April 28, 2011

Obituary: The man who gave the world CDs

Michiyo Nakamoto:

Norio Ohga, who was instrumental in bringing the world the compact disc and the PlayStation and is credited with building Sony into a global electronics and entertainment group, has died of organ failure aged 81.

"It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony's evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and games, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san's foresight and vision," Howard Stringer, Sony's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

"By redefining Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, Ohga-san succeeded where other Japanese companies failed," Mr Stringer said.

A musician by training, who was a close friend of Austrian conductor, Herbert von Karayan, Mr Ohga led Sony during perhaps its most successful years, as president from 1982 until 1995, when the Japanese electronics maker became one of the most admired companies in the world.

It was under Mr Ohga that the name Sony came to symbolise Japanese manufacturing excellence and to define what was "cool" in the world of electronics - an image encapsulated in the catchphrase, "It's a Sony."

Posted by jez at 1:18 AM

April 2, 2011

Tiësto: Electronic Music's Superstar

If we needed evidence that electronic dance music is a force in pop culture, last weekend's Ultra Music Festival held downtown here provided it. Some 150,000 tickets were sold to the three-day event--about equal to the total for last year's Coachella Music & Arts Festival in the desert town of Indio, Calif., and about twice the number for June's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

Whereas Coachella 2011, next month, will feature Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Kings of Leon and the Strokes as its rock and pop headliners, and Bonnaroo will offer Eminem, Robert Plant & Band of Joy and a reunited Buffalo Springfield (as well as Arcade Fire and the Strokes), the biggest name at Ultra Music--at least to a mainstream audience--was Duran Duran, which was here to promote its new album. But traditional measurements for rock-and-pop success are irrelevant in the electronic-dance culture. Witness Tiësto, the stage name of the Dutch disc jockey, producer and composer Tijs Michiel Verwest, the headliner on Friday, Ultra's opening night. Though he's never had a crossover radio hit and his solo albums sell modestly, Tiësto is a major international star, as confirmed by one familiar evaluation: His annual income apparently exceeds $20 million.

Posted by jez at 6:46 PM

January 8, 2011

Joy to the World: Christmas, 2010

Joy To the World from Jim Zellmer

Recorded Christmas Day, 2010 in Parma, Italy

Posted by jez at 5:56 PM

September 24, 2010

School of Seven Bells @ The Majestic Madison

Posted by James Zellmer at 9:47 PM

September 20, 2010


Posted by James Zellmer at 10:03 PM

Saturday Night: Madison

Posted by James Zellmer at 9:19 PM

September 1, 2010

Sebastiaan de Rode Aeolus Cello Quartet 21 August 2010

Sebastiaan de Rode Aeolus Cello Quartet 21 August 2010 from Kate Zellmer.

Posted by James Zellmer at 10:07 PM

August 24, 2010

What Did We Do Pre-iPhone?

Posted by James Zellmer at 9:10 PM

August 5, 2010

Portland Cello Project

The fabulous Portland Cello Project performed in Madison for the first time this week at the High Noon Saloon. More photos, here.

A great evening at a bargain price, $10 per ticket. A brief iPhone 4 video is here.

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:30 AM

July 11, 2010

A Few Photos

I believe this is a rather rare Shelby Cobra.

A sign of the times: "We will be glad to serve you when you are off your cell phone".


A squirrel seeking dinner

Malt O-Meal

Cooling off...

Dinner at Sea Salt Minneapolis

Art Fair on the Square Madison

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:39 PM

September 20, 2009

Andrew Bird Concert @ Overture Center Madison Photos

Click on the image above to view a panoramic scene. A few still photos can be seen here.

Bird appeared in Madison as part of the 2009 Forward Music Festival.
Posted by James Zellmer at 7:35 PM

June 20, 2009

Lunch with the FT: Sir Simon Rattle

Andrew Clark:
attle found the criticism painful. Popping another tomato in his mouth, he lets slip that the reason Lunch with the FT took so long to arrange – more than a year – was that he was stung by what I had written. “That’s why I avoided speaking to you.”

. . .

But last year his Berlin contract was extended to 2018 – an impressive vote of confidence from an orchestra that, unusually, is entirely self-governing while receiving most of its funds from the state. And a visit to the London Proms revealed a man who had matured and mellowed. He had finally begun to learn German. He still struggles to speak it (“anyone less linguistically gifted than me is hard to imagine”, he confesses), but by attempting to do so he had broken an important psychological barrier. His podium gestures were as jubilant as ever, but his Brahms had acquired unmistakable depth.

Sitting across the lunch table, I begin to understand why. Rattle is settling into comfortable middle age. The blue T-shirt may advertise a man still young at heart but the curls are white and thinning. Yesterday’s boy wonder is now older than most of his orchestra. He has begun to slow down, to be slightly less sensitive to criticism.

But there’s another factor at work. Rattle has made his home in Berlin, something not even Herbert von Karajan, his most illustrious predecessor, had done. He lives in one of the city’s leafy quarters and is often seen doing the family shopping in its open-air markets. It’s as if he has gone native. So what has he learned about the Germans?

“People are more subtle and complicated than they are made out to be,” he answers, pouring some of the red wine he has brought outside. Does this mean Germans are not the humourless caricature peddled by England’s tabloid newspapers? Rattle sighs. It wasn’t until his late twenties, he says, after discussing the horrors of the Nazi era with Viennese conductor Rudolf Schwarz, a Belsen survivor who resumed his career in Birmingham after the war, that he became aware of the complexities of national identity.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:26 PM

December 1, 2008

Jason Bentley Takes over Morning Becomes Eclectic

One of the biggest issues on listeners' minds is the direction you'll take KCRW. They wonder how much like Nic Hartcourt you'll be and how your electronic influences will affect the morning slot. What say you? My responsibility in this position is to integrate the influences of all the Music Directors before me, and take it to another place altogether--which means all genres of music from all over the world.

Besides a reverence of Joe Strummer and The Clash and a good ear for underground bands that could appeal to a wider audience, I don't have that much in common with Nic musically. Nic's been great at the helm of MBE, but I'm going to bring my own music experience to the program with an appreciation of where it's been. Yes, that does mean an affinity for Electronic music and global club culture, but that's not all and I certainly will consider what works best during the morning hours.

Will you start focusing locally?

I feel like I do already to a great extent. I've been producing events locally for nearly two decades. I'm very involved in the LA scene, and KCRW is totally invested in local music, while at the same time actively making connections abroad. Personally, Silversun Pickups and Morgan Page are among my favorite local artists.

What considerations and thoughts will go into who you choose to play in studio?

Mostly looking to mix it up - everything from Afrobeat to Neo Soul and quirky Folk.
Posted by James Zellmer at 4:50 PM

November 7, 2008


Johann Johannsson:
The album has a theme, although it's more loose and open to interpretation than on my last album, IBM 1401, a User's Manual.

One of the two main threads running through it is this idea of failed utopia, as represented by the "Fordlândia" title - the story of the rubber plantation Henry Ford established in the Amazon in the 1920’s, and his dreams of creating an idealized American town in the middle of the jungle complete with white picket fences, hamburgers and alcohol prohibition. The project – started because of the high price Ford had to pay for the rubber necessary for his cars’ tyres – failed, of course, as the indigenous workers soon rioted against the alien conditions. It reminded me of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, this doomed attempt at taming the heart of darkness. The remains of the town are still there today. The image of the Amazon forest slowly and surely reclaiming the ruins of Fordlândia is the one that gave spark to this album. For the structure and themes of the album I was influenced by the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Herzog and Kenneth Anger. I was interested in a kind of poetic juxtaposition and an alchemical fusion of themes and ideas, which I feel is similar to the way Anger uses montage as an alchemical technique - as a way of casting a spell. During the making of the album, I also had in mind the Andre Breton quote about convulsive beauty, which he saw in the image of "an abandoned locomotive overgrown by luxurious vegetation". There is a strong connection to the IBM 1401 album in terms of both thematic and musical ideas and I see the two albums as belonging to a series of works.
Fascinating and quite pleasant. Clusty Search: Fordlandia.
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:28 AM

November 28, 2007

Doonesbury on Celine

Stuck listening to Celine Dion over and over and over on a long roadtrip, I understand this Doonesbury strip.

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:40 AM

November 17, 2007

Leslie Feist Concert Rocks Madison (Video Slide Show)

Leslie Feist rocked Madison Friday evening, 16 November 2007. Despite her severe ankle sprain (evidently while running in Omaha, NE the prior day), Feist and her band entertained the sold out Orpheum Theatre with ouststanding vocals, delightful instruments and an elegant video art show. Check out the playlist here.

More, please.

Watch an MPEG-4 Video Slideshow:

Links: Ask Clusty Search | Google News | Live | Yahoo.

Rob Thomas attended the concert and wrote this.

Posted by James Zellmer at 4:20 PM

October 21, 2007

Listening to the National

I heard the National's "Mistaken for Strangers" yesterday at the Electric Earth Cafe.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:11 AM

October 4, 2007

The Inevitable March of Recorded Music Towards Free

Mike Arrington:

The DRM walls are crumbling. Music CD sales continue to plummet rather alarmingly. Artists like Prince and Nine Inch Nails are flouting their labels and either giving music away or telling their fans to steal it. Another blow earlier this week: Radiohead, which is no longer controlled by their label, Capitol Records, put their new digital album on sale on the Internet for whatever price people want to pay for it.

The economics of recorded music are fairly simple. Marginal production costs are zero: Like software, it doesn’t cost anything to produce another digital copy that is just as good as the original as soon as the first copy exists, and anyone can create those copies. Unless effective legal (copyright), technical (DRM) or other artificial impediments to production can be created, simple economic theory dictates that the price of music, like its marginal cost, must also fall to zero. The evidence is unmistakable already. In April 2007 the benchmark price for a DRM-free song was $1.29. Today it is $0.89, a drop of 31% in just six months.

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:31 AM

May 23, 2007

Commercial Radio Excesses

I've discovered something worse than commercial radio's practice of overplaying Sting: John Mayer doing a Sting cover.... Back to the iPod or our excellent local indies - WSUM and WORT or online with kcrw.

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:24 AM

May 2, 2007

American Masters: Ahmet Ertegun

PBS's American Masters:

"I think it's better to burn out than to fade away... it's better to live out your days being very, very active - even if it destroys you - than to quietly... disappear.... At my age, why do you think I'm still here struggling with all the problems of this company -

because I don't want to fade away."
-Ahmet Ertegun

More than most in the $5 billion-a-year global industry he helped build from scratch, Ahmet Ertegun loved the rhythm and the blues. He loved the rock and the roll, jump and swing, and all forms of jazz. More than anything, he loved the high life and the low. When he died at the age of eighty-three on December 14th, about six weeks after injuring himself in a backstage fall at a Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan, the world lost not only the greatest "record man" who ever lived but also a unique individual whose personal and professional life comprised the history of popular music in America over the past seventy years. On every level, the story of that life is just as rich, varied and exotic as the music that Ahmet brought the world through Atlantic Records, the company he founded in 1947 and was still running at the time of his death.

More here.

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:27 PM

April 10, 2007

Pearls Before Breakfast

Gene Weingarten:
Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he's really bad? What if he's really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?

On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?

The musician did not play popular tunes whose familiarity alone might have drawn interest. That was not the test. These were masterpieces that have endured for centuries on their brilliance alone, soaring music befitting the grandeur of cathedrals and concert halls.
Posted by James Zellmer at 7:06 PM

March 17, 2007

Joshua Tree National Park

National Park Service website. U2's Joshua Tree (not this tree).
Posted by James Zellmer at 3:12 PM

February 27, 2007

Johnny Cash

I find it interesting the frequency with which the alt music radio stations around the country play Johnny Cash. Locally, our excellent wsum spins him up now and then, including a tune from his At San Quentin live recording.
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:10 AM

January 28, 2007

Give Away the Music and Sell the Show

Chris Anderson:
The major labels are freaked out: CD sales are continuing their inexorable decline and iTunes sales aren't making up the difference. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of artists are giving away their music for free on MySpace, their own websites and independent MP3 blogs. This puzzles the labels. Don't these bands want to make money from their art?

Many do, but they're just smarter than most music industry execs. They understand the difference between abundance and scarcity economics. Music as a digital product enjoys near-zero costs of production and distribution--classic abundance economics. When costs are near zero, you might as well make the price zero, too, something thousands of bands have figured out.
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:31 PM

Lucinda Williams' Playlist

Winter Miller:
IMAGINE a time before alternative country. Before Americana and roots rock. Picture a corner office, sometime in the early ’80s, with record executives scratching their heads over how to market a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist from Louisiana named Lucinda Williams. Was she country? Folk? Blues? The answer of course was (and is) all of the above. A three-time Grammy winner, Ms. Williams will release “West,” her eighth studio album, on Feb. 13. A tour is scheduled to begin soon after, including a stop at Radio City Music Hall on March 23. Ms. Williams, 54, shows no signs of getting any less sexy with her lyrics or her taste in music. She recently spoke by phone with Winter Miller about what she’s listening to now.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:43 PM

January 14, 2007

An Interesting Chat with David Byrne

Will Hermes:
Another sign of Mr. Byrne’s constant forward motion is his voracious appetite for new music. He’s a regular visitor to the annual South by Southwest music festival Austin, Tex., where he will be a featured speaker in March. And any concertgoer in New York City is apt to spot him regularly, hanging out near the back of a room, generally without an entourage, his shock of near-white hair adding a few inches to his already impressive height. Last year he could be spotted sipping white wine in the lobby of Town Hall before a Cat Power performance, applauding the debut of Gnarls Barkley at Webster Hall and cheering the Brazilian funk artist Otto (who appears on a forthcoming Luaka Bop compilation) at Joe’s Pub.

“He really keeps his finger on the pulse,” said Ms. Diaz-Tutaan, whom Mr. Byrne became interested in after hearing the CD her band, Apsci, recorded for the tiny progressive hip-hop label Quannum. “That’s really inspiring to me — that this guy who has been around for such a long time and has been one of my musical influences is keeping up with things on a more underground level. He’ll just ride his bike to a venue, go in, check out the band and ride home.”

Mr. Byrne doesn’t seem to think there’s anything particularly remarkable about it. “Sure, I go out a lot,” he said. “I’m in New York, and I’m a music fan. But sometimes I go out to these shows and I go ‘Where are my peers?,’ you know? Where are the musicians from my generation, or the generation after mine? Don’t they go out to hear music? Do they just stay home? Are they doing drugs? What’s going on?”

He laughed and shook his head. “Or maybe they’re just not interested anymore. They’re watching ‘Desperate Housewives.’ ”
Byrne's blog.
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:40 PM

December 15, 2006

B-Side Records Best of the year 2006

Kristian Knutsen:
While recently entering my favorite five new albums released in 2006 for the KEXP Top 90.3 countdown, I realized that the B-Side Records annual four-page best-of list extravaganza was likely out and on the shop's counter. Indeed, Madison's most jam-packed end-of-the-year list -- its sixteenth edition -- was ready for reading.

The State Street record store's formula is relatively simple; every current employee and as many past employees as possible are solicited to submit their best-of-2006 list. There are no constricting guidelines, as the lists can be as short as nine albums to nearly as long as one hundred, not counting the supplementary songs and live shows that can listed as well. Then there’s always a guest, one person who is invited by B-Side to submit their favorites too. In the end, everything gets tallied up, and the four-page thicket of lists is condensed to their collected "favorite things," with any album receiving three or more picks featured and framed.
Posted by James Zellmer at 11:15 AM

December 10, 2006

Imogen Heap's Playlist Suggestions

Winter Miller:
THE British synth-pop singer-songwriter Imogen Heap is a devotee of found sounds. Her do-it-yourself music uses the noises of trains, thumping metal gates and cardboard carpet tubes as well as orchestral spirals of harps and trumpets. Though a pianist at heart, she embraces the blips of electronica and computer-programmed, multitracked vocals. Ms. Heap, who contributed silky, metallic vocals when she was part of the alt-pop duo Frou Frou, has done well with her second solo album, “Speak for Yourself” (Megaphonic/RCA Victor), which appeared last year. Songs from it continue to pop up on film and television soundtracks (most recently “The Last Kiss,” “The O.C.,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “CSI” and “Six Feet Under”). Ms. Heap, 29, is touring the United States through December. She recently spoke by telephone with Winter Miller about what she’s listening to now.
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:15 PM

November 21, 2006

Synchronize Your Music

This looks Handy: Supersync.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:52 AM

October 31, 2006

KCRW's Active Internet Audience

Sarah McBride:
KCRW is a leading example of how public radio stations are aggressively pushing high-definition radio, live streaming of programs, podcasting and other technology-driven improvements -- and in the process demonstrating the potential the Internet may hold for all radio stations, public or commercial.

Such moves have helped public stations expand their audience at a time when commercial broadcasters are seeing the listener base shrink. But while the initiatives have helped public radio stations expand their reach, the bar for success is also lower. Public stations rely on sponsorship and listener donations and are under less pressure to make money on their audience-growing online initiatives, such as selling ads on their podcasts.

"They have less to lose," says David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "They're all about delivering their content to the audience, without worrying about how [new technologies] might displace the audience and the advertiser." Now, he says, commercial radio is wishing it had moved faster and earlier in this area, although it has a big effort to catch up in the past year or two. Many big radio companies now sell advertising for their streams separately to their broadcast advertising, and start most podcasts with an ad. Industry-wide, online revenue now runs well north of $100 million annually.
KCRW's music programs are, in my view, the best around and a refreshing change from the usual commercial practice of playing the same old songs over and over and over and over.
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:03 AM

October 1, 2006

Satellite Radio Answers the Question

i've not thought much about satellite radio (XM, Sirius) until a recent lengthy drive around central Colorado. Prior to satellite radio, if you wanted music while driving, the choices were:
  • an iPod with an fm adaptor, or a cable plugged into the rental car's radio, or
  • Local radio
Hertz, perhaps via a Sirius promotion, included their service in my rental car. I was pleasantly surprised with the depth and breadth of music available (though Lefsetz says that XM is superior in this respect - and in reception quality).

Several of Sirius's songs were a pleasant surprise: Elton John's classic "Funeral for a Friend" and Willie Nelson's acoustic "Crazy", among others.

There were some disappointments, including replays (Coldplay) and the odd playing of the "Fray" in Sirius's "Coffeehouse" program. I have to assume that they are paid to plug the Fray.

I was pleasantly surprised with the Sirius reception while driving in Canyons. The only places we lost reception were I-70's Eisenhower Tunnel and in some deep canyons.

The satellite choices certainly are compelling, particularly given the same old, same old, played over and over on traditional stations.

Finally, I continue to be amazed at the quantity of 30 and 40 year old music played in restaurants, cafe's and bars. Lunching on trout tacos one day, we heard Joan Baez, Steve Miller, The Who, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin among many others. Is there nothing interesting from the 21st Century?
Posted by James Zellmer at 12:04 PM

September 13, 2006

WSUM Continues to Impress

I listen to 91.7 (www.wsum.org streaming online) periodically, including yesterday - catching a pleasant Massive Attack piece.. Their musical depth and breadth continues to impress - in what is largely a sea of sameness, playing the Police and others over and over and over.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:21 AM

September 1, 2006

Sigur Ros Tour Blog

Sigur Ros Uk Site - some great photos.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:20 AM

July 12, 2006

Concerts on the Square Photos

Another great evening for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's Concerts on the Square.

Two more photos can be seen here and here. photos taken by our children
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:57 PM

July 10, 2006

Hilary Rosen Gets DRM Religion?

Eliot Van Buskirk:
Obviously, Apple has a business strategy that says "proprietary" works for them. The record companies, I think, have tried to convince Apple to open up their system. I don't think that's been successful. The choice now is to either go unprotected so everybody has the same shot and the market expands, or to continue down what I think is an unfriendly path for consumers and the industry, because I don't think it's growing as fast as it can.

I understand there's a rabid philosophy on both sides of this to protect or not to protect … and I actually am not that black and white about it. I think if people want to protect their content, and want to have a DRM or a business model that limits its distribution, that's okay. If others don't want to, that's okay too. That's why I like Creative Commons. It's all about choice. What I have focused on is what will most dramatically expand the music market at a time when device choices feel so limited and the service side is so underutilized.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:46 PM

July 5, 2006

Wednesday Evening Concerts on the Square Scenes

This week's concerts on the square featured a beautiful evening for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra - somewhat of a contrast to last week's threatening skies.

Posted by James Zellmer at 9:57 PM

July 4, 2006

Music Sales: Fewer Big Hits, Many More Sales at the Tail....

Chris Anderson:
Larry Lessig pointed me to an interesting bit of research on filesharing and the decline of music sales in Denmark, which shows that the fall in sales has been felt far more in the hits than in the niches. The work, by Claus Pedersen, uses data from the Nordic Copyright Bureau. That means the data are not just estimates of sales declines, but actual sales. I've charted one aspect of the research, which looks at the change in sales in four sales categories, from bestsellers to the long tail:
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:15 AM

June 28, 2006

Concerts on the Square Clearing Storm Photos

N 43 04.493 W 089 23.096
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:26 PM

June 22, 2006

Lefsetz FM Playlist

Bob Lefsetz:
Yesterday was Mike Marrone’s fiftieth birthday. And he had the idea that I should substitute for him on the Loft. So, when I was at XM two weeks ago, we created six hours of programming. I couldn’t turn on the radio yesterday until about four, an hour after I started, but when I pushed the button on my boombox, I was shocked. Because it was my choices. And then me, coming over the airwaves.

Now Mike has got 13,000 plus songs in his library. And I was rushing to catch a plane. So, I quickly picked tracks. After hearing myself I was so elated that I fired up my Inno and recorded what was left of my show. People always ask me what I listen to, well, here you go.
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:35 AM

June 20, 2006

DRM Stifling Innovation?

Fritz Attaway & Wendy Seltzer:
>Consumers now have the ability to buy digital versions of music and movies from a vast (and growing) online catalog. But that convenience has come at a price: Most of the digital content is packaged with technology called digital rights management, or DRM, a sort of copy protection that limits what users can do with the material.

The music and movie industries defend DRM as a means of protecting artists and publishers -- without it, they say, it would be too easy for users to abuse copyrights by illegally swapping files over the Internet. They also argue that without DRM technologies, publishers wouldn't have been willing to distribute their content in online music and video stores, such as Apple's iTunes.

But some consumer advocates argue that DRM often goes too far, treating customers as would-be criminals and putting burdensome restrictions on what they can do with music and movies that were legally purchased. (ITunes, for instance, allows users to burn music to an unlimited number of CDs, but limits the number of computers on which users can play purchased music.)
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:23 PM

June 11, 2006

Advertising: Liberty Mutual Adds a bit of HEM to their new Commercial

Liberty Mutual - a firm I'd never heard of before, briefly caught my attention this evening via a new TV Ad. This ad features a rather obscure group - HEM. I first learned of this band via Bob Boylan's All Songs Considered several years ago.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:16 PM

June 4, 2006

Great Weekend for the Isthmus Jazz Festival

and a perfect location on the Memorial Union Terrace.
Posted by James Zellmer at 3:32 PM

May 18, 2006

105.5 MMM Payola ?

Rich Albertoni follows the money at Entercomm's local station, 105.5 (NY AG Spitzer filed suit against Entercomm recently). I rarely listen to it - how often must we hear the Police or Sting for that matter?

We're fortunate to have WORT and WSUM along with our public radio stations. Those interested in the nuts and bolts of the music business would likely find the Lefsetz Letter useful "First in Music Analysis".

I also very much enjoy listening to KCRW [LA], WFUV [NYC] and WXPN [PHL] online.

Kristian Knutsen has more.

I wonder if any other local media outlets will pick this up?
Posted by James Zellmer at 4:35 PM

April 16, 2006

Richard Davis's Birthday Party: Audio / Video

Often in life, the best things are free. Thanks, Richard and friends!
Richard Davis's Friday night Birthday Bash (Richard mentioned that his birthday is actually tax day, April 15) seemed an appropriate way to wrap up a beautiful Madison week, with temperatures reaching into the 70's. The bash was held Friday night at Mills Hall and included participants from the Bass Conference Faculty.

Audio / Video:
Conference pictures are available here.

More on Richard: Wikipedia | Clusty | Google | Yahoo
Posted by James Zellmer at 2:35 PM

March 28, 2006

Neko Case Interview

Ashley Kahn:
Music journalist Ashley Kahn profiles singer-songwriter Neko Case. She has a unique approach to lyrics and uses vivid musical imagery. Case's new album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, has just been released.
Posted by James Zellmer at 7:33 PM

March 21, 2006

Ligeti and a Madison Speeding Ticket

Chan Stroman:
Flashing lights from an unmarked black sedan; sudden short blare of a siren out of nowhere. I pull over, but the police car doesn't move on. Those lights, for me? For me?

I'd been tooling along John Nolen Drive, lost in Ligeti's propulsive first Étude. Is that what it was about the throbbing blue Beetle, swimming along in a sea of cars going just as fast, that asked for special attention?
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:38 PM

March 2, 2006

Rosanne Cash Live on KCRW

KCRW Music:
Singer Rosanne Cash performs solo and acoustic on Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15am. Audio | Video
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:18 PM

February 16, 2006

Blodget on Amazon's Music Strategy

Henry Blodget:
The WSJ reported Amazon's plans to offer an Amazon-branded iPod competitor and digital music download store. I haven't done much work in this area yet, so please weigh in, but this strikes me as a startlingly bad move.

First, Amazon's entry into this business is shockingly and annoyingly late. As with the Netflix DVD business, Amazon could have owned this category, but in the name of moving deliberately (or of trying to become all things to all people), it allowed other competitors to build a dominant market position. No matter what the company says, winning significant market share in digital music is going to be much harder now than it would have been three years ago.
Posted by James Zellmer at 11:09 AM

RIAA: Ripping Your CD's is Not Fair Use (!)

It is no secret that the entertainment oligopolists are not happy about space-shifting and format-shifting. But surely ripping your own CDs to your own iPod passes muster, right? In fact, didn't they admit as much in front of the Supreme Court during the MGM v. Grokster argument last year?

Apparently not.

As part of the on-going DMCA rule-making proceedings, the RIAA and other copyright industry associations submitted a filing that included this gem as part of their argument that space-shifting and format-shifting do not count as noninfringing uses, even when you are talking about making copies of your own CDs:
Some of our politicians have been serving Hollywood's interests (to the detriment of ours) rather well, including Jim Sensenbrenner and John Conyers, among others.
Posted by James Zellmer at 6:42 AM

February 14, 2006

Sigur Ros on Conan

Iceland's Sigur Ros appeared on Conan O'Brien's show recently. Video here. Via Fred. More on Sigur Ros
Posted by James Zellmer at 6:53 AM

February 13, 2006

Bill Graham's Rock Archives Stream Online

Some of rock's most intriguing content is now in cyberspace via the Wolfgang's Vault Web site. The memorabilia seller offers treasures from the stash of promoter Bill Graham, programmer of San Francisco's legendary Fillmore, who died in 1991.

A 75-song playlist culled from 7,000 to 8,000 vintage audio and video concert recordings made between 1966 and 1999 began streaming on the Wolfgang's Vault Web site Feb. 8, at no cost to consumers. The owner of the Graham archive is optimistic that some of the seminal performances will make it to retailers' shelves as CDs and DVDs by year's end.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:52 PM

February 3, 2006

L’Ensemble Portique Performs Next Friday Evening

L’Ensemble Portique:
February 10, 2006 at 7:30 pm
Trinity Lutheran Church
1904 Winnebago Street, Madison, WI
They kindly offer some mp3's here, along with the opportunity to purchase some cd's.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:12 PM

January 29, 2006

Rosanne Cash Black Cadillac Gives Grief a Lift

CBS Sunday Morning:
his past week, Cash released what is perhaps her most personal album to date -- and what might just be her finest: "Black Cadillac." It's a musical memoir of mortality, loss and redemption.

Cash explains that the album served as a catharsis.

"The writing of it was a release in a way," she says. "And so to bring my reason and discipline and my sense of poetry to this -- these feelings that something manageable, this tremendous sense of grief and loss, to bring all of those things to this, to this kind of tidal wave of feelings was useful to me."
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:38 PM

January 27, 2006

Glosoli in HD

Sigur Ros; Glosoli from Takk in HD (gorgeous photography).
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:40 PM

January 22, 2006

Rosanne Cash's Latest: Black Cadillac

I heard a bit of this new music on LA's KCRW last week. Rather promising. Alan Light has more:
Relationships between parents and children, between the past and the future, between public and private lives are among the threads running through Ms. Cash's new album, "Black Cadillac" (which is being released this week on Capitol). Its 12 songs were written between the spring of 2003 and the spring of 2005, a period in which Ms. Cash, now 50, lost three parents: her mother, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin; her stepmother, June Carter Cash; and, in between, her father, Johnny Cash.
Posted by James Zellmer at 11:01 PM

January 6, 2006

White Noise

Jonathan Duffy:
While veteran rocker Pete Townshend blames his hearing loss on a lifetime spent using headphones, experts say today's iPod Generation is storing up trouble for the future by listening to music at high volumes. Is this a crisis in the making?
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:51 AM

December 24, 2005

NPR: The Best CD's You Didn't Hear This Year

Michele Norris:
Every year 35,000 new CDs are released. With all those artists clamoring for an audience, it's not surprising that some musical gems get overlooked.

As the year comes to a close, NPR asked a few people who monitor the music business to comb through their files to share a few of this year's releases that, in their view, didn't get the attention they deserved.
Posted by James Zellmer at 2:33 PM

10+100 Creative Commons Christmas Songs (MP3's!!)

Uwe Hermann:
So, it's Christmas today (or it will be tomorrow, depending on where you live). Wouldn't it be nice if you had a bunch of freely and legally available Christmas songs you could listen to all day? Burn on CDs and hand over to your relatives? Share with your friends without the fear of being sued to death by big record labels? Well, here's a list of 110 111 songs which are all explicitly released under a Creative Commons license (no, I did not consider songs which are merely "podsafe"!) and thus can be shared, listened to, and sometimes even modified freely. There's a great variety in style, mood, and genre of the songs: some traditional, some contemporary, some happy, some sad, and some just plain funny
Posted by James Zellmer at 2:02 PM

December 22, 2005

Best Songs of 2005

All Songs Considered:

ll Songs Considered host Bob Boilen counts down listener picks for the 10 best CDs of 2005, with NPR music reviewers Will Hermes, Tom Moon and Meredith Ochs. They also share some of their own favorites from the year and take calls from listeners. This program originally webcast live on NPR.org Dec. 16, 2005. Below are the top 10 CDs of 2005 chosen in our online poll, with select comments from the listeners who love them.

Posted by James Zellmer at 4:36 PM

December 7, 2005

A Bach Christmas

Chan Stroman:

Clear your calendars: the BBC3 will be following on its brilliant Beethoven Experience with A Bach Christmas, broadcasting the complete works of J. S. Bach from December 16 through Christmas (Every Note, Night and Day

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:03 AM

November 20, 2005

Jeff Tweedy Concert Video Clips

Fred Wilson posts two brief video clips and a set list from Jeff Tweedy's (Wilco) visit to the Tribeca Arts Center. Tweedy visited the Orpheum recently.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:39 AM

October 24, 2005

Sigur Ros: Takk Review

Tom Moon:

If you think American rock bands face long odds chasing success, consider the improbable tale of Sigur Ros. The five-piece band from Iceland makes spacey progressive music, with often-indecipherable lyrics. Despite those apparent handicaps, the band has gone from playing small clubs to headlining large international rock festivals. The band's fourth studio CD is called Takk..., which means "Thanks."

Posted by James Zellmer at 10:08 PM

October 16, 2005

Bruce Springsteen's Madison Concert Notes

Bruce Springsteen's acoustic concert tour stopped in Madison this evening. I found the event quite enjoyable. A few notes:
  • The 8:00p.m. event began at 8:20. He finished a great show 10:50.
  • The tour program was $20 (I offered 10)
  • T-Shirts were $45 while a coffee mug was $15.00
  • I purchased tickets (section 212) via ticketmaster the "moment" they were available. I understood that there would be 4,000 seats. That seems to have changed. I wonder how the seating distribution actually worked out?
  • I thought his performance was wonderful. His voice was powerful and he seemed to be quite engaged, mentioning that someone told him it had been 30 years since he performed (commercially) in Madison.
  • Mentioned he had not been invited to the White House lately - though he had been there some years ago, "when it was more fun".
  • Former State Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala sat not far from our seats.
  • I was very impressed with the rather elegant lighting.
  • Springsteen mentioned a number of "almost stalkers" who follow him around, including one who passed along photos on top of various mountains with a Bruce Springsteen banner.
  • He also spoke briefly about what it's like to be the "boss" ie rich ("Houses, money")
  • He said he would be back with the E Street Band but when a fan asked for a date said that he did not know when it would be.
  • The crowd was a very interesting cross section of Madison area (I think) people. I'd say the average age was late 40's to early 50's.
  • Tickets were being sold outside the Coliseum for 40 to 45 each.
Springsteen appears next in Worcester, MA on October 20.
Posted by James Zellmer at 12:03 AM

September 27, 2005

Sigur Ros Orpheum Roundup

Kristian Knutsen nicely rounds up the local blogosphere's review of Friday's sold-out Sigur Ros performance at the Orpheum:

The Daily Page, unlike many others, was lucky enough to attend the Sigur Rós show last Friday night. Sold out some two weeks in advance, the concert (previewed in last week's edition of Isthmus) was held at the Orpheum Theatre on State. The line for the general admission show began forming in the late afternoon and eventually wrapped around the corner of E. Johnson St.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:01 AM

September 18, 2005

All Songs Considered: Sigur Ros Live Concert

Bob Boylan:
Hear a full concert by Iceland's ambient rock group Sigur Ros, recorded live from the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. The band's performance originally webcast live on NPR.org Sept. 11 as part of NPR Music's ongoing concert series from All Songs Considered.
Posted by James Zellmer at 4:12 PM

September 14, 2005

Sigur Ros at the Orpheum

Iceland's quite interesting Sigur Ros plays the Orpheum on September 23.

I included track 8 in a 2004 Mad City Marathon slideshow here Quicktime. The music fit the very wet '04 marathon.

Jason Kottke reviewed their performance at New York City's Beacon Theatre last night and included links to some photos of the show.

The band offers a handy Icelandic pronunciation guide on their website.

Posted by James Zellmer at 11:04 AM

September 12, 2005

Bruce Springsteen 10/15/2005 Madison Tickets

Bruce Springsteen is playing at the Coliseum (Interesting venue) 10/15. Tickets were still available late this morning via tickmaster.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:30 PM

August 28, 2005

RIAA vs the People

Lawyers representing people who have been sued by the RIAA started a blog:
We are lawyers in New York City. We practice law at Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP.

Through the Electronic Frontier Foundation we and our firm have undertaken to represent people in our area who have been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for having computers whose internet accounts were used to open up peer-to-peer file sharing accounts.

We find these cases to be oppressive and unfair, as large law firms financed by the recording industry sue ordinary working people for thousands of dollars.

We have set up this blog in order to collect evidence and input about these oppressive lawsuit.
Posted by James Zellmer at 2:18 PM

August 23, 2005

Rolling Stones Setlist

The Rolling Stones are touring, again. Here's their setlist.
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:00 AM

August 21, 2005

The Ballads of Richard Thompson

All Things Considered:

The world British singer-songwriter Richard Thompson creates is so vivid it feels as if you're in the company of the characters he chronicles: bikers, schoolyard bullies, dreamers, lovers and losers.

For nearly four decades, Thompson has performed and recorded a wide variety of music, from traditional folk songs to rock-and roll.

His latest effort is Front Parlour Ballads, a mostly acoustic work recorded in a small studio in his garage.


Posted by James Zellmer at 12:02 AM

July 28, 2005

Harley-Davidson Puts An iPod On Your Hog

Harley-Davidson Puts An iPod On Your Blog: "

Renowned motorbike manufacturer Harley-Davidson has added an iPod connector as standard to some of its newest models. By Macworld UK


Posted by James Zellmer at 11:13 AM

July 26, 2005

Payola is Pervasive

Barry Ritholtz:
"This is not a pretty picture; what we see is that payola is pervasive," Mr. Spitzer said, using a term from the radio scandals of the 1950's in describing e-mail messages and corporate documents that his office obtained during a yearlong investigation. "It is omnipresent. It is driving the industry and it is wrong."

The Attorney General's findings alleges that the illegal payoffs for airplay were designed to manipulate record charts, generate consumer interest in records and increase sales:

"Instead of airing music based on the quality, artistic competition, aesthetic judgments or other judgments, radio stations are airing music because they are paid to do so in a way that hasn't been disclosed to the public," Spitzer said at a press briefing.
An alternative? I think we'll see more of this.
Posted by James Zellmer at 10:51 AM

July 25, 2005

KCRW's Live Morning Sessions Now Available via Podcasts

KCRW, one of the best internet radio stations is now providing their excellent Morning Becomes Eclectic via a podcast. Subscribe here. Learn more about Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Morning Becomes Eclectic is committed to a music experience that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity by combining progressive pop, world beat, jazz, African, reggae, classical and new music. Recognized nationally as a forum for promoting a wide range of music ahead of the curve, the show has become a very attractive whistle stop for both established and emerging artists from around the world.

KCRW now offers podcasts of some of the live sessions performed by unsigned and independent artists on Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:29 AM

An Interview with Mark Knopfler

Weekend Edition:

The album's first single, "Boom, Like That," is a wry chronicle of the renegade business tactics of McDonald's mogul Ray Kroc. Kroc started out selling milkshake mixers to the McDonald brothers, eventually buying them out and aggressively expanding the franchise. Before composing the song, Knopfler read books about Kroc's life and business philosophy. The singer found inspiration in some quotes that were attributed to Kroc. He says, "I remember coming across a quote in a book. It was something like, 'If the opposition is going to drown, put a hose in their mouth.'"

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:01 AM

July 7, 2005

Live8 Music Videos Online

Bob Geldof's Live8 music is now online:

Posted by James Zellmer at 6:28 AM

Explore the 50 States in Song

All Things Considered:

Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens has a lofty goal: exploring each of the 50 states in song. He's already released a critically acclaimed full-length CD simply called Michigan. His latest honors the people, places and history of Illinois.

Independent radio producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister were curious about how Stevens writes his songs, which, much like their own work, are filled with stories of places and people. So, they introduced Stevens to the Arkansas town of Brinkley.

MP3: The Lord God Bird

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:01 AM

July 5, 2005

Pink Floyd Live8 Video Clip

The Classic Rockers Pink Floyd can be seen performing "Comfortably Numb" in this Quicktime Video.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

June 20, 2005

Springsteen's Pre-Concert Playlist

Bruce Springsteen published his pre-concert playlist. Great music.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:01 AM

June 11, 2005

KCRW's Excellent Internet Radio Service

Santa Monica based KCRW continues to do great things with internet music. Listening to Broadband today, I heard some great music and emailed the host, Debbie Adler to discover who she was playing. Within minutes she emailed back a few names and pointed me to this Rachel Yamagata Live, in studio performance. Watch the video here.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

June 8, 2005

Parales: The Case Against Coldplay

Jon Pareles takes it to Coldplay:

HERE'S nothing wrong with self-pity. As a spur to songwriting, it's right up there with lust, anger and greed, and probably better than the remaining deadly sins. There's nothing wrong, either, with striving for musical grandeur, using every bit of skill and studio illusion to create a sound large enough to get lost in. Male sensitivity, a quality that's under siege in a pop culture full of unrepentant bullying and machismo, shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, no matter how risible it can be in practice. And building a sound on the lessons of past bands is virtually unavoidable.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

May 4, 2005

Indio's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

iTunes features a 78 song playlist and Kelefa Sanneh summarizes the music at the recent Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:02 AM

April 26, 2005

Bruce Springsteen on Devils & Dust

Renee Montagne:
His new disc will be produced using new dual-disc technology, and he's about to hit the road on a solo tour. The rock legend performs "Jesus Was an Only Son"
Posted by James Zellmer at 7:49 AM

April 9, 2005

Arts & Education: Milwaukee Ballet, Degas & Milwaukee Art Museum

I chanced upon a rather extraordinary afternoon recently at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Museum is currently featuring a Degas sculpture exhibition, including Little Dancer. Interestingly, several ballerinas from the Milwaukee Ballet were present. Children could sketch and participate. I took a few photos and added some music. The result is this movie. Enjoy!
Posted by James Zellmer at 2:16 PM

April 6, 2005

The Death of the Music CD

Mark Cuban on the death of the music cd.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:01 AM

March 29, 2005

David Byrne Launches an Internet Radio Station


Musician and artist David Byrne, known most widely as co-founder of the Talking Heads, has just launched an internet radio station that streams the music he digs. I spoke with Mr. Byrne earlier today about the project for NPR's "Day to Day." Part of the interview will be included in a segment airing on the show tomorrow about filesharing and cultural change -- but here are more details about the radio project.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:40 AM

March 28, 2005

Great Internet Radio Music - The Current

Minnesota Public Radio's The Current is available online here.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

March 19, 2005

Fiona Apple & Internet Music

Fascinating story: Sony dumped a fully completed Fiona Apple album. The music is available via bittorrent.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

March 9, 2005

SXSW 2.6GB Torrent file full of MP3's

Props to the folks at sxsw who posted a 2.6GB torrent file with 750+ mp3's from bands performing at the Austin conference the next few weeks.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:02 AM

March 7, 2005

Wilco Live Concert Online via NPR

NPR's All Songs Considered webcast a live Wilco concert from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 club. Listen to the concert here.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:03 AM

John Coltrane's Giant Steps

Michael Levy takes a fascinating look at John Coltrane's Giant Steps. A great compliment to Elizabeth Van Ness's question: Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New MBA?

Still more, Ms. Daley, the U.S.C. Cinema-Television dean, argues that to generalize such skills has become integral to the film school's mission. More than 60 academic courses at U.S.C. now require students to create term papers and projects that use video, sound and Internet components - and for Ms. Daley, it's not enough. "If I had my way, our multimedia literacy honors program would be required of every student in the university," she said.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:02 AM

February 28, 2005

What are Podcasts?

Several articles this morning on podcasts, tools that Dave Winer and Adam Curry launched some time ago. Benny Evangelista (more) and Scott Kirsner dig in. We may see some podcasts (easy to use mp3 audio files, suitable for iPod type devices) from Wisconsin Public Radio...
Posted by James Zellmer at 9:23 AM

January 31, 2005

Mining Music Industrials from the 50's & 60's

A humorous way to start the week: John Kalish on industrials, those broadway tunes that promoted shop grease, tractors and other industrial products:
From the 1950s through the 1970s, large companies regularly commissioned original musicals for their annual conventions and sales meetings. Some employed reknowned Broadway composers for these shows.
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:11 AM

January 29, 2005

Why Wilco is the Future of Music

Lessig summarizes Wilco's unique role in the online music wars:

The band Wilco and its quiet, haunted leader, Jeff Tweedy, is something different. After its Warner label, Reprise, decided that the group's fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, was no good, Wilco dumped them and released the tracks on the Internet. The label was wrong. The album was extraordinary, and a sold-out 30-city tour followed. This success convinced Nonesuch Records, another Warner label, to buy the rights back - reportedly at three times the original price. The Net thus helped make Wilco the success it has become. But once back in Warner's favor, many wondered: Would Wilco forget the Net?

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:03 AM

January 22, 2005

Saturday Snow Storm: Music to Shovel.... or a Snowstorm Playlist :)

A few selections from the music my ipod shuffled to while shoveling earlier today (Madison received about 8" of snow).Ironically, I received an email this morning from Tony Novak-Clifford, host of Manao Radio's Sunday Mornings "Sunday Solstice" program as well as Monday & Tuesday morning's "Academy of Errors". Tony's email mentioned a rainy Maui Saturday morning.

UPDATE: Dave sends a link from Boston, which will soon have quite a bit of snow. More Madison Photos: Gala & James Gardner catch snowplow stuck in a snowbank. Ann Althouse posts two early morning photos. More later...
Posted by James Zellmer at 12:53 PM

January 21, 2005

Sony admits their attempt to lock us in a box failed: DRM

Sony's non mp3 support in it's portable audio devices was a mistake, they now admit. Yuri Kageyama:
Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, said he and other Sony employees had been frustrated for years with management's reluctance to introduce products like Apple's iPod, mainly because the Sony had music and movie units that were worried about content rights.

But Sony's divisions were finally beginning to work together and share a common agenda, Mr Kutaragi said at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo.
Well, duh. Most of these DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) schemes will fail. Slashdot discussion.
Posted by James Zellmer at 8:32 AM

January 14, 2005

NPR's All Songs Considered 2005 Preview

Interesting and eclectic music. I like Pat Metheny's new cd.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

January 5, 2005

Great Music Radio Does Exist, on the Internet

Tired of too many commercials and the same old, same old, same old music? Point your itunes or other mp3 streaming audio software to these internet "radio" stations:

  • Madison's own WSUM

  • The University of Pennsylvania's WXPN is simply excellent.

  • Another must is Fordham's WFUV

  • Finally, and I think, most interestingly, I spend most of my listening time tuned in to Maui's Manao Radio, a low power FM and internet radio station. Excellent and eclectic.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

December 19, 2004

McDonald's, Ray Kroc, Mark Knopfler and Listening to Lyrics

Listened to Mark Knopfler's latest: Boom Like That early today. Every now and then, I end up paying attention to the lyrics. In this song, Knopfler tells a bit of the Ray Kroc story.
Boom, Like That

Posted by James Zellmer at 7:06 AM

December 7, 2004

iPod photo

I'm giving the latest iPod photo a try. This mp3 player also includes the ability to store and display photos (including the optional storage of the large, original image files - which makes it a handy backup device). It also will playback slideshows through your TV, along with music.

I also have the first iPod (5GB). It's rather amazing to think that the latest ipod is a bit smaller, yet holds 12X the music and/or photos. So far, I've been quite impressed with it (I've dropped it a few times, including on a tradmill). It just works :)

Posted by James Zellmer at 10:36 AM

November 24, 2004

Overture Hall, Madison Symphony, James Trotter are all "Up to Date..."

James Oestreich on last weekend's Symphony & organ performance:

The organ sounded splendid in Mr. Trotter's performance of the Jongen work, though this is not quite so blatant a showpiece as, say, Saint-Sans's "Organ" Symphony (which the orchestra played in an earlier, prededication concert). The tonal qualities are rich and varied, and the sonic heft seems well suited to the space.

But it is crucial for a concert organ, as opposed to a church instrument, Mr. Trotter noted in conversation, to be able to blend with a symphony orchestra as well as stand up to it. And the blend here was uncanny, sometimes tricking the ear into confusing reed pipes with woodwind instruments.

But as good as all this news was, the crowning touch for an old Madison hand who arrived hopeful but not optimistic was the condition and quality of the Madison Symphony. At a time of orchestral retrenchment nationwide, this part-time group seems to be flourishing, with an annual surplus of $50,000 to $100,000 on its $2.8 million budget, and an endowment climbing toward $15 million. It added a third concert for 7 of its 9 subscription programs this season, and subscriptions and attendance are strong and rising steeply (partly, no doubt, because of the new hall).

It was indeed, an enjoyable evening. I agree with the writer that Madison is fortunate to have such a wonderful symphony.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

November 22, 2004

Kaki King

Liane Hansen interviews acoustic guitar queen Kaki King.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

November 16, 2004

U2's Vertigo

Jon Pareles:

U2 is almost alone now among rock bands in its determination to merge lofty ambition and pop impact. With songs that determinedly blur divine and earthly love, seeking grace as often as romance, the band doesn't pander to vulgar impulses. Yet U2 has no interest in being a hipsters' cult band; it has always aimed for audiences that can fill arenas, where its music is most at home.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

November 5, 2004

WSUM & Uncle Tupelo

WSUM, Madison's best radio (streaming limited to UW IP addresses, unfortunately) at 91.7 played a bit of Uncle Tupelo recently....

Don't miss their "Student Section" sports show Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 6p.m.

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:00 AM

October 30, 2004

Bruce Springsteen John Kerry Rally Video Clip

42MB Quicktime Video Clip of Bruce Springsteen's appearance at the John Kerry rally Thursday, 10.28.2004. Madison. (I don't believe that our Governor (Jim Doyle) will ever introduce Bruce again!)

Posted by James Zellmer at 6:46 PM

Foo Fighters/John Kerry Rally Video Clip

17MB Quicktime Video Clip of the Foo Fighters at the Kerry rally, Thursday, 10.28.2004 Madison.

Posted by James Zellmer at 6:44 PM

October 29, 2004

Springsteen stops at 508 W. Wash

Bruce Springsteen stopped at 508 W. Washington Ave. today, responding to a banner that invited the musician in for a beer. (Disclaimer: I lived at 505 W. Wash many years ago). Via Ann Althouse.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:00 AM

September 8, 2004

iPods and Cars


BMW is revving up some vehicle models (including the 330Ci coupe I reviewed) with a new sound system integrated with the Apple iPod. What's new and cool about this: it's touted as the first-ever fully integrated iPod/car interface you can drive right off the dealer lot. Costs under $500 as an upgrade to price of the new car. Plenty of aftermarket systems are available to hook your iPod (or other digital music players) to your car stereo, but many of these use your FM radio or a cassette player to interface, reducing sound quality in the process. Here, the sound quality was super-sweet.
Keep in mind that Democrat Pat Leahy and Republican Orrin Hatch are carrying water for Hollywood with the induce act - which would outlaw the iPod. Noah Adams

Posted by James Zellmer at 8:21 PM

September 7, 2004

Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer: 'Music for Two'

Robert Siegel talks with banjo player Bela Fleck and bassist Edgar Meyer about their unusual musical collaboration: Music for Two" [iTunes]

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:03 AM

August 27, 2004

MP3 Blogs

Noah Adams talks with technology correspondent Xeni Jardin about a new method of digital music trading. Using so-called MP3 "blogs," music fans trade and comment on songs that are often unusual twists on familiar favorites. A yin to this yang.

Posted by James Zellmer at 12:29 AM

May 28, 2004

David Crosby on the Music Business

David Crosby, from Frontline's The Way the Music Died:

It changed from being about the music to being about what you look like. And that was a terrible blow to music, because now you've got all these people who look great and can't write, sing or play.

Posted by James Zellmer at 11:35 AM

May 27, 2004

Rock the Garden - Looks Great!

Minneapolis's Walker Art Center features Rock the Garden 2004 (June 18). Looks like fun! Featuring David Byrne | Tosca Strings | Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra among others.

Posted by James Zellmer at 1:41 PM

April 17, 2004

Battle of Information & Ideas

Verlyn Klinkenborg nicely summarizes recent news in the recording industry's battle against file sharing:

But this isn't just a legal battle, of course. It's a battle of information and ideas. A new book from Lawrence Lessig called "Free Culture" makes a forceful, cogent defense of many forms of file sharing. And perhaps worst of all from the industry's perspective a new academic study prepared by professors at Harvard and the University of North Carolina concludes, "Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero." This directly counters recording industry claims that place nearly all the blame for declining CD sales on illegal file sharing.

Posted by James Zellmer at 9:37 PM

March 18, 2004

"innovative radio for independent minds"

Nice to see student radio back on the air.... [91.7FM Madison] [xml feed]

Posted by James Zellmer at 1:09 PM

February 24, 2004

Song of the Day

Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox's
Into the West from The Lord of the Rings - Return of the King.

Into the West

Posted by James Zellmer at 2:59 PM

February 16, 2004

Music: One Quiet Night

Today's Tune by Pat Metheny:

One Quiet Night

Posted by James Zellmer at 10:50 PM