OK, maybe that's overstating it a little... It's called Groove Network (that's what that skinny new header at the top of the site is all about) and its more like a modest (but growing) community of individuals who love music, music-making and/or nice warm valves; and are well-versed in the black arts of Teh-Blog.
Currently, the brethren of our Ancient Lodge includes the following Exalted Ones:
Noise Addicts (our spiritual leader who can rightfully refer to his exceptional site as an online magazine without fear of being called a wanker);
OddInstruments (who captivates us with fantastic instruments from around the world and fills us with unhealthy amounts of envy);
Duck and Cover (who are masters of indie reviewry and will probably be rich and famous before the rest of us can the find the stairs that lead out of our basements);
Contrapuntist (who writes long, thoughtful posts about music and things other than music, and damn well deserved to be on Huffington Post. Bastards!);
USO (who are Matteo Milani and Federico Placidi, who are accomplished and well-respected digital/electroacoutic musicians);
Bleepology (who arouses us with write-ups and images of come-hither-patch-cable modular synths and barely mounted hardware);
DIY Audio Projects (who are the kings of crackling vacuum tube hi-fi boffinery);
Frequency Blog (who are the gearhound's gearhounds);
Waveformless (who is Tom, a professional electronic musician with impeccable taste in eBay gear-porn and a passion for Ultravox.)
And me (who well... um, not sure why I'm here... 50 Cent remixes of Czech folk songs, anyone?)
It’s always nice to get emails from other mp3 bloggers, especially when they’re ones who are doing unusual things with the medium. Wolfgang Dorniger is an Austrian sound artist with a passion for field recordings who uses his blog to post just that – field recordings of ships, car washes, bus rides, church interiors and so on. Some of them he uses in his works, some of them are just interesting documents of environmental sounds. All of them are available as a podcast.
Welcome back. Whatcha all been up to while I was away? This is going to be a fairly modest return (I’m back from an O.S. trip that drained the finances pretty badly, so I won’t be buying too much new music in the coming weeks. Instead, it’ll just be sporadic cannibalizations of postings on other much cooler sites.) And speaking of cool sites, I am overjoyed to hear of the return, during my absence, of two of the brightest stars in the interweb firmament – the venerable Ubuweb, and the whimsical but inspired Dictionaraoke.
For the past nine years, Ubuweb has been the pre-eminent online repository of avant-garde, outsider and ethnopoetic writings and recordings. In its ever-expanding archives, you can find works representing ever major modern artist/composer from Antonin Artaud to La Monte Young; the complete 365 Days Project and the rantings of Francis E Dec; and field recordings of Inuit throat singers, Indonesian ketjak chanters, and Oklahomans “speaking in tongues”. In the June this year, Ubuweb called it a day. Thankfully, though, this turned out be only temporary, and its return was announced less than a fortnight ago.
Although it may never acquire the high cultural significance of a site like Ubuweb, Dictionaraoke deserves a permanent place in the roving smorgasbord of inspired silliness that constitutes the vast bulk of the Web because, well… it is a pretty inspired piece of silliness. The idea behind it is simple enough: starting back in 2001, members and acquaintances of the Negativland mailing list fed the lyrics of popular songs into online audio pronunciation guides, spliced together the output, and mixed it with cheesy karaoke backing tracks to produce the sorts of covers that might be assembled by nostalgic future robots a century or so after their complete eradication of the human menace… So if you want to hear what will be all the rage with the art-admin-bots in 2205, go check out this version of Cameo's "Word Up". (via Music For Maniacs.)
For the better part of the last year, PCL Linkdump has been one of the great one-stop link filter sites for all your middle-brow art, interesting music, retro-style archaeology, and general pop-culture needs. Since April, its also been regaling us with a series of weekly mp3 postings; thematically divided into a month each of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. These have now been compiled into one neat little downloadable net release, complete with accompanying cover art.
Included in the collection is one woman’s cheesy ode to her vibrator; a Swedish version of Je táime (with mild operatic aspirations); a rather disconcerting recording of male coital grunting; some raunchy under-the-counter rhythm’n’blues; the classic jazz-era drug standards– Reefer Man by Cab Calloway, and Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs Murphy’s Ovaltine by Harry The Hipster; a midnight Southern revival rant from Jerry “I’m Goin’ To Hell For Playin’ The Devil’s Music” Lee Lewis… And much more besides.
But hasten with the right-clicking – the collection will only be up till the end of this week.
(FOOTNOTE: To anyone who’s perturbed by the sudden disappearance of past comments on this site; my apologies. Because of the ongoing failure of MT-Blacklist to hold back the tide of comment spam, I’ve switched over to Haloscan. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take any of the old comments with me.)
“Please visit my blog, I think you would enjoy some of it”… When I got this modest little email invitation to visit Cake and Polka Parade recently, the last thing I expected was the wondrous assortment of brain-curdling weirdness that I found…
In a scroll through the most recent entries, I was confronted with live recordings by legendary SF angry-painting-come-to-life-punk collective, Caroliner Rainbow; a psychiatric patient’s rantings about Lionel Ritchie’s dick; trombone, tuba ‘n’ drum mutilations of the Stooges; a Herschell Gordon Lewis kiddie movie (!?); a field recording of Belize crackheads; and some sober and respectable selections from naturalist Douglas Quin’s album of Antarctic wildlife sounds.
The pieces de resistance, however, were a pair of the most bizarre online movies that I have seen in ages. First up is Kana Hakkliha, an Estonian commercial for some kind of processed poultry product which plays like the fevered nightmare of a highly troubled vegan. It consists of intercut shots of a chicken, minced meat being extruded from a grinder, the preparation of a deep-fried culinary atrocity, and big coiffed 80’s models snarfing away at the end of the food chain. Underscoring these images is a creepy soundtrack on which increasingly echo-laden and frantic vocals intone the name of the product…
But even that seems mild and innocuous when compared with the Japanese vomit fetish game show... A doe-eyed teenage girl consumes noodles then proceeds to regurgitate them over the head of another teenage girl, occasionally glancing coyly at the camera in search of affirmation. All the while, an adult female compere in see-through lingerie prowls around in the background occasionally delivering snippets of commentary. (Extremely NSFW. You have been warned.)
All this in only two months... (And he even throws in some of his own fucked-up juvenilia... GET ME A VIBRATOR FROM THE CLOSET!) Greg Jacobsen, we salute you!
As 2004 draws to a close, so too does Jan Turkenburg’s excellent 52 Weeks project. Each week over the past year, he and his guest curators have regaled us with a fresh set of (mainly Dutch) musical curiosities and wonders – from disarmingly precocious recordings of rapping children and inspiring reworkings of classics by POW inmates; to forgotten releases by obscure Dutch bands and sampledelic craziness by contemporary underground artists.
And now, to mark the passing of this intrepid endeavour, he’s hosting an epilogue in which all and sundry are invited to nominate their favourite tracks, which will be dusted off and reposted. Head on over to the site for one last chance to sample some of Jan’s succulent sonic offerings.
I was quite chuffed to get a posting recently from French mp3 blogger, David Fenech. So I visited his LiveJournal site, and was even more delighted to discover that he is a musician in his own right who seems to specialise in woozy, quirked-out musical non sequiturs... There aren't many common threads in what I've heard of his work. Stylistically, it veers from tumbling Tom Waits-esque guitar numbers backed by balloon-squeal keyboards, to pinched falsetto torch songs warbled over synthesized scissors, to stop-start post-punk spazz-fests. (There's even a cover version of Ring My Bell that delightfully parodies the vocoder fetishes of more well-known French acts like Daft Punk.) In other words, its the sort of stuff that your life is incomplete without, so get your arse over to Demosaurus right now and download everything this twisted bastard has to offer... Oh, and you might like to buy one of his albums as well.
Online magazine The Morning News has an interesting round table discussion about mp3 blogs, with contributions from the audio-blogeurs behind Said The Gramophone, Tofu Hut, Cocaine Blunts & Hip Hop Tapes, Largehearted Boy, The Mystical Beast and Soul Sides. There’s a bit of entertaining musing about what will be lost when the meat-world record stores fall by the wayside (eg the opportunity to flirt with the cute record-store girl), a few quite plausible predictions about the increased role that mp3 blogs will play in music marketing, a consideration of the role of mp3 blog in music scholarship, and a rather heated discussion about whether or not writers have boring taste in music. Well worth checking out.
(FOOTNOTE: That point about mp3 blogs becoming increasingly important in record company marketing received solid confirmation in the last couple of days when Warner Brothers Records actually asked the mp3 blog Music For Robots to post mp3s from the new album by The Secret Machine... So, what happened to that argument about illegal file-sharers being the enemy of the music industry?...)
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.)