Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog


Found on the web and MusicWednesday, October 20th, 2010, (2:30 am)

I just wanted to share with you a very skillfull musical (and video) mashup by a ‘Norwegian Recycling.’ The video is feel good track called ‘Miracles’ which features Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and Taylor Swift as well as 12 other artists.

Norwegian Recycling is actually a 26 year old guy from Norway called Peter Bull who describes himself as a Mashup-artist, remixer, video-editor and electronic music-producer. If you liked ‘Miracles‘ then you should also check out ‘Singularity,’ another catchy number that puts together Travis, Kelly Clarkson, Oasis, Lyaz, and Christina Aguilera.

I’m quite amazed at this work. I think it’s just about the most creative remixing and repurposing I’ve ever heard.

Check out his other work on YouTube and Vimeo.

Download ‘Miracles’ (MP3)
Download ‘Singularity’ (MP3)

Art and MusicSaturday, October 9th, 2010, (4:36 pm)

Following on from a recent post I made about Justin Beiber’s song ‘U Smile’ that had been slowed down 800%, I’ve come across another dramatically slowed down soundscape. This time it’s not some Canadian teeny bopper, but one of the most famous and influential composers of all time: German classical composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven.

Ludwig van BeethovenNorwegian conceptual artist Leif Inge took Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and digitally stretched it to a staggering duration of 24 hours with no distortion or pitch shifting. The result is a deeply ambient soundscape that that wouldn’t be out of place in a film like Baraka.

The 24 hour soundscape is called ‘9 Beet Stretch’ and was originally created as an art instillation at Oslo’s NOTAM (Norwegian network for Technology, Acoustics and Music) in 2002, and has since been featured as a 24 hour audio artwork around the world.

According to the New York Times, ‘9 Beet Stretch’ was inspired by the Scottish visual artist Douglas Gordon, whose “24 Hour Psycho” (1993) slowed a Hitchcock film to uncover its “unconscious.”

Personally, the thought of watching the film Psycho stretched over 24 hours sounds like torture to me, but Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony similarly stretched creates an interesting and sometimes epic soundscape.

While ‘9 Beet Stretch’ hasn’t appeared in any art galleries recently it can still be heard online. The soundscape has been playing continuously every single day online since may 7th, 2005 when it was started at sunset in Vienna, Austria, where Beethoven’s ninth symphony was first performed, on may 7th, 1824. There is now even a free ‘9 Beet Stretch’ iPhone app!

You can listen to the live 24/7 stream of ‘9 Beet Stretch’ or sample five minutes of it in the clip below.


Live continuous broadcast of ‘9 Beet Stretch’
As heard on RadioLab’s show about ‘Time.’
Slow down Justin
Tree roots and other things
Four decades of naked ladies

MusicMonday, August 23rd, 2010, (4:57 pm)

Teen pop thing, Justin Bieber, is not a name you would find on my iPod. His particular brand of music isn’t really my cup-of-tea, however that might be about to change.

Justin BieberBieber is a 16 year old Canadian who has been enjoying success in the world of processed pop music. He was discovered on YouTube in 2008 and was quickly thrust into the limelight where he promptly became the heart-throb of many a teenybopper.

In truth I learned most of this information from Wikipedia because, as talented as Bieber may indeed be, his stardom had gone largely unnoticed by me. That was until last week when I was introduced to Bieber’s song ‘U Smile,’ or rather a version of the song that had been slowed down 800%.

Slowing down the track to such an extent transformed if from tweenbop pulp to a full scale ambient piece more akin to the music of Brian Eno or Sigur Rós.

The track glistens beautifully though a series crescendos that gives the now 35 minute piece an epic quality far beyond Bieber’s original which the San Francisco Chronicle recently described as an “uncreative and unremarkable piece of cookie-cutter pop.”

The slowed down version of ‘U Smile’ was posted on last week by 20 year old Nick Pittsinger from Tampa, Florida, who produces ambient music under the name Shamantis. It was an instant hit and at the time of writing this post the track had been listened to 1,671,365 times and downloaded 19,467 times.

Bieber himself has apparently said he likes his ambient piece, commenting to this effect on his Twitter feed. However, despite it’s popularity, it’s unlikely the slowed down version of ‘U smile’ will find it’s way into his world tour.

Perhaps in years to come, after many rounds of rehab to recover from what will surely be a fearsome battle with cocaine and alcohol addiction on a par with other child stars, Bieber might actually produce music to this standard deliberately. Until then this will remain the only track of his you will find on my iPod.

Oh, and in case you’re curious, speeding up the music of Sigur Rós by 800% does not produce a Justin Bieber like sound. (Listen for yourself)

Justin Bieber, ‘U Smile’ – Slowed down 800%

Sigur Rós – Sped up 800%

‘U Smile’ slowed down 800%
‘U Smile’ – The original
Sigur Rós sped up 800%
How to make your own Ambient epic
Tree roots and other things
Four decades of naked ladies

MusicFriday, April 30th, 2010, (3:30 pm)

Many of you won’t have heard of the band Parachutes from Reykjavik, Iceland. However some of you may have heard of Sigur Rós, also from Iceland, and if you like them then I have a free music download I think you might enjoy.

Free Music downloads

Parachutes musical style is deeply mellow to the point of being almost melancholy at times. You might imagine their music playing as the soundtrack to some subtitled independent art film in which the actors never smile and smoke way too much.

They are, or rather they were, a nine member band from Iceland formed by an American musician by the name of Alex Somers. They recorded two albums and one EP and commonly experimented using household objects as instruments.

The albums are titled “Parachutes” and “Susy.” The three track EP, which is also in the free download, is called “Tree Roots” and is mixed by Jónsi of Sigur Rós. Download them here.

To get a sense of what they sound like check out videos of the band performing in Alex Somers’ living room and the sample track below.

If you download the music I would be interested to hear what you thought of it.

Parachutes : Your Stories (From the “Tree Roots” EP)

Download Parachute’s collection here
Icelandic emo’s anonymous meeting
Sigur Rós
Free Coldplay live album

MusicFriday, April 9th, 2010, (12:00 pm)

It’s Friday, the working week is reaching another conclusion, so let me encourage you to take three minutes and twelve seconds out of your day to watch the video below. Trust me, this is worth it, and who among us really can’t take three minutes out of our day, right? The song is ‘Valentino‘ by Diane Birch.

This video is ingenious. It was shot in just one take and uses absolutely no digital trickery. To get a sense of just how complicated the video would have been to shoot, take a look at the equally entertaining behind the screen video which shows how precisely choreographed the whole thing was.

Diane BirchIn an interview with Spinner UK Birch revealed that she doesn’t consider herself to be a natural dancer. “When I saw the behind the scenes clip, I thought, ‘This all looks so easy. They won’t even realize how much work I put into this,'” Throughout the video the 27 year old singer songwriter makes several outfit changes. “It was one of those things where I kept telling myself, ‘Pretend that you’re having fun. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Don’t let people know it’s the 15th hour you’ve been doing the same thing and it’s the 57th take.'”

The video is somewhat similar to the style of the viral videos produced by OK Go. Their innovative ‘treadmill video‘ on YouTube brought them notoriety, and their latest video, ‘This Too Shall Pass,’ is mind bogglingly wonderful. (If you haven’t seen those videos you should!)

I have to admit I hadn’t heard of Diane Birch before I saw this video on a friends blog (thanks Bob!). I’ve now downloaded her debut album, ‘Bible Belt‘ and while it’s difficult to peg her style or make comparisons, I would say that she’s sounds loosely like Norah Jones meets Amos Lee; a funky foot-tapping mellow sound.

Anyway, I think this is a fun song for a Friday, or indeed any other day of the week. I hope you enjoy it (and the video) too.

[Video] Valentino – Diane Birch
[Video] Behind the screen of the Valentino video
[Video] Meet Diane Birch in the studio
Official website
Diane Birch youtube channel
Diane Birch: The ‘Bible Belt,’ In Eclectic Song from NPR.
Diane Birch live in concert from NPR station WXPN.
That song in your head

MusicSunday, September 13th, 2009, (8:03 pm)

Following the post I made last week about the free Coldplay music giveaway, I ended up going to see them in concert in Manchester with my Canadian couchsurfing guest Sarah. It was a spontaneous decision, but that’s where the good stuff in life is found.

Coldplay, live in Manchester

At the end of a welcome week of sunny weather it felt good to get out in the open for an evening of live music in the company of a few thousand people. Unfortunately though, the crowd at Old Trafford Cricket ground were a little more laid back than I had expected. There was no real buzz of electricity pulsing through the audience, but this didn’t take away from what was a great show by the band.

Highlights for me were the thousands of paper butterflies that were fired into the air before descending slowly to the masses below who reached out to catch them, and the colorful firework finale that brought the evening to an end. You can see these moments in a video I shot at the event (below).

At the end of the night, as promised and by way of a thank you, everyone got a free live CD. As I posted last week, you can download the live tracks at the Coldplay website.

They’re playing in Glasgow on Wednesday, and London on Friday and Saturday… I’m almost tempted to go again.

[Video] More clips from another persons viewpoint (Great clip of the butterflies)
[Video] Fix You – Performed live in Edmonton Canada
Something for nothing
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Nothing cold about it
I’m glad I was there
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