Sunday, August 30, 2009

September 9, 2009, could be a Beatles perfect storm


On September 9, the Beatles will release their entire catalog, digitally re-mastered for the first time, on CD. The same day, The Beatles: Rock Band will be released, and there is speculation of an Apple music-related event the same day. Could it be an entertainment perfect storm?

(Credit: The Beatles)

What is it with the Beatles and nines?

As my colleague Caroline McCarthy pointed out in March when the launch date (September 9, 2009) for The Beatles: Rock Band was announced, the band's song "Revolution 9" ends with the words, "number nine, number nine, number nine."

So clearly, the date 09/09/09 has at least some symbolic significance for the band. And now, in addition to that date being the launch of the Rock Band title, it was announced Tuesday that on that same day, the Beatles will release a CD box set of their entire catalog, digitally re-mastered for the first time, re-confirming reports from months ago.

At the same time, many people have been talking about the high likelihood of an all-music-related Apple event around some unknown product announcement on September 9. So, with all these facts--and some informed speculation--in hand, one has to think seriously that we may get a star-studded event with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (who, you may remember, showed up at Microsoft's E3 press conference to promote The Beatles: Rock Band) and, of course, Steve Jobs, to announce the availability of that same digitally re-mastered catalog on iTunes.

If that were to come to pass, it would seem to me an entertainment perfect storm. Of course, as is always the case with these things, we have to temper our enthusiasm because the most exciting speculation could well turn out not to be true. But if it does happen like this, well, it would easily be worth the price of admission.

As for today's news, EMI Music and Apple Corps--the Beatles' publishers--said that it took engineers at the famed Abbey Road Studios four full years "of utilizing state of the art recording technology, alongside vintage studio equipment, to create these amazing re-masters."

Having talked to the folks behind both The Beatles: Rock Band and the Cirque du Soleil's Beatle-themed "Love" about the re-mastering processes, I know that this is something that those involved with the band have been putting a lot of effort into over the last few years. And assuming that there will be a digital distribution element to this whole 09/09/09 thing, it's nice that after being very strict for years and years about how their music got out into the world, the band may finally have agreed to loosen the reins a little bit.

Of course, it's not altruism. There will no doubt be massive amounts of money flowing into the coffers of everyone financially involved with the band. And that's because even for people like me who already own the entire catalog on old mono CDs or records, there may be a few extra dollars available for legitimate digital copies of songs like "Hey Jude," "Yesterday," and "A day in the life."

But, of course, as of today, we don't know anything for certain about the Beatles and iTunes. What we do know is that The Beatles: Rock Band will have 45 songs, and that the digitally re-mastered CD collection will comprise all 12 Beatles studio albums--in stereo, no less--as well as "Magical Mystery Tour" and a combined "Past Masters Volume I and II," for a total of 14 titles on 16 CDs. The whole thing will be available, along with a DVD set of Beatles documentaries in one--presumably pricey--stereo boxed set.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hawkwind: 'It was basically freak-out music'

Hawkwind: 'It was basically freak-out music'

They created 'space rock', are
probably the most influential British group ever – and prefer picking
raspberries to stardom. Hawkwind explain their 40-year survival



Space cowboys ... Hawkwind. Photograph: Lee Millward

The approach to intergalactic headquarters runs along a narrow lane in Devon,
under the bridge of a railway closed decades ago and through a number of gates
with signs warning that "Our Dogs Bite". There is a carved totem pole in the
garden, and a studio like the Tardis, banked up with electronic equipment and
posters for concerts spanning the four decades since Hawkwind formed. This is
the home world of the band that became a project, the project that became a
tribal gathering, of the tribe that became a great British institution and
probably the most influential group ever in British music, bar the Beatles –
only those under the influence often don't know it. Hawkwind: the band that has
impacted on every "genre", hence the need for a genre all of their own: space

Forty years ago, Hawkwind played their ever first gig, in Notting Hill in
west London. As a local adolescent, it was my first gig, too – and as everyone
knows, the branding iron of a first love leaves a mark like no other. As a
result, I own more Hawkwind music than any other band's; I've seen them play
more than any other band. And tonight and tomorrow, Hawkwind will return to
their old neighbourhood – to Porchester Hall, just up the road from Notting Hill
– to celebrate that anniversary and their own endurance. "I suppose we always
kept that down-to-earthness," says singer-guitarist Dave Brock, "which kept us
sane and kept us in touch with our people. Eating our tea in cafes, kind of
thing, so we never got too big-headed."

At the kernel of Hawkwind is Brock, the band's founder, driving engine and
sole remaining original member. If some 50 musicians have passed through
Hawkwind – some loyal forever, some dead, others leaving acrimoniously – then
"all the more reason for the captain of the ship to keep it afloat", Brock says.
"Because according to the rules, the crew get to bugger off in lifeboats if it
sinks, while the captain stays aboard." He prefers a different analogy: "I love
football, and don't want to compare myself to Arsène Wenger, but it is like
managing a team. And as a team, we are top of our league, even if it's not the

In the mid-60s, like many of his British rock contemporaries, Brock was
hanging around the blues and jazz clubs of west London. But while they
concentrated on getting their Sonny Boy Williamson licks perfect, Brock was at
work with other forces. He worked at a design studio and visited Holland with
his band Famous Cure, and then the embryonic Hawkwind investigated psychedelic
visual effects and electronic experiments in German music. By the time of their
debut gig (billed as Group X) in August 1969, Hawkwind had fused blues, folk,
British symphonic rock and a driving electronic pulse into something of epic

"Well, it was basically freak-out music, wasn't it?" Brock says. "We were
using plenty of LSD, tape loops, repetitive riffs, colours and lights. But I was
still making more money busking. After Don Partridge made that bloody song
called Rosie, everyone wanted a try, and there'd be punch-ups for the cinema
queue pitches in Leicester Square. But at some point Doug Smith [the band's
promoter] had to tell me: 'Dave, either you turn up and play in this group or
you go busking.' So I turned up to play, and that became Hawkwind."

The band became the local fixture in turbulently psychedelic Notting Hill.
They were our local band, carving their own furrow, with politics driving the
music and vice-versa. They became the beacon of the benefit circuit, playing for
the White Panthers, Friends of the Earth, Release and striking coal miners in
1985 – so much so that Brock would tire with band members forever promising his
and everyone else's time: "We had to do something for money, dammit."

Crucially, though, Hawkwind remained the emblematic band of early Glastonbury
and the free festival movement, of the peace convoys and solstice gatherings at
Stonehenge, cut down brutally and bloodily by the police and Thatcher government
at the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985. "I am serious about people's right to
make music and dance where they have made music and danced for centuries," Brock
says. "We are tribal, and want our music to be accessible to all ages. That has
been important to me ever since I saw the West Indian bands in Notting Hill,
grandparents and kids, all together. That is what I understand by a music

"We never supported a cause which encouraged violence," says the effervescent
Kris Tait, who joined Hawkwind in the 1980s as one of the famous dancers that
became integral to the shows, and is now Brock's wife and the band's manager.
"Well, we did sometimes," chides Brock. Every attempt to tour America is still
dogged not only by spent marijuana convictions but by the song Urban Guerrilla:
"Let's not talk about love and flowers/ And things that don't explode/ We've
used up all our magic powers / Trying to do it in the road."

But among all this, between the gigs among pagan stones and the
bloody-mindedness and the drugs stories, the music sometimes gets forgotten. So
what is space rock? "Actually," Brock concedes, "although it was simple to play,
it has always been as complicated as you want it to be, and musically there is
rather more there than meets the eye." Space rock, apparently, has energy and
eschatalogical direction.

"Ultimately, it is optimistic," says Brock, in comparison to, say, Pink
Floyd, whose music is, "Well, a bit doom-laden, isn't it?" Space rock aligned
itself to the writing of – and performances by – the poet Robert Calvert and
novelist Michael Moorcock. "We were all reading science fiction and after the
first moon landing, exploring the idea that everything could change," says
Brock. "We were taking LSD, and the journey outward was also an inner journey, I

Crucial to Hawkwind's endurance has been the group's ability to connect with
successive generations – "The audiences are now younger than ever," says Tait.
Rather than try to keep up with the underground music of the time, Hawkwind have
tended to prefigure it. Punk and grunge listened attentively (John Lydon was a
dedicated fan; Mudhoney have covered Urban Guerrilla). Hawkwind were gurus to
the trance generation, both musically and philosophically – pioneers in both
electronic exploration and the connection between ancient ley lines and
psychotropic technology, so much so that the Orb recorded a tribute called
Orbwind. From 2002, as the raves subsided (just as the free festivals had years
earlier), Hawkwind began their annual Hawkfests, "which was a way," says Brock,
"of carrying on free festivals as a membership occasion, just as you might hold
a gathering of custom car enthusiasts. They are membership occasions, though the
idea is to stay accessible – there's no backstage at a Hawkfest."

The band emerges from the studio to join us. "I'm one of those people who
loved Hawkwind before I knew who they were," says the bassist, Mr Dibs. "I was
into the Buzzcocks and Joy Division, but was given a tape of Hawklords [a
pseudonym Hawkwind adopted briefly for legal reasons in the late 1970s] without
knowing what it was, and thought 'This is me.' So I was a fan, then a roadie for
12 years and now I'm in the band – a dream come true."

"We create a sound which is our own, whatever music it is," says drummer
Richard Chadwick – at 21 years, the band's longest-serving member apart from
Brock. "The model is the Beatles, in as much as whatever they did – be it the
first heavy metal in Helter Skelter or the first world music on a sitar – the
sound was the Beatles. That's our intention: what you hear is Hawkwind and could
only be Hawkwind, whatever we are playing. I came to Hawkwind through the
anarcho-punk scene of the 1980s, so for me the music is the politics and the
politics is the music, which means not becoming a 'star', but playing what could
only be Hawkwind. If you take this sound to the audience in a stadium or at
Glastonbury as it is now, it will inevitably change. So we survive, with a sense
of decency. I've seen Dave [Brock] turn down those opportunities time and time
again – his own show on MTV, this supergroup or that. And that is how this band
has lasted 40 years in the way it has."

"Yes, there have been plenty of chances to become a star," Brock says. "Just
the other day, they wanted me to get together with Lemmy and that bloke from
Jefferson Starship – Paul Kantner – but I thought, 'Oh Christ, please no.' If I
get pushed into that, they'll push me into something else, then something else.
I've seen people do it, doing it the way someone else wants it, away from their
families, away from home. Some people like it – Lemmy's got his place in Los
Angeles with a pool and that, lives on the road and will die on the road. But
I've got raspberries to pick as well as Hawkwind music to work on. I mean, we
can't play the same old stuff the same every time."

Brock smiles, more to himself than to anyone around the table, and tells the
story about how he found Hawkwind's old red lighting-gear van for sale in Auto
Trader. He bought it – and there it is in the farmyard. "Lots of my friends have
got yachts," he says, "but how many yachts does a person need?"

Then Brock explains what he needs. "First, we bought that field, but we were
still visible, and audible. So we bought that meadow there – and Kris and I
raised horses for a while. Now, we have that piece of woodland, and from the top
of it, there's a sea view, right as far as where my parents retired." The idea
is, clearly, that intergalactic headquarters be as close to sealed off as it
possible to be on this crowded island, and thereby as close as possible to – to
what? Space? Or something Hawkwind are still looking for.

At Porchester Hall, London, tonight and tomorrow (returns only: 0871
230 1101)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Roger Waters - Walled Horizons Part 2

Roger Waters - Walled Horizons - Part 1

Pink Floyd news :: Brain Damage - Roger Waters: "Walled Horizons" film premieres

 roger waters at wall

Roger Waters: "Walled Horizons" film premieres

This morning, at the Al-Hakawati Theatre, in East Jerusalem, "Walled Horizons" received its Jerusalem premiere. The film looks at the humanitarian impact of the West Bank Wall, and is narrated by, and features, Roger Waters, who visits the Wall and comments on his observations (see picture, right). The film also features Palestinians affected by the Wall and three Israeli senior security officials, two of whom were directly responsible for planning its route and explain the Israeli position for constructing the Wall.

The date was chosen as it marks the first World Humanitarian Day along with the fifth anniversary of the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Wall.

Roger is featured in the opening shot of the 15-minute documentary walking beside a concrete section of the barrier, upon which is painted a giant lying on its back.

"The reason for walls is always fear, whether the personal walls that we build around ourselves or walls like this that frightened governments build around themselves", Roger explains. "They are always expressions of a deep-seated insecurity.

"It fills me with horror, the thought of living in a giant prison," Waters continues, as the camera watches him spray-painting "We don't need no thought control" on the separation wall.

Speaking to the Associated Press on his last visit to the area, back in June (full report here), he said he hoped that "this awful thing is destroyed soon."

"People who haven't actually seen this, what's going on here, can't actually imagine the impression that it has on you, the sick, kind of churning feeling that you get in your very heart when you see this, how depressing it is," Waters said. He promised that if it does come down one day, he'll perform at the site, as he did in Berlin 1990 where that wall had fallen. "In fact, I would insist on it," he said.

We're hoping to bring you the complete film, online, shortly.

Link To the Movie - Part 1

Link To the Movie - Part 2

The links above are to YouTube.

Pink Floyd news :: Brain Damage - Roger Waters: "Walled Horizons" film premieres

Talking about YESYEARS released by Yes in 1991 (ProGGnosis Release Page)


YESYEARS released by Yes in 1991 (ProGGnosis Release Page)
YesYears by: Yes Year: 1991 Page Jumps: Recording Information * Reviews * Tracks, Credits & Discography Release Entry was last updated on 3/19/2009 by RobRECORDING INFORMATIONYesYears is a 1991 video retrospective of the progressive rock group Yes covering the band's entire history from their 1969 debut album through their 1991 release Union. The video features interviews with the entire band, which, at the time of filming, featured eight members (Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Trevor Rabin, Tony Kaye, Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, and Alan White).

Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign To Save Darfur

Instant Karma

I am usually not much of a fan of remixes or some other artist re-recording music that is sacred to me but this is an exception.

Aerosmith ft The Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars "Give Peace a Chance"
Avril Lavigne "Imagine"
Ben Harper "Beautiful Boy"
Big & Rich "Nobody Told Me"
The Black Eyed Peas "Power To the People"
Christina Aguilera "Mother"
Corinne Bailey Rae "I'm Losing You"
The Flaming Lips "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Green Day "Working Class Hero"
Jack Johnson "Imagine"
Jack's Mannequin featuring Mick Fleetwood "God"
Jackson Browne "Oh, My Love"
Jaguares "Gimme Some Truth"
Jakob Dylan ft Dhani Harrison "Gimme Some Truth"
Lenny Kravitz "Cold Turkey"
Los Lonely Boys "Whatever Gets You Through the Night"
Matisyahu "Watching the Wheels"
The Postal Service "Grow old With Me"
Regina Spektor "Real Love"
R.E.M. "#9 Dream"
Snow Patrol "Isolation"
U2 "Instant Karma"
Youssou N'Dour "Jealous Guy"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mark Weaver

via Sci-Fi-O-Rama by Kie on 8/5/09

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver

A selection of wonderful photomontage collage, the unmistakable style of American Graphic Artist Mark Weaver. I’ve been meaning to do a feature on Marks work for a while, though I’m sure you may already be familiar with him as samples from his Portfolio have (rightly) done the rounds on all the major design feeds.

So what makes Marks work so great? well it’s a marriage of several elements; muted palettes, subtle abstraction, striking typography, but most obviously it’s all founded in the selected use of great source material - makes me want to ram-raid a jumble sale!

See more at Marks Portfolio Site: and his Flickr Photostream

James White - Tron Legacy Poster

via Sci-Fi-O-Rama by Kie on 7/29/09

James White - Tron Legacy Poster

Another trademark ‘ultra-vivid’ Poster Design from a modern master of that genre; Canadian Graphic artist James White taken via his excellent

This unofficial piece of tribute art is inspired by screenshots and concept art of the forthcoming film - Come on Disney - there can’t be many people who could produce a superior, more striking job than this?!

See the HD Trailer for Tron Legacy here and a selection of screenshots here:

Ogasa Shin

via Sci-Fi-O-Rama by Kie on 8/5/09

Oga Oga

Oga Oga

Oga Oga

Oga Oga

A selection of fantastical themed fashion Illustrations from Japan. I have to admit I initially knew nothing about the artist responsible for these stunning drawings, only that they had come via this Japanese Blog well worth a look!

I’ve since found out that the artist name is Ogasa Shin - thanks for the tip Andy :)

Originally spotted via

As for the illustrations themselves, the top Stevie Nicks styled character is my personal favourite…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'Perseids' meteor shower seen starting Monday night | Manila Bulletin


‘Perseids’ meteor shower seen starting Monday night


August 9, 2009, 8:55pm

Prepare your wish list for they may come true.

The famous “Perseids” meteor shower will be seen starting Monday night, August10, until Friday, August 14, peaking on the late night of Wednesday, August12, until dawn of August 13, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

PAGASA said that it expects clear skies to prevail from tomorrow, Aug.11 until Thursday, Aug. 13, in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, giving residents a big chance to witness the spectacular meteor shower.

Many believe that their wish will come true if it is whispered when they see a “shooting star” or “meteor shower.”

“August is one of the most popular times of the year to observe meteor showers,” PAGASA Director Prisco Nilo said. Nilo also said that “occasionally, an exceptional shower may show tens or even hundreds of meteors per minute, but around 50 meteors per hour are more typical.”

“The Perseids meteor shower radiate out from the constellation Perseus, located in the eastern horizon during August,” Nilo said, in its astronomical diary.

“The Perseids meteor shower is the most reliable one, which is best seen during Aug. 10-14 every year. Under most favorable clear sky condition, there may be 60 to 100 meteors per hour,” he explained.

But he added that “the Last Quarter Moon will hinder observations of meteors,” saying that meteors in a shower appear to come from one area of the sky.

The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, said: “Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle.”

“The Perseids are so called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. Meteor showers occur when the Earth moves through a meteor stream. The stream in this case is called the Perseid cloud, and it stretches along the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it passes by the Sun.”

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2,000 years, with the first known information on these meteors coming from the Far East. In early medieval Europe, the Perseids came to be known as the ‘tears of St. Lawrence.’

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blogs, tweets help scientists measure happiness


A group of people celebrate the official start of Barack Obama's term as president on Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20. A happiness meter found that the overall happiest days of the last few years were election day (Nov. 4) and President Obama's inauguration (Jan. 20).A "hedonometer," or a device that measures happiness, has been created by scientists. The software collects content from blogs and tweets to zero-in on the happiest and saddest days of the last few years.

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