Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Radiohead x 3

OK, this has been a pretty mental week for Radiohead fans. At the beginning of the week a music blog brought me to the attentions of a very special remix of 'Nude' by James Houston a Glaswegian art student using nothing more than just bits of old tech. Everyone knows that Radiohead held a competition recently to remix the track and submit it to radioheadremix.com where people can submit their votes on their favourites and make widgets to put on your webpages etc. But this takes it to a different level. In his own words...

Radiohead held an online contest to remix "Nude" from their album - "In Rainbows" This was quite a difficult task for everybody that entered, as Nude is in 6/8 timing, and 63bpm. Most music that's played in clubs is around 120bpm and usually 4/4 timing. It's pretty difficult to seamlessly mix a waltz beat into a DJ set.

This resulted in lots of generic entries consisting of a typical 4/4 beat, but with arbitrary clips from "Nude" thrown in so that they qualified for the contest.

Thom Yorke joked at the ridiculousness of it in an interview for NPR radio, hinting that they set the competition to find out how people would approach such a challenging task.

There's a long intro on this clip of the ZX Spectrum loading a program - but sit through it cos once it kicks in (at about 1:20) you will be mesmorised!

Big Ideas (don't get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.

Next up, is a brand new song from Radiohead called 'Super Collider'. They've been using this to sound check for quite a while but they debuted it for real in Dublin last Friday. There are now thousands of clips of this song on Youtube from all different angles (it won't take long for a dedicated fan to download them all and edit them together) but this one produces the clearest sound. One thing that's quite rare in this song for Radiohead is the major-chord key progression!!

And finally here's an acoustic cover of Portishead's The Rip backstage in St Louis. I particularly like how Thom's reading the lyrics from his macbook. Love the original - love the cover.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Tape Art

Mark Khaisman is an artist from Kiev, Ukraine who studied Art and Architecture in Moscow. He produces his art using packing tape on plexiglass, producing eerie sepia style pixelated portraits. At times you really have to look close to see if this really is from packing tape as some of the shading and textures he manages to recreate are mind blowing. More of his work is on his website

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Pimp My Chips

I found this last night and just HAD to post it on here. This one's definitely for nostalgia freaks. It was even mentioned in Computer Music's tracker section.

Take four international chip tune artists, one coder and one awesome idea - recreate classic pop tunes on a ZX Spectrum. The result is a PC musicdisk (sorry, no Mac download) that lets you hear what might have happened if the original artists only had access to an AY sound chip in their recording studios

I was grinning from ear to ear when I heard Blur's "Boys and Girls". It just sounds soooo retro and actually pretty flippin good! Chiptunes have taken a bit of resurgence these days what with bands like Crystal Castles and RnB producer Timberland 'borrowing' the 8-bit style.

Click here for the download from the actual programmer.

For those that don't want to download and install the zip file you can go to the blog of one of the musicians and hear it in MP3 format - MP3s

It Came From Japan

On Tuesday, Solid Air presented us with a bit of a special night at 60 Million Postcards. What is now turning into a bit of a regular annual event, It Came From Japan is a group of touring bands from Japan that travel the UK to inject a bit of oriental J-Pop into the heart of the British music culture. On doing a bit of research it turns out that the four bands on tonights bill are actually pretty darn popular in Japan and have quite a huge following - a couple of which are signed to major labels!

The bands on the line-up were: Doping Panda, Vola & The Oriental Machine, Dr Usui and Bo-Peep

The music on store was very tight and really REALLY loud. And no, that's not be just getting old - it really was that loud, my ears have only just stopped ringing. (Note to self: next time take ear plugs!)

more pics HERE...

Friday, 16 May 2008

The Cans Festival

Recently there was an art festival called The Cans Festival organised by Banksy in Leake Street, London (affectionately known as 'piss alley' by some of the locals.) The event invited some of the worlds top stencil artists to spray paint the tunnel under Waterloo Station in time for the Bank Holiday.

There was also an element of interactivity at this 'gallery'. If you felt like contributing with your own stencil you had to report to reception where you were given an allocated space to graffiti to your heart's content. BUT, spray outside of your area and you face prosecution. Hmmm, anybody else sense a bit commercialism here!? Isn't this supposed to be a sort of 'guerilla artform'? Yet, the whole event was given permission by the government!

There was some really good pieces of art in there... but, from looking at some of the pictures, I can't help feeling like there was a little too much, especially after the punters had made their mark too. Some of the delight about discovering this form of art is that it can pop up in the most unexpected of places and the artwork sometimes has some sort of context with it's surroundings. But still, there was definitely some good work there.

Here's a news report from Current.tv

Further viewing can be found here...
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Richard Brautigan is GOD

Another topic that came up on Wednesday night was that of the counter-cultural writer Richard Brautigan. I can't recommend his books enough...every word is special. My personal favourite of his is The Abortion about a librarian working in an unpublished library. His writing always has a surreal and comic edge that lights up what must have been a very dark mind.
Brautigan committed suicide at the age of 49.
Here is a short film of a (very short) story called The Scarlatti Tilt that helps to give an indication of his genius. The story can be found in his collection called Revenge Of The Lawn - a must have. Enjoy.

The Scarlatti Tilt


Flight of the Conchords - Ladies of the world

Exclusive YouTube premiere: Flight of the Conchords video for "Ladies of the World" from their self-titled LP on Sub Pop Records and the HBO series "Flight of the Conchords".
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh / Partizan


2000 & hate number 1 - Britain's Got Talent

I expressed my hatred of this televisual abomination last night at Urban Beach to Ben. In particular the episode where they visited Scotland. It's an extremely condescending episode, especially when Simon Cowell kept changing how Scottish he was (at the beginning of the show he was saying 'I'm 25% Scottish' ... this increased to 45% and then by the end of the show 80%... What's he trying to say?!)

Anyway, Glaswegian internet-comedy genius Limmy hit the nail on head in his latest Vlog...

Now I remember watching that episode and even I was offended at the patronising arrogance of Cowell, Morgan and Holden... and I'm not even Scottish!

If that's not an advert for Scottish independance I don't know what is!

Ryan Adams - Transitions

One thing that was under discussion last week was Ryan Adams Blog and the bizarre rate at which he edits his blog. One minute it's up with lots of pics and thoughts, the next minute it's been taken down or he's deleted everything. Same goes for his Vimeo account (where he hosts all his videos) in the last month he's had 3 different profiles with videos put up and taken down constantly. Luckily, some harcore Ryan Adams fans have managed to grab all of his videos and hosted them on a youtube channel. Most of the videos are of random little songs such as my favourite, Cobwebs, and some are arty musing or interviews. Below are Cobwebs and Transitions.



LATEST INFO: Ryan has quit blogging for a while and is currently working on his new album - ryan-adams.com

Another pop-culture blog...

So welcome to a blog about popular culture. Here we will be covering topics such as film, music, art, books and comics... with possible deviations into TV and fashion. We will be giving you recommendations andalso tell you what to avoid. This blog will also be an extension of our weekly meetings in that it will cover what we've discussed and also anything else we think of during the week.Where did the name come from? I think Ben has had the idea brewing for quite some time.