The Rise of the New Groupthink


The Rise of the New Groupthink
Susan Cain, writing for the New York Times, explores the correlation between introversion and creativity, along the way profiling one of the great introverts of our times, Steve Wozniak. Quoting Woz in his memoir:

“Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me … they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone …. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

(Via Charles Hennen.)

Facing the 2012 RPM Challenge

February is just a couple of weeks away, and as I have every year since 2008, I’ll be participating in the RPM Challenge.

What’s that? It’s simple: produce an entire album (10+ songs or 35+ minutes) entirely during the month of February.

My concept this year is a bit different than in the past. This time around, I will not be using any instruments… just my iPhone. I’ve assembled an interesting collection of music creation apps (which I will detail in a future post, but for now will represent with a pair of screenshots, below), and these will be the only tools I will use to generate sounds. I may sample my voice, found sounds and instruments using my iPhone’s microphone, and I’ll do final mixing and post-production on my MacBook Air, but as much as possible this will be an album produced on the iPhone. Given the nature of some of the apps I’ll be using, I also expect this album to be a lot more experimental/avant garde in style than most of my recent solo work.

I am tentatively calling the album i. And I am also considering producing a companion album, called The Way Out Takes, that will consist of unedited versions of the more experimental tracks that end up on i.

Stay tuned for more details as I think them up.

SOPA is DYING; its evil Senate twin, PIPA, lives on


SOPA is DYING; its evil Senate twin, PIPA, lives on
Cory Doctorow brings us some good news over on Boing Boing concerning House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s decision to shelve SOPA (for now). Cory also hits on just why fighting this legislation is so important:

[T]he net is more than a glorified form of cable TV — it’s the nervous system of the information society. Any pretense that is used to build censorship and surveillance into the network will touch every part of networked life.

Magma iss de Hundin!!!

OK, I don’t actually know what “iss de Hundin” means, but it’s a phrase that seems to come up a lot in Kobaian. At any rate, Magma is a legendary French prog rock/avant garde jazz band, led by drummer Christian Vander, who made up his own language for the band’s Coltrane-meets-Wagner post-apocalyptic jazz-rock-opera concept. (And now I’ve reached my per-post hyphen limit.) They beat Coheed and Cambria to it by three decades, and did it in an incomprehensible Germanic Esperanto to boot.

I used to have a Magma tribute website, back in the days before blogs and Wikipedia and YouTube. I took it down years ago, but fortunately the band has kept up playing. I saw them in Chicago in 1999 and it was a highlight of my musical life. They’re still going strong, as evidenced by this 2006 video. Check it out!

Of course, the truly indoctrinated will probably prefer this clip from 1970. Lip syncing on French TV, “American Bandstand”-style. “Stoah” of all things. Imagine the trauma of an unsuspecting viewer, just tuning in for the supersonic screeching at the beginning. The world’s collective tolerance for the bizarre was certainly much higher back then.