Compare and Weep (plus, bonus Ponyo Review)

Saw Ponyo a few nights ago. Highly recommended, but I do not want to give away plot details. Rather, I want to call attention to a murder that took place. A Disney-hired thug shot down this:

and replaced it with this monstrosity:

It’s hard to believe that they are (supposedly) the same song. The first is emotional, fun, bouncy, full of life. There’s expressiveness in the kid’s voice. The second sounds like I was sleep deprived and drunk and needed to turn in a song by the next day.. Sure, the first lacks “cool” (as if that’s what’s needed to make something kids like), while the second tries so hard to be cool, which only means that in 3 short years it will be worse than uncool. It will be like latter-era Elvis. FAIL

</rant>

Anyway, do watch the movie. Disney deserves credit for putting the effort (if sometimes misplaced) in bringing Miyazaki’s movies to the monolingual masses in America. I recommend watching it subtitled if you can read fast enough. If you’re watching it with kids then, yeah, you’ll probably want to dub it. Better yet, teach your kids Japanese! You know how kids have this annoying tendency to do things over and over again? Well, if your kid insists on watching this repeatedly, let them, but force them to watch it in Japanese with no subtitles subsequent times. That’ll teach ‘em.. Japanese, that is.

(read below for what I think of the movie, some spoilers contained)
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Coachella Report

The event I never knew I’d be able to see in my life almost could have been anti-climatic. Throbbing Gristle could not have possibly lived up to the expectations I built up over the years (back when I assumed, with good reason, that there’s no chance of them ever getting back together) but, despite the geriatric jet-lagged group, got pretty damn close. There IS a difference and they did crazy things on stage. I’m so glad I got to see “Hamburger Lady” live. It was done quite different on stage. Also, the quality of the sounds themselves were very good. I really lock into the texture of the sounds themselves (believe it or not, I’m not a druggie) and hearing those analog repetitive loops blare off the stage was, as GPO his/herself suggested, “orgasmic”. Oooh yeah.

Too bad it was a festival and there were two bands I had to see, the aforementioned TG and The Cure! I got some good moments in, but between the concert-jumping I managed to miss both Genesis kissing the tattoo of his dead x-wife and “lovesong”. What’s the opposite of a hybrid… a lobrid? Yeah, a festival is a lobrid, because though in theory, the different areas are for different kinds of people, in practice coming primarily for two different headlining acts is an eventuality. Though the sounds of those two bands I came to see are quiiiite different, there is considerably overlap in their fan bases (people who dress in black.. people who like songs dripping with emotion – yes TG’s songs do!) Oh well. Maybe I can be crazy and try to see TG tonight, though I probably will not have time, what with speaking in foreign tongues to future in-laws and all…

There isn’t so much to say about The Cure. They’re performance was perfect. Robert Smith is so dramatic and his voice is impressive (I didn’t use to be a fan of his voice, even though I still liked the Cure, go figure). They started out with the first track from their new album. Robert Smith should lose weight in a way that doesn’t involve going back to his old ways. If he jogged regularly like Jagger does, then their performance would go beyond legendary to.. ugh, whatever is beyond legendary. Yes.

So, in conclusion, I might go to Coachella again. It’s a good experience, but I’m just more of a concert guy. One stage, preferrably where the fans of the main band and of earlier bands are mostly the same people. Yeah, that’s good. Nothing has topped the Current 93 concert in San Fran’ for me yet…

Music is in our genes : Nature News

Music is in our genes : Nature News

Here is an interesting article on Nature. It’s a study that show a correlation between genetics and singing patterns in African tribes. This reminds me of how me and my dad would joke that we’re good at drumming because of our Afro roots (there are unverified, yet plausible family legends of Sub-Saharan African ancestry on the English side of the family).

The study used an arbitrary set of ways to measure singing patters, such as presence of yodeling, pitch, etc and looks at correlations with geography and with genetics. The strongest relationship was with genetics. Of course, this doesn’t rule out the possibility that culture passed down generations can be more powerful than influence from neighboring tribes especially given that people move around a lot, so it would only add up to noise.

Now, if a child adopted from another tribe had difficulty with his or her host family’s singing style (unlikely, though it was a good gag in The Jerk), this might give credence to the notion that “Music is in our genes” and even to the absurd racialist notion that culture is burnt onto the EEPROM, not installed on the hard drive. That being said, it’s not too far-fetched to think that people who’s ancestors were in tribes that placed greater importance on music in ritual would, on average, have more innate musical talents. The musical sense in general is universal and that would mean that we’ve been doing this stuff as long as, or even before, we were human.

Unfortunately, since it’s been long enough, you need a subscription to Nature to read the article now, but it was free when I read it.

Band-Collab press release

Here’s the latest press release for band-collab.net. When I finish additional features (like the note editor), I’ll do more. Gotta toot your own horn, kids.

Band-collab.net Online Music Collaboration Released with WebDAW™

Wrightwood, CA – - 12/8/2007 – - Osaka Red, LLC officially makes band-collab.net, a web-based platform for collaboration between musicians, available to the public. Band-collab.net promises to revolutionize the way musicians work on music, delivering on great as-yet undelivered promises of the internet. Continue reading