Warning: include_once(/home/surtees/designnotes.info/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-support/wordpress-support.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/surtees/designnotes.info/wp-settings.php on line 306
Warning: include_once(): Failed opening '/home/surtees/designnotes.info/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-support/wordpress-support.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/lib/php:/usr/local/php5/lib/pear') in /home/surtees/designnotes.info/wp-settings.php on line 306 Muzak – Page 2 – DesignNotes by Michael Surtees
At the point in the reblogging game if a tech savy band band puts out a video, why not make it easy to share, send or embed? As much as I’m a fan of REM’s new video from Crush called Man-Sized Wreath I’m scratching my head for a flawed strategy to distribute the video. I can only see it on their respective sites – this isn’t 2001 anymore.
In any case – the video is a very satisfying visual watch. I’ve never played the role of motion designer but can still appreciate some of the details w/ out getting lost in the quick transitions or spinning things that usually accompany “flashy” videos. I also appreciated the fact that REM didn’t feel like they needed to be in every shot so they allowed designers to create a story. I’d recommend reading the video notes explaining the concept at http://glossyinc.com/remmswinfo.html.
By the end of the week I’m always curious to see how my Link Drop is going to shape up w/ telling me what I found interesting. This week there was a combo of culture between photography, radio, music, architecture, advertising and some stuff that would fall into the category of misc. A lot of it was forward thinking – like what’s next. It’s kind of obvious that there’s a shake up going on and those that have a pov are trying to shape the next stage.
– Michael Surtees
Future of Making Map [The Institute For The Future]
EXCERPT: “Two future forces, one mostly social, one mostly technological, are intersecting to transform how goods, services, and experiences—the “stuff” of our world—will be designed, manufactured, and distributed over the next decade. An emerging do-it-yourself culture of “makers” is boldly voiding warranties to tweak, hack, and customize the products they buy. And what they can’t purchase, they build from scratch. Meanwhile, flexible manufacturing technologies on the horizon will change fabrication from massive and centralized to lightweight and ad hoc. These trends sit atop a platform of grassroots economics—new market structures developing online that embody a shift from stores and sales to communities and connections.”
The Coalition for Daring Behaviour
EXCERPT: “Launched in January 2008, The Coalition for Daring Behaviour is an on-line artist project that strives to facilitate a global exchange of dares, double dares, and possibly triple dog dares. An ever-expanding network of international artists/daredevils, the CFBD promotes creative collaborations of a spontaneous, non-traditional and, most importantly, daring nature.”
Prototype Packaging using Photoshop Smart Objects [creativetechs]
EXCERPT: “Are you working on a product packaging job? Here’s a way to combine digital product photography with Adobe Photoshop Smart Objects in CS2 or CS3 to create quick virtual prototypes. The process is fairly easy once you understand the technique, and can be used for some pretty remarkable results.”
On the death of BPP [gravity medium]
EXCERPT: “Well, the Bryant Park Project has less than a month left. Literally. Was it too beautiful to live, perhaps? Hardly. I mean, can anyone really feign shock that well? Let’s recount the strikes against this endeavor:”
The Facebooker Who Friended Obama [NYT]
EXCERPT: “Last November, Mark Penn, then the chief strategist for Hillary Rodham Clinton, derisively said Barack Obama’s supporters “look like Facebook.” Chris Hughes takes that as a compliment. Mr. Hughes, 24, was one of four founders of Facebook. In early 2007, he left the company to work in Chicago on Senator Obama’s new-media campaign.”
I Was A Mad Man Design Observer
EXCERPT: “In the winter of 1976, while still a student, I worked lunches at a Greek restaurant on Madison Avenue in New York City. Three or four days a week, a well-dressed gentleman in his 50s would come to lunch — strangely alone — and sit at the bar and order a martini. (And ultimately two more, but never three.) He managed to read the Wall Street Journal and eat a little lunch. I was his waiter and his bartender.”
Secrets of book publishing I wish I had known [Good Experience]
EXCERPT: “Following up on these overviews of the book industry, I thought I’d share some lessons I learned from publishing Bit Literacy. I originally tried to go through mainstream publishers but eventually self-published it, because of what I learned in the process. I wish I had known everything below before I wrote my book.”
EXCERPT: “Because laptops are increasingly popular, and desktops are becoming smaller and more portable, computer theft has reached huge proportions worldwide: there were about 600,000 laptops stolen in the USA in the year 2004. According to a recent FBI report, 97% of all stolen computers are never recovered. Many people we know have had their Macs stolen, often in ‘safe’ situations. That’s why we developed Undercover: a unique theft-recovery application designed from the ground up for Mac OS X.”
NPR cancel Bryant Park Project – Can a hybrid work? [fast forward blog]
EXCERPT: “It was announced this weekend that NPR will have to cancel their new News program The Bryant Park Project for cost reasons. The NYT story is here. The BPP site with comments on the closing of the show is here. You can see that I was not the only fan nor am I the only one who is upset!”
Ignite NYC: Soldering, Guerilla Knitting, & Bomb Shelters [radar oreilly]
EXCERPT: “The first Ignite NYC is going to happen 7/29 at M1-5. We are going to feature 16 speakers. Each speaker will get 20 slides that auto-advance after 15 seconds for a total of five-minutes. Ignite is free and open to the public — you’re on your own for drinks. We’re also going to be joined by Ignite co-creator, Bre Pettis. Bre is going to lead us in a creative soldering contest. RSVP at Upcoming or Facebook to let us know you are coming.”
Barbarian Group Adds Strategist [adweek]
EXCERPT: “The Barbarian Group is beefing up its strategic offering by adding Noah Brier from Naked Communications.”
Coffee shop chalkboard signs [cellar door]
EXCERPT: “In the past several months, I have been taking photos of chalkboard signs outside of coffee shops. Very specifically: Sweet Farm and El Beit in Williamsburg. These two shops started out being next to each other, and I wasn’t sure how each one would do, competition-wise.”
EXCERPT: “A visual listing of redesigns, design refreshes/updates, and overhauls.”
Sandra’s Sources | Leffot [NYT]
EXCERPT: “Steven Taffel, a self-proclaimed shoe hound, was tired of having to hoof it all the way uptown for quality footwear, so he decided to open the ultimate boot-ique in the heart of the West Village. The tightly curated selection includes labels like Edward Green, Pierre Corthay, Artioli, Aubercy and Gaziano & Girling, a young English cobbler.”
Three Glimpses of Photography’s Future [pop photo]
EXCERPT: “By now I’m guessing that most people who read blogs (or email) have read Vincent Laforet’s insightful, tough-love opus at Sports Shooter about the state of photography today (and tomorrow), The Cloud is Falling. It’s a long piece, so there’s a chance you might not have gotten to this late paragraph:”
Shake it Like a Metaphorical Picture [Jason Santa Maria]
EXCERPT: “Sometime next year, Polaroid will stop producing instant film. There have been lots of people jumping in to help save the format, and others writing some striking eulogies, as the rest of us start mourning the oncoming loss. But one thing I can’t quite shake is what Polaroid represents to me, something that will likely be on its way out the door too: the visual metaphor of a photograph.”
Lil Wayne: prince of the gift economy [This Blog Sits at the: Culture By]
EXCERPT: “Since his last LP, Lil Wayne has been working the gift economy. In the words of Jonah Weiner, [T]he New Orleans MC struck upon a music-distribution model so radical it made Radiohead look like Thomas Edison shipping wax cylinders by Pony Express. Step 1: Rap about whatever pops into your head, over any beat you please–copyright laws be damned. Step 2: Flood the Internet with material, compiled on mix tapes or leaked a la carte. Step 3: Say yes to anyone who invites you to guest star on a track (anyone: meaning Enrique Iglesias and Gym Class Heroes). Step 4: Repeat at an inhuman clip, not merely keeping pace with the relentless blog cycle–in which MP3s ping from studios to iPods to trash cans in a matter of days, but leaving the blog cycle face down on the racetrack, turf in its teeth, gasping for air.”
NYC Window Display Series continues… [Copyranter]
EXCERPT” “Last time, years ago, I went inside The Apartment at 101 Crosby St., they were an offbeat furniture store. But now, apparently, they offer “fully integrated branding, marketing, architecture, and interior design services.” Here, in their ever-changing window display, they present six people (employees?) artfully faking taking a dump.”
Re-purposing and mashups have been going on for a very long time, though I think there’s a subtle yet significant shift with what content creators are opening up for others to work with. The latest video from Radiohead is a perfect example of this idea of letting others mess with digital content. While pretty complicated, you can download all the data to create your own video. For those that don’t have engineering degrees in computer science, you can still get the sensation of moving Thom Yorke’s head as he signs. Below are a couple links to various sites that go more in depth with how the video was conceived. Aside from the ability to scratch the digital content, the tech. behind the actual video is quite amazing which allows for some realistic yet jarring images of a singing head.
I have no love for muxtape anymore then I don’t have any strong feelings for mixwit or even hypemachine. But what those three music services have provided is an easy way to opt out of internet radio. Since a couple people here on DesignNotes mentioned muxtape I can honestly say I have not once turned on the internet dial to listen to programmed music. I’ve been interested in the random pics of people that I don’t know. It would be interesting to see if online stations as a whole took a bit of a listening dive since muxtape or if I’m just an anomaly and if I’m not how will radio get me back to being interested.
Since I’ve already tried mixwit for music and a couple people mentioned muxtape I thought it would be interesting to try that creating a mix from that site too. http://muxtape.com makes you upload your own mp3s while mixwit allows you to surf for music you don’t have. Since this music had to come from my own stuff I thought about it a bit more carefully. You can listen to my combo at http://michaelsurtees.muxtape.com/
Aside from those that listen to music via vinyl almost all other forms of music are consumed digitally. There’s the argument that album art ain’t what it used to be and is less iconic then it once was. However as I started listening to two mixed sets consisting of Amplive’s collection of In Rainbows remixes at
GorillaVsBear and Thank You Jay Dee, Act 3 at Stones Throw Records I noticed a couple things. Both sets were not by the original artists yet they were able to take enough of the recognizable visuals that they created a visual understanding. The in Rainbows was in context to the album it was mixing while the Simpsons parody was just that. These are just two album covers that caught my attention, I’m sure there’s a ton out there that I just haven’t come across yet. I guess there is still some memorable work that isn’t just of a band’s photo…
The great thing about year end lists in music is that chances are you’ll find something that you missed through out the year. The album that I found (or so I think as I’ve only been able to hear one or two songs from) was Roisin Murphy’s Overpowered that I found via Refinery29. Too bad it’s an import that I haven’t been able to find yet. But I digress, the other thing about music lists is that there’s a lot of them out there. So to make my list more interesting to myself I decided to see what the patterns of my choices would show me. I decided a 2 x 2 grid would give me some options to visualize my listening habits via time and two sources that I used a lot through out the year. This was the year that I started to get tired of KEXP’s playlist and started listening a lot more to a station in Minnesota (of all places). Maybe my tastes are mellowing a bit, but I really like listening to Minnesota Public Radio’s the Current. I also like listening to the NYT Music Popcast, I knew that there was a number of albums that I bought after their reviews. So I was interested in how everything over the year would compare.
1. The National: Boxer
As the saying goes, “those who like it, like it a lot”.
2. M.I.A.: Kala
Posters do work, I had no idea that M.I.A. had a new album out until I saw this poster on a wall. Curious I went to iTunes, listened to some of the tracks – liked what I heard and thought that the visuals corresponded pretty well with the music. When was the last time both music and visuals were on the same path?
3. Panda Bear: Person Pitch
Don’t buy this album from your iPhone – I did and it took three days. I suspect that the file sizes (on average 15 mb) had something to do with it. Tech issues aside this album is different like M.I.A.’s but in an acoustic way.
4A. Cam’ron: Public Enemy # 1 Part 1
4B. Cam’ron: Public Enemy # 1 Part 2
This was the only free as in really free album on the list – download a copy at www.mixtapemonster.com/mixtapes/killacam/step1.php Yes it’s a hip hop album, but I felt listening to this guy that he had something to say as opposed to bragging about talking. There’s a underlying tension that makes the album sound like he would would rather get something out the door rushed/unpolished as opposed to never getting the album out, and for this double album lends to making it sound authentic.
5. Feist: The Reminder
I truly wished that Feist wasn’t featured on an Apple commercial though ironically as many times as I’ve heard that song on tv I rarely skip over it when I’m listening to it through my headphones. You probably have the album too so you know why it’s on most people’s top music lists.
6. Dinosaur Jr: Beyond
When my friend Chet passed on this album to me I would have been surprised at the time to hear that I would have it on my top music list at the end of the year. The thing is/was, I almost always never skip on song from this album when it comes on. Go figure…
7. The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
I’m surprised that this album hasn’t been featured on more of people’s lists, though the trend it seems that albums released in the second half of the year have a better chance b/c they’re still on people’s minds. Neon Bible was out in January I think, perfect timing for a tour, just not for a list. But each song is pretty strong – kind of sad I missed them live.
8. Maps: We Can Create
A consistent moody album.
9. Chromeo: Fancy Footwork
Very fancy indeed – a nice album to listen to if you’re feeling bit down b/c I doubt you’ll be in that mood when you’re done hearing it.
10. Sea Wolf: Leaves In the River
I’m still undecided if I’ll like this album a year from now, but for the time being it’s got a good vibe.
11. Alicia Keys: As I Am
This is probably not an album that I would go out of my way to tell people to buy, but it’s very tight as a package. Every element has been considered and considered very well.
12. Pela: Anytown Graffiti
Nice but not great album, maybe trying to hard.
13. Lupe Fiasco: Lupe Fiasco’s the Cool
The biggest difference between this album and Cam’ron’s is that this feels like a hip hop studio album vs a guy that’s pissed off enough that he’s got some stuff to get of his chest. Both are appropriate, but it also looses something when you have too many people telling you what to do which is what this album starts to feel like.
14. Justice: Cross
I don’t think there’s a better album to power walk to with in NYC in small doses. After a while it feels repetitive and predictable.
15. Peter Bjorn And John: Writer’s Block
There’s nothing really bad about this album though it seems like half the album has been featured in tv commercials. The difference between Feist and them, I didn’t want to hear the song after I saw it pushing something.
16. VHS Or BETA: Bring On the Comets
This another album that I’m not sure if I’m going to like a year from now.
17. Project Pat: Walkin’ Bank Roll
This is the only album on iTunes that you can buy through singles only – I hope more artists don’t start doing this cause it gets expensive. I like the rawness of the flow through out.
18. Radiohead: In Rainbows
I seriously hate the hype that Radiohead is getting for their business model so this album almost automatically gets thrown to the bottom of my list. I also noticed that I rarely listened to an entire track.
19. Architecture In Helsinki: Places Like This
I’m not sure why this is so far down on my list.
20. Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
I don’t listen to this album a lot, though I suspect if I did I would have placed it higher on the list.
I just finished listening to Act One of an old but now new episode of This American Life titled Crispy with the Rock. The story of two amateurs meeting the pros. One is a teenager in New Jersey; the other, our reporter. Joel Lovell visits 19-year-old Luis Da Silva, one of the stars of a popular series of Nike commercials featuring professional and amateur basketball players doing dribbling tricks. Luis didn’t even start for his high school basketball team. (17 minutes)
Above is the extended two and a half minute commercial from Nike Basketball. The video in itself is blog worthy though getting some of the background story makes it better. I’m not even a basketball fan, but I’d recommend watching the video once, listen to the podcast at http://thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=192 and then play the video again, but this time just listen to the sound and not the visuals – it’s music.
Of all the music in the world, the ice cream truck music is so distinct yet if you asked someone to hum it – they probably couldn’t. I have no idea why that is but one artist has created an album called Songs for Ice Cream Trucks. It’s a playful site that samples most of the songs with themes of cold goodness. On hot summer days a little coolness helps everyone. Taste test it yourself at www.songsforicecreamtrucks.com
Usually when a blog goes quiet, lots of things are happening outside the blogosphere. That’s been the case here for a couple days. I just got a really great book in the mail from Princeton Architectural Press that I’ll hopefully get time to talk about before the end of the week.
Over at the CR Blog, they’ve grab a lot of great muzak videos. I’ve stolen three from them to post here. For background info on each of the clips, visit the CR Blog. The first two video’s are dedicated to Tiny Terror who floats around Renegade. The third video is extremely addicting both to listen to and watch.
If you’re on a mac and are familiar w/ the Hype Machine, Peel is a great app. for you. The interface is very similar to iTunes and plays the muzak files from your favourite blogs. If you like the song, there’s the ability to download it. What is nice about Peel is that you can skim a lot of muzak faster than if you used the player from Hype (and downloading is quicker since you don’t have to go to the site too). If there’s a drawback, it’s that you need to know which blogs have the muzak and enter the url once. Since I’ve only been using Peel for a day, there’s a lot of going back and fourth w/ Hype to figure out which blogs to add.
When you decide what album is your top pick of the year, do you recall how many times you listened to it in a row. Five, ten, twenty, fifty times in a row? I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible today, but it’s going to be hard for this to get knocked off the top spot for me. Until the album is released check out the album site at neonbible.com.
One of my fav. radio stations is doing one of my fav. things today. KEXP’s Top 90.3 Albums of 2006 (Listener Voted) starts in a couple minutes (11 am EST./ 8 am in Seatttle). You can listen on in at their website. There’s also a breakdown of lists from the eclectic set of dj’s at DJ Top 10. In the case that you miss the entire set, they have everything archived – so there’s plenty of opportunity to hear some great muzak that you might not be familiar with.
Over at notebookism (btw a great blog on everything notebook’ish) they have a link showing inside scan’s from Leonard Cohen’s notebook. Each of the the pages have lyrics on it. For the pages that are hard to read, you can click on the page and a pop up screen appears with the text typed. Read it for yourself at www.webheights.net/10newsongs/alex.htm
Honourable mentions; Supergrass : Supergrass, The Streets : The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, Herbert : Scale, Yo La Tengo : I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, The Roots : Game Theory, Paolo Nutini : These Streets, Brazilian Girls : Talk to la Bomb, TV On the Radio : Return to Cookie Mountain
This is unoffically Sweden appreciation month here on my blog. Alexandra who happens to be from Sweden passed me on this commercial for Apoteket. What’s beautiful is that it works in any language. You can watch the video at http://media.resume.se/resPlayer.aspx?type=1&id=196
Friday was quite the day of new music flowing into my computer. After picking the brain’s of my work-mate who sits beside me and happens to find the most interesting party’s in Brooklyn and bounces doors due to her height, she dropped a lot of stuff for me to talk about. And then there’s Chet from Edmonton who never fails to tell me about new stuff that is impossible to actually buy, but can be found with a little skill. And finally there’s BBC Radio One’s playlist. I visit that site every couple of months to see what’s eventually going to be playing pop wise here.
Chet’s recommendation is Girl Talk’s Night Ripper. There are girls on the album, but not really talking the way you’d think. Night ripper is one of those albums that mixes a lot of stuff you’ve heard before, but with an updated beat and intensity. If you Search for Girl Talk at the Hype Machine you won’t be disappointed. And just to be fair, there’s a lot of guys talking on the album too.
Alexandra’s choice for me after I asked her for some good muzak was Van She. Again a search on Hype Machine will give you an overview of what it is. There’s some serious digital base beats going on. The perfect option for working out to.
My great find from BBC Radio One was Paolo Nutini’s These Streets. Mellow and refined, this is something special. It gives me the same feeling that I got when I discovered Paul Weller for the first time with his album Wild Wood back in college.
Here are some of the albums that could potentially be in my top 10 at the end of the year. The one album you should take special attention to is Lily Allen: Alright, Still.
Band of Horses: Everything All the Time Gomez: How We Operate Herbert: Scale Kasabian: Empire Keane: Under the Iron Sea Lily Allen: Alright, Still The Long Winters: Putting The Days To Bed The Roots: Game Theory TV On the Radio: Return to Cookie Mountain Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Show Your Bones Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Here’s two new albums to check out if you’re getting tired of the same old thing. First one to explore is Band of Horses, a fairly mellow upbeat first album. I don’t know much of the band or it’s history, but I do know what I like. The second is a jazz album from the Tomasz Stanko Quartet . The perfect soundtrack for walking around galleries in Chelsea on a Saturday afternoon. More to come, but I got to run out for a session with my trainer.
(no that is not me, nor my photo, it came from CBC) (Photo by Lauren Burrows)
Aside from three days, I’ve been hanging in NYC by myself as Tamara finishes off a magazine back in Edmonton. As happy as I am to have left Edmonton, there’s still a level of comfort that is missing when A. you move countries, B. you move to a much larger city, 3. start a new career. But what has eased the transition is a bunch of music from Canada. First there’s CBC Radio 3 which has a great podcast. Over Christmas I really got into listening to the back library of shows, but might have gone overkill as I slowed down on listening to it over the spring and summer. Now I’m back full throttle with listening to it. Check it out HERE.
The second comfort music feeling comes from Radio Sonic in Edmonton. The station is just over a year old and isn’t nearly as good as it’s beginnings, but it still reminds me of the drive into work with Tamara. I’ve never been one for radio chatter in the morning, but Garner Andrews always brought a laugh to me, well almost – he went on for what seemed like weeks about a concept called “man land”. What is ironic is that the last week I was in Edmonton, Garner took the week off, and it seems like he’s been away again the first couple days of this week, so I’ve yet to hear him for quite a while.
While I’m not totally surprised about feeling slightly nostalgic for Canadian music, what has surprised me is how much easier it’s making the transition for me. It’s sort of like hearing a song that you’ve got some emotional attachment to, yet it’s a constant feeling when your hearing the same pattern of music over from a station.