Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hey bro, where do you get off?
The NZ Herald's TV critic Greg Dixon had another go at Bro'Town in the paper yesterday. After reading thru his endless stream of negativity, it occurred to me that perhaps he wasn't the best person to review this show given his stated preference for English comedy, and perhaps he needs to wake up and realise he is living in the largest Polynesian city in the world. Or maybe he could just move to England, and enjoy the company of other whingers.

Simpsons fans: you may have already seen this around, but here's a detailed map of Springfield.
The mapping of Springfield began in the Spring of 2001 when we realized that no adequate map of Springfield existed either online or in print. Initially the content was collected from the City Profile and Springfield Vacation pages at The Simpsons Archive, but it has since been expanded by numerous viewings of most episodes of The Simpsons.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

New Telepathics
If you are in London, check this out. I've heard some of the album, it's wicked. Dunno when it's out here, but I'm sure it will appear at some point round these parts.

"To celebrate the launch of both the website and the debut album by New Telepathics, Spacific returns to where it all began back in august 2001 with a live performance by the 8 piece New Telepathics, and beats from Miss Mill (Soma), Bill Scott and special guest DJs, it will certainly not feel like a normal Monday night!

New Telepathics is the brainchild of Darryn Harkness, brought into being with the assistance of Sandy Mill and Tom Fielding. Together they have created a melting pot of afro-beat, soul, jazz, funk and house - similar in vibe to the west London broken beat sound or that of the Tru Thoughts /Quantic output. Their live set is never the same, with improvisation and rythmic complexity the key. The band includes 2 drum kits, 2 bass players, keyboards, horns, vocals, and a theramin!
Darryn's other project is the rock band Serafin, who are signed to Pias/Sony and have spent the summer touring with Frank Black of the Pixies. Sandy Mill has worked with a host of musical stars, from Gary Numan and Placebo to Basement Jaxx and Dick Johnson and Lofty and Bob Jones's East West Connection.
Spacific is a multimedia collective dedicated to promoting creative culture, especially music, from Aotearoa / New Zealand. Although they only adopted the name in 2003, Spacific has been operating since 2001. Since then they have promoted events at Cargo and Fabric in London, La Sal in Barcelona, Taboo in Madrid and the Batofar in Paris."

8pm to 1am, £5 / £3 NUS
on 18/10/2004 at Cargo.

Who got the flavours?

On Tuesday night on the Holla Hour on C4, DJ Sirvere played videos from several artists on his latest mix cd/mixtape compilation Major Flavours 5, which came out Monday and shipped platinum, he told us, so congrats to him.
The second half of the show was the exclusive premiere of the documentary on the Making of Major Flavours 5, which focuses on Sirvere making a trip to New York, to hook up licensing tunes and do a bit of record shopping, as you do.
He managed to hook up with DJ Premier to go record shopping, which is pretty damn cool. Seeing them flip thru every De La Soul 12" you could ever want at The Sound Library was pretty impressive. Premier took him to see his new recording studio, the former D & D Studio, legendary for many famous hiphop recordings.
It's a very cool little doco, and if you missed it, if you grab a copy of Major Flavours 5 quick, the DVD of the Making Of... comes as a special bonus disk, along with More Aotearoa Flavours, a cd of brand new local hiphop styles.
The launch party is this saturday night at The Studio, 340 K Rd, as part of the weekend events for the Aotearoa Hiphop Summit, happening on in Aotea Square for free on Friday and Saturday (programme here). Get along and check some fresh Aotearoa hiphop styles - MCs, breakers, graffiti artists, DJs, the works!

Official mix cds are easily overshadowed by the unofficial mix cd scene, which Sivere noted in the doco is absolutely massive in NY - there's people selling you mix cds on the street corners, etc. Ex-pat Kirk Harding (now working in NY for SRC as exec vice-president alongside former Loud records boss Steve Rifkin - go Kirk!) described the mix cd scene as one of the most important ways for promotion of new artists, alongside radio. 50 Cent and Eminem both used the mix cd scene as a way of gaining valuable exposure on their rise to the top.
So, if mix cds are widely used by the mainstream record companies, why has the music industry started prosecuting those involved with them? These two stories, one from the US and one from Australia, suggest that the mix cd scene is coming under attack. It doesn't spell the end of mix cds, but as one of these articles suggests, mix cds will now be sold under the counter, and if you phone up and ask a shop if they have them , they will say no, even if they do.

from Nuvo...
Alan and Andy Berry, owners of Berry’s Music stores, saw their nine-month legal nightmare end June 22 in a plea bargain. What was initially 13 felony counts of copyright infringement, leveled by the Recording Industry Association of America, was finally reduced to a single misdemeanor (and a hefty fine). But the real punishment was meted out months ago: Alan Berry lost his livelihood, lost the business he loved and nurtured for 13 years, may yet lose his house. And the crime for which he’s paid this price? Selling DJ mix-CDs...

For an idea of how completely the majors have taken mix-CDs to heart, consider one of Indianapolis’ top DJs, Paul Bunyon. In recent years, he’s received numerous awards from the record industry, including gold and platinum records, for the part his mixtapes play in selling mega-numbers of CDs by artists like Ludacris and Lil Jon. For the industry to acknowledge the value of mixtapes to this extent, then turn around and bring charges against stores for selling them, seems disingenuous at best. “It’s mind numbing,” Alan says, “because it seems so blatantly dipping out of both sides. If the record companies really have a problem with mix-CDs, why wouldn’t they go after the source? They have signed artists, DJs that put out both regular albums and monthly street mixes. Why wouldn’t they contact them and say, ‘Hey why are you guys putting that stuff out?’”

from Downhill Battle...
This crackdown on mixtapes is devastating small hip hop record stores. Just this past week we were contacted by Alan Berry, whose Indianapolis record store was raided by the RIAA last fall.
"We have since lost both of our stores... I can't get a job with 13 felonies hanging on my resume. My court date is less than a month away. So please anyone that knows someone that can help me, pass this info to them. I BEG for myself and my family. I don't think anyone should go to jail for selling mix cds. To my brothers in the industry, please help get the word out. My time is short. Thanks. " Read more here.

Pirates face the music
By PETER HOLMES entertainment writer
Sunday Telegraph Australia August 8, 2004

"RECORD labels will continue hunting down nightclub DJs responsible for CD piracy, despite racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrecoupable legal bills.
In a recent Federal Court case, five local DJs – Moto, Chocolate Boy Wonder, Peter Gunz, Demo and Tickelz – and Joe Sitoa, a director of Anthem Records, were found to have infringed record label copyright by producing six pirated compilation CDs.
The CDs featured the DJs' personal remixes of songs by famous acts including Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez, and were sold and given away to fans and friends.
The DJs and Sitoa were fined a total of $48,000, and ordered to contribute $90,000 towards the record labels' $224,000 legal bill..."

UPDATE: Local music label head honcho Simon Grigg has an interesting response to this issue on his blog here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Coolfer's Tips for Music Consumers
So it's coming from a US perspective, but there's some good basic advice in here, worth pondering. Have a lookee.

"Consumers often make themselves out to be victims who forced into paying outrageous prices for music that costs nothing to make. If this were a political cartoon, one of the "victim's" arms would be held behind his/her back by the music industry as the free arm pays a cashier for a stack of CDs. There's too much exaggerating going on--or ignorance.
Most music--the more mainstream music, generally--doesn't come cheap, and if you paid for it, then it wasn't too expensive, was it? (After all, we're not talking about a staples like bread, milk or flour. You don't have to buy music.) If you truly want to take steps to find better deals, it's not that difficult. I'm amazed that people will drive ten miles out of the way to save a nickel on a gallon of gas but they don't pursue ways to buy music for less money...
For every dispute over royalties and claims that a label is not acting out of good faith, there's a Courtney Love who sabotages the chances for her album's success--which is far from acting out of good faith toward her record label..."
Read it here.

Monday, September 27, 2004

God Bless fat America
Supersize Me director Morgan Spurlock was in NZ for its launch a few weeks back, and after doing a ton of interviews (18 in one day) he got a day off, and went to Wingnut Studios, met up with Peter Jackson and cast of King Kong. He was stoked about it. Lucky bugger.

"... The previous weekend, Wingnut hosted a screening of Supersize Me for the entire cast and crew at Park Road (how cool is that?), so when we got on set, a lot of the people knew the movie. Naomi Watts and Jack Black had seen it, as well as Colin Hanks, Tom's son, who also starred in Orange County with Black.Everyone was so uber-cool to us and the set for the movie was astonishing. That's all I can say. Today was the second day of shooting, and after about an hour on set hanging out with Matt - Peter's right hand man, they we ready for another angle on the scene they were shooting. Time to re-set everything and for Alex and I to actuallt get an audience with the man himself - Action Jackson.
NOTE: I have met all kinds of folks since making this movie, but I have never been more nervous to meet anyone in my life than PJ. I don't know if it was the build-up to the day or what, but I was like a star-struck little kid when I met him. He was very kind and we chatted about the movie, his facilities and how he's helped change the business in New Zealand. Awesome..."
Read his blog at the Supersize Me site here.

here's Morgan Surlocks Top Five Burger Joints
(as listed in last issue of Giant Robot magazine)
1. Cozy Super Burger (NYC)
2. Tommy's (LA)
3. Be Good (Boston)
4. Buffalo Bill's (Sisters, OR)
5. (tie) In-n-Out (CA)/Blue Nine (NYC).

If you're reading this Stateside, check em out and tell me if they're any good, yeah? My local fave would have to be Burger Fuel. Great malt shakes too.

Spurlock also had some thoughts on McDonalds NZ using Olympic champion cyclist Sarah Ulmer for their publicity.
"...All over NZ there are posters and advertisments for McD featuring Sarah Ulmer, the Olympic Gold Medalist. McD using her fame to try to quantify their food as healthy, piggy backing on her coattails for some credibility - health by association. It's really terrible. They say they're using her to promote an active lifestyle, but I find it hard to believe that any mega-athlete makes anything on the Macca's menu a part of their training routine..." Hell yeah.

NZ Music Awards Get Blogged
Simon Grigg (local music label boss and self-confessed cynic) dragged himself along to the NZ Music Awards last week, and had quite a night..

"The awards themselves are just the awards...a new "big" act hailed and feted each year and usually forgotten the next...
Can't help feeling that the act of the year in 2004, Scribe, is heading in the same direction. While he's phenomenal live (and completely demolished every other act on the night), his album, doesn't show the sort of depth that its gonna take to jump beyond his current fanbase of early teen who move on fairly fast. I really like the guy and he has charisma but it takes a little musical substance too.....I'd love to be proved wrong.
Talking of one trick ponies (guess I just found my cynic's hat), I can't help feeling that the Dawn Raid hip hop posse may well have peaked too. There is only so far you can go sounding like Boo Yaa demos from 1990 and I ain't heard much else..."
Read more here.