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Wednesday, December 30, 2009
15 Most Influential Albums of My Youth
10:57 PM
Here's a Facebook meme I thought I'd try my hand at.  "Youth" (to me) goes up to the summer before college. For reference, this means up to summer of '92.

My tastes ran from pretty much rap only in 7th / 8th grade to pretty much only metal and guitar wankery in high school. It wasn't until college that I got into much else.

Blues Brothers - Briefcase Full of Blues
Before this, I wasn't really into music. My uncle had this when we visited right before when I was (i think) starting seventh grade. During that visit I played (or asked for it to be played) so much that I received it as a gift that Christmas. I think I was so amazed that (a) this tv band was a real band, and (b) such a thing as a live album existed. (It wouldn't be until years later that realized that Paul Shaffer was the musical director for this show.)

Various Artists - Rap the Beat
This comp was (at the time) *amazing*. I just poked around on the net and found the cover and track list, and really, it's a fairly solid collection of tunes, though with a couple obvious weak points. This comp led me to more very important albums, such as...

Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
Flat-out *amazing*, and especially so to a white kid in the boonies of Indiana. Rakim still has (to me) the best voice of any MC. (Their subsequent stuff never grabbed me like this one, though.) Oh, and please note, the gold color of the jewelry was added after the fact -- my copy of the tape had the gold offset a bit, making it obvious. When they re-released the "Platinum Edition", they left the gold color off. :)

Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
The MCs are excellent, really, but Matt Dike & The Dust Brothers FTW, seriously. Oh, and if you haven't read the 33 1/3 book about this album then run-don't-walk to the store and get it. NOW.

Tone-Loc - Loc'ed After Dark
This record is one that may seem like it would be embarrassing, but actually, it's a serious piece of work. Aside from the two hits (which I actually still enjoy, believe it or not), "On Fire", "Don't Get Close", and the title track were all stellar. Again, Matt Dike & The Dust Brothers FTW. Oh, and "Cheeba Cheeba" is one of the few songs about weed that I actually love (and it featured future very-temporary Chili Pepper guitarist Arik Marshall).

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper
Still love it. This is one of only two releases (along with Ministry's "With Sympathy") that I still own on cd, cassette, and vinyl. Check the title track, man. And like, every instrumental. And the rest, really. Don't hate it because of the hits.

Eazy-E - Eazy Duz It

The DOC - No One Can Do It Better

NWA - Straight Outta Compton

Those last three are inseparable in my head, and frankly represent the last material by Dr. Dre that I like. Sorry... well, not really. Anyway, I'm not sure I need to say much about these, except that my favorite NWA track is actually the last track on the DOC record, "Grand Finale". And if you don't know who everyone is on the NWA cover, get learnin'.

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Even Worse
Alongside rap, I was (and am) a big Weird Al fan. This represents a key record for me, and one I went back to very often. His records were my introduction to humor in music, and would help lay the groundwork for my later Zappa obsession.

Guns 'n Roses - Appetite for Destruction
Now we shift into the metal portion of the list. I wanted to play guitar as soon as I heard my cousin Tim play the riff from "Sweet Child O' Mine"... I didn't think well-known music was something that the average person could play; it brought music down to an achievable level. Thanks, Tim.

Metallica - ...And Justice for All
The next thing I learned was the opening riff from "One". This is still my favorite Metallica record, even though it sounds better with bass added. (Can we get a remaster on this one, pretty please? Just not by Bob Rock. Rick Rubin, maybe.)

Megadeth - Rust in Peace
This (along with ...Justice) is the most "prog" I think I ever got (before I got into *actual* prog years later). I love it despite the high cheese factor in the lyrics & vocals. This was the debut of the best Megadeth lineup, period.

Wrathchild America - 3D
This one's kind of a weird one, in that it's maybe the most obscure material on this list. And now that I think about it, this one has to go along with ...Justice and Rust in Peace as far as prog goes; these songs have *parts*, and time sig changes, and... yeah, you get it. Recommended if you like those other two I just mentioned.

Steve Vai - Passion & Warfare
I started playing guitar, buying guitar magazines, and realized that there was an ocean of ridiculously proficient guitar players out there, ones that would take out of my reach what my cousin Tim had previously made seem attainable. Vai was one of the few (along with Satriani) who I thought made good, listenable records that were technically so far up in the clouds.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Time Warner Wants *You* to Help Fight.... Evil Corporate Price Increases?
10:46 AM
image from NYT articleI've been getting email from Time Warner lately containing messages like this one:
Don't Let Them Hold Your TV Hostage

At midnight New Year's Eve, FOX has threatened to pull the plug on Time Warner Cable customers -- withholding their programming unless we pay massive price increases.

We think they're going too far – especially in today's economy.

They continue:

Pay Our Price or You'll Never See FOX Again
Time Warner Cable is working hard to reach an agreement. We've offered FOX a reasonable price increase that protects our customers' pocketbooks. But we are not giving in to excessive demands.
I find this hilarious. I've been receiving similar emails for perhaps a month or so, but yesterday I saw a NYT article about what's going on.
The News Corporation is threatening to remove its Fox stations from Time Warner Cable systems at the end of this week if the cable company does not agree to pay sizable subscriber fees, the same way it does for cable channels. In negotiations, the News Corporation is pushing for about $1 a month for each subscriber, potentially setting a precedent for broadcasters that are seeking a new revenue stream to offset advertising declines.

Personally, I don't care which way it goes -- I don't watch tv (except after the fact on dvd), and I *certainly* don't watch football.

(Facebook & rss people, please click through to leave comments on my blog, not on FB or in a reader)

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Monday, December 28, 2009
Making Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" in Ableton
6:11 PM
I ran across this vid this weekend:


Frankly, I find it amazing, especially in its attention to detail, and it really shows the potential of Ableton Live. Someone made a comment to the effect of "shows how any hack can do this", but really, there's a *ton* going on here.

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DJ Empirical @ Hisabisa, 2009-12-19
5:29 PM
DJ Empirical @ Hisabisa, 12/19

My friend January Fairy snapped this nice pic of me from my set at Hisabisa a couple weeks ago.

Thanks, Jen!

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Saturday, December 26, 2009
Stephen Tobolowsky
4:33 PM
Holy crap, i didn't realize Stephen Tobolowsky was in Spaceballs!

I was looking for a trailer for Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party, which I got for Christmas. I like this clip better than the trailer. :)

The movie is just Stephen telling stories -- true stories, from his vast acting career and before. He's an excellent storyteller, and this film will almost definitely be a go-to movie for me. I've watched it already (along with most of the 90 minutes of bonus stories) and I'm itching to watch it again.

To get a good sense of the film, check out The Tobolowsky Files, a free podcast wherein Stephen Tobolowsky tells more stories, most not contained in the film.

Edit: I found a good trailer:

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Einstürzende Neubauten, "Yü-Gung (DJ Empirical edit)"
2:27 PM
I spent some time yesterday working on an edit of Einstürzende Neubauten's "Yü-Gung". It's probably not final, but it's close:


Thoughts? For comparison, the original is here:


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Pulling Mp3s from Youtube
2:13 PM
The other day I was making a cd for a friend, and one of the tracks she'd requested was from a youtube link, and for the life of me I couldn't find an mp3 on any of the sites I usually frequent.  This is something I've run into quite often, but this time, I remembered a link I'd seen recently on twitter: Dirpy.

It's got quite a few options, including not just pulling the audio, but also pulling a time range of the audio and editing the id3 tags.  Of course, it's limited to an upper quality limit of 128 kbps, but then again, it's youtube, so the source quality is such that you're not going to get blood from a stone. 

Also (potentially) useful is that it provides direct download links to the video.  Sure, there are plenty of other ways to grab youtube video, but it's nice to have these functions all in one place.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Luke Vibert, "Disco Nasty"
10:44 AM


How awesome is this song? Damn.

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Monday, December 14, 2009
6:27 PM

I love "family-safe" curses. The intent is still there, go ahead and use the real ones!

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Saturday, December 12, 2009
Slay Ride was awesome
4:59 PM
Last night the four current dj's of Pris played two "Slay Ride" events, one at Northside Tavern and one at C&D.  Since the venues aren't far from each other, and since there are four of us, it was no problem coordinating so that we all played both. 

Thanks to all who came out to either, and special thanks to those that hit up both!  My only problem was that I ended up missing Kfrey's sets at both places, and only caught parts of LBE's & The Librarians sets. 

We also released Basic Pleasure Model, our second double-disc of mixes, roughly half an hour from all four of us.  We gave away most of them at the shows last night, but we may have more at future shows, and the mixes will likely appear online at some point as well.

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Random, 2009-12-11
6:01 AM

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tiga's "Ciao!"
6:52 AM
I am liking it more now that I've given it a little while.

It won't make my top 10 records of '09, but a couple of the tracks may finally pop up in my dj sets.

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