Latest Blog Posts

by Karen Zarker

25 Mar 2011

Weird Al Yankovic dons a lab coat and gives us a lesson in the history of Auto-Tune. Like the carbon-based creatures that we are, Auto-Tune has its roots in primordial ooze.

That’s deep.

So forget all the snark you’ve heard about the software. You’ll relearn to respect your elders at the smarting end of Yankovic’s ruler, from Auto-tuned Winston Churchill to that oldy moldy Auto-Tunes over-user, T-Pain.

by Jane Jansen Seymour

24 Mar 2011

Darren Solomon spends his days writing music for commercials, TV and movies at Big Foote Music + Sound, working with many top session musicians in New York City. Another outlet is his cool electro pop band, Science for Girls, which incorporates a handful of singer/songwriters from the area. Lately, he has also created an online collaboration for anyone anywhere to join in composing a musical piece. is a collection of 20 YouTube videos by professional musicians as well as everyday enthusiasts, using a wide array of instruments. Solomon set the parameters based on a 1960s minimalist composition called “In C” by Terry Riley. Here, each video is under two minutes long and in the brass-friendly key of B flat. The webpage features performance by musicians all over the globe playing traditional trumpet, clarinet and guitar along with non-traditional pairings such as harmonium and synthesizers, even a Nintendo DS. The human voice is also part of the plan, both the spoken word and sung vocals. By choosing a few or all 20, a visitor can create their own piece of music as well as controlling the mix by adjusting the volume of each video. 

In a recent interview with NPR, Solomon explains that the idea came after learning how YouTube allows 20 videos to play simultaneously. To bring people together online who normally wouldn’t be in the same room had its appeal as well. He calls it his digital Web 2.0 tribute to Riley, yet this project is another example of how the internet has further expanded the simple notion of collaboration.

by Josh Antonuccio

4 Mar 2011

“We expect that Spotify will launch in the United States in the next few months.” Sound familiar? How about, “We are confident that Spotify will launch by the end of the year”? Whether it’s a Daniel Ek keynote speech at South by Southwest or some other Spotify spokesperson speaking to the press, the promise of certain arrival of Spotify in the U.S. has been regurgitated again and again, with few results, much to the chagrin of techies and music lovers in the United States. 

For over three years now, U.S. music consumers and fans have been left to salivate while over 16 million European users have been freely enjoying one of the greatest music apps on the planet. As each year passes, devotees in the U.S. silently wonder, “will this be the year that Spotify finally comes to America?” Well, as it is shaping up, 2011 might finally be that year.

by Joseph Fisher

10 Feb 2011

As a child, I tried, week after week, to convince my parents that we should just watch church services on TV on Sunday mornings.  Doing so, I argued, was just as good as going to church.  I lost this argument each and every week.

Now, the Catholic Church has blessed the new “Confession App” available for the iPhone.  Though the Church has made it clear that this application is not meant to replace traditional confession, I can’t help but feel a certain amount of I-told-you-so-ness in this techno development. 

For my part, I have eschewed cell phone use for most of my adult life for the most banal of reasons: I just don’t want to be accessible to any/everyone at all hours of the day.  (Funny that I blog on the Internet, though).  It will be interesting to see if the looming cellular presence of Catholic Guilt will scare people away from the iPhone.  Also, I can’t help but wondering, given that this app hit the iTunes store after The Beatles did, if John Lennon was somehow right.

by Cynthia Fuchs

8 Feb 2011

New means of transmitting “news”, of making resistance and protest visible via Twitter, email, and cell phone footage—have been highlighted during the ongoing crisis in Egypt. And yet, if boundaries of identity and community are not in fact national or even state-secured or supported, then no one seems quite accountable for or even very careful about transgressing. Frontline: Digital Nation shows how advancing technologies not only bring faster and changed ways of processing, communicating, and conjuring ideas, but also produce gaps in experience and expectations.

See PopMattersreview.

//Mixed media

Marina and the Diamonds Wrap Up U.S. Tour at Terminal 5 (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Marina's star shines bright and her iridescent pop shines brighter. Froot is her most solid album yet. Her tour continues into the new year throughout Europe.

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