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Phil’s Newsletter #32

In last week’s continuing adventures of Me, we bought some gay wrestling merch, beat River City Ransom, and I made some shitty music. Read all about it on my Substack

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My Newsletter For This Week Is Out

I wrote about the Smashing Pumpkins album Adore, shared an exclusive guitar picture, and ruminated on leaving it all behind.

Read and subscribe for free on Substack.

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The Eleanor Rigby Battle Theme

Single Link Twitter Post of the day. A skillful mash-up of the classic Pokemon battle theme and the Beatles song Eleanor Rigby. Includes a video of the MIDI notes being played. (via @joshmillard)

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City Pop Radio

Van Paugam has been putting out these awesome mixtapes of 1980s Japanese City Pop, and now there’s a 24/7 streaming channel. It’s hard to argue with that pitch:

Travel back in time through the haze of memories that aren’t your own, and melodies frozen in a particular place in history.

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Korg teases music making app for Nintendo Switch

The announced it by way of a little microsite. The KORG apps for DS are a ton of fun, I have a feeling this one will be even better.

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TransProse

Creating music from text:

Using natural language processing, TransProse reads in text and determines densities of eight different emotions (joy, sadness, anger, disgust, anticipation, surprise, trust, and fear) and two different states (positive or negative) throughout the novel. The musical piece chronologically follows the novel. It uses the emotion density data to determine the tempo, key, notes, octaves, etc. for the piece depending on different rules and parameters.

via Steen’s newsletter. You can buy the first album of generated music on Bandcamp.

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Radio Garden

Point at a spot on the globe, and hear their radio.

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A beginner’s guide to Dungeon Synth

Dirge magazine:

What I Like About Dungeon Synth is, primarily, the music and the wide range of emotions it encompasses; the bombast and the subtlety, the melancholy and the fury, the epic and the transient. It blends genres that are dear to my heart, from medieval airs to black metal malevolence, into something that is neither new nor old but atemporal. By stepping out of time Dungeon Synth can use multiple, opposing streams of influences and styles, to create a single entity and, by doing this, it embodies something that is often deliberately avoided in more mainstream music; conflict.

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Traces I

Traces I is the sound of synthesizers wrapped in cheesecloth being broadcast from the last radio tower of a dying world… in the shape of a 5-track pay-what-you-can album on Bandcamp. I’m enjoying it a lot.

You can contribute to the artist’s patreon, too.

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Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech

Kottke:

Bob Dylan finally delivered his Nobel Prize lecture in the form of a video (you can also listen to it on Soundcloud). Over the course of just 27 minutes, he talks about his influences, both musical and literary, and muses on the differences and similarities between music and literature. Listening to the speech, instead of just reading the transcript, is well-worth your time, if only to experience Dylan’s lyrical delivery while exalting Buddy Holly or explaining Moby Dick.

I grew up listening to a LOT of Bob Dylan. A LOT.

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WebGL demo: What Are You Syncing About?

Quite the demo, in-browser live rendered 3D animation and music using Three.js. Just press start. (via waxy)

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Google strong-arms indie musicians into accepting brutal, crowdfunding-killing deal for streaming service

A strong but honest headline about Googe’s new bullshit:

  • Participation in the new service requires that your entire catalog be available for streaming, at high resolution.

  • Participation requires that you not release your music elsewhere earlier, e.g., no early releases for fans or backers.

  • You no longer get a choice of whether to do nothing, block a video, or run ads. Ads are mandatory.

  • Five year contract.

  • If you don’t participate in the new service, then the option to obtain Content-ID ad revenue from the free version of Youtube no longer exists.

  • If you had previously been getting Content-ID ad revenue and choose not to participate in the new service, your channel will be deleted and all videos using your music will be blocked.

These are all non-negotiable and mandatory, btw.

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The Open Bundle

CC-licensed art and music for videos games from independent creators. If they reach their funding goal they’re making all of the assets public domain.

I absolutely love this idea. Get paid for your work and then move on to something else, leaving it for anyone who wants it.

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Videogame Music Preservation Foundation Wiki

I’m not sure how I haven’t linked to this before, but here it is now. This needs to exist and I’m so glad it does.

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“Perfect” iTunes EQ Setting Revised

A revised version of of the Merlin Mann / Mac OS X Hints classic:

perfect itunes

I’ve changed the layout so that the highest setting sits on 0, instead of boosting frequencies. This leads to a more even sound and less distortion of the high end. Everyone’s ears a little different, so your mileage may vary. Experimentation is encouraged.

Of course, what you’re listening through will make a difference. I heartily recommend these over-the-ear cans from Audio-Technica, or if you’re looking to spend under $50, I don’t think you can do better than the Sennheiser HD-202s. If you buy either of them from that link, I get a small kickback.

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WEEP: Alate PRE-ORDER

The new album from WEEP, my favorite new band of the last several years. Can’t wait. Did I mention WEEP is fronted by Doc Hammer, co-creator of The Venture Bros? IT IS.

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Stuff I Made: Metroid Title Theme

Some years ago I made this version of the Metroid title theme on my Mac. I think it is sufficiently moody/creepy. Enjoy!

Download: Metroid Intro (M4a, 2.2mb)

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Today’s Experiment: A-Ha Time

I have taken the classic A-Ha 80s jam “Take On Me” and slowed it down 50%. It starts out as an awesome dirge worthy of the Dawn Of The Dead soundtrack, and turns into a monster screaming about love in the most amusing possible manner. It is what I’m calling a Zombie Love Dirge.

I’m sure I’ll get a cease & desist soon, so enjoy while you can.

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Ambient Cigarette Tin

My old friend Shawn Russell took his own life a few weeks ago. Back in 2004 we recorded a demo in my bedroom using the newly-released Garageband. This badass 80s-flavored jam is what came out of it. Shawn provided the guitar tracks and I laid down the percussion using the built-in tools. I named the track after an old tin his father had given me to hold my smokes, and a half an Ambien tablet that sat on the corner of my desk.

Ambient Cigarette Tin, MP3.

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JG Thirlwell Conducts Venture Bros Music Live

From a June 18th, 2010 concert. This is pure joy.