As you all know, Weezer is in the midst of planning a highly-anticipated Blue Album / Pinkerton tour. While an album-specific tour is not a new concept for artists, one would be hard-pressed to find something that is more exciting for die-hard fans. With the release of Weezer's initial "Memories Tour" dates today, it got me fantasizing about other album-specific tours that would make me lose my mind. I also polled my fellow music fanatics who work here at FILTER, and apart from two Neutral Milk Hotel votes, you will notice we are nothing if not diverse. Take a look at our choices below and let us know what your dream tour would be. Who knows, maybe some oh-so-kind booking agents are reading…
Samantha Barnes: Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane over the Sea
Just seconds into my first listen, hearing Jeff Mangum sing "When you were young, you were the king of carrot flowers...", I could already feel my life changing, and I know I'm not alone. Epic does not even begin to cover the contents of this album, and to see it played in full would surely be unforgettable and once again, life-changing.
Wes Martin: Neutral Milk Hotel,In the Aeroplane over the Sea
No other album has effected me more, opening my eyes to what music could be. When you listen to this one, it HAS to be played all the way through. It's like when the Shawshank Redemption is on TV, you cant walk away from it. The pacing is perfect. There is no second choice. I had the privilege to see Jeff Mangum play at the Chris Knox benefit in NYC, and we got 5 incredible songs out of him. His voice was as strong as we had all hoped, and his unamplified performance was earth moving. When he took the stage, someone shouted "We've missed you!!," to which Mangum responded "I've missed you too" and then under his breath, muttered "don't ever think that I haven't." So there's hope?
Alan Sartirana: The Smiths,Hatful of Hollow
Why wouldn't someone wish for this (unless you were Johnny Marr or Morrissey)?
Sam Feld: Van Morrison,Moondance / Astral Weeks
I’ve been listening to this record since I was a small child. That voice! It’s timeless and beautiful and "Sweet Thing" still gives me chills.
Andrea Narvaez: Interpol,Turn On the Bright Lights
This album speaks nothing but pure bliss and nostalgia to me. With songs like “Say Hello to the Angels” and “Obstacle 1,” you can’t help but imagine the chants of the crowd swooning for “Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down.” If this tour were to happen, I’d have to request the presence of Carlos D. That would just be utter magic happening in front of my eyes.
Mike Bell: Sigur Ros, Ágætis byrjun
After nearly a decade since I was first introduced to Sigur Ros via this album, I still feel it's one of the most beautiful recordings in my collection. Unfortunately, I missed out on the tour in 2001, but managed to experience them under respective follow-up releases. However, an Ágætis bryjun tour would be something I'd drop everything to go check out.
Connie Tsang: Old 97’s,The Grande Theatre Volume One
I know this album hasn’t dropped yet (and the other 7 albums would have easily been my pick), but I’ve been listening to the advanced copy religiously for weeks now. Every time I hear the first few seconds of the title track “The Grande Theatre,” it makes me wish I could have been at the Sons of Hermann Hall watching them play these tracks live during pre-production. Dear Rhett, this may be a hint.
Tim Dove: Blink 182, Dude Ranch / Cheshire Cat
I found Blink’s Dude Ranch in a used bin in 5th grade (1997) while I was looking for good music to skate to. I picked up the album purely because the cover was hilarious. As soon as I put it in my Discman (remember those?), it stayed until it eventually got stolen. The fast drums, shitty vocals, and overdriven guitars opened up a new world of punk to me where Bad Religion, NOFX, Pennywise, Rancid, and so many more bands became my voice for adolescent angst. It wasn’t and still isn’t the most complicated music but that’s the point! Strip down the crazy vocal and instrumental layering, hold off on the over production, and just play fast and hard. If I could see Blink in their early form, playing these records back to back, I would surely lose my voice, do more stage dives than one person could count, and die immediately after because my life would be complete.
Holly Gray: Pearl Jam, Ten
This one might sound a little cliche, but Pearl Jam's Ten was my entry into modern day music. I just happened to be one of those kids who grew up on her parents records - the type of kid who was waist deep in albums from the 50, 60's and 70's and one who completely missed the 80's music scene until the 90's hit. Sneaking into my room one evening to watch the ever-forbidden MTV, the video for "Even Flow" came on... from that moment on I knew this is what music was really about.... and it was undoubtably much cooler than John Fred & His Playboy Band.
What's YOUR album-specific tour of choice? Sound off.
DJ Sabo will always keep the club moving. For the last decade he has called New York home and established his niche label Sol Selectas as a go to source for re-imagined club versions of diverse Latin, Afro and urban jams. The latest rhythm he’s sharing with the world is called Moombahton, introduced by his homie Dave Nada and currently infecting dancefloors world-wide. The sound is a mid-tempo four on the floor with sped up Reggaeton and Latin rhythm, and vocal samples from some of your favorite club tracks. All this for the great price of free-99! I can get with that!
The Remix Pro Producer course will break down the essential tricks and techniques that producers use to transform a track in Logic 9. It features two exclusive downloadable remix packs from Reelgroove Records and one track from course tutor Danny J Lewis’ Imprint Enzyme Black Recordings.
The Bridge is a software partnership that brings together DJ performance and production. Ableton Transport Control allows tight synchronization between Ableton Live and Serato Scratch Live. DJs can control multitrack productions using a turntable or CDJ; pitching, nudging and looping just as with a regular record or CD.
The EP-34 Tape Echo plug-in for the UAD-2 gives guitar players and mix
engineers the rich, warm tape delay effects of vintage Echoplex*
units, now on the UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins platform for Mac and PC.
Novel instruments come and go; futuristic ideas appear in demos, wow crowds, and then vanish just as quickly. In order to really become part of musical practice, they require practice. And with something as unusual as the Eigenharp – a digital music controller that looks like the love child of a bassoon and a fretboard and connects to a computer – they even necessitate new techniques and strategies.
Enter musician Geert Bevin. As the creator of the fan site Eigenzone, he’s been a tireless champion of the instrument. He’s been compiling videos revealing player techniques and ideas for putting together a practical performance setup. And even Geert concedes that making music takes time.
“Six to nine months seems to be the time required to become confident enough to play the Eigenharp Alpha in front of an audience,” says Geert with a smile.
Here, Geert explains in great detail how he played the instrument in a recent video – one that should make Galactica fans happy. (You may have seen the video making the rounds, but we have some additional technical specifics.) And he shows us some of what other players are doing. They’d better be practicing, because the instrument shown, the flagship Alpha variation of the Eigenharp, costs £3995 and up. (Fortunately, if that’s out of your price range in this tough economy, there’s a cute, more portable version with many of the same features at £449. The Pico actually winds up being a pretty good deal for this kind of unusual product.)
Inventing the technology is only half the equation: it’ll take players, and time, for that creation to come into its own. Guitars and drums and flutes have had millennia. Here’s what a few months have done for the Eigenharp.
Detailed breakdown of a performance setup
Geert shares the technical details for one video and musical performance. Some of what makes the instrument special may not be immediately apparent. He’s making use of the broad pitch area, the access afforded to a range of pitches by the key layout, and features like per-key pitch bending, per-key vibrato, and expressive details in playing the notes. Those are then connected to a range of soft synths intelligent enough to respond to those messages, and sonically detailed enough to make some useful sounds in reply.
Here’s Geert with all the gory details.
As a follow-up on the Eigenharp Alpha post on CDM a few months ago, I thought I’d let you know that I finally recorded a video that I feel comfortable about pushing into the wild.
It’s a rearrangement of Battestar Galactica ‘Kara remembers’ theme song for the Eigenharp Alpha. The main melody of this theme is heard by the Final Five Cylons when they’re ‘switched on’. Kara Thrace (Starbuck) tries to remember this song in the series while sitting at an old piano in a bar. When she recalls how’s being played, it explodes into a full-blown arrangement.
My personal rendition of the song also starts off hesitant, inspired by Kara trying to remember the chords, the melody and the tempo. I’m using Tonehammer’s Emotional Piano for the piano in the first Eigenharp Audio Unit slot. [All the instruments] are tuned to A major; this allows me to play standard chord patterns and have them sound correct within the song’s scale. By doing that, none of the keys on the keyboard are playing any key outside of the selected scale. [In the Eigenharp's software, you can configure that setting] on a per-instrument basis as opposed to globally, you can create your own scales, and you can also play fully chromatically.
The beginning of the song is played on the third Alpha keyboard split, which provides a small rectangular area at the bottom and a single area of playing keys on the majority of the keyboard. I set up the bottom area to control the Eigenharp drum loops section, so that I can quickly change them later while playing the piano at the same time.
Eigenharp, up close. Image courtesy Eigenlabs.
Once I ‘remembered’ the chords and the melody, I start the Eigenharp’s metronome, which also starts the two drum loops I’ve activated by default. This gives me a sense for the rhythm of the song and I can start playing the piano part in tempo. After a few bars, it’s clear that also the rhythmical part of the song has ‘come back to me’ and I can dive into the meat of it.
I do this by activating four new drum loops on the control area while playing the piano chords an octave lower with my left hand. After two measures, I press the record trigger for the active instrument on the keyboard split and play the piano chords together with the main melody for two measures. The looping automatically starts immediately after the recording.
Having the accompaniment section built up, I can now switch to a first solo instrument, which is the native model of a cello. I used an Audio Unit effect [insert] on it to reduce the dynamics and to make it louder. The Softube CL-1B compressor is great for that as it also adds a touch of warmth. The cello on the Eigenharp can be bowed in a variety of ways. My preference is to use the left strip controller since it’s the closest to the real physical action of bowing on the actual instrument. While playing the cello, each course of keys acts as a string, playing only the highest note. You can thus play with a polyphony of five tones when pressing down keys on all courses. This also allows you to play smooth legato on the same course since you can leave existing fingers pressed down while adding next ones. Just as with regular strings, you can individually add vibrato to each note. At the end of the cello solo section, I use the second strip controller together with the first one to modulate the global pitch while bowing at the same time.
The next section is a more atmospheric intermezzo that builds up tension before exploding into the final part. I play this on the fourth keyboard split that evenly divides the playing surface into two sections. The upper one uses the same Emotional Piano as before, together with a sweeping synth sound that comes from FabFilter Twin2 in the second Audio Unit slot of the Eigenharp [software]. The lower section only plays the piano. This allows me the play chords with sweeps using my left hand and have just a piano sound for the melody with my right hand. Note that this demonstrates that splits on the Eigenharp are merely different ways of accessing the same instruments and functionalities. All the capabilities of the Eigenharp are always active; they’re just accessed differently at different times, depending on what’s most comfortable for you while you’re playing. At the beginning of this section, I switch off the metronome and turn it on again at the end; this also switches the drums loops and recorded accompaniment off and on.
When I move on to the next section, the first two measures of the drum loops don’t play the recording since I actually started playing slightly ahead of the first beat when creating it. The Eigenharp therefore only starts playing the notes at the end of the first round. This is a matter of practice and since I’m not always at the correct time while recording, I take a precaution and continue playing the chords on the keyboard while waiting for the recording to start up again. When that happens, I switch to the fifth keyboard split, which gives you access to four independent areas.
The final section of the song uses Orange Tree Samples Evolution Electric Guitar Strawberry (EEG) as an instrument in the third Audio Unit slot. I play this with my right hand in the third area of the split. This is then fed into the insert Studio Devil AMP Audio Unit to provide the amplifier and effects simulation. Playing EEG with the Eigenharp feels very responsive and natural due to the precision and expression of the keys — hammer-ons and pull-offs feel just right. I’m also using per-key pitch bending, which is understood by EEG and allows you to naturally bend one note while keeping others steady (as I like doing on my regular electric guitar).
I join the electrical guitar part with the cello again, played with my left hand in the second area of the keyboard split. Since my right hand is playing already, I can’t use the strip controller to bow, so I use the breath controller instead. This allows you to move the virtual bow back and forth by exhaling and inhaling. Using tonguing technique makes it possible to do create rapid bow movements, which is exactly what I’m doing when I’m playing chords on both the guitar and the cello.
The end of the song plays the lead melody in unison on the guitar and the cello, I set the first split area up to have both instruments active so that I have my right hand free to turn the metronome off at the right moment. The outro simply has me using the breathpipe to wrap up the song with some soft cello notes.
More Demos, More Players
Geert points to more examples that explain the instrument. First up, a look at the whole product range:
Since it’s not easy for people to imagine how an Eigenharp is actually used in practice, Eigenlabs posted a new video that demos the three models: Pico, Tau and Alpha in very different styles of music. Afterward they briefly highlight how the instruments are used:
And other players demonstrate live performance.
Geert in particular notes this video by David Jameson, who talks more about his setup:
In this video, I am running Apple MainStage inside of which several instances of Omnisphere are running to produce string and choir sounds. Kontakt 4 is responsible for the Uillean Pipes solo. The background chords are being triggered one at a time by Max (a real-time programming language) in response to key presses by my right hand on the Eigenharp. The chord data produced by Max is sent to Apple MainStage. My left hand is playing the solo, going directly to MainStage.
The music notation is being displayed on the Apple iPad using Scorecerer, the product we developed for managing and publishing sheet music to tablet devices. (see www.deskew.com)
Lament (Caoineadh Cu Chulainn) is a beautifully haunting instrumental from Riverdance, written by Bill Whelan.
I imagine not everyone here is quite ready to jump down this particular rabbit hole, but then, that’s not entirely the point. To me, it’s always fascinating to see the different ways in which people develop performance practice and set up their rig, and the extraordinary range that covers. Even if I don’t immediately resonate with what people are doing, I find there’s something to learn or take as inspiration. Let us know what you think.
Dapayk will be our live guest on Motor FM tonight – Thursday, September 16th – for The Radio Sessions – Electronic Beats On Air.
Dapayk aka Niklas Worgt’s career began in the mid-’90s in the fledgling German drum ‘n’ bass and breakbeat scene, since then he has worked under a variety of aliases including Dapayk and Padberg together with EvaPadberg and as as Marek Bois, with minimal techno projects Trapez and Rrygular.
Tune in tonight to see what musical treats he has in store with an exclusive mix and in-depth interview.
The Radio Sessions – Electronic Beats On Air on Motor FM tonight from 10 pm.
The Radio Sessions are broadcast each and every Thursday and the show is then available on-line by demand on Electronic Beats Radio.
FCC Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker recently delivered a speech in Washington, DC, where she addressed calls for the government to take action to assist the traditional media deal with the economic issues brought about by the new media. From time to time, there have been calls for the government to assist the traditional media, either through some sort of direct subsidies, or through regulatory changes that could assist in their news coverage to make these entities competitive in the new media world. While the Commissioner's speech did not detail those efforts, calls have, for the most part, not suggested direct government subsidies to support traditional news media sources. Instead, more indirect efforts have been suggested to insure that these media sources continue to serve their communities. Calls have been made to change tax laws to allow newspapers to operate as nonprofit entities (while still soliciting advertising). In a draft FTC option paper, there was a suggestion of taxing commercial media to provide more support to noncommercial public broadcasting entities. Other proposals have been more direct - simply mandating more news and public affairs programming from broadcasters (with little or no discussion of the source of the revenues for such mandates). In her speech, the Commissioner noted that some suggestions may be forthcoming from the FCC's own Future of Media report due at the end of the year (see our summary of the issues that they are exploring here), but she seemed to rule out these types of proposals, instead suggesting that the Commission could assist companies meet the new media challenge by loosening FCC restrictions on ownership.
The Commissioner suggested that no government action to bail out the media is necessary to preserve service to the public - citing the many examples of how that service is provided through new media sites that serve all sorts of communities and community groups - providing timely and detailed information on specific topics, often on a neighborhood level. We have made that same point on these pages - the new media is already filling any void that may exist in local media coverage. Some of these sites are produced by old media companies - as TV stations, newspapers and others develop microsites targeted to very local needs and interests. Other sites are totally independent - developed by local interest groups or new media entrepreneurs. So how can the Commission help these sites to develop?
The Commissioner suggested that a relaxation of the ownership rules, which is currently under consideration (see our post on the pending Notice of Inquiry on the multiple ownership rules), could help existing media companies compete in the new media world. We've written before about the concern that the prohibition against the cross-ownership of broadcast stations and daily newspapers (except in the largest markets where waivers are available, see our post here) might well outlast the newspaper. But there are other issues to be debated - whether to allow radio broadcasters to own more stations in their markets (to compete with Internet and satellite radio which can both provide hundreds of channels of programming to any market). And whether to allow television consolidation in smaller markets where economic realities seem to be dictating that independent television stations may not be able to survive. These efforts will, of course, be subject to debate, as many still react with an almost automatic suspicion of more media consolidation (see our post on the opposition to shared services agreements in the TV world). These issues, too, should play out in more detail in the coming months, as the FCC releases its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on reform of the multiple ownership rules, where it will set out in more detail potential changes in the ownership rules that it will seriously consider in its Quadrennial review of these rules. Watch for more on this proceeding, probably late in the year.
Every week, Beatport's merchandising team puts together a series of "Must Hear" charts for all our major genres: house, electro house, tech house, deep house, trance, progressive, indie dance, nu disco, dubstep, breaks, drum & bass, electronica, and chill out. (Whew!)
Somehow, we've never promoted those on Beatportal, which seems rather silly, as they make excellent jumping-off places no matter what your preferred style. To rectify that, we're going to begin posting selected Must Hear charts right here. To start off, we turn our attention to tech house, deep house, and techno—aka three of our typically "underground" genres. (To check out all the charts, just go to our charts homepage and browse by publish date.)
This weeks charts feature essential new releases from Spirit Catcher, Maetrik, Superpitcher, Efdemin, Lauhaus, KiNK, Freestyle Man, Terrence Fixmer, DJ Emerson, and more. Read on to check them out.
Matador is the label the brought us epochal artists such as Cat Power, Pavement, Interpol, Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, Yo La Tengo, Boards of Canada, Jay Reatard and even hip hop luminary Large Professor. Essentially, they are one of the most important record labels of the last two decades and now they are celebrating their 21st birthday.
To celebrate, Matador are creating alimited edition 6-CD linen covered box set with 36 custom poker chips in 3 values, an 85-page perfect bound book with history of the label, photos, ephemera, emails, and more.
In addition to this, they will also be releasing 5 CDs of Re-mastered songs from the label’s history and 1 CD of unreleased recordings from the 10th Anniversary shows in NYC, 1999, recorded to multi-track via the Rolling Stones Mobile Truck.
For music lovers of all kinds, this box set it a must.
Matador at 21 will be released September 28th and available via the Matador Shop.
Ghostly International will soon release the debut album of Brooklyn based producer Shigeto. Having so far brought us two peeks into his musical world through the forward thinking EP’s – Semi-Circle and What We Held On To - it’s time to now go Full Circle.
Culled from four years of field recordings that captured “glasses, chains, breathing, children, family meals, monks singing in cathedrals, walks in the south of France, and good friends offering their musical skills,” his debut looks set to continue mining deeply personal veins of inspiration such as his grandmother’s escape from a US internment camp which influenced his first two EP’s with Ghostly.
The instrumental beat-smith goes onto say that "this release represents the end of the beginning—or perhaps that there is no end and no beginning at all.” Which is oblique, to say the least.
Full Circle will be released on Ghostly International on November 9 2010.