Saturday, January 24, 2015

Electrobit: Edgar Froese

Edgar Froese, founder of Tangerine Dream, had died.

The band announced his death via Facebook:

Dear Friends,

This is a message to you we are very sorry for…

On January 20th, Tuesday afternoon, Edgar Froese suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from the effects of a pulmonary embolism in Vienna.

The sadness in our hearts is immensely.

Edgar once said: “There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address."

Edgar, this is a little comfort to us.

Born in East Prussia, and exiled as a child to West Berlin when the address was still a political statement as much as a geographic fact, Froese was one of the pioneers of the electronic-driven Berlin School. With Moog, Synth and the support of the-then-interesting Virgin Records, Froese and the Dream effectively created an ambient music blueprint that - through years of watering down, mistranslation, and 'improvement' - would eventually lead to the churning out of countless CDs with the word 'chill' somewhere in the title.

But you can't blame the man for what followed in his wake. And you've got to be impressed with the way Tangerine Dream quickly established themselves as the go-to team for film soundtracks where the budget didn't run to a full orchestra. Froese's work underscored Tom Cruise's "what the fuck"ery in Risky Business, and, erm, Tom Cruise's "don't touch the fucking unicorns" in Legend. They also did some films which Tom Cruise wasn't in. A lot of films which Tom Cruise wasn't in.

It's not surprising that the band made the leap to scoring computer games, although they waited for the artform to catch up with them; Grand Theft Auto V was that point.

Froese also produced a body of solo work, although confusingly some of this was released under the name of his collective.

Still working in 2014, Froese was 70. He died Janaury 20th.

TMZ cast their eyes at the courtroom

Kanye West is currently being sued by a photographer, and of course, TMZ are all over it.

They're especially interested in a battle over whether the photographer's previous run-in with Britney Spears can be raised in court:

Kanye West has no right to tell a jury the photog who's suing him is the very same guy who Britney Spears famously attacked with an umbrella ... at least that's what the photog is banking on.

Daniel Ramos is suing Kanye for the 2013 LAX attack. Kanye pled no contest to misdemeanor battery, but now Ramos is suing him.

Kanye wants to prove to the jury Ramos is a bad guy ... not only because of the 2007 umbrella incident, but also because he was so gross he tried selling the umbrella and the truck she struck.
Two things: first, you've got to love TMZ considering the possibility of a thing being kept from a jury while detailing exactly what that thing is.

Second: TMZ complaining that someone tried to make money out of a run-in with a celebrity while calling long-lens fame-gawpers "gross"? Clearly, TMZ is now being produced in a room without any mirrors at all.

The beautiful cap on this? The last words of the piece:
It's kinda like having your cake ...
Yes, TMZ. Fancy trying to hold two different positions at once.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Apparently Israeli police have time to spend on Madonna leaks

Great to hear that things are so quiet in the Middle East these days that the Israeli police force have so little to do they're taking part in raids against someone accused of leaking Madonna songs:

The person allegedly responsible for that hack and leak was arrested in Israel on Wednesday after a joint operation by Israeli police and the FBI. Adi Lederman, 38, was charged with hacking into Madonna's computer and stealing files including the unreleased music.
Apparently Lederman had taken part in a TV singing competition along the lines of The X Factor, although there doesn't appear to be any connection between the two crimes.

Madonna has issued a statement, which appears to confuse 'being charged' with 'being convicted':
"I am profoundly grateful to the FBI, the Israeli Police investigators and anyone else who helped lead to the arrest of this hacker. I deeply appreciate my fans who have provided us with pertinent information and continue to do so regarding leaks of my music. Like any citizen, I have the right to privacy. This invasion into my life - creatively, professionally, and personally remains a deeply devastating and hurtful experience, as it must be for all artists who are victims of this type of crime."
Psst, Madonna - didn't you describe the massive sales of the rush-released music as a "miracle"? Didn't that offset the deep devastation even a little?

Taylor Swift will follow in footsteps of Man In The Moon - reports

Extraordinary news from the BBC, as it's just been announced that Taylor Swift is going to be taken to Norfolk by one of the Corporation's beloved programmes.

At this stage, it's unclear if she's asking Alastair Appleton to show her three houses in the county where she could run a small b&b business on Escape To The Country, or if she's just headlining Radio One's Big Weekend for 2015 in Norwich. More as it becomes clearer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Actually the most entertaining thing Puddle Of Mudd have done in years

Wes Scantlin, lead lets-say-singer of Puddle Of Mudd, has been arrested in Denver after riding a baggage carousel at the airport.

Actually, not quite for riding it. Like most forms of entertainment, Scantlin couldn't quite manage to ride the carousel and ended up going behind it. Into a secure area.

It meant the band were late - very late - for their show in Denver. They turned up just at that point where everyone was thinking 'well, at least we'll get a refund', which just makes their appearance all the more cruel.

Astonishingly, it took a fan to get Scantlin out of jail on bail. Which says something - not a band mate, or the promoter, or a manager, or a label person. It looks a lot like there were a lot of people kinda hoping he'd stay in chokey.

Of course, they don't like you going into the secure areas at DIA, because of the - ahem - massive secret underground city underneath. Scantlin's lucky he isn't being held by the lizard people three miles under the mountains.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Blunt v Bryant: The bout of the century

As if January wasn't miserable enough, we've now had to sit through an exchange of open letters between James Blunt and Chris Bryant, the main upshot of which has been to undo all that good work Blunt had done by being charming on Twitter.

Because your life is too short, here's what you didn't bother reading:

Bryant: It's nice that Eddie Redmayne has an Oscar nomination, but isn't it a bit unfair that people like him and James Blunt from more comfortable backgrounds are able to build creative careers

Blunt: You are a classist gimp, and a wazzock, because it was harder for me having rich parents not easier, somehow

Bryant: I bought one of your records and I wasn't saying it was wrong for posh people to be working in the arts, just that we should make sure people from poorer backgrounds get their chance too

For all his good-natured jokes at his own expense on Twitter, James is so incredibly touchy about anyone pointing out that when you come from a family who can help you out as you're getting going, it's a lot easier to make a name for yourself. See also Doherty, Dido, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Venuewatch: Casa

The Casa, the club-cum-venue-cum-community-centre set up by the former Liverpool Dockers, is under threat.

There's a funding crisis - of course there is, this is a socially-valuable service and we have a Tory government - which means the community centre and advice functions of the venue are under threat; while the bar and performance space could continue, they can't support the whole endeavour alone. And, because it's always been more than just a entertainment place, the people who run it think that would be a betrayal of its principles.

So, there's to be a huge benefit gig at the Philharmonic, and a fund-raising push - hopefully raising enough to cover another four years of operations.

Mark Steel, John Bishop, and TV's Bobby Grant are all on board already.

John Boehner tries some populism

I have no problem with Taylor Swift gifs. I'm not even that worried about John Boehner trying to communicate the latest thinking in Republican circles using Taylor Swift gifs, even though it was done so very, very poorly.

How poorly?

And the president knows full well there’s no blank space in the taxpayers' checkbook.
Yeah, that badly.

The real problem, though: apparently it took two people to produce what would take one Tumblr user one hand and five minutes to cook up.

[It was] Penned by Digital Communications Director Caleb Smith and Deputy Communications Director Mike Ricci.
It took two Communication Directors to create "12 Taylor Swift GIFs for you," a post published on Speaker John Boehner's website today that uses animated GIFs of the pop musician in a shrewd play for the hearts of teenagers and 20-somethings.
Presumably, Caleb's role was to go 'is this really patronising' and Mike's to go 'nah, all the kids are doing it. Jiffing is the future, my friend. Ooh - hang on, there's some nuance in point six you might want to edit out.'

Embed and breakfast man: Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten took her new single, I Don't Want To Let You Down onto the Ellen show last week. (Sidenote: I don't think the book shop set looks very convincing these days. It might be a while since I last watched Ellen.)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nice work if you can get it

A press release arrives:

Australian vocalist Tim Fontaine aka BOROKO releases his latest music video for his single “Because Life”, from his sophomore album Western Child, which is set to release in early 2015. Filmed by the fashion photography team Alex and Iggy in the historic Artist Studio NYC, formerly the Irving Penn Studio, the “Because of Life” video was aimed to depict a conflicted man, heading down a path where his fantasies overtake his reality and he struggles with guilt and the forgiveness he seeks to remedy his “disease”.
That was what he was aiming to do. He wanted to depict that. How fortunate the "conflicted man" was mostly conflicted about a semi-naked woman rubbing herself all over him rather than, say, whether it's worth recycling when the developing world is consuming raw materials at an ever-faster rate, eh?

Frozenobit: Yao Beina

Yao Beina, Chinese pop star, has died.

She had an interesting career - she was a runner-up on the Chinese version of The Voice in 2013, but landed the job of doing the pop version of Let It Go for the Mandarian voice track on Frozen.

In a grizly turn, a Chinese news photographer apparently snuck into the morgue:

[T]he outpouring of emotion was overshadowed by allegations that three reporters from a Shenzhen newpaper posed as medical staff at the hospital and entered the morgue where her body was being kept. They took photographs, according to Yao's family, but the pictures have not been released.

The accusation sparked a debate over media ethics. "The Shenzhen reporters tried all kinds of means to get photos of Yao. It's the result of the current deformed political and social situation on the mainland, as only entertainment reporters enjoy absolutely freedom of news-gathering and reporting," said Qiao Mu, the dean of the Centre for International Communication Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Yao Beina was 23 years old; she had survived breast cancer in 2011.

Whitney Houston's family help promote biopic

Lifetime, the US channel whose full name is 'We wouldn't be able to make these shitty biopics during the subject's Lifetime', has made a Whitney Houston movie.

Houston's family are outraged, but don't seem to have realised something:

Whitney Houston's family says the singer's fans should "brace themselves for the worst" if they watch Lifetime's television movie about the late singer that premieres Saturday.

Pat Houston, president of the singer's estate and her sister-in-law, issued a critical statement about the movie on Houston's website on the eve of the movie's airing. She said the movie was done without the family's blessing and against the wishes of her mother.

"If you watch this movie, watch it knowing that Lifetime is notorious for making bad biopics of deceased celebrities and brace yourself for the worst," Pat Houston wrote.

She said she didn't think it entered the minds of anyone involved with the project that "what lifts up one person in the headlines may in fact destroy another."
They think this is the sort of statement which will stop people watching; in fact, they couldn't be helping bark up an audience more if they were stood in the street with a placard, wearing a top hat, bellowing 'roll up! roll up!'.

Listen with No Rock: Wild Billy Childish

There's a new Wild Billy Childish record available. Correction: here's a new Wild Billy Childish record that's available:

This week just gone

The stories that were read the most this week:

1. RIP Kim Fowley
2. Michelle Keegan will have a crack at being a pop star
3. The other people's lists from 2005
4. Brits 2015: The Shortlist
5. Video: Allo Darlin at KEXP
6. Unimpressed by Justin Beiber
7. RIP: Curtis Lee
8. Video: Emmy The Great
9. Sarah Brightman is going to space
10. Sam Smith, modern pop star, has no time for modern pop star

These came out:

Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets Grim Reaper

Download … Grim Reaper

Liam Hayes - Slurrup

Download Slurrup