Saturday, October 29, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
The Death of Music Marketing?
To describe their approach as "no marketing" is a little disingenuous, since FFD has been on the road, around the country and around the world since 2001, playing legendary shows, building an incredibly loyal (and large) live audience, putting out limited releases on vinyl, and cultivating an uber-hip image that has unshakable credibility here at home and abroad (their album and vinyl artwork contain many nods to kiwi pop culture that are likely impenetrable to their overseas buyers).
Friends tell friends tell friends tell friends. When their album finally dropped in NZ in May 2005, so much pressure and demand had built up that it went off like a booby-trapped concrete truck in Baghdad's green zone. Shot to #1, stayed there for weeks. Fat Freddy's success is virtually an MBA case study in viral marketing.
Given the cost and time involved in classic music marketing techniques such as TV ads, poster campaigns, endless press interviews, (yawn), is the Freddy's Method the way for future musical talent to promote themselves? Essentially guys, get out there and play heaps of gigs and play good music... sounds too easy, right?
You fit in with:
Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.
Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Leila's 2003 debut album Dig a Hole is worth checking out, even though it sneaked in below the radar of most listeners even in this country. The university-trained songwriter and composer is now an established player around Wellington, and it is with colleagues from the windy city that she recorded her second album Cherry Pie: saxophonist Jeff Henderson, drummer Riki Gooch (ex Trinity Roots), bassist Tom Callwood and guitarist David Long.
Cherry Pie is certainly one of the most underrated and undersung releases out of NZ this year, and it's unlikely that you've heard anything quite like this. If there is ever a CD that could be described as a "grower" this is it!
Leila Adu - Bokoo
Leila Adu - Train
From Cherry Pie: Independent HEN 712 [Buy]
In radio news, our public broadcaster Radio New Zealand has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century with streaming and on-demand audio in .wma and .mp3 - unfortunate that none of RNZ's kiwi music programmes are available online yet !
And Abdel Bari Atwan sounds a cautionary note about the BBC's plans for an Arabic language TV channel. Lets hope that the Beeb doesn't become yet another conduit for propaganda....
Monday, October 24, 2005
One of the more consistent and individual pianists in jazz/improvised music, Paul Bley has been hitting ivories in new ways since the age of seven, according to his biography.
What I particularly appreciate about Bley is the way that his improvisations never lose sight of melody. Even in the most tenous moments of Bley's music, there is the sense of song. Here are two great examples: Fair Share is a duet with Gary Peacock recorded in Oslo in September 1991, and Noosphere is performed with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, from an excellent trio date recorded in New York in 1999 for ECM. Touching base with tranquility indeed...
Paul Bley - Fair Share
From In the Evenings Out There: ECM 1488 [Buy]
Paul Bley - Noosphere
From Not Two, Not One: ECM 1670 [Buy]
Oh, and I got sunburnt yesterday. Summer must be just around the corner...
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Pause in the madness
In the meantime, this upcoming exhibition by Auckland photographer Lindy Hickman should be interesting. Lindy's spent the last year photographing most of the current players in New Zealand's pop, rock and hip-hop scenes. In years to come, this show could prove a true historic document. It promises to comprehensively capture a period in NZ's musical development where we've finally realised that WE ROCK.
"The Talent Invasion" runs from November 2nd - 22nd at the Aotea Centre, Auckland. Funds raised by the exhibition go to The Starship Children's Hospital.
Monday, October 17, 2005
I couldn't resist...
2. Laughing at the "news" that Australia is destined to become the hip-hop capital of the Southern Hemisphere
3. Downloading The Brady Bunch Kids singing "Drummerman". (That guitar is WAY too funky for a Brady song). Thanks to soul-sides.com
4. Posting this photo of Ahmed Zaoui singing at the New Zealand Music Awards a few weeks back. I wish we treated all our asylum seekers like this all the time :-)
Sunday, October 16, 2005
DnB2:Roni Size Remixed
Today, New Forms sounds like a time capsule, a reference to a zeitgeist long past. A Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack for the late 1990s. Alongside Goldie's Timeless, New Forms was the drum and bass album that everyone bought, even if they weren't into drum and bass.
For my money, some of the best music spawned from New Forms were the remixes. I've chosen a couple of my favourite examples. NuYorican Soul bring a live salsa rhythm section into the studio and throw away the original track completely at around the 5 minute mark. The Kitachi Remix of Heroes centres around a big dumb orchestral synth hook and the Funky Drummer break.
Trust me, you will definitely want to hear the NuYorican Soul track at least...all 13'56 of it :-)
Roni Size - Watching Windows (Roni Size meets Nuyorican Soul) [Buy]
Roni Size - Heroes (Kitachi Remix) [Buy]
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Peace on the West Coast
Today I drove out to Te Henga (Bethells Beach), on Auckland's west coast. The road steamed with recent rain. I parked up and walked south along the beach. A dog followed me. The Tasman Sea roared in my right ear. A monk in Tibetan robes was sitting on a rock, looking out at the ocean. At the far end of the beach, volcanic cliffs rise up and lump southwards, riddled with caves. A boisterous family was wading knee-deep in the surf, collecting shellfish from under the sand, slinging their dinner into a large paint bucket. I turned around to head north. The Tasman Sea roared in my left ear. Steel grey clouds towered over the hills, but the rain held off. Another dog came up and sniffed me. I brushed the black sand off my shoes and drove home.
Stan Getz - Ballad
From Highlights: Verve 847 430-2 [Buy Stan Getz albums]
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I can accurately locate the start of my relationship with drum and bass to a time and date, and a single track: the evening of March 25th, 1997, on Stinky Jim's radio show on 95 bFM. Visiting UK DJ A-Sides dropped Mental Strength by Megashira. 4 minutes and 56 second of Miles-inspired trumpet hook rising over a clattering tech break. Industrial jazz. It was compelling.
Megashira - Mental Strength
From Zero Hour: INFRACom! IC 026-2 [Buy]
Megashira was a German production duo, consisting of DJ Kabuki and Mainframe. Their 1997 album Zero Hour had the distinction of being the first full-length drum and bass album produced in Germany, and bore the sonic influence of DJ Kabuki's time working in Tokyo. Megashira released a follow-up in 2001 called At Last, (I haven't heard it), which has a couple of kiwi connections in the form of keyboardist Mark de Clive-Lowe and drummer Nick Gaffaney.
Megashira: German, apparently
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Il est temps de faire un Zapping!
It surprises me how often Frank Zappa is still dismissed as some kind of novelty minstrel, despite an unaparalelled recorded output (60 albums?) that spanned rock, doo-wop, jazz and contemporary classical compositions. Zappa's orchestral work stands up to scrutiny against any modern ensemble writing from the last 60 years, and proves robust when reinterpreted in a variety of formats. Check out this snippet of The Black Page #2, arranged for "drums percussion and interactive system" by Canadian composer Bruce Pennycook.
Blair McKay, Julien Gregoire - The Black Page #2
Recorded live in Montreal in 1995 by Radio-Canada
It is also worth listening (in glorious streaming mp3 stereo) to composer Nicolas Slonimsky discuss his relationship and work with Frank Zappa - it is clear that Slonimsky regarded Zappa as a musician and composer of the first degree.
If you want to be thoroughly confused by an overly obsessed and possibly misguided Zappologist, don't miss The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play by Ben Watson. In this 700 page book, Watson deconstructs Zappa's lyrics almost to the point of parody. Overlong and overblown, it is still entertaining, and may be the Gregory Peccary of Zappa fan-books.
And finally, if anyone still needs further proof of greatness, here's Zappa live 1975 in El Paso, Texas. Yes, it's a bootleg taken off the sound desk. Musicians include Frank Zappa (gt), Captain Beefheart (stuff), George Duke (keyb), Terry Bozzio (d), Tom Fowler (b), Bruce Fowler (tb) and Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax).
Frank Zappa - A Pound for a Brown on the Bus Medley
Frank Zappa - Strange Thing
From Bongo Fury in El Paso [Bootleg] Recorded May 23rd, 1975, El Paso, TX
Check out also Djdurutti's post on Architecture in Helsinki. Naturally, they're from Australia, but with a band name like that, you KNOW they're going to be good.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Blogging and Music Shopping
So online shopping has opened up a whole new world of music consumption for us kiwis! We can now buy from shops all over the world, while avoiding the need to spend $2000 on an airfare. Last week my latest CD order arrived from Amazon, and I realised that the every single disc I bought was the result of discovering it through audioblogs, or through my own blogging activities. Here's my shopping list, and the reason why I bought the album:
- Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis. His solo album from 1998. Discovered via david fenech's blog.
- Charles Mingus - The Great Concert of Charles Mingus. Discovered while researching Mingus for my recent series on Mingus' orchestral work
- Jacques Coursil - Way Ahead. Discovered via PODvains
- Art Ensemble of Chicago - Live in Paris. I came across this while putting together a post on Lester Bowie which still awaits the light of day...
- Cuong Vu - Bound. Cuong Vu's first album. I was blown away when I heard this record on Xanax Taxi.
Mark Hollis- The Gift
From Mark Hollis: Polydor 537 688-2 [Buy]
Friday, October 07, 2005
Uri Caine's Mahler Circus
urlicht/primal light features recordings of Uri Caine's (re)arrangements of the music of Mahler, played by a solid crew of Downtown New York musicians - Dave Douglas (tp), Don Byron (cl), Michael Formanek (b), Mark Feldman (vl), among others. Under Caine's guidance, Mahler's music rediscovers much of its frankly Jewish roots, (as a composer/conductor in fin-de-siècle Austria-Hungary, Mahler had to renounce his Jewish faith in order to find employment). The overall effect is stunning.
If you thought the jazz artist's capacity for reinventing European classical music ended with Jacques Loussier's Play Bach series, go out and buy this album today.
Uri Caine - Symphony no.5, Funeral March
From urlicht/primal light: Winter and Winter 910 004-2 [Buy]
Monday, October 03, 2005
They are not only very funny, they are also very fine musicians. Their David Bowie "song" is one of the best things I've ever heard live on stage. And Brett McKenzie played/plays in The Black Seeds, who are world famous in New Zealand.
I seriously recommend you download/watch their Conan appearance [.avi file, 22MB]
And make these guys superstars, please. We need more entertainment heroes in this country beyond Peter Jackson and Chris Knox.
I am officially old.
Driving back from attending the Dianova piano recital on Saturday night, I see thousands of kids lined up on Queen Street outside Auckland's St James Theatre. It must be the Black Eyed Peas show, I assume (after all, that's what the kids are into these days, right? Hell, I even played support for the BEP's Auckland gig years ago, before their Elephunk superstardom. Yeah, I know what's going down.)
It turns out that the queue of thousands is for a gig by a Canadian punk band called Simple Plan. I have never heard of them. Until I read about the gig in the paper on Monday.
And then the first part of my order of CDs from Amazon arrives - Mingus and Art Ensemble of Chicago, both live recordings from the 1960s. It is all over. I am out of touch.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Islands of Fire
Tzenka Dianova - XX Century Piano Music
Saturday, 1st October,
There are limited opportunities in
Charles Ive's Three Page Sonata was the only piece with which I was familiar, and Dianova played the bustling third movement far more rhythmically than does Peter Lawson on his excellent American Piano Sonatas recording. There was even a hint of ragtime in Dianova's playing...
Peter Lawson - Three Page Sonata (Ives)
From American Piano Sonatas: Virgin Classics 61928 [Buy]
The real highlight of the concert was John Cage's Daughters of the Lonesome Isle for prepared piano. Oh to have a spare Steinway grand that you can fill with nuts, bolts, screws and bits of rubber! I couldn't help being reminded of Javanese gamelan on hearing this piece.
The remainder of the concert was rounded out by the resonant harmonics of I.Phases II.Reseaux by Canadian Gilles Tremblay; the austere and minimal Intermission 5 by Morton Feldman; Galina Utsvol'skaya's Piano Sonata #5 (who would have thought that middle Db could become a theatrical character?). Dianova closed the concert with Olivier Messaien's brief and savage Ile de Feu I, played without sheet music, giving the impression that this forceful piece of modernism is one of Dianova's "party pieces"