Copy protection on new Asian Dub Foundation album

Asian Dub Foundation - Enemy of the Enemy

A colleague at work brought in the new Asian Dub Foundation album on CD today for me to have a listen. This album was one of those albums on the "buy without even listening first" list, but I hadn't got around to buying it yet.

So I stick the CD into my computer and to my surprise it starts installing software and demanding I reboot the computer. This is a Windows machine here at work. I killed the player application it installed and opened my usual CD playing software, but it couldn't actually see the audio CD. That's because this CD isn't actually an audio CD.

In fact, it's a Copy Control "enhanced" CD. This means it's not recognised as an audio CD by computer drives, DVD players, games consoles and the like. Instead it should work on ordinary CD players, but nothing else.

For Windows users, a crappy little player application is included which plays back bad digitised versions of the tracks on the album. The player app is appalling, cutting out at the slightest amount of system load and sounding like a scratched CD. Even worse, the quality of the digitised versions is shitful and of course I won't be able to play the CD on any other platform, such as Linux.

So instead of buying this album which, as I said, is on my list of "must buy" CDs, I'll probably end up downloading it off the net. My that sure is an effective strategy to stop people downloading instead of buying!

The ADF guys are aware of the problem and are absolutely livid about it. Unfortunately, like most sharecropper musicians they have very little control over how their music is sold.

About the only thing you can do is, perhaps, buy the CD and return it as faulty because you can't play it. You might have to argue with the clerk, but you have every right to return it. You are entitled to a refund, not just an exchange, if the goods are not fit for purpose, at least in Australia. More information is available at the Campaign for Digital Rights.

A good mix

While I'm somewhat underwhelmed by most of her musical output (it seems her collaborators do all the good stuff, hence Golden Boy and Felix Da Housecat had good results and The Hacker somewhat crap), there is a good 78 minute mix by Miss Kittin here on irobotnik, a fairly interesting blog if you're into electro, particularly the Electrocash type.

On a similar note, you might like to check out Client who apparently play in London every month on Thursdays. They have a release coming out shortly. Might pop along next week and check 'em out.

2002 musical highlights

Some fantastic music was releaed in 2002, and I managed to churn through a large amount of it despite the demise of Audiogalaxy as a useful method for musical discovery.

Electroclash

Perhaps the most exciting movement to come to the fore in 2002 was the Electroclash idea, or "Electrocash" to its critics. A future-retro musical movement with a distinctive electro sound reminiscent of 80s electro-pop but with a more polished, dance-influenced style.

The most successful, yet least talented, of the Electrocash phenomenon were probably Fischerspooner who scored a million pound deal with Ministry of Sound in 2002. While FS are blatantly money-driven, cashing in on the hype, they're also very clearly taking the piss and enjoying the bullshit machine they have built. We were lucky enough to catch their gig at David Bowie's Meltdown in London. The gig combined high camp values (coresetted dancing bimbos miming to the music) with high-tech lighting and effects -- think geeks set loose in a theatrical effects store with someone else's chequebook. Great fun and suitably silly.

More substantial musically were Crossover and Ladytron. I saw Crossover twice last year. Once at a small Electrolash gig at the ICA and again at Fabric. Both gigs were great. Standout tracks from their album Fantasmo: Phostographt and Extensive Care.

Ladytron had a fantastic album, 604, in 2001, neatly pre-empting the whole Electroclash hype machine. Their 2002 album, Light & Magic, was for some reason released in the UK a lot later than the North American release. Strange for a UK band. Anyway, the new album was pretty good, particularly the track Seventeen. Ladytron played a London gig that I managed to catch. Despite being incredibly crowded, they played a fantastic set and really had the crowd in the palm of their hands, no mean feat for a band without the usual on-stage histrionics.

My most exciting musical find for the year was Detroit band Adult who put out a late-2001 album, Resuscitation. Their incredible robotic electro has infectious rhythms with crunchy sounds and really well made vocoder vocals. If you only take note of one thing on this page, check out Adult.

Still in Sydney

We're still in Sydney, until Sunday this week anyway. If you haven't managed to catch up with us, get in touch. Probably do drinks in Newtown on Thursday night.

I'm actually working in the Sydney office of my employer this week. That way I won't blow the whole three weeks in holidays. Also useful to get some work done here as the developers are available.

Got Glasto tickets

Well here's an example of how not to handle ticket sales for a large, high-profile event. Glastonbury tickets just went on sale, which meant getting up at 5am here in Sydney to start trying. It's now 8:45am and I've finally discovered I have some tickets.

I only worked this out, mind, by giving up on their web site and phoning the UK, where I was told I already had tickets. The web site certainly hasn't told me this useful bit of information!

But the good news is, we have Glasto tickets. Woo!

Email down

By the time we arrived in Oz, my computer seemed to have lost contact with the outside world. The ADSL it's on might have crashed, but who knows. Major pain in the arse.

If you're in Sydney, you can call me on 02 9879 0308.

We've moved

Well it was a very long weekend, but we've managed to move house. We're staying with friends in Blackheath until we're back from Oz when we'll look for our own flat.

Computer is off the air until tonight, so no email or Jabber until then.

Off to Sydney

Holly and I are off to Sydney tomorrow morning for three weeks. If you want to call me, I'll mostly be at my parents place: 02 9879 0308. Should have access to email while I'm there too.

Holly's having a party on her birthday, 8th April, so come along!

Back in London on 19th April.

Snow!

Wow. The last couple of days it's been dumping down snow. It started yesterday morning when we got up and saw snow everywhere. Then last night, around 17:20, it started really dumping. Probably dropped about an inch in an hour. Then tonight there's been more.

Of course, this being London, the transport has all been screwed up. Took Holly three hours to get home from her new job in South London. I walked. Snow is the only weather capable of getting me off the bike. Icy roads are just too dangerous on two wheels.

Photos here.

We're moving

We're moving house tonight. It's been a bit of a drama so we're technically homeless for the next month or so.

We had found a brilliant place in Baron's Court, but that fell through from the landlord's dodginess. We'd already given notice on our place in Willesden so now we've had to make alternative plans.

We'll be staying at John and Anne's in Blackheath for the next week, moving house tonight and tomorrow. Then we're off to Oz for three weeks. When we get back, we'll start looking for a new place to live.

If anyone knows of any places going in the Barons Court, Earls Court, West Kensington, Shepherds Bush or North Fulham areas, lettuce know.