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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2019 » July


Proms at Battersea review – Top of the Pops, roaring cello and static crackles

Delivered... Flora Willson | Scene | Sun 28 Jul 2019 3:12 pm

Battersea Arts Centre, London
This teasing, challenging new-music bill was a mashup of genres, noises and hi-tech tools that rejoiced in sonic breadth

It opened with a vocal tour de force from Jennifer Walshe: snatches of pop hits poured unaccompanied from her lips, lyrics spliced like an anarchic mashup of Top of the Pops 2 footage. And it ended with Oliver Coates brandishing his cello aloft, its tone distorting with each movement – part helicopter, part electric guitar – as layers of synthesised sound roared around him. They dissipated gradually, leaving a single sustained note and ears ringing.

This latest Proms outing beyond South Kensington didn’t just step away from the cavernous Royal Albert Hall into the intimate, artfully lit and stripped-wall surroundings of the BAC. Performed across three small stages surrounding its standing audience, this mixed programme of new music crossed other boundaries: between music and noise, genres and styles, human performers and hi-tech tools.

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BEN vs JAI Dream11: Team Prediction, Team News, Playing 7 in Bengal Warriors Vs Jaipur Pink Panthers Pro Kabaddi 2019 – Newsd.in

Delivered... | Scene | Sat 27 Jul 2019 8:00 am
BEN vs JAI Dream11: Team Prediction, Team News, Playing 7 in Bengal Warriors Vs Jaipur Pink Panthers Pro Kabaddi 2019  Newsd.in

The Jaipur Pink Panthers will take on Bengal Warrior in the Saturday matchup. This is the second game for both the teams, they are coming into the contest after ...

Another Warning Letter on CBD Promotional Copy – and Some Ideas on Timing of Government Clarity on Rules on Legal Hemp Products

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 26 Jul 2019 5:16 pm

CBD has been a hot topic for media companies – trying to decipher what products are legal and which can be advertised. We have written a number of articles on CBD, hemp and other cannabis advertising issues (see, for instance, our articles here, here, and here). Each of these articles highlights the confusion about the current state of the law on CBD, not just in the media, but across all industries. Some recent government correspondence indicates that clarity on the legality of CBD production may be coming soon, but that any resolution about the health claims that can be made about CBD products and their use in food and drugs may still be years away. These letters also show that the advertising community risks government concern if advertising does not recognize the continuing regulatory concerns about CBD health claims and its use in food and drugs.

The correspondence that most directly addresses marketing issues is this Warning Letter from the FDA to a CBD distributor in which the FDA warned the distributor about health claims made about its products in the promotional materials that it was distributing online. Many seemingly generic claims about the benefits of CBD were singled out as a source of concern, along with many claims that were more specific citations to studies suggesting that CBD was helpful in treating defined ailments. From the tone of the FDA letter, claims about third-party findings on specific health benefits should not be included in promotional materials. Nor should the more generic claims like these cited in the letter as being problematic:

  • “CBD oil is becoming a popular, all-natural source of relief used to address the symptoms of many common conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety . . . [and] ADHD.”
  • “The Benefits of CBD Oil for ADHD . . . It’s not unusual for people with ADHD to feel anxious and on the edge. CBD is known for its anti-anxiety properties that can promote relaxation and stress relief. It can also help to restore focus and ability to concentrate on specific tasks, as well as reduce impulsivity.”
  • “CBD can successfully reduce anxiety symptoms, both alone and in conjunction with other treatments.”
  • “CBD oil can be used in a variety of ways to help with chronic anxiety.”
  • “Some of the most common reasons to use CBD oil include . . . Chronic pain . . . Mental conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD . . ..”
  • “CBD . . . can be used to help manage a wide range of health conditions, such as . . . Anxiety and depression . . . Chronic or arthritic pain . . ..”
  • “Some of the most common reasons to use CBD oil include . . . Chronic pain . . . Mental conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD . . ..”

Another issue that arises in advertising CBD and other hemp products is whether any of these products are being legally produced. An interpretative opinion from the USDA sets out under what circumstances the production of CBD products is currently legal in the US. This opinion sets out that the only legal hemp products being produced at this point are the limited products being produced for research purposes under the 2014 Farm Bill. As we wrote here, the government has previously stated that it did not seem to think that commercial production was authorized under the 2014 Bill, yet some growers operating under these pilot plans seem to be relatively big businesses. Otherwise, hemp products including CBD can only be grown pursuant to provisions of the 2018 Farm Act with a USDA license or one issued by a state or tribal nation under a plan approved by the USDA – and the USDA has not yet approved any such plans nor even adopted the framework under which they will evaluate such plans. According to the USDA website, the USDA intends to have regulations in effect by Fall 2019 to accommodate the 2020 planting season. If a state or tribal nation submits a plan before that time, USDA will not review or approve the plan until the regulations are implemented. Thus, there appears to be a very limited universe of hemp products that are currently legally produced and thus can be used for making hemp-derived CBD.

A letter from Senator Wyden of Oregon to the FDA and the USDA suggests an even shorter timeline for those USDA regulations – he indicates that USDA plans to act in August 2019. But, as indicated in the Wyden letter, action by the FDA to set out regulations for the use of CBD in food and drugs, and about the health claims that can be made for such products, appears to be much further away – perhaps 3 or 4 years away according to FDA statements cited in the Wyden letter. Wyden urges the FDA to act more quickly – a sentiment that many others involved in any way in the hemp industry no doubt echo.

So where does this leave media companies looking to accept advertising for CBD and other hemp products? Basically, as we have said before, proceed with caution. The USDA letter makes clear that “hemp has been removed from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and is no longer a controlled substance,” but then details that its legal production is currently very limited. So media companies want to look at whether they are advertising a legally-produced product, and need to be wary of the content of any ads to avoid the issues set out in the FDA warning letter (and the warnings we have previously written about). Clearly, it is a muddle, and until further clarification is released, broadcasters and other media companies need to proceed with caution and get counsel from their own attorneys as to what they can and cannot do.

cables.gl, music-friendly 3D browser visuals, now in free public beta

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 26 Jul 2019 4:50 pm

Interactive visuals in the browser now make stunning eye candy live that used to require whole server farms to render. cables.gl – now in a free open beta – lets you harness that, without even knowing how to code.

cables.gl is a dataflow (visual patching) development environment that runs entirely in the browser – using the latest 3D capabilities of computer GPUs. That means it’s something you can mess with right from inside your browser of choice, and that you can deliver in the same environment – so, say, create an immersive music video someone can access from any computer.

HOLON – “Hold On.”

It’s also a great gateway drug or complement to desktop-oriented environments like TouchDesigner and vvvv. (Once you start thinking in this sort of flow, some ideas translate – and something like TouchDesigner is a better choice if you need to output to, say, a heavy-duty desktop or five for large-scale projections.)

I’ve written about cables.gl before, but you had to request an invite. They’ve now opened up to a public beta, so anyone can register. I’m sure some people in the CDM audience will do some amazing stuff with it. Just be sure to let us know when you do.

https://cables.gl/

Also, the cables.gl devs tell me they’ve finished up more videos showing how to work with music software. I’ve added those to our most recent story:

The visuals here, by the way, come from this gorgeous music video by Holon (and a nice tune, too):

If that’s punishing your browser GPU (or you’re on a mobile device), you can check it out as a video, as well:

If you want to see 2019 software discussed in a forum layout that’s straight out of the 90s, here’s that. (It’s only missing a blink tag.) More of their work:

https://holon.drastic.net/

Ready for more advanced stuff? Here you go – and yeah, you can code if you wanna:

Enjoy!

The post cables.gl, music-friendly 3D browser visuals, now in free public beta appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Make music with mobile, MeeBlip, and one connection – here’s how (iOS, Android)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 25 Jul 2019 7:40 pm

It’s liberating – just take your phone or tablet, plug in a USB cable, and you can make music on this hardware synth anywhere. Here’s how to do that, with our MeeBlip geode, plus some tips on the best apps for both iOS and Android.

Inspiration is a funny thing, and somehow in the process of hunting around for interfaces and power sockets, you can wind up staring at a tangle of cables and no idea of what it was you were trying to do. So, I’m already finding it surprisingly empowering to be able to use the new USB port on the MeeBlip geode for both power and MIDI (sequencing notes and control). Every smartphone I’ve tested, plus the iPad, will gladly power the geode from the same connection.

Why not just use an app? Well, with the geode plugged in, you get some nice feeling knobs and switches, plus that grimy, dirty MeeBlip sound – and its screaming analog filter. To look at it the other way, all you need for different interfaces for playing this module, from step sequencers to touch keyboards, is your handy mobile gadget.

That also led me on a search for the best apps that support MIDI out. Not all do, Apple’s own GarageBand for iOS being notably incapable of the feat (unlike its Mac sibling). I also spoke with Ashley Elsdon, our resident mobile geek, for additional tips. So these apps will be working with lots of my other MIDI gear, too. And while I thought the Huawei Android handheld that I just got to replace my iPhone would leave me disappointed as far as music apps, I was glad to find some excellent Android-platform stuff, too. (For once, we don’t have to leave y’all out.)

First, here are a couple of jams on iOS, audio straight from the out jack of the MeeBlip. And these two I think count as my two favorite live performance tools for iOS (so far):

Mobile MeeBlip in action!

StepPolyArp may have been one of the first music apps I got for the iPad, actually. It’s an intuitive, deep combination of a piano roll editor for graphically drawing patterns, an arpeggiator, and a step sequencer. It syncs to Ableton Link, though I’ve also used plain MIDI clock. And yes, you can get grimy sounds out of geode, in case you didn’t know that.

https://dev.laurentcolson.com/steppolyarp.html

Arpeggionome Pro has a unique grid (influenced by the likes of the Tenori-On), and runs on both iPhone and iPad – it’s great handheld. Because of its particular approach to harmony and rhythm, it can lead you to some patterns you’d never play on a normal arpeggiator, let alone on a keyboard (unless you’re seriously some kind of pinball wizard). And yes, it also boasts Ableton Link support, so you can wireless sync up to another app or computer running lots of different software (not just Ableton Live).

It’s also on iOS, though ARPIO is an Android port from the original developer, and just lacks MIDI support – please, please!

More app ideas

On Android, there’s a powerful MIDI sequencer/arpeggiator toolkit that lets you build your own patterns:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=midi.midi.midi.looper.free&hl=en_US

Wildly enough, you can even use the Virtual ANS, a reimagining of a vintage Soviet synth, with MIDI output. The developer tells me he’s working on bringing that same MIDI output to his excellent tracker/production tool SunVox, where it makes more sense:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nightradio.virtualans3

Various production tools on Android also do MIDI output, though perhaps the easiest to use would be Touch DAW, which simply acts as a general-purpose MIDI controller for everything – including a keyboard.

iOS is as usual richer with options. Ashley / Palm Sounds recommends considering MIDI plug-ins, too.

apeMatrix as host + AUv3 MIDI plug-ins

Rozeta sequencer suite from our friend Ruismaker (or if you want to get really fancy, try scripting your own MIDI with Mozaic)

And there’s Fugue Machine, also from Alexandernaut who built Arpeggionome above, which could be wild. I might have to try that with multiple MeeBlips, uh, fuguing. Stay tuned.

Or think of Modstep, a powerful sequencer with scene triggering

What do you need for the connection?

On many new Android devices, you can actually plug a cable directly between your phone (USB-C) and the MeeBlip (USB-B). Otherwise, you’ll need a USB OTG adapter. These run about ten bucks (ah, this obviously isn’t from Apple).

On iOS with only Lightning connections, you need an adapter. The best of these is Apple’s Lightning to USB3 Camera Connection Kit. It’s pricey, but it gives you both a USB-A and a separate Lightning breakout, so you can power your iPad or iPhone and connect USB at the same time, rather than drain the battery. It’s reliable enough to use live onstage, and it’s what you’ll see me using in these images.

Of course, on a computer with a standard USB connection, you don’t need any special adapters.

Regardless, you’re sure to be able to quickly connect your MeeBlip in the studio or at home, and you can even mess around with ideas on the go or busk at the park or picnic.

MeeBlip geode is shipping now. Grab one if you don’t have it already for US$149.95, direct from us.

https://meeblip.com/

The post Make music with mobile, MeeBlip, and one connection – here’s how (iOS, Android) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Heavy Vibes: A Conversation About DJing With Rising Dutch Selector mad miran

Delivered... Derek Opperman | Scene | Thu 25 Jul 2019 4:32 pm

The post Heavy Vibes: A Conversation About DJing With Rising Dutch Selector mad miran appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

Rules Requiring FCC Reporting of False EAS Alerts and Allowing Live Event Code Tests Become Effective

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Thu 25 Jul 2019 4:09 pm

Last year, as we wrote here, the FCC adopted a number of new rules regarding its emergency communications practices using the EAS system. At that time, soon after all the attention that had been given to the EAS alerts about the false Hawaii missile attack, the FCC adopted rules requiring stations to report to the FCC if they participated in an EAS alert about a fake emergency. Also, the FCC authorized EAS officials to conduct EAS tests using the real event codes for particular emergencies, but only after taking precautions to warn EAS-participating stations and the public that these tests were only tests, and not real emergencies. The effective dates of those new rules were put on hold pending review of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act. According to a Federal Register publication this week, they have now been approved, and thus these rules are now in effect.

The FCC also approved a requirement for state emergency coordinators to file with the FCC in a new electronic database all Statewide EAS plans and any updates to those plans. The OMB also approved the data collection requirements of that rule but the rule will not become effective until one year after the FCC announces that it has created the electronic database to receive these updated plans. We recently noted that the FCC last month published links to statewide plans, and we urged state coordinating committees and participating broadcasters to review these plans to make sure that they have not become out of date with the passage of time. Given the upcoming new filing obligations, it would appear that this review is even more important.

These changes come in the shadow of the upcoming Nationwide EAS Test, scheduled for August 7 (see our article here). Stations should check their EAS systems to make sure that they are working and monitoring the correct stations, and be prepared to file their ETRS Form 2 the day of the test to report whether or not the test was received and retransmitted by their stations. The FCC is serious about EAS issues, so broadcasters should be sure to be in full compliance with all of their EAS obligations.

Anglo-Indian musician Sarathy Korwar: ‘There’s no singular brown voice’

Delivered... Ammar Kalia | Scene | Thu 25 Jul 2019 3:34 pm

With his second studio album – a ‘modern brown record’ – the producer is challenging perceptions of Indo-jazz. But in the face of racism and tokenism, it can be exhausting

Sarathy Korwar likes to define himself as an “outsider”. Outside popular music, outside the British Asian experience, outside Indian culture. The percussionist and producer blends Indian classical orchestration with free-jazz improvisation and, now, hip-hop.

“I went from being in a position of privilege in India, growing up middle-class and upper-caste, to moving to London a decade ago and seeing myself as a minority for the first time,” he says in his recording studio in Kilburn – a soundproofed shed formerly owned by the folk guitarist Bert Jansch.

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Looking at Equal Opportunities – When Does the Appearance of a Political Candidate on a Broadcast Program Trigger Equal Time Obligations?

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 24 Jul 2019 4:44 pm

In the last few days, much has been written about the decision of a national radio broadcaster to prohibit the host of a country music radio program from airing an interview of a Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on a nationally syndicated program. This decision has prompted many questions as to when the FCC’s equal opportunities (sometimes referred to as “equal time”) rules apply to appearances of a candidate on a broadcast station.

Two years ago, we wrote about a Declaratory Ruling issued by the FCC’s Media Bureau which addressed many of these issues. In that decision, the FCC determined that a syndicated television program, “Matter of Fact with Fernando Espuelas,” was an “exempt program” which would not give rise to equal opportunities. The FCC rules state that bona fide news interview programs are exempt programs, meaning that appearances on the program by legally qualified candidates for public office would not give rise to equal opportunities for other candidates to get free time on the stations which aired the program. In reviewing that request for declaratory ruling, or in considering whether any program would be exempt, what does the FCC consider?

In the case two years ago, the FCC looked at various factors to determine if the program was an “exempt program” where an appearance by the candidate did not trigger equal opportunities. Those factors include the following: (1) was the program regularly scheduled, (2) was the program content controlled by the station or program supplier, and (3) were the decisions as to the inclusion of candidates based on judgments as to the newsworthiness of the appearance and not for political purposes. Other decisions, in the past, have also required that the program be one where issues of importance to the community are regularly discussed, or candidates and other political figures are regularly featured. These factors have allowed the FCC to take an expansive view, and determine that programs that hardly seem like the typical Sunday morning talking heads news interview program can be considered bona fide news interview programs that are exempt from equal opportunities. For example, FCC staff have found programs as diverse as the Howard Stern radio show and Entertainment Tonight to be news interview programs that regularly – though not necessarily every day or even a majority of the time, but regularly – featured newsmakers. If these factors are met, the program is considered a bona fide news interview program, and candidates can appear without competitors having the right to claim equal opportunities, and without a candidate’s appearance being considered a “use” that needs to be noted in the public files of stations that carry the program.

In addition to news interview programs, newscasts and on-the-spot coverage of a news event are also “exempt programs” where candidate appearances do not constitute “uses” giving rise to equal opportunities or public file obligations. Over the years, as we wrote here and here, the FCC has been more and more liberal in its interpretations of what constitutes a news or news interview program. It is no longer just the evening newscast on a station and the boring Sunday morning talking heads news interview program that qualify. Instead, the FCC has recognized that people get their “news” from all sorts of different kinds of broadcast programs, and the FCC has determined that any program that regularly features newsmakers, where the program content is in the hands of the producers and where the program’s guests are selected for newsworthiness, and not to promote a particular political agenda, can be an exempt news or news interview program. So the FCC has ruled that a host of programs that may not look like hard news, from the Today Show to the Phil Donahue program to the late-night talk shows, could be exempt news interview programs where a candidate’s appearance did not trigger equal time. If the program covers some aspect of the news, and regularly features newsmakers, it is likely to be determined to be an exempt program.

A station need not get a declaratory ruling from the FCC to rely on this exemption. However, many stations and syndicators do seek a ruling. Syndicated programmers in particular like to have the certainty of a ruling to reassure potential affiliated stations that, by picking up the program, they are not likely to subject themselves to equal time requests.

In the recent case, without knowing the full facts of the situation, we cannot evaluate whether or not the decision was justified. If the program in the past had confined itself to music and entertainment programming, without regularly tackling political or other topical issues, the concerns of the station owner may well have been justified.

In the case discussed so much this week, another issue is worth mentioning – the issue of who would get equal time if the program was not exempt. Only legally qualified candidates opposing the candidate who appeared on the air have the right to demand equal time. In these early days of the Presidential election season, there is a real question as to which candidates are in fact legally qualified candidate for the Democratic nomination and are thus entitled to equal opportunities at this point. In most elections, a candidate needs to either have qualified for a place on the ballot or, in the case of a write-in candidate, they need to make a substantial showing that they are a real candidate by demonstrating that they are doing everything that candidates do (e.g., making public appearances, passing out literature, advertising, taking policy positions, etc.).

However, there are special rules for Presidential candidates, in that once they become legally qualified in 10 states, they are considered legally qualified in all states. In addition, as Presidential campaigns often begin well before the deadlines for filing for a place on the ballot (or, for states with caucuses instead of primaries, there may be no ballot for which to qualify), a candidate for President can demonstrate legally qualified status by making a substantial showing that they are actively campaigning in at least 10 states (or nine states and DC). At this point, some of the major candidates may well have been sufficiently active in some of the early primary and caucus states (e.g., Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, etc.), but can they show that they really have been active in 10 states? That is an open question that broadcasters face with equal opportunities issues about candidate appearances on national programs, or appearances on local stations in states where the candidates have not been particularly active. Stations need to discuss these issues with their counsel and perhaps the FCC as they arise.

There are obviously many other issues at play in evaluating any political issue like this, so be prepared to talk to counsel about the particular facts of your case. My colleagues and I will be doing a number of political broadcasting webinars for state broadcasting associations in the coming months – including three in the next week and one for multiple states in November. I am sure that many other FCC attorneys will be doing the same. So listen in to these webinars, and study up to help to identify the issues about which you need to be concerned. And to help identify some of the issues that you need to consider, see our Guide to Political Broadcasting, here.

 

The Sony cassette recorder that went to space and predicted the Walkman

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 24 Jul 2019 2:17 pm

Sony’s Walkman turned 40 earlier this month. But look to the TC-50 before it for some of the technology and usability innovations that changed the world – and joined the Apollo mission – plus a glimpse of where music might boldly go next.

Sony’s story will sound familiar to a lot of today’s sound DIYers, synth makers, and Eurorack inventors. The operation began with a cheap disused space and a few people learning on the job by repairing electronics. The company might be known for transforming cassettes, but earlier projects involved a rice cooker and an electric cushion.

But long before Apple, it was Sony that introduced the world – and especially the lucrative American market – to the idea of miniaturized portable electronics. That included the TR series transistor radio. (Oh, note the other similarity – yes, it’s a safe bet that Roland’s Western-friendly brand name and XX-NNN product names are inspired by the likes of Sony and Sanyo.)

And that brings us to the TC series cassette recorders. There’s really a lot in these devices that predicts not only the Walkman, but devices like the iPhone, as well. As with transistor radios, miniaturized electronics enable a design that becomes personal and portable, which changes the whole relationship of user to device.

The 1968 TC-50 looks elegant and modern even by today’s standards. It combines a number of key innovations that make that possible – not necessarily invented by Sony or by the TC-50, but combined in a single product in a way that transforms that technology into user experience:

Integrated circuits. ICs are what has brought us the entire consumer electronics – and musical electronics – revolution. The chip replaces whole circuits of separate components. On the TC-50, that lets the design revolve around the user’s hand, the controls, the mic, and the cassette – everything else more or less disappears. Sony began in the 50s designing its own components, thanks to tech it had licensed from Bell.

Compact component mounting. This is actually equally as big a deal – each component’s mounts are also reduced, which further miniaturizes the design.

Built-in microphone. This is the innovation that’s the reason the TC-50 went into space – and while we take it for granted now, it’s what cleared a pathway for the likes of the iPhone. Sony’s custom mic design is small, integrated with the device, but still records high-quality audio. When NASA equipped its astronauts with the TC-50, it was for personal memo recording, not mix tapes (though more on the latter in a moment). That personal functionality also establishes the handheld device as a portable companion. If that seems a stretch when talking about the iPhone (even with “phone” in the title), I might also observe that Apple has told me its Voice Memos app is one of its most popular.

One-handed, wireless operation. Here’s the other big innovation that brings it all together. The entire design – placement and operation of buttons, form factor – is built to enable one-handed operation. Just as with so many accessibility innovations, that in turn yields unexpected advantages. In the case of the TC-50, it meant astronauts could record audio while wearing their bulky spacesuit gloves, starting with Apollo 7 and most famously on the Apollo 11 moon voyage. That kind of usability thinking would go on to inspire companies like Apple, and it’s always worth revisiting. (When I worked on WretchUp with Mouse on Mars, I did a lot of adjustment work with Andi to design gestural controls that you could use with a single hand, and even without looking closely at the device, for onstage use.)

Natural industrial design, focused on materials. You can almost hear Jony Ive marveling at the luxurious, exposed “aluminium” – and yes, years before he met Ive, Steve Jobs also saw Sony as a personal design inspiration (alongside Braun and Mercedes-Benz). The TC-50 came too soon to benefit from the 21st Century’s economy of scale, so you can bet the “luxury” of that aluminum surface had a price tag attached. But Sony excelled at modern adoption of these material processes, which had allowed it to work with companies like watchmaker Bulova back to the TR-55 transistor radio. And so it is that today’s smartphones also telegraph their use of strong materials. See also this excellent story on the 1972 TC-55, which starts to look more like a Walkman, and moves public perception from “cheap plastic” to “fine metal.”

Apollo and the TC-50

NASA astronauts definitely used portable cassette recorders, the Sony TC-50 being one. They also made famous use of a modified Hasselblad 70mm film camera, including on the lunar landing during Apollo 11 (see National Air and Space Museum).

I found some differing accounts of which missions the recorder was aboard. Sony themselves note the TC-50 debuted on Apollo 7, the mission that was the first Apollo to carry a crew (and the first human spaceflight mission after the conclusion of Gemini and the tragic Apollo 1 launchpad fire). The TC-50 also got pretty close to the moon on Apollo 10, the key mission that simulated the lunar descent.

From the accounts I’ve read, it sounds as though there was a TC-50 on Apollo 11, but it probably didn’t go “to the moon” in that it seems it stayed aboard the Apollo Command Module, not the Lunar Module that made the trip to the moon’s surface. And Buzz Aldrin did request a mix of music for the trip, dubbed to the compact cassette format of the TC-50.

Astronaut Walter Cunningham during Apollo 7. You can’t see the Sony cassette recorder, but you can see an equally iconic piece of AV equipment of the Space Age – the Hasselblad, at top. (You can hear the Sony, slightly, on the voice recording of Apollo 11.) Photo: NASA.
One more of Cunningham, who piloted the lunar module on Apollo 7. Did I mention usability considerations were important in space? Yeah, the crew using the TC-50 relied on it being accessible in extreme situations. Photo: NASA.

Vanity Fair learned the details of the Apollo 11 mixtape from record exec Mickey Kapp in an interview late last year:

Music on the Moon: Meet Mickey Kapp, Master of Apollo 11’s Astro-Mixtapes

They made the essential playlist for Spotify, natch:

One Aldrin favorite, now featured in the upcoming documentary on the mission, is this poignant – and self-critical, self-aware, hardly jingoistic – John Stewart release:

There’s nothing particularly cosmic in the mix; the choices are sentimental, personal. When they go to the lunar theme, they’re lush and romantic as much as trippy. And they’re singular; this isn’t background music. I think that says something about our connection to music, something that generative tunes or machine learning are unlikely ever to replace – they’re still, you know, songs.

The mix for Buzz was made in a living room, reports VF, complete with mistakes. That’s something that’s been unquestionably lost, and even at the time must have stood in contrast to the mission-critical clockwork of a space mission.

I wonder, though, if the TC-50 doesn’t point us to a fresh perspective on music. Right now, so much of our thinking about how music should be shared is stuck in the past. Whether lamenting the loss of tangible media and record stores, or defending them by stalwartly DJing with “vinyl only” sets, the whole conversation is framed by what was.

The TC-50, apart from having been aboard humankind’s most audacious mission yet out of our planet’s orbit, isn’t bound by any of that past. It’s informed by watchmaking-quality metals and the iteration of electronics. But it’s designed anew around the best quality of each of those disciplines. It looks familiar and inevitable to us only because we are the children of the age it shaped.

That is to say, maybe the first and most reasonable answer to the question of “what should music listening look like in the future” might well be I don’t know. The people at Sony didn’t know right away. They cut their teeth on rice cookers in the wreckage of a ruined empire, dug deep into the latest advances from Bell in the USA, and spent incalculable hours just disassembling someone else’s electronics, and putting them back together so they worked again. Sony’s first introduction to the cassette was hitting on a technology that improved on primitive wire recorders they’d seen in military use. Apollo for its part was built on iterations from missiles and ran on computers whose memory was woven together, literally, by textile workers.

We live in an era that values fast answers and quick financial returns, but the very breakthroughs that make those people so rich weren’t brainstormed in a coworking center on a whiteboard by someone microdosing LSD. They were crafted over years through hands-on, sweat and tears work on physical materials and engineering.

Maybe we don’t need new devices or new physical media for sound – that’s possible. We’ll certainly need devices to record sound and to play music; anything that must be touched can’t simply be streamed.

I suspect, too, that we may see new devices for listening, built around new developments in immersive sound.

I also think it’s telling that the TC-50 was a recording and creation device as well as listening device, and that those functions were ultimately linked. The smartphone fits that mold, of course – but other as-yet-undreamt-of devices could go there, as well, in ways the smartphone can’t.

So why not return to some of that day-in, day-out engineering and craft to find the next big thing?

Some of the TC-50s still work, too:

Image at top – Dave Scott peeks out of the Apollo 10 Command Module, in this photo shot by Rusty Schweickart as the Lunar Module was docked, in a “dress rehearsal” of Apollo 11. Photo: NASA.

PS – I have no idea what kind of audio or film equipment was used aboard Soviet missions of this period, so maybe my Russian friends or space buffs can answer that.

The post The Sony cassette recorder that went to space and predicted the Walkman appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

‘So flawed and problematic’: why the term ‘world music’ is dead

Delivered... Ammar Kalia | Scene | Wed 24 Jul 2019 10:00 am

Artists, record labels and even this month’s Womad festival agree that the term is outdated. Is there a better way to market music from across the globe?

Ask most musicians what genre they play and you’ll likely get a prickly response. As one well-known, and slightly tipsy, jazz musician once told me: “If you all stopped obsessing about me playing ‘jazz’, maybe I would be playing festival stages rather than tiny clubs by now.” But while there have been meandering debates about jazz during its long history, another genre has become far more contentious in recent years: world music.

Dreamed up in a London pub in 1987 by DJs, record producers and music writers, it was conceived as a marketing term for the greater visibility of newly popularised African bands, following the success of Paul Simon’s Johannesburg-recorded Graceland the year before. “It was all geared to record shops. That was the only thing we were thinking about,” DJ Charlie Gillett, one of the pub-goers, told the Guardian in 2004. The group raised £3,500 from 11 independent labels to begin marketing “world music”to record stores. “It was the most cost-effective thing you could imagine,” said record producer Joe Boyd. “£3,500 and you get a whole genre – and a whole section of record stores today.”

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Etsy buys Reverb.com for $275 mil, signaling growing used music gear market

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 23 Jul 2019 4:32 pm

DIY marketplace Etsy has announced plans for a massive $275 million acquisition of used music instrument market Reverb.com. That’s likely to turn heads both in online retail and musical instruments.

As reported by VentureBeat, the deal has an approximate $275 million value, in cash, as the NYC-based Etsy buys out Chicago’s Reverb.com.

It’s a massive bet on the value of the used market. It might prove risky, too. Facebook is pushing its own market offerings, leveraged by its epic (and politically controversial) power of user data and the market. And it seems the market is vulnerable to music store giants (like Thomann in Europe) who can offer used product (and service) alongside new distribution.

Etsy does seem up to the challenge. The company has some real experience in handling fragmented markets, and in building relationships with sellers – a key to this business. The one sure-fire outcome for the moment is that Etsy and Reverb appear to score some serious cash – Reverb, when the deal is expected to close later in 2019, and Etsy, whose stock price was flying high already and gets pushed still higher with this deal.

If it worries anyone, this could pose concern for independent manufacturers. Eurorack makers have long expressed a fear that a modular “bubble” could make it difficult for new products to compete with used equivalents. The modular market is presumed to be especially vulnerable to that phenomenon, because if modular makers don’t continue to find new customers, the amount of used gear begins to accumulate faster than would-be customers for the new stuff. At least modular buyers have proven deep pocketed and interested in new stuff. The desktop market faces the dual pressure of loads of used gear and cheap mass-market products and clones. I wouldn’t panic yet, though – this danger exists with or without Etsy and Reverb. And I’m personally glad at least music gear finds new love rather than winding up in landfills like so many electronic items.

Reverb already offers the potential of being a storefront for music gear – something Etsy has tried for musical instrument makers on and off over the years. (See my personal notes at the end.) So it might even be that Reverb will court these very manufacturers outside of the usual gear distribution channels.

I think the real trends to watch are how investors are valuing areas of musical instruments, and just a importantly, where value in the communications chain may lie. Facebook at the moment is poised to dominate musical life and the business transactions around it, from artists posting Instagram pics to Facebook Groups to its own marketplace. That includes intangible value (artist buzz) and tangible (if you buy a used synth directly through Facebook, which is possible already).

Reverb might advertise heavily on Facebook-owned properties to acquire customers, but they’ve also built a sticky destination site all their own. They’ve added significant editorial content and community features around the marketplace, too. Indeed, if independent music tech publishing has declined, the integrated editorial-marketplace seems to be the wave of the future. Etsy says they will (wisely) continue to operate Reverb independently as a site and brand, serving an audience of musicians whose interests are far from the “put a bird on it” ethos of Etsy. Even as Reverb advertises on Facebook- and Google-owned properties, they have an opportunity to create value chains for musicians outside of the dominance of those two companies, whether individual musicians, DIY enthusiasts, or smallish manufacturers.

The issue with this as with all acquisitions of this size is whether the hunger for growth will outstrip the actual demand for the product, and whether Reverb.com will continue to innovate post-acquisition. (I’ll try to talk to Reverb’s management during the transition, once things settle down. I did read in one report that there will be a new CEO at Reverb, but I’ve yet to confirm that.) It’s certainly a big moment in our industry, though. And it seems a smart move, if an awfully big number (without knowing the existing data or projections behind that).

Side note:

CDM has some history with Etsy, going back to their early days. I knew co-founder Jared Tarbell first through his generative creative coding before his Etsy adventure in the really early days, and I started the MusicMakers series in Etsy’s offices in Brooklyn with partner MAKE Magazine. (We re-dubbed the series Handmade Music for a time, and Etsy stayed involved until I relocated to Berlin.) We even had some attendees get stuck in Etsy’s antiquated elevator during an event. Bre Pettis showed up before starting MakerBot, known mainly to us as a vlogger who worked with Etsy, back when “vlogger” was a word because YouTube wasn’t yet dominant.

None of this is terribly relevant, other than to say times have changed. And it’s also safe to say the “maker movement” isn’t exactly at a high point. Maker Media, of Make Magazine and Maker Faire, abruptly imploded this year, though founder Dale Dougherty is working to get some version of the community back. Etsy, too, has refocused as a market for vintage and personalized products, not just handmade.

The ongoing question for CDM and friends – and one I’d love to hear from you about – is how best to support the DIY end of this spectrum. I think ultimately it’s a distinct niche from what Etsy or Reverb – or perhaps even MAKE – were able to serve.

The post Etsy buys Reverb.com for $275 mil, signaling growing used music gear market appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Dates Set for Comment on Effectiveness of FCC EEO Rules

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Tue 23 Jul 2019 4:32 pm

Yesterday’s Federal Register featured the official notice of the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on its EEO rules. The NPRM, which we summarized here, is intended to look at how the FCC can make its EEO enforcement more effective – asking for comments on what parts of the current rules are good, and which should be changed. The Federal Register publication sets the dates for comments. Initial comments are due August 21, with reply comments due September 5.

Already, a coalition of smaller broadcasters has filed comments suggesting, among other things, that EEO enforcement should no longer be conducted based on local employment units, but instead the FCC’s EEO review should be conducted on a company-wide basis. The premise is that, as companies no longer are required to maintain local main studios or to locally originate programming, the employees dealing with any particular station may no longer be locally based, so that the hiring process for those stations may be conducted anywhere. The proposal also suggests that companies with fewer than 50 employees be exempt from FCC EEO enforcement as opposed to the current exemption for fewer than 5 full-time employees. Picking 50 employees as the cut-off would harmonize the FCC’s approach with the one used by the EEOC for many of its employment guidelines, and it is also the number of employees at which a company will usually have a human resources person to deal with EEO issues. In some ways this proposal would end up being more inclusive than the current rules (as it would include corporate employees not attached to specific stations, whose hiring is now not subject to FCC review), but for many small broadcasters, it would offer relief from the FCC’s EEO paperwork obligations. The coalition’s comments are the first set of comments to be filed in response to the NPRM. Broadcasters interested in offering their own ideas on EEO enforcement should file their suggestions with the FCC by the August 21 deadline for initial comments.

Supersonic review – giant monsters and ghoul-sponge at UK’s best small festival

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 23 Jul 2019 2:00 pm

Various venues, Birmingham
By embracing the heaviness in Birmingham’s heritage, and adding a strong dose of eccentricity, Supersonic is world-class

A city built on guns, iron and chemicals, often under drizzly skies and with no horizon, Birmingham has always been heavy. As the summer’s Home of Metal arts programme across the city suggests – including a Black Sabbath retrospective at the Museum and Art Gallery – that mood influenced its music, but Supersonic festival shows that while Brummies still adore heaviness, it comes in all kinds of pressures and weights. Celebrating its 15th year and set across three modestly sized stages, the world-beating lineup massages, prods and kicks at music’s edges.

Opening the weekend, Neurosis induce the weekend’s most soulful headbanging, and it’s evident why: with their slow guitar lines, bending like the Doppler effect of a passing 18-wheeler, the Californians are a bright blast of spiritual sludge-metal. Supporting them are local veterans Godflesh, whose tinny drum machine acts like a wretched treadmill, locking them into industrial nightmares of ratcheting intensity.

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Game changer: the Commodore 64 concert

Delivered... Mat Ombler | Scene | Tue 23 Jul 2019 12:05 pm

Video game music played by an orchestra is not new, but 8-Bit Symphony, a celebration of music from pioneering C64 composers, took many years of work

My grandfather, a lover of classical music, was president of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra for many years. When I was 15, I played him an orchestrated version of Nobuo Uematsu’s To Zanarkand, from the video game Final Fantasy X. “This isn’t real music if it’s from a video game,” he told me at the time. I don’t think he could ever have imagined that 12 years later, the Hull orchestra to which he had devoted so many years would be performing music from 1980s video games, in front of a packed hall.

In the past, video game music concerts were a promotional novelty, but today they are regular and well-attended billings in venues across the world. From The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess to Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds, Assassin’s Creed Symphony to the recent debut by the London Video Game Orchestra and even a performance by the BBC Concert Orchestra hosted by lauded composer Jessica Curry, fans are flocking to concert halls to hear their favourite video game melodies played live. For many, it is their first experience of live orchestral music.

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