Archive: April 2007

Cocco releases new album in July

Cocco continues her comeback with a new album titled Kirakira, scheduled for release on July 25, so says Bounce.com. Recorded in Okinawa and London, the album contains 18 tracks, including the theme song for the NHK program Do~Suru? Sakyuu no Atashi, titled "Harehireho". Cocco is scheduled for appearances at the Rock in Japan Festival and Rising Sun Rock Festival this coming summer.

toddle releases second album in June

toddle releases its second album, titled dawn praise the world, on June 8, so says Bounce.com. The album contains 10 tracks and is produced by bloodthirsty butchers’ Yoshimura Hideki. The article itself gets into a lot of flowery language about the album’s sound, but I think I’ll reserve my judgment till I hear it. On the same day, swarm’s arm, which features toddle bassist Kobayashi Ai, also releases an album, titled 3285D.

You try my patience, make your choice!

I’ve been waiting for Winamp to support Unicode-tagged MP3 files for a good half decade now, and with the release of Winamp 5.34, it’s finally happened. But I couldn’t really see it until I uninstalled my Last.fm plugin.

With Winamp 5.33, Unicode-tagging support was extended to most of the Media Library but not all. Question marks would still appear in the taskbar of Windows. That behavior is resolved in version 5.34, but according to the release notes, Winamp reverts back to the old behavior of substituting question marks for Unicode characters if third-party developers do not update their plugins.

Winamp hasn’t really done a good job of sending Unicode data to Last.fm since, well, the beginning, and now it looks like it can … but not until the AudioScrobbler plug-in is udpated. As I mentioned in a post to the Last.fm support boards describing this exact situation that I had to make a choice: tag files in Japanese with no Scrobbling, or Scrobble with no Japanese tags.

Of course, these efforts will be for naught since Last.fm still seems to be working on integration with Musicbrainz. I’ve actually been contributing to Musicbrainz in the hopes of affecting change in Last.fm, but I don’t see any evidence of those changes trickling down. Sometimes, AudioScrobbler will take my Shiina Ringo-tagged files and display 椎名林檎, but with, say, Hatakeyama Miyuki, it’ll go through as Hatakeyama Miyuki, not 畠山美由紀.

Which, I guess, begs the broad question — what’s the point?

(So — who can recognize from where I took the title of this post?)

Favorite edition 2007: Quarter first

I’m usually surprised if the first quarter of a year yields something which really gets my attention. Q1 of 2007 is not surprising.

CD sales are down 20 percent since the start of the year, and a soft release schedule has been cited as a reason for the slip. Norah Jones was probably the biggest release event in the first quarter, but I listened to her album once and nearly slipped into a coma. How the hell is this woman such a zietgiest?

I’m going to take a stab at listing some favorite first quarter releases, but I can already tell that by third quarter, many of these titles will fall off. If they don’t, this year is really going to suck.

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In lieu of a linklog

Collecting web links isn’t something I do often or, for that matter, well. And while I’ve been tempted to try out del.icio.us’ linklog capabilities, I end up passing. It would become yet another Internet property I’d neglect.

So here’s a one-off linklog of stuff I’ve saved to my del.icio.us page.

  • JWID Musicians who record cover songs can go to the websites of the Harry Fox Agency, ASCAP, BMI or SESAC to find out to whom to pay mechanical royalties. What happens if you cover some Japanese bands? I’m kind of toying with that idea, but I didn’t really know what I’d do if I ever took a Japanese cover album seriously. JWID is the JASRAC equivalent of ASCAP, BMI and Harry Fox. Of course, you’ll need to know how to search in Japanese to find something such as the publisher for Shiina Ringo’s "Tsuki ni Makeinu". Nor have I found out just how to make remittance to an international publishing company. But finding who owns the publishing is a start.
  • International Music Score Library I saw this on Metafilter. I haven’t downloaded anything yet, and of course, the 20th century selections come with a huge disclaimer about their public domain status.
  • Samples of the Javanese gamelan of Museum Nusantara Delft A museum in the Netherlands has sampled individual notes of its Indonesian gamelan instruments. Last weekend for a class project, I downloaded these samples and assigned them to individual keys in the Reason NN-XT sampler. I was very impressed. Now if only someone would sample a jegog.

meta.musicwhore.org

Vanity searches and referral logs sometimes uncover wonderful feedback about this site.

Over at the Japanese Music Room boards for the like-named Soulseek community, I’ve heard tell of difficulties with site navigation. I have to say as a user, I miss some of the functionality of the old site. As a content provider, I’m all too happy to have drastically reduced my work load.

One thing I don’t really advertise is that the old site is actually updated with new reviews. When I post a new review, I’ll link from the archive site to this one. That way, folks who find stuff there can wander their way over here. If you’d rather find content by band name, you can still visit the old site to find reviews published here. Right now only reviews and release news items are linked from the archive. Other content might be added if it seems right to do so.

I really should explain the category names, which I will probably do here in the distant future (i.e. after I get back from vacation.)

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Kronos scores

Kronos Quartet has teamed up with Boosey & Hawkes to publish sheet music of works commissioned and performed by the group. The first volume of this series is already available at Kronos’ web store and consists of works by Terry Riley, Hamza el Din and Aleksandra Vrebalov. For corroboration, I also found it at Sheet Music Plus. I’m hoping future volumes might include Franghiz Ali-Zade’s Mugam Sayagi, or Café Tacuba’s 12/12.

Also, Jeffrey Ziegler is hot.

What about LaserDisc?

A few weeks ago, David Pogue mentioned ways to transfer analog media to digital. (Registration required, or not.) Oddly enough, that article was published right around the time I did my own salvage operation on the Waitresses’ debut album, Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?

Pogue’s methods are all very consumer-friendly and relatively inexpensive. They also require some work. Being lazy and anal, I opted to use some fancy software and equipment to make the process easier.

I think a happy medium can be found between the two. I could have done it without using a USB audio interface and a limiter plug-in with Sony Sound Forge, but Sony CD Architect makes burning to CD so much easier.

CD Architect may be a bit overkill for day-to-day use, but you can create tracks even if your master recording is one big WAV file. No messing with splitting files and multiple exports-imports. Customizing gaps between tracks is also really helpful when they segue into one another.

If you’re going to record to a hard drive cheaply, my recommendation is not to skim on the burn process.

One-sentence reviews: On the playlist, ‘Where You At?’ Edition

I had such a promising productive spurt at the start of the month, and then … nothing. It’s been a week since my last post, and I don’t know if I’m going to be all that prolific in the coming weeks.

For the past week, I’ve been immersed in QuarkXpress, dusting off my old page design skills from my print newspaper days. I’ve also been researching short-run CD duplication for Eponymous 4, just to see how it all works. I’ve been concentrating so much on that, I haven’t even updated any of the other blogs I write.

Next week, I’ll be flying home for vacation. I have a laptop now, and my brother said the house has wireless. So I might be able to post, but I make no guarantees.

Just to keep the cobwebs from gunking up this corner of the Internets, I’m going to do a braindump of the stuff on my playlist recently.

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