Monthly Archives: April 2010

The future of music distribution IS cloud-based streaming

Those who’ve read my post called “The New Now of Music” know how I feel about the future of music. Although I’d like to believe in Sandy Pearlman’s “paradise of infinite storage” and his 5 cents ownership solution, I believe that the people will instead opt for cloud-based streaming even if that means embracing a non-ownership based model.
I have always contended that I would LOVE to pay for a music service that offered me ALL the music of the world, at HIGH quality, available ANYTIME & ANYWHERE (including the NYC subway, which has no wifi or 3G coverage).
I’ve tested some services like and Pandora and I like their music discovery features however the quality of the streams and/or the lack of caching support in their iPhone apps were deal breakers for me. I’ve had a chance to test the desktop version of Spotify (whose iPhone app does support caching) but as we all know they are not yet available in the US. As of last week I started testing out MOG. Although their 7 million strong catalog is not as ‘total’ as they like to claim and I’ve already managed to query artists or albums that aren’t available through MOG, I am fairly (not totally) happy with their streaming quality AND they are allegedly releasing their cache-supporting iPhone app later this month. At $5 or even $10 per month I could go for that until the competition (and the technology) in this field becomes such that more offerings will become available (everyone is waiting to see what the recent Lala-acquisition by Apple and their plans to offer a cloud-based iTunes version will turn into). I still think that Google might at one point sweep in strong of their technology and marketing presence, but what I am really waiting for right now is how MOG will compare to Rdio, the new (and still secret) service being launched by the founders of SkyPe. When those two do something it’s always big and so I think for now the battle will be between MOG, Rdio and Spotify (if they ever enter the US market). We shall see.
In the meantime my MOG player is streaming all sort of music at 320kbps and the discovery slider already helped me discover some new artists I didn’t know. There is of course room for improvement but right now I really just wanna see the iPhone app and keep testing this until there’s more to test.

Black Sea Hotel & others at the Delancey, NYC

Thanks to Zorn’s amazing graphic designer Chippy I found out about this balkan vocal quartet called Black Sea Hotel that I went to see with her today at the Delancey. I was impressed by Black Sea Hotel: perfect pitch, great vocal areangments, haunting and beautiful, as long as you like Balkan melodies of course. Check out their latest CD for a taste of that or catch them live on May 21st uptown. This weekly Monday event is called Small Beast and is organized and hosted by Botanica’s Paul Wallfish (another NY musician who sadly is moving to Germany) also featured Paul himself on solo piano and vocals, Edison Woods and legendary producer/engineer Martin Bisi’s band The End Credits.
Also tonight I hooked up with drummer extraordinaire Jojo Mayer (who’s back in town and playing a Nerve gig at Le Poisson Rouge on May 16th; don’t miss that!) an together we went to Nublu to check out a band called Twelve, from Trinidad, who played some sort of stoner reggea-rock. They were ok and ex-Brazilian Girls/Scofield bassist Jesse Murphy sat in but reggea has never really been my thing, I guess you have to be a stoner for that and I’m definitely not at all.
Love NY.

JG Thirlwell’s Manorexia live at Le Poisson Rouge NYC

Mr. Foetus is back as Mr. Manorexia with his ensemble of four strings, piano, percussion and laptop. The new CD just came out on Zorn’s Tzadik label and tonight I had the pleasure to see him perform this material live for the first time (my first time that is). Although I have recorded the CD myself and knew all the pieces (except one that hasn’t been officially recorded/released yet) it was great to see it all come together as one cohesive performance. Check out the record, it’s great!

Iannis Xenakis (composer, architect, visionary) at the Drawing Center in NY

Greek avatgarde composer and visionary architect was amogst the pioneers of stochastic electro-acoustic music. His unique approach hinged on applying the science and mathematics of his engineering and architectural background to his musical endeavours. His scores were often written on architects’ design paper rather than sheet music and he employed shapes and vectors to identify instruments, sounds and clusters.
I found out about this fascinating exchibit (which features drawings and audio) just in time through amazing bassist Trevor Dunn. It closes April 8th so I recommend you check it out soon. It was especially interesting to me because of all the music I record, listen to and check out live, it’s basically a look back on some of the origins of it all. Highly recommended.

Pharaoh’s Daughter live at Joe’s Pub

Have been wanting to see Pharaoh’s Daughter for a long time and finally got a chance tonight at Joe’s Pub. The female-fronted octet features Basya Schecter on multi-lingual lyrics from the scriptures, the song of songs and other jewish-related sources. I had worked with her on Zorn’s vocal masada recorded Mycale (an accappella quartet also feat Ayelet Rose, Sophia Rei and Malika Zarra -the four of them just toured Israel until two days ago) and so I knew she had a very characteristic and beautiful vocal style. Supported by a killer band including Shanir Blumenkranz on bass, Yuval Lion on drums, Mathias Kunzli on percussions, Meg Okura on violin, a flute player, a guitar player and a keyboard player (had seen some of them with Roberto Rodriguez before but never met them before so don’t remember their names by heart like I do remember the names ofthe others, because I worked with all of them in the studio).
They all played beautifully and presented a vast material drawing including originals and non. The band was great and Basya sang and played well, in spite of the fact she was probably super jetlegged.
I’d recommend this group highly to anyone who wants to take an authentic and gorgeous musical trip through time and space, transcending political and religious beliefs, in search of the greater good through beautiful music (and tasty macaroons offered by the band in occasion of Passover). Sababa, shalom to ya’all!