Psalm Swarr Story is a beautiful album on bandcamp

“Psalm is the name of a girl, not a band.”  (Psalm myspace page)

psalm swarr story

Psalm Story album art

Psalm is a singer songwriter from the US, based in Israel. The album entitled STORY, is her second studio album and was released on 25 November 2010. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find it online. It has been up on her bandcamp page for quite a while now.

Here is News for us all

The album was produced by Ori Winokur and I had the honor of playing acoustic guitars on it. We recorded it back in 2009 at Haogen studios in Israel. It was a fun session, I remember playing through the whole album in about two sessions. Psalm songs are beautiful, captivating stories (as the title suggests), memories and quite soft ballads. She has a great voice and her sister accompanies on backing vocals to completes the picture. My favorite songs are There I go again and Songs of angels. Some beautiful cello arrangements were played by the wonderful Hadas Kleinman. I think it’s a great album with subtle beauty and I wish it would get more exposure and reach more people. It’s hard to do that with the overflow of music, which is all competing for our attention these days but do give this one a good listen. This jewel is worth it. Listen to the whole album here, and you could also buy it and support the artist directly.

Outside In

 

Reggie Watts incredible solo live show at London’s Union Chapel

Reggie watts is one of those performers who can really pull it off as a soloist. Last week at Union Chapel in London he did just that and was absolutely incredible.

Reggie watts live at Union Chapel London

Reggie watts live at Union Chapel London 2012

I had an amazing time at the show and found myself literally in tears from laughing so hard. The question is why? What is it about this guy that is so compelling and fascinating? and so damn funny?

Not your normal Beatboxer

Yes, Watts is a beatboxer and pretty good at it, looping himself with a few pieces of simple analog equipment and a mic. But the thing is, his show isn’t about that. He’s not trying to show you what an amazing beatboxer he is or do those corny ‘waka waka’ sounds that everyone is tired of already. He is truly an entertainer. Whatever he does in between his “tracks” is so funny, interesting, thought provoking, that you find yourself not really caring if he’s going to beat box or not. You’re just glued to his act the whole time.

So what are you so good at?

I think Watts has a killer combination of a few great talents and It’s not just one thing. He could very well be a singer (great soulful voice), a stand up comedian with wonderful insights and impeccable comic timing or he could easily be an actor, as his presence is so strong on stage. His stand up style reminded me sometimes of the Flight of the conchords and sometimes a mix of many other stand comedians, from Richard Prior to Eddie Murphy. There’s always something there though, some meaning and some comment on whatever it is he’s on about.

Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts

Watts makes everyone in the audience think they could be his best friend, and that’s a big part of the magic of a great performer (somebody said Obama?). The show flew by and the London crowd got exactly what they came for – pure entertainment and music from an intelligent, brilliant performer.

Let’s hope he comes back soon to a venue just like that, before they start booking him into the O2.

Here’s some more Reggie Watts

Ableton Live 9, A new track based on Yuvi Gerstein guitar sample, Oded Kafri is the drum machine, new music recommendations

1. A few weeks ago I released a free sample pack of quirky jazzy guitar samples of my own creation. It was a lot of fun to make the pack and the attention it received around the web was great and quite surprising too. Now here comes a first track based on one of the samples from that free pack. The track called “It’s only entertainment” was produced by Roy Stoler and has just been released on his soundcloud. Have a listen -

2. German software company Ableton has finally announced the long awaited update to their incredibly popular software called LIVE. Live 9 comes after quite a few years of Live 8 being one of the most popular software for new musicians, DJs and instrumentalists. As an Ableton fan and a user of live since version 6, I’m excited about the new announcement and can’t wait to get my hands on the new version. Check out some new features of Live 9  –

and the new controller called “Push” which was also announced today.

3. The Drum Machine is a project (And a lifestyle :) created by the incredible drummer Oded Kafri. I have had the privilege to work with Kafri over the past year and see him develop his solo act using his Mapex drum kit and Ableton as his controller.

I produced a lot of tracks for him and an EP entitled “Street Life” and helped him promote his project on every aspect possible. In the past year he has also become a Youtube phenomenon with over 1.2m views of his crazy drumming videos. His latest promo film will be released in the next few days and posted here, but in the mean time here is one of his most popular videos (443K) playing a street session on Liverpool street in London.

4. A new discovery I made through the Guardian app on Spotify. It is the singer Martha Tilston, with a voice and melodies which remind me of Joni Mitchel and other 60’s folk artists. Her latest album entitled “Machines of love and grace” is up on Spotify and probably all of the other outlets out there on the web. I think she sounds great and enjoying her music, it’s old and new and fresh and is perfect for me at the moment.

Here is her song Stagg Bellow -

5. Oh and lastly, If you haven’t heard Yuvi Gerstein’s latest remix for Method Man as part of the RZA new film, The man with the iron fists,  check it out right here.Please press that LIKE button on Facebook.

A great new video by Jviewz – Rivers and homes

Jviewz Rivers and Homes

Jviewz Rivers and Homes

I‘ve been following my friend Jonathan Dagan (Jviewz) for a few years now. When he moved to New York in 2008 we had a few gigs together with my band Coolooloosh and his Jviewz and I always admired his talent and ambitions to make his mark on the music business. Since then his project has just exploded, as he kept making all the right moves, using his talents and combining it with great internet marketing (work in progress) and it’s gone viral and build up a huge fan base around the world. Now comes this new video from the beautiful album Rivers and homes. It’s a great video and I’m seeing it going viral already. Check it out and visit Jviewz on facebook and their website for more details.

2000 photos, 300 fans (no computer fakery..)
Saw yourself? Get Tagged (and free mp3): http://www.jviewz.com/tag

Taken from the album rivers and homes: http://www.jviewz.com
Directed by Shelly Carmel, Eran Amir, Jonathan Dagan.
DOP: Hunter Baker | Editing: Elan Golod | Styling: Karin Elgai
Production: Matt Leiderman (USA) | Eran Amir (Israel)
Color Correction: Jonathan Dagan | Color Correction (Photos): Yair Cohen
Post: COPA Network | AC: Sam Pyra, Peter Steusloff, Taylor Baker
Lighting & Grip: Mark Solomon, Zach Stoltzfus | HMU: Liz Furlong

Beastie Boys Adam Yauch AKA MCA passed away aged only 47

Adam Yauch AKA MCAA hero of mine passed away today. Adam Yauch was one third of the Beastie Boys. Definitely one of my first influences getting into music. It’s so sad to hear he passed away from cancer at the age of 48. I saw the Beastie Boys live as a kid in 1995 in Tel Aviv. I was a young kid just about 16 years old. I loved Hip Hop funk and Jazz. The Beastie boys were all that and then some. As a guitarist it was incredible for me to see a hip hop group that could actually play instruments and I was so influenced by their style of playing/jamming. My favorite albums were Check your head, The in sound from way out! (Great instrumental album) and Ill communication. I never liked Fight for your right so much. It was a bit cheesy to my taste, but the albums that followed and the live shows were just awesome. So much energy, so much groove, great lyrics and a great flow. So, there you have it, after battling with cancer for the past three years, MCA passed away. Thanks for making great music and great music videos ( He directed most of the Beastie’s videos), and inspiring a generation of young musicians including myself. RIP Adam Yauch.


Everything is a Remix

Kirby Ferguson - Creator of "Everything is a remix"

Kirby Ferguson - Creator of "Everything is a remix"

Everything is a remix‘ an independent film in four parts (fourth part just released a few days ago) by Kirby Ferguson.

The film explores about how everything we do in art, inventions, innovations and technology is essentially a remix. The first part, which I found most interesting deals with remixing in music. Ferguson treats influences and remakes in music as remixing. I guess for the ease of discussion it’s probably a good idea, as it simplifies matters. He shows examples of how Led Zeppelin basically “remixed” or bluntly stole songs from other artists and made them their own without giving any credit to the original creators.Zeppelin themselves were then massively sampled and remixed and examples of that also appear in the film.
Here is the first part:

PART 1 – The song remains the same

The main point of the first part is that this thing called remixing is an essential part of society’s evolution. Nothing is created in a blank space. Everything influences everything. That’s how we advance as a culture, and it’s totally OK. What’s twisted about it is the fact that corporations and lawyers make a business out of copyright laws and intellectual property. Treating ideas as property is the problem in my view. You learn from everything around you and you create your own art, inventions, techniques, based on what you’ve learned. It’s such a basic concept. I mean to put it simply, we learn language by copying what we hear. Would we ever consider language to be an intellectual property that must be protected by law?

The films are of a high quality and I found them fascinating. I salute K Ferguson for making them and hope he makes more films in the future. Here are the other three sections of the film.

PART 2 – Remix Inc.

PART 3 – The elements of Creativity

PART 4 – System Failure

Visit the official website and donate to Ferguson’s project.

 

High Expectations, A film by Liron Kroll

      Liron Kroll is an extremely talented graphic designer and animator based in London. She has created a beautiful and poetic film weaved with a combination of live shots and hybrid backgrounds, thus creating a dark atmosphere that is appealing and yet disturbing all at once.

The film was made as part of Kroll’s MA course at the Royal college of art.

Kroll’s description of the work:

“High Expectation focuses on society’s depiction of femininity in the context of family photography, and the gap between the idealized photograph and the reality it represents.The film questions the role of family photography as the key way to form memories and examines the effect it can have on one’s perception of the future.
People take the same photographs and most family albums look alike. The film visits some of these iconic family photos scenarios, feeding of the tension and dissonance created through the staging of mundane moments in life.”

 

Credits:

A film by Liron Kroll
Royal College of Art, London, 2011

Featuring: Ifat Fux, Shahaf Mayron, Robert Fresson
Original Music by Frank Ilfman
Sound Design: Soho Sonic
Design and animation: Liron Kroll
Additional Animation: Yosi Shilon
Stylist: Minna Attala

Watch the making of this video here.

Can’t we be friends?

I have been using UK music jobs for a while now but just recently found a way to make it work for me. I found that little button that sends a friend request to musicians listed there. I blogged about it on UK music jobs site.

“I recommend a change of mind set to all of you registered users of this site. Stop waiting to be discovered and start making your career happen for you. Whilst Music Jobs is not Facebook or Twitter, nor does it claim to be, you could still connect to anyone who is listed here and search for the most relevant people to you and in the area where you live. Once you do that I’m confident that you will find some real value in the site and the membership fee (which a lot of people complain about) would seem insignificant.”

READ MORE.

 

Bjork Biophilia app and the future of the music industry

When asked about the future of the music industry Brian Eno said in a recent interview to BBC news; “The future is in apps”. If the future is in apps then Bjork is the first artist to fully embrace that future by releasing the first interactive “app album” Biophilia.

Biophilia for iphone
Biophilia for iphone

I recently bought this app on my iphone and found it actually did change the way I listen to new music. There is so much music being released everyday, streaming from endless radio stations, spotify, itunes, youtube..it could drive anyone insane.

Given this stream of music attacking you from all sides and fighting for your attention I think something about the album experience gets lost. I mean, lets face it, when was the last time you listened to a full length album without doing anything else? no facebook, no twitter, no pausing to watch some other youtube video…It’s been a while right? That’s exactly why I think this new app by Bjork is brilliant.

The app is basically a constellation of stars and each star is a song you can tap and enter. Inside that star you can listen to the song along with simple but appealing animation, or play a game with the song as a background, or in some cases play a sort of instrument that was used in the song. Oh, and the songs are pretty damn good too.

I found myself watching the animation, looking at the screen, reading the lyrics, following the movements of the voice and the instruments. I don’t think I’ve listened to a song so seriously in a long time. Or maybe I’m just so used to multitasking that having something visual at the same time as listening to the song just makes it more engaging. The thing is there are a few options for exploring the song, reading an essay about it, watching the score as it plays or reading the lyrics. It makes you want to go through the different activities and by the end of it you feel like you actually know the album and connect it to as a visual experience as well.

Visuals from the biophilia app

 This new way of distributing music is a step forward and it demonstrates how new technology could be used for the benefit of the music and the artists. We shouldn’t be afraid and stick with the old models. If people don’t want to buy the plastic anymore then maybe we shouldn’t be selling it. I paid £7 for this app, which is what I would have paid for a regular CD but I felt I got much more than that and in the process I thoroughly listened to a new album.

Bjork invested her own money (quite a lot) into this project and along with an app developing company that collaborated with her broke some new ground in the effort to make music consumption up to date and more engaging.

     I’d take this kind of app anytime if I had to choose between that or a bunch of files that would most likely get buried in my huge itunes library probably forever. The CD is still available and just listening to that would be good enough for some people, but I feel like if I don’t get that extra value these days it’s just too easy to lose interest and move on to the next thing.

Pete Townshend says Apple is a “Digital Vampire”

“A creative person would prefer their music to be stolen and enjoyed than ignored. This is the dilemma for every creative soul: he or she would prefer to starve and be heard than to eat well and be ignored.” Pete Townshend, The Who.

This quote was published on nme.com this morning. Townshend reflects on the musician’s dilemma between exposure and making a living in the music business. He’s obviously from the old generation of musicians and one of the lucky ones that actually made an amazing living off his music and the sales of his band’s albums. He calls apple a “digital vampire” with its complete control over the digital download world and high commission rates.

I think it’s a bit old fashioned of Townshend to oppose this new world that we’re living in where everything is social, everything is shared and everything is immediately made available. In my view Apple should do more to use its power to encourage young new artists and musicians to keep creating and have the ability to make money from their music. On the other hand, Apple actually saved a lot of the music industry back when it was all Napster and pirate downloads were ruining the industry completely.

Maybe thinking of new ways to distribute and engage people with new music (like Bjork’s app world for example) would be the way forward. Exciting times indeed.

Read the article on nme.com and post your comments here.