Blog Archive

Who to Blame for Auto-Tune

May 7th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

There are no words strong enough to express how much I despise Auto-Tune.  I hate it's fake, robot-y sound.  Even more, though, I hate how it's used to make marginal singers sound like pros.  The phrase "polishing a turd" is never more apt.

The guy who invented this technology couldn't have seen this coming.  Andy Hildebrand was an engineer at Exxon who was charged with finding a way to better interpret seismic data when it came to searching for new fileds of oil without having to drill first. He came up with a form of signal processing and audio interpretation that made this possible.

But because he was a music fan, Hildebrand recognized that his invention had other uses.  After studying music composition, he founded Antares Audio Technologies in 1990 and began concentrating on adapting his discoveries to musical sitatuations. 

Apps on Your Dashboard Will Make It More Difficult for Traditional BroadcastRadio

May 7th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I'm fascinated by the ongoing developments with car infotainment systems for two reasons.  First, I love cars. Second, I love radio and I hope the traditional broadcast industry can adapt to being marginalized when it comes to in-car listening.

Here's another story that should have radio executives paying attention to what's going on in the dashboard.  

STMicroelectronics is a supplier of infotainment products to automobile manufacturers.  They're urging customers and non-customers alike to adopt a language standard called VNC.  Basically, this system allows any smartphone to easily use the large dashboard display for its apps.

They Don’t Make Rock Chicks Like They Used To

May 7th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

My wife and I sat down to watch Rihanna on Saturday Night Live this weekend.  It didn't go well.

"All she needs is a pole," she sniffed as Rihanna ground her way through "Birthday Cake."  "She gives sleaze a bad name."

For me, I found her performance, well, boring.  Another song about sex.  Whatever happened to the strong, independent, in-your-face female performers we used to see in the alt-rock world back in the 90s? 

Answering “Whatever Became Of” Questions from Twitter

May 6th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

First, if you've ever sent me a message on Twitter, my sincerest apologies for not replying promptly.  I get so many messages through Twitter, email and Facebook that it's almost a full time job managing all of them.  Tip: for faster service, use old-fashioned email. The absolute last place you should send me a message is on Facebook.

I have pledged to do better in this area, starting now.  This is an attempt to catch up on some of the Twitter messages that ask about the current whereabouts of artists:

Clarence Carter:  The soul singer is now 76 years old but he continues to release a record almost every year.  His last album, Sing Along With Clarence Carter, came out last year.

Hindu Love Gods:  This was a temporary group formed by all four members of REM with their friends Warren Zevon and Bryan Cook.  They released just the one album (a self-titled thing in 1990).  Now that Warren is dead, the chances of this band ever doing anything ever again are zero.

More Music from the Inbox: 06 May 2012

May 6th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The number of music submissions for review by this site has increased exponentially since the beginning of the year--which is fantastic.  Keep 'em coming.

Keep in mind, though, that not everything makes the final cut.  Everything is subjected to a two-stage filtering process with only five tracks making through to the end.  The only recommendations we publish are the once we're 100% confident won't be a total waste of your time.  At least that's the goal.

Today's final filter duties fell to Juliette Jagger.  

Artist: Zulu Winter, “Silver Tongue”

Album: Language

Pete Townshend Makes an Appearance at the GG Awards Gala in Ottawa

May 6th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

So yes, that was Pete Townshend lurking about in Ottawa this weekend.  He was in town for the Governor General's Performing Arts Award Gala as a special guest of Des McAnuff, the Canadian who brought Tommy to Broadway in 1992.  Along with Rush, McAnuff was an award recipient.

Photos courtesy Central Image Agency

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