innovative records

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It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper & Beyond

Examines the twelve months (Aug 1966 - Aug 1967) that would arguably be the most crucial in the band’s career, a year in which they stopped being the world’s number one touring band and instead became the world’s most innovative recording artists, pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved in the studio.

Friend of a Fiend?

Brian from softball sends you a friend request. He’s an all around good guy—punctual, complimentary, clean, the works! Go ahead and accept him. WAIT. Don’t do it. That is, don’t do it unless he’s been put to the test. IBM Patent No. 8,706,648 goes beyond Brian to calculate the digital or social media risk his friends pose to your personal Internet security. Just like in real life, some of your friends run with a bad crowd. Thankfully, In the cyber world, now something can protect you from such hijinks. (But if his friends start a big ruckus in the stands, you’re still on your own.) Discover more innovations from 22 record years →

“She’s a demure middle-class girl who hangs around with DMX; a one-time teen poppet who ended up making records so innovative they changed the course of R&B; and a calm, rational 22-year old with ultra-goth fixations on vampires, ancient Egypt and blood. Her favorite film is Silence of The Lambs; her favorite word is “mysterious”. The only certainty about Aaliyah is that after years of steady progress, she is finally on the brink of international, multimedia, Jennifer Lopez-standard superstardom.”

God Only Knows
The Beach Boys
God Only Knows

Song: God Only Knows / Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Artist: The Beach Boys

Record Label: Capitol Records 5706

Recorded: March 10 and April 11, 1966

Released: July 11, 1966

Though “God Only Knows” is instantly recognizable by the barbershop quartet that somehow manages to sing this song in 1912, the original never actually plays in-game. As such, this is another Rapture Records Recommendation (RRR).

For this record store, it would be folly to not keep the barbershop version in stock. Listen to the recording being played on a phonograph here.

This single was first released on May 16, 1966 as the eighth track of Pet Sounds, the eleventh studio album by The Beach Boys. The song itself is striking with its instrumental counterpoint to the vocals, harmonic complexity, and use of instruments normally used for an orchestra.

The song’s title posed problems and doubts for the writers, Brian Wilson and Tony Asher. But the band went ahead and recorded it, reaching top spots in music charts throughout Europe.

However, the song was treated as the B-side to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” in the United States. Some parts of the US refused to air the song on religious grounds while the single peaked at No.39 in Billboard.

For many, The Beach Boys exemplified Southern California with vocal harmonies and songs of surfing, cars, and romance.

Originally the members consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson with cousin Mike Love and classmate Al Jardin. Initially, they formed a band called the Pendletones and performed in Pendleton outfits singing songs of the surfing lifestyle. Ironically, Dennis was the only avid surfer of the group.

The group wanted to make records and turned to the father, Murry Wilson, music industry veteran. He arranged for them to meet his publisher, Hite Morgan. They recorded demos of “Surfin’” and “Surfin’ Safari” and Murry them demos to Herb Newman, owner of Candix Records and Era Records. Newman agreed to sign them in 1961, but renamed the group, the Beach Boys.

“Surfin’” was a hit on the West Coat in December 1961 and peaked on No. 75 on national pop charts selling 40,000 copies. By February 1962, Jardine left the band and was replaced by neighbor David Marks. On June 4, they released their second single “Surfin’ Safari” and “409” which peaked at No. 14 on Billboard and No. 10 on Cashbox. They achieved national recognition in an article in Billboard and signed a seven-year contract with Capitol Records.

The Beach Boys continued pioneering the surf rock genre with the release of their albums Surfin’ Safari and Surfin’ U.S.A., launching surf music as a national craze. In 1963, Jardine rejoined the band at Brian’s request producing Surfer Girl and Little Deuce Coupe. But Marks would leave the band over conflict with manager Murry Wilson.

However, in 1964, the Beatles and the British Invasion had begun. By 1966, the release of Pet Sounds departed from surf rock to more multi-layered sounds initially experimented by Brian Wilson as early as 1963. The groundbreaking album with unconventional instruments and layered vocal harmonies revived the public’s flagging interest in their earlier work. The concept album not only expanded the field of music production with its innovative recording techniques, but would mark a change in The Beach Boys’ style to the emerging genre of psychedelic rock.

Listen to the flip side “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” here.

PUBLIC ENEMY

PUBLIC ENEMY, IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK (1988)

An inventive and innovative record that holds up to this day, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, features energetic and visceral beats, vocals, and excerpt political lyrics that communicate a message that shocked Americans. The leader and writer of the group, Chuck D, delves into topics such as self-empowerment for African Americans, critiques of white supremacy, and exploitation of the music industry, all characterized by black nationalist rhetoric. As explained by BBC Music, “the message was that black music could be reclaimed and re-tooled as a semantic crowbar – screaming to the world that rhythm was as eloquent as words when reminding us of the world’s inequalities”, and so it was. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back incorporated speeches from historical figures such as Jesse Jackson and Malcolm X. Taking from Malcolm X’s Message to the Grassroots speech, Public Enemy sampled the lyrics “too black, too strong/too black, too strong”. These lyrics reference to Malcolm X’s coffee analogy, which describes the results of a white America diluting the interest of black people:

“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What you do? You integrate it with cream; you make it weak. If you pour too much cream in, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it’ll put you to sleep.” - Malcolm X

This single, along with “Don’t Believe the Hype”, conveyed their message so fiercely and with so much flow, that it caused immediate tension in the press and genuine fear. The record as a whole is an explosive masterpiece that delivers its lyrics with an infectious controlled anger. It’s an album that speaks to you and begs for a debate. 

PUBLIC ENEMY, FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET (1990)

Two years later, Public Enemy released Fear of a Black Planet, an equally sonically and lyrically ambitious project. The song “Fight the Power” from this record would go on to become the theme song for Spike Lee’s film, Do the Right Thing, “a chilling morality tale of police brutality, telling the story of a deadly choke hold by police, sparking a race riot” (abc news). The film is now recognized as a masterpiece for its superb production, style, and message to the extent that it’s being taught in schools. Even president Barack Obama recognized and praised the film for “holding a mirror up to society”.

SPIKE LEE, DO THE RIGHT THING (1989) PUBLIC ENEMY, “FIGHT THE POWER” (1989)

“Fight the Power” is a testament to African-American culture with its mentions of civil rights exhortations, black church services and more. The song accurately reflected the tone of Do the Right Thing and became Public Enemy’s most famous song, and considered one of the best songs of all time.

“Love.” It’s Complicated.
Another innovation from 22 record years  

You’re an alien on Mars who has a date with a gal on Earth (thanks to an online site!) You’ve memorized every single word in the human cannon so that you can converse effortlessly. GLITCH. Although you technically know every word she’s saying, you’ve absolutely no idea what she’s saying. Because language processing requires conceptual abilities unique to the human brain, it’s truly noteworthy that with IBM Patent No. 8,639,497, researchers have made countless developments in the field of Natural Language Processing. As for love, you alien, good luck, it’s a phenomenon even the brightest of humans can’t fully explain.  

Grimes: 'In my life, I'm a lot more weird than this'

Claire Boucher wants to play it cool, but as her alter ego she just can’t help standing out. Meet the woman making the most exciting pop on the planet.

Published:  31 October 2015, text: Rachel Aroesti.


Claire Boucher sighs. It’s the sort of sigh that comes with an eye-roll and exasperated sub-vocal muttering. A sigh that, despite her best efforts, she can’t quite seem to suppress. She does it the first time when she hears which songs I’ve been allowed to listen to on her closely guarded fourth album Art Angels, a hyperactively eclectic record that piles up pop and dance tropes into gratifyingly alien forms.


“Oh, whatever, it’s fine,” she smiles, when I ask why she groaned at the mention of California, a faux-saccharine, addictively syncopated country-meets-K-pop track about the media’s treatment of female musicians. “It’s kind of a shitty song. It’s not a shitty song. OK, I’m already doing it.” Moments later, when I ask if the PR spiel was correct in its claim that the album title is a reference to archangels, she sighs again.“Sort of… The label has all these weird ideas. They wanted to put this corporate graffiti in Paris,” she winces. “They were like, ‘‘It could be graffiti but it could be Grimes graffiti.’ I was like, ‘No!’” She mimes despair. “Stop!”With Grimes, 27-year-old Claire Boucher has never made any secret of the fact that what you see is not what you get. When she released her last album Visions in 2012 – a collection of phantasmal, banging electropop that sounded as if it had been fed through both a rasping old desktop and the prism of a dream – its rapturous reception took the Vancouver native from cult concern to internet darling (Oblivion, the album’s best known song, was last year named Pitchfork’s track of the decade so far). At the time, Boucher spoke of Grimes as a business venture – a sort of Svengali-meets-singer deal in which she played both parts, exploiting her own self for her own ends. It was an idea that highlighted her creative clout, but it was also a coping mechanism, forming a pop-star proxy to deal with the invasiveness of fame.

“There are things I would never say in interviews that are my opinions. I’m way more political than I am publicly – significantly more extreme,” Boucher tells me when I ask how the Grimes persona manifests itself on occasions such as this (that is, being asked questions by a stranger while perched on the bed of a London hotel room). “There’s lots of people I hate,” she says. But Boucher is struggling to keep up anodyne appearances.And it’s not just the sighing. See also: her views on bombastic live shows (her upcoming Ac!d Reign tour will apparently be a pared-down affair). “I’m like, ‘Do you understand how fucking bad it is for the environment for everyone to be having 20,000 lbs of lights and this giant fucking fake set of New York?’ U2 had that giant crab – that’s fucked up.” She pauses. “I’m not shitting on U2.”Of PC Music, the London collective whose uncanny valley take on the top 40 of their childhoods provides a contextual touchstone for Art Angels, she says, “It’s really fucked up to call yourself Sophie and pretend you’re a girl when you’re a male producer [and] there are so few female producers,” she begins, before trailing off again. “I think it’s really good music. I probably shouldn’t have said that…”As an enterprise, Grimes has always seemed like a scuffle between creative abandon and calculated moves: what happens when a highly inventive mind attempts to construct a consumer product. The Grimes aesthetic – discordantly multi-coloured hair, not-quite-trendy clothes, album art that looks as if it was done on the inside of a ringbinder during double maths – I’d already describe as pretty unselfconscious-seeming. But Boucher insists her visuals are designed to appease the public.

“In my life, I’m a lot more weird than this,” she explains. “Grimes is more palatable for humans. If it was up to me maybe I’d wear a moustache or something,” she continues, as I start seeing her less as a hipster making bleeding-edge pop, more a kindred spirit of Vic Reeves.“I try to make it digestible to a degree.” Why? “That’s what I’m interested in seeing. I create a thing that I wish existed in the world, versus my own full unabashed creative expression.

In Art Angels, Boucher has produced something that manages to be both more jarringly bizarre and viscerally accessible than Visions ever was: wild ideas and incongruous references distilled into layered and irresistibly danceable pop songs.Visions was a record Boucher has said was born from a panicked, sleep-deprived fortnight. “My management was really crappy at the time and he’d set a release date before I’d even recorded the album. He was like, ‘The album will be coming out at this date,’ and I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me? I have no album!’ And he was like, ‘Well, you better get to it!’”.Art Angels, meanwhile, was made in controlled and leisurely conditions. “This time I made tons and tons of music and handpicked what I liked. I need unlimited time to make as much crazy shit as I want and then work backwards.” The album sounds like something that has had time lavished upon it, too, not least because of its mind-bending range.

Boucher has always claimed to be “post-internet” – of a generation whose fluid genre-identity was made possible by free web downloads – but has also claimed that Grimes was a more traditional pop project. I’m curtly informed that is no longer the case: “Pop is just another genre. Some of my songs are influenced by pop music. Some of them are not.” Now, she says, “the whole purpose of Grimes is that it’s genreless. Trying to constantly put a genre label on it makes no sense and then you are always eating your words two months later. So, why bother?”

She says the thread that binds her work together is not genre but her own authorship. “People keep trying to be like, ‘We’re trying to pin down the Grimes style.’ If you haven’t realised by now, you’re never going to be able to.”Still, I’m tempted to categorise Art Angels as belonging to my favourite genre: music that makes your eyes water, your heart beat faster, and prompts feelings of mild concern for everyone involved. “I like music that might make me feel uncomfortable the first time I listen to it,” she agrees. “I think that’s good, that’s important; sometimes it never gets better but sometimes it gets great.”Nowadays, when music has begun to imitate fashion’s tendency to reconstruct itself out of a relentlessly remembered past – dredging up the most hideously uncool trends, those being the ones that feel most refreshing (and Art Angels contains more than a hint of the Eurodance aped by the aforementioned PC Music) – how do you go about genuinely disconcerting people? “There’s no fully new sound, I think,” she says. “All music right now is seeing how crazy you can get with the genres. I feel like so many people are focused on the 70s to now. I’m curious about music in the year 1100. I think that’s really interesting – combining that with electronic stuff.” That might sound like a pursuit worthy enough to warrant a government grant, but with Grimes you imagine it would genuinely be great.


Boucher has other means of locating roads never travelled, too. One tactic is to transform dance music’s parasitic tendencies themselves. “In the early days I was like, ‘I love Burial – what if it was an intentional vocal instead of samples?’” she says. “I’ll hear some totally fucking crazy remix and I’m like, ‘But what if it wasn’t a remix? What if there were people actually making music like that and it wasn’t a Mariah Carey vocal being sampled?’” For Art Angels, Boucher blocked out all popular music for a year. “I just don’t want to sound current. If I sound current, it’s because I made the new current.”Boucher’s oblique approach to songwriting is partly a result of her coming to the world of music from the sidelines. She attended a school that specialised in creative subjects, but studied art and avoided music completely. “My mom had me do a violin lesson, and the lady told her, ‘Claire will never be able to play the violin, she’s too bad.’” It wasn’t until university in Montreal, when she was hanging out with friends – they were in bands, and one coerced her into singing backing vocals – that she began to suspect her music teacher might be wrong. “It was much easier than I thought to hit the notes. Later on I got one of my friends to show me how to use Garageband so I could start recording myself.” Out of those sessions came her 2010 Dune-referencing cassette-only debut Geidi Primes, released via Arbutus Records, the label that formed a cornerstone of the Montreal synthpop scene in which Boucher had been socialising. By 2011 she had released a second album and toured with Swedish singer Lykke Li, before signing to British indie 4AD in 2012 and releasing Visions.

Despite being managed by Jay Z’s entertainment corporation Roc Nation since 2013, Boucher did pretty much everything on Art Angels herself. It was a decision partially motivated by the treatment she receives in the male-dominated world of recording studios, but she also wants to draw attention to a more insidious male influence in the music industry.


“It’s of interest that we never hear anything where no men were involved,” she says. “But we hear things where no women were involved. [My album] was mixed and mastered by a man. There’s one mastering engineer who is a female, Emily Lazar. I don’t know any female mixers,” she says.“The whole record was produced, engineered, written, performed by a woman, which is pretty rare. I don’t know if I ever heard a record like that, fully, with vocals on and stuff.”Even so, Art Angels doesn’t need all-female production to qualify as one of the most innovative and interesting records of the decade so far: it looks as though Grimes will be among the most brilliant musicians of her generation regardless. Sigh.Art Angels is released on 6 November on 4AD



U.S. PATENT #8,610,295:
Reclaiming energy from waste water in tall buildings

THINK OF IT AS…Bath water-generated hydroelectricity. This system uses gravity to make electricity from rainwater, grey water and black water as it exits tall buildings. With every flush or turn of a faucet, water rushes down into a turbine, generating power and making you rethink your next goldfish funeral.

Another patent from our 21st year of record-breaking innovation.

Deleting Shifty Behavior
Another innovation from 22 record years

Can you spot the difference between the two actions above? Got it? Not quite? Convinced both sides are exactly the same? IBM Patent No. 8,650,080 has your back when your back is turned. This innovation can detect even the slightest change in cyber behavior, for each and every one of us has distinct mannerisms and preferences, a virtual fingerprint of sorts, whether we realize it or not. Think of the patent as a buddy who is looking out for you—hmm, Christine usually goes for the right shift and now she’s all left. Wait, Christine, is that really you?  

anonymous asked:

Question: can you do a post pertaining Abbey Road's recording studios? (I am glad you are back)

Abbey Road Studios (formerly known as EMI Studios) is a recording studio at 3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, City of Westminster, London, England. It was established November 1931 by the Gramophone Company, a predecessor of British music company EMI, which owned it until Universal Music took control of part of EMI in 2012.

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