José González is an artist that I stumbled upon in the iTunes store while poking around in the folk section and boy did this come out of no where. I can't say to much about the artist himself because I haven't really looked into is music aside from this one album. I can say, however, that the album I am reviewing here called Veneer is absolutely amazing. The whole less is more approach is used all to well with this album. In it's essence it is an acoustic, singer songwriter album and its one of those albums that seems so fragile and quiet that it could fall apart at any moment, not unlike albums like Nick Drakes 'Pink Moon' and Iron and Wines 'The Sea And The Rhythm.' His voice hides behind his guitar as it plays simple picked melodies. This is matched perfectly with the scaled back production quality of the songs which makes it all the more hypnotic with its lo-fi sounding recording and subtle reverb.
His song writing is what drew me in with its dark and thoughtful lyrics about the world. At first glance at his name I had almost expected the music to be sung in spanish but it is all english. Again, I don't really know anything about the artist which is kind of nice really. It leaves this anonymous feeling to the record as I listen to it which is nice sometimes. The music on here seems perfect for any relaxing moment in life. I walked through a busy downtown street listening to this and as I listened to it the world around me seemed to slow down a bit which was a welcome change in the middle of a work day. It's uplifting in one of those quiet secretive kind of ways, you know what I mean?
For anyone looking for a chance to close their eyes and relax for a while I would suggest you check out this amazing album.
Heres a link to the album in iTunes:
when i wrote about kyoto podcast yesterday i mentioned something called a facecast that the host is trying to put together. a facecast is something he came up with which will use the enhanced podcast feature of iTunes to let him have a podcast that features photos of people from all over the world. not only people but animals too! he is looking for images not only from listeners of the podcast but from anyone who may want to participate in this idea and be part of it. i think that its going to be very cool when its done and its something that you shouldnt miss out on being a part of so if you have a minute or two please mail a photo of yourself and/or your pet over to email@example.com and be part of a really great project!
(the photos i posted above are a few of the ones that i sent to the project.)
what the hell is wrong with warner music? for those of you who may not be up on the latest happenings with their unrest with the iTunes music store ill fill you in briefly. over the past couple of weeks they have let it be known that they are no longer happy with the 99 cent per song model that has made the iTunes music store so very popular. They have decided that they want to charge more and less than that for songs stating that "all songs are not created equal," whatever thats supposed to mean. first off, yes, all songs are created equal. what has happened to music that has made it turn into such a lifeless thing? i dont get it. i think that is is amazing what the iTunes store has accomplished! there has been so much new interest in music that would not have normally been had otherwise. you see a little indie group stuck right up next to these robot bands and its such a nice thing to see. if you really did deep into the store you will find some really amazing music hiding away and this form of distribution is simply the future of music and the major record labels just need to realize this.
i remember years and years ago when i was younger and hanging out with a friend of mine he was telling me about how he heard that in the future you wont go to a record store to buy cds or tapes. you will take in this little chip thats a tiny little device that you plug your headphones into and pay to get it filled up with the music you want. i thought that this was just the craziest sounding thing i had ever thought of. "how cool would that be," i thought. boy was i amazed when i opened the box to my first ipod! i bought it just days after they were released, even among all of the people that were positive that no one would ever buy the things. it was soooo cool! the whole idea of the future coming into the present really started to settle in when i first held a shuffle in my hand. i had immediately thought to myself that this must be what they were talking about years and years ago. so off i went to buy digital music and fill up this little 'chip' with music. i remember having a conversation with my dad recently about how when he was growing up it was flying cars that people spoke of when they talked about the future and he was all excited about flying cars. he mentioned that it was no fair that the future that i had imagined when i was younger is coming true but the future he had imagined has yet to show face.
so back to the topic at hand, the whole world of digital music and its presence in the world today. it was pretty amazing when, after the whole napster fiasco, all of the major record labels decided to take part in this whole iTunes experiment. i was pretty surprised at first to tell you the truth but look at it now. it has grown to be this enormous thing. its amazing really. i didnt really mean to get into this here in this write up so let me get back on track here. as i mentioned before warner music has been the first label to decide that they were unhappy with the current iTunes model. they spoke out and apple spoke back recently calling the labels "greedy" which i find oh to painfully true. warner music stated that they believe that they want to start charging more for the new hot songs. after apples response it appears that warner has decided to pull out all of the stops and be a true ass and state that they are willing to pull out all together if apple does not cooperate. do they have any idea what they are doing? there is this amazing new form of music distribution that costs them nothing to utilize. there are no manufacturing costs here. how could they possibly think they are loosing on this deal? the whole medium has taken off, exploded and rained down upon the dried up world which has soaked it up and loved it! it has re invented the whole idea of an impulse buy all together. it makes it so easy to, when you want a song, to simply hop online do a quick search and click on a button to buy it. i think its going to continue to grow if it continues to get support and hopefully one day will open its arms to musicians that arent on record labels to sell their music on the store.
how could they possibly think cutting off apple could be a good idea? heres their most recent logic. they figure that because apple wont let them raise the price of songs then apple is hindering their ability to make the amount of profit they are used to making because people usually have to buy a whole album but now they are just buying single songs therefore they are loosing money. but thats not the funny part. turns out, they have decided that the reason apples ipod is so popular is because they have been marketing it along with the idea of the iTunes music store being the best way to fill it and because the iTunes music store is driven by its content (warner's music) then they should be getting a cut of the ipod sales because of this... yes, it is confusing and yes, it is stupid and desperate. what a sad attempt at shaking apple up.
“What if Jobs says 39 cents or 29 cents per download—what then?." yes, a warner rep actually said this. in all honesty and sincerity they actually think apple would ever do this? you call that an argument? they think that stands as a valad point??? come on! so on to the next golden quote: “The industry can say, OK we’ll cut him off—very few people people buy music from digital downloads.” very few people? hmmmm. if it appeals to such a few amount of people then why are they so worried about it??? 500 million songs is not exactly a drop in the bucket and that number is rising. heres a kicker, “[Jobs] will figure out another model." man, these guys really are off their rocker. its funny that they go along with all of this in the first place but once they discover that its actually working so they want a bigger piece of the pie. do they not realize that it would be insanely easy for people to just turn back to file sharing? there will always be a way for people to do this. always. it is silly to think that it will be stopped completely. and one last quote here: “The industry got together and said ‘We don’t want another MTV’. Well, now we’ve got another MTV, in Apple. And we have to deal with it." turns out they think apple has to much of a dominance over this form of distribution (but not at all in the same way they have such a dominance over the music industry right? and to compaire them to mtv? there is just nothing to say to that sad little comment. how could anyone in their right mind not look at this company and see just how sad it really is here.
i can only hope that the other labels dont stand up and decide they want to take this same mind set. as you may notice, none of them have... lets say they do pull out. i think iTunes would survive. just on a different level. they would continue on. there are a lot of other labels with a lot of great music on there and at the moment it is just the best overall solution to the problem of the whole music sharing era.
these guys need to wake up and realize that iTunes simply has the best model for digital music at the moment. if you look at the subscription services and compare them to iTunes you will find that iTunes has the upper hand for an obvious reason. when someone goes to a file sharing network, a lot of the time they are just looking to go grab a quick song that they wanted to hear and occasionally an album. its a collection that they own and this aesthetic is still there with the iTunes store. the whole virtual ownership of the subscription models is so silly and i could see how that might work for some people but overall its just not that solid of a model simply because once you stop your subscription, you no longer own your music. you are lect with nothing.
so warner, get your head out of your ___ and realize that this new digital distribution thing is working really well and to try and change it and shake things up like this at this point in time when it is just now gaining a whole lot of momentum is just crazy talk. i think that they are just pulling these little scare tactics to try and get more out of apple but maybe they have not been paying any attention to apple, maybe they dont realize just how stubborn they are. jobs isnt going to back down and so warner is not only making a mistake here, they are looking really really bad in the process. in fact, a lot of companies are doing this kind of thing when it comes to apple. every time a new ipod is released the rest of the industry wines and wines about how stupid it is and they have a product that blows it away. the simple fact of the matter is that the rest of the industry is sooooo over crowded with players that no one knows what other players are worth anything. no one can even remember the names of them (rdsfr-200, or zse 74 super duper player) more or less trust that they are up to par as far as quality is concerned. all of these little bells and whistles on other players are cheep add ons to make these products seem like they do more but it just bogs down the players and clutters the simplicity that needs to be present in them. the ipods simplicity is one of its strong points and its brilliant really, they have let third party developers make the add ons people want for it weather that be fm radio or voice recording. it saves them money and it lets people choose what they want to add to there player rather than cluttering up the device. the ipod accessories market is huge! it seems like its bigger than the windows service and support market which is a pretty impressive feat!
ok i have gotten way off my topic here, sorry about that. i guess only time will tell what will happen in the end. sure makes for a fun ride in the meantime though...
So far I have yet to mention any hip-hop favorites here and today thats going to change. I like a lot of hip-hop music but I can be pretty picky about it. I like it when it's actually a departure from the bling bling, bust a cap style of a lot of mainstream and hell even the majority of indie hip-hop that i come across. I like creative production and well written lyrics. To me this whole Kanye West craze and praise is not my thing. It's cute and all that he got Jon Brion to hop on and help with the production work but when it comes down to it thats all it feels like to me, a gimmick. (not that I don't love some of Jon's work) I really like it when a story is told in a hip-hop song. Right so anyways, I've decided to feature an artist that I've loved since way back when he was still part of the classic indie hip-hop outfit The Anti Pop Consortium. There is no one else out there with his characteristic swing that lies in all of his flows. His solo work has taken a very minimal yet damn funky approach and could be seen as weak and under developed but I feel as though its really amazing how it breaks the music down to its core. I will most likely be featuring more of his albums in the future because he is really amazing to me. This little ep that I am featuring is a newer set of songs and is a pretty simple intro to his style so check it out if you want to hear something new.
Heres a link to the ep in iTunes:
here is one last little bit from japan today. they just have some of the most interesting things over there. take these bus stops scattered about japan. they are big huge pieces of fruit to sit in while you wait, how fun is that? i for one wouldnt mind sitting in a big watermelon while i waited on a bus!
or maybe thats doesnt perk your interest? how about this story that simply tells a story of how a deadly yellow fat tailed scorpion was found in someones garden. thats pretty much it. there was some talk about how it may have been a pet and there has been two stories on this happening. i remember reading one a week or so ago and being kind of confused. so even bugs have their place on japanese news stands...
i have been meaning to post about this for a while now because i am very exited about it. i get quite a few people asking about how i update the site, what kind of software im using, this and that. well i designed a template for this amazing program called rapidweaver that uses ccs to make it easy as easy can be to update a website. there are a whole bunch of default themes available but as you can see you can make your own with some basic knowledge of cascading style sheets an an idea. this software turned my website into what it is today and allowed me to stop spending so much time making new pages and linking everything together. it makes it so very easy for me to update which lets me focus on the content of the site more so than the coding and all that.
so the reason that i am posting all of this is to mention that there is a new version that is coming out soon that looks amazing! i am very exited to get my hands on this great looking update to this already wonderful software. if there is anyone out there that is looking for some easy to use software that is secretly very powerful if you dig into it i would suggest you check this out! the new version comes out in early october.
here is a link to the product info page.
i have a link to this great podcast on kyoto japan on the links page and it tells a bit about why i like the podcast so i wont get into that here. its an amazing listen and ive been subscribed to this one since episode three i believe. i decided one day that i might be able to help out and revamp the title graphic for the podcast as well as the title on the web page for the podcast. well, turns out is a really nice guy and he ended up really liking it and so i designed him a full set for both the english and japanese versions of the site as well as the album artwork main image for the podcast itself. i will also be making his graphic for a new podcast that he is starting that is about Cairns Australia. just thought i would point you in the direction of this great podcast and show off a little of my work. i want to post something here about something called a facecast that tim (the host) has come up with. more on that as soon as i get a chance to do a write up.
heres a link to the kyoto podcast page.
(check out the newest episode #13, he talkes about the new images and twistedsun.net!)
some researchers have finally found a giant squid alive in its natural habitat. they found this amazing squid nearly 3,000 ft under the surface of the north pacific ocean. it was roughly 25 feet long! how cool is that? there was no video of the occurrence but they did get 500 or so photos during what was evidently quite a struggle between the scientists and the squid. it started to sound like a botched steve zissou adventure after i found out that the poor squid lost a tentacle in the struggle to hold the squid down. until now giant squid have only been found dead or dying. its amazing that it took so long to find one of these mythical creatures in the wild. heres a link to the national geographic article.
• the first is one i came across today actually, its called pixen and it is donationware that is made for creating pixel art. it features a relly nice, simple interface and reminds me of way way back when i first started getting into using a computer to draw when i was a wee little version of john. (kid pix was the best!) check it out here.
• the other app is a program that is reminiscent of the painter series that corel bought a couple years back and its called ArtRage. this is a really amazing program considering it is absolutely free. its very simple and you can get some really nice looking illustrations using this app. this app is available for both mac and windows and its free so you really have no good excuse not to try it out! its a lot of fun for anyone that loves to doodle so check it out! heres a link.
At it's heart this is a house album through and through with it's straightforward 4/4 time measures but it goes much deeper than that. I am not really all that into straight up dance music plagued by that wretched 4/4 thud that defines the genera but this is one of those albums that sneaks under my radar of annoying dance music and had landed, somehow or another, in a pretty distinct place in my mind. I hold this as one of the best electronic albums that has come out in long while. As I looked more into its origins I came up pretty dry. I can't even find a good place to recommend you pick it up at to check it out which leads me to believe that it is an album that only received a small run. Sometimes when you get into these obscure independent releases you find that some of these releases are hard to come by.
This record is solid all the way through. From what I understand with this project the artist would listen to FM radio and pull samples in the morning and then use the rest of his day constructing tracks from his favorite bits. It's great production work and well balanced mix make for a wonderful sound and it's irresistible to want to dance to this stuff.
So head out to your local shop or dig around online because it will be very worth your while to pick this up!
check this out! its a really amazing little flash game. the idea is that you start off with a big brown cube and you slowly add in various elements one by one to make the cube's world grow to its maximum potential. there are a ton of variations of what is possible to happen in the world of the cube so its fun to try all sorts of different orders with the objects supplied in the cube world. give it a try, heres a link.
if your running mac osx and love to use all kinds of fun little apps to make your computer life more interesting im sure you know of the dock space epidemic that can sneak up and take over your dock. there are all of those apps that do get used from time to time but dont get that everyday use that your core apps do. im sure you know what i mean. well i have tried all sorts of various little dock management apps, ones that add more docks, ones that stuff a bunch of stuff into one icon, and ones that are entirely new forms of the whole idea behind the dock in the first place. well i have finally come across one that i am really happy with and its called overflow. its a really simple utility that lives in your dock that launches a second bank of shortcuts to other apps and files that you may use from time to time but dont want cluttering your dock in their downtime. it is just the most simple approach to dock management that i have come across and thought i would recommend it to those of you who may be in the same position as me. the closest utility to this one that i have used is called drag thing and its cute and all but it feels bloated to me. i am all about the most simplistic approach i can find as far as using a computer is concerned and overflow is just that, simple.
here is a link to the product page where you can grab a demo copy and check it out for yourself.
im working a stage over at a latin music festival today and found that i have a really solid wireless connection where i am set up so i decided that i had to put this bit of good luck to use and post something here in the ol' weblog. i have been enjoying a great podcast from a music magazine called XLR8R for a while now and i thought i would share the wealth with anyone interested. it features 4 or 5 songs each week from up and coming indie and electronic musicians and i have found that they have been including some top quality stuff in there. it is an enhanced podcast which means that there are photos that change for each song as well as links to the featured bands web pages! the enhanced features work best in iTunes 4.9 so head over and check it out.
here is a link to the XLR8R webpage that has a little info about the podcast and other downloads available on their site.
and here is a link directly to the podcast in iTunes
update: the podcast feed changed for some reason, sorry for those of you who subscribed. hopefully this little mix up wont happen again. sorry for the inconvenience. here is the new feed for the podcast: http://www.twistedsun.net/podcast/files/page15.xml
everything comes out in the wash
I reviewed Bonobos new Live Sessions ep and I had mentioned how wonderful his last two albums were and so I thought I would post them in the favorites section here. They are amazing relaxed electronic albums that have a wide range on influences. There are some amazing moments on both of the records full of some amazing bits of instrumentation. There are to many favorite songs to mention here so just follow the links over to iTunes and check them out.
Dial "M" for Monkey:
This week i have decided to review, as always, one of my recent favorites. This time around I have set my sights on a new mostly live ep by a musician that has, up until now, has released only electronic albums. I'm not to sure how long he has been around but I will have to say that his past two full lengths are really amazing as well and I have posted over in the favorites page a little snippet about those albums as well as links so you can check them out yourself. Bonobo is one of those electronic musicians that is fairly easy on the ears and I could see people from all sorts of musical preferences enjoying his music. Now, when I say easy on the ears I don't mean to cast out an insult. I am just saying that his music is so good that I feel as though a lot of people could really get into it. Right, so anyways, the album I have decided to review is a fairly new album called Live Sessions and as the name implies, it is an album full of live recordings. Well, almost full of live recordings. There is one studio track as well as a remix by four-tet.
The thing that makes this ep unique is the fact that the live material on the ep is played by a full band. The live tracks that are on here are from past Bonobo releases and are essentially covers of songs that were originally electronic songs but have been reworked and preformed live. At first, after being so used to hearing the original songs, I didn't really enjoy the ep all that much but as I gave it a chance and listened to it more it started to really grow on me. The songs performed translated strikingly well into this new format which housed a nice jazz feel to these reincarnations of electronic songs. The band seems to be right on with the songs they played and even leave room for a good bit of improvisation to liven up the mix a bit. I have seen other electronic musicians try this whole 'take your electronic songs and play them with a real band so i can get more respect in the indie rock world' approach and I have yet to hear a more solid attempt as this. Boom Bip had tried this on his last tour and I was pretty underwhelmed by the whole idea after hearing that. Bonobo has shown me that it can be done really well though and changed my views on the whole idea.
My only complaint about this ep is that it's so short! Four live tracks is just not enough. It makes me wonder if maybe these four songs are the only ones that were actually preformed live with a band. Its such a tease if you think about it. Maybe it's short because they wanted to use the type of cd they used to manufacture the cd. It is the size of a normal cd but only the middle of the disc is actually silver and contains data. Outside of this little silver ring the plastic is transparent and looks pretty slick. Im not to thrilled about the artwork and I feel like it was a waste of a cool idea that probably wasn't all that cheep to get manufactured but thats the designer in me saying that. Im just thankful that they didn't use those awful little mini cd's that are cute and all but oh so inefficient due to the fact that any slot loading cd drives such as ones in cars and some computers can not read these discs.
So onto the last couple of tracks which are a couple of b-side like tracks that seem to have been tossed on there to make the ep seem a bit more worth it. As I mentioned, one song is a new Bonobo track and one song it a remix by Four-tet of one of the live tracks I believe. The Bonobo track is a great song! Some of his finest work in my opinion. I remember when I first bought the album and was not all that into the live tracks so I just skipped ahead to this track because it was almost worth getting the ep to me. Maybe I'm making it sound better than it really is. The remix is pretty mediocre and its not at all four-tets finest moment. It is not however a bad song. Just not a stand out track. He seems to be remixing everybody these days!
So if your looking for a nice solid ep of instrumental semi electronic music look no further than 'Live Sessions' by Bonobo.
Check it out on iTunes:
i love my readers and all of the help they give to spread the word of twistedsun.net and i am sure you guys to throw me a few scraps from time to time to help out with server costs and future development of the site. what you see here now is just the beginning!
as a way to show my appreciation for your support of the sites development i would like to offer a gift to those who make a donation to the site. this gift will be dipping into a little something from the past. i have been releasing select images from my photographic work for years now free of charge so everyone can see what i see in there every day life and i love doing it!
as many of you know this site has gone through a few various versions and i have included version 4's desktop collection in this version of the site. i do however have a collection of desktops from version 3 that are no longer available, well all but a few old ones over at pixelgirlpresents.com. this old collection has nearly 100 desktop images from the past and i will give you access to this collection in its entirety just for donating to twistedsun.net and showing your support for the future of the site!
a little something from the past for helping me build for the future!
i have left the amount you wish to donate up to you so let me know what you think im worth.
in the future you can expect to finally see prints of some of my work for sale as well so look out for that!
so anyways, thanks again to everyone who has been there and helped through the years. heres to many more!
also i should note that there is a really great comment on the post about digital photography that you should check out if you have any interest in the subject. it takes the whole idea of new technology rising up and causing a clash of new and old and applies it to other things and if you think about it you can see that this is how it has been since even the first cameras came into existence. anyways, check out the comments for more on that and leave your thoughts as well!
"The billboard is made of 12,148 aluminium pegs, varying in length from 1mm to 27mm. Each different length peg creates a different sized shadow. The different sized shadows create a greyscale image of a woman sunbathing, when the sun comes out."
This time around I have decided to review an amazing indie rock album by Des Ark called Loose Lips Sink Ships. This album is not one to be missed!
Des Ark is relatively local to my area (chapel hill area) and I remember seeing them play a show around here for the first time a couple years back and being really taken aback by how damn good they were and how much they could rock with simply guitar and drums and they played on the floor in front of the stage so there was this comfy feel to the rock show as all of the various locals crowded there little spot and moved there heads to and fro to the sound of the rock.
Although this is a pretty aggressive band at times they never lose control of a song and its always very tight yet just loose enough to give it a really raw feel. On the album they have taken there simple little set up and turned there music into a huge, lush sounding record stuffed full of long yet well composed ballads for the world. I remember hearing some of these songs on an older recording and ill have to say that they have come a long way since then.
I should mention that the guitarist is a girl and she can rock the guitar like you won't believe. Not that girls can't rock as much as guys can at all, I'm telling you this as proof that they can rock just as much as anyone. The drummer picks up and fills in tracks with a huge hard hitting style that is always right on. You can tell on the record and at there live shows that they have been playing together for a long time and have come a long way with there sound since I saw them in that little club years ago.
The melodies and guitar riffs are all very recognizable as there own creation and seem to come from all sorts of various influences to come together and form something very unique and memorable. Some of these tracks were stuck in my head after hearing them live and I didn't even realize it until I had heard them on this record. Each song has this feel to them that I can't seem to really put into words for whatever reason. Listening to them feels as though you are listening to a story of some sort and there is this progression in the songs like reading a novel with different chapters to listen through and explore. It all comes complete with a subtle drama that lines the whole album. Its a rock album at heart, a punk rock album at that but Des Ark does a great job of breaking it up with their efforts to make some really unique compositions. Also if your not looking for something too aggressive then check out the first song called Some Are Love, it is a really amazing opening track that shows that they can rock the acoustic guitar as well as they can the electric.
So if your ready for some amazing music plop down a few dollars (only eight bucks in iTunes!) put it on and turn it up.
Here is a link in iTunes:
Also, I was poking around and found what appears to be a description of the band written by the band and I found it pretty interesting so I thought I would throw it down here at the bottom of the review:
"The Des Ark Liberation Front and the Days of Prole Workers Coalition :: As a two-piece, guitar/drum duo we work hard to break down the confines of what is expected, or considered the norm in Independent music. With the mentality that absolutely nothing is sacred, traditional song structures collapse, standard tunings are made obsolete and the elitist dynamic of Performer/Audience relationship is made a little more equal by considering the implications of, and thusly refusing to, place ones self on a pedestal or stage. Des Ark absolutely refuses to rely on their past accomplishments for status or cred, Des Ark will never be one of those x-members of bands. What's done is done and the past is dead and gone leaving us only with the lessons we were given. Drawing on the past for a sense of accomplishment or worth will inevitably lead to complacency."
Heres a link to the song in iTunes:
this is such an an amazing thing, these guys put out this free dvd magazine that features all kinds of amazing amazing content. i think they are funded by someone but i cant remember who and i just wanted to post a link up anyway so heres the deal. all you have to do is mail them a nice pre stamped padded envelope and they will send it back with a dvd inside. pretty good deal id say and trust me about the content, it is very very cool, check out the site for more details as well as little clips of some of the things you will find on the dvd.
heres a link.
• i referred to this in my links page but i really love this guys japanese food reviews, they are so well written and i cant help but laugh out loud as i read them. here is the latest from young fook. (its somewhat explicit for those of you who mind)
• this is the personal site of one of the two hosts of the planet japan podcast. she writes articles for a paper in japan and ive been enjoying them as of late, she has a newsletter that you can subscribe to to get the newest columns.
• for anyone running a mac and owns an ipod you have got to check out this amazing shareware app called pod2go. it will sync all sorts of useful things to your ipod for you such as gas prices, weather, rss feeds, text from web pages, directions, your email, and more! i have found this to be really useful as i am out and about to have some of these things there with me in my pocket. you can check it out here. it is very worth the 12 dollars that it costs.
thats all for now, till next time...
this company also makes a really nice product for ipods called the pocket dock which is the best way to get a line out on your ipod with out lugging around a full sized dock!
(this was the original photo i had taken for a desktop image on this site. i was kind of rushed as i took it because of circumstances beyond my control and the little things would not stay still long enough to snap a nice clear photo so this original image was composed a little sloppily and the exposure was a bit off...)
i should mention now that my family owned one of the early digital cameras on the market and it was made by apple computer. i still think we have it around somewhere. it was nice being able to take photos and store them on the computer but at the time that was about all it was really good for. the image quality really was pretty lousy and this new world of digital photography could not even begin to touch a traditional photograph. not even our second generation digital camera made by kodak (which does not even make film cameras anymore!), as impressive as it was at its full resolution could not compare.
as time passed i continued to use my film camera and my drawer full of photos kept piling up full of photographic experiments and the like and i began to notice a debate start to take place in the world of photography. the world of digital imaging had begun to lay claim of more and more and more photographic work. photoshop was starting to become more of a household name and it seemed as though anything was possible in photography because you could scan in your photos and alter them to your hears delight. more traditional photographers seemed to become more and more critical about the up and rising ability to go in and fix any amount of the traditional elements of photography that was once only accessible by those who had experience in the darkroom. this new digital darkroom had begun to take over.
(... but a simple bit of photoshopping can go a long way. this image was transformed into a nice desktop image just by giving the jelly fish some breathing room so it would be more functional as a desktop image)
but the debate didnt end there. to my surprise, i started to read articles that spoke of digital cameras that had begun to match the image quality you could get from a film camera. this seemed to raise question of how long it would be until we would see digital cameras out in the field in place of film cameras. i personally was really exited at the idea of taking all of the photos i wanted and not having to shell out money on developing costs. this and i would be able to automatically see my exposures, make adjustments, and re-shoot, therefore cutting some of that anxiety caused by that waiting period between taking a photo and developing it and hoping that it came out the way i envisioned as i tool the photo. the ability to see a photo directly after it is taken is the reason i decided to write this little article and ill get to that in a second. this whole debate slowly morphed into acceptance of this new digital world and although there are still purists out there it would seem that the vast majority of photo journalists out there today are now using digital SLR's. that whole transition seems to have snuck in there so seamlessly that a lot of people havnt thought twice about this new world of photography. in fact, it would seem that this has bread a whole new slew of would be photographers that have jumped onto the digital revolution of photography like there was never any such thing as film or a darkroom. sometime that seems really strange to me.
getting to the point of all of this... i have realized recently that a lot of photographers have developed a reliance on the little lcd screens on the back of every single digital camera. it would appear as though it has changed the way photography is handled completely. i now notice that every time i see a photographer take a photograph you can immediately tell if he or she is shooting digital. there is always that little pause now to look at the back of the camera and then there is that look on the face of the photographer that means either its a keeper or its one that will cause that second pause and the reach around to delete the photo and forget it was ever there. there are all sorts of levels of these kind of photographers. there are those with a pretty modest set up and those with huge elaborate remote flashes and fancy add ons. its like hot rodding their camera. i myself would like a new lens a battery pack and a decent flash but thats beside the point. do you know what i mean about this whole digital camera epidemic? are photographers loosing touch with the roots of the art form or are we simply using the tools available to us as means to push the boundaries of what is possible with a photograph? does using a computer as a tool in photography cheapen the over all art? i am inclined to be much more sympathetic to this new approach to photography.
i was trained traditionally in photography on the eve of these huge changes in the field and i have seen the ups and downs of both approaches and find that there is no real winner here. i have been using photoshop and been thoroughly addicted since version 3 before layers existed (man did layers change the game or what?? remember making something as simple as a drop shadow in version 3??) and i can admit to my love of the ability to make little changes to images at times. this said i also love the challenge to get an exposure dead on the first time and get a really striking image with out using photoshop as a crutch. nothing feels better than that kind of moment. so that said i can totally respect a photographer that has a strictly analogue approach but i can also see the endless possibilities of using the new tools in this digital age of photography to push the art up above and beyond what was previously thought possible. its amazing really that there has been this total upheaval within the art of photography and all within the past five years or so. i could go on longer and into more specific detail about my experiences with these two ever changing and interlocking worlds of photography but its late and i think ive gone on long enough for now. so until next time....
p.s- leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the matter!
through however many degrees of seperation there may be between myself and boc i was lucky enough to hear some of the new boards of canada album and its really good! its very different only not. for anyone who may not want to hear about the new record than you may want to turn your eyes onto another post. the new album has very similar swirling ambient bases to the songs and simplistic low tempo drum patterns but the part that is kind of surprising is the overall texture of the album. unlike there past few albums this one feels a lot more clean and polished. not to the degree of a pop album by any means but it just feels like its gliding across a plate of white plastic. all of the sounds in each song have a presence of their own which differs from the other albums and the way everything in the song kind of melts together. this album introduces a good bit of guitar into the mix which i found interesting. maybe all of these remixes they have been working on as of late have begun to rub off onto there other recorded work. it is defiantly more approachable, even by those of you who are electronic music nay sayers. this album defiantly seems to reach out to everyone.
so that said everybody can look forward to another really great album from boards of canada in october. i know that sounds like a pretty long wait but it is going to be sooooo worth it.
This record by the seemingly underrated electronic musician Dino Felipe houses twenty six amazing tracks. As whole the album is very solid and although most of the tracks clock in at an average of 2 minutes a piece, with an exception a few longer ones, each track holds steady on its own. It's a very colorful and at various moments could be considered very experimental. There's a little here for everyone from those of you who want to dance to those of you who want to hear some really well crafted sound design work. All in all you cant go wrong with this album. Check it out for yourself and see what I mean.
Unfortunately this album is not available as a digital music purchase. You should however check out Schematic Records website at which you can buy anything they have on their label as well as related albums. Heres a link.
as i mentioned, it seems as though reviewers ignore the existence of them and i could guess that could be linked to a couple of things such as the fact that apple has only made ever so tiny adjustments to the headphones over the years. after there first mistake of making them to big to fit into most ears the earbuds themselves seem to have stayed pretty much the same. the most significant change in them would have to be the addition of the little piece of plastic that you can use to hold the two loose ends of the earbuds together which results in less of a tangled mess after being in your pocket. this and the point of connection where the 1/8" jack is there has been a couple of minor changes in the style of plastic end.
over all i really like the sound and feel of the simple white earbuds. it kind of weird me out to have earbuds that stick down into my ear, which i will talk about in a moment, so i like the way they sit in my ear. they are pretty well responsive sounding headphones all in all. people seem to mistake lots of bass with good rich sound but i find that that is simply not true. the apple earbuds seem to cary plenty on the low end for being what they are. i think that overall you cant go wrong with the sound of them. it is crisp and well rounded and i believe under rated in most cases. if you want a pair of headphones with a nice kick in the low end then i would suggest you check out the offerings over at bose. mainly their tri-port headphones. (they are built terribly and break all to easily but damn do they sound good.) please step up and prove me otherwise if you think im wrong.
now i should get to my big problem with these things. yes, although it may seem like i have nothing but good to say i do have some issues with these things and the main issue being that none of them ever seem to last me all to long. i find that the thin metal screen over the speaker is the cause of all of my issues. whenever i have them in my pocket they get all crammed against each other and other things in my pocket and this causes the thin metal shield to get dented and this causes it to press against the speaker and cause a nasty static sound when i try and get any volume out of the things. i have returned at least three pairs of these and finally gave up and started using my duck taped tri-ports for everything.
when i picked up m nano i realized that i now had a fresh pair of the little white earbuds and i immediately wondered if there was any good way to save them from getting mangled like my other pairs of them and i found a few various compromises. one would be to buy a little earbud carrier for them. there are a couple on the market specifically for the ipod earbuds but i just wasnt that satisfied with any of the ones that i had found. i did come across one cool product in my searches which i did buy and absolutely love and that is a handy little cable wrap for headphones. here is a link for that amazing little accessory.
the product i ended up choosing was a bit of a shot in the dark but they were cheep and the most simple solution for my problem. that would be griffins ear jams. as stated before i really dont like headphones that i have to cram deep into my ear and i will admit that the ear jams are not an exception. they really arent all that comfy and they look pretty goofy sticking out of your ear because they do add a bit of extra bulk to the earbuds. they are supposed to boost the bass but all they really do is make the sound muddier. all that aside i bought them for one reason and one reason only and that was to cover the face of my earbuds so they would not get mangled as they have in the past and for that they do a great job! i am going to see if i can get used to cramming them into my ear but i think i will end up simply using them as a cover for my earbuds and snapping them off when i use them. seems like a pretty simple solution and i look forward to spending a bit more time with them.
i believe thats all for my take on the apple earbuds situation. hopefully what ive said here will save others a bit of a headache in the future. till next time then...
This is by far one of my favorite albums of the past year. It has a hard to describe indie rock thing going on. They seem to like to experiment with composition a lot which adds a really unique feel to each song. They seem to have this really simple approach to crafting their music that leaves there songs stuck in my head for quite a while. There creativity in music is also matched by there amazing packaging for there albums. You cant help but be amazed at the ideas they have come up with for there packaging. The CD version of the album is a flip book featuring four different panels of motion as you flip through to the last page where the CD is held. The vinyl version is by far the most creative packaging for any record that i have ever seen. The record opens into a giant mouth and in that mouth you will find the record. There are a couple of photos below of the record opening because its hard to describe. Not only is is cool but they hand made all five hundred copies that are out there. They had made the flip book by hand at first but they are now bound by a book press somewhere in the northwest.
So head over to iTunes and check these guys out. I have seen them live twice now and bought this album three different times because of their ongoing creativity in there packaging.
Heres the iTunes link:
p.s. - try and make sense of the web page for the band. its crazy!
i would never dream of torturing my new nano like the guys over at ars technica did as they reviewed the thing but its interesting to read about the poor player being thrown around and run over by a car. the nano actually still worked after being driven over by a car, well minus the screen, that died but the scroll when still functioned and it was still able to play music!
see for yourself.
as i opened the as always slick packaging for the ipod i didnt even realize that the ipod was real sitting there mounted inside the fold of the box, at first glance i honestly thought it was a printed image of the ipod there and the actual device was further inside the box but i soon realized that that tiny little thing was actually the player! this thing is the perfect size for a portable audio player. its just big enough to fit comfortably in your hand but its still so unbelievably small that it makes for the perfect personal traveling companion. it tucks away anywhere you want it to go and its very easy to forget that its even there. is so hard to describe just how cool this little thing is. as light and thin as it it is it is hard to believe that its as sturdy as it is. it feels like you could snap it in half but having the solid stainless steel back on it makes it very solid.
(here is a pretty good size comparison.)
moving along here, lets talk about the display. it is smaller than past ipods, a good half an inch smaller but dont let this turn you off. i cant help but use the word amazing a lot in this review, and look out because here comes another. it amazes me how good this little display looks. its hard to believe this display that is so vibrant and colorful is set into a player this thin. it seems like some sort of illusion. this would be a good time to talk about the use of a nice little color screen on an ipod. i went from an older third gen ipod with a grey scale screen to this one and within two days of using the nano its strange to go back to my older player. i really like having the ability to see the album artwork on the ipod. it would be kind of cool if i could browse my music on the ipod by looking through the album covers and playing an album from there. the other thing i like about the color screen is being able to look at photos from the ipod. its a pretty nice function in my opinion. the album art is especially nice when i am listening to an enhanced podcast such as one of my favorites, kyoto podcast. the images change as you listen to the podcast and its handy to see what it is the podcast host is referring to as you listen to it. before my nano came along i had to be at my laptop to see the enhanced content. i have my nano set up to sync my last imported batch of photos with my nano photos which is a pretty handy way to check out my latest photos and share them on the go. it would be good to note that you can not offload photos directly from your camera to this verison of the ipod and i dont believe you can display the photos on a tv with this version but all in all its still a pretty useful and fun feature.
(the album art can also be displayed on its own by cycling through the menu as a file is playing using the main select button in the middle of the wheel.)
ive come up with a pretty handy idea for any international travelers out there that have a color ipod such as the nano. any important things you may need traveling such as a toilet, water, medicine, or other such necessities could easily be photographed and uploaded to the ipod along with the written word of the photo in both english and whatever language the country you are visiting may use saved as a jpg. then when you may need a hand getting over that language barrier you could simply search through your photos, find a picture of whatever you may need and show that to whomever you mihgt be asking for help. seems like a good idea to me anyways.
so lets see, what else could i cover here. i wanted to mention that, as i mentioned before, i do have an older third gen fifteen gig ipod and i still plan to use it. i see my nano as my player for my personal favorite albums of the moment as well as a place to store and listen to the various podcasts i enjoy. my older ipod will still act as a way to carry other favorites and music that i might need here and there while i am out an about that i dont necessarily listen to all of the time. i have somewhere in the range of a hundred gigs worth of music on an external drive and so i cant cary all of my music with me all of the time but my other ipod does act as a nice collection of some of my favorites. all in all the nano and my older ipod seems like a pretty good combo to me. i have always liked the ability to sync my phone numbers, calendar, notes/ directions on my ipod and the nano pulls off this function flawlessly. there are a couple of other little things thrown in like a screen lock function that i think is more cute than useful and a stop watch/ lap timer that saves your lap times for you joggers out there. all in all i really have nothing at all bad to say about this player. it seems like reviewers such as the ipodlounge have this really stupid tendency to try as hard as they possibly can to find something they dont like about every single product they review simply to give off the illusion that they are reporting the unbiased opinion. that said it seems like even these types of reviewers are having a really hard time finding things wrong with this player. its just that cool.
(the pocket the nano is in is the one that i used to store my headphones in. turns out that it makes for a nice place to store my older ipods younger brother.)
well i think i have mentioned everything i wanted to about this new toy of mine. i would highly recommend one of these amazing little players to anyone in the market for a new portable music player. there are also black versions of them which i have yet to see one in person but i hear they are pretty nice and also hear that they are outselling the white ones by a good amount.
do you have an ipod nano? have you seen one and want one? leave a comment to tell the world what you think of these fun little gadgets. heres one last photo to show another size comparison... man its cool.
There is a new Boards of Canada record looming about on the horizon and it is getting closer which each day that passes but for those of you who are looking for a little bit of a sneak peek look no further than bleep.com. They have posted a song from the upcoming record for purchase. I have included a little preview attachment above but if that is not working for you for whatever reason then here is a link directly to the bleep page containing the song.
(note: if you are using safari there is a little trick that i have discovered that might allow you to preview the whole track without it fading and pausing as you listen to it. try opening a new tab in the web browser and leaving it on that other tab as the track plays in the other tab. you didnt hear that from me)
i hope that this will be a nice reference for anyone looking for some new music to check out. it should compliment the review page well seeing as there is a lot of music out there that i enjoy which i may not have time to write a full review for.
speaking of the review section, look out for a new review as well as a new approach to the reviews section in general. i have tried to make the reviews that i write as personal as possible so you can get an opinion that isnt as sterile as your average review and with the upcoming addition to this section i hope to take my current approach to the next level.
Although the music on this album may seem minimal and at times repetitive I think that this is an absolutely amazing record! The music can easily lead you into a more focused state of mind because of SND's brilliantly simple approach to music. It's a wonderful album to relax and work to so check it out!
heres a link (btw, there is explicit language in the song for those of you who may not want to hear it?)
I stumbled across this amazing little application today that is a toy of a sort. its a really simple concept but when you sit down with it and start playing around it gets more and more addictive. im sure this is old news to some but its new to me. the idea behind the app is there is a point on the screen at which little balls drop out and what you do to interact with them is draw lines one the screen to give the balls something to bounce on. not only this but whenever a ball strikes a line it triggers a note to be played so as you develop your bouncing ball structure you can hear melodies come out of the bouncing. its easy to let it get out of hand and sound like a big mess but if you set a structure up right you can get some pretty cool sounding compositions! i believe it was developed a couple years back by the artist josh nimoy using max msp.
you can find this free application here for both windows and macintosh so head over and grab it for a bit of a distraction in your everyday routine.
this whole gas thing is getting pretty crazy over here in the usa, it feels like some people are switching into panic mode. this reminds me of whenever there is even a small possibility of a snow storm in the winter people rush out and buy milk and bread like crazy, two foods that wont last very long if your holed up in your house with no power. sometimes people just amaze me with there behavior.
it's a nicer city than i remember the last time i was there.
a little stop at buffalo exchange.
i had lots of fun exploring chinatown, i bought a bunch of fun drinks such as...
...this tasty bottle of ramune.
we ended up going to three different ikea's off of 95 while we were out and about this trip, they are pretty intimidating stores, ill tell you that much!
ahhhhh, and then there was this wonderful little trip down a river on a canoe.
im still here
When I decided to start writing music reviews on this website I knew that they would not end up being your typical music reviews and I'm sure that shows as you read them. Although I am familiar with all sorts of various genres of music I try not to pigeonhole the music I like into specific little sub-genres. It's way too one-sided to me. Music is more than a genre. It's more than a simple comparison to another artist with similar ideas. There is a reason music is such a vital element to so many people's lives, even more so than movies, gadgets, and video games. It's the emotion behind it. It's the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that crawls out of your body via the hairs on the back of your neck. You know what I mean? Music is so much more than the label given to it. I know there are those of you out there that are thinking that there is more to it than that. It's not that simple, right? Well yes and no. Yes if your someone who let's yourself explore all of the new places music can take you. No if you are someone who tells me to stop playing all that terrible electronic music, there is no guitar player so is not real music. No if you are that someone who tells me to stop listening to all that sad bastard acoustic music, it's so boring and there is nothing to it. Who knows, maybe I'm making no sense at all here. You may say that genres are simply there to give the music an identity of its own but I think it's gotten way out of hand. It seems to me that these genres have started to own the music and created these little segregated groups of purists of any given genre. I come across so many people that seem to block out anything but their little trendy notch of a genre whether that be hip-hop, drum-n-bass, or country rock. It just seems silly to me that these things break the music community up into these little cliques. If you are one of those who are open to listen to all sorts of music then I'll have to take a second here to thank you. I know that we all have our favorites and that's not going to change but come on. Don't let it take over.... sorry, im loosing my grounding here. I'll quit while I'm making sense. Please feel free to leave a comment to give your opinion on the matter. I'm sure I will contradict myself at some point and when I do so let me know. I tend to go off a little to far into a thought and get lost a little bit.