Category Archives: Music

Oscars 2014 – Winners

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Oscars 2014… And the Winners are:

Best Motion Picture: 12 Years a Slave

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Achievement in Directing: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

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Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

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Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

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Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

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Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

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Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)

Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze (Her)

Original Score: Steven Price (Gravity)

Original Song: Let It Go (Frozen)

Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen

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Best Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot

Achievement in Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)

Achievement in Visual Effects: Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould (Gravity)

Achievement in Costume Design: Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby)

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Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling: Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Live-Action Short Film: Helium

Best Documentary Short Subject:  The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom

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Best Foreign-Language Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)

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Achievement in Sound Mixing: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro (Gravity)

Achievement in Sound Editing: Glenn Freemantle (Gravity)

Achievement in Film Editing: Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger (Gravity)

Achievement in Production Design: Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn (The Great Gatsby)

Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres

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Mooooo

xxx

Oscars 2013 – Winners

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Oscars 2013… And the Winners are:

Best Motion Picture: Argo

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Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

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Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

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Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

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Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

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Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

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Adapted Screenplay: Argo, Chris Terrio

Original Screenplay: Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino

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Original Score: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna

Original Song: “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth; Skyfall

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Best Animated Feature Film: Brave

Best Animated Short Film: Paperman

Achievement in Cinematography: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

Achievement in Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Achievement in Costume Design: Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran

Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling: Les Misérables

Best Live-Action Short Film: Curfew

Best Documentary Short Subject: Inocente

Best Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man

Best Foreign-Language Film: Amour (Austria)

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Achievement in Sound Mixing: Les Misérables

Achievement in Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty & Skyfall

Achievement in Film Editing: Argo

Achievement in Production Direction: Lincoln

Mooooo

xxx

Brit Awards 2013 – Winners

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Winners

BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST

Ben Howard

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BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT

Ben Howard

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BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST

Emeli Sandé

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BRITISH GROUP

Mumford & Sons

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BRITISH LIVE ACT

Coldplay

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CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARD

Tom Odell

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INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST

Lana Del Rey

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INTERNATIONAL GROUP

The Black Keys

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BRITISH PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

Paul Epworth

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MASTERCARD BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events

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INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST

Frank Ocean

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BRITISH SINGLE

Adele – Skyfall

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GLOBAL SUCCESS

One Direction

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Mooooo

xxx

Custom Built Orchestra

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Musician and sound artist Diego Stocco is known for his unique multi-track music videos that combine sounds sampled from common objects and modified instruments. In his latest video Custom Built Orchestra Stocco endeavored to create nearly a dozen custom instruments, some completely from scratch and others from instruments he acquired with structural defects that he then altered to create new musical devices. The result is pretty amazing.

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See the full details of the project over on Behance.

Mooooo

xxx

London 2012: The Opening Ceremony by Pictures

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2012 Summer Olympics kicked off with a huge Opening Ceremony in London’s new Olympic Stadium, an event watched on television by an estimated 1 billion viewers. Performances paid tribute to British heritage and culture, from agrarian beginnings through pop culture successes like the Beatles and J.K. Rowling. Contingents from more than 200 nations marched in the athletes parade, and the evening was capped off by the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, a performance by Paul McCartney, and a huge fireworks display. Collected below is just a glimpse ceremony, as the 2012 Olympics are now underway.

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Mooooo

xxx

God Save The Queen Re-released

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With the re-release of the Sex Pistols’ controversial song God Save the Queen, in time for the Diamond Jubilee, former bass player Glen Matlock says what the band’s message was.

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Like Pistols frontman John Lydon (previously known as Johnny Rotten), Matlock does not agree with the decision by Universal Music to release a 2012 version of the classic punk track.

What seems inevitable is that God Save The Queen will not have the chart success it enjoyed in 1977 during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, despite a Facebook campaign to win it the number one spot. Nor will it shock to the same degree.

Thirty-five years ago, the Sex Pistols’ second single was controversial for two reasons: its cover and lyrics. The sleeve showed the monarch’s eyes and mouth obscured by the title and name of the band, with the words looking as though they had been taken from newspaper cuttings in the style of a ransom note.

It could have been worse: one of the other designs included placing swastikas over the Queen’s eyes and, in true punk style, a safety pin through her lips.

Unlike some other Pistols’ songs, there was no swearing, but queen was made to rhyme with “fascist regime” and we were told that “she ain’t no human being” and “there’s no future in England’s dreaming”.

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Banned

The song was banned on the airwaves: the BBC and commercial TV and radio refused to play it and many record shops and high street chains Woolworths and WH Smith were unwilling to stock it. But it still made it to number two in the official charts, although it has been frequently and convincingly claimed that there was a fix to stop it making the number one spot.

The design of the sleeve, the work of artist Jamie Reid, led to it being named the greatest record cover of all time in 2001 by Q magazine, which a year later ranked it first in a list of the 50 most exciting tunes ever.

It may have been a clever marketing ploy to have the single ready for the jubilee (the original plan was for it to be released earlier, although events conspired against this), but what were the band saying? Did they really want to see the back of the monarchy?

John Lydon certainly wants nothing to do with the re-release, saying it “totally undermines what the Sex Pistols stood for”, before adding in a statement: “I am pleased that the Sex Pistols recordings are being put out there for a new generation, however, I wish for no part in the circus that is being built up around it.”

“We were so far up our own backsides, we just wanted to do what we wanted to do. We weren’t trying to build a guillotine.”
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‘Mistreated’

Lydon has explained that the song was written to stop the English people from being “mistreated”. A working-class boy, he has always been angered by Britain’s class system, criticising private schools for encouraging snobbery and cultivating a sense of superiority, and damning the upper classes for their tendency to “parasite off the population as their friends help them along”.

As the Pistols’ own website puts it: “The Pistols were inspired by anger and poverty, not art and poetry.”
And the song: “The nation was gripped by Royal fever. The Queen was a national treasure. Everyone loved her, everyone except the Sex Pistols. Or did they? ‘We love our Queen.’ The last sentence is taken from the song’s lyrics.

Reid has called it “probably the last public protest against the monarchy”. But Glen Matlock told Channel 4 News that a song created by four 19-year-olds should not be over-analysed.

“We were so far up our own backsides, we just wanted to do what we wanted to do,” he said. “We weren’t political like the Clash. To try to analyse it is specious. We weren’t trying to build a guillotine.

“Originally, the song wasn’t called God Save The Queen, it was called No Future. It coincided with the jubilee. John (Lydon) told me he didn’t realise it was the jubilee and was disinterested in the jubilee.” And the song’s message? “Don’t be taken like a bloody idiot.”

Nowadays, Matlock seems relaxed about the monarchy. “I like the flags, the pageantry of it all.”

Steve Dior, a musician who has played with all of the band’s members except Lydon, told Channel 4 News: “They were politically naive. They all had separate ideas. Being anti-Queen was just an easy target. But there was an awareness of people being privileged and under-privileged, that it wasn’t a fair system.

“We were definitely against the jubilee at that time. She wasn’t paying tax and was so privileged and we were supposed to be celebrating. There was no way it was fair.”

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Punk rock, led by the Pistols, was “about frustration and wanting to change the status quo and it needed a very loud and angry voice to change it,” said Dior. “We wanted a chance and an opportunity – a chance to get on in the world, to not be on the dole and treated as useless – and we had to be obnoxious and in-your-face to get it. ”

But he has now changed his tune on the monarchy. “Diana brought in change. Now we have the princes and they’re more accessible. It’s more palatable than it was. The benefits outweigh the negatives and I think they bring a lot to the table, out there promoting this country.”

Who wrote God Save The Queen?

Lydon, Glen Matlock, Steve Jones and Paul Cook are all credited with writing God Save The Queen. Dior, a friend of Matlock, believes the Pistols’ former bassist played the biggest part. But Jones has spoken scathingly abour Matlock’s contribution, saying in 2011 that he was “tired” of his claims that he had written the Pistols’ most famous songs.

“As much as he likes claiming he wrote God Save The Queen, Anarchy In The UK and Pretty Vacant, at the time he hated the words, which John (Lydon) wrote,” he told Hustler magazine.

So what is the truth? According to Matlock: “They were John’s lyrics and my music.”

Who released the song?

A&M had originally intended releasing God Save The Queen, but had a change of heart at the last moment, paying the trouble some Pistols £75,000 to go away and leave them alone.

That was not before some of the singles had been pressed. Their owners are very fortunate: they are now worth thousands of pounds if they are in good condition.

The Pistols then signed to Richard Branson’s Virgin, which released the single in May 1977, shortly before the jubilee.

Mooooo

xxx

Whiteboard

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While seeing a depiction of the world so perfectly linear, static and accurate is impressive, it’s also fascinating to look at the kind of art that interprets the world much like our brains operate: in a non-linear, dynamic, constantly shifting fashion.

Which is why we dig this stop-motion by artist Kristofer Strom, done entirely on a whiteboard — just like the blank slate of our perception uses static shapes and time to interpret complex motion.

Mooooo

xxx

Music: Ways of Listening

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Music has a powerful grip on our emotional brain. It can breathe new life into seemingly lifeless minds. But if there is indeed no music instinct, music — not just its creation, but also its consumption — must be an acquired skill. How, then, do we “learn” music beyond merely understanding how it works? How do we “learn” to “listen” to music, something that seems so fundamental we take it for granted?

From the wonderful vintage book Music: Ways of Listening, originally published in 1982, comes this outline of the seven essential skills of perceptive listening, which author and composer Elliott Schwartz argues have been “dulled by our built-in twentieth-century habit of tuning out” and thus need to be actively developed. Perhaps most interestingly, you can substitute “reading” for “listening” and “writing” for “music,” and the list would be just as valuable and insightful, and just as needed an antidote to the dulling of our modern modes of information consumption.

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1- Develop your sensitivity to music. Try to respond esthetically to all sounds, from the hum of the refrigerator motor or the paddling of oars on a lake, to the tones of a cello or muted trumpet. When we really hear sounds, we may find them all quite expressive, magical and even ‘beautiful.’ On a more complex level, try to relate sounds to each other in patterns: the successive notes in a melody, or the interrelationships between an ice cream truck jingle and nearby children’s games.

2 – Time is a crucial component of the musical experience. Develop a sense of time as it passes: duration, motion, and the placement of events within a time frame. How long is thirty seconds, for example? A given duration of clock-time will feel very different if contexts of activity and motion are changed.

3 – Develop a musical memory. While listening to a piece, try to recall familiar patterns, relating new events to past ones and placing them all within a durational frame. This facility may take a while to grow, but it eventually will. And once you discover that you can use your memory in this way, just as people discover that they really can swim or ski or ride a bicycle, life will never be the same.

4 – If we want to read, write or talk about music, we must acquire a working vocabulary. Music is basically a nonverbal art, and its unique events and effects are often too elusive for everyday words; we need special words to describe them, however inadequately.

5 – Try to develop musical concentration, especially when listening to lengthy pieces. Composers and performers learn how to fill different time-frames in appropriate ways, using certain gestures and patterns for long works and others for brief ones. The listener must also learn to adjust to varying durations. It may be easy to concentrate on a selection lasting a few minutes, but virtually impossible to maintain attention when confronted with a half-hour Beethoven symphony or a three-hour Verdi opera.
Composers are well aware of this problem. They provide so many musical landmarks and guidelines during the course of a long piece that, even if listening ‘focus’ wanders, you an tell where you are.

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6 – Try to listen objectively and dispassionately. Concentrate upon ‘what’s there,’ and not what you hope or wish would be there. At the early stages of directed listening, when a working vocabulary for music is being introduced, it is important that you respond using that vocabulary as often as possible. In this way you can relate and compare pieces that present different styles, cultures and centuries. Try to focus upon ‘what’s there,’ in an objective sense, and don’t be dismayed if a limited vocabulary restricts your earliest responses.
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7 – Bring experience and knowledge to the listening situation. That includes not only your concentration and growing vocabulary, but information about the music itself: its composer, history and social context. Such knowledge makes the experience of listening that much more enjoyable.

There may appear to be a conflict between this suggestion and the previous one, in which listeners were urged to focus just on ‘what’s there.’ Ideally, it would be fascinating to hear a new piece of music with fresh expectations and truly innocent ears, as though we were Martians. But such objectivity doesn’t exist. All listeners approach a new piece with ears that have been ‘trained’ by prejudices, personal experiences and memories. Some of these may get in the way of listening to music. Try to replace these with other items that might help focus upon the work, rather than individual feelings. Of course, the ‘work’ is much more than the sounds heard at any one sitting in a concert hall; it also consists of previous performances, recorded performances, the written notes on manuscript paper, and all the memories, reviews and critiques of these written notes and performances, ad infinitum. In acquiring information about any of these factors, we are simply broadening our total awareness of the work itself.

Mooooo

xxx

Japanese TRON Dance

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Japanese dance ensemble Wrecking Crew Orchestra are featured in a video that’s currently making the rounds across the Internet, depicting the troupe wearing wireless electroluminescent outfits that blink on and off in time to the music. The result is a spectacular dance routine that would have been included in the Tron films if Daft Punk had directed them. But enough explication — press play on the video below, sit back and enjoy.

These Japanese dancers perform an awesome dance routine from TRON music. If only the movie was as cool as this is…

Mooooo

xxx

Geometry of Circles

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In 1979, the makers of Sesame Street commissioned Philip Glass to compose music for a series of four unnumbered animation pieces titled Geometry of Circles, designed as a primer for visual thinking — something at the core of both Sesame Street itself and Jim Henson’s original vision that predated his creation of The Muppets. The combination, beautiful and eloquent in a multisensory way, feeds into my obsession with synesthesia and various visualizations of music.

Geometry of Circles is available on the excellent 2009 DVD, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days — a collection of nearly five hours of the best Sesame Street segments from all 40 seasons, including over 50 minutes of rare, never-before-seen backstage footage, interviews and vintage episodes not available online. There are really no words to describe what a treat and treasure this is.

Mooooo

xxx