New Bowie tour and album

David Bowie is touring again this year! London gig will be at the Wembley Arena on 25th November. Tickets on sale this Friday, apparently, though already available to Bowienet suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hmembers.

Info from here and here.

Also, new album in September.

Ooh great Meltdown!

This year's Meltdown is being curated by Lee "Scratch" Perry and the lineup looks a doozy! According to NME it includes Public Enemy, Tortoise, Michael Franti and Spearhead, DJ Spooky, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Asian Dub Foundation and Ozomatli. Ooh ooh ooh!

Annoyingly, some of the acts clash with Glastonbury again, just like last year. Fortunately it's only Asian Dub Foundation and Ozomatli who are both strong rumours for Glastonbury anyway.

I wonder if there's a ticket to the whole festival?

Mash-up pop madness

In case you haven't heard, dsico does crazy mad cut-up pop shit. Currently I'm listening to his remix of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart with Missy Elliot's Get Your Freak On. Yes that does sound bad but here's the rub, it actually works. So without further ado, go to the site and download some examples.

Apparently, coming to London this Summer.

Glasto sells out

Yeesh, tickets to this year's Glastonbury Festival have sold out, 24 hours after going on sale. That's 112,500 tickets or about 78 a minute. I guess I can forgive them for having a slow website yesterday morning.

Fortunately we managed to get some and it sounds like Liwood House and Jules did too. Hope everyone else who was planning on going got theirs!

The rumours are pretty good: Sigur Ros, Jurassic 5, Asian Dub Foundation, REM, Moloko. Cool! Regardless of the eventual lineup, last year's lineup was pretty crap but we had an amazing time. Just being camped in a field with 100,000 people is pretty amazing in itself.

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.

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.

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.

The music industry as we know it is over

Something big is coming to the music industry. The smart ones have already worked it out, and it scares the crap out of them. The really smart ones are getting ready.

Weird music

When I was young, my parents owned a radio station in Bega. It was great for us kids because all we had to do to listen to music was head down to the station and hang about in the record library. We could take a few records home and tape them too if we wanted.

I discovered some pretty incredible music for a country radio station. Kraftwerk, Devo, Run DMC and more poppy stuff like Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Culture Club.

This is probably how I got into weird music--by having the opportunity to listen to anything I wanted without having to pay for the privelege. When my parents sold the station, I had to buy music and much of the new music I discovered was coming from radio. I went through a pretty dire patch of crap music.

Later in life I was dragged to a rave by some friends. It changed my life. Once again I discovered that weird, pulsing, electronic sound I'd glimpsed in my youth.

Now the problem became how to find the music. Fortunately, the record stores selling this style of music anticipated the need to listen and had banks of headphones to listen before you buy.

Still, there's only so much time you want to spend standing in a record shop trying every weird and wonderful piece of music you can lay your hands looking for "the one".

You don't own music

The thing that's about to completely change the music industry isn't really a technology. It's a mindset. Sure it's driven by stuff like mp3, cable internet access and the like, but it's really a mindset.

In the very near future, the concept of owning a piece of music is going to disappear. Buying a piece of vinyl, magnetic tape or CD as the storage medium of music is going to disappear.

Why bother buying a record when you have every piece of music every made available through a high speed network connection? Particularly when all you pay for that connection is a flat monthly fee?

Now consider the changes that brings to the way we listen to music. Instead of being generally restricted to just the music we "own", we're free to explore the entire cornucopia that is music. Occasionally I feel like listening to schmaltzy classical music, but I don't own any Strauss CDs. I'd love to give everything Laibach have ever made at least one run through, but I'm not sure I'd want to pay big money for it.

The empire strikes back?

Now the smart ones amongst you have just started thinking about where this leaves record companies. The role of the record company, outside marketing, is as a venture capitalist of music.

Record companies put up the bucks to get the physical pieces of music made and distributed. Without that barrier to entry, who needs a record company? Well the Spice Girls and Brittney Spears, certainly need them. But artists creating funky music for the love of it? Established artists like Prince or Public Enemy? I don't think so.

The smart ones, and I think Sony are there about now, saw this coming a long way off. The way they're hoping to reintermediate themselves is to be the network software or hardware supplier for this new form of music distribution. Witness how Sony Music has supported SDMA and bagged out mp3 while Sony Electronics has produced a portable mp3 player. Some of them get it.

Of course the dumb ones aren't going to like it one bit. They'll go out kicking and screaming: lobbying governments to prosecute people making mp3 players and make copyright laws even more favourable to them, telling people they're harming artists by getting their music directly from them and so on. Should be fun to watch!

Your thoughts?

So where do you think it's headed? How are we going to do this?