Friday, January 23, 2009

Microsoft determined to make everything crap, including Music...apparently

I came across this article at Ars(e) Technica recently and was a disturbing way.
Microsoft is soon to release (or maybe has already released) a software, uh, thing to enable people to sing into their Pee Cee and have the software automatically create a backing track.
Before I proceed, let me say that I am absolutely all for any and every new technological development with regard to music (and most other things).

The writer Erica Sadun seems pretty enthusiastic about the process of destroying music and goes through all of the hoops to make her track, though we never get to hear it. But by her description alone, this 'Songsmith' software is a true horror. The retro-equivalent might be the 1950s home organ with built in rhythm box (bossa nova!). I personally defend the right of the musically inept and tone deaf to do whatever they want with regard to music - what I object to here is the abject lack of decent musical backing for the awful vocals.

To illustrate here is a selection of demos made by some crazy person
Apparently it is not enough that the backing is rudimentary, bad sounding (think 80s), but Songsmith doesn't even get it right! The wrong progressions and chords are glaring. This is for the tone deaf, no doubt.

Songsmith is technically interesting but musically it should have been held back until it actually had something. is toy software. Garageband is toy software, yet if I needed to I could make it work for me. Songsmith is not competing with Garage band - despite the slant in the article. Songsmith has no competition, because it is utterly useless. Thank you Microsoft for further proving the MS irrelevance market niche. Irrelevant product - irrelevant people! They automatically buy our crud so let's just pile it on. Here's a music 'product' you will love (buy).

Songsmith is frankly, musically meaningless. Unless I get to use it and find myself sorely mistaken - at which time I'll plead amnesia and delete this entry...
When MS brings out an OS X version of it I'm sure I could have fun with it, but I'm sure that afterwards I would feel dirty.

Here's my favourite use (abuse) of this rubbish (get ripped and reverse karaoke with your idiot friends!!!):
Hear how horribly shitty the sounds are?
Enough of this crap...

Highly unlikely hypothetical/fictional situation involving musician's need to resort to Songsmith:
I'm in a small hotel in Prague. Staying there for a couple of days for a really cool Dub conference. There is a need for me to do a little improvising at the seminar next day, but my luggage has been lost and due to various factors there is nothing else available to me besides a horrible Dell laptop running some form of Windoze and a copy of Songsmith. After a good hour of software updates, anti-virus scans and updates and ads...
I give it a try...I try is useless. I'm not really a singer, but I can sing in tune when I have a track to sing along to. But that is not possible. Only a beat is possible. Sing over the beat in tune. But the chords are all wrong. The beat is wrong. The SOUND is!
Headline in Prague morning papers:
'Musician throws self out of window - suicide note says - throw yourselves out of Windows, for the love of all that is sane and rational'

Striker Lee gets a nod of approval...

A little late noticing this, but apparently Bunny 'Striker' Lee has finally been given a little positive recognition by the Jamaican government in the form of the 'Order of Distinction' (back in Oct. 08). I won't say congratulations because I'm no great supporter of such trifling belated pats on the head. Surely he deserves a bit more than that!

The article from the JA Gleaner is interesting and adds a few details that may interest the more deeply obsessed reggae/Dub afficionado. While I wouldn't expect such an article to go into too much depth it is certainly worth a read glaring omissions apart...

He has also worked with Mighty Diamonds, Bob Marley, Gregory Issacs, Glen Adams, Roy Shirley, Dawn Penn, Derrick Morgan, The Uniques, Linval Thompson, Leroy Smart, Barry Brown, Joe Gibbs, Dennis Alcapone, U Roy, I-Roy, Prince Jazzbo, U Brown, Dr Alimantado, Jah Stitch, Trinity, Tappa Zukie and Beenie Man, when the dancehall 'doctor' was only 10 years old.
Where is Johnny Clarke in this list? And the all important link with the King himself, Osbourne Ruddock? Of course a complete list would have left no space for anything else!
Also a nice pic included of Bunny looking distinguished and dapper...

I am intrigued by the note that he may write a book about his life experiences - I won't hold my breath but to my knowledge this is the first hint of a real home grown account of the rise to prominence of Jamaican music - rather than the musings of well meaning outsiders. Write the book Bunny! Or start Blogging! This is something that is needed...
Wishing Bunny many more years of health and happiness...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Every Spoil a Dub in Rice Radio Reggae TOP TEN!

Not sure if this means the top ten CDs for December 2008 or for all of 2008 but either way it is very nice to be included. Thanks Scottie!

Rice Reggae Radio Top Ten CDs December 2008

Friday, January 9, 2009

Steve Barker reviews Every Spoil a Dub in Wire magazine

Well, this is a cause for great jubilation. In the January 2009 issue of Wire magazine 'Every Spoil a Dub' is glowingly reviewed by Steve Barker (On the Wire BBC, Wire contributer and all around nice chap).
Again, thanks a heap Steve.
And thanks Joe for buying all three CDs on the strength of this review!
Image: The Wire #299 January 2009
Check this snippet:

Overall an excellent third album, but the top track is definitely 'New New Dub', a ouija board studio collaboration with Joe Meek, opening with an irresistible mix of piano and organ. - Steve Barker

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Music Thing - obituary

Tom, creator of the Music Thing blog has decided to down tools and will devote his time spent online to his new day job. I certainly wish him well in this but hope that he can be convinced to leave Music Thing online. I've certainly enjoyed it and it has pointed me to plenty of interesting music related 'things' I might not otherwise have found.

And why not keep it going and just post every once in a while?