zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (DJ-Badtz)


So me and [livejournal.com profile] coyoteseven were cruising in the F(n)ord (St)Ranger a while back, listening to the "Trailer Trax" album by Hexstatic. One track sounded like it was built around an old boardgame TV commercial. And sure enough, I found the original ad on YouTube:




Turns out another track is also built around an old TV commercial, for one of Parker Brothers' lesser-known and deservedly-forgotten creations:



Anyway, "Trailer Trax" is a pretty cool album and here's a little taste of what's on it:



SOOPERDOOPER! :D


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Freakazoo)


eMusic is making some changes and it's both good and bad. But I think overall, mostly good.

For me, it's bad because they're changing my legacy account into a normal account.
I've had my account for years and years and when I joined, it was 90 downloads per month for $19.95.
Over the years, the amount of downloads decreased to 80, then 70, and it's now 50 for $20.79.
However, I was still getting my 90 and paying the same $19.95 a month.
This will change on July 30th. My 90 go bye-bye and I'm downgraded to 50.
To help soften the blow, they're giving me a booster-pack of 25 downloads in August.

So why the change? eMusic signed a deal with Sony Music and this greatly expands eMusic's catalog.
And because of that, I guess eMusic had to rethink their rates.
I've heard rumblings in the past from artists and labels already on eMusic that the rate structure sucked
and didn't pay well, so I'm totally not surprized at this rate restructuring.
I bet these labels already on eMusic are happy about this, 'cause they'll get more money now. :)
I did some poking around and found a bunch of new artists on eMusic because of the Sony deal.
And it's a diverse bunch: Captain Beefheart, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Clash, Fanz Ferdinand,
Kate Bush (KATE BUSH!!!!), Miles Davis, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, Spiritualized,
The Stone Roses, Psychedelic Furs, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Midnight Oil, and Rick Astley. :D
Now personally, Sony doesn't have much I'm interested in, but I can see how this might attract more people.
After all, eMusic is the 2nd biggest Internet music store, behind iTunes, and still completely DRM-free.
I won't begrudge them trying to grow and get more people to join.
With my legacy account, I was paying 22 cents per track! That's damn cheap!
With the new rates, I'll be paying 41 cents per track. It's double but still pretty cheap.
Let me explain: eMusic has changed their policy regarding album downloads, and for the better!
Downloading an album used to cost the same as downloading each track separately, so grabbing a 15-track
album cost you 15 downloads. This was a problem for certain DJ mixes with 30 tracks and up.
With the new system, downloading an album now costs you 12 downloads if the album has 12 or more tracks.
15-track album? 12 downloads. 20-track album? 12 downloads. 30-track album? 12 donwloads.
Double-CD with 35 tracks total? 24 downloads (12 per CD).
Of course, if the album has 8 tracks, it costs 8 downloads. :)
This is actually pretty cool! I've already taken advantage of this.
So like I said, it's good and bad, but mostly good.
I have tons of music I've downloaded from them that I enjoy every day.
I think I'll keep my eMusic account. :)

That's just my opinion though.
Others are not taking it so well.
The waaaaaaahmbulance is working overtime.
Bunch of spoiled rotten little brats! They want everything for nothing!
Cry me a river you ingrate little jerks!!
Ahem... :)

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zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (DJ-Badtz)


eMusic added another batch of Warp Records releases recently, so I'll point out a few tasty things.

First up, is "Time Tourist" by B12. This is their second album, released in 1996, featuring a nifty Chris Foss cover.
The album features more of B12's trademark Detroit Techno-esque future melodies. B12 created their own label when
they first started, as no one seemed interested in picking them up, and eMusic signed them up. So this means there was
already B12 tracks on eMusic before Warp Records was added. If you like their sound, there's a lot more of it.

Next up, another second album, this one from LFO (not the failed pop band): Advance".
While the first album was all rave and mostly craziness, this one is more polished, more sophisticated.
There are some exceedingly lovely pieces in there, like "Loch Ness" and "Ultra Schall"; some fun stuff with fun sounds,
like "Them" and "Shove Piggy Shove"; danceable tunes like "Psycodelik"; and fascist noise like "Tied Up".

Here are a couple of Autechre albums, one of which I never got around to get on CD, "Chiastic Slide", from back in 1997.
This was the follow-up to 1995's "Tri Repetae", which is presented in its non-US version on eMusic.
Meaning it's missing the second CD, which gathered several tracks from a couple of Autechre EPs, one of which is my
absolute favorite Autechre track (with a strange video by Chris Cunningham): "Second Bad Vilbel".
(Watch for the halfway point when the white bug-like machine activates and starts unfolding! It's awesome!)
After listening to "Tri Repetae" and "Chiastic Slide", you can hear the shift is style between the two.
Autechre's sound was becoming less melodic and more machine-like. The music was becoming dehumanized.
I stopped listening to Autechre when the sound dissolved into a cacaphony of pops and clicks and noises that only a
machine could appreciate. So, that would be after "LP5" came out, in 1999.

And now, for something almost completely different, an album of dubby ambient dancehall stylee trip-hop. Or something.
I present you "Haunted Dancehall" by The Sabres Of Paradise (aka Andrew Weatherall, if that means anything to you).
As the name suggests, some of these tracks are haunted by the ghosts of dancehalls past, and present, and future.
It's weird stuff, I admit. Some of it is pretty cool. And you know what's even cooler?

The limited edition hard to find (mine was a Japanese CD) remix EP of "Haunted Dancehall", known as "Versus"!!
And eMusic has it! Awesome! When I first got that little CD, I played it over and over and over (well, often!)!
It's got remixes by Depth Charge, Chemical Brothers, Nightmares On Wax, LFO, and a full orchestral version of
the "Haunted Dancehall" title track by In The Nursery. And the cover art is by Brute (designer of all KMFDM covers).
I mean, holy crap! It's worth joining eMusic just for that! :D

And finally, wrapping up the Warp overview, is a weird little compilation from Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard.
You might know them as Global Communication, Reload, Jedi Knights, E621 or Link. "The Theory Of Evolution" gathers
a bunch of tracks by these guys under their various pseudonyms, and the style is all over the place!
There's everything from Drum'N'Bass to Detroit Techno to House to Acid to goofy sound and voice collages.
Even if you don't like what's in that compilation, I can still recommend one thing by Middleton/Pritchard: "76:14".
One of the most incredible work of ambient electronica ever produced, it's under their Global Communication name.
It's really really really really good. It won a bunch of music magazine awards when it came out.

Well, that's all for now.
One handy tip when it comes to browsing the "new on eMusic" section for any genre is to always go back one extra day.
For example, if you browsed the new stuff yesterday and are browsing the new stuff today, check yesterday again.
Not everything is uploaded at once, so you will find new stuff you didn't see in yesterday yesterday.
Good night and enjoy!


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Wepon)


Welcome to stream of consciousness posting.
I'm typing live in the LJ post window instead of writing offline in my text editor.
So you might get topic whiplash. I'm just sayin'... :)

Well, how about a weekend recap, what little of it I remember?
There was a LUGOLA meeting on Saturday, in Sherman oaks, which is pretty close as far as LUGOLA meetings go. Only 3 people showed up: me, the host, and car-crazy Tim. We talked about cars and Legos and looked at some of both online. Our host had purchased kosher Coke, so I had to try some of that. Hmmmmm, real sugar...
After the meeting I hit a Ross Dress For Less store on the way home. I was looking for some cheap t-shirts, but I wound up with a nice pair of shoes. Nike Elites in purple and white in size 16 for the princely sum of $13.99. DUDE!
They look nice and they're very comfy and they're easy to put on and take off.
I think they were made in 2006 and I can't find any pictures of them online. Not even on Zappos.com.
If I thought people actually gave a damn, I would take a picture of them shoes and post it here.
Hmmmm, then again, some people might be curious as to what a pair of size 16 Nikes look like... :D
Thaaaaaaar she blooooooows!!!! :D
And I never did post a picture of the Nike Blacktrons, or the Nike Softserve, and the Adidas Snakeskin.
I sense an all-shoe extravaganza coming on! Somebody stop me!

Ahem, anyway...
After Ross, I had lunch at the Sherman Oaks In-N-Out, then drove home.
I think I put the rest of the Vespa Club badges on eBay and started on the pennants.
If you're wondering what Vespa Club badges and pennants from the '50s look like, go here.
I've got 6 pennants left to put up and I will try to do that tonight.

On Sunday, I slept in, then chained myself to the computer to put up more stuff on eBay.
I finally showered and got dressed at 20:00, then went out to get some dinner.
Since some of the Vespa badges had already sold, I wanted to celebrate a bit by having a decent dinner instead of fast food. But I couldn't decide on a place. As I've mentioned before, there are no Outback Steakhouses or Claim Jumpers local to me.
I remembered seeing a steakhouse down by Slauson and Sepulveda and went over there to check it out. Unfortunately, it was already closed.
I meandered Southbound, looking for anything interesting, and enjoying cruising with the windows down and a nice cool breeze blowing into the cockpit.
I eventually wound up in Manhattan Beach and stopped at my favorite Houston's. It had been a while since my last visit and the menu had changed. Half the steaks were gone, replaced by sushi and fish. They no longer had my favorite porterhouse steak. And the prices had gone up. I was very disappointed, so I left.
I meandered back towards home and wound up stopping at Carl's Jr. for a Six Dollar Burger.
Eating out alone is no fun.
I had left Spino a voicemail earlier in the day detailing my desire to have dinner somewhere nice and cool. I never heard back.

Monday and back to work. It was 88F at 09:00 and that just wasn't right.
It only got hotter from there, topping out at 100F! In the Westside! In April! NO WAI!
I had to go out to get lunch in that heat, my hair almost caught fire! D:
When I got home that night, the Kzinti Freehold was an oven! I only stayed in the bedroom long enough to check e-mail and drag my futon into the living room. I camped out in the living room overnight.

Tuesday and still hot, though not quite as hot as Monday.
Ran some errands at lunchtime (post office, electric bill) and stopped at another Ross. No t-shirts either, but I wound up with a giant Nerf modular assault rifle (Longshot) with fake targetting laser and barrel extension for $8! The only catch: no ammo. And the Longshot uses special Streamline darts that fit into its clips. I hit a Target and a Toys'R'Us before going back to work, and neither one has the ammo. Grrrrr...
Hey! I work for a toy company! Any toy I buy is automatically research! So nyah! :D
Hit another Target and Toys'R'Us after work, and still no luck! What the hell?!?! Both stores sell the Longshot but they don't carry the ammo? They have ALL the OTHER Nerf ammo, but not the Streamline darts! What the hell kinda logic is this!?!?
I stopped at Tito's Tacos to get some tacos then went home. The temperature had seriously dropped by then and the weather felt more normal. I was able to cool the bedroom down enough to work on the computer, but not enough to sleep in it. So I spent the night in the living room again.
While on the computer, I looked for Streamline darts. I found some Amazon stores that had 'em but something screwy was happening with the shipping. I wanted to buy 4 packs of darts and it kept multiplying the shipping by 4, so my $11 of merchandise (4 x $2.75) was costing $19.96 (4 x $4.99) in shipping? Urrrrrr, yeah, I DO NOT THINK SO!
I tried two different Amazon stores and it did the same thing.
So I went on eBay instead and found what I was looking for, without insane quadruple shipping.
Sorry Amazon, you lose!

It's now Wednesday and the temperature has dropped further. We're now back to what the weather was like before the mini heat wave and all is right with the world. Yay!
And eMusic has just added a bunch of Warp records albums, so that means another Warped eMusic post is on the way. Look for it soon!

Ciao bambinos!


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Oxygene)


eMusic unleashed two more Jean Michel Jarre albums today:

1) Les Granges Brulées" ("The Burnt-Out Barns"), a 1974 soundtrack album for the French film of the same name.
Up to now, it's been a highly collectable LP release, so it's great that eMusic makes it widely available.
The actual music is pretty early and rough. Jean Michel is cutting his musical teeth and it shows.
Some of it sounds like kinda wacky early synthesizer martian music.
The website has problems with all the accents in the French titles, so it's hard to read some of the track names.
I don't know if I'll get it.

2) "Métamorphoses", from 2000. This one, I'm definitely downloading once my account reloads!
If you've seen or heard the "12 Dreams Of The Sun" 12-31-1999 concert at the Pyramids of Giza, you've heard tracks
from this album. It was a bit of departure for Jean Michel, this album. It had actual songs with actual lyrics.
And it moved away from the Oxygène/Equinoxe style of pure flowing keyboard space music. There's still some in there,
like in "Millions Of Stars". This album has a more global feel to it, and there's Natacha Atlas and Laurie Anderson.
I didn't like this album at first because it wasn't "Oxygène 14-21", but then I matured in my music tastes. :)
I'm especially partial to "je Me Souviens", "Bells" and "Love Love Love" (I love you, miss robot :D
So yeah, this one is definitely worth checking out.


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zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Oxygene)


eMusic has just made "En Attendant Cousteau" (Waiting For Cousteau) available.
eMusic picked Alternative/Punk as the genre for some reason, and Electronic Ambient as the style, which is correct.
This album was released in 1990 and is a little bit different from Jarre's normal format.
There are only 4 tracks and the last one is over 45 minutes.
Track 4, "En Attendant Cousteau", is 47 minutes of floaty ethereal ambient constructed by JMJ's Atari ST computer.
He ran some sort of fractal composition program on it and loaded all his favorite sounds into all the soundbanks.
And these are the first 47 minutes, as the program could basically run forever.
I've used that track in the past to combat insomnia.

And then I found something longer that also worked.
Brian Eno's "Thursday Afternoon" album, which consists of one 61 minute-long floaty ethereal ambient composition.
As a matter of fact, they sound A LOT alike.
Which is pretty remarkable when you consider the fact that "Thursday Afternoon" was made using recorded music that
was then digitally edited, whereas "Cousteau" was generated on the fly by a computer running a fractal program.
Eno's CD was released in 1985. Jarre's CD came out in 1990.

And now, for a little game of Contrast And Compare!
First, 5 minutes of "Thursday Afternoon":


And now, 10 minutes of "En Attendant Cousteau":

What do you think, sirs?


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Oxygene)


eMusic just added a whole bunch of Jean-Michel Jarre stuff!
I'm not going to link to each CD separately, just to JMJ's page where you can see the list, and to a few cool ones.
They've added several studio albums: "Rendez-Vous", "Revolutions", and "Oxygène 7-13".
There's also two different Best Of CDs: "Essential Jean-Michel Jarre" and "Images: The best Of Jean Michel Jarre"
And there are two of his live albums: "Jarre Live" and "Jean Michel Jarre En Concert: Houston-Lyon".
"Zoolook" has also been added, but it's listed under "Jean Michel Jarre Tribute Band", eventhough it's JMJ himself.
And the references to remixes are completely spurious. As far as I can tell, this is the normal "Zoolook" album.
I'm pretty pleased they added "Oxygène 7-13". It's the retro follow-up to "Oxygène" that he released in 1997.
eMusic messed up and attached the cover art for the original "Oxygène" instead.
They also added "Odyssey Through O2", the techno remix album for "Oxygène 7-13". I personally dig it a lot.

That's a not bad little update.
There's still stuff missing, like "Les Concerts En Chine", "Chronologie", "Métamorphoses" (I need that one), "AERO",
"Destination Docklands: The London Concerts" (I need that one too!), "Live From Gdansk" (that one also!),
"Téo & Téa" (and that one), and "En Attendant Cousteau" (which sounds A LOT like Brian Eno's "Thursday Afternoon").
Some of these should turn up soon, especially the ones on the Dreyfus label.
"Téo & Téa" probably won't, as it was released by Warner France.


In another Jarre news, I went looking for the "Oxygène: Live In Your Living Room" CD/DVD release and found it gone.
It was a limited edition. Argh!!! What's so special about it, you ask? Let me quote Amazon.com:
"Special two disc (CD + NTSC/Region 0 DVD) pressing of the 2007 digitally remastered 30th Anniversary edition
of this influential Electronic album features a bonus 3D DVD that contains a live performance filmed in HD
and Stereoscopic 3D, behind the scenes footage, 5.1 surround sound mix of the album and more."
So, yes, Jean Michel Jarre in your living room, pretty much! :D
(I wonder what that would look and sound like on Auntie [livejournal.com profile] selenesue's giant LCD TV and surround system...)
I was pretty sadfaced about the whole thing, until I checked eBay and found a store in Mexico selling it.
For $19.99 with $2.99 shipping to the US.
DUDE!!!
And apparently brand new factory-sealed.
I took a chance and bought it.
I'll let y'all know if I get it, and how cool it is.


Tags:
Mar. 13th, 2009 06:48 pm

Oxynoxe

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Oxygene)


Well, looks like I won't be seeing "Watchmen" this weekend. I'm gonna be beeee-zay! (No, not Bizet!)
On Saturday, I've got my LUGOLA meeting at 11am and then I'm going straight to work at 1pm.
What's cool is that the LUGOLA meeting place is awesomely located 5 minutes away from work!
On Sunday, I'm going in to work as well.
So yea for overtime!


More eMusic stuff:
I'm not sure I've mentioned this already, so I'll mention it anyway.
eMusic now carries tunes from Dreyfus Jazz, which is Jean-Michel Jarre's label.
His first three albums are available: "Oxygène", "Equinoxe", and "Les Chants Magnétiques".
("Chants Magnétiques" is a pun. "Chants" means "songs/chants", "champs" means "fields". They're pronounced the same.)
Also available is the 1995 live album "Hong Kong".
There's also a double-CD of Jean-Michel Jarre music played by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
It's called "The Symphonic Jean Michel Jarre" and is on the Silva Screen label.
I'm not too crazy about it.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre was the first Western artist allowed to play a concert in China.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre rocks entire cities and has audience numbers in the millions.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre plays the theremin.
Trufax: Jean Michel Jarre is the son of Maurice Jarre, soundtrack composer of "Lawrence Of Arabia" and countless more.
Trufax: "Equinoxe" is the first album I ever bought with my own money. This was in 1978 and I was a wee lil' Kzinten.
My dad and I went half-and-half on the cassette version. I still have that cassette, along with "Oxygène".
Take a listen at Jean Michel's stuff, it's pretty nifty!


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zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Plaid)


There's a couple of things I forgot to mention in previous posts.
One is the new screensaver I'm using on both my work and home computers: Polar Clock.
This was mentioned in the March 2009 issue of "Wired" as one of the top ten things that the staff liked that month.
Actually, it was ranked number 1. :)
Polar Clock shows month, date, day, hours, minutes and seconds as colored concentric arcs that grow as time passes.
They spawn from the 12 o'clock position and grow clockwise, progressively changing color from white to blue to pink
to red to yellow to green back to white. It's pretty and functional, available for Mac and PC.
The Kzin says "check it out".

Another is about eMusic and how they have been busy lately.
First, they've actually signed Warp Records. For real this time.
You might recall the fangasm I had when eMusic accidentally made available a dozen Warp releases for one day.
I guess they licensed the albums for Europe and North America was not supposed to see them. I snagged the stuff
I wanted before they could take 'em down the next day, muahahaha!
It was a while back and I couldn't find the original post because I forgot to tag it with "emusic". Blargh.
Anyway, Warp records is a legendary label in electronica circles, having released some truly excellent material in
its 20 year existence. Warp introduced me to the Egyptronica stylings of Black Dog Productions, a less harsh side
of Aphex Twin (as Polygon Windows), the concept of Detroit Techno with Kenny Larkin and his "Azimuth" album,
and many other wondrous things. Warp showed that there was more to techno than happy fun rave and breakbeat.
You may have heard the term "IDM" (Intelligent Dance Music) thrown about here and there. This is where it started. :)
eMusic is starting off easy with just 19 albums, many of them from the early days.
Which means that, yes, I own most of these on CD already. :)
Of particular interest, if you missed them the first time:

The first "Artificial Intelligence" compilation, providing a 10-track sampler of what to expect from Warp Records.
This and other "AI" releases listed below were distributed in the US by TVT/Wax Trax and those are the CDs I have.

Autechre's first two albums, "Amber" and "Incunabula". Much more melodious than their later output.

Kenny Larkin's wonderful "Azimuth" album. I've babbled about Detroit Techno in this journal many a times.
This album will give you a good idea of what Detroit Techno is all about, a sort of futuristic techno soul.

"Frequencies" by LFO, not to be confused with the stupid failed pop band LFO that came later.
This LFO actually has talent and rocked the house back in the day. This album is a must-have.

"Surfing On Sine Waves", the only album ever released by Polygon Windows, a Richard D. "Aphex Twin" James pseudonym.
It's very different from his "drill'n'bass" and acid madness from the early days. It's still strange and it's still
got a beat though! Definitely worth checking out.

And last, but in no way least, "Bytes" by Black Dog Productions (mistakenly listed as "Various Artists" by eMusic).
I know I've talked about Black Dog Productions and Plaid in this journal before. Black Dog was Ken and Ed and Andy.
Then Andy and Ed left and used their Plaid moniker as a permanent band name. Ken still makes music as The Black Dog.
eMusic carries a lot of The Black Dog, some of it dating back to when Ed and Andy were still in the group.
I urge you to listen to the bits of "Bytes" on eMusic and hear for yourself the wonder that is Black Dog Prods.
There's really nothing quite like it. The odd beats, the strange ancient Egyptian vibe to some of the tracks.
I find this stuff utterly entrancing. This is why Black Dog/Plaid are my all-time favorite electronic artists.
Yes, even more favorite than Orbital or Kraftwerk or The Orb or the Detroit Techno guys. :D

eMusic has also signed Superstition Records, a German label that became the refuge of artists formerly on the
Eye-Q Records labels: Harthouse, Eye-Q, and Recycle Or Die. I have an awful lot of Eye-Q CDs, so I am interested.
The style of Superstition seems to be mostly German Trance and House.
And holy crap, there are 172 different items listed under that label on eMusic! O_O
Off-hand, I recommend looking at stuff from Humate, LSG and Mijk Van Dijk.

And finally, The Prodigy have a new album: "Invaders Must Die". It's okay, nothing particularly groundbreaking.
I do like tracks 2 ("Omen"), 3 ("Thunder"), and 5 ("Take Me To The Hospital").
I am intensely amused by Track 9, "World's On Fire", because it contains a beat that really really REALLY sounds like
something Praga Khan/Lords Of Acid have used in one of their tracks. I mean, really, it's hilariously blatant! :D

And that's it! I think I'm forgetting another label and...
Oh yeah, Metropolis! No, wait, I think I mentioned it before.
Anyway, with Metropolis, eMusic now has everything Juno Reactor ever released, including their crappy new album,
"Gods And Monsters", which really sucks, and "Luciana", the weird-ass 1-hour ambient collaboration with The Orb.
Which is actually hard to find on CD, and is one single track so it counts as only one download, nice one eMusic!
Metropolis also means a truckload of Gary Numan, KMFDM (WOOH!), Meat Beat Manifesto (YEA!), Front Line Assembly,
Assemblage 23, Clan Of Xymox, Die Krupps, Front 242, Mindless Self Indulgence, and other happy fun industrial acts.
Achtung baby! :D

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this lil' ride through eMusic's neat new (old) stuff.


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (DJ-Badtz)


Here's some eMusic stuff that's been rockin' my iTunes jukebox and WinAmp playlists lately:


A brand new album by Eat Static?!? OH YES!!!
Behold your new intergalactic overlord! DE-CLASSIFIED!!
Eat Static was formed in 1990 by two members of the psychedelic space rock group "Ozric Tentacles".
They got interested in techno and trance and put out all sorts of wonderful flying saucer-influenced CDs on the always
fun Planet Dog label. I own pretty much all those CDs. The style ranges from breakbeat and drum'n'bass to psy-trance
(psychedelic trance or goa trance), with occassional sidetrips into jazz, lounge and latino grooves.
This new one, "De-Classified" contains a nice cross-section of tracks, with the focus being on psy-trance.
If you like Israeli trance pranksters Infected Mushroom and tribal gods Juno Reactor, you should already know Eat Static!
They're the Original Gangstas of psy-trance! And they have a sense of humor! Reprezent!

Here's one from an act I know nothing about: Bagman - "Trax"
The base style is drum'n'bass, with other stuff thrown at it: surf music, Indian beats, old school breakbeat, Japanese music.
Normal D'N'B is boring, and I only like it when it's unusual and/or when other stuff get mixed into it. "Trax" delivers.

Next is the oddly-named B(if)tek, whom I suspect of being French. ("Biftek" is slang for "roast", derived from "beefsteak")
So I Google them and sure enough, they're in fact a pair of Australian girls from Canberra! But of course! :D
They say "biftek" is Japanese for "steak". Something else the Japanese borrowed from the French. :)
Anyway, this is their first album, from way back in 1996: Sub-Vocal Theme Park.
There were only 500 CDs pressed, so it's awesome that eMusic got the rights to it and put it in the store.
The album is a collection of various tracks with different styles. I can't really pinpoint it neatly.
One track sound like mid-90s German trance a la Harthouse. One sounds like Hardfloor-style acid. One sounds like the suave
acid funk from Dr. Walker and his Cologne posse. One sounds like spaced-out psy-trance. One sounds like dream lounge.
I do know one thing: I like it. Give it up for the Aussie girls! They know how to make you move!

Meanwhile, DJ? Acucrack has a new album out. I pretty much download anything by these guys by default.
They're toured with KMFDM, so that gives you an idea of their style: techno-industrial-rock-breakeat-mayhem!
I remember buying an advance copy of their first album after sampling a few tracks on the store CD player and really liking
what I was hearing. This first album is called "Mutants Of Sound" and is available on eMusic, along with every single
DJ? Acucrack album released so far. Apparently, the actual name of the first album is the far less snappy title of
"The Mutants Are Coming And I Believe They Are Of Sound". And the number 420 has been added to every track name.
Not sure what's that all about. But it sounds exactly like my advance CD, so it's all good. Very good!
So anyway, the new one is called "Humanoids From The Deep". The style is more industrial doom drum'n'bass sci-fi.
I would recommend checking out "Mutants Of Sound" first. It's more versatile in style than "Humanoids".
The second album, "Sorted", is also very nice, with the totally unstoppable thumping "Chicks Dig Acid" track.
The drum'n'bass style is much more prominent in the third album ("The Dope King") and beyond.
The fourth album, "Mako VS Geist" is pretty good, using copious Gary Oldman samples from "The Professional" (aka "Léon").
"Death... . . ...Is whimsical today..."
It's pretty hardcore drum'n'bass though.

And finally, here's something I didn't even know existed: Ultramarine - "Companion"
Back in '90-'92, there was a band called Ultramarine that made really nice soothing English countryside ambient dub music.
It was a bit like Boards of Canada without the '70s weirdness, or The Orb without the space drugs.
I own two of their CDs: "United Kingdoms" and "Every Man And Woman Is A Star". "Companion" is a remix album for "Every Man".
It contains a few remixes and a lot of alternate versions probably made during the original album's recording sessions.
Guest remixers include Sweet Exorcist (aka Cabaret Voltaire), Coco Steel & Lovebombs (an early '90s favorite), and Spooky.
I relistened to the original tracks after getting "Companion" and I was amazed at how good that stuff was. Even after all
these years, this is primo noisemaking. I can't believe I forgot all about these two little gems in my vast CD collection.
Ultramarine makes for a nice contrast after listening to the robot apocalypse of DJ? Acucrack. :)


The computer here at work really sucks. For starters, it's really slow: it's a P4 running at 2ghz, but it has built-in
graphics, so it might as well be a PIII running at 500Mhz. Also, today between 1pm and 2pm (aka lunch), it completely
forgot what an M3U file was. It wasn't even listed in the file type directory. I had to manually recreate the M3U entry
and associate it with Winamp so I could accurately listen to eMusic preview snippets. Ridiculous!
My laptop at Amp'd ran rings around this thing, and it was only a mid-level spec machine.
I have an Athlon 1.7ghz machine with a 256meg video card at home and it's lightning fast compared to this thing.
Blargh, whatever...

Have a pleasant rest of day!


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (DJ-Badtz)


A while back, I had mentioned a Slickdeal having to do with eMusic and an MP3 player.
As far as I know, that deal is still good, though there are instances of the player being pulled from the shelves in some
stores, or being sold for $19.99 instead of $5, or being for $5 without any problems. Depends on your local store.
I had borked my regular eMusic account by adding the code for the 15/month-for-a-year offer.
Working with customer service, we got it all straightened out last Tuesday.
My account had to be killed then resurrected, so now my downloads refresh on the 10th instead of the 18th.
Remember! With eMusic, it's use it or lose it! Those downloads don't roll over!

Anyway, here are a few tasty bits to check out:

"Give me some acid!!!
Not to be confused with Acid Rock, Acid Techno (and also Acid House) is a form of electronic dance music built almost
entirely around an electronic gizmo called the Roland TB-303 and its ability to make buzzy squiggly addictive loops.
Some also used another Roland creation, the TR-909 drum machine, but Acid pretty much IS the 303!
Acid is kind of mindless bouncy fun stuff, and here's a bunch of it available on eMusic:

Ceephax Acid Crew has 4 releases to choose from. Here's a random one: Bainted Smile EP.

Hardfloor has been around for a long time and has produced an impressive body of work. Half of it is Acid.
Some of their early Acid oeuvres: TB Resucitation - Funalogue
Hardfloor's later releases are less Acid-y and more varied. I recommend checking out the following albums:
Respect - Home Run - All Targets Down

Luke Vibert is usually not a name associated with Acid. He's more of a funky hepcat kinda guy who puts out stuff under his
own name as well as his Wagonchrist and Plug pseudonyms. In 2005, he served up a tasty Acid album with a funky soul twist.
Do check out "Lover's Acid"! It's nifty!

Funkstörung is also a name not usually associated with Acid. They're more into Experimental and weirdness.
But for some reason, they decided to release a nostalgic Acid-tinged album that still retains some of their experimental
side. It's not exactly textbook acid, but it has its moments. Feast your peepers on Return To Acid Planet, Earthman!


And speaking of Acid brings me to one of the best electronic music act to ever exist: 808 State.
Of all the bands to come out of the late '80s/early '90s techno-rave-house scene, 808 State displayed a sheer level of
professional musicianship unmatched by most of its contemporaries, save possibly Orbital or the brothers from Detroit.
808 State's first musical steps were all in the acid style and can be found on 2 CDs released not too long ago:
"Newbuild", which was their first album and only available on vinyl until Rephlex, the Aphex Twin label, rereleased it.
"Prebuild", which is even rougher, as it contains very early tracks and prototypes of "Newbuild". Truly for the connaisseur.
eMusic sadly does not have either of these releases, because they're on Rephlex. But eMusic signed ZTT (Zang Tumb Tuum,
the revolutionary label created by Trevor Horn to handle Art Of Noise, and subsequent home to unusual acts like
Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Propaganda), so they have everything else by 808 State!

Their first commercial album, which still sounds awesome after all these years: Ninety
(which I just noticed is the UK version of the album and missing 5 or 6 tracks compared to the US release. Argh!)

Their second album, which clearly shows them transcending the rave scene and delivering good solid music: Ex:El
(this is quite possibly their best album ever! The first track is basically an evacuation drill set to music!
Track 6, "Lift", is the ultimate piece of techno-muzak, taking a page from the prototypical blueprint for all muzak
everywhere, "Theme From Summer Place". Trust me, you've heard it before. Also, "lift" is British-English for "elevator".
And as if that wasn't cool enough, Bjork pops up on TWO tracks! And the singer from New Order pops up on one track.
What more could you possibly want? How about a 9-minute remix of the old classic "Cübik" dance track? There ya go!)

Their third album saw them going for shorter tracks and maintaining their eclectic musical style: Gorgeous
(the title definitely applies, a couple of tracks are just plain gorgeous: "Plan 9" and "Black Morpheus")

Their fourth album, more eclectic, more varied, this one needs multiple listens to truly appreciate: Don Solaris
(this one showed up four years after "Gorgeous" came out. Guest vocalists include M. Doughty [Soul Coughing],
Louise Rhodes [Lamb], and James Dean Bradfield [Manic Street Preachers]. The music seems more exotic, more lush.)

There are other 808 State things on eMusic to poke at, plus all sorts of fun ZTT things.
So have fun!


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (DJ-Badtz)


Hey kids!
How would you like a 512meg RCA MP3 player and 180 downloads from eMusic for the amazing low price of $5!?!?!?
I'm always ranting and raving about the cool tunes I find on eMusic.
This is a perfect way for people to poke around the library and see what they can find to their liking.
The 180 downloads break down to 15 downloads a month for 12 months.
So basically, you get to play around with eMusic for a year and download 15 tracks per month. For free.
I think the five bucks more than cover for the price of the itty bitty lil' MP3 player.
This amazing deal can be gotten at a Circuit City.
I normally don't shop there, but Slickdeals.net pointed me towards that deal, and it was too good to pass up.
The deal looks like this on CC's website.
I know the price says $19.99, but believe me, once you go to the store and get it, it will be $5, no tax.
The salesbot applies a little cashier-fu: $19.99 (player) + $53.99 (content) - $68.98 (magic rebate) = $5.
It's amazing! It's astounding! It's unbelievable!
I talked a coworker into going during lunch. I bought one for me and one for the sibling. Coworker bought one.
He kept whinging about the eMusic membership and acted like eMusic SWAT was gonna bust down his door and beat him up good.
What a maroon!! :)

So anyway, if you don't have eMusic now, you get yer 15 downloads a month for a year.
I already have an account, so I didn't know how it would interface with it.
It put my normal account in hibernation and switched me to the 15/month-for-a-year free configuration.
This sorta sucks. I wanted the free 15 piggybacked to my pay 90, but oh well.
Too much to hope for, I guess.

Anyway, move on this soon, because word is getting around and people are buying.
And I'm seeing this popping up on eBay now.


Edit: I just set up the eMusic account for my sibling and they never asked for a credit card!
So if y'all be scared of being billt, don't be. They just want name, address and e-mail.
Go fer it!!


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Plaid)


My living room TV has died.
I had noticed some edge-of-screen wonkiness in the past few days, and I figured it was my S-Video switchbox's doing.
The sibling and I were watching "Alpha Dog" on DVD last night and the picture went wonky at the 20-minute mark.
The image shrank horizontally, wibbled all over the place, then the TV shut itself down and would not come on again.
A Sony 27" Trinitron with then cutting-edge Picture-In-Picture, it was purchased in May 1995 at my local branch of the late
great Montgomery Ward (aka Monkey Ward, aka Scotty Ward [Montgomery "Scotty" Scott Ward]) department store chain of yore.
It was on sale and I still had to empty my pockets for loose change because I had mistimated the sales tax.
("Mistimated", as in "miss-estimated". It's a new word. I just made it up. Thank you, drive through!)
I was accompanied by my roommate of the time period, a disreputable fellow a few of you might have known as "Lycan",
who disappeared a few years ago and whom no one seems to miss. He had to turn out his pockets for spare change too.
We managed to scrounge enough scratch to pay for the TV and get it back to my apartment.
I was planning to get a laserdisc player at the time, so I wanted to be sure to have a decent TV with an S-Video In.
This TV had that plus 2 additional Composite Ins and the aforementioned PiP. And it was a Sony so the colors were gorgeous.
I got a lot of mileage out of that TV. I played all my laserdiscs on it. It was host to both of my PSXs, my Jaguar, my XEGS,
my PS2 (which served as DVD player exclusively for the first 6 months of its life), my LD player, my DVD player, and 2 VCRs.
It was used for cable TV and DirecTV. When my Hi-8 camcorder was working, I used that TV to view my videos.
It was a good TV. I will miss it.
I will not miss its heft though. Sucker weighed a ton and was lacking in the good-places-to-grip-it department.
After it failed last night, I disconnected it and put aside for later disposal.
I substituted my bedroom TV, an ancient 1982 Sony Trinitron 17" unit that survived 3 earthquakes.
The picture quality ain't all that hot but it works and we watched the rest of "Alpha Dog" on it.
It's so old that it doesn't have Composite In, only Coaxial. I have to use the VCR to interface the DVD to it.
So anyway, a new TV must be bought. I'm hoping for a flat screen of some kind, in the 27-32" range, nothing too fancy.
There is no money for such a purchase right now. Hopefully, the Sibling will get what's owed him some time this month.
I know he will be willing to pitch in for a new TV set. :)


eMusic has been adding more Fax Label releases to its library, eventhough I thought they had everything already.
Among the bewildering additions are "The Fires Of Ork 2", which I wasn't even sure existed. "The Fires Of Ork" is a
collaboration between Pete Namlook (owner of the Fax Label and a dedicated ambient artist) and Geir Jensen (most commonly
known under his Biosphere moniker). The former specializes in a sound nicknamed "polar ambient", which has a certain
palpable frostiness and desolation to it (as in, the impression of vast, icy, windy landscapes). It's pretty nifty stuff.
The first "Ork" is one of my mostest favorite Fax release EVAR so I can't wait to download the sequel and enjoy it.
I have to wait until Regeneration Time. I used up all my downloads, and I can't afford any Booster Packs right now.
There also seems to be a "Psychonavigation 5" and an "Outland 5" (both Bill Laswell and Pete Namlook), eventhough I thought
they had stopped at "4". And there's a Tetsu Inoue album I've never heard of, called "Inland". Tetsu Inoue released two of
my mostest favorite Fax albums: "Organic Cloud" and "Electro Harmonix". He always brings good stuff to the table.
As if that wasn't enough, there's also an heretofore unknown to me collaboration between Namlook and Jochem Paap,
aka Dutch techno wonder Speedy-J, called "pp · nmlk" ("paap · namlook" without the vowels).
And rounding out this Fax buffet, we have not one but TWO CD compilations of rare vinyl releases! Dude!

But wait! There's more! eMusic also added two EP reissues of old The Black Dog stuff! In other words, Proto-Plaid!!!
("Virtual" and the impossible-to-find-up-to-this-point "Techno Playtime")
And an old Luke Slater release under the Planetary Assault System moniker (which eMusic misspelled as "Assualt").
I don't know when I'll be able to download it all!

Methinks a certain Squiddle cancelled his subscription prematurely...


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