Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Next Stop Valhalla

Uppsala Viking Mounds
Originally uploaded by Diego Sierralta

Uppsala Viking Mounds


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Is this record worth $41?

The Velvet Underground "Live at the Gymnasium."

Someone sure acted fast! Didn't this tape just surface a month or two ago?

In any case, a record like this can't be a large pressing, and who knows how many of them will end up on eBay. What do you think-- is it worth the $30 + $11 shipping? And if you've already heard it, is it any good?

Update: found it. Even if it's a fake, it's awesome. Verdict: yes. The record is worth $41.


I'm assuming he brought this gear with him

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pussy Galore on the Uncle Floyd Show+

The first bit is what their clip in "Teenage Riot" (at 0:12) is from.

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The Clouds are Interesting

Let me tell you about Sweden: We leave in four weeks.

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"Count Freaky" Remix

"Count Freaky (Humping on M.A.R.R.S. remix)" by DJ Knox Overstreet:


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Good deal or great scam?

Since late February, I've been outbid on five Tascam 122 tape decks. Five of them! It's getting out of hand.

And it's entirely my fault-- I've got a number that I consider to be the value of the machine and I won't bid higher than it, even though 122s routinely sell for quite a bit more.

So, when I came across this auction, with a "Buy It Now" price a little closer to my limit (but still not "a deal"), I got excited. "I might finally win one of these things!"

But the feeling died as soon as I read the item description, which clearly states:

We Do Not Use ebay Checkout. The winner will receive a payment notice via email. We Accept VISA, MasterCard and Discover.

Suspicious, right? Why wouldn't they use eBay checkout like everyone else? And why would I pass my credit card information through email to a complete stranger?

Naturally, I checked out the seller, "Auction Brokerage," a "Power Seller" out of California with a 99.8% rating. He/she/it/they registered with eBay over ten years ago.

"Auction Brokerage" looks and acts like a pawn shop. It traffics in random junk-- bargain bin LPs, oil paintings, men's jewelry, etc.-- and prices its wares to move. It fills a lot of small holes in the market without occupying any set niche, and its 99.8% rating is based on 8882 transactions: 19 of them listed as "negative" buying experiences, the rest "positive."

The next question, then, was "who are its clients?" Are they real, actual eBay users, or are they pseudonyms for "Auction Brokerage," created to boost its own stats? Tough to tell. They all have feedback histories of their own, so ultimately, it depends on how you deeply you want to read into their recent purchases.

Some of its patrons' handles are too perfect ("xtremebasshead" bought a subwoofer from "Auction Brokerage" on April 16th), and some of the sales defy logic altogether ("Matthewnyc" paid $20 for a copy of "Sign O' the Times" on April 8th), so who knows.

"Auction Brokerage" seems to sell a lot of the same thing as well, specifically Motorcycle t-shirts, which is tough to get a bead on-- is it a spam scam (where they make one listing and duplicate it thirty times) or did they just happen to score a crate of "Indian" shirts that people wanted for $25 a pop?

Also, interestingly enough, all of their auctions have ended after 1 bid.

What do you all think? Is "Auction Brokerage" a scam? And is it one dedicated enough to create a few thousand fake eBay accounts, involve each of them in 20-200 possibly fraudulent auctions independent of the parent scam, and then have them bid on/win something from "Auction Brokerage," so as to legitimize both the "personal" accounts ("xtremebasshead") and the seller's? Or is it a proper, successful eBay seller that I should not be doubting the realness of?

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments, partially because I'm curious to hear what you have to say, and partially because they're also selling a 133 for half the price of their 122 and I want to know what I should do. Thanks!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Soft Boys "Vegetable Girl" rehearsal

And a Syd Barret take from the same guy:

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Bent Fest: this weekend!

Bent Fest is happening this weekend at the beautiful DCTV on Lafayette Street, Thursday-Saturday.

Bent Fest holds a special place in my heart-- Jess and I went on one of our first dates there. That's us, romancing it up, from 2:24 - 2:25.


Monday, April 21, 2008


Me back in 1984 with my Commodore Vic 20
Originally uploaded by Extra Ketchup

I highly recommend searching for a random, bygone year in flickr sometime. You invariably find some real gems. For example. J-e-l-l-o!

If you like that, you'll also love this one. Oh, short shorts! And for more old computers, look over here! The last one isn't culturally nostalgic, at least not in the US. And finally.


Saturday, April 19, 2008



YMO in the studio

Yellow Magic Orchestra recording in 1979:

...and again in 1984:

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The NY Tenori-On launch

Last night, the "Tenori-On Tour" stopped at Southpaw in Brooklyn, and a club full of synth-nerds who have only read about the machine on blogs and watched clips of it on video sites finally got to see one in person, in action.

I left before everything wrapped up, but here's what I remember of what I was around for:

The doors opened at 8 with Senor Coconut's cover of "Showroom Dummies" playing over the soundsystem. Something sounding like Yellow Magic (which might have been a track from Coconut's YMO covers record, come to think of it) came on after that...

8:30: I Am Robot and Proud started things off with a handful of catchy, harmless synth pop tunes:

9:00: Robert Lippok (of To Rococo Rot) killed it with a static + percussion piece, at the end of which, every light on his Tenori-On was lit simultaneously. I'm sure there is a better-quality/longer video of his performance floating around somewhere. Find it and watch it. His set was the highlight, for me at least, of the whole night-- here's how it started:

9:30: Nathan Michel had the decency to shave and tuck his shirt in like an adult before performing. Thumbs up, old sport. His 8-bit IDM was ace, too;

10:00: A rep from Yamaha took the stage and thanked everyone for coming to "The Southpaw." It wasn't pretty. In the future, when we can just fast forward past things, I'll be able to eliminate these "awkward dad" moments from my nights out.

10:30: Toshio Iwai, "media artist" and creator of the Tenori-On, chatted up the history of the machine, his inspiration for its design (music box functionality, Piet Mondrian paintings, minimalism) and its prototype variations. He also led a tutorial on programming/playing the Tenori-On, which was great.


I made my way downstairs and found seven Tenori-On stations set up-- one of them was open! Here's what the "Random" mode looks like (you can hear the Yamaha stooge over the loudspeakers in the background):

There was a "Register to Win a Tenori-On" raffle. I stuck around until I heard that it wasn't going home with me and made my exit. There were three other performances happening, and I'm sure they were awesome. Again, search around for videos. I'd never seen so many cameraphones in my life as I did last night, and am sure someone caught what I missed.

  • Tenori-Ons will be available in the States on May 1st
  • They will retail for around $1,200
  • Production will be low-- they will be made in batches of 100, so expect backorders
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    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Going Scandinavian

    So...we're going to Sweden in May for a bit, and I'm gearing up for the trip. This is Finnish, but I think it's a good start.


    Here's another song by the same artist, about a boy named Pete. In the video, he's chasing a lady were-rabbit in the forest.

    And in case you were dying of curiosity, we're going to Uppsala, and we're going for three days.

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    eBay pick of the day: Quad-Eight Coronado

    Quad-Eight Coronado console

    $20,000, and they're prepared to "negotiate generously"? Let's see... I've got $20 in the bank, I can sell some plasma...

    Somewhat related, why does this feel so ominous?? Did they go the way of Sony, or are they (finally) updating the site? And if they did close, are they selling off their gear? Their outboard and mic collections are (were?) some of the best this side of Avatar. Hmm...


    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Thurston + Young Bandits covering Velvets

    You can download the original here.

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    Christian Marclay interview

    What's going on with the host, and what high school is Roulette TV broadcast out of?

    ...and what happened to that Boomerang at 2:24??

    There's another, good, non-Legere interview with him over here, too.

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    Photo from the Brooklyn Tea Party

    The Christian Pirate Puppets:

    (more hot shots here. Thanks Deenah!)

    Our new CD is out! Write to us about getting a copy.


    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    "Count Freaky" video

    The Shamblers have a new cassette EP coming out at the end of the month. This is a song from it:

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    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Tenori-On in NY: next week!

    "The Tenori-On Tour" is coming to New York next Wednesday night, 8pm at Southpaw. YES! Wire to the Ear went to their Berlin party and it sounded like a ton of fun!

    The event is free, but you've got to register to go. And don't get your hopes up-- while this sounds like a product launch, Tenori-Ons are still not available in the US... what gives, Yamaha?

    See you there!

    P.S. Somewhat/not at all related: the Monome team is teaching a Max/MSP workshop on June 17th in Philly. Their 40h kits are back in stock, and there's an original 40h on eBay right now with a starting price of $600.

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    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    "Crisis Core" on YouTube

    I started playing the new Final Fantasy game "Crisis Core" last week, and as Jess can tell you, it's pretty much all I'm doing at this point. But I'm not screen-capping my progress and posting the entire game onto YouTube, because that would just be insane.

    Luckily, if lunacy and questionable uses of free time are things you look for on the internet, be sure to check out this guy, who not only beat the game on "Hard" mode, but shared his experience with the rest of us. Enjoy:

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    Monday, April 07, 2008

    eBay pick of the day: Shure 516EQ

    Shure 516EQ microphone

    My love for gimmick microphones is no secret-- AKG DX-11s and Fender FR570s are regular eBay and pawn shop searches-- and so it thrilled me something awesome to find this gem: a 545, essentially, with BUILT IN GRAPHIC EQ! I bet it sounds amazing on one thing (not harmonica) and awful on everything else. I need this microphone, but a Buy It Now of $150 is a bit steep. I could get a decent dynamic mic (say, a Heil PR-20 or a Beyer 201) for that kind of dough.

    That said, do any of you have a favorite piece of less-than-professional equipment that you either want to own or already have and use regularly? And how do you look at the mark-up for "cheap" gear-- does the inherent coolness and rarity of a thing (which you know isn't going to be a Neumann killer from the outset) warrant paying twice its actual value?


    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    New Shamblers EP out soon!

    The Shamblers recorded ten new songs last night, including a cover of "Copkiller," for a new EP. Should be out soon!


    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    Nicholas Negroponte lecture

    I don't know who he is either, but give it a chance. Great prophetic techno-speak from 1984. It looks completely fake to me (as does this piece of magic). I feel like if I put on a pair of "They Live" glasses he'd turn into an alien.

    From Ted.com. Matrixsynth posted their Clifford Stoll video a couple of days ago, which you should also check out.