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Miley’s VMA Wilderness Reflekted

Something a little different today, I wrote this piece and thought I’d share since it builds on from my last post.

The music industry has changed.  That’s old news. It’s in major state of flux and rules and records are being broken and rewritten every week.

This week two rules have been broken. And it’s only Tuesday. One was quite literally smashed apart by a wrecking ball, ridden by a nude Miley Cyrus. Miley’s new video was watched 12.3 million times in just 24 hours – shattering the record held by One Direction (10.7 million).

Although the record proves the constant growth and importance of YouTube– it could hardly be called innovative. You can imagine the big marketing experts of RCA/Sony sitting around the meeting going – I’m thinking, a big wrecking ball and nudity! Boom! We have a YouTube record winner. Soft porn selling is not a new concept.

In more refreshing news, Arcade Fire’s long awaited The Reflektors released its first single on the same day. This may have not received the same one-day hype but certainly may be a more important footmark on the music industry.

The indie rock band from Montreal had been rather quiet since the 2010 release of their Grammy winning The Suburbs. However over the last few months a very extensive campaign has developed which came to a climax yesterday.

It started with rumours that former front man of LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy was producing the album. He added to the fire of anticipation by commenting that the album “is really epic”.

reflektor2

Then came the creation of The Refletkors as a persona – a widespread project across several platforms. First graffiti of a tribal looking logo was sprawled across various cities. Then a website with a video of shiny looking costume and snapshots of the artwork. Followed by an instagram account bearing the same name with more snaps of the graffiti and a YouTube channel with another strange mystical video.  However at this point only rumours linked The Reflektors to Arcade Fire.

But finally on the 26 of August a banner in NYC officially tied the two together bearing the words Arcade Fire 9pm 9/9 above the famous graffiti symbol. Interesting how all the first steps of the campaign were done in physical, tangible forms first. But of course the digital reinforcement followed, with a countdown video preview appearing on an Arcade Fire’s official YouTube channel and some usual tweeting.

Then the explosion that was yesterday – two videos, a secret concert and the preorder for the full album to be released on October 29.

The traditional video portrays the band reunited with their big plaster heads of the Sprawl II video in a black and white fascination with a big disco ball and a man statue made of mirrors. It is directed by Anton Corbjin. In comparison the video only passed the half a million views marker today.

However more interesting is the second video – a Google Chrome Experiment interactive video, that is starting to become a trademark of the group after the success of The Wilderness Downtown (and less breakthrough Neon Bible).

Just like The Wilderness Downtown the video has the user play a fundamental part of the video. Using your phone/tablet to “reflekt” your computer, you use it as a torch to discover the main character’s escape from her wild life in Haiti and your webcam pulls you into hers. The video was filmed by long time collaborator Vincent Morisset and the technology was created by Aaron Koblin.

Koblin’s work and its impact on the future of music videos and the ever-growing partnership between digital and music is rather interesting. Koblin was not only responsible for The Wilderness Downtown but also various other breakthrough interactive videos such as The Johnny Cash Project  and 3 Dreams of Black for Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi, Jack White, and Norah Jones (both done in partnership with Chris Milk – another prominent figure in this field).  Koblin has been featured both on TED talks and the Future of StoryTelling where he discusses the importance of story telling and its role in developing culture. He explores its need to transform in the new age of the digital world so that it can bring culture along with us in a more personalized and interactive manner.

Another interesting angle is the role of Google in all of this. We all remember the days of MTV and music videos being used as a commercial for a song to get people to go out and buy the albums. Google has now made YouTube the advert, the product and the streaming all in one (as well as an ever growing revenue source).

But the Google Chrome projects take it one step further. What are the dynamics of these special projects? Is Arcade Fire licensing the song to Chrome and is Google seeing this as advertising? Is this a showcase for the ability of Chrome as a browser and aimed to capture further market share for interactive and creative projects to follow (whether in partnership or simply hosting)? Or is the band paying Chrome to advertise the song? And in this case why is the call to action less prominent than one might think – where is the big PREORDER NOW button? Or not even an email sign up? And finally is CONTENT creation a future revenue source for Google?

All of this is uncertain, but what is certain is we are watching the Google empire growing over the music industry, day by day, in one shape or form. Oh yes and sex still sells.

 

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This just in: The Strokes album release Comedown Machine

So I just got an email from The Strokes team and it clarifies all the questions from yesterday’s post.
The new album is called Comedown Machine.
It looks like this:

The strokes

And it will be released on the 25th of March in UK and the day after in the US. Of course you can preorder in the band’s store.

Then, One Way Trigger is confirmed to be part of the album but the first single to be released is the rumoured All the Time which should be on radio by valentine’s day (ooooh look at The Strokes getting soppy on us) and for download on the 19th of Feb.

So there’s your breaking news.
For now let’s listen to Julian’s crazy high falsetto again.

Geneva is alive.

Posted on

So last night, walking back home through the streets of Geneva I heard some beautiful piano notes being played.
As some of you remember I am piano enthusiast. So anyways I was determined to figure out where it came from so I followed my ears.
At first I thought it was an apartment, but after a couple of small streets I got lead straight to Bel Air bus stop in the center of Geneva.
A few months ago for Fete de la musique they had installed a piano that said – play me I am yours – they have kept it there.

Anyways these two guys were there – playing the keys out of that piano. Improvising and going mad. Some old lady clapping enthusiastically in the background.
And it was fantastic. You saw the passion of these guys, you saw how much they enjoyed each other’s contribution.
I have no idea if they even knew each other or just found themselves on that piano bench.
You felt the music just pouring out of them and how happy it made them. And that when you realize the power and the beauty that this magical medium can have.
I must have watched for a good 20 minutes awestruck and it only dawned on me a bit late to record it so I could share it with you.
So here is a short snippet so you can share my amazement and appreciation.

So keep an ear out around Bel Air late at night

Blindsided. Re: Stacks. The Grammy’s 2012

Last year the Grammy’s – or more so some people’s response to Arcade Fire’s win at the hardly music related awards – made me really mad (see below). Not because I didn’t know the reality of the Grammy situation (the fact that they value performance theatrics over talent) let alone the continued degradation of commercial music industry. And of course that indie music fans around the world have long ago accepted that the Grammy’s will never put emphasis on their idols. But if we accept the tragedy that is happening/has happened to the music industry – it will never change.

And no I didn’t watch it, but I thought I’d google some ‘highlights’ and do some comparison. And low and behold, the Grammy’s did enough for me to revisit some of the points I had last year. I am not getting as heated this time though. I think I did enough violent swearing last year.

The one wish I had last year was that more/another alternative artist would win the show and people would rejoice. Or at least know who they are. Or even better – go out and have a listen. Well I got half my dream to come true. And his name is Justin Vernon or better known (although hardly it seems) as Bon Iver. If you don’t know him, well you can join the many reporters who messed up his name. Its really hard for me to mentally process the fact that if I was talking about a musician and mentioned the name Justin – I think MANY more people are likely to ask Justin Bieber? Then Justin Vernon? I also am trying to breathe deeply when I found out that Bieber sold over twice the album volumes of Vernon. But I said this would not be a ferociously angry blog so let’s get back to the good news.

The fact that Bon Iver won not just one (Best new artist), but two (Best alternative band) important awards gave me more satisfaction than a creamed honey and butter toast. Bon Iver has been in my top 5 artist for the last 4 years and is part of my bread and butter of listening pleasure.  I even looked past that with this being his second album of his 5 year career – he is hardly ‘new’. But why get caught in the details – pure talent was recognized and this is something to be excited about.

What was even better was the way Justin handled the situation and what he replied. Justin mentioned how he was uncomfortable winning this award and how ‘It’s hard to accept this award because when I started making songs I started for the inherent reward of making songs,” He also thanked and recognized not just the other nominees but more importantly all the non-nominees and people who would never be recognized as nominees.

Vernon also mentioned to Billboard that they turned down the opportunity to play “We wanted to play our music, but were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else,” said Vernon. “We kind of said ‘f*** you’ a little bit, I don’t think they wanted us to play.” What a guy.

Justin echoed and represents everything that I feel about the Grammy’s and the music industry at large. He also had a go at the VMA in an earlier blog saying that they were responsible for the music industry being so little about MUSIC and having lost all soul. If you watch the Britney tribute this year – you can’t help but agree.It’s crazy that we are just use to such bullshit and blahblah crap that we become numb to it. But every now and again, maybe once a year, it’s good to step back, and realize just the gravity of the bullshit environment that we have created and accepted as a reality. The reality is the music industry is shrinking, or at least seriously reconstructing. And this is where we are wasting so much of the money.

And Justin did have many sources of proof for his arguments at the Grammy’s as well. The highlight of this must be Nicki Minaj. The new Lady Gaga wannabe rapper is trying to abuse this the-more-dramatics-the-more-records-I-sell tactics that has become the in-thing these days. I almost feel like I fall in the trap of what she wants to achieve if I talk about it. and even without mentioning the outrageous aspects of her performance or escort I have done it. I have given her free publicity to all of you.  SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK. This is the new strategy of the industry. And frankly it never seizes to amaze me how far people are willing to push it as things become desperate. It is difficult to offend me, and I am openly an atheist, but even I felt slightly uncomfortable seeing what she did.

Nor were we short of social networks helping to remind us just how vast the sea of retarded people with access to the internet does stretch. What did most people blog about after Bon Iver won a MUSIC award? his looks. And of course the people who judge MUSICIAN by what their wear vs how they sound or their music ability AGAIN had the intellect of my remote control. And of course since these people mostly have the mental capacity of a goldfish and the creativity on the same level, the ranges of their biggest insult went from saying that he looks like an English teacher….to a Biology teacher…to a Maths teacher. Wow guys, really keeping it fresh. Considering the repetition I see in songs, lyrics and music videos of the majority commercial music I guess you just follow your idols. There is nothing quite like comments who go along the lines of: what is he doing winning awards when he LOOKS LIKE THAT. The only reason that I am not going on a swearing rant right here is because I am listening to Bon himself, and his calming ability is one which is bewitching beyond anyone I know.

Then another perfect example of retarded comments is this guy.

Comments included was – I never heard of him and I heard of all the other artist and HE WON  – yes cause we all know you are the official knowledge god. And I’m not a big Nicki Minaj fan but I would have to given her to her she is freaking huge on the radio – well yes because the radio is the ultimate teller of talent. And let me not even get back to her performance or that this is a taster of the lyrics of her songs:

“He just gotta give me that look, when he give me that look
Then the panties comin’ off, off, uh”

Shame on you.

Its not even that I am against commercial music as a concept.  I wasn’t angry that Adele stole most of the prizes. She is as commercial as Coca cola but I don’t mind it. She is actually talented and has a voice to be reckon with. Its ok if the nature of her songs are not in my favourite type. I respect as an artist because she ACTS like one. An artist. A musician. And she can sell the most CDs and that is fine with me.

What I don’t want to hear are long arguments for artist/bands that put greater value/time/effort/money on their appearances rather than their music. It’s not that I frown on entertainers. That is a great talent. But really an added bonus for me when I consider who are talented musicians. Their primary goal needs to be to create the highest quality of music that they are capable of. If not, don’t even start with me on the rest. After that you may want to entertain, you may want to make cash but first, and most importantly comes your music. It’s not even like Bon Iver didn’t sell out at all – he has used his music in commercials. If he has the opportunity to make cash from his talent – why not? When you see how much some of the other artist who have no talent make – why shouldn’t the guy with the skills be making some money in the same industry. Its clear that is not his underlying goal.

Lastly Justin states: I come from a place where music growing was an expression, it was a journey for self discovery. I was always a bit hesitative to an industrial approach to music……I don’t think its wrong….Michael was the best, but his success become fuel apart on top of fuel….the whole system is bizzare to me.

And at this point I watch that video. And I say one more time. What a beautifully genuine human being. A guy just being himself. Because he doesn’t need to do more. Because his edge is not his outrageous outfits. His hot body. The hot girls in his video. Because he can not brush his hair and let the music be the driver of why he gains fans and respect. It’s because for him music is a tool to express and feel passion and emotion. And the beauty in his creation is something that I am not talented enough to eloquently express or do justice. But I feel in full force.  And so I leave you with two quotes I love:

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
Victor Hugo

As you can see, I’m not so good at the keeping silence part. So I pick music. And I pick Bon Iver.

Rebellion. Lies. The Grammy's one year ago

Dear Liberation followers,

Last year I started a very short lived blog called Violently Verbose with practically just this entry as its major component. A year later,  I thought I’d share it with you and update on this issue. I hope you enjoy, or at least have a laugh.

In case I offend anyone – I, CM – take full responsibility for it

————————————————————————————-

Warning: rant of the day is about to begin and its going to get violent

Here goes.

Yesterday I was depressed. Ok fine not depressed, just highly irritated.

No kids not because it was Vday (I’m disgustingly quite a fan – yes you can tease me later, but being French/Italian romance is part of my DNA even if its dreadfully and forcefully cliché)

But because of the Grammys.

The Grammys people, the so called best and most important music awards in the world. I don’t know if you watched. I didn’t. I checked out the summary.

I’ve seen it before though, I use to stay up and watch it as a kid. I already loved music back then. I loved really bad music (I may or may not have 3 Backstreet Boys CDs – come on, I was young, vulnerable, they had a singer who looked like a girl and SYNCRONIZED exaggerated emotional moves and sang truth like Show me the meaning…of being lonely – my god what prehormonal girl doesn’t not fall for that. The fact that 3 out of 5 members had to grow dodgy facial hair to gain credibility should have been a sign but I just didn’t see it.

Anyways so I know what I am dealing with, what I am up against. Commercially crap music wins at the Grammys. I know this. I am prepared for it. And also I went through the phase. I mean at I’m- so-confused-14-year old, and I-desperately-want-to- be-cool-but-fail-hopelessly-16-year old, I was into all that fashionable hip hop. I had a Destiny Child album. Thought that Alicia Keys understood me because she played piano like I dreamed and spoke about being a caged bird. I use to think Black Eyes peas were super cool. I get it. I get why there needs to be different genres out there. I don’t like it anymore. But I can appreciate different genres.I have accepted crappy commercial music as a reality. I get that 30h!3 (seriously people the name?) will get stuck in your head and you will laugh at their music videos

But nothing prepared me for this.

 Song of the year: Lady Antebellum

My first shock was, who the F*&^^%& is Lady Antebellum. So of course I googled it and the relief of knowing who it was lasted 0.000000042 seconds only to be replaced with the absolute need to VOMIT as realization hit me as to what this was.

This is the song!

This is the shit song that won song of the year. Give me Mr Grammy’s number. I’m calling him right now. F*ck it give me his address. This needs to be dealt with.

Now I warn you before I post you the link that all happiness may drain out of you if you listen to this but here it is:

Lady Antebellum – Need you now

That’s right people. We all know it. It was forced on all of us through the shit that is played on the radio. I mean I fully am against the fact that I actually know this song. That I have heard it several times. That I know the chorus.

First of all its country music – if there is one genre that I think could leave this earth and leave it a better place its country music. Taylor Swift go die. Faith hill please join her. But let me try look past this. It’s shit even on country music levels. If you know what I mean. Its just shit full stop.

This! This wins song of the year. I mean I always knew it was going to be a pathetically cliché commercial stuff. But this I was not ready for. Give me Eminem. Give me Rihanna. Give me Jay Z. for crying a fucking hay and horse bucket.

But not this. What does this song have? Good instrumental – no ways. A catchy tune – if by catchy you mean I want to jump off a building and hope nothing catches me on the way down – then yes possibly. Great lyrics – again refer to the VOMIT comment. A good voice – no. no. no. no.

What the hell is it doing winning song of the year. And why did no one prepare me for the degradation of people’s music taste. Do you realize that that video alone was watched 17 billion times. BILLION. There is another one that has been watched 14 billion times. That’s 31 billion times just the two main video clips on youtube (there are plenty more with a ridiculous amount of viewers). I’ve watched it now, (well partly I can’t bare to listen to the whole thing without being violently ill), you’ve all watched it (I apologize deeply and have no idea how to make it up to you).

Why is this crap being spread? Spread and loved?!

I accepted that people mistake their appreciation of what music can do/be and transpose it onto anything on the radio that is easy to listen to. They don’t take the time to develop their own taste. To search for themselves what they like and they don’t like and what there is out there. I have accepted this. People have different interests – music can’t be a priority for everyone. I don’t know anything about sports. I don’t read as much as I should. I don’t judge people who love commercial music (except if they love Nickelback – top 5 artist who should die and their music be erased from history. Of course now with Lady Antebellum at number 1).

We were once teasing a friend for reading shitty girly romance books. And another friend said, you know what we are wrong, we shouldn’t be judging that. At least she invests into reading, and she likes it. And that’s what matters. Reading shouldn’t ever be a bad thing. I guess it should be the same about music.

What should matter is that you are passionate about music. Not the genre. And most of the time I really try stick to this…

But everyone should have enough scrapped up gathering of common sense to listen to that and say this is shit.

But moving on.

Then something good happens.

Arcade Fire – the Suburbs – wins album of the year. And I go: Fuck that is great. An indie band winning. Seriously. A highly talented indie alternative band winning.

Most people ask me what music I like – I say Indie – and pull that face where they don’t have a clue what that is and they have no idea how to rightfully react. And then Indie wins. And I think that’s incredible. In fact this may even make me forget the above vomit inflicted pain because I am so happy. I set aside that they would never be my pick (High Violet by the National, Mines by Menomena, Go by Jonsi, Sun by Caribou just to name albums from last year on the top of my head). That this is not even their best album. And I think wow what a recovery.

But then I see this on my friends fb and I just want to punch someone in the face

Lack of valid opinion write your name down here

you know what, stuff all you ignorant people. You haven’t heard a song, you haven’t taken the time to look outside of you’re here-you-go-like-this-music now world (this is the food you must eat and the toilet paper to wipe your predictable ass with once you are done) and YOU are going what the hell. I don’t know this music, I haven’t heard it in my car on my shitty radio so it must be bad. I am the centre of the universe so if I don’t know it how can it be good.

Most of the comments aren’t – I listened to it and it was shit – what is going on. It was I don’t know them so it must be shit. WHAT FREAKING IGNORANT ARROGANCE. You twats. They rather have an excuse of an artist like Katy Perry (also known as biggest sell out easy win option in the world – use every cliché guy’s fantasy of two hot girls kissing to crack the music industry – please go all the way and become a porn star rather! Leave music to the talented)

Their comment is that they are ugly. Well f*ck you. Yes they are not the most beautiful people. But they are cutely nerdy, quirky and original. Sincere. God what is that word in the commercial music industry. Sincerity. Versus the vomit your food to stay skinny, cover yourself in bling, wear sunglasses at all times, convince every one that you are having SO much fun in the club at all times, cover as little as possible, or make sure you have as many women wearing as little as possible around you alternative.

My my, some real people. Some people that you can actually relate to, and that you don’t have to change yourself into some messed up retard to feel connected to. How messed up as that.

Lady gaga came in an egg. A fucking egg. WHAT ON EARTH PEOPLE. And we think this is cool. She wins loads of attention by doing this. She makes all kinds headlines. SHE SELLS RECORDS. Why? Cause she acts like a retard. She spends god knows how much on the most ridiculous outfits (she once rocked up in a dress made entirely of uncooked meat – meat people – meat- as in chopped up bloody pieces of animal – and this was somehow cool – what the hell is this going to). I mean at least be cliché and spend it on some help the world, save small African kids program and make a video about how generous you are.

I’m not saying that I haven’t danced to one of her songs in a club and had fun, I’m saying don’t you dare insult real people who concentrate on making really good music and and not their pathetic fake look instead.

Because these days if a group of sweet original nerds (I love nerds) rock up on stage and are GENUINELY themselves. Genuinely happy. Then who are these freaks? Isn’t being genuine the most important thing in life? Actually just being yourself and being proud of it. Isn’t that what we should be encouraging. They will probably take the cash and invest it on making better music. You see they can actually play instruments – remember what those are.

They existed back in the day when musical talent counted. When what music you made mattered over what you look like.

The reason Arcade Fire did so well is that they cleverly commercialized themselves launching this cool music video on google chrome (the wilderness downtown– coolest most interactive video in the world to date. Hands down. ).

They promoted their music by making you feel something emotional about something personal to you (your home town). THAT’S WHAT MUSIC SHOUD BE ABOUT. Great talent and a personal, real, genuine connection. Not people making crap music and selling it by pretending they are super cool.

So what do you do? What can you do? You write a violent rant and hope one person will read it. Maybe 5. Maybe 10. Maybe 100. Maybe even get 31 billion views (hey if the crap that is Lady Antebellum can do it competition doesnt seem to be tough). And they will think, wow maybe I should not just listen to what is on the radio. Maybe I should try out these talented bands that spend more time in the music studios than in the gym.

And maybe next Grammy’s indie will win song of the day too. And more people will rejoince in it.

Just maybe.

WIN 2 TICKETS to James Vincent McMorrow for TONIGHT

All you need to do is post a cool jam on the Liberation Facebook wall ,

I’ll send the owner of the coolest song the tickets via private message (facebook mesage or send me your email address) in a few hours.

Get posting now.

Who? James Vincent McMorrow

Where? Place du Temple, Carouge

When? Today 2 February

Why? Cause we are indie like that