Category: Miscellany

Done as Finite

I guess Do As Infinity isn’t as eternal as its name implies. reports the band is breaking up. The duo (or trio?) releases a career retrospective, Do the A-Side, on Sept. 29, nearly 6 years to the date of its debut. Do As Infinity performs its last live show at Budokan in Tokyo on Nov. 25.

Singer Van Tomiko will continue as a solo artist, while guitarist Owatari Ryo makes his side project band, Missile Innovation, a full-time gig. Behind-the-scenes member Nagai Dao pretty much remains behind the scenes as a songwriter and producer.

Continue reading »

Sony strikes iTunes deal with Apple

Yomiuri Online (via Oops Music) reports Sony has reached an agreement with Apple to offer its catalog through the iTunes music service. Sony Music artists, such as Nakashima Mika, Hirai Ken — and perhaps, of more interest to me, Hajime Chitose, the brilliant green and ACO — may be available on the service by the end of 2005.

Sony and Apple have competing music services in Japan, and before iTunes launched in August 2005, Sony’s Mora grabbed a large share of the music download market in Japan. iPods, however, are extremely popular in Japan, leading some labels, including Sony and Warner Music, to stop putting protection software on its CDs. Four days after iTunes launched in Japan, the service sold 1 million songs.

Of course, none of these events really effect Japanese music fans outside of Japan — iTunes accepts only credit card numbers from their country of origin. Amazon Japan sells pre-paid cards in 2,500- and 5,000-yen amounts. But for that price, I may as well just buy a CD.

We have the facts and we’re going to use them

[This entry was originally posted in 作譜, but I figure it’s a lot more topical here. So I’m moving it.]

NewMusicBox magazine has an interesting essay by Frank J. Oteri about why you should listen to music you hate. Oteri cites two other sources for inspiring him to evaluate music based on objectivity and not on taste.

I think this is only half correct.

Any objective evaluation of music depends on understanding the culture that influenced its making. For the longest time, I didn’t listen to hip-hop, but I refused to say I didn’t like it, which would have been somewhat truthful. Instead, I said I didn’t understand it, and really, it doesn’t reflect the world in which I was raised.

But after watching a five-part documentary (on, of all places, VH-1) charting the history of hip-hop, I discovered the music was in fact rich and varied. And I found in 2003, I was buying quite a bit of hip-hop, albeit from critics darlings such as the Neptunes, Missy Elliott and Outkast.

I used to hate reggae, but that was only because I never heard the good stuff. I was raised listening to Hawaiian artists mangle reggae — they think they can play it, but really, they can’t.

At the moment, I’m ambivalent about jazz, and I think I could come to love the genre if I had the patience to learn how to listen.

And that’s the real crux of Oteri’s argument — you should listen to music you hate because it’s another way to explore the world around you.

My nigga Beethoven

[This entry was originally posted in 作譜, but I figure it’s a lot more topical here. So I’m moving it.]

So. Beethoven is to blame for steering Western European music to atonality? Whatever.

Dylan Evans’ argument doesn’t really ring true with me. In essence, he says if Beethoven kept his emotions in check and wrote absolute music in its most absolute form, we wouldn’t have the indulgence of artistic ego.

So, bye bye, rock music. (And really, I consider Beethoven the first rock star, because he acted it. Back then, musicians were servants. Beethoven was having none of that.) And by implication, classical music today wouldn’t be in such doldrums if Beethoven’s darkness didn’t lead to Schoenberg and the thorniness of 20th Century music.

But what would have happened if Beethoven didn’t lead us down our mistaken path? I’m not clever enough to speculate.

I just know that in this Age of Information, I can draw inspiration from the emotional ghastliness of Beethoven’s indulgence as much as I can draw from the structural elegance of Haydn’s braininess. And it would be far less interesting not being able to resolve those ends of the spectrum.


Huh. Peter Shaffer really did give Constanze Mozart the short shrift in his play Amadeus.

Writer Jane Glover gives an overview of how Constanze Mozart made her prodigous husband a success. I’m not a screenplay writer by any means, but it sounds like her own life could be turned into a costume drama — with soundtrack, of course, featuring the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Via ArtsJournal.