Music and Depression

Even though they immediately preface it with some ‘legendarily gloomy composers’ for whom it did not help, the overall article is interesting. It focuses on a study where adults who were given music therapy sessions showed fewer signs of anxiety and depression and that the effects were long lasting enough to be significant.

I’ve said before that music saves lives, although it sounds a little trite at times, I still believe it. Certainly, it can’t do it alone, and usually it is listening instead of creating, but we’re all humans and need certain things to survive.

Add comment 2011/08/06

JoCo’s got it

I was going to make a post about how hip-hop is very postmodern with all the pastiche playing a heavy role, having been evolved quite literally out of sampling and recutting existing music and building from there, but there are plenty of other writers who have already done it better than I could in this space. Besides, I’d probably sound like a pretentious git.

Instead, I present you with this song, a classic by some definitions.

Sir Mix-a-Lot – Baby Got Back

(Keep an eye out for Cosmopygian and dorsum in the video)

Now for something completely different, but still a catchy and enduring song

Cass Elliot & John Denver – Leaving On A Jet Plane

Now for the synthesis, sort of. This may only make  sense in my own mind, but at worst, you’ve managed to listen to three great songs.

Jonathan Coulton – Baby Got Back

Add comment 2011/07/16

Amanda Palmer knows how to treat her fans

I hope that eventually I will have some fans, so it wouldn’t hurt to know a few good ways to reach out and connect with them. Namely, since they are fans, to give them more of what they want. (Y’know, aside from music.) I remember hearing Jeff Bezos talk about customer service in 1998 on C-SPAN and specifically how important it is in an online business, where the customer is physically separated from the retail space, to have excellent customer service. What stood out for me was mentioning the fact that periodicals treat their best customers the worst and their worst customers the best. For example, the business subscriber to Newsweek or Time Magazine is willing to pay full price but the casual home subscriber will be offered attractive deals in order to ensure they can continue to be counted (and used during negotiations for advertising rates).

From the article, “Think Like a Rockstar: Create something amazing for the people that love you“:

“Companies, if you want to be successful, follow Amanda’s approach: Find a way to connect with your biggest advocates, and delight them.  Don’t worry about selling anything to them, create something amazing for them, and then watch as they take the initiative and promote you and maybe even gush about you to their friends and networks.  The end result is that you’ll get those sales you wanted to begin with, but the added bonus will be that you’ll also create a way to excite and delight your biggest advocates in the process.”

In other news, I am disappointed in Justin Bieber’s song Common Denominator, not just because it sounds like someone toying around with a Casio keyboard but that there is a near-complete lack of math. Perhaps it should have been called, instead, Lowest Common Denominator.

1 comment 2011/07/03

Gear for your Ear

While not as catchy as “Skills to pay the bills” I thought I would go over some of the tools I’m planning to make use of in creating my songs.

I’m planning to use Audacity to tweak samples and possibly add the vocals back to the final track. It’s a great piece of software and has a Lisp-based plugin called Nyquist that I hope to use at some point, too.

For actually creating the tracks, I have Renoise, a tracker-based sequencer and audio effects engine. I’m going through a few tutorials now and hope to grok it soon.

For a few accent scratches, there’s the excellently-named TerminatorX. I’ve been having a few  problems getting it to run on my 64-bit Debian system but I may just submit a bug report and hope for a new packaged version.

Finally, on the hardware side, I  have a Beat707 that I’ve managed to get a few patterns made with. It does help to have the USB MIDI connection, too, so I can actually hear what the pretty blinking lights actually mean.

Today is also IPv6 day, but what I don’t understand is why some companies are turning it off after just one day…

Add comment 2011/06/08

Initiating startup sequence

Hello and welcome. I am Eight Tons and this is my website.

This is the beginning of a long-planned, long-postponed, personally enriching, ridiculous, exciting, silly, serious project of mine. At first I thought it would just be a bit of fun but eventually I decided I should make it into something a little more formal. While I have been planning on and off to finally follow through, I came across a log of a conversation with a friend from 2008 where I mentioned preparing to start this… Three years is probably more than long enough to think about doing something, so I’m finally actually doing it.

The least intellectually-demanding description of what I plan to do is probably nerdcore (or geeksta) hip-hop but that description is still unsatisfying. Even though there are now a wide variety of artists with diverse styles that might be classified under that term, I could see it as a limiting classification. I also see its value as an opt-in genre.

There will be much more to come but I wanted to make note of some of the artists who have inspired me: MC Hawking and mc chris for pushing the envelope, making some great tunes and being entertaining and awesome; Hello, The Future! for executing so brilliantly the documented one-year-plan (with an album already created and another on the way); Kings County Light House for some mind-bendingly good music (and being a great friend). Don’t worry, I have many more sources of inspiration to share later.

There are a lot of song lyrics that involve artists proclaiming their name, informing the listener of their intent to speak, on getting something started, letting them begin, encouragement to throw one’s hands up, and all manner of other frequently repeated and oft-rhymed actions. I hope to be at least a little original but it certainly isn’t easy. While this is the initiation of something I have been thinking about for a long time, finally putting things out into the world is a big step for me. Maybe the world doesn’t need another nerdcore rapper, but I am pretty sure we are far from the saturation point for cleverness. Here’s to getting closer to that limit. “Nothing to it but to do it” as is often said. Here I am, finally giving it a go.

I have so much more to say but there is plenty of time for that.  Check back for insights, commentary, works-in-progress and much more. I hope I can occasionally bring music to your ears and a smile to your face.

Also, today happens to be Mother’s Day, so if you can, give Mom a hug or a call.


Add comment 2011/05/08

Remember when…