The Making Of Together Alone

Together Alone is possibly my favourite album, certainly it’s songs resonate with me unlike any other. The trouble is it’s by Crowded House and so telling anyone who doesn’t know the bands musical canon may well be baffled by this statement, thinking only of the popular but ultimately light weight pop of the hit single “Weather With You” What they won’t know is the deeper, darker side to them that always had always permuted through some album tracks, Continue reading

Foxbase Beta. Remix, Re-Cover & Release

The lines between re-release, remix, cover or even mash-up are becoming increasingly blurred. Witness Florence & The Machines cover “You've Got The Love” a song for which the original version for most people is actually a remix – it wasn't until The Source put Candy Stanton's vocals over the Frankie Knuckles track “Your Love” that this became the club anthem we all now know. Since then there's been about a dozen remixes and re-covers, and Florence's cover version of the remix includes several remixes too.

More subtle is Saint Etiennes re-release of their debut album Fox Base Alpha as the re-worked Fox Base Beta. In some ways this is similiar to Paul McCartney re-releassing “Get Back” with the production he would like (stripping away strings etc), except this time the band are letting some one else re-work the production. There's a lot of trust going on there, and you wonder if the band had final sign off on the release.

 The original album is an English pop classic, but I've yet to hear what the re-working sounds like. The new re-release is limited to 3,000 copies, and I'm hoping one is coming my way.

Fox Base Beta available only here.

David Holmes Playlist

Just noticed David Holmes has compiled a Celebrity Playlist on iTunes. Regardless that he's the only named DJ I would consider paying to listen to, his selection isn't really much like his live sets – but you can see it's influence on his recent, and very reflective, album The Holy Pictures.

Actually the playlist may have been more obscure but of course the choice is limited to what's available on iTunes already – i.e. none of that rare and forgotten vinyl much loved by the DJ.

Anyway, there doesn't seem to be a way to link directly to a playlist on iTunes, so you'll have to search for his artist page and then click Celebrity Playlist.

Songsmith

From Microsoft's research department comes Songsmith, a desktop application that generates musical accompaniment to your voice, regardless of how good or bad your singing is. You get to choose the style of music (from a selection of 30, including reggae, rock, salsa, pop etc). You also get the option to customise the various music tracks, drum, guitar, strings etc.

Song Writing Helper?

It looks kinda childish, but as Microsoft point out it could be useful as work in progress tool for song writers too;

Is Songsmith going to replace the craft of songwriting? Never. Could it
be a super-useful “intelligent scratchpad” for exploring new melodies
and ideas? Definitely. If you’re a songwriter, you’ve probably had the
experience of coming up with a melody, then reaching for the nearest
object with a “record” button on it, just to get your idea down.
Imagine that first quick experience also letting you explore chord
progressions, styles, even basic arrangement ideas. Then of course
you’d work with other tools, other people, your instruments, and your
own musical intuition to really develop a song.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/songsmith/about.html

The video on the home page is the cheesiest thing ever, but I'll
wait on giving the software a try when there's no one around to hear my
terrible singing voice.

Blur return

News today of Blur “re-forming”, though in fact they never actually split up, but an essential part of the band did leave for a while and without him. I suspect it' s about the money, the gig announced is a huge one and it will be interesting to see if there's any new material.

The great thing with Blur was it was four different characters, in fact I can't think of many other bands where I can name all the members. It was the trying to please all four of them that I think gave them their diversity and such a great sound (Alex wanting disco, Graham wanting punk = Girls & Boys). Yep, the BBC article today got it right; Why Graham Is The Heart of Blur