Bandcamp fills the void!

http://bandcamp.com/

Holy crap, this is impressive. It's what I hoped Muxtape would do. And people who follow my critiques of music websites know that I'm very hard to please.

What I like about the Bandcamp website / service:

1) MINIMAL BRANDING. On a band page there is very little branding by bandcamp (only at the bottom of the page).
2) GOOD LAYOUT. The standard layout is great and puts the emphasis on graphics and the music player, which is all that matters.
3) DOWNLOAD OPTIONS. A visitor can choose what format they want to download a track - OGG, FLAC, MP3, etc.
4) RETAIL OPTIONS. A band can give away a low quality MP3 but charge $1.00 or whatever they want for a higher quality download. Simple and effective. The band has total control over the pricing and options for selling their music.
5) BAND TOOLS. This is where they've nailed it. They provide statistics for where songs are being linked from and who is listening to the songs and provide graphs over time. This allows a band to figure out how their music is spreading across the web and see trends. This is the void that has been missing from all previous music sites!

I'm really amazed that Bandcamp was able to balance two incredibly tough aspects of music sites: 1) making it simple enough for a visitor/fan so that they are 100% engaged in the music right away and 2) providing incredible tools for a band to make the most out of posting and selling their music online.

The one thing missing (hey there has to be one thing) is that it'd be great if a band could customize the domain name. *EDIT* Nevermind, actually I just looked again, and it looks like you can. So instead of zirafamusic.bandcamp.com I can simply use zirafamusic.com - fantastic.

So far, I can't find anything they've done wrong. It's simple, powerful, and seems very usable. Plus, the people behind this seem to have a sense of humor which is a plus. I will seriously consider using this for my next release. I would be very happy indeed if this would mean more time for music making and less fiddling with my site.

Here is the video that sold me.

I need to start playing more gigs.

More gigs is better then less gigs and supremely better than zero gigs.

Theta Blast (from the past)

Video for Theta Blast, a song off my first album Makeshift Drifters, circa 2000. Uploaded by Doruk. This video was done so long ago my memory is a bit fuzzy about it...video by Asif and Doruk ('s shadow), starring confused staff at Zeros.

Kind of Bloop

Pretty cool thing here:


http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/waxpancake/kind-of-bloop-an-8-bit-tribute-to-miles-davis

The 8-bit thing officially has momentum (at least in my world sphere). After seeing Blipfest 2007 I've noticed more and more links being passed my way that relate to 8-bit-ish things. It has influenced my own music. And then there is this weird merging of 8-bit blippy styles and L.A. sloppy hip hop thing happening. I would credit 2 Player Productions for the recent 8-bit pandemic :D.

But yea pretty cool project to try and interpret something as organic and straight up spacey and chill as "Kind of Blue". So far chiptunes style music has tended to be pretty upbeat and super energetic, frenetic, with little room for silence. Kind of Blue is all about subtleties, silence, and dynamics, and presents an interesting challenge for chiptune makers.

The other thing that is cool is that they've raised over $5000 for the project when the goal was $2000, and there is still several months left before the fundraising is over. It's cool to see alternative music funding schemes put into practice (after yapping about it a lot on this site) and yielding pretty awesome results. I'll have to check out kickstarter.com more later.

Works in Progress

I have a really, really, really backed up queue of songs/beats/noise I'm working on or little things I make that have no place to go. I figure every once in a while I should post some of these so that I don't forget about them and maybe, just maybe, actually finish them. Here are a few.

1 Zirafa and Rahul - Demo 2-19-08
Rahul wrote this song and played guitar and bass, I played drums and keyboard, we recorded it last year in my (short lived) rehearsal space.

2 Zirafa and Rahul - Roopy 2-29-08
I sampled Rahul playing guitar and did this weird dubby thing.

3 Zirafa - Cut Jeans Remix
A short little remix of Blue Jeans by Spinnerty/Bozak.

4 Zirafa - Chatterhead E
This is a dubsteppy/blippy B-Side from Hipshooters.

5 Zirafa - 87-3 Peru
I was workin on this beat for a remix but it wasn't working. p.s. psychedelic peruvian music is hot.

Actually just taking the time to look for some of these tracks, I discovered a bunch of pretty solid jams I want to develop more and potentially release! It's a good sign if I thought about posting something here but didn't because I don't want to reveal it yet.

Grown Kids Radio, Audiozine, OD Release

The Grown Kids are a rag tag crew of DJing, producing, beat making, bike riding, youth mentoring, in the cut laying individuals that are all making things happen in the 'Sco on their own. When they combine like Voltron, it's curtains for any wanna-be's. They all put in steady work to throw events, put out records, and bring new sounds to the Bay and beyond. Each member of GKR brings years of radio experience to the table, they feel right at home behind the boards producing high quality broadcasts.

So far the GKR Podcast is blowin' me away. And not just because Spinnerty is one of the members, although I am taken back to my college days listenin to Needle Drops. And not just cause my Jazzanova remix is featured in the latest podcast & the intro music includes a beat-in-progress. :D

But anyway the show doesn't need my endorsement, just check out the latest podcast. I've attached a snippet of the show highlighting one of my favorite tracks they played (Heralds of Change - Spotted). Hotness!

As if the GKR podcast wasn't enough, Kaveh's posted up some awesome mixness up at Audiozine.org, and Orange Drink has started the serial song release of his newest album over at Orange Drink Music.

I've been busy pickin up some part-time work and trying to launch Soapbox Music. Hope to post some Soapbox and music related news soon, stay tuned!

Attached audio files: 

Songs that Just Stick

My sis put me on to the Pilooski remix of Frankie Valli's 1968 hit "Beggin'" a few months back which, along with the Madcon cover of the same tune, were supposed big hits last year. But per usual I'm late to the game on hearing chart hits (I think I was about a year late on hearing "Hey Ya" and my excitement with that track was met with groans from everyone I knew who had already been saturated by it). Anyway watching Hulu recently they have been featuring the Pilooski remix of "Beggin'" on the syrupy Adidas NYC party commercial thing which again, you've all probably already seen a million times.

I think from all the versions I've heard, the original Franki Vallie recording is still best. It's the perfect length and has just enough changes to keep it interesting but repeats the main theme so many times you have the song stuck in your head for days. What's also weird is that Frankie Valli is usually known for sugary pop ballads (Can't Take My Eyes Off of You) so the upbeat-meets-dark-esque flavor is unusual.

The track is great because it feels like it bridges two worlds, one hanging on to the corner doo-wop, happy-go-lucky sounds of the '50s, and that of the much more chaotic '60s, and perhaps even foreshadowing beyond. The song is about love lost, and maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but I think it could be a metaphor for any fracture in time which leaves one stuck, angry, and wishing for change. And that energy for wanting change propels the track forward furiously through the years, giving it meaning 40 years later.

That and the beat is hot as hell.

Franki Valli - Beggin'

"Nice" Lobster

ChipFun

Yo yo yo yo yo check out some sweet new (chip)tunes available now at Hemlockrecords.com.

Seasonal Affective (free download!)
"about // Written and recorded over the course of an unusually harsh winter in New York City, Seasonal Affective reunites the musicians behind Fade to Fall, a six-track interpretation of the transition from Summer to Fall, for the second installment in a four-part series. Featuring guest appearances by composers Neil Voss and Bubblyfish, the compilation spans the full narrative of the season, taking you from the night of the first snowfall to biting winds bearing muddy sleet and ending with the first day you don't need a scarf anymore."

Fade to Fall (free download!)
Also, Fade to Fall EP now available for preorder, featuring some ultra-hot Orange Drink remixes. You can still download it for free though! Or watch the music video below.
"about // music // Written and recorded over the course of September 2008, the Fade to Fall EP offers six unique interpretations of the transition from Summer to Fall. At times both mournful and celebratory, the compilation represents the confluence of several relative newcomers to New York's vibrant and long-standing chiptune community, many of whom are officially releasing their material for the first time. The last half hour of daylight is the recommended listening time."

Fade to Fall (Audio|Visual Release) from Hemlock Records on Vimeo.

Fast Food Tapas

The plan was to meet for some bubble tea. Aaron, Kaveh, and I rendezvoused at Lynnhaven Mall food court per the usual random suburban meeting spot.

BTW, that place is crazy now. Or feels crazier than I remember. The place is swarming with high schoolers walking around very slowly loudly gabbing away and pointing at each other, while rent-a-cops are milling about in large brimmed hats trying to look important. Occasionally they'll approach several kids sitting at one of the tables and mention that they are not allowed to sit there if they are not eating, drinking, or shopping. So the kids get up and join the others slowly walking in a big circle around the food court, gabbing and pointing all the way. A bizarre ritual.

The bubble tea kinda sucks at Lynnhaven mall because if you order the slushy/smoothie kind the tapioca balls freeze. I've never seen that happen at any other place - they must be trying to save money with lower quality tapioca balls. Anyway Aaron and I weren't really feeling it so we started talking about other possibilities. Share a big pile-o-waffle fries? Nuggets?? Oh so many terrible options. And then we had one of those extraordinarily rare moments of brilliance that can really only happen in Virginia Beach.

Fast Food Tapas!!!!

Ok ok ok ok I know it sounds gross. And it kinda was. And it kinda sucked. But it was also amazing. And the best idea ever.

We split up for about 10 minutes, our mission was to find two small orders of food to bring back to the group.

Aaron bought: chicken nuggets and waffle fries
Kaveh bought: sushi and bubble tea (split into 3 small cups)
I bought: bbq wings and Philippine noodles.

Ugh. Actually now that I think about it I can't believe we ate all that shit at once. Gross. But NECESSARY. You don't just come up with an idea like that and not do it, ya know?

Anyway we sat and talked about the Bead-to-Boob exchange rate (for another time) and finished up. Got kicked out by rent-a-cop since we no longer could prove we were eating, and then went in a Christian clothing store. Weird thing, that store. Shirts with Jesus written in graffiti font and semi-hip fashion accessory items. The employees are pushing the shirts, but also trying to push Jesus and talk to you about your spiritual beliefs. The little metal hook device the guy had to bring down the shirts kiiinda made him look like a shepherd. Just sayin! Weird times. Suburban adventure!