Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The Art of the Mix

The Art of the Mix - a website dedicated to making mix tapes, mixed CDs and MP3 playlists. Members can post and download mixes or network through onsite blogs.

What are the politics of the "mix tape" in terms of copyright, and in terms of the division between musicians and consumers? Is making a mix tape any kind of "art"?

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Computer Games on Vinyl

A fabulous story (with lots of pictures) at
One strategy that major record companies have been employing lately to deter downloading is adding bonus computer content to new CD releases. I recently discovered that this technique is not unique to CD's, but had in fact been practiced in the vinyl era as well. That's right: there were a handful of records released in the late 70's and early 80's that contained computer programs as part of the audio. This is totally insane, and totally great.

Most of these programs were written for the Sinclair Spectrum home computer series. The Sinclair Spectrum was a relatively cheap home computer system that used a television set as a monitor and loaded programs from tapes. It thrived in England in the early 80's

I don't know if anyone remembers this (and was there any such thing in Australia??), but it's an interesting example of "old media" not being as old, and new media not being as new, as we think.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Part online encyclopedia, part music criticism, part blog, is a fabulous example of hybrid academic/popular discussion of music, culture, subculture, cultural studies, name it. I particularly like the page on subculture. Definitely the kind of writing style (if not the format) to aim for in your own weblogs.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Punk in America

A non-academic critical reflection on punk in the US (especially New York) as opposed to Britain: "We Created It; Let's Take It Over!":
The Emergence of Punk in America

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Following the path of hip hop around the world

Hip-hop has moved far from its roots in African-American culture, a journey charted in a new book edited by UTS academic Dr Tony Mitchell.
Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA contains 13 essays exploring the hip-hop scenes of Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia and the Pacific. It has been published in the US by Wesleyan University Press.

'Global Noise looks at how hip-hop has been 'indigenised' by performers around the world who've adapted the template to fit their own language and political concerns,' Dr Mitchell said.
'While the genre in America now seems cliched and brutal and lacks any political perspective, elsewhere rappers with divergent backgrounds of race, nationality, class and gender are using the form as a powerful expression of opposition and resistance.'
Anyone interested in investigating hip hop as a subculture will be pleased to know that this book is available in the Architecture/Music Library.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Back in the day...

Here's an interesting retrospective construction of early 80s punk and DIY, and also an example of how artists will often offer free downloads of their music (might be useful to think about the range of motivations bands have for doing this).
Bit players in the cinerama epic of punk, Narthex played shows in Philadelphia and vicinity from 1980 to 1983. From the unknown chapters of punk history, here is their story along with an album's worth of audio.