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music

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Buying music online is a bad deal

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An insightful comment by Richard Stallman, originally published in the Guardian:

Danny Kelly says good riddance to HMV because it was sickly for some years before it died. I suggest however that the fact it took time to die does not make its loss (and that of its high street competitors) any less regrettable. What replaced them is a disaster for freedom.

I miss stores like HMV because I could go there with cash, buy records (usually CDs), and take them home as mine. These large stores had a wide range of music, and I could listen to records in-store (mostly music I had never heard of) to find what I liked. Once I had bought the records, I was free to give or lend them to friends. Under copyright law, I could even copy them, to audio tapes in the old days, and give those to my friends. All this without the state’s knowing anything about it.

You can’t buy music that way on the internet. You are forced to identify yourself to the seller (and to Big Brother, watching over his shoulder) — and if it’s not a CD, you have to sign a restrictive contract which denies you the rights we all enjoyed. I say “you” because I won’t go there.

For those who love both music and freedom, today’s form of internet sales is out of the question, which leaves ever fewer opportunities for us to buy music. Aside from disks sold by musicians, and a few surviving large record stores such as Amoeba in San Francisco, the only way a self-respecting person should get copies of music is through digital sharing.

The superficial convenience of internet music sales is the bait; in the UK, the Digital Economy Act is the jaws. And HMV was the safe and ethical road to music, which a society focused on the short term has not kept open.

Copyright 2013 Richard Stallman. Released under Creative Commons Attribution Nonderivatives 3.0

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Jarre and experimental instruments

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Enjoying a concert by Jean Michel Jarre recently, I got musing over his many innovative and experimental ways of controlling the music. Including signature instruments like the laser harp, theremin, but also more conventional boxes, like the Minimoog and various Moog synthesisers, the ARP 2600, the Moog Liberation keytar synthesizer, Korg Mini Pops, and Roland HPD-15 Handsonic Percussion Controller, an iPad, and much more.

For even more experimental instruments, see the Elixir and Home Made Labor acts. They make they own instruments, sample it, tweak it, and create ambient sound-scapes. At a live performance a few years ago, they would mould and shape the sound as they went along, slowly adding complexity ad-hoc.  Here’s a video where they go into a bit of detail.

Finally, while digging up some of this, I came across to other Zurich based projects: domizil, and ICST. I don’t know much about either, but domizil has a few CDs out. Might be worth looking into.

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BPM beat counter

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Simple is beautiful! Who needs fragile BPM software when you can do the counting yourself!? Here’s two online BPM (beats per minute) counters where you hit a key for each beat. The form will give you the average BPM.

For the mouse:
http://www.b-boys.com/classic/beatcounter.html

For the space bar:
http://web.forret.com/tools/bpm_count.asp
This also comes with a “tempo calculator” if you hit Submit.

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