Guitar Hero and Rock Band make loud noises and sell big, but there’s a quieter brand of music application bubbling under: the ambient sound creator. Disquiet traces the idea back to the GameBoy game Electroplankton, which allowed players to create sounds with a stylus, but it became prominent (among music nerds, anyway) with FM3’s Buddha Boxes, and the genre now encompasses Brian Eno’s iPhone app “Bloom.” But what is the artistic value of such sonic wallpaper, at least if users are supposed to be creators in some way?
Billboard reports that U2’s new record, No Line on the Horizon, is slated for release on March 3— a few months after its original release date, which had been slated for this year—on Interscope Records. U2 fans should be excited that it was recorded with the holy triptych of U2 producers: Steve Lillywhite, Brian Eno, and Daniel Lanois. Heck, I’m excited. I admit it; I’m a huge U2 fan. Huge. There was a time where I think I wanted to marry Bono (side note: I typed “bury Mono” first!). Yeah, I know. He’s pompous and arrogant and U2 sucks, etc. etc. I get it. I understand the haters’ complaints and even agree with a lot of them, but I still love U2. Sometimes I just want unbridled anthems and romanticism, okay? Sometimes I want big statements and big recordings. I must admit, however, the 2000s have left me feeling a little “meh” on the band. I liked All That You Can’t Leave Behind for the zing it added to the live shows (that was a good tour), but How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was just crappy.
Count me among those instantly skeptical of any new business startup that has anything to do with the music industry, particularly as 2009 approaches. Heckfire, I was instantly skeptical of these nebulous businesses in the late ’90s, when, as a music industry professional and a musician, I was bombarded with offers of liaising and support systems and synergizing by companies that probably had basketball courts in their offices and went bankrupt six months later. So when I read something like this on the site for the digital-music startup Topspin, it’s hard not to get a high reading on the BS Detector:
Topspin is a media technology company dedicated to developing leading-edge marketing software and services that help artists and their partners build businesses and brands. We help artists manage their catalogs, connect with fans, and generate demand for music.
Ian C. Rogers is at the “helm” (their wording, not mine) of the aforementioned company, and he was the keynote speaker at *ahem* the GRAMMY Northwest MusicTech Summit 2008. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Nothing gets me more excited than uselessly crammed-together words like “MusicTech” combined with GRAMMY written in ALL CAPS. But Mr. Rogers actually had some interesting stuff to say about the state of the industry, particularly in relationship to the recent David Byrne/Brian Eno collaboration, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
The David Byrne/Brian Eno collaboration Everything That Happens Will Happen Today–the first collaboration between the two since 1981’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts–is available for purchase right now, with interested parties given the soon-to-be-standard purchasing options of immediate digital download, CD, or special pacakge. (The special package, which goes for $69.99, comes in the adorable little box at left, which can double as a kitchen centerpiece/conversation starter.) For those of you interested in trying before buying, the album is streaming for free as well (we’ve embedded it after the jump).
I know for some people this will just be another example of Chris Martin making Coldplay fans feel like idiots, but for me? Love. Sheer, unabashed love. The love I can only feel for a sensitive, interview-wary multiplatinum artist that goes off on a tangent about how unappreciated Limp Bizkit are in Entertainment Weekly. How was I to know that the man behind “God Put A Smile On Your Face” was a huge fan of “Rollin’,” which, yes, is indeed the best Limp Bizkit song of all time? “It might be unfashionable to say it at the moment, but Limp Bizkit had a lot of life in them when they were at their best. I’m proud to say it right here, live and on the record.” And I’m proud of you, Chris. You played Limp Bizkit for Brian Eno! I doubt anyone’s ever thought to do that before.
Chris Martin would love for Coldplay to be one of those maverick bands revolutionizing the world of music through independent online retail and eliminating the time between the creation of an album and it’s release, but he feels faithful to EMI, much as you would to an elderly grandparent. “We have absolute respect for the Radioheads and Raconteurs and people who can do what they like. We’re in contract though, so we’re just going to make the most of it and enjoy the people we get to work with.” Actually, the Raconteurs are signed to Warner, Chris. Don’t pretend the major label connection is the only reason you can’t come up anything more novel than free concerts and recording in a church with Brian Eno.