Enjoy Tom Beek playing some midnight jazz

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Sound like yourself

Found this video through a link to an article placed in my Gmail next to a Steely Dan newsletter I was reading this morning. Features former Dan guitarist Wayne Krantz in a documentary on French national television where he explains that in order to sound like himself he had to let go of everything he loved so much. Beautifully said. And watch drummer Keith Carlock as well, this guy rocks big time.

“Our highest-quality format”

So, the new standard on iTunes has become iTunes Plus. Files purchased at Apple’s store before this move were encoded at a rate of 128 kbps in Apple’s AAC format. With iTunes Plus, they doubled the rate to 256 kbps.

iTunes Plus

So what? Well, this is still a lossy file format which means the quality is not as good as with the original lossless files used on CD’s for example. So, if you want to be able to replay your digital music files on a high end stereo set like I do with the best possible audio result, this is still not the way to go. I will stick with CD’s – for now – and import them using Apple’s lossless format. Do you use iTunes as well for your digital music management and want to know more about these file formats? Check out this forum and this wiki.

BTW I imported my complete 500+ CD collection into iTunes 3 years ago in iTunes using a lossy format. Wasn’t aware of the way it would limit me at the time. Ouch. Maybe this post will prevent you from making the same mistake as I did back then.

So, if someone knows about a ripping service like this one which also covers Europe, Apple Lossless and will cost me less than say $500 you will make my day 🙂 Or maybe a nice job to submit at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk 😉

Musician alert

I’m looking for a way to get alerts for news on my favourite musicians, e.g. if they are coming to Holland, releasing new albums, are featured in special online and offline events events like TV show appearances etc. IO want one feed in my reader for every artist I would like to follow.

Currently, I have to watch a lot of different sources to keep my eye on them: mailing lists of separate artists, the agendas of venues like Paradiso etc. As far as I know I cannot do that from Last.fm, the Hypemachine, or iTunes etc.

Anyone?

Remarkable Erykah

Went to see Erykah Badu last Wednesday in Paradiso, Amsterdam. It was, well, how do you say….. inspiring. Not all songs she played did it for me, but there were a lot of highlights like ‘Me’ – album version with Roy Hargrove on trumpet!, ‘The Cell’, and ‘Soldier’, all from her latest album ‘New Amerykah, Part 1 (4th World War)’, and ‘On & On’ from her album ‘Baduizm’. Besides, she brought a lot of energy to the gig, which worked out very well between her and the audience mainly because of her dominant and positive personality. She really fills up the stage. And boy, what a voice.

Check out this song, ‘Soldier‘, from her latest album, at my Tumblr page. And check out a short video I made with my N70 of the song ‘On & On’ although the quality is really poor, apologies for that.

And as always, remarkable things polarize: there are lovers and haters (Dutch only). At least, a show to remember!

Theremin magic

I read an interview (Dutch only) by Jan Volaard with Dave Grohl, ex-Nirvana drummer and current front man of Foo Fighters, in Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad last week. Nice read.

It tells about Jan Vollaard’s experimentation with an instrument called the Theremin. Had never heard about it before. Apparently, it’s one of the first electronic instruments invented in 1919. Basically, it’s a transistor radio with two antennas. In between the antennas a magnetic field is created. You get a specific frequency by moving one hand and a certain volume by moving the other. It took Vollaard a few years to master the instrument that you might know from the song ‘Good Vibrations’ by the Beach Boys.

At the end of the interview he shows the Theremin to Grohl and demonstrates how it works by playing the Dutch national anthem. Grohl decides to take his turn and plays around with the Theremin for a minute or two after which he plays a flawless version of the “Stars Spangled Banner”. Brilliant story.

After reading the interview I couldn’t stop thinking about it and was very curious to see how this instrument worked. This is one of the clips featuring the Theremin I found at YouTube.

Who’s your momma?

Wow, this was a show to remember. Yesterday evening Roos and Ed (thanks for the invitation guys!), Jeroen (thanks for the ride :-)) and I went to the second and final concert of Anouk in the Gelredome in Arnhem, Holland. And it was very impressive. It definitely entered my concert top-10.

Anouk was really good: her voice was brilliant, I didn’t hear one false note. And her new band was great as well. Very tight sound, and they played with a lot of energy. Also, the lights were done tastefully.

A show of Anouk these days isn’t only about rocking the place. There also were a lot of ballads, which isn’t surprising if you know her last two albums ‘Hotel New York’ and ‘Who’s your momma?’. But fear not: the two guitars were really going wild in Jerusalem, one of my favourite tracks on HNY.

Check out a review with set list here and listen to a radio interview here which was done last week (Dutch only).

Off course, I Tumbled, Twittered, YouTubed and Flickered my way through the whole experience. And you might want to check out this video I made of the ballad ‘Sacrifice’ halfway through the show. It starts just after the intro and consists of the remainder of the 4-minute-song.