Friday, May 28, 2010

Documentary Binge: Part 1: Illegal... but why?

I've been on a documentary spree on Hulu recently. So far, I have watched Pirate Radio USA, Steal This Film, and am in the process of watching Steal This Film 2.

The first documentary, Pirate Radio USA, is about the state of pirate radio in the United States. It has a funny and clever style in it's presentation and the narrators are amusing. It outlines the unfairness in the FCC's policy about low power stations and the idea of licensing in general. I found that the new qualification of LPFM (Low-Power FM) has not had a window of application open since 2003. This is sad to me. I mean, I think it would be awesome to have a small radio station just catering to your town or neighboring cities. There is a serious lack of interesting and authentic content on the airwaves, and so much so that I have only recently turned back to it after about 2-3 years of abandoning it. And all throughout, the underground is still working hard to bring it back...

Steal This Film covers piracy of movies and music, but focuses on movies and The Pirate Bay in specific. While this is like preaching to the choir for me, I found the comparisons between the emergence of the printing press and BitTorrent's creation of the ease of access to virtually any kind of media imaginable to be incredibly interesting. I realize what's going on in the media landscape. It's changing rapidly towards everyone sharing everything. And I can't wait to see what is next.

I shall review Steal This Film 2 once I finish it.

May Wishlist

One of my good friends runs a wishlist blog on Tumblr. It's essentially just a collection of things he wants to have, whether to realistically work towards or just to fantasize about. Now usually, I'm a man of simple needs, but I have my sights set on a few things I wish to have as of this month:

1.) Ray-Ban RB3025: $139 [link] - Dark violet/Violet mirror or Gold/Green

2.) Yamaha Pocketrak 2G Pocket Recorder: $149 [link]- Comes with Cubase AI.

 3.) V-Moda Vibe Earbuds: $34.58 [link] - Gun Metal Black

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Music fans suck. Part 1: Embrace change

Sometimes fans of music can really be crappy. One example of this is recently when I stumbled across the lone review on Amazon of Re-Traced, the new EP by Cynic. It contains reworkings of some songs off of Traced in Air and contains a very different sound from the original. This review accuses Cynic of "frustrating their core fans since their reformation the last few years." You see, their debut album Focus, could be classified as technical death metal with some jazz elements thrown in. Therefore, when Traced in Air came out with its more melodic sound and more concrete structures, it may have thrown some fans of the debut for a loop, and when Re-Traced came out I could see it really shaking some people up.

 This brings me to my favorite examples of the dynamic quality of artists and their work: Devin Townsend. He has gone from punk rock, to death/industrial metal, to rock, to downtempo/progressive/ambient/blues, and back to tightly produced metal. For a normal fan of music, his catalog must seem absurd, but if you delve deeper, it is revealed via interviews that he has multiple tastes and influences and what's popular may not always be what he is interested in creating. Strapping Young Lad was probably his most popular contribution, but then when he took a hiatus and finally came out with Ki, it indeed shook some people up who had only listened to SYL. Pussy music? Maybe. Excellently written and produced music? Definitely. So you see, don't be discouraged if the artist near to your heart steers away from what you believe should be the right direction. If they fail, they fail. But don't damn them outright because it sounds different from what you're used to. If you truly care about the artist, and their talent shines through, then as long as their skill is seen, it shouldn't matter how it is presented.

And I think that should be the only principle that guides the individual artist. Expression of the self through your chosen medium. There can be nothing else. In the words of Salieri in Amadeus,
"If the public doesn't like one's work. One has to accept the fact, gracefully."