April 21st, 2008

The sun and the poems

No words

Experimental Typography

Added: seem their website is a bit overloaded. Above picture doesn’t load either. Try later pls.

April 21st, 2008

The cantatas

First: Go here and hit play or choose one of the other formats just under the flash player, see if you can get the audio streaming. If so, great, and leave me a comment please. I sometimes cannot get streams running due to rights restrictions. If it does not work, you’re in bad, bad luck. Do not read on. Thank you.

Ok, so you made it. Next Friday, April 25th. 8 PM (or 20:00 as we call it) Central European Time, 11 AM Pacific time, 10 AM Alaskan time (AKDT), 2 PM Eastern Daylight time (EDT) and whatever else you can figure time wise. Start that stream. Sit back. Just take my word for it. Really. Enjoy.

January 3rd, 2008

The brain and music revisited

I am reading this book. On music and blindness (partly my “reverse” translation)

(…) One of the most beautiful is Jacques Lusseyran autobiography, a French writer and WWII resistance-hero who was very musically gifted and played Cello as a boy, even before at age 7 he became blind. In his memoires “Et la lumière fut” (And then there was light), he stresses how important music is for him, even more after he lost his vision:

The first concert hall I ever entered, when I was eight years old, meant more to me in itself alone in the space of a minute than all the fabled kingdoms. (…) Going into the hall was the first step in a love story. The tuning of the instruments was my engagement. (…) I wept with gratitude every time the orchestra began to sing. A world of sounds for a blind man, what sudden grace! (…) For a blind person music is nourishment. (…) He needs to receive it, to have it administered at intervals like food. (…) Music is made for blind people.

Oh my!

December 29th, 2007

The arrangement of Bach

Bach (pronunciation) wrote his Choral for organ BWV659, Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland. A rather nice interpretation is on youtube. Never mind the boring video, it is a audition for the Geneva conservatoire, so fiddling with a camera would probably NOT be a good idea.

Then, more than a century after Bach’s death Italian composer Busoni came along. He (oh blasphemy) arranged quite a few pieces of Bach for piano. Remember that in Bach’s time, the harpsicord and organ, both non-dynamic instruments, meaning, impossible to change the volume by the way of playing, were the prevalent keyboard instruments and only late in his life, the Silbermann piano, predecessor of the modern piano, gained ground. Here is late Vladimir Horowitz romantic interpretation, played in his own home. It’s a cut out from a 1.5 hours documentary.

But I prefer the straight audio, here played by the then only 17 year old Joseph Kingma. Here is the beautiful score from the same website.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I love this, listen to it every day, a soul connection.

December 29th, 2007

The dancing house

A nice international connection. In Praha (Prague), Dutch bank ING, always strong in building very strong architectural buildings (see here and here) had Canadian and a Croatian-Czech architect build “The dancing house”, depicting Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

The dancing house

Image by wikipedia. More info here and here. Thanks Arrakeen.

November 18th, 2007

The gravel in pocket revisited

Kinda fun to have a new online library. Ran into some oldies with fantastic riffs and played ‘m REALLY loud, yee-haw. Like what? How about Toto-Roseanna, or Carly Simon-Nobody does it better, or Earth, Wind & Fire-Got To Get You Into My Life. Oh man, this is fun.

Disclaimer: No I do not buy RIAA label music anymore.

November 10th, 2007

The brain and music

An audio interview with my favorite Oliver Sacks, about his new book musicophilia. Four short video’s on that Amazon link too.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Great! (from Science friday)

November 9th, 2007

The gravel in pocket

A while ago I got a link to apply for one of 25 new media players on the market. It’s from the resurrected Commodore and called a Gravel in Pocket. While I never win anything, this time I did, yeah! Here is an initial review.

The device comes nicely packaged, in charcoal-black. Included are a carrying case, neck band, earbuds, USB cable, driver CD and a charger. The charger has a USB connector only, so it charges through it’s USB connector. It;s basically a 2.8 inch screen with a index-finger “mouse” (like the joysticks Toshiba and IBM laptops had) in the back. Registration was a royal pain and it won’t run, even offline, without registration which I consider a no-buy. It’s a nice media player, playing audio and video, with a focus on Microsoft formats. A short pro-con-annoyance list, I will try to update once I have used it more.

Pros:

  • high coolness-factor (really);
  • crisp video, great audio;
  • nice user interface hardware;
  • great concept to stream over wireless; this is the future;
  • SD card slot for extra memory (works better for me than USB, SD shoves straight into my laptop).

Cons (software, software, software!):

  • crashed on me three times in one day. Screen blanks, end. A reset brings it back to life, including settings;
  • either heavily underpowered, or the firmware is poorly written. The user-interface is sluggish, taking a second to pause and multiple seconds to generate a table of contents;
  • flaky video player: the well known flight 405 video (mpg) played heavily flashing, Divx-in-avi “Shakespeare in Love” did only play audio. A heavily compressed Diana krall clip in .asf format played nicely;
  • bumpy or non working audio stream; I think this is more a problem of the chosen content providers. I don’t know if the streams are played through commodore;
  • no way to add streams *I* like;
  • can only upload photo’s and video’s (no audio) to a online “locker”. This really feels like shitty RIAA fear;
  • no uploading from the device (only from a PC) or sharing between devices;
  • audio out output is sunk in the device. Any normal 3.5mm plug won’t sink in deep enough. This is minor but so annoying. If the earbuds break (they do, really), one has to look very carefully at the width of the plug or they won’t work.

All in all I like it, but I would suggest Commodore to minimally make the following changes:

  • improve firmware quality, speed and add codecs;
  • stop forceful registration. It’s is a serious no-no. I would have returned it unused if I had payed for it;
  • add functionality to upload audio and to add streams. Stop even trying to preselect streams.
July 28th, 2007

The untamed world

Absolutely stunning. I want the book.

Untamed

June 30th, 2007

The music from Prince

It’s really not “my music”, but at least he understands the consumer. I don’t think I can write this better than Ben Poole:

I especially like this quote from the Entertainment Retailers Association:

The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.

Prince (note to the ERA: that’s his name. He hasn’t been “The Artist…” for many years, since his record company protest finished) has been selling material on-line very successfully for several years. What makes the music industry think he gives a fig about record stores? They’re dying because they’re being undercut by other companies and music outlets. He who does not evolve, dies.

Read more: BBC news: Anger at Prince free CD giveaway.