Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Radiohead’s new music video

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Radiohead - House of Cards - 3D Visualisation

Well something had to wake me from my blogging slumber, and this certainly is it.

Radiohead are a band I have a lot of respect for. They try something new. First they did it by releasing their latest album ‘In Rainbows’ for download at whatever price you wanted to pay for it, before eventually releasing it on CD. A great marketing ploy, but still a risky one.

That was interesting, but the release of their new music video for the song ‘House of Cards’ takes that very much to the next level. They chose to film their video entirely without cameras, instead using lasers to collect 3D data of them singing and other clips, the results of which formed their new video. There’s even a youtube clip of how it was made.

Okay, so that’s quite interesting. It’s different. But, enter Google, and it becomes more so. Google have taken that very data that makes up the music video, and they’ve shoved it into a 3D viewer, so that if you’ve got the patience to let it load, you can actually spin around and zoom in on the music video playing out in front of you. The above screenshot is of me doing just that. It’s strangely cool, and quite satisfying to play with, take a look at it here, and you too can be creeped out by Thom Yorke singing to you as you zoom in on his face.

And keeping with the ‘free’ theme of their album, Google has also put up the actual raw 3D data so that you can take it and manipulate and display it in anyway you should see fit, provided you know what you’re doing, which is another great touch. There’s a youtube group for those who do have a play to put their videos up for everyone to see, which I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Take a look at everything there is to know, including the video itself over on Google Code, you won’t be sorry.

Oh, and I suppose I should also mention that I saw Radiohead play live in Glasgow Green at the end of last month, for the first time. They were great, they played plenty of the classics, and some recent stuff, making for quite an evening. Even the constant rain didn’t dampen the crowd’s spirits, although the occasional rogue umbrella in the way tried to.
Radiohead - Glasgow Green - June 2008 (Photo by Peter Watt)

Apple (and Ben Taylor) finally release some DRM-free music

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Today Apple finally updated iTunes, adding the recently announced addition of higher quality music minus the usual Digital Rights Management all bought music from there had. Sure only EMI are onboard so far, but it’s a start.

Last night though I was at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen seeing Ben Taylor play (son of the rather better known James Taylor). Aside from it being a great gig (he’s touring just now, so keep an eye out), and also a funny one (as in ‘ha ha’), Ben was also the first musician that I’d come across that didn’t just sell CDs of his music after the show. Yeah, you could buy either of his two albums on CD, but he also had nicely boxed USB sticks ready to roll as well, where he’d stick on his albums, his live work, anything he’d ever recorded released or unreleased, and all at cheaper prices (on the whole) than on iTunes. It didn’t exactly move the queues along quickly, but there he was diligently copying over whatever anybody wanted to a USB stick from his Apple MacBook Pro (which he also used in his gig for some of the backing music), free of any copy protection. More money in his pocket, and more opportunity for fans of his music to get something they can’t get anywhere else, right from the source.
In fact, here’s someone who’s so in touch with how music distribution has changed, that when deciding he wanted to play one of his father James Taylor’s songs ‘Belfast to Boston’, on the Ireland part of his tour, he realised he had no idea how it actually went, and downloaded it from iTunes to work it out for himself.

Ben Taylor - Another Run Around the Sun Album

I thought it was a nice touch, and a sign of the times in the music industry – yes Apple has helped get a lot of music out there legitimately, but the artists are all capable of doing it themselves too already, and without the copy protection and fees.

I just bought one of his albums on CD though 🙂

Apple releases something of interest…

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006
Steve Jobs at Apple does like is little press gathering shindigs where he can make announcements from time to time. This evening (or this morning in his case) was one of those times, and unlike the last few occasions he’s stepped on stage there was something of interest to me. Something better than all the rumours that always precede these press gatherings (anything that’s announced is almost always not as cool as what people predict will be released).

You see, the biggest shocker about this ‘Showtime’ Apple gathering was not that Steve wore something slightly different (unbutton that top button Steve!), not the different coloured Nanos (come on in girls, there’s a Pink Nano!), not the even more stupidly small shuffle, nor the games-friendly iPods, or even the Movie announcements that are US-only. No, I’m talking about the new version of iTunes – version 7.0 and get this, it’s actually quite good.

Show someone iTunes 4, iTunes 5 (if you blinked during its release, you probably missed it), or iTunes 6 and they would have struggled to see the difference, or even feel the difference when using it. Show them iTunes 7 though, and not only does it look a bit more polished and modern, but it has the one feature I’ve been wanting ever since I got my first iPod (I have two, a 4G white 40Gb iPod that I never use, and a 4Gb Black Nano) – the ability to browse by album cover art!

Finally I can find music the way I used to when going to grab a CD off the rack – by the cover of the album. I forget all about albums I own, or particularly good songs – but when I see the cover, it all comes flooding back.

iTunes 7 - CoverFlow in actionI guess I should point out that in actual fact, this new spinny CD artwork thingy has been around for a little while for Mac users who downloaded the seperate free application CoverFlow, and my first thought was – damn they must be annoyed that Apple ripped off all their work. Luckily for them, Apple paid for the privilege though, and now Windows users get to use it too.

Okay, so YOU might not be that bothered about iTunes 7, but I use iTunes every day, and this new release actually runs very smoothly and quickly on my PC. The best improvement in this area is that I can now download all my many subscribed podcasts without iTunes dragging my PC down for a minute or two whilst it checks each feed (don’t know who originally wrote that feature, but they clearly knew how to NOT write code on quite a spectacular level).

So there you go, iTunes 7 – never mind that shiny box that’s ‘coming soon’ for your TV, I’m just fine.