July 29, 2004

Woody Guthrie's Copyright Notice

By now, the vast majority of you will probably have heard of (and seen) the rather over-hyped Flash animated parody of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" featuring George W and John Kerry... Well - surprise! surprise! - the publishers of the song have threatened to bring a copyright action against the parodists on the basis that it "damages" the unifying message of the song.
Its a fairly spurious claim that threatens one of the mainstays of political satire - the satirical song; but one good thing has come out of it... Its prompted its opponents at Electronic Frontier Foundation to dig up the standard copyright notice that Guthrie placed on most of his songs. And its one of the best copyright notices ever written. It goes something like this...

"This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."

Posted by Warren at 01:52 AM

How To Convert Real Audio Streams to Mp3

Ever wished there was a straightforward way of recording the audio streams of net radio? Something as easy as the home taping of FM stations that you used to do on your stereo?... Well there is!
Basically you just need to download Streambox VCR (which lets you download audio streams), dBpowerAMP Music Converter (to convert the streams into mp3s), a few codecs, and a "file selector"... and you're ready to rip! For a more detailed run down of the process, go to this entry in Swen's blog.

And while you're there, you might want to check out the rest of Swen's site, which is primarily devoted to posting links to mp3s by artists featured in that avant-music journal The Wire. His most recent crop features Iron & Wire, Bark Psychosis, Mum, Pixies reunion concert bootlegs, groups from Weilheim, Germany (eg The Notwist, Village of Savoonga), and China's first all grrl punk band, Hang on The Box.

Posted by Warren at 12:34 AM

July 21, 2004

Buck Truck, The Rappin' Trucker

Yes, its as godawful as the title suggests... Looped guitar pickin' and drum machine rhythms overlaid with lumpen doggerel about the truckin' life. Sample lyrics: Got my guitar on my shoulder / Gonna talk till we're both older / They say all I do is gab / Yeah I gab about the slab / I'm Buck Truck and you're in luck / Cause I'm here and I'm talkin' truck...

And there's a whole album of it which was (appropriately enough) found in a discount CD bin at a truck stop in Tennessee. It was posted on the This Is The Shit website but, at the moment, their downloads don't seem to be working (a Bit Torrent is promised in the near future). In the meantime, I've put two of the tracks up on Rummage: Buck Truck and Elvis Once Drove A Truck.

Posted by Warren at 12:01 AM

July 17, 2004

The Conet Project: Minnow Mauls Shark in Copyright Action, Reissues Classic CD Set

The Conet Project is a landmark 4 CD set that documents the intriguing phenomena of “numbers stations”- shortwave transmissions of voices endlessly reciting sequences of numbers which apparently served as coded messages for Cold War era spies. It was originally released in the late 90’s and, in 2002, a sizable chunk (1 min 3sec) of one of its recordings ended up in a track on the universally acclaimed album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco. (The name of that album is taken from a Conet Project track which featured a woman repeating this phrase.) In response, Irdial sued Wilco’s label, WEA, for breach of copyright and, in June this year, they received a healthy settlement from the “infringing” major label.

All of which has raised a certain amount of ire in online “information-wants-to-be-free” circles. After all, how can one claim copyright in recordings taken straight from radio stations?... If you’re in America, it seems you can’t – the simple recording of a pre-existing radio transmission doesn’t have the requisite originality to give rise to copyright. (Although there are still issues of originality arising in the “selection and arrangement” of recorded material.) The case was played out, however, in the UK where the “fixing of a work” in a particular format instantly gives rise to copyright. (There’s an interesting discussion of the issues in the different jurisdictions here.)

The upshot of all this legal activity is that Irdial has apparently used their settlement to reissue the Conet Project, which you can purchase from the die-hard Project fans at Aquarius Records. Unfortunately, it comes with a hefty US$62 price tag… But if you’re not using it for commercial purposes, you don’t need to pay that because the otherwise-litigious folk at Irdial offer a free download of all 4 CDs on their website.

Posted by Warren at 03:34 AM

July 16, 2004

Song To Wear Pants To: Dear Songmaker...

Please make an a capella chant-type song about people who photocopy their body parts (you may wish to focus on the photocopying of the buttocks), with at least 14 layers of your voice...
Songs To Wear Pants To is the website of Andrew Huang, a Canadian musician who turns ANY email request into a song. It doesn’t matter what style is specified, or how bizarre the subject matter Andrew is equal to the task… And he’s pretty prolific too.
In the couple of months since he started offering his talents to the world via his website, he’s already churned out 90 songs-to-spec; responding to such wilfully obtuse briefs as a ska song about “a samurai flying on the back of a giant eagle”, a toilet-flushing-based track, a request for a jello-wiggling anthem, and the afore-mentioned a capella buttock-photocopy number.

(NB: The posted mp3s include recitations of the email requests by voice artist extraordinaire, Jamie Thomson. These will be featured on next Friday's show.)

Posted by Warren at 12:22 AM

July 14, 2004

The Ultimate Mp3 Blog Round-Up

From Monkeyfilter (like Metafilter only "with more bananas"), comes this comprehensive list of bloggers offering regularly-updated mp3 postings from their individual, idiosyncratic music collections... And virtually every genre is covered - from rock/pop, hip hop and reggae to exotica, bhangra, backmasking, drum solos and theremin... There's quite literally something for everyone, so you're bound to find your new favourite source of hard-to-find downloads somewhere in there.
(Graphic collaged from header images on Said The Gramophone.)

Posted by Warren at 01:05 AM

July 11, 2004

Hip Hop Radio Time Capsule: Newark, New Jersey, 1983

From the archives of Sharpeworld comes this wonderful set of streamed recordings from the early days of hip hop radio… They were made by Japanese po-mo essayist Tetsuo Kogawa, while living in New York in 1983. The recordings are of WBIH, Newark, New Jersey – one of the first stations to devote large portions of their programming to hip hop. The are four in all, which feature programmes by the World Famous Supreme Team, which had been assembled by Malcolm McLaren to do the MCing on his hit “Buffalo Girls”, and Afrika Islam, the son of the godfather of hip hop, Afrika Bambataa..

Posted by Warren at 09:53 PM

July 09, 2004


New York based artist/musician, Yoshi Sodeoka has taken videos of rock luminaries such as Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Acca Dacca, and the Sex Pistols; replaced the music with cheesy midi tracks; rendered the visuals in ASCII characters; and created some seriously mind-melting little quicktime movies... I kind of imagine that this is what the world looks/sounds like in the heads of those old death-ray-eyed space robots from 50's sci-fi films... Perfect for disengaging the mind on a Friday afternoon...

Posted by Warren at 02:53 PM

Alessandro Moreschi: The Last Castrato

Back in the 17th century, when women were barred from appearing on stage or singing in churchs, the roles of sopranos in operas and choirs were routinely filled by castrati; men who had been castrated during childhood so the pure high tones of their unbroken boyhood voices could be maintained indefinitely. This barbaric practice began to decline in the early 19th century and was eventually banned altogether in 1870... Too late, however, for Alessandro Moreschi who was born twelve years before it was outlawed (castration generally happened at the age of 10), and was the last castrato still performing at the turn of the 20th century.

At that time, he was singing in the Vatican and was chanced upon by a pair of field recorders who had come to cut a gramophone cylinder of the Pope's voice. The recordings they made - the only ones of a castrato singing - were released on CD back in the early 1990's. The liner notes of that release speak glowingly about the "power and brilliance" of Moreschi's voice, but the fact that this prepubescent voice came from the throat of a corpulent middle aged man, makes the whole experience fundamentally disturbing... I only hope it remains in print for long time. Just to remind people that the the search for "purity" and "beauty" in art is not immune from the sort of anti-human perversions that pervade the sordid "real" world...

The CD of Moreschi's recordings can be purchased through Amazon, which also hosts real audio samples of a number of tracks.

Posted by Warren at 01:07 AM

July 08, 2004

Portsmouth Sinfonia : The World's Worst Orchestra

May 28th this year marked the 30th anniversary of the first performance by the legendarily shambolic DIY orchestra, The Portsmouth Sinfonia.
Originally conceived in the early 70's by English avant-garde composer, Gavin Bryars, the Portsmouth Sinfonia was an orchestra that anyone could join - regardless of whether or not they could actually play an instrument... All that mattered was that they turned up for rehearsals, and took the whole thing seriously.

The resulting cacophony naturally raised the ire of the "tuxedo-nazis", but it also gathered a cult following and even inspired "real" musicians to get involved. Brian Eno was an early participant who became the Sinfonia's clarinetist, even though he had never played the instrument before. (He later went on to produce one of their albums.) Michael Nyman (the composer of the film scores for The Piano) was supposedly so gobsmacked by the first half of a Sinfonia performance that he asked if they had a spare instrument and ended up playing cello in the second half.

The Portsmouth Sinfonia's all-too-brief career ended in the early 80's and left behind three albums - The Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays The Popular Classics, Hallelujah! - Portsmouth Sinfonia Live At The Albert Hall and 20 Classic Rock Classics. Unfortunately, these are now long out-of-print and almost impossible to find (unless you're prepared to fork out top dollar on eBay.) Thankfully though, real audio samples of their dischordant majesty are available from the Miserable Melodies website. (I've converted two of my favourites - Also Sprach Zarathusra and The Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy - to mp3s that you can download.)

Posted by Warren at 11:23 PM

It's "Official": Hard Rock Makes You Dumb... And Homicidal

This comes from a high school science project on a Franciscan monk science web-site, so it must be true... (Stop laughing!)
Apparently, some kid in Virginia took two groups of mice and subjected one to 10 hours of classical music per day, and the other to 10 hours of hard rock per day. Both groups of mice were routinely sent through a maze and it was found that after 3 weeks, the classical music mice had cut their maze navigation time down by 85%. The times for the hard rock mice meanwhile had gone up by a dazed and confused 100%!...
The experiment would have gone on longer but unfortunately... all the hard rock mice killed each other.

Posted by Warren at 10:47 PM

A Compilation For The Attention Deficient

Got a busy time-precious lifestyle? Get bored of a song after the first chorus? Suffer from ADHD? Well, this might be the compilation for you!...
In the tradition of those 50's stuntswhere college fraternities tried to see how many people they could stuff in a phone box, Stuart from World of Stuart has accomplished the impressive task of putting together a compilation of 100 songs that can fit on a single CD! (OK, its not an official release with copyright clearances; just one guy's playlist... But you've gotta salute the concept.)
The tracks, which are sourced from a variety of indie, punks, hip hop and comedy acts, vary in length from the positively sprawling 1 minute 26 second "Velocity Girl" by Primal Scream to the shortest song of all time, "You Suffer" by Napalm Death, which clocks in at 1.47 seconds (including instrumental fadeout).

Posted by Warren at 10:00 PM

PSA: Download Fahrenheit 9-11 NOW !!!

"I don't agree with copyright laws, and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it...as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labor.... I make these movies and books and TV shows because I want things to change, and so the more people who get to see them, the better."

So said Micheal Moore recently when asked about illegal downloads of his box-office-topping doco Fahrenheit 9-11... And now the good people at Archive.org have decided to help facilitate this Mike-approved sharing of the movie by posting it on their website. Go there NOW and download it for free!

(Caveat: It IS a bootleg recorded by someone in a theatre with a handicam, so the quality isn't the best and there are a few scenes missing... Hopefully we'll see a full copy up on the site in the near future.)

(UPDATE: It seems that the file has been taken off the site. If your still keen to download it, there's a bit torrent file available here. You will, of course, need the Bit Torrent software to download it.)

Posted by Warren at 05:27 PM