Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Suzanne Vega - Tom's Essay

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis is Measure for Measure, a blog published by the NY Times about how to write songs. One of the contributors is Suzanne Vega, who I have been a fan of for the last 21 years... ever since I heard Luka on the radio for the first time.

Her blog entry published yesterday talks about the song Tom's diner. It tells the story of the song the remixes and the MP3 algorithm. Not ony Suzanne is a great songwriter, she is also an excellent story teller. It really is a pleasure to read.

Incidentally, the new iTunes Live in London release has a very interesting version of the song where the esentially play the DNA arrangement rather than the usual a capella version of the song. The album itself is an excellent download as it is Suzanne Vega playing on a trio, which is quite unusual. I have seen her live with a four and a five piece band, and with a duo with her bass player only, but never as a trio. Excellent!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lisa Hannigan - See Sew

What can be better than a new album that starts with a couple of a riff on a doublebass. It is quite unusual to listen to new "pop" music these days played with acoustic instruments.

There is a good review on the Swear I'm not Paul blog.

Let me just add a couple of things. In my honest opinion, this is the album that Damien Rice could have produced. The music styles are very similar, but this See Sew is so much better achieved. The arrangements are so simple, but they fill the space beautifully. I agree with the review, "I don't know" is the best song in the album.

Interestingly, the album is being published by Lisa herself. It can be bought in the shops Ireland, and online only from her website It is not available from the usual download sites.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Asia Live in London - December 3, 2006

I know I will get a lot of flack for this one... a couple of years ago I realised one of my musical dreams when I saw the original members of Asia for the first time. I just came across this in YouTube.

I had seen ELP, Yes, and eve Asia with John Payne, but nothing quite like this. It was excellent. I was about 2 metes away from Steve How on the left hand side!

By the way, if you notice carefully, John Wetton is playing bass in a very unorthodox way. The reason is that he had carpel tunnel syndrome, and he couldn't play with his fingers, he had to tape a thumb pick to his thumb in order to play. Despite this his playing was incredible, they even played roundabout and in the court of the crimson king, and he didn't miss a bit!

iPod Touch 2.1 - First Impressions

After a lot of hassle I managed to install version 2.1 on my iPod Touch. I haven't had a lot of time to play with it, but I have founf two really good things.
  • Lyrics are finally supported
  • Additional information for podcasts is now visible
  • Genius Playlists (I haven't found the button that generates them, but then again, I am not sure if I synched after I enabled them in iTunes)
  • Faster backups
  • Changes in UI
  • Ability to turn off individual sound effects
  • For the first time I noticed the parental controls, but not sure if they have been there for a while
Any more, let me know

I found a couple more things... after synching aain, now genius is enabled on the iPod. It is a cool feature, it generates 25 song playlists based on whatever song you are playing
  • When you have a partially heard podcast, you get a half full dot beside it, before you only had the dot wen it was new and nothing if you had started. Presumably this is the same for movies and prgrammes
  • The shuffle and repeat buttons are now below the ong slider, which makes it easier to choose a particular part of the song.
  • Album details are now also below the song when you are playing a track