Stairway to Heaven in 101 Versions

Stairway to HeavenWFMU’s Beware of the Blog presents Stairway to Heaven in 101 different versions. There’s Foo Fighters, Frank Zappa, Camper Van Beethoven, and Dolly Parton, just to hint at the veritable cornucopia of selection.


Beatles Remastered

Kelli owns pretty much every Beatles album ever released, so when I decided to fill the gaps in my own digital Fab Four collection, she made it easy for me.

On Sunday while perusing the magazine rack at Chapters we came across a Rolling Stone article that may have me once again, updating my collection. It’s a short paragraph about a Beatles fan (or fans) who have created a fantastic do-it-yourself reissue of all of the Beatles recordings using a record player and original vinyl albums.

The Beatles’ albums came out on CD in 1987, but fans have long complained that the early digital technology used to remaster the recordings left them sounding hollow and thin — and that the official remasters are way overdue. That’s where Purple Chick comes in — a secretive fan (or group of fans) who has been quietly remastering classic discs like Revolver and A Hard Day’s Night, and releasing the digital files for free online. How is this possible? The Beatles’ CDs sound so bad that carefully digitized tracks from pristine vinyl copies are noticeably better — with crisper highs, a fuller soundstage, and more realistic reproduction of instruments and voices.

Check out Purple Chick Six plus three and the many megaupload links he’s posted for some of the highest fidelity digital recordings of the Beatles, ever.

I’ve compared them myself; the DIY remasters are noticeably different and in some cases better, but in at least one instance, (In My Life – Rubber Soul) the new file had the same audio in both the left and right channels, where my previous version was in true stereo. So your mileage may vary.

Also note, the files are in the open source format .FLAC and will need to be converted before they can be played in some players. (Audacity can do it).

Not Purple Chick, but 6plus3… Sorry about that Paul, and thanks for the clarifications in the comments.

Art Music

The Luc Tuymans Experiment

Much along the lines of a famous musician being ignored while busking, how will people react to a famous artist’s painting (which might sell for millions under normal circumstances) when it is found in the street? did an experiment with Luc Tuymans. What if you take art out of its usual context and expose it in the street?

[Luk Tuymans Experiment – YouTube]

Perhaps the emphasis of how important Luc Tuyman happens to be goes on a bit long, but I’m a sucker for social experiments, so waiting for the actual experiment is worth it.


Silvie says: “I noticed that Nissan made a funny spoof of this clip:

education Music

Guitar Noise Podcast

Guitar Noise PodcastI just subscribed to the Guitar Noise Podcast. In the first episode, managing editor David Hodge goes through some of the basics of strumming. If you’re just learning the guitar, as I am—my parents gave me a guitar over the holidays, then I recommend you check it out.

I hope that, as they get a little more familiar with the technology, they will take advantage of dividing their podcasts into chapters and then show relevant “artwork” such as a JPG of the strumming pattern or chords that they want you to hit. But as it stands now, it’s still a great example of using podcasts for teaching.

(Yes, I realize in order to use chapters the podcast needs to be in AAC format instead of mp3, but as an iTunes user, it’s a trade-off that works for me. Perhaps they could have two streams, a normal podcast and an enhanced m4a version.)

Feed link.

animation Music

Knitted Animation Music Video

This amazing music video by Director Simon Laganière, for the Quebec duo Tricot Machine, uses artwork of entirely knitted yarn to animate each frame. (A tricot is a plain, warp-knitted cloth of any of various yarns.)

Over 700 unique knitted pieces were created for the video by designer Lysanne Latulippe of the fashion label Majolie.


life Music

Learning to Play the Guitar in the 21st Century

In answer to the age of question of “What would you like for Christmas”, I told my parents I would be interested in having a guitar. A couple of Christmas’s later, my parents came through for me! I am now the proud owner of a fantastic sounding Fender acoustic guitar.

Learning to play has been slow but rewarding. The first couple of days were painful on my fingertips. Then suddenly, after a blister or two, I can now play for as long as I like.

It’s great.



The guitar I picked out came as a package along with extra strings, a strap, some picks, a tuner, and a “Getting Started on Guitar” DVD.

I was surprised to find how easy and useful the DVD turned out to be. The host teaches you how to play a basic chord and then another track lets you play along to some canned backup music. The process repeats, slowly building up your skill.

It’s pretty sweet; my only complaint is that after the music stops, you have to grab the remote and navigate back to the song to start it playing again. It would be nice to be able to set it to repeat, and to have more than 3 practice tracks.

Lately I discovered a method of practising that solves this problem.

I got myself a copy of “Play Guitar Today! A Complete Guide to the Basics”. It’s a music book for beginners that has a CD enclosed for backup music. Well I ripped the CD to iTunes, scanned the music, and then set each track with it’s appropriate “album art” ie. the sheet music or instruction that fits.

iTunes—Sheet music as album art

Now when I practise the guitar, iTunes is the teacher. The corresponding sheet music pops up and I can go to town.

It was a bit of a hassle setting this up, but I’d recommend it to anyone learning to play—it’s totally worth it.

I wonder how long it will be until they sell it like this?


John Lennon’s Jukebox

A few years ago a jukebox owned by John Lennon was discovered. On it were 40 of the famous musician’s favorite tunes. This is a documentary about the songs on that Jukebox and the influence they had on the Beatles.

[John Lennon’s Jukebox | YouTube]

download Music

Disneyland Resort Paris Freebies

The Disneyland Resort Paris music site is offering used to offer free downloads of music from the park. The songs are available for two weeks and then rotated.

I’ll be interested if they offer any music from the attractions themselves or just area music. A while ago I started searching for some Pirates of the Caribbean music, but so far my search has been unsuccessful. Hopefully I’ll be able to find it here. (Yup, I got them)

Remember that you’ll have to unzip the files and enter the password they give you ( but the downloads are free. You can also find more downloads in the bonus section.

Oh, and a word of warning, they have background music that plays automatically, ala webdesign 1996, but at least there is a stop button to turn it off.

(Leave me a comment if you’re looking for these files, I might still have a copy somewhere)

article Music

Joshua Bell Impromptu Street Performance Follow-Up

A follow-up to the Joshua Bell violinist story I posted a couple of days ago has Washington Post staff writer Gene Weingarten answering questions about the article.


World Class Street Performer

Would you recognize the outstanding talents of one of the world’s great violinists if you caught him performing incognito during your rush-hour commute to work?

The Washington Post turned this hypothetical question into a reality: Pearls before Breakfast.

(via Kottke)