July 08, 2008

The End Of Rummage As A Radio Segment

Rummage_Final.jpgAfter five long years, Rummage Through The Crevices' presence on the Sydney airwaves is no more. To all those who tuned in to us over that time, we say thank you and hope you will continue to frequent this site which will remain a source of ongoing forays into the endlessly fascinating world of the musically unusual and idiosyncratic.

In our final radio segment, we featured Chinga Chavin's infamous 1976 album, Country Porn. Here are the two tracks we played from this collection of "dirty ditties, sextalgia and porn on the cob":

Chinga Chavin - Asshole From El Paso
Chinga Chavin - Cum Stains on My Pillow (Where Your Sweet Head Used To Be)

The rest of the album can be downloaded from the WFMU blog. (Oh yes, and its NSFW... but that should possibly be obvious from at least one of the aforementioned song titles.)

Posted by Warren at 01:45 AM

July 02, 2008

I Hate Myself And Want To Die Episode 1: Daniel Kitson

After a long and successful run on the radio, Daz has finally brought I Hate Myself And Want To Die to YouTube. In this segment, she interviews various persons of note about the songs that got them through their angst-ridden teenage years. First up is English comedian Daniel Kitson, who turns out to be a rather chipper fellow with a talent for genital neologism. Accompanying the lively banter, and adding to the retro feel, is some defiantly lo-tech cardboard cut-out "animation". Enjoy!

Posted by Warren at 08:22 PM

On The Economics Of Mooching

Up on Boing Boing at the moment is an interesting interview with John Buckman, the founder of our favourite net-label, Magnatune. (This was the label that pioneered the idea of "pay what you like" online music distribution years before Radiohead cottoned on it.)

In 2006, Buckman set up yet another inspired online distribution scheme, Bookmooch. This time, as the name suggests, it was all about giving people an online venue to organise book swaps. In the two years since it was set up, it's acquired a membership of over 74,000 users in 90 countries and, in the process, it's actually become profitable.

And how can this be, considering that it's basically a swap-mart where no money changes hands? Well, it's because of the physics of over-stimulated demand... Because it grants access to users throughout the world, a website like Bookmooch promises unlimited book-swapping possibilities. Naturally, it can never completely fulfill this "promise" and users don't automatically expect that it will, but they do end up thinking about other books that they wish were available to swap for. In such a situation, the only option is to purchase them and Bookmooch accommodates this by providing links to Amazon, who reward Bookmooch with a percentage of resulting sales.

Buckman has called this making money "by accident" but it actually forms a solid and very non-accidental model for exploiting an online world where everything is apparently available for "free" - stimulate demand, provide partial satisfaction for free, then make money off the highly desired remainder. And if, as in the case of music, that remainder might still be freely available, make paying for it seem like an "investment" (eg listen to the MP3 for free, but pay for the FLAC so the artist can stay alive and make more of the music you love...)

None of this is new, of course, but you'll no doubt keep hearing about how "revolutionary" it is until those lumbering cultural brontosaurs like the record industry finally adopt it as part of their business plans. When that happens, hopefully John Buckman will make a packet from consultancy fees.

Posted by Warren at 01:16 AM

July 01, 2008

Living Is Hard: West African Music In Britain 1927-1929

Living_Is_Hard.jpgIn this age of globalised music markets, it's common to talk of certain Western cities as centres of "world music". When we do, it generally means that these cities are magnets for Third World musicians who come to record in top-notch studios and sign deals with big-time labels who will pitch their music to an educated and receptive Western audience. Once upon a time, though, being a nominal centre for "world music" meant something completely different...

In 1922, the London-based Zonophone label brought out its first release aimed at a West African audience - a platter of Christian hymns recorded in Yoruba by Fela Kuti's grandfather. The record must have been fairly successful as, by the late 1920's, Zonophone was making a serious push to corner the West African market.

Unlike later major label ventures into this market, however, they had no interest in actually taking recording equipment to Africa to record local artists. Instead, they remained resolutely rooted in their London studios and scoured the African ex-patriate community for musicians who could churn out product for the folks back home.

The result was hundreds of discs documenting every West African musical style of the day; none of which were intended for anyone outside of their ultimate audience in Africa. In the process of recording of them, Zonophone effectively turned London into one of the first centres of "world music". Because of the primary audience of their recordings, though, it was never recognised as such...

Now, however, thanks to Honest Jon Records, who have released an album of those Zonophone recordings, we finally have a glimpse into the African music export underground of that period. Here's a track from it by one of the stars of early Ghanaian high-life, George Williams Aingo. When translated, its lyrics go something like this: Old man Bonto, I've brought money home / Back from abroad / Living is hard ayee / Old man Bonto, I've brought money home

George Williams Aingo - Akuko Nu Bonto

Posted by Warren at 01:15 AM