Music isn’t made the same way, anymore

❝ It’s Grammy time, and as always, watching the awards ceremony…will include a subtext of cross-generational carping: “They don’t make music the way they used to,” the boomers and Gen Xers will mutter. And they’ll be right. Music today, at least most of it, is fundamentally different from what it was in the days of yore — the 1970s and 80s.

❝ Last year, the industry celebrated a sales milestone. The RIAA certified that the Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975),” was the best-selling album of all time…the album, released almost exactly 43 years ago, was the first to be awarded platinum status…an evocative reminder that songs were once commodities so valuable that millions of people would even buy them in repackaged form. It was also a taken as a quiet victory for people who believe that music today is too loud…

❝ By “too loud,” I don’t mean you can’t crank the Eagles, if that’s your thing. I’m talking about loudness as a measure of sound within a particular recording. Our ears perceive loudness in an environment by reflexively noting the dynamic range — the difference between the softest and loudest sounds…A loud environment in this sense is one with a limited dynamic range — highs that peak very high, and lows that aren’t much lower…Compression boosts the quieter parts and tamps down louder ones to create a narrower range…

RTFA. For there has been and continues to be a war over sound. The sound landscape has never been more varied – from the audiophile with big bucks and peers and who can only afford to supplement the CDs they still buy, radio stations they listen to streamed online — to walking around music fans from hip-hop to classical listening through earbuds.

Jimmy Page’s Dragon Guitar Reborn

Here’s what Page’s axe looked and sounded like in 1968

❝ Fender instruments on Wednesday gave the public its first look at its recreation of a Telecaster guitar that Page once painted with a dragon, a long-lost piece of six-string history that marked the guitar hero’s last days in the Yardbirds and first days in Led Zeppelin.

❝ The instrument with the psychedelic green-and-red serpent on its body represents “a pivotal moment for the guitar and music,” said Paul Waller, the master builder who worked side-by-side with Page to make him a spot-on match of the guitar before making 50 more by hand to sell to the public.

❝ The reboot was hatched when Page was looking through photographs for a book celebrating last year’s 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin. The dragon guitar, which he says was once his “Excalibur,” kept popping up in them, and he started to think it was time to get past his bitterness about its fate…

❝ The 1959 Telecaster, pre-paint, had been a cherished gift from his fellow former Yardbird bandmate Jeff Beck…

Page first decorated it with mirrors, then pulled out poster paints and used his art-school skills to summon the dragon.

He would use the guitar to write and record songs like “Dazed and Confused” for the first Led Zeppelin album, work as significant as any in the history of the electric guitar.

But a clueless house-sitter, not thinking much of Page’s painting, put his own mosaic artwork over the dragon and presented it to Page as a gift. Page said it was all he could do not to hit the guy over the head with it. Instead, he stripped it bare and angrily threw it into storage, where it sat for 50 years.

RTFA for the tale of rebirth courtesy of the guitar builders at Fender.

Get hip to Mongolian Rock!

❝ A band from Mongolia that blends the screaming guitars of heavy metal and traditional Mongolian guttural singing has picked up 7 million views for its two videos.

Leather jackets, skull rings and bandannas alongside intricately carved Mongolian horsehead fiddles are just some of the images in the first two music videos the Mongolian band The Hu released on YouTube this fall…

❝ As the Soviet Union crumbled and Western influence flooded in during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mongolian musicians chose to preserve Mongolian culture while also adapting new influences, explains University of Chicago ethnomusicology doctoral student Thalea Stokes…

“Mongolians are not just taking elements from Western music and just copying and pasting,” says Stokes. Instead, they’re using some of these elements and making their own authentic music.

“So it’s not rock music performed by Mongolians. It’s Mongolian rock music,” she says.

It rocks. It’s real. An authentic sound introduced to Western ears.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

NASA’s “nice” robot on the International Space Station — ain’t so nice

❝ It’s supposed to be a plastic pal who’s fun to be with.

CIMON isn’t much to look at. It’s just a floating ball with a cartoonish face on its touch screen. It’s built to be a personal assistant for astronauts working on the International Space Station…It’s also supposed to be a friend.

❝ CIMON appears to have decided he doesn’t like the whole personal assistant thing.

He’s turned uncooperative.

RTFA for interaction between CIMON and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst. Which doesn’t go well. Not as uptight as things became between HAL and Dave. Yet.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Kim Jong Un put a spell on our Fake President


Getty Images

President Donald Trump says he and Kim Jong Un “fell in love” after the North Korean leader wrote him “beautiful letters” and characterized the U.S. as having “a very good relationship” with North Korea.

The president’s comments, at a political rally Saturday night in Wheeling, W.Va., came just hours after a North Korean official said talks between the countries had deadlocked. The U.S. wants North Korea to dismantle its nuclear-arms program.

“Without any trust in the U.S., there will be no confidence in our national security and under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first,” North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, told the U.N. General Assembly earlier Saturday.

Bonus: Pretty solid recording of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I put a spell on you!”

Uptown Funk Mashup

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Here’s the list of performers…

1. [1] Red-Headed Woman (1932) – Jean Harlow.
2. [2] The Littlest Rebel (1935) – Shirley Temple and Bill Robinson.
3. [3] The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) – Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
4. [4] Sensations of 1945 – David Lichine and Eleanor Powell.
5. [5] Broadway Melody of 1940 – Fred Astaire. 6
6. [6] Honolulu (1939) – Eleanor Powell and Gracie Allen.
7. Broadway Melody of 1940 – Fred Astaire.
8. [7] Lady Be Good (1941) – Eleanor Powell.
9. [8] Girl Crazy (1943) – Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
10. [9] You Were Never Lovelier (1942) – Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire.
11. Broadway Melody of 1940 – Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire.
12. [10] Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) – Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly.
13. [11] Colleen (1936) – Ruby Keeler and Paul Draper.
14. [12] Gilda (1946) – Rita Hayworth.
15. [13] It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) – Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Durante.
16. [14] Animal Crackers (1930) – Groucho Marx.
17. [15] For Me and My Gal (1942) – Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.
18. [16] Summer Stock (1950) – Judy Garland.
19. [17] The Little Princess (1939) – Shirley Temple.
20. The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) – Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
21. [18] Easter Parade (1948) – Ann Miller.
22. [19] Second Chorus (1940) – Fred Astaire.
23. [20] Footlight Parade (1933) – James Cagney and Ruby Keeler.
24. [21] Kiss Me Kate (1953) – Bob Fosse and Carol Haney.
25. [22] The Pirate (1948) – Gene Kelly and the Nicholas Brothers.
26. [23] Carefree (1938) – Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
27. [24] On the Town (1949) – Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller & Vera Ellen.
28. [25] Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929) – unidentified. Any suggestions?
29. [26] The Gay Divorcee (1934) – Fred Astaire.
30. [27] A Day at the Races (1937) – Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.
31. [28] Go Into Your Dance (1935) – Al Jolson.
32. [29] Stormy Weather (1943) – the Nicholas Brothers.
33. [30] Babes on Broadway (1941) – Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
34. [31] Ship Ahoy (1942) – Eleanor Powell.
35. [32] The Sky’s the Limit (1943) – Fred Astaire.
36. [33] Small Town Girl (1953) – Bobby Van.
37. [34] Anchors Aweigh (1945) – Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
38. [35] Show Boat (1936) – Sammy White and Queenie Smith.
39. [36] Top Hat (1935) – Fred Astaire.
40. [37] Broadway Melody of 1936 – Eleanor Powell.
41. [38] Roberta (1935) – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
42. [39] Love ’em and Leave ’em (1926) – Louise Brooks.
43. [40] Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly.
44. [41] Babes in Arms (1939) – Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
45. [42] 42nd Street (1933) – chorus.
46. [43] Till the Clouds Roll By (1946) – Judy Garland.
47. [44] The Band Wagon (1953) – Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire.
48. [45] Born to Dance (1936) – Eleanor Powell.
49. Broadway Melody of 1936 – Eleanor Powell.
50. Honolulu (1939) – Eleanor Powell.
51. [46] Rosalie (1937) – Eleanor Powell.
52. [47] Swing Time (1936) – Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
53. [48] Ziegfeld Follies (1945) – Lucille Ball (with whip).
54. Top Hat (1935) – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
55. [49] Follow the Fleet (1936) – Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
56. [50] Cover Girl (1944) – Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth and Phil Silvers.
57. [51] Thousands Cheer (1943) – Eleanor Powell.
58. Anchors Aweigh (1945) – Jerry Mouse and Gene Kelly.
59. [52] Royal Wedding (1951) – Fred Astaire.
60. [53] Way out West (1937) – Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel.
61. [54] The Red Shoes (1948) – Moira Shearer.
62. [55] Blue Skies (1946) – Fred Astaire.
63. [56] Boarding House Blues (1948) – the Berry Brothers.
64. [57] Panama Hattie (1942) – the Berry Brothers.
65. [58] The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) – Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
66. [59] Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) – James Cagney.
67. [60] Broadway Melody of 1938 – Buddy Ebsen, Eleanor Powell and George Murphy.
68. [61] An American in Paris (1951) – Georges Guétary.
69. [62] The Little Colonel (1935) – Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple.
70. Stormy Weather (1943) – the Nicholas Brothers.
71. [63] Shall We Dance? (1937) – Fred Astaire
72. Easter Parade (1948) – Fred Astaire.
73. [64] On the Avenue (1937) – the Ritz Brothers.
74. [65] Hellzapoppin’ (1941) – Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.
75. Lady Be Good (1941) – Eleanor Powell.
76. Stormy Weather (1943) – the Nicholas Brothers.
77. Panama Hattie (1942) – the Berry Brothers.
78. Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly.
79. Stormy Weather (1943) – the Nicholas Brothers.
80. Panama Hattie (1942) – the Berry Brothers.
81. [66] That’s Entertainment, Part 2 (1976) – Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.
82. Ziegfeld Follies (1945) – Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.
83. That’s Entertainment, Part 2 (1976) – Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.