Have you crossed over and come back lately? And I don’t mean psychoactive drug trips… I mean pure creative vision/channelling or totally losing yourself in the performance? This short video by Jason Silva does a wonderful job of exploring this concept. #JasonSilva Creativity Is Madness ‪#‎MusicIsLife‬ ‪#‎LattanzioAudio‬ #‎Life‬‪ #‎Vision‬

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We humans have a tendency to put everything into neat conveniently defined boxes but many of the categorizations we use are at best arbitrary and at worst totally bogus. I often say “Genre is a dirty word” for a number of reasons ranging from; the fact that I find music that adheres most closely to any “genre” conventions or boundaries to be the most uninspired and forgettable. Through to the fact that most of my favourite artists’ music is either a fusion of two or more styles or unclassifiable by virtue of being so inventive that it defies all genres.

Another tendency that annoys and frustrates me is our tendency to classify music (and indeed many aspects of life) by decades. In reality creativity, artistry and any “movement”, fashion or lifestyle does not and cannot simply follow the convenient blocks of time we assign as decades.

For people too young to have lived through it or remember, I can assure you there is no single “genre” or style of music that defines the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s. Furthermore creative movements and styles do not start or end conveniently following any defined decade. A movement may emerge at any time during any decade and slip away quietly or rise to the fore and last for a number of year or much longer than a decade.

As an artist David Bowie is one that has been on the cutting edge, constantly evolving and embracing many styles/influences. His musical output spans 5 decades and has remained influential. This does not mean however that musical styles that rise up and seem to disappear quickly are not influential to some degree, even a one hit wonder can have long lasting influence. I prefer to define music’s evolution in terms of styles, periods/eras & lasting influence.

One such period that produced much of my favourite music and is often under-appreciated in terms of innovation, style and influence is the period from 1977 – 1983. This is the period that followed the peak dominance of punk and disco and pre-dates Madonna but includes the emergence of artists as diverse and influential as; Prince, The Police, U2, Talking Heads, Television, Joy Division, New Order, The Cure, The B52’s, Gang Of Four, Ultravox, The Clash, Depeche Mode, The Church, Meatloaf, Dead Or Alive, Divynls, Eurythmics, Spandau Ballet, The Hooters, Soft Cell, The Jam, Madness, The Pretenders, Elvis Costello, INXS, The Buggles, The Human League, Joe Jackson, Stray Cats, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, The Psychedelic Furs, Magazine, Flowers/Icehouse, Bauhaus, Duran Duran, Adam & The Ants, Echo & The Bunnymen, Toto, XTC, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Cheap Trick, The Knack, Def Leppard, Midnight oil, Public Image Ltd, Simple Minds, Tubeway Army, UB40, Visage, Fishbone, Pere Ubu, Husker Du, The Fall, Mink Deville, Suicide, Killing Joke, Modern English, Wire, Jimmy and The Boys, Black Flag and I could go on… Even some established bands and artists found new life and rose to even greater heights during this period; Fleetwood Mac released Rumours (one of the greatest popular albums of all time), AC/DC shot to stardom in 78/79 then in 1980 released Back In Black (the second highest selling album ever), Michael Jackson released Off The Wall in ’79 then followed up with Thriller (the biggest selling album of all time) in 1982, Peter Gabriel released his first solo album (after leaving Genesis) etc. etc… There were also many lessor known or obscure artists/releases during this period that are note-worthy. It was also a period in which anything from the slickest most carefully arranged and produced upbeat pop song to the moodiest, darkest, slash your wrists, synth driven single could be a hit if it was a great song.

In reality though it was music that neither belonged to nor is synonymous with the decades of the “70’s” or 80’s. It is music that emerged and evolved over that five year period.

You may not have heard of all these artists, you may have overlooked some of them and you may not like some of these artists, I don’t like all of them. However (with the notable exception of 1966 – 1971) you’d be hard pressed to find any five year period in popular music of the past 50 years that produced an equal level of diversity, innovation, excitement and lasting influence as 1977 – 1983.

So over the next few months I’ll be posting links for some of my favourite (well known or lessor known) tracks from this period; songs that caught my attention, influenced or excited me and still do in most cases. Starting with this infectious near perfect example of power-pop from one hit wonders Sniff ‘n’ The Tears… And as if to ad weight too my point this particular clip opens with a graphic reading “Back To The Eighties”, when in fact Driver’s Seat was released and became a hit in 1978….

Drivers Seat by Sniff ‘N’ The Tears

Shundahai

Rokk lattanzio

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This article made me feel good about recording, mixing and mastering again. It explains in detail why the trend to make louder and louder music masters at the expense of dynamic range may be reversed in the near future and not a day to soon I say. The article is technical in nature and written primarily for audio engineers but I urge anybody involved in making, distributing, promoting music to read it. And if there’s anything you don’t understand but would like to know more about I’m happy to respond to questions in the comments field of this post.

So here’s the link to the article:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb14/articles/loudness-war.htm

More on why Free Streming is a bad business model and also a bad measure for charts like the new Billboard “consumption” charts… It makes no sense but we do live in a world where Pet Rocks were once a hot item and ‘Reality TV” now reigns supreme in Primetine… So now how much advertising your music is linked to via free streaming services is replacing music sales as a measure of worth.. It’s very hard not to find these thoughts depressing if you are an aspiring artist or true music lover.

New Math $.00666 : Billboard’s New “Consumption” Chart, Free Streams and the End Of Meaningful Metrics?.

artists rights, Censorship, illegal exploitation, know thy enemy

via Artists, Know Thy Enemy – Who’s Ripping You Off and How….

World Gone Crazy

Posted: November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

If someone had told me 30 years ago that in my lifetime people would be complaining about having to pay $10-$20 dollars for an album of music by artists they supposedly love (or refuse to pay at all and feeling entitled to their music collection for free). Then many of the same people would happily pay $500 or more for a “smartphone” and in addition pay monthly subscription fees for access to millions of songs (in poor quality compressed audio) most of which they will never listen to. I would have told them they were crazy… So from my perspective, as a long time music lover, music producer and lover of quality audio; the world has indeed gone completely insane!

VLS-1B

The only technology I really wish existed right now is time travel, I would go back to the early 1960’s and live the rest of my life happily in a world before compressed digital audio existed. No iPods, Napster, smartphones, Spotify, iTunes, Pandora etc. etc. A world where if you heard a song you liked on the radio you would buy the album on the strength of one song and rarely be disappointed. A world where you would buy new albums by artists you really liked before even hearing them and rarely be disappointed. – Rokk Lattanzio

Don’t Believe The Hype

Posted: November 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

With all the hype surrounding the Australian finalists in shows like The Voice, X-factor and Idol you’d expect music sales to reflect this media frenzy with numbers. A casual look at the ARIA charts may support this illusion but when you explore worldwide charts the story is quite different. The the media hype has generated enough sales locally to get the manufactured pop singles from The Voice’s Marlisa and Dean Ray into the singles charts here (at least while riding the crest of the wave for a few weeks). However when you look at the US & UK charts it’s Sia’s song Chandelier that’s in the top 10 and top 12 respectively and rising in both those singles charts. More importantly “Chandelier” has spent 18 weeks in the UK charts and 25 weeks in the USA charts. Even more importantly her album ‘1000 Forms Of fear’ is still in the top 200 USA album charts at 135 and rising again, the only other album by an Australian artist currently in the Top 200 in the USA is, Back In Black by AC/DC; perspective is a wonderful thing.  ‘1000 Forms Of Fear’ has been out for some time (released in July 2014) so it’s worth noting that it also peaked at Number 1 in the US, Canadian & Australian album charts, 11 in the UK album charts and top 10 in a number of European countries. Not even Guy Sebastion (original winner of Australian Idol) the most prolific and successful Australian “Music” reality show alumni has had album chart success outside Australia.  There will always be manufactured Pop but people also do recognize true artistry, talent and quality album production. Well perhaps all people except those pulling the strings in the mainstream Australian media… Don’t misunderstand me, I wish both Marlisa & Dean Ray every success and happiness but if you look at all the history of Australian music/artists impact on the world music scene, the Australian Idol/X-factor/Voice finalists have had little or no impact compared to artists who carved their success via more traditional avenues. So where is the Australian mass media support for Australian artists like Sia; truly unique, talented, original Australian artists who are or could be kicking goals on the world market? Artists who have more than earned respect or at least deserve an reasonable share of the media attention.

http://siamusic.net/