Steve Albini – ways the internet changed music (2014)

In late 2014 producer, musician (etc.) Steve Albini appeared at Face The Music in Melbourne. He gave a hour-long talk about how making and distributing music to fans has changed as a result of the internet. He deconstructed, at length, the industry phrase “We need to figure out how to make it work for everyone”. Here’s the video.


Smuggling, negotiating, Russian TVs …

How electronic music got made in East Germany

Despite a dictatorship, a few 70s musicians in found a way to do their thing. An Oral History of Electronic Music in East Germany is an intriguing look at a little-known corner of music-making history.

Other bands had to put up with lots of official lecturing and change loads of their lyrics, but as an electronic band you were spared because there were no lyrics….

Getting hold of equipment was quite an ordeal. For a start, you had to earn loads of money to be able to afford stuff from the West…. On top of that, you also needed someone to bring the gear across the border. Most people charged a hell of a lot for that, so you’d end up paying up to 40,000 East German marks for a synthesizer….

I once gave this guy – you’d probably call someone like that a dealer today – 13,000 East German marks and then didn’t hear from him again for ages. Of course I was really worried the money was gone. In winter I was told to come to a certain place and he appeared with a Yamaha keyboard under his arm. It was hair-raising!

Andy’s Singapore 60s

Now in its 8th year, Andy’s Singapore 60s Pop Music Influence is a true music lover’s blog. It’s main interest is, of course, in 60s Singapore. But there’s a lot more unique and colorful to be experienced in any journey through its pages. Browse the long, long Content list over on the right to see what Andy has to share. Always fun to see how the rest of the world responded to early Rock.

As a side note: back in the 60s Malaysia responded to the British Invasion by inventing what’s called Pop Yeh-Yeh.
Here’s a brief PRI audio story about it.

He invented Bossa Nova

Music history’s still where you find it

It wasn’t too long after I got a computer that I started clawing together information about pop music. For decades I’d heard songs that A I wasn’t hearing any more, except on oldies stations. And I wanted to know more about those bands and what became of them.

At the time (of the Commodore 64), there wasn’t much to be found. History was buried in used bookstores, in hard-to-find, dog-eared, pulpish books with yellowing pages. Elsewise it was museumed on the back of vinyl albums — unavailable unless you owned (or knew someone with) a big collection, or worked at a radio station that hadn’t tossed everything out or been slammed shut by nervous college admins.

The internet hasn’t changed that very much. There’s a LOT more pop music history to be found, and heard, but it’s much more scattered — still found where you find it. I found this in The Urban Dictionary (of all places):

In the late 1950s and early ’60s, songwriters like the classically-trained Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim and the soft-voiced guitarist João Gilberto created a smoother, jazz-influenced version of the Samba — which itself was a product of the nation’s poorer classes. Middle-class Brazilians preferred the newer sound, which was dubbed Bossa Nova, or “The New Way.” Bossa Nova is velvet sophistication atop a feathery five-against-four rhythm, and is most famously epitomized by Gilberto’s “Girl from Ipanema.”

But before we get to that, let’s catch a glimpse of the era Bossa Nova landed in. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1960. And, here we are.

To most Americans in the early 60s, the Caribbean and South America are pretty much out of sight, out of mind. We don’t know it but, musically, that’s about to change. Massively. Forever. Looking around in spacetime, we see a few earlier examples (!not all!) of Latin music made/recorded by charting artists.

Before Bossa

Stan Kenton’s 1947 cover of The Peanut Vendor (by the composer of ‘Guantanamera’)

In 1951 TV comedy “I Love Lucy” introduced us to volatile Cuban character Ricky Ricardo. His theme song Babalu, first published in 1939, was written by Lecuona, composer of mysterious 1929 song Siboney, longing for habanera.


Cuban Perez Prado started a Mambo craze with instrumental Cherry Pink in 1955.

Richey Valens dropped La Bamba.

Harry Belafonte sang his Day-O song about working on banana boats on 1956 album Calypso.

Thanks to US#2 Walk, Don’t Run, Tacoma surf-rock instrumentalists The Ventures chart with 1939 song Perfidia.

The dance craze (*there* is a whole ‘nother topic) caused Chubby Checker to introduce us to The Limbo (‘how low can you go?’).

Jamaica is about to become independent, and to export Ska to the UK — where the Beatles are still the Quarrymen — paving the way for Reggae.

After Bossa

A mysterious Michigan garage-band will top the US charts with a Vox organ and 69 Tears.

Latin rock group Santana will appear at Woodstock in August of ’69 and blow everyone away. They already have a brand-new debut album in a can. Good idea! (They will reap again with Abraxas in 1970.)

In 1970 folk-rockers Simon and Garfunkel will reprise 1913 Robles song El Condor Pasa, adding a haunting peruvian flute sound. They will enjoy an international #1 hit; it becomes possibly the best-known Peruvian song. (Wikipedia says 4000 versions exist.)

He invented Bossa Nova

The word ‘bossa’ dates to the 1930s, means trend, flair, charm; it became part of Rio’s artistic beach culture of the 1950s. 1959 sees the release of what’s considered the first bossa nova album: Chega de Saudade (‘enough longing’) by 28-year-old Brazilian singer-guitarist João Gilberto. Chega

The music is a fusion of samba and jazz, commonly played on guitars with nylon-strings (invented out of necessity during WW2). Gilberto wrote the first example, Bim-Bom, in 1956.

In 1962 Brazilian songwriter-pianist Tom Jobim’s bossa nova song, The Girl from Ipanema is first recorded. Girl In 1964 a version sung in English by João’s wife Astrud Gilberto charts at US#5 — setting it up to become one of the most recorded songs of all time. It wins the 1965 Grammy for Record of the Year, and turns ‘bossa’ into a major thing.

Gilberto’s albums include many songs by Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. In 2001 the debut album is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and wins the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame Award. ( Website ) Jobim, Wave

See also: Sérgio Mendes, Os Mutantes, Xuxa, Rita Lee

Bossa consumes Jass

Top-selling US jazz musicians quickly leaped on Bossa Nova and started riding it around the world. Fortunately, because the marketplace easily turned Ipanema into elevator music (a classic joke in Blues Brothers) … and a major earworm.

In 1962, on album Jazz Samba, Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd turn Jobim’s Desafinado into a major hit (easy-listening US#4,UK#1) which earns Getz a Grammy.

Another album, Getz/Gilberto (mostly Jobim songs), goes big in 1964, becoming the first Grammy Award-winner (Best Album, Best Jazz, Best-Engineered) from non-American artists. AllMusic: Latin jazz

Some Bossa/Jazz videos of recordings from the era:

Dizzy, Chega, France 1962 Miles, Corcovado, 1963 Ella, Stardust Bossa, 1962 Dizzy, Desafinado Corea, Burton, Chega 2011 Getz, Chega, 1976