a little technical but I would love to hear some feedback.

I was pretty staunchly against buying music from iTunes for a long time. The music was too controlled, the “digital rights management” (copy protection) not only meant it was a pain to move the music around, it also didn’t work with serato (the program I dj with). On top of that the quality was way too low. In iTunes, you can transfer music from CD at qualities that range from 16 kb per second to 320 kb per second. 16 to 96 sound like varying degrees of listening to the song on a broken speaker in an elevator. The folks at iTunes picked the quality level that just gets out of the broken speaker arena (128 kb per second) but would still sound awful if played through large speakers at a concert.

Recently, Apple and the major labels reached an agreement which allows Apple to remove the copy protection from all songs it sells on the iTunes store (and also upgrades the quality of those songs to 256 kbps). The songs also work with Serato now. It definitely makes it harder to rail against them.

I say all that to say that, I bought this song on iTunes after I got hooked on it when my friend Geraldine from the Bay sent me a lower quality version. I’m a little trepidatious about posting it because my name is embedded in the file as the purchaser (and therefore the sharer) but the tide seems to be moving in the direction of less (or no) random prosecution of individuals and some sort of attempt at giving people music when and where they want it in an attempt to rebuild some kind of consumer loyalty, so I think I’m in the clear.

Still, I have to ask, where is this fast moving negotiation of policy and quality going to end up? Download speeds are only getting faster and hard drives are only getting cheaper. This paragraph from the Times article is emblematic of the entire digital music quandry as far as I’m concerned:

Apple said customers would be able to pay a one-time fee to strip copying restrictions from music they have already bought on iTunes, at 30 cents a song or 30 percent of the album price. ITunes customers can achieve the same effect by burning all of their music to a CD and then reimporting the music into the iTunes software, although this reduces sound quality somewhat.

Hmmm, so let me get this straight, I can re-buy the mp3s I already bought (in some cases, to replace my CDs which were replacements for my…cassettes…records) at a discount and then in 3 years you’re going to announce that you are selling 512 kbps mp3s (or the “lossless” format of the day)? Can I pay again then? How about when you announce full CD-quality 16-bit AIFF files in 2015? Those must go for a premium! And my mouth is just watering to pay again for the 24-bit and 32-bit remastered recordings of 2020!

And through it all, I can’t help but feel that we are guaranteeing the eventual extinction of recordings that don’t get widespread distribution. The opposite argument could easily be made – the chances of obtaining the song are better if it’s on 10 computers than if there are 10 hard copies strewn around the world but what’s missing in that argument is that someone has to be looking for that song/album/artist by name. If no one knows the name after 10 years then no one will be looking. No one will “come across” that recording in 40 years and be surprised at how good it is.

Any thoughts?

By the way, the vocals on this song are by Bajka, the same woman who performed on this song that I posted in September ’06. She and Ben Mono are both based in Munich.

Songs are available for two weeks.

cd shopping heaven

I just got back from Cleveland where I picked a bunch of cds (of varying social acceptability) that I’ve been looking for a while…for $1-$2.50 each.

And I got these for a little more…

another reason to spend time at my computer?

i just got a scanner ($50! who knew?) and while it’s not big enough to fit 12″ albums, i’m already having a little too much fun with my 45′s. click on the images in these three posts (one, two, three) to see what kind of trouble i’ve gotten myself into.

also, the photo section has gotten a long overdue update. the photos are thumbnails now too – i just made it into the late 90′s!

love to see ya doin’ ya thing

i’m working on having an area where people can leave comments on the weekly snippets but i’m not there yet, so this post will serve as the designated area for this week.

the post title is from “Joyous”

“i fell asleep with this beat on repeat / repetitive loop life seems to great me”
-foreign exchange

mental note on my quest to be a superstar NY DJ

people who rescind return invitations for me to play at their venue based on me not being willing to walk out of the place with 60% of the flat rate we agreed on the first time around, are probably not people i had bright futures with in the first place.

orchard bar

i’m back on the offensive. i’ve been dropping off demos and making calls and i got a call to fill in at orchard bar last saturday night. unfortunately, last saturday night was the thick of the blizzard and the crowd was…thin, to say the least. i believe that they are going to ask me back for this saturday but i am awaiting a final confirmation call. i will post an update here when i know.

i couldn’t get a cab in the snow, so i carried my vinyl cases to the subway (i gotta get one those heavy duty carts!) and took three trains to get there. the good thing about it was that i ran into DJ OBaH, carrying his records on the train and he blessed me with a copy of his Live @ APT CD. if you’re not familiar with him or the CD, you should check them out. The CD is right up my alley – he seamlessly mixes the meters, tribe, madonna, the lafayette afro-rock band, the police and so on and also overlaps some sample source material with the tracks that sample it and he gets much respect for how he pulled things together.

calling all creators in the movement

as i mentioned on my email last week, it appears that esthero is back with a vengeance. when i worked at sony back in 1998, a friend on my hall handed me a copy of a the first esthero album and suggested that i check it out.

we were all sorting through hundreds of promo cds (most of which no one had ever heard and many of which no one was ever going to hear of) and our bar for excellence was continually lowering. not surprisingly, our recommendations didn’t carry that much urgency at that point. luckily (for me), the pictures on the back of the album caught my attention and i put it on. it blew me away. the moods ranged from sunny afternoons to desperate 4 a.m. murder scenes and her voice is totally unique and exquisite. “superheroes” and “swallow me” are posted here (for now) so check them out.

last year the song “O.G. Bitch” appeared on a Giant Step compilation. although a great track, i was a little disappointed because, having not heard anything from her for 6 years, my expectations were high and “O.G. Bitch” is basically a diss record against Res who Doc (the producer of her first album) produced after her. in some ways, i was more worried that she wasn’t going to come back strong AFTER hearing the song.

well, she has now assuaged my fears. while looking for a link to use for her last week, I came across “We R In Need of A Musical Revolution.” The full song is posted on her site, here.

the song starts acapella:

“i’m so sick and tired of the shit on the radio and mtv, they always play the same thing now matter where i go, i see ashanti in the video, i want something more.”

then this lovely, 80′s retro, echoey-snare-drum, anthem-on-purpose beat drops.

the lyrics are posted in varying degrees of readability on the same page as the song. but i will include a few. the lovely thing about the lyrics is that they are so plain spoken that my friend cliff was wondering if she ever physically wrote them down or the song was more of a stream-of-consciousness thing, where she just got in the booth and sang what was on her mind.

she calls britney and ashanti out by name throughout the song but the real complaint is against the people doing the programming and not the individual artists. the strongest condemnation comes without a name (although it doesn’t really need one). the last line of the song is:

tell me why….a grown man can rape a little girl but we still hear his shit on the radio // a grown-ass man can videotape a little girl but we still see his mug up on our video screens

the lyric i love the most is:

calling all creators in the movement // it’s time to offer a solution to the dilution of what we love // and the greats would be so disappointed // ’cause we’ve sold our souls for what we don’t own anymore // we are in need of…let’s have a musical revolution // we’re so tired of the the same old way // we are in need of…spiritual evolution

at that moment, for me, she changes from being a woman (“rightfully”) complaining in a room somewhere to someone who is declaring a movement out of the thousands of independent artists that are mostly working in small groups or in isolation.

the song is good enough to be one of those songs that ironically gets mainstream popularity while actively criticizing the mainstream but the following text from her “news” pages makes me wonder if that is going to happen:

December 7, 2004
1500 copies of “We R In Need of A Musical Revolution” made it to store shelves in Canada today! HMV seems to be the best bet for picking one up, but as news spreads they’re selling out.

Most copies of the EP were recalled due to a packaging error. The next batch will hit stores on January 11, 2005.

1500 copies…in canada only? recalled? someone’s gotta make some moves in her camp!!

last night i DJed the christmas party at the homeless shelter where i’ve played a couple of times. it was a pretty average night but there was one surreal moment. i was playing “i don’t love you anymore” by teddy pendergrass which, from an instrumental standpoint, is a sunny day / wide smile / driving down the highway / horns bumpin’ disco track. the lyrics on the other hand are strangely sad although you can’t tell from teddy’s enthusiastic delivery (this song is a prime candidate for the “inappropriately happy” mix cd that exists in my head). everyone seemed to be vibing on the track and feeling good. there was this one woman who had been dancing and having a good time all night and she seemed to be really into this song but somewhere near the end of the song, as she danced by the table where i was set up, i noticed that tears were running down her cheeks. now and again, and i have these “music is some powerful sh*t” moments and that was definitely one of them.

jigga what?

According to this article Jay-Z was named CEO of Def Jam today. Does anyone else see this as a conflict of interest? Yeah, i know Jay-Z “retired” but what about the next time LL finishes a verse with “LL Cool J, n*gga, greatest of all time” and he’s not happy with the video budget he gets for the song? What do you think his first snide remark is going to be?

alpha bravo charlie

this week i’ll be doing double duty at madame x (wed & fri) and also playing a house party on saturday. i’m getting a little closer to how it will feel to dj full time. the mystery that i’m trying to solve is how to pull out records for a 5 or 6 hour set in less than an hour and a half. i try to limit myself to different sections of the alphabet and things like that but i usually can’t walk away without looking through the ENTIRE wall of records. I think my over-alphabetized anal-ness is on a collision course with reality!

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