The Mother Of MP3s

Suzanne VegaSuzanne Vega’s song, Tom’s Diner, was the first song compressed using the MP3 algorithm according to a Business 2.0 article (old news to some probably: it’s dated 2000):

To create MP3, Brandenburg had to appreciate how the human ear perceives sound. A key assist in this effort came from folk singer Suzanne Vega. “I was ready to fine-tune my compression algorithm,” Brandenburg recalls. “Somewhere down the corridor a radio was playing [Vega’s song] ‘Tom’s Diner.’ I was electrified. I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm a capella voice.”

I haven’t heard anything by her since Solitude Standing (1987) was released.

Peter Gabriel

peter gabriel anti-mohawkBack in October (it’s been clipped in my Bloglines account ever since), EyeNo posted Eyeno’s Jukebox (the first of many, I hope) where he writes about Peter Gabriel, one of his favorite musical artists, making available an mp3 of Come Talk To Me (I’m surprised the RIAA hasn’t contacted him yet, the bastards). (UPDATE: Original mp3 link replaced with youtube version).

I didn’t start listening to Peter Gabriel until Security was released, but once introduced I was hooked: I think Phillip and I have every Peter Gabriel song he ever made public, including a lot of bootlegs; however I (unlike Phillip) also love his Genesis days, which includes the brilliant Selling England By The Pound and Trespass (to name just two).

Since he released So, however, I think he’s lapsed into more popular areas (except to occasionally work on a single like Quiet Steam or I Grieve), writing songs that lack the inventiveness of I Have The Touch and Games Without Frontiers. For example, the version of Signal To Noise he released on Up pales to the live version Phillip found. The live version is haunting, causing shivers to hear Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan belt out whatever the hell he’s singing.

Despite my enthusiasm for his later works, he’s still the ONLY pop musician I look forward to hearing something new from (actually, I like Trent Reznor too).

A Box Of Paints And A Guitar

Tree Of Life websiteTree Of Life, a blog written by a man with a box of paints and a guitar. I don’t remember how I stumbled on his site (maybe he linked to me – I don’t remember), but I read it regularly now: he posts nice photos, and writes funny observations about his life. I liked his Got my Mojo workin’ post in particular, where he writes about a musician friend getting excited about music again. He concludes:

Sometimes there is just more satisfaction in seeing something good happening for someone else who deserves it than there is to have something good happen for you personally.

In his recent Mature? Like mouldy old Cheese? post, he tries to figure out if he’s “mature”:

To become more developed mentally and emotionally and behave in a responsible way. Uhuh &u%k off. Hmm guess that wasn’t a mature reaction. So nil point there then.
The quality of behaving mentally and emotionally like a adult. Hmmm, I guess that’s why I bought a fiber optic Christmas Tree the other day and sit there mesmerised by the twinkly twinkly lights and then went and bought another one for the bedroom because those lights are so goooood and why I stamped on my cordless phone a couple of days ago because the batteries don’t hold charge now and why I’m re-reading Harry potter and why I watched Ice Age last night, and and and….is that too many ‘ands’ for one sentence?

Rheostatics

Whale MusicIn 1992, Rheostatics released the brilliant album Whale Music, where every song has cohesiveness and originality: you can’t imagine Martin Tielli’s unique vocal style being replaced, and his guitar rhythms are beautiful; and the other musicians make contributions equally astounding, including the underrated song Palomar.

Phillip and I have most of their albums, but Whale Music and Melville are the only ones I don’t grow tired of.

They recently released a new album: 2067. I’m not purchasing it, though: since Whale Music, I haven’t heard anything they’ve produced that grabs me like their first few albums did. I’ll wait for Phillip‘s opinion: I trust him (most of the time).

Incidentally, Whale Music was inspired by Paul Quarrington‘s enjoyable novel Whale Music, which spawned an equally enjoyable movie. A book, CD, and movie of the same name, all worth reading, listening to, and watching.