30 Day Song Challenge – Week Two

Day 6: a song that reminds you of somewhere

Faithless – Sweep / Insomnia

Mind-blowing first ever gig with all sorts of crazy lights, at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. You’ll be missed, Faithless!

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Day 7: a song that reminds you of a certain event

Sister Sledge – We Are Family

Every single New Years Eve ever spent with family, and who can blame us?

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Day 8: a song that you know all the words to

Jamiroquai – Space Cowboy

Haha – yeah, I went through an extended Jamiroquai phase. It was a difficult time for my family.

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Day 9: a song that you can dance to

Pop Levi – Dita Dimoné

I’m not a very good dancer, but I could clap my hands convincingly to this, I reckon.

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Day 10: a song that makes you fall asleep

Pat Metheny – The Truth Will Always Be

Dad used to play this on long and sleepy car journeys, so I associate it with dreaming. Works every time.

30 Day Song Challenge – Week One

A few of my mates are doing this viral challenge thing on Facebook right now, and because it’s a pretty cool idea, I’d like to join in. However, not wishing to clog up any newsfeeds, I’ve decided to post my music selections up on the blog. Posts like this will pop up once a week until 30 days are up.

Expand the box below to see the full list of musical challenges covered.

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Day 1: your favorite song
Day 2: your least favorite song
Day 3: a song that makes you happy
Day 4: a song that makes you sad
Day 5: a song that reminds you of someone
Day 6: a song that reminds you of somewhere
Day 7: a song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 8: a song that you know all the words to
Day 9: a song that you can dance to
Day 10: a song that makes you fall asleep
Day 11: a song from your favorite band
Day 12: a song from a band you hate
Day 13: a song that is a guilty pleasure
Day 14: a song that no one would expect you to love
Day 15: a song that describes you
Day 16: a song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17: a song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18: a song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19: a song from your favorite album
Day 20: a song that you listen to when you’re angry
Day 21: a song that you listen to when you’re happy
Day 22: a song that you listen to when you’re sad
Day 23: a song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24: a song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25: a song that makes you laugh
Day 26: a song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27: a song that you wish you could play
Day 28: a song that makes you feel guilty
Day 29: a song from your childhood
Day 30: your favorite song at this time last year
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Day 1: your favorite song

Nightmares On Wax – Les Nuits

This was my wake-up alarm music for years, now it’s firmly lodged in my brain.

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Day 2: your least favorite song

The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

I respect BEP for their innovative use of digital in crafting an image, but their music is becoming too ‘lowest common denominator’.

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Day 3: a song that makes you happy

Only Child – Space Disco

Excuse the shit video, but check the groove. It’ll put a smile on your face.

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Day 4: a song that makes you sad

Tosca – My First

It doesn’t actually make me feel sad, but all of Tosca’s music is quite sombre (and excellent).

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Day 5: a song that reminds you of someone

Chase & Status – Blind Faith

This song reminds me of the very lovely Sarah. On an unrelated note, very awesome video.

There you have it. Tune in next week for more of the good stuff, and perhaps join me by posting a link to your own responses in the comments below. Would also love to hear your thoughts on these tunes!

Tron Legacy

Oh hell yeah. The trailer for the new Tron film is out and looking great:

The premise is that Kevin Flynn is still trapped in Tron 25 years after the events of the first film, and remains captive in a world that has grown more advanced and more dangerous. His tech-savvy hacker son has tracked him down at last and enters Tron to release him. Gladiatorial-style battles and cunning technological traps will stand in his way blah blah blah

Let’s be straight here: the story is not what matters. It’s all about how visually gorgeous this cyber-universe will look, how cool the high-concept designs will be, and how awesome it will be to see this in full 3D at the IMAX. It’s success will inevitably give rise to toys and merchandise that will allow a new horde of young fans to feel part of the Tron universe. Let’s also not forget the great opportunities in Gaming, both console-based and MMORPG, and all that entails.

I’m most excited about the impact such a highly stylised film will have on other cultural forms, such as interior design and fashion, and predict that Tron’s bold iconography will pervade creative communities for some time after its release.

But I’m especially looking forward to this film because of the Daft Punk soundtrack. They’ve announced 24 new tracks which I’m sure will be a perfect fit with the new Tron universe, followed by a World Tour. Roll on, 2010…

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous. [7]

Daft Punk – Pop Oracles?

As you’ll see from my Last.fm profile, I’ve been listening to a lot of Daft Punk lately. For those who haven’t heard their stuff, this track in particular is the one I think best sums them up:

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,
Trash it, change it, mail, upgrade it,
Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it,
Snap it, work it, quick erase it,
Write it, cut it, paste it, save it,
Load it, check it, quick rewrite it,
Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
Drag it, drop it, zip, unzip it,
Lock it, fill it, call it, find it,
View it, code it, jam, unlock it,
Surf it, scroll it, pose it, click it,
Cross it, crack it, switch, update it,
Name it, read it, tune it, print it,
Scan it, send it, fax, rename it,
Touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it,
Turn it, leave it, start, format it,

Sound familiar? Thought so – it’s the soundtrack to our modern lives.
And it begs the question: are we slaves to our media or is the media subject to us?

Digital Media (as referred to in the above) is the most pliable of all forms, possibly all materials. But do we lose anything by acting as their conduit? Do we define their being by the act of using them?

By way of answer, Marshall McLuhan states that:

Physiologically, man in the normal use of technology […] is perpetually modified by it and in turn finds ever new ways of modifying his technology. Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world, as the bee to the plant world, enabling it to fecundate and to evolve ever new forms.

(Understanding Media, 1967:56)

Punchy stuff indeed, and his point rings truer now than in 1967 when it was first written (for more McLuhanism check out The MemeStream, an older academic blog of mine). The relationship between Man and Machine is blurred in Daft Punk’s own appearance – they are never seen in public without their robot masks.

As I see it, Daft Punk have tapped into the zeitgeist of a world growing ever-reliant on our technologies, without much thought of how these forms may be exploiting us. It’s a beat-heavy warning to the masses to stay human, and not to be  anyone’s “sex organ”.

So what do we think? Are these French electro-popsters oracles for a future world? Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments box below.

SoundCloud

SoundCloud do clever things with music.

SoundCloud: The Tour from SoundCloud on Vimeo.

I found them by accident when searching for remixes of ‘I Can See’, a great song from Jazzanova’s new album – listen to it with Spotify on this link.

Anyway, over at SoundCloud they’ve hosted a remix competition that lets users easily upload their mixes and have them judged by Jazzanova themselves, who had this to say:

“Since so many astonshingly good remixes had been submitted, it was no easy task for us to come to a final decision,” says Jazzanova’s Jürgen von Knoblauch . “We discussed the matter over and over again and finally agreed on three winners who had very different approaches and represented the stylistic variety of all submitted remixes. However, we had to draw the lucky winner of Ableton’s software package and Soundcloud’s premium membership. Once again, we would like to thank all the remixers/producers who participated in our remix contest and submitted their excellent works.”

What’s cool about the contest is it gets users engaged with SoundCloud for one great reason, but entices users to explore their other options (as in my case) such as their free website widgets: a dropbox for users to submit any track to the site owner; a player that shows the track’s waveform and allows users to annotate it at points along it’s timeline. These raise the profile of the service across the social web and drive traffic back to their homepage.

With this competition, SoundCloud and Jazzanova are in perfect symbiosis – both benefit from being associated with the other. I’m very interested in researching their company further, as there has to be elements that larger advertisers can participate in.

The effect on Jazzanova’s album sales will be hard to measure, but I’d love to hear from anyone involved on side-effects/uplift in consideration or other brand metrics.