Aiming for the Simple and Innocent Things with Alex Paterson of The Orb (2 of 2) [Listen 22:37] S04 Ep06
Special Guest: Alex Paterson (The Orb) (Part 2 of 2) is a major player in the Electronica genre, splashing on to the scene at a transitional time in the genre's history: the period when European musicians were just starting to pick up on the new Techno revolution happening in Detroit and the Acid House scene from Chicago. The Orb were one of the leading bands playing their own form of Electronica at the beginning of the biggest electronic music explosions--the UK Rave scene in the late 80’s to early 90’s--and were fundamental in the direction that Acid House took; spawning "Ambient House" in the new "come down" or chill-out rooms of the rave clubs.
In this podcast, we continue from where we left off, and get into the details of sampling and all the fuss therein, what he's been doing with Lee Scratch Perry, and what he might like to do next. Have a listen
Chiptune: What's Old is New Again . . . And It's Really Old
As some musicians are striving to get the latest sounds and technology, other musicians are turning to old technology and hacking, modding, and stripping things away to make something new, something better. And they're using technology more than 20 years old.
It can be fairly technical, from adding additional chips, to just ripping some of the parts out haphazardly to see what kind of noises it'll make. It comes from several sources, but most often from old video game technology such as Gameboy and old pc's such as the Commodore 64.
Chiptunes and modding has always had a large place in the computer demoscene, but the exact origins are debatable. They could be attributed to Eno from the days of Roxy Music fiddling at the controls of the board on stage, and with The Yellow Magic Orchestra, more closely with sampling computer game music.
But the interesting thing about it is that it hasn't died. The advancement of technology has only promoted the love and furthered the interest. And to show that everything is circular, it's made it's way back to vinyl. I'm mot talking about converting classic albums to 8 bit chiptunes--although that's been done--I'm saying that the format has gone from being the "new medium" that was going to knock vinyl off it's throne, to being discarded as refuse and come full circle to be revived to earn a place in the history of music on vinyl.
While Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, and Leafcutter John have been known to put elements of hacked and modded synths in their music, the indie artist, Jim Guthrie, might be the one who's been infected to the highest degree of chiptune into his music. You might have to call it "Chipfolktronicatune," if you weren't afraid for another lame subgenre label coming into usage. What a long strange trip it's been for the medium that was to be the killer of vinyl, to the bottom of the technological scrapyard, and back into vinyl again. What's next; videos of astronauts covering Bowie classics in space?
Daniel B. of Nothing But Noise Interview (Part 2 of 2) [Listen 21:45] Dropping the needle anywhere with Daniel B S04 Ep05[21:45]
Special Guest: Daniel Bressanutti (a.k.a. Daniel B.) (Part 2 of 2): is an electronic music pioneer and one of the forefathers of the electronic body music genre. Daniel B was a founding member of the iconic Belgian band, Front 242, and an essential figure in the shaping of Synth-Punk, electronic dance, and post-industrial music. He and his current band, Nothing But Noise, comprises of himself, the other founding member of Front 242, Dirk Bergen, as well as adding Erwin Jadot into the mix. Nothing But Noise have a new Limited edition 300 copy 10” white Vinyl single called “Music For Muted TV 1” released on Record Store Day 2013. In this podcast we talk about about growing up in Belgium and getting inspiration from the Prog-rock bands of the 60’s, his connection to the visual arts, his perspective on music critics, and we get into some of his Front 242 work.
Does technology make a better musician?
There's no doubt about it, technology is advancing beyond all measure. It has been said that technology is advancing beyond mankind itself; our culture, society, mind, civilization, and ethics haven't risen to meet the demands and conundrums such an advancement carries with it. In fact, the latest technology in today's cellphones have more computing power than the Mars Curiosity Rover. The logical conclusion leads to launching cellphones into space to act as satellites now. The unfortunate matter on this is that cellphone technology is advancing so quickly that by the time that the phones get equipped and launched into orbit, they're outdated and that no one in the market for a cellphone would buy one. Seems rather a waste when most often cellphones get used for acquaintances of yours to post pics of what they had for dinner, doesn't it?
It has been said that technology is advancing beyond mankind itself
Think of what could be created if we put a fraction of that research and development towards new music machines: new sounds and treatments that could shatter the comprehension of the modern mind! However, as mankind, is conjectured to be behind technology, it could be said that musicians themselves haven't advanced far enough to use the capability of the technology. There still has to be a human application of theory and practice. Pressing one key on a synth that has been programmed to the gills to produce the sounds of an orchestra does not make a better musician. I would say that that doesn't even make a musician at all. A monkey could be pressing the key, or a brick resting on the key could just as well produce the same sounds of the programmed synth. There's a lesson in there for budding musicians in there.
Think of what could be created if we put a fraction of that research and development towards new music machines: new sounds and treatments that could shatter the comprehension of the modern mind!
Of course, there is nothing that dates music than outdated sounds, some artists, though, thankfully, manage to escape this limitation; I would use Brian Eno, David Byrne, and the Pixies as examples, but, of course, I'm biased. Although the the reverse is true as well, some musicians sound dated despite using the latest equipment, and no degree of production or equipment tweaking can fix. I'll not name names here; I'll just leave that to your own prejudice.
It's no secret that musicians are an odd lot; some are professed Luddites, some are obsessed to reproduce particular sounds or to use coveted equipment that their heroes used in their impressionable youth to capture the intangible effect.
It's no secret that musicians are an odd lot
Theoretically, considering where the most advanced technology is these days, the best audio producing equipment would be a cellphone. Just wait, there's more to come from that direction.
Of course, there is something to be said about getting the greatest product out of limited resources - to crafting a fine, polished product from within confining boundaries; like the short story is a unique medium in itself with it's own difficulties for writers. And really, so many of the best songs are done with a guitar, drum, and voice. Outdated technology.
But what is there to say except that, of course, there is nothing to show that advanced technology actually adds to the music; the source, the well-spring comes from the mind, and the talent of the musician, and is only limited, or limitless, therein.
So, taking all this in mind I'm going to be the latest to remix Justin Beiber on my cellphone, hurl it to the sky in a ballistic fashion to place it into the atmosphere. It goes on sale upon its return. Who doesn't want the latest limited release remix of Justin Bieber from space? Bidding has already begun on Ebay. Act now!
Special Guest: Hauschka (a.k.a. Volker Bertelmann) (Part 2 of 2): is a wonderful example of a musician bridging the gap between the vibrant but challenging sounds of modern classical music with a more traditional and conservative style of playing, keeping classical music moving forward but doing it without substituting beauty or taste. Hauschka started his musical education as a child studying classical music on piano, but stopped around 18 to study medicine and economics, only to be drawn into hip hop and electronic music a few years later. His music has shifted away from the straightforward hip hop and electronic sounds that we know in the clubs today to a more classical vein (ala John Cage with his interpretation of the prepared piano), using the piano as an experiment and adopting natural instruments but with electronic music in mind. Recently he teamed up with one of the biggest names in classical music, Hilary Hahn, to record Silfra. In the interview, we talk about his evolution as an artist, the virtue in amateurism, we get into his remix album, wax philosophic on the concept of remixing, and we discuss the next progression in music.
Love for Collectors
According to some academics and professors of psychology, everybody collects something. The reason for collecting can vary, from monetary gain to simply the enjoyment of the pursuit, most people fall somewhere in between. Of course, another distinction can be made; that is, between collecting and hoarding, and this is a subject that has gathered great attention for the psychologists all over the world. The father of Psychology, Sigmund Freud, drew a connection for the collector to the early days of toilet training, I'll forgo all the graphic details, but Freud stated that loss of what the child produced was a traumatic event and the collector is trying to gain back not only control but “possessions” that were lost so many years ago. A lot of Freud's theories can be seen as a little wack, but before you go criticising his theories, ask yourself if you've created a school of science.
But for the collector, collecting is good; a passionate and enriching interest, and in fact, thanks to the collector, vinyl remains, and reigns as the medium to reproduce music. If not for the collector, vinyl may have disappeared a long time ago.
I need to be clear here, what I mean is the collector, not the hoarder. Those who trade in the medium for the love of the music, not those who hoard the records for an item to posess and store away in a closet to keep from others.
Experts have described the psychopathology of hoarding as “repetitive acquisition syndrome.” Fortunately, thankfully, Freud sees nothing wrong with the collector, collecting falls within normal behaviour; hoarding is the abnormality; the abnormality of the hoarder shows up in those instances where the aberrant behavior interferes with an otherwise reasonable life. This can sometimes even include gross interference into the lives of others, even leading to enforcement issues in some circumstances. But we're trying to clarify the distinction here, between the collector and the hoarder; normal, and abnormal behaviour. A lot of times the behaviour of the collector comes down to whomever is making the judgement. Unfortunately amongst the collector's circle of friends and family, some may see spending so much time and money a waste. I'm sure every collector knows one. Often, they're quite vocal in their disapproval. Some place so little value on music that they think any and all time and money spent on music is a waste; unfortunately, I don't think that this article here can save any lost causes. But even if you're not that a fan, or into collecting, you should appreciate the impact on the medium and the influence of consumer demand on the economy.
If, you're still in doubt about the value of the vinyl collector, consider that in this economy, (largely a market economy) the businesses and providers will try to push what is easiest and cheapest to provide. As long as it's bought by consumers and meets demand, nothing better than the cheapest and easiest is going to be provided, and what's cheapest and easiest to provide is digital content, the lower the bitrate, the better. It's the cheapest and easiest to produce, sell, store, and ship. Collectors demand their favouite medium. Stubbornly, thankfully, they trade in the medium that provides the best production of sound. Their desire, love, and passion fueled the drive for vinyl to continue, and is largely why so many have realized it's worth, and have sought it and returned to it as the medium to reproduce music. Thanks to you, collector.