Live in Switzerland

I just finished my third listen through of the new live album from Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, titled “Ascona”.

I think my only complaint with the album is that it is kind of front loaded. I usually don’t have quite this much trouble remembering what I just heard after the middle of the album when I listen to it straight through. The early tracks on the album are really, really incredibly good and the last half of the album is only really good but for some reason slightly less memorable.

Still, excellent listening for anyone who enjoys Second-Line Brass Bands or New Orleans style Brass Bands, whichever we are calling them this week, and actually a decent introduction to this style of music if you have any interest in finding out more. Mama Digdown’s has consistently been more easily progressive than some of the more adventurous bands like Rebirth Brass Band or Youngblood Brass Band. I think part of that is, as a friend put it after listening to Youngblood’s “Center. Level. Roar.”, that Mama Digdown’s is consistently more “tight” than many of the other bands doing relatively similar music. (Though, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve asked him to give Mama Digdown’s a listen so I don’t know that he’d agree with this assessment.)

The “tight” component of this style of music I find to almost be related to how much hip-hop influence is present. The more hip-hop influence the less “tight”, or really loose I suppose, and when it really works the song sounds like an utterly beautiful accident. A sort of musical embodiment of serendipity. The problem is that when it doesn’t work the song can sound just plain sloppy. As much as I really enjoy hearing them and think they are a pretty decent local party band, Jack Brass Band can kind of epitomize the sometimes heard habit of letting the lack of talent be heard as that lack of being “tight” and really what keeps them from being really good. A hard line to walk some times and I think going for “tight” first and then working for the “loose” sound is a generally better plan.

They’re back, and apparently with a sponsor

First things: For anyone who missed it the few times it’s made it’s way around the web there is a very entertaining video produced by EepyBird.com that replicates the (IIRC) Belagio fountain in Las Vegas with Diet Coke and Mentos.

This morning in my inbox is their most recent newsletter mentioning that they’re putting up their latest video this coming Monday (Oct 30, 2006) and like all good carnival barkers and priming the pump by posting a teaser video.

That, in and of itself, wasn’t what I found most interesting. The interesting part is at the very tail end of the video where they are apparently getting some sort of sponsorship from The Coca-Cola Company for some sort of “Poetry In Motion Challenge” that could produce some very interesting entries that I’m looking forward to seeing.

The sponsorship from Coca-Cola is hardly surprising given that judging from the number of Diet Coke/Mentos videos showing up on the equally quickly propagating video sharing sites sales of 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke have got to have received at least a slight boost in sales. Given that Experiment #214 is going to use at least 250 bottles of Diet Coke, I have to wonder if there wasn’t some material help performing the experiment, given that quantity has to be at least a significant proportion of an average Coke delivery truck.

New web toy

I’m playing with a new music social network web toy right now called Qloud. It’s very similar to Last.fm which I have been playing with for a couple of years now, but in some ways the service might have a better outlook.

So far the service is pretty rough. Searching from the main page can be painful. The interface is… difficult. The iTunes plug-in needs some very serious work (Advice: Whatever you do, try not to accidentally put a ‘\’ in any of your tags. I can’t use the plug-in at work anymore because I’ve got a tag with that in it and it crashes iTunes withing seconds of launching and there does not appear to be any way to remove tags outside the plug-in.). The track information database they have is problematic with some tracks having entirely wrong attributions, many albums not existing at all, no way to input new information, and horrible handling of non-english character sets.

But it’s interesting and different, and has some potential.

If you do decide to take a spin with it, sign up using this link and I get points for the referral.

Cryptic ideas for Blizzard

I just got a fairly unexpected email: NCSoft has reactivated my City of Heroes/City of Villains account for the weekend. It seems that they are launching a new retail combo-box of both editions of the game (Available only at that bastion of retail hell: Walmart) and want to try and get lapsed players, like myself, back into the game.

That was kind of cool, and I might take them up on it and log back in to take a look around if it doesn’t take too long to reinstall the game, but the item that I thought was really cool was the Veteran Rewards system that they touted in the same message.

Essentially, the longer you have an active account in the game the more cool stuff you get with your characters. I honestly have no idea how Blizzard could do something similar with WoW but I would love to see it happen.

The trickle continues…

So today we find out that WoW: Burning Crusade will be a retail package and be available in regular and Expensive Collector’s editions.

The thing that irritates me? They still don’t have a release date other than “late 2006”.

(On a side note, I’m also a bit irritated that the last class to get information about the new spells and talents in the expansion are Hunters. They have to do them in some order and it may as well be this one.)

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