The Music Machine

A couple of fascinating articles about the composer David Cope, one in Slate and one in Miller-McCune.

Cope’s software raises all kinds of questions about authorship and the creative process, but this quote pretty much gets to heart of it:

Cope has been writing software to help him compose music for 30 years, and he long ago reached the point where most people can’t tell the difference between real Bach and the Bach-like compositions his computer can produce. Audiences have been moved to tears by melodies created by algorithms. And yet, it’s not exactly that Cope has created a computer than can write music like a human. The way he sees it, it’s that humans compose like computers.

— CL

Walter Sear (1930-2010)

Hoping for a personal reminiscence from my esteemed colleague who worked with him, but meanwhile here’s Ben Sisario’s excellent obit, and more from and on Walter here and here.

— CL

N.W.A. and the Posse

I can still remember how literally unbelievable Straight Outta Compton sounded when I first heard it in the summer of ’88, which can be hard given all that’s happened since, practically an ice age in the exponential span of pop culture novelty.

This LA Weekly article tracks down as many participants as it can, Great Day in Harlem-style, and is a must read for anyone who was a fan or follower of the scene.

— CL

happy birthday stevie wonder!

Happy Birthday to Stevie Wonder – born on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan.



new 7″ w/ some white light, ss and disappears

convening in the hot and sticky summer of 2009, members of the disappears, white/light and steve shelley recorded improvised song sessions at Chicago’s Semaphore Recording studio. the first release by d-w/l-ss is a split 7″ single on the sixgunlover label w/ austin group JBe on the flip of the single. numbered + limited to 600 copies – available June 1st via the sy webstore.


Fela! Receives 11 Tony Nominations

Congratulations to the cast and crew of  Fela!  – the musical is currently playing on Broadway  and received 11 Tony nominations today.

Here’s a clip of Fela Anikulapo Kuti himself  in 1971.


Oil Spills and Calypso Music

A major oil spill forty years ago resulted in the championing of  some amazing calypso music by songwriter/arranger Van Dyke Parks, as this Crawdaddy article discusses.

What will the latest one result in?


Shall iPad…or Not?

Pee-wee Gets An iPad!

Here’s a thoughtful and historically-informed argument against the iPad from skeptic Cory Doctorow.

On the other hand, this article from the SF Weekly details the burgeoning use of iPhones, ‘Pods, and ‘Pads for beat- and song-making.

— CL

Wild Magnolias

Catching up on the recent episodes of Treme and wanted to share this killer cut by The Wild Magnolias – Somebody Got (Soul, Soul, Soul)


King Sunny Ade & His African Beats

I bought tickets to King Sunny Ade & His African Beats at The Highline Ballroom nearly a year ago, thinking it would sell out quickly. The concert was first rescheduled and, finally, cancelled last week due to the death of two of Ade’s band members in a car accident in late March.

Hope to get to see “The Chairman” in the future.

-DN (David Nagler)