The Concept Album

March 12, 2010 at 8:24 am | Posted in art, music | 1 Comment
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This post is inspired by an article about Pink Floyd’s recent victory over EMI. They have successfully asserted their right to distribute their earlier 1970’s so called concept albums only in their entirety. That is, they don’t want to sell singles from these albums; if you want to buy, say, their song Money, you have to buy all of the album, Dark Side of the Moon.

The comments on the story discussed other great concept albums of the time. Pink Floyd has certainly had their share: DSotM, Wish You Were Here, Animals and, of course, The Wall. Then there’s Jethro Tull’s Thick As a Brick, Songs From the Wood, and Aqualung; Yes had Close to the Edge; Styx had Paradise Theater. What’s your favorite?

Some comments went in another direction. Is Pink Floyd being backward or out of touch by insisting in an outdated mode of music distribution? The album might be going by the wayside; everything seems to be about the single nowadays. And singles are only a buck. Why make someone spend $10 or more for the one song they want?

It could also be said that they are unreasonable, that they are dictating to the consumer how they should get their music, they they are effectively building their own “wall” between themselves and people who would enjoy their music. (Thanks for the turn of phrase, Irene.)

I say Pink Floyd certainly has the right to distribute their art in whatever way they please, and I’m glad the courts saw it that way, too. Full disclosure: I am a fan of the concept album. I used to listen to those albums all the way through. (Wow, that sounds positively luxurious!) Granted, it was 15 years or so after the heyday of the concept album, but there is quite a bit of nostalgia for me there. Maybe that is influencing my view, but I am 100% behind Pink Floyd in this.

What do you think?

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Video Games are fun again

June 25, 2008 at 8:48 am | Posted in games, life, music, technology | 8 Comments

It’s been long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time!

I used to be into video games hardcore. I was into them at the very beginning. The pizzeria by us had a space invaders machine that was replaced by Pac-man when it first came out, and later, the better Ms. Pacman. My friends had Atari and Colecovision, and I had Intellivision. Before that, we had pong. I also had the Gameboy’s handheld ancestors Merlin and Microvision. My friends and I would play Yar’s Revenge for hours until my hands hurt so much from the sucky controllers that I had to ride my bike home one-handed. And we loved it. I was there when it started. For a fantastic rant about what life was like back in 1987, listen to Ernest Cline’s “When I Was A Kid,” on http://www.ernestcline.com/spokenword/

When I got a part-time job and a computer in high school, I played video games less and less. I did NOT bring them to college, not because of any intelligent choice on my part, but because computer games were getting better and better and I was playing those instead. Finding out about girls probably played a role in decreasing the video game time, too.

Anyway, I found out about the next great video games to come out, the Nintendo with Super Mario Brothers. Some cousins had it. I didn’t get it, or any of its successors. It didn’t even have a joystick, for crying out loud. It was fun I guess, but I was into other things. Since then, nothing has really grabbed me. Especially since the domination of the so-called first-person shooter games that Doom started. No thanks. My favorite games were Adventure, Utopia, Tetris, Ms. Pac-man, and the like. Puzzle games, not as much the kick the other guy’s ass games. Competition was fine, but the FPS games never grabbed me. I probably would have gotten into Starcraft, but for some reason I didn’t.

Sure, the newer systems had some other games, too. The Playstation 2 had graphics better than we could have dreamed about in the 1980s, but a minority of the games were interesting to me. And they were damn expensive. Probably just as expensive as video games of old when allowing for inflation, but still.

Then, about a year ago, the Wii came out, and as soon as I saw commercials for it, something inside me said, “Video games are fun again.”

I might actually get one.

This past weekend Jenny & I played Rock Band on a friend’s Xbox. Fantastic! We just loved it. So fun. This is a video game? It’s about time. It’s about time video games were fun again.

I read the reviews for Rock Band for the Wii. Apparently it doesn’t have all the features of Rock Band on the other game systems. For one thing, you cannot download songs online. You can only purchase bundles on CDs. Not cool. That’s a huge part of the draw for us is that we can get songs that WE want to play.

I hear that Rock Band 2 is coming out in time for Christmas, and so is a competitor, Guitar Hero: World Tour. To be honest, even though Rockband is the first one I played and I love it, GHWT for the Wii looks like it is going to have the full functionality of the other systems. And the drum set looks better, too. I know that the designers of Rockband are the same folks who developed Guitar Hero in the first place, years ago, but to me it really all depends on how good the Wii version is. I want to be able to play the songs that I want to play. That’s really what it comes down to. That, and I want to have fun with friends. Right now, it looks like GHWT will do that for the Wii, the current Rockband won’t, though Rockband 2 might. So for now, it’s a wait and see.

Besides, I don’t even have a Wii yet.

Music is done!

May 13, 2008 at 7:49 am | Posted in music | 4 Comments

I finally re-ripped all my music onto iTunes. Woo!

Musical developments

March 30, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Posted in music | 1 Comment

I have my library from A – S restored.  Recently added, Rush, Sting, etc.  Next up, Talking Heads!

Speaking of music and renaissance faires …

March 2, 2008 at 1:21 pm | Posted in festivals, local, music | 5 Comments

Yesterday I went to the Potsdam museum to see a performance by Stan Ransom, a folk musician who lives near Plattsburgh, New York. The focus of the performance was the hammered dulcimer, a percussive, melodic instrument with a long and rich history. It is often played at renaissance festivals, and it was at the NY Renaissance Festival that I first remember hearing, and falling in love with, the sound of the hammered dulcimer.

Over the years, I have entertained the idea that I might one day learn to play the hammered dulcimer. I came dangerously close at times, but I never picked up a hammer before yesterday. It felt really good. Stan told me of a festival in the Adirondacks, the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium, and it just sounds wonderful. I probably won’t try to pick it up until next year, but when I’m ready to take the leap, it seems very doable. Besides, a hammered dulcimer would cost about $500, and I have to save up. I know they can cost much more than that, but I won’t spend more than that for my first one. As long as it sounds good and has a few octaves, I’d be happy. Also, I just started TKD, and I don’t want too many new projects at once.

But it’s still very exciting!

Musical progression

March 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Posted in music | Leave a comment

I’m in the middle of the L’s.  All my Led Zeppelin is done.  Good stuff.  🙂

Musical progress

February 25, 2008 at 6:33 pm | Posted in music | Leave a comment

I got A-F done!  I’ll probably do G and H while grading tests tomorrow night.

Music storage

February 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm | Posted in music | 7 Comments

Well, I got all the A’s and B’s done.

After my hard drive crashed last November, I have been slowly ripping my CDs back onto my hard drive. And by “slowly ripping,” I mean that I ripped about 30 CDs a week after it happened and haven’t done anything since. And they were random CDs that were just sitting out on the speaker. A week or two ago, I re-alphabetized our CD collection, so we can actually find all our music again. So now I’m ripping it all, little by little.

I got a CaseLogic SKU-PF-200. It’s a hard plastic CD storage filing system. It has 3 drawers and holds 200 CDs in ProSleeves. Actually, I have two of them. So that’s 400 CDs. They aren’t 100% full, and the way things are going they won’t ever be. I’m a little perturbed that the plastic dividers have all broken, and I’ve had to jury-rig something to block the CDs from falling out of the back of the drawer into the case when I pull the drawer open. And the drawers stick a little. But if the unit was made to a bit better quality, it would be fantastic. I should probably just rip all of the CDs to MP3, back it all up somehow, and sell the CDs to a used store while I still can can get a few bucks for them.

In the mean time, I’m ripping them all. Again. Letter by letter.

Next up, the C’s! Woo!

Ojos De Brujo

November 10, 2007 at 3:44 pm | Posted in music | Leave a comment

Up here in the North Country, there’s a local show on NPR called The Beat Authority, run by a guy named David Sommerstein.  He features R&B, Latin music, World music, Funk, … anything you can dance to and/or feels good to listen to.  

Since the Latin Grammies just happened, the last show was all about those artists.  He led off with a piece by Ojos De Brujo called Color.  What an infectious rhythm!  It’s different enough from traditional Latin music, but still very Latin.  Fantastico! 

Musical Comedy

November 8, 2007 at 2:45 pm | Posted in music | 2 Comments

I’ve been a sucker for musical comedy ever since I saw that guy at the Pub at NJIT.  I don’t even remember his name, but his slogan was “One Man, One Guitar, One Good Time.”  He played at clubs down the shore, and I saw him years later at at club on LBI.  Was his name Rich Meyer?

Anyway, a comedian named  Rob Paravonian did a piece called Pachelbel Rant. I was rolling!

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