I walked by with my headphones on, but glanced down and noticed the sign in his guitar case. It said something like, "Alabama singer/songwriter. Free CD. Donations appreciated." I dropped 3 dollars in his case and then jumped on the Q. I turned the sleeve over in my hand. It was a cut brown paper bag with ink stamps on it. It had an image of the singer's face and read Jamey Hamm, Get You A Slice. I appreciated the simplicity of it. I got home and ripped it onto my Mac. It's sort of the polar opposite of me in terms of musical taste, there's a touch of Christian & Country in there, but I like it.
This is my last week making the daily commute into Union Square. I take for granted the really great musicians banging, strumming, and belting out tunes in that station every day. Mecca Bodega are regulars, for instance. Some are not my taste (Chillean pan flutists, for instance). I usually stop a second for the singer songwriters and there's this guy who played classical guitar that's great.
I regret now, that I didn't buy a CD from every one of those musicians I gave a few minutes to. Some were so excellent, but I'm always 1/2 tuned out and eager to get home. Figures it took me a year to realize that I'll miss that now that I won't have it as part of my day. I don't know. Maybe I'll start making an effort now to collect the CDs of every halfway interesting musician I come across that's playing in the subway and start blogging about them. Might be cool.
Daft Punk's "Around the World / Harder Better Faster Stronger" performed in Paris for the Alive 2007 show. Directed by Olivier Gondry, with footage from 250 fan cameras in the audience!
Every now and then I go in search of 2 house music tracks that got played often at the clubs I went to when I was in my teens in the late 80s/early 90s--Quick on Hubert St, Mars in the meatpacking district, Tunnel and Palace de Beaute. One of the tracks was "The Max," which played the baseline from Max Q's "Sometimes" as the hook. The other track I can still sound out, but have no idea what the name is. Had a bit of an "Acid Crash" sound to it.
For some reason, when I was a DJ, I just never went in search of these tracks at the time because having been lured to raves, I started playing music of the blip, bleep, and harder Detroit variety more often. But when I went out it was to house music clubs. In any case, tonight I spent a few hours looking for the elusive tracks again because I ran into this guy's YouTube page containing loads of classic house and rave tracks. Beatport makes searching for classic tracks easier, but I still came up empty handed.
I used to go digging in record stores looking for these tracks--at places like Rock and Soul and Satellite. But I've never found them. Once in a while you can sing a part of a tune to the guru in the shop and they'll retrieve it from memory. I've done that a few times with success. But these 2 tracks keep eluding me. And I was thinking, besides searching for playlists or looking for compilations of music played in that era (early 90s) and place (NYC), it is really difficult to search for aural content without lyrics. Believe me, I know how to search and research, but this one I can't figure out and I think it is one of those cases where an expert is more valuable than a machine at retrieving the information.
In any case, the search goes on. I'm not ambitious enough to really look for a person to point me in the right direction. The search has just become a sort of hobby of mine. "Oooh," I'll say. "A 12" shop. Maybe I'll just duck in for a few minutes to dig." It's kind of like that movie "Serendipity", where John Cusack has to look in used book stores constantly to find that book with Kate Beckinsale's number in it, Love in the Time of Cholera. That's me, except I'm not looking for my soul mate. I'm just trying to compile the soundtrack of my life. I have playlists that act like diaries in a way, and I'm obsessed with finding this because it's like a significant piece of my teen years is missing. It's all just memories.
This thing is just sick. I just went through the Pacemaker Flash demo and watched a video of Ritchie Hawtin playing around with this and I'm totally up for getting this thing. It's like having a portable version of Traktor without the laptop. 120GB of storage. Nuts.
Not sure how usable it will be. The one thing I've had a hard time with is using the on screen controls with mixing software. This is usually improved when you buy a piece of hardware called a controller -- essentially a physical mixer with wheels mimicking turntables that let you manipulate the onscreen controls of the software. The thing this has going for it is the tactile experience.
You'll have to shell out about $700 and wait until around Christmas time.
Immi graced NY at Webster Hall. I hadn't realized she would be performing with a band, and while I was looking forward to the intimate solo songs, the band really helped with her dancey tunes. Below is video a fan took of "The Walk".
I have the iTunes session she did by herself. I think it would be great if she did a recording of one of the live shows with these guys playing with her as well, they really add energy to the live performance. Kid Beyond's beatbox skills are pretty incredible (clip of him beatboxing and looping with Ableton Live). Amazing what you can do with the right gear -- this guy's a pretty incredible one-man show by himself. He was awesome with Immi.
Imogen Heap will be playing at Webster Hall in NYC on 11/12. Tickets are on sale now. I've got 2 to go.
I don't watch TV too much these days, especially not popular TV, but when I was younger I watched a hell of a lot. Growing up back in the days when MTV showed music, it was always on for me. I've been a little out of it when it comes to popular music in the last 5 years or so because of the many events and circumstances in life that have demanded my attention. So when I had an evening to myself with no one at home and no movies to watch, I found myself watching the second half MTV Video Music Awards. I haven't watched one of these in at least 15 years maybe. The whole time I was just shocked at how much Hip Hop has taken over the music industry and eclipsed a lot of the other genres. This assumes that you can use the MTV VMA as a water mark for popular music, of course. I like Hip Hop, but I was wondering where all the other good music went.
I was underwhelmed. I saw lots of popular stuff that didn't inspire me. Oh, well, actually there was Christina Aguillera. I'm always floored by her voice. She blew everyone else away. I was convinced at that point that she was the only performer on that stage -- or among the nominees -- that had the kind of exceptional talent that can make music survive past a week's pop chart. It seemed the show was over and I was unmoved by any of what I saw except for Aguillera. I accepted that that was the current state of pop music through the lens of MTV. Then Axl Rose came on and introduced the Killers.
Now, I'm not a musician, but if I was and all I had been listening to on the radio was every other song they played during that VMA show, and then all of a sudden the Killers dropped "When You Were Young" on my lap, I would know what I wanted to do with my life. Alright, so maybe this wasn't exactly a moment like that, but the Killers' performance was epic -- to me anyway as a non-musician. I've actually heard some of their stuff before, but never paid much attention. Maybe it was the live performance that did it. The light and video was just amazing. Maybe it's the fusion of all their influences, who I grew up listening to -- New Order, The Cure, The Smiths/Morrisey and the like. Maybe it's that the song is simple but builds up like a massive ocean wave swelling to take over every thing in it's way. I just got sucked into it like that and it hasn't gotten out of my head since then.
I haven't been into Britpop so I don't know enough about what bands came before the Killers that may be more important to the rock landscape than they are. They're from Las Vegas, by the way, not England, but they appear to also be influenced by bands like Oasis and are compared with that wave of Britpop. So I could just be clueless here. The Killers' "When You Were Young" is now in heavy rotation on my iPod.
My friend, D, turned me on to Imogen Heap recently. I had been a big fan of Immi from listening to Frou Frou, which you can see is in heavy rotation on my iTunes/iPod. Anyway, when D told me to peep a few tracks of Speak for Yourself on the iTunes store, I immediately came back with, "doesn't that sound a lot like Frou Frou to you". I didn't know Imogen's name yet at the time. One of the down sides of buying music from the iTunes store is you don't get liner notes.
Anyway, I've been digging Imogen these last few weeks and caught her on Last Call with Carson Daly this week performing "Hide and Seek" and "Say Goodnight and Go". If you haven't heard her before, do check her out. In the world of electronica, she's unique. Her songs are all about the vocals and lyrics, but the hooky music is also incredibly infectious and danceable. You can preview and buy the album on iTunes or at Amazon.
Here are the videos of the performance on Carson Daly. Great performance. I dig seeing all that gear.
Getting the video to Quicktime was an interesting story too because I don't have a direct connection from my TV to my Mac. If I can get geeky on you, here's what I did to get the video:
1) Tivo'd Carson Daly Show
2) Recorded to my DVD player/recorder from Tivo
3) Ripped the DVD video to my Mac using Handbrake
4) Edited and compressed using iMovie
Rawwkin! A circuitous process, but it worked. Enjoy.
Huge catalog of vinyl, cds, rare and out of print albums.