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Archive for the 'Music' Category

Holdin’ Me

Friday, April 20th, 2012
 

It is with extreme pleasure that I present to you “Holdin’ Me”, a new music video I directed for Darin Bennett and The Requiem‘s just released EP, Midnight Storybook.  There is a lot to say abut what went in to making this video, but first, watch it so you know what I’m talking about. I’d recommend going to Youtube and watching it in its full 1080p glory. (more…)

 
 

I Hate Social Media.

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
 

I have just returned from my first trip to Austin and SXSW Interactive.  I work at a media production company on the digital content side.  I worked at a major television network for 8 years.  I love content.  I love art.  I love entertainment.  I hate social media.

I went to South by Southwest for fun… tagging along with people from one of the most forward thinking production companies in the entertainment industry.  I thought I was going for the parties, the alcohol and the meat (yes, there was a lot of meat!), but instead I have learned something so much more important.  In a world that has become so fragmented, disconnected and technological, are we all substituting social media for art and innovation?

I am working to produce the album and help manage the career of an amazing musician.  He is an artist.  He likes to hole up in his house and watch Jack Bauer and write songs until 6 o’clock in the morning.  Do you know what he has been doing lately?  He’s been learning how to use Twitter.  Is he working to write, create or make music that is the beauty in the world and what gives humanity to our race?  His songs hit my soul every time I listen to them – even after the hundredth time.  However, until he figures out how to captivate an audience in 140 characters or less, no one else will ever know or listen.  And, yes, of course SXSW is in fact, also a music festival, but with acts like Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z headlining this year, is it really going to be possible for the struggling lesser-known musicians to break through without first having an online social media presence? Can they even get booked or an audience at one of the less visible stages in one of the darks corners of the city unless they have already created any internet buzz? We’ll see, but I venture to guess, no.

Don’t get me wrong.  I use Twitter, I use Facebook (I will not use Foursquare because, well, that just creeps me out) and I post my pictures.  I use it to show everybody in my life what I am doing.  I do not underestimate the power of social media and the effects that it has had on our culture.  It has created celebrities, it has created relationships, it has created art, and it has become a forum for social activism in a society that has become very lackadaisical about any action to help a cause.  It is easy.  In order to feel empowered and help the Kony 2012 movement, you click a button.  There are not stakes, there is only information.  But where is the passion?  The interaction?  We have become so intent upon sharing our lives, are we forgetting to stop and live them? And what happens to those people, artists and causes that can’t seem to figure out a way to grasp and or figure out how to adapt? Are we really okay just keeping those voices quiet?

SXSW Interactive is a Mecca for nerds, geeks and the cultural influencers to find out what is happening in the digital world; where they should invest their time, money and energy.  I am one of those cultural influencers. Do you know what my favorite panels were about?  Space.  I’m not kidding.  In my career I have worked with countless actors, musicians, and directors, and while I still get giddy while drinking a beer next to Willem Dafoe in the Austin Airport, do you know who I was the most excited to see?  Astronaut Ron Garan.  Why? Because he reminded me of a time when we cared about innovation, science and moving our culture forward in ways that we could not have even imagined as possible.  Do you know what I learned?  The space program has been responsible for medical imaging, firefighting equipment, and the very satellites that are used to watch the television content we all love so much.  Do you know what I learned is the scariest part – because we as a culture no longer care, those programs are coming to a halt, and soon may be stopped.  Space – could be our future, it could save our species from extinction as our population growth continues to use all of our resources, but what are 10,000 people getting together to talk about at a conference? The new app that will tell everyone in your life what time you wake up and go to sleep.

Make no mistake, in the same way that I hate social media, I see its value. I am not advocating for shutting down Facebook (gasp).  I know I have connected with people that I love having in my life that I never would have without it.  Throughout the panel on space people were tweeting to get the word out about what they were learning.  I decided to watch  Downton Abbey – which I now love – because I had to know why everyone was talking about a show that was on PBS.  Social media does give the musician a way and a forum to reach his fans, and for them to interact with him.  That is special.  It makes people feel special, and the value of that should not be underestimated.  I just have to ask – can we please also focus on other things?  The new app Highlight is not going to create any new scientific breakthroughs.  I wish it would, but it won’t.  While it might create jobs, it is not going to create the many new industries that our economy desperately needs right now.  A SXSW panel that I sadly missed because I was at aforementioned favorite space conference: “Social Media is a Bubble and SXSW is a fad”.  Can we please make this bubble pop already?  Move on to also putting together a conference of 10,000 people that come together and talk about how we can make NASA interesting and how people can actually discover great new music again?  Please?

An End Thought: The irony is not lost upon me that if anybody were to read this, it will be through, and because of social media.  I know you have to use the tools that are available to you. I also don’t claim that I am going to stop using social media to get the word out about the next project I am working on, nor do I have a true solution, because I am not providing any useful alternatives. However, I also believe that until we as a culture have these conversations, nothing will ever change. Thank you for reading – I have to go check my Facebook and Twitter feeds now.

 
 

123456 Pokemon!

Thursday, October 16th, 2008
 

Just a little election silliness from Lemon Demon. Too weird not to post; discuss.

 
 

The Worst Song Ever?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
 

bad_music_most_unwanted_song

BoingBoing recently linked to “The Most Unwanted Song“, a piece that was designed to contain all of the worst aspects of music, as determined by opinion polls. I listened to the song and found it to be laugh out loud funny, as did Jess, so I figured it was more than worth passing along to you folks. Design Observer did a great job of breaking it down and explaining what went into creating this song, and why it is so damn fascinating:

The Most Unwanted Song, however, is mesmerizing: over an accompaniment of bagpipe, tuba and accordian (statistically, America’s least favorite instruments), an operatic soprano (our least favorite type of singer) raps (ditto) about cowboys (ditto). Their research indicated that the most hated lyrical subject is holidays (disliked by 33%), so the song is suitable not only for Christmas, but Easter, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, and Halloween. These interludes are introduced abruptly by a children’s chorus (“Hey everybody, it’s Yom Kippur!”), who couple their refrains with cheerful commercial messages. By the end, the subject has shifted to human slavery and genocide. The whole thing, going on for nearly 22 minutes (the least favorite song length), is as impossible to ignore as a car crash.

If you are a lover if funny things, this is it, go give a listen. And do all your shopping at Wallmart!

 
 

Songs As Charts

Friday, February 29th, 2008
 

girls who like boys

Dan sent me the link to this really funny Flickr gallery that breaks down songs into various types of charts, calendars, and graphs. There are way too many good ones to choose a few favorites, so here are a few random ones, you can see the rest for yourself. To see these ones better, click on them, the 400px wide resize did not do wonders for them.

bloodhound gang chart

 
 

Super Mario Bros 2 + Drums

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
 

The above video shows Italian drummer Andrea Vadrucci accompanying the music of Super Mario Bros 2 with some mad drum skillz. His video for the original Super Mario Bros is equally impressive. You can find more of his drum videos on his YouTube page.

/Chris

 
 

Dear MPAA & RIAA:

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
 

mpaaWhy We Steal From You,riaa

And How To Stop Us:

For years now, the record and movie industries have been waging non-stop war against us, their consumers and fans. They are fighting for survival of the current business models and revenue streams, which are under an incredible assault from electronic piracy in the form of bootleg or ripped CDs and DVDs, P2Pfile sharing, bittorrents, and rogue websites hosting downloads. This is a massive problem- almost every single person under the age of 50 has at some point stolen from these companies in one way or another, and they are justifiably pissed off about it. I think that they have every right to defend their copyrights and do their best to prevent the illegal free use of the products that they have paid to create, distribute, and market. I do not, however, think that they are going about it the right way. Here is my advice, which will be ignored, further cementing the demise of old media (enjoy your slow death, guys): (more…)

 
 

G.R.L. Have Made A Music Video

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
 


Kings of cool Graffiti Research Lab have helped to create a music video, and it features some of their awesome light graffiti techniques as well as a home brew bullet time rig, which they graciously created a how-to for. To be fair, they post deeply detailed tutorials for everything they do since they want (some would say almost demand) others to follow in their footsteps. Cool video, awesome group of artists, great technology.

 
 

Should We Buy This (Pt.8)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
 

surround-sound

Ok so the projector has arrived, the couch and bed are in place, things are really starting to take shape, but… eek! We don’t have any way to play audio in the Sweet! We need a surround sound system for watching tv/movies, but it would also be nice to have a system that is good for music listening. The room is a very hard one- hardwood floors, no curtains, not much on the walls yet, so that needs to be taken into consideration. I don’t think a $10,000 home theater is in order, but I am willing to spend what it will take to get a system that sounds reasonably good. Dana, our new roommate is looking into various options, but I want to know if any of you have seen or heard of anything that struck you as particularly good. If you were buying a surround sound system right now, what would you do?

UPDATE: I had an amazing experience buying the surround sound system. Dana and I went to Fry’s to see what they had, since I knew they would have a bunch of systems we could listen to. After an amazingly bad 1/2hr of being ignored, then given some of the worst, most uninformed customer service imaginable, we looked up local home theater stores on Dana’s iPhone (I need to go buy one). We found The Home Theater Doctor, and went in to see if they would let us listen to some systems in the hopes that I could find something that sounds good but wouldn’t kill my budget. We were the only customers in the store, and we got the best treatment I have ever received in any store in my life.

We listened to a bunch of different speakers, starting with a few beautiful, but complete overkill, Vandersteen cabinets that were breathtakingly good. I do not think I have listened to better speakers in my life, but I am not a complete audiophile so that is not necessarily saying too much. After listening to a few different options, I ended up buying a pair of Usher S-520‘s for the two front speakers (On the advice of Tim, our salesman, I got a 4.1 system, as the Sweet doesn’t have room to properly install a center channel), Energy 2.2‘s for the surrounds, a Dennon amp and a 12″ sub.

The Sweet is not an ideal room for good sound- lots of bare, hard surfaces, a stairwell down one side, and some awkward construction make it completely less than ideal. But the system I ended up with sounds GREAT, I am extremely pleased with it and I recommend The Home Theater Doctor to anyone in LA who is looking for some new speakers. The advice I got was tailored towards the room I have and the budget I wanted to stick to; at no point did I feel like I was being upsold or steered in my decision towards a more expensive option. Tim and the rest of the team just let me listen to what they thought I would like, and helped me understand the different variables involved in putting together a sound system. So now the Sweet is nearing completion, there are still some big decisions to make, but overall we are looking good.

 
 

The Cinco Midi Organizer

Thursday, October 18th, 2007
 

Oh man, how many times in the early 80′s did you wish there was a product that helped you organize, find, and easily play back all of your midi files from your personal computer? I really can’t count the number of times. If this video doesn’t cause some kind of nerdback (thats a flashback to nerdy times) then you may not belong around here ;) . The video is from “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show Good Job” on Cartoon Network, which I have not seen, but now really think I should.  Thanks Roy!