Dave/Fatty in New York Times

He's too modest to point it out himself, but Dave is featured in Sunday's edition of the New York Times (free registration required).

The silent-film comedian Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle may seem like an unlikely inspiration for a jazz composer. But the trumpeter Dave Douglas's newest album serves as accompaniment, homage and apology to Arbuckle, whose career was destroyed when he was charged with rape and murder in 1921. "Keystone," set for release Sept. 20 on Mr. Douglas's own Greenleaf Music label (www.greenleafmusic.com), uses DualDisc technology in a multimedia package devoted to Arbuckle. The CD side of the disc includes 11 original songs; on the DVD side, five of those songs, in edited form, make up a new soundtrack for "Fatty and Mabel Adrift," a 1916 two-reeler that Arbuckle made, as director and star, for Mack Sennett at Keystone Film Studios. The DVD side also has a music video called "Just Another Murder," created from vignettes from another Arbuckle film, "Fatty's Tintype Tangle."

The project began when Jon Yanofsky, executive director of the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, N.Y., asked Mr. Douglas if he would like to write and perform some film scores in conjunction with a grant the center had received. Not wanting his music "to overpower the images," Mr. Douglas said, he chose to work with the Arbuckle films because their fast pace seemed to match well with the heavily grooved, electronica-steeped jazz riffs he was creating in his home studio. Mr. Douglas said he was also drawn by the present obscurity of the films; Arbuckle was one of the biggest stars of the silent era when the scandal struck, but he never regained his popularity even though he was eventually acquitted. Mr. Douglas and his band will perform live to screenings of "Fatty and Mabel Adrift," "Fatty's Tintype Tangle" and two other Arbuckle films on Oct. 1 at the Paramount Center (http://tickets.paramountcenter.org); a New York City performance is scheduled for Feb. 18.

Sharing a birthday (March 24) with Arbuckle "certainly piqued my interest," Mr. Douglas said. "But what really got me into the guy was realizing why his name was tarnished. It hit on my sense of social consciousness and made me want to be part of setting something right for Roscoe Arbuckle."

Internet is the new radio?

Slashdot has a post about how the Internet is affecting how music and people meet.

Richard Menta from MP3 Newswire recently posted an article that describes how the Net has shifted his tastes
from main stream radio artists to indie acts he discovered online.
Slashdot has run a number of articles dealing with the struggles of
independent artists and how the net is helping them. Between the recent
payola scandal and the incursion of Big Radio
into podcasting the major labels are pushing hard to monopolize what
they can. The good news is that Big Music is much slower adjusting to
the changes brought about by technology than Little Music and the sky
is looking rosier for the independent artist. In a July article, CNET also discussed how things are looking much better for the independents.

(via Slashdot)

Quick hits: around the music industry

If you haven't been keeping up on the state of the industry lately, well ... Mark Cuban calls it the definition of insanity.

Legal music downloads are up, and the BBC presented evidence that downloaded songs lead to sales. But that hasn't stopped U.S. authorities from continuing their crackdown on piracy (with the help of a new privacy czar). Despite their efforts and the RIAA's grassroots movement, it's apparently too late -- file-sharing has already claimed our youth's morality. We can at least rejoice in the possible death of payola, and that digital music technology has moved beyond a five foot stack of punchcards.

The Handydandy

The Handydandy consists of five media artists from Austria (Bauch Bernhard, Gross Luc, Kirisits Nicolaj, Savicic Gordan, Waldner Florian) using their mobile phones as musical instruments. The mobile phones are used only as interfaces and they are connected, via Bluetooth, to a computer network.

"The entire instrument played by the musicians, is thus divided into the mobile phones, the Bluetooth connections and the laptops acting together over WLan. Thereby different Feedback systems on social and digital level, which are used for the compositions, develop. The selection of this configuration makes possible to use not only the movement in space as temporally akusmatic category but also to connect the powerful aesthetics of a Rock performance with the intellectual requirement of the electronic music. The Handydandy is at the same time a Rock 'n Roll band and a computer network - music group."


Online Comics vs. Printed Comics

This essay looks at the process of converting information to sales, using web comics as a basis of comparison.

Why put a book online? That's simple. People like Seth Godin and Cory Doctorow have established that giving away the online edition will result in sales of the print edition. If you read on, you'll find both print and online comics publishers and cartoonists have found the same thing to be true. Putting content online is a form of advertising, and, in this case, I have advertising supporting my advertising... so if the information's trying to be free, just this once, let's let it.

Link (via Slashdot)

Song IDs -- Your Way, Right Away?

thedigitalmusicweblog reports:

Burger King, of all outfits, has launched a call-in song recognition service tied into its Cok Roq music act. It’s a little complicated, but users call a number, play 15 seconds of music into the cell phone’s mouthpiece, listen to Cok Roq’s lead singer bellow rudely about the caller’s musical taste, then wait for an SMS text message to identify the song. This is useless (if entertaining), of course, if the caller is playing a song from home and already knows what it is. It gets useful on the road, if you can hold the phone up to any source and get a song identified.

Of course, this would be more useful if music on the radio was generally worth identifying.

Link: (via thedigitalmusicweblog)

Radio and digital music: Too little, too late?

BusinessWeek has an article about broadcast radio stations beginning to offer digital music sales on their websites.

More than 100 U.S. stations will sell music this way by fall, says Jeff Specter, founder and CEO of MusicToGo, a company that provides the Web technology.

We're still holding out for a "Buy This Song" button on our radio.

Link: Late To The Download Dance

NINJAM: Jam sessions via the Internet

Justin Frankel, the creator of Winamp, has just released a new software package called NINJAM. We'll let him describe it, but if you've been searching for a way to play with your band without having to smell them, this could be for you.

NINJAM is a program to allow people to make real music together via the Internet. Every participant can hear every other participant. Each user can also tweak their personal mix to his or her liking. NINJAM is cross-platform, with clients available for Mac OS X and Windows.

NINJAM uses compressed audio which allows it to work with any instrument or combination of instruments. You can sing, play a real piano, play a real saxophone, play a real guitar with whatever effects and guitar amplifier you want, anything. If your computer can record it, then you can jam with it (as opposed to MIDI-only systems that automatically preclude any kind of natural audio collaboration).

Since the inherent latency of the Internet prevents true realtime synchronization of the jam2, and playing with latency is weird (and often uncomfortable), NINJAM provides a solution by making latency (and the weirdness) much longer.

Latency in NINJAM is measured in measures, and that's what makes it interesting.

The NINJAM client records and streams synchronized intervals of music between participants. Just as the interval finishes recording, it begins playing on everyone else's client. So when you play through an interval, you're playing along with the previous interval of everybody else, and they're playing along with your previous interval. If this sounds pretty bizarre, it sort of is, until you get used to it, then it becomes pretty natural. In many ways, it can be more forgiving than a normal jam, because mistakes propagate differently.

Link: http://www.ninjam.com/

The Freesound Project

The Freesound Project aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, and recordings, all released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License. Developed for the upcoming International Computer Music Conference 2005 in Barcalona, the site allows users to search by keyword, "sounds-like", and even location (via geotags). Perfect for your next 80s cartoon theme song techno remix.

Link: http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/

New playlist added to Greenleaf Radio

We've added a new playlist by Anastasia Tsioulcas to Greenleaf Radio (at the top of the page).
Anastasia spent ten years as a DJ at New York's WKCR Radio, where she gained a loyal music following (Dave Douglas among them) with her creative "world music" programming.

Greenleaf Radio launches

Greenleaf Radio is a new collection of music streams for your listening pleasure. Currently running are two playlists, one by our fearless leader Dave Douglas, the other by former WKCR DJ Anastasia Tsioulcas. We'll add more playlists soon.

"Just Another Murder" music video

"Just Another Murder" (the strangely foreboding title of one of Arbuckle's films, and, for me, the way I imagine an ordinary day at Keystone studios) deserved a music video of its own. Taking scenes from Fatty's Tin-Type Tangle, Kelly Smith Eddolls created a hilarious montage of Roscoe at work at play.

Watch the "Just Another Murder" music video »
[QuickTime, 4:51, 49MB]