I'm in Love with a Slush Machine

Today's Band Names:

And, by popular demand, today's #1 band name:

"Slush Machine" came out of the idea that Goldfrapp's song "Strict Machine" would be more funny (funnier?) if it were about some kind of S&M Slurpie machine. "Slurpie Machine" doesn't scan, however. So, "Slush Machine".

I've revised my opinion that "voter remotes" would be a good thing for the film industry. imagine the abomination that would ensue if the remotes contained (for example) a "More NASCAR" button.

I think Alexis de Tocqueville was the first to point out, in his seminal "Democracy in America", that filmgoers will continue to vote for more bread and circuses until the films are nothing but bread and circuses. And Lindsay Lohan vehicles*.

It's like the woman who approached Ben Franklin exiting a theater and asked him what he'd seen. Franklin responded "'Snakes on a Plane', madam. If you can keep it."

*Considering recent events, the words "Lindsay Lohan" and "vehicle" should probably not appear in close proximity. As it is, I'm probably going to get a lot of irate visits from Google users who misunderstand the content of this site.



A Remote for Movie Theaters

USA Today has a story that Regal Cinemas are placing small remotes into theaters to allow patrons to complain about problems and report noisy cell phones and so forth.

I might add that it also needs a thumbs up/thumbs down button so that I can inform advertisers how much I enjoy their commercials before the film.

The thing that totally cracks me up about the remote is that there is a prominent button marked PIRACY.

Yeah, I imagine it's there to let you snitch on people Canadians with camcorders, but I envision using it to comment on the films themselves.

For example. Go see the latest Pirates of the Caribbean flick, and lean on that button every time you see a pirate. "PIRATES! THERE'S ONE!" click-click-click. Oh no! MORE piracy!!! Click-click-click. "this film is wall-to-wall PIRACY!" People in the entertainment business have a great sense of humor. They would LOVE this kind of thing.

Or what about the standard industry piracy that has occured since Hollywood began? Go to see "Disturbia", which rips off "Rear Window". --Press the button. "The Core", which my friend Kyle called "Reverse Armageddon" --Push the button. Any Sports Movie--since they are all the same--Push the button.

Now that I think about it...the movie theater remote could mean the end of the film industry as we know it.

Or maybe the beginning of something more creative.

Check out the original story at USA Today.



Don't Mess with Orbital Texas

If "Seattle Underground" wasn't a band 10 years ago... Forget 10 years--if there wasn't a band in the 60's called "Seattle Underground", I would be very surprised.

"Grand Prismatic" sounds like something from the Jekyll Island "In Essence" project from 2005. Remind me to put up a gallery of essence and elemental images from that project.



Don't Download This Song

Here is where you and I might part ways. I like Weird Al Yankovic. Always have.

Me and the Scooby gang went to the Weird Al Yankovic concert a couple days ago. This tour is supporting Straight Outta Lynwood , his biggest hit album yet.

Al's live show is more vibrant than ever.
Seeing a broad parody act is sort of like seeing 50 bands at once, as there were well-executed costume changes between most songs--except for a bravura central section where Al cycled through a couple dozen tunes, effortlessly segueing between them.

Speaking of segues, "White and Nerdy" opened with Al zipping onstage riding a Segway. Hey, he’s not the only one fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.

The show was a huge crowd pleaser. Tool and Godsmack just don’t endear this kind of love in fans. I was surprised at how the old Michael Jackson send-ups brought down the house, as they appeared unexpectedly in the set and were a welcome surprise.

That rule of thumb about Al not doing the epic Albuquerque or the full bodysuit version of Fat in concert any more may not be entirely true.

If you would have told me back during the Eat It days, that in 20 years Michael Jackson would be a perverse footnote and Al would be more relevant than ever…well, I probably would have agreed. Any opinion leader-early adaptor-trend prognosticator should have foreseen it. It was obvious that the world needed Al more than whatever the appeal of MJ was at the time*.

Plus, Al has a gift for cutting to the core of social comment without giving overt offence. Like he says, "Everyone has a cell phone, so come on. Get over it."

*A lot of the appeal of Thriller came from the compounding factors of Quincy Jones, Eddie Van Halen, Vincent Price, John Landis, MTV et al..



My Band Names: NOW Y2K Compliant!

And remember: Under no circumstances is the Monkey Eraser to be eaten. Its like that yummy Silica Gel (I presume it's yummy, based on the dire warnings not to eat it--no matter how much they provoke your desire).

Why do they tempt us so? Catholics have a word for the act of placing so much temptation before us.

Unfortunately, I'm not Catholic, so I have no idea what that word is.



Unfinished Business

I named that band "Corey Haim's Prevarication Movement" a few days ago because Corey Feldman's band is called "The Corey Feldman Truth Movement".

I mentioned I wanted a rotary cellphone a couple days ago. Turns out such a thing exists. Here's a picture and a weblink. I've got to have it.

I came up with the idea of the wiki band because I've been setting up my own wiki over the past few days. You haven't lived until you've used wikiwords with CamelCase (whatever those two items are).

Band names for today:

* "Pure Virtual" because windows medial player crashed with an error message that complained of a "Pure Virtual function call". That sounds like a GOOD thing.



Headline News: Only 7 Band Names Remaining

Newspaper parody website The Onion reports that only seven band names are left:

"According to data released Monday by the International Registry of Rock Band Names, only seven of the estimated 518 million potential names for musical acts remain available.

"Following the selection of 'The Stripped Amygdaloids,' 'A Purple Spray Of Cloth Violets,' and 'Guestowel' this past weekend, it is essential that new bands pick a name as soon as possible," read a statement on the organization's website. "Bands that wish to form after all names have been taken will be have to wait until a name becomes available, which could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 years."

Read the story at The Onion's Website.

Don't worry folks. As this blog enters its third year I've got plenty of band names left in me. Quality band names.

The kind of band names you want to pour milk over and make a part of your complete breakfast. That's my commitment to you, the band name consumer.

Now, with that out of the way, here are your band names for today:



Donnie Osmond is Smarter than You and Me

Mix Magazine, a publication for recording engineers and producers, recently interviewed erstwhile teen sensation Donnie Osmond. And it turns out Donnie is a FREAKING SUPERGENIUS! Donnie tells of working on a homemade console with an Ampex 4-track:
"And I used to live underneath that console. I used to look at where the wiring ran. I'd get my soldering gun out. I'd find some cold solder joints and I'd fix them. I must have been between 10 and 12 years old when I started doing this."
So in true boy genius fashion, Donnie saves the day:

"So Westlake [Audio] calls me and says the engineer's stuck in New York. The console was delivered and it's just sitting there. I said, “Screw that! I'm gonna install this thing.” So I undid the crate and had a bunch of guys help me bring it through the window and set it in place. For a week I worked on this console. The engineer showed up the following week, changed a couple of grounding points and said it was done...I was 14.

How does it feel knowing Donnie Osmond is better than you? Huh? Is it enough to make you mad? Oh, yeah. It's enough to make you the mean kind of mad!

Lest you think Donnie's technical bravado was arrested in the early 70's, wait til you see the kind of digital juju he's working with these days. It's a melon-farming mouthful:
"I have these three Yamaha 2400s. The reason I have three is that there is a throughput problem with FireWire. If I transfer 24 tracks all at the same time, I'm going to miss some data. So I decided to get three machines and do eight tracks each at a time. Those that had 16 tracks I'd just play the 16 on the 24 head and separate it out and put it through two of the 2400s. The Yamahas have these really good preamps so I didn't get any external preamps. I was thinking I would just take the drives out, but found it was just as easy to USB it, put it into my little laptop, then take it out in the studio and transfer it. There was a little bit of a sync problem getting all three machines to start at the same time through MIDI. So I put a reference tone on the tape that would go into one channel of each of the Yamahas. This way, I could line up that tone later in Nuendo and all three sets of eight tracks would be aligned again."
That's easy for you to say, Donnie.

Dangit. Now I wish that I was Donnie Osmond more than ever. The guy has it all. He's like a real-life Buckaroo Banzai. He's got the hot chicks. He's got the fast cars. He's got an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Shucks, he's even a little bit Rock & Roll.

Other wanna-be musicians out there wish they were Trent Reznor or KISS. Not me. I wish I was Donnie Osmond.

Or maybe the drummer for Whitesnake.

Read the entire article online at Mix Magazine: http://mixonline.com/mag/audio_call_techie_love/index.html



The Worlds First Wiki Band

The band names for today:

*"Wiki Wiki" is nominated for the very prestigious (but never awarded) Band Name Of The Month. Wiki Wiki is nominated not for the name itself, but for the concept. I hereby propose the world's first Wiki Band.

A Wiki band is different from other bands in the sense that if you don't like something about it, you can come up and do it yourself. This simple but direct concept allows you to, for instance, fire the crappy drummer and replace him with an SR-16, put an stop to the endless wanking of jam band guitar solos, or play the B3 organ part of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" yourself when the keyboard player is butchering it.

Think about this: The next time five white guys get up at a bar and start playing bass-heavy 12-bar blues with random drumming and Nigel Tufnel guitar riffs, imagine standing up and saying "Guys, I'm gonna have to cut you off. It's been done. It's been done to death. Let's try something new. Drummer, you learn to count to four. Bass player, you need both rhythm and some serious EQ. Guitarist, you need to get over yourself. And vocalist, you suck, and you haven't even started yet. There's a reason people get up to dance only when the live band takes a break."

The concept of a Wiki Band is almost too good to be true. I mean, if you think about it, all the garage bands in the world could be replaced with just a few Wiki Bands, as people get inspired, try to make a go of it, get fed up, and quit.

And all the negative baggage of the wiki concept applies as well, as millions of opinionated but musically talentless singers try to force song set lists on the real musicians. Why, some kind of collaborative decision making tree would be required for even the simplest music making steps.

In short, being a member of a Wiki Band would become a lot like being a member of a real band.



Aloha Means Goodbye

"Aloha Means Goodbye" is a reference to the 1974 made-for-TV Sally Struthers thriller. It's actually pretty good.

"Jellotosis" is a terminal disease caused by Cosby reruns.

I'm still waiting for my own rotary cellphone.

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1986 :
It's the 80's baby, and digital synthesizers are advertised to kids on television!

Just for your sonic amusement and amazement, here are the patches that were featured on that ad:

Racing Car
Storm Wind

If you have a TX81Z (and I'm sure you do), you have non-sine versions of the same patches (although "Heavysynth" is in the user-writable *I* bank). You can listen to some of these digital wonders in isolation at this website:


These patches sounded so much better to our ears in the 80's than the old-fashioned analog synth patches that are again popular today. To our 21st century aesthetic, these FM patches sound just as synthetic as anything from Switched-On Bach to the oscillator burbles of Morton Subotnick in the 1960's. In 1982 however, tones generated by the DX7 sounded (as the Yamaha brochure noted) "sounds that have never been heard before yet are undeniably 'acoustic'."

Why did FM become "The Sound of the 80's"?
Why then did FM synthesis become the sound of the 80's, appearing on almost every record from Madonna to Rap to R&B to Reggae and even country(shudder)?

The truth is that even though FM synthesis sounds just as synthetic, it had a sheen of detail that analog synthesis typically lacked. FM sounds were thinner, but they had more subtlety, similar to the digital-vs-analog aesthetic that still exists in audio. Analog may have a lot of warm distortion, but that distortion covers a multitude of sins! Analog is painted in broad strokes, like spin art, where FM is assembled pixel by pixel like a fractal.

Now there's nothing wrong with spin art. Indeed, neither solution is best--and both have their own built-in advantages (there's tomorrow's band name!). Digital makes great high-detail bells and whistles (literally), while analog makes big warm string sections and ensemble sounds, to name just two examples. A competent artisan has both techniques tucked in his bag of tricks.

A good 21st century solution is a machine like the Alesis Fusion, that combines Analog, FM and sampling in a single workstation. The unit doesn't put any artificial firewalls between the synthesis types. A mix can pick and choose freely between patches, FM can begin with multiple waveforms (not just sine), or a filter can be strapped to an FM sound. The fact that it retails for under a grand has led to it being called the sound design "bargain of the decade".

It's a great time to be a sound designer. I finally have the kind of sound mangling tools I dreamed about when I was a kid. and the fact that they are all in one box is nothing short of a miracle.



Voices of the Satellites

"Laika's Heart" is a track from the Smithsonian Folkways album "Voices of the Satellites". It is the telemitry data from Sputnik 2, that allowed doctors to monitor Laika's heartbeat in orbit. Laika, as you'll remember, was the first Russian bitch in space. I'll set up the jokes. You bring 'em home.





A Bit Of The Old Grab Eye

Here are your new band names. Hold your applause. Just throw money.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I believe that Ben and Jerry (the ice cream hippies) and Sid and Marty Kroft are probably the same guys.

If not, I bet they all see the same stuff when they squeeze their eyes shut real tight.

Please excuse the inordinate use of boldface type. Sometimes I imagine that I'm technology columnist John C. Dvorak.

References for today (for the Florida Area reader who complained that my references are too obscure but she still wants to seem hip):

Oh, by the way, this is a "grab eye":



Divine Fiat found on road, dead.

We've had the baby boom generation, the Pepsi Generation and Generation X (which was actually the first X-Men movie. look it up). I recommend naming the new generation "the Spontaneous Generation". Mostly because it's funny. I'll work out the rationale later. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision.

You guys like how I got divine fiat and abiogenesis on the same list? Speaking of, it's been three years and I'm just now getting around to naming a band "Divine Fiat"? Amazing!

If nothing else, it proves that the band name list will never end. Even though the list primarily existed between NOV 06 -- FEB 07 to irritate my friend M______ (name withheld on request. "Leave me out of it," she said). It's not her kind of humor. Which I think is hilarious. I am the guy who laughs hardest when someone says "I don't think that's very funny!" Odds are, so are you. He who laughs last is a referential post-modern absurdest hipster.

On another note, ask me what's playing in my CD player. Go ahead. Ask me.



Alley Oop and the Alec Baldwin practical joke ratio

I called my buddy and played the Alec Baldwin message onto his answering machine. Then I felt like a jerk, because if you don't get the context, it just sounds like an insane Will Arnett-voiced guy leaving a threatening message.

This is my problem with most practical jokes. They are ten times more mean than funny. I want that funny ratio up around 90% funny /10% mean before I'll even go there. I'm not a mean guy.

Except that I'm a a mean motor scooter ... and a bad go-getter.

"Twee Spectacle" is my early nominee for the prestigious Band name of the Month honors. The gala Band name of the Month award ceremony will be held this month at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

That is unless Dorothy Chandler gets wind of it. She would probably chase us away. We'd have to sneak into somebody else's pavilion.



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