Bodenständig 2000 sound bites updated

Due to the Warholian 15-minutes-fame moment of my Bodenständig 2000 iTunes post and its appearance on BoingBoing, the artists decided to put some more songs available for download onto their webpage. Everybody who thinks they are making neo-nazi rock can listen to it and hopefully see how wrong this assumption is.
I’m still trying to talk them into releasing some material to CC:Share Music or CC:Sampling. I’ll keep this blog updated on that matter.

Update: Youtube has a video of their 2004 concert in the Scala in London

Bodenständig 2000 are opting out of iTunes

Take this, Steve: iTunes now without Bodenstandig 2000

My friend Bernhard of the German bitpop group Bodenständig 2000 sent out an email blast the other day announcing that the band finally managed to opt out of iTunes.

Bodenstandig 2000 is not available via Apple’s itunes anymore. Some tracks where available there against our will, but we forced our label-like organisations “Pudel” and “Stora” to remove them.

Though Bernhard – technology geek since I first met him some almost 25 years ago – joins the tune of some major artists who blame MP3 for losses of profit – he nevertheless does not want to support Apples DRM technology:

We know that mp3 is part of our relative poverty, but Apples proprietary digital rights management is an extremely stupid answer.

Apple’s IPod? Yes, they look good any maybe they are the last bastion of classical brAun-like industrial design vs. chinese-turkish styling-trash for pimps and bitches, but still: They are crippled and i don’t buy one.

Bodenständig 2000 is offering a few sound bits (sic!) on their cool retro-homepage. I asked the band what they think of the CC movements and a platform like CChits but have no answer so far. I’m looking forward to see some Bodenständig 2000 songs released under CC soon. In the meantime, I hope that not only indie artists begin to opt out of iTunes.

All along the chilltower

Flight back from DresdenThe other day I’ve been to Dresden, or more exactly to Radebeuel, known as the birthplace of Karl May, the German writer of Wild West novels. I had to host a training in a depressingly hot room with lots of PC equipment and beamers and 11 attendees plus my colleague and myself. The schedule allowed us a quick visit to the city of Dresden shortly before our return flight started.
I have never been to Dresden before, but I had to admit it is a very beautiful town, set into the valley of the river Elbe very much like my own hometown on the river Mosel. Of course a visit to the freshly rebuilt Frauenkirche was mandatory – the chill down the spine however did not come, despite my knowledge of the churches past. It was impressing – yes – but less moving than I expected.
On the flight back I had time to listen into my freshly downloaded music from CC Hits – thanks to my noise cancelling headset. And when we broke the cloud ceiling, I just listened to “All along the chilltower” by the Hot Bitch Arsenal – and experienced a perfect moment with a spectacular view. Check out CC Hits – I assume there’s something for you as well.

Annoyance: Missing ID3 tags in CC music

Missing ID3 tags Is it really that difficult? I mean, musicians who publish their music under a CC licencse as MP3 on the internet do have some technology affinity, right? So why is it that most of the music I recently downloaded from CC Hits does not have any – or at best incomplete – ID3 tags?
Thanks to ID3 Tagit – a smart tool which can extract relevant tag-information from various sources as well as allows bulk editing – I was able to tag most of the missing information. But I still wonder why the artists don’t do it, since it is supposedly in their best interest.
For those of you who don’t know CC Hits – go have a look! It’s a whealth of great free music. Along with my other favorite Magnatunes it gives me a superb choice of fresh sounds. Here’s a small list of new bands and musicians I found via CC Hits:

Have fun!

Animated music video from my childhood on YouTube

Love is allThanks to BoingBoing I just saw the video “Love is all (at the butterflys ball)” on YouTube:

Trippy YouTube cartoon of “Love is All,” featuring a psychedelic children’s song performed by Elf/Rainbow/Black Sabbath singer, Ronnie James Dio.

I recall seeing this music video at the age of 13 or 14. We got French television where I lived, and French pupils – going to school for a whole day – had Wednesday afternoons off. There was a music show each Wednesday that I quite liked, and as BoingBoing writes: the song is quite catchy. It was aired next to Brian Eno, Robert Palmer and “Plastique Bertrand” songs though, which makes it quite bizarre in retrospect. Nevertheless it was fun watching it again.

Happy Birthday, Mike Oldfield

Tubular BellsThis is probably the ultimate outing as a nerd, but one of my favorite musicians, Mike Old field, has his 53th birthday today. Cheers Mike, thanks for the music!

I discovered Mike Oldfield for myself at the age of – uhmm – 13 or 14. This was around the year 1980, some eight years after Oldfield’s debut album Tubular Bells of 1972. I don’t know where I heard it first. It could have been either on the radio, at a friend of mine or at friends of my parents. But I still know what effect it had on me. I was mesmerized, and I couldn’t get the main theme out of my head.

It was the beginning of my puberty. In retrospect, that was the cruelest part in my life so far. Worrying body changes, moods no grown up could understand – or stand at all. Thunderstorms in the brain. Nothing fits, everything is awkward. Plus my parents moved to the countryside so it was 1 hour by bicycle through mountainous terrain to see my classmates. I felt locked away.

Mike Oldfield was the key to my prison. He made my mind fly, and calmed the stormy sea. I could listen to the tapes (we didn’t had CD’s back then and I didn’t had a record player so someone copied me the vinyl discs onto tape) for hours after hours. I played the air guitar on Ommadawn and I drummed with my hands to the rhythms of Hergest Ridge.
Puberty gladfully ebbed away, but Mike Oldfield kept on writing the soundtrack of my life. Platinum, QE2, Five Miles Out and Crisis where the next albums, but then something odd happened: the music didn’t touch me anymore!

Don’t get me wrong – the old albums still were important to me, though I didn’t listened to them as religiously as before anymore. But it was as if Oldfield has thrown away the key to my soul. My parents gave me Earth Moving for Christmas, but it was (and still is) one of the worst albums I ever listened to.

I have not dared to listen to newer works. Despite critics warnings, I got myself Tubular Bells II and Tubular Bells III and I liked them. I also got The Songs of Distant Earth because I liked the book which was the inspiration for the CD. But up to now, I didn’t dare to listen to any of his other releases.

Mike Oldfield was an early adopter of computer technology, and nowadays he produces strange – but artistically beautiful – computer games. I think at some crossroads he and myself took different turns, but during a critical period of my life he was an important and reliable companion.

You know what, Mike: as a birthday present to you I will order your latest CD. Maybe we can meet again, after all that time, and have a Whisky together and dream of the songs of a distant past…

Decidedly Celtic

Since I’m still feeling decidedly celtic (usually it doesn’t take that long), I shopped eBay a bit for modern Celtic music. Even uninitiated people have probably heard of Runrig – the self-acclaimed “Scotland’s Premier Celtic Band” – before. I got a very nice live CD called “Once in a Lifetime-Live” where their obligatory version of the folk classic “Loch Lomond” gets performed with virtually a thousand voices. Slightly less Celtic but still nice is the second disc “Searchlight“. Though Runrig does not need promotion anymore, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce two other bands to my readers (ha!).
Some of the most celtic-sounding Celtic music comes from – France! No need to be surprised, after all Asterix was a Celtic warrior too. And in Brittany there are still a few senior citizens who speak a Celtic dialect. Voilá, enter Dan Ar Braz. Being a guitar player, he cooperated with many musicions to make a series of CD’s and acclaimed live concerts called “Héritage des celtes” (Celtic heritage). By chance I got a bootlegged CD many years ago, but a fellow webmaster and Irish expatriate living in France sent me the double CD “Zenith”.

Fiddler's GreenFinally, I want to introduce a German band by the name of “Fiddler’s Green“. For the last 15 years they are touring up and down the country playing what they call “Irish Independent Speedfolk”. Have a look at their website – there are two nice video clips to get into the mood. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance yet to see them live, but I got two of their older CD’s “Fiddler’s Green” and “Black Sheep“.

To sum my Celtic mood up, I just opened a bottle of Cragganmore Single Malt Whisky which went untouched for a couple of years because I never got around to open it. It was a pleasant surprise. Slainthe!

Celtic Soul

Samhain. One of the four major Celtic festivities. During Christianisation transformed into a harvest celebration. It’s the evening before “All Saints Day”, or more elderly “All Hallows” – therefore Hallowe’en. In saecular times just October 31 – three days after my birthday. According to Gaelic myth, great things happen at Samhain. Great Things. Not necessarily Good Things. Eerily enough 21st century politics in my country followed the foreboding of ancient times.
It’s this time of year when my Celtic Soul awakes. I don’t know if it is possible to use a DNA analysis the determine what people or race you belong too. I don’t know if there is a finer granularity rather than “Caucasian”. Probably I would be disappointed anyways, because chances are good that I have Franconian blood, or even Roman blood (or much more likely a mixture of both) given the place of my birth. But the roots of my soul are resting firmly in Celtic clansland. My heart longs for the shores of the Gaelic sea, my mood can only be smoothed with Gaelic or Celtic music and “uisque beatha” – the water of life. I’m homesick for the hills and glens of Scotland (though I’ve never been there). I never felt this much “at home” as during my few and short business travels to Ireland. It’s the time of year when I usually re-read my Tolkien books. When I browse the net for the latest in King Arthur research (who is widely believed by scholars nowadays to be of Scottish origin, and not English or Welsh).
Frontiers. Borderline. That’s what it is all about at Samhain. The pastoral year ends. Winter is imminent. Given the coincidence of my birthday a few days before, it’s yet another frontier for myself too. Getting another year older. Crossing another frontier. Venturing forward into the undiscovered country. Sláinte!

Well, I might be a true Celt by origin after all. I did a little research and was surprised that the Celts once covered almost all of western Europe. By 54 B.C. Julius Caesar founded the town where I was born some 2000 years later, and he met

the distinct culture of the Celtic “Treverer” who inhabited one of their cultural centers on the widespread, strongly fortified Ferschweiler plateau.

Sometimes a time machine would come in handy…

Katrina and the waves, part 2

Well, Ms. Leskanich at least has heard of the hurrican:

This website contains information on Katrina Leskanich: vocalist, songwriter and recording artist. If you are looking for information on Hurricane Katrina, and how you can help the relief effort, please CLICK HERE to visit the website of the American Red Cross

Had I hoped for more? Probably yes. On the other hand, what could she say? How sorry she is? That she made it a personal mission to help? No, doesn’t make any sense. What’s interesting though is that quite a lot of bloggers have taken up the oh so obvious relation to her band’s name. Just have a look at the Technorati stats for Katrina and the Waves. Fewer tags with though.

Of old recordings

Molly wrote a bit about some professional music recordings she did several years ago. Even though I was not in the right mood for this type of music, it made me remember about some music I did in the past. Unfortunately I can’t compete with Molly when it comes to talent and skills with an instrument. And myself singing would for sure violate the Geneva convention. [Read more...]