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.

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.

Amazon Isn’t Paying License Fees for “Cloud Drive”


Amazon has launched its new online music locker and streamer without any licenses from the labels whose material it will store and distribute, the labels’ umbrella group IFPI tells paidContent. Not a problem, replies Amazon—licenses aren’t necessary for its new Cloud Drive.

The music industry is (and has been) suing MP3Tunes because they’ve offered precisely the same service. If Amazon sticks to their guns it will be a big win for everyone who buys digital content.

My 2010 In Music, According To

It was a pretty predictable year.

Most Played Artists

  1. They Might Be Giants
  2. Yasunori Mitsuda
  3. The Smashing Pumpkins
  4. R.E.M.
  5. Weep

Most Played Songs

  1. Weep – Right Here, Right Now
  2. Misfits – I Turned Into a Martian
  3. Weep – Let Me
  4. Weep – Snow Scenery AND Weep & Weep – Calm Down (tie)
  5. Weep – When I’m Wrong

Based on the most played songs list you might’ve guessed that my favorite album this year is Worn Thin, by Weep. Honorable mention goes to the Zola Jesus EP, Stridulum. Based on the most played artists list you might’ve guessed that I didn’t have much time for new music this year. I’m convinced that needs to change in 2011. There is nothing sadder than a man with almost no favorite bands who haven’t broken up or descended into self-parody.

Creating A Personal Radio Station With iTunes Smart Playlists

This is a recipe for using iTunes Smart Playlists to create a personal radio station from your music library, which will play old favorites, new jams, and obscure stuff in ratios which you can tune yourself. The purpose of this isn’t to tell you how to handle your music, but rather to help you get more of out it. As such, consider every single rule to be a suggestion based on what works for me. This is also slightly involved for the iTunes novice, but shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes, and what is 15 minutes weighed against a new life of constantly rocking the fuck out?

The first thing we have to do is create several source playlists which we’ll use to funnel the proscribed ratios of classics, newness, and weirdness into your earholes.

Parts Is Parts

These are the bits and bobs which will, when combined, make your music-listening experience much better. I suggest making a new folder called Radio to hold these playlists, so they won’t clutter your sidebar.

  • Radio Core

    • Match All of the Following
    • Media Kind: Music
    • Last Skipped is not in the last 15 days
    • Special exemptions for stuff you don’t want to show up in the radio (e.g. live shows, or your own music)
    • No limit on size
  • Radio Most Played

    • Match All of the Following
    • Playlist is Radio Core
    • Limited to 1 GB
    • Ordered by Most Played
  • Radio Neglected

    • Match All of the Following
    • Playlist is Radio Core
    • Last played is not in the last 1 month
    • Limit to 500 MB
    • Order by random
  • Radio New

    • Match All of the Following
    • Playlist is Radio Core
    • Date Added is in the last 1 month
    • Limit 500 MB
    • Order by random
  • Radio Top Rated

    • Match All of the Following
    • Playlist is Radio Core
    • Rating is Greater Than 3 stars
    • Limit 1 GB
    • Order by Random
  • Radio Sprinkler

    • Match All of the Following
    • Playlist is Radio Core
    • Playlist is NOT Radio New
    • Playlist is NOT Radio Neglected
    • Playlist is NOT Radio Most Played
    • Playlist is NOT Radio Top Rated
    • Limit 500 MB
    • Order by random

The most important part of the above source playlists is the “Limit” field. We’re using it to tune just how much of each playlist gets into our overall radio playlist. Want to hear more of your favorites? Increase the limit. Now that we’ve got our source playlists set up, we can pour them into our main Radio playlist.

And Finally, Your Radio Station

This is your proper Radio playlist, the one you’ll click “play” on and listen to until it is time for bed.

  • Radio [Whatever!]
    • Match Any of the Following
    • Playlist is Radio New
    • Playlist is Radio Neglected
    • Playlist is Radio Most Played
    • Playlist is Radio Top Rated
    • Playlist is Sprinkler
    • No limit
    • Click the “Shuffle” button

This is the setup we use here at EFHQ North, and it works swimmingly. My own iTunes Radio just played Just Can’t Get Enough by Yaz, followed by Arlo Guthrie’s Los Angeles and R.E.M.’s Crazy. That is awesome. Comments and suggestions go to the usual place.

“Retro-futurist techno hyperstasis”

This is a fairly assessable post by Bruce Sterling on (a)temporality, genres, and kaleidoscope novelty, which culminates in this incredible little salvo:

It’s an ideological and philosophical problem. When do we fully realize that that our “progressives” are conservatives, and that our “conservatives” are panicked radicals? When do we get it that networking is not a way forward, but a web in all directions? That it’s the hyper that creates the stasis?

I know, right? Get this: it’s about music.

[Sponsor?] Dethklok, Brütal Legend

If you enjoy the writing and jackenapery here at Extra Future, perhaps you’d like to make the purchase of some stuff, and help foot the bill, here.

Dethklok: Dethalbum II

Dethalbum II is a much more “serious” attempt at a modern Metal album than Dethklok‘s first effort, The Dethalbum. Brendon Small’s vocals are much more Brendon, and much less Nathan Explosion. It’s faster, there is less emphasis on the big metal drums, and overall less variety than the previous effort. If you already love Dethklok, get the album ($9.99 from Amazon MP3), if not… maybe you shouldn’t have bothered reading this to begin with. Sorry.

Brütal Legend

Double Fine’s Metal Opus doesn’t come out until the 13th, but if you’re still on the fence about buying it, I will just say this: DUDE, WHAT? Watch the first 15 minutes of the game to whet your appetite, then pre-order it from Amazon (Xbox 360, PS3). You will do this, and you will thank me.

Preliminary Notes on Apple’s Recent “It’s Only Rock and Roll” Music Event

In no particular order:

  • App recommendations: Wholly necessary, but we aren’t out of the woods yet regarding App Store curation. I bet there’s a good deal of money to be made just doing that: Curating collections of apps. Boing Boing got huge during the blog boom for curating other blogs, why wouldn’t it work for applications on a still-new platform? Someone’s going to get rich digging down on serious Touch applications.

  • iPod Touch No camera, no mention of 3GS-type speed bump. Kinda got the shaft. I can’t think of a single good reason for not including a camera that doesn’t involve trying to trick people into buying a Nano. Surely they aren’t afraid a (not that great) camera is going to steer fence-sitters from the iPhone to the Touch? Update: It’s now come out that the 8gb ($199) iPod Touch has the older, slightly slower, hardware, and all the others in the Touch line have the upgraded “3GS” innards. You’ll notice on the “Compare iPod Models” page on Apple’s site, the 8gb is sectioned off from his higher-capcity and speedier brothers.

  • iTunes 9 Now with more bloat and cumbersome, non-portable, versions of the extra features that people who illegally download albums already get in more useful formats. Still a 32-bit Carbon app. Gruber was right about WebKit.