Ever wonder how popular a band or artist really is? Head over to http://google.com/insights/search/ and find out. Today I have three popularity wars set up (click to enlarge screenshots). First I go old school EBM (of course) and throw VNV Nation into the mix with Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Skinny Puppy. Surprisingly Nitzer Ebb looses big time. Next up on stage is MGMT vs Willie Nelson vs The Prodigy. The surprise to me here is that the Prodigy manages to stay on the chart at all. The final contest I go for some big bands: NIN vs Depeche Mode vs Kraftwerk. I knew DM would win but if you look carefully there were a few moments in time NIN over took them.
Of course popularity doesn’t always equal great tunes but this is a fun way to see who’s “the biggest”. Do you think any of these results are surprising?
I’ve been obsessed with a new iPhone app called DopplerPad (iTunes link). I will let the videos show you what it can do. The killer feature for me is that it allows you to sample something then you click and record sequence playback points along the sampled waveform. Joy!
“Quickly create and perform musical hooks, phrases and loops with a variety of custom synth and sample-based instruments. Make samples on the fly and weave them into compositions.” – www.retronyms.com
Must see TV if you want to get good with DopplerPad…
This weekend I played a large summer festival called Dominator about an hour and a half outside of Amsterdam in a area called Leidschendam. The event is put on by an organization named Art of Dance and they are one of a small group of companies that control the Dutch techno scene. There were a few stages ranging from 2-5,000 kids in front of them. It was a daytime festival and luckily it was all sun and there was a nice lake to sit by too. They put me in the Hilton at the airport and unfortunately we got stuck in traffic on the way to the gig so I arrived and had to rush to the stage and instantly start performing. It was only when I was plugging in my wires I realized I forgot my Macbook Pro’s power adapter in the USA! I had to run the live show + M-Audio Firewire 410 (Amazon link) off the internal battery. Luckily it worked 100% fine and I had a great time performing. I have a checklist that I go over several times before I fly so it’s strange I made such a basic mistake. At many of these large events like this one they only give live acts 30 minutes to play so I edited a lot of my songs down to the nifty neat parts. I played two new songs, jumped up on the turntables, ran down into the audience and made a costume change (took my coat off!). See you next summer!
Let me start this post by stating I really like the band Fischerspooner. Their album titled “#1” (iTunes link) was not only brilliant but it arrived on the scene at the exact right time. The lyrics were smart and the production was wicked creative. All that said it was clear to everyone I knew that this was going to be a one album band. I know they have released other material but the concensus of my friends was, “Once they live in the hyped zone a bit they won’t be able to do anything else all that worthwhile music wise.”. You know how it goes right? The followup album is always the most difficult to write. Add drugs and sex into the deal (the other ingredients to Rock n Roll) who has time to sit in the studio?
“Do you know them? They were a gay performance band from New York and they were the hottest thing of the time and a bidding war erupted around them, which was taken to ridiculous levels by an East Coast Jewish American lawyer…” – James Palumbo
What amazes me is that Ministry of Sound’s cofounder James Palumbo was so blind. Apparently they decided to plunk down 2 million to get the exclusive on Fischerspooner. My friend, UK music journalist Jonty Skrufff (skrufff.com) has a juicy interview with Palumbo well worth reading just for the laugh. Check it out: click here
Is that quote above by James a bit offensive? My favorite FS song? Their Wire cover of The 15th: iTunes
Here’s a quick reminder to all rock bands out there to please mix your synthesizers loudly. Don’t they sound nice in the example above? Another great example of rock loud synths in action is Granddady’s AM 180: click here
Nick over at SonicState.com put up this great Doepfer Dark Energy review. I’m liking the HD look Nick! I didn’t realize how good this little synth is. This joins the Dave Smith Mopho and the Analogue Solutions Semblance in the “hot little inexpensive real analogs with Midi” category. If you don’t need a poly keyboard grab any of these instead of a soft synth!
Last week I noticed my fairly new Macbook Pro’s hard drive was almost full. My initial thought was since I was taking non stop photos and recording audio it was normal. I clicked to Amazon and was checking out prices of Drobos. Luckily it dawned on me I should use some Disk Visualization software to see exactly what was on my hard drive. There are many free applications that do the job but my favorite app is $19 and it’s called DaisyDisk. It’s got one of those futuristic interfaces that make looking at something like hard drive space less mundane. Colors represent areas on your drive and types of files and you can click to drill down (as you can see above) to get more and more detail.
To my joy and great surprise DaisyDisk let me see that 50% of my drive was filled with podcasts! Apparently I had subscribed to a bunch of video podcasts and had iTunes to keep all the downloaded episodes. As much as I wanted that Drobo I’m more happy to have the free space.
Nitro is one of my all time favorite plug-ins. It mangles audio in a high end way better than any other plug I own. To be honest if I had a $399 ready to blow I would buy Nitro instead of Komplete. It’s that great of an effect. If you’re a [k] fool go buy yourself some karma and go legit with Nitro. The deal’s at Audiomidi.com: click here
“It offers many filter types derived from analog prototypes in addition to other useful processing blocks such as phaser, bit-crusher/downsampler, waveshaper and interpolated delay blocks. These can be connected to each other using virtually any routing scheme. The advanced control signal generators are capable of modulating most of the processing parameters, making this plug-in an essential tool for sound design and experimental purposes.” – www.pspaudioware.com
There is a new web service aimed at Band management called BandCentral. It’s an online collaboration hub where a group can manage a calendar, files, gigs, promotion, a message board, social media status updates, finances and a to do list. It’s a British service so they keep using the word “mate” and the price is in pounds: £4.99 a month (about $7 USD).
I like the fact they are launching with a business model. We are going to see web services costing money now for sure. I would like to make sure this company is going to be around a while before I put all my time, money and energy into it though. Keep in mind most bands don’t even make $7 a year!
“In a nutshell, BandCentral is an online band manager with all the tools you and your band mates need to manage your band. BandCentral gives you your very own online ‘Band HUB’, which enables you to manage everything associated with a hard working band (gigs, promotion, files and finances etc..) all in one instantly accessible place.” – bandcentral.com
My initial impression is this is kind of like Basecamp or Salesforce for bands. I also puked in my mouth a little because it’s all a bit too sterile for musicians you know? I mean should real rock stars be using a Customer Relationship Manager?