February 16-28 News

Thursday, Feb. 26, 1998

1998 Grammy Awards Announced
All right, all right, we don't believe in competition in the arts, and we don't believe in pretentious awards shows. But doggone it, Bob Dylan and Daniel Lanois received the Best Album award and the Best Contemporary Folk Album for Time Out of Mind and Dylan also got the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the song "Cold Irons Bound" from the same album.

Like I said, we don't believe in awards - Unless of course we're getting them or our favorite artists are getting them. In the past, the Grammys have been a little bit less than credible in many instances. One-hit-wonders and fly-by-night bands who were merely bad knock-offs of more talented groups have often been big winners at the Grammys only to be forgotten forever within six months. This year's Grammy Awards seem to be a little more balanced, with more artists being honored who will clearly be around for a while or have been enjoying success for some time. Winners included Paula Cole, Sarah McLachlan, the Chemical Brothers, Babyface, Erykah Badu, James Taylor, and many many others. Of course, they're still handing out Grammy Awards for 1996 releases and hoping we don't notice. And Radiohead, whose album "OK Computer" was probably the most influential album to musicians this year, received only one grammy. The entire listing of all 92 Grammy Awards can be found here.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 1998

Canadian Music Week '98 Will Bring Music Industry Pros and Amateurs Together
Canadian Music Week '98, a music industry tradeshow in Toronto, Canada will be happening next week, March 5-7. Geared toward music industry executives, musicians and musicians managers, CMW '98 boasts exhibitors from all the major labels, indie labels and music equipment companies as well as lawyers, consultants and other media specialists. There are seminars on recording, promoting, protecting your rights and dozens of other music related topics. Prominent speakers include music industry insiders, major label and indie label executives, recording experts, publishing companies and of course, musicians. Speaker roster includes Moby, father of electronica, Freddy DeMann, co-CEO of Maverick Entertainment (Candlebox, Alanis Morissette, Prodigy) and the manager of his business partner Madonna, Sir George Martin) (producer of the Beatles and many others), Danny Goldberg, former manager of Nirvana and currently chairman of Mercury Records will be giving the opening keynote address. Check out the Canadian Music Week site to find out about attending.

BitHeadz Set To Release Analog Synthesizer For PowerMac
Bitheadz is readying the release of the Retro AS-1 Analog Synthesizer. A fully programmable, professional quality, analog synthesizer for the Macintosh, the Retro AS-1 features 16-bit, 44.1 kHz sound quality (24-bit, 48 kHz with an Audiomedia III card), up to 16 voices, polyphonic and legato modes, output to disk as an audio file, multiple stereo effects (delay, chorus, reverb, flange, distortion, etc.), and more. Sounds can be triggered from the computer's keyboard or via a MIDI keyboard controller. The Retro AS-1 is set to ship on April 2, 1998.

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 1998

REMO Introduces new Mastertouch MasterEdge Series Drums
REMO's new MasterEdge Series drums were introduced at NAMM this year. Basically, Remo has applied modern engineering and acoustic technology to the task of crafting consistently resonant toneful drums, designed to respond to even the slightest stroke or most powerful strike. Check 'em out on Remo's site.

Musician and Songwriters' Advocate BMI Voices Opposition to Legislation
BMI has posted some valuable information on their website about House Bill 789 and Senate Bill 28, the so-called "Fairness In Music Licensing Act". The long and the short of it is that restaurant and bar owners want to steal the music you create in order to sell their food and drinks. Senators Jesse Helms (R) and Strom Thurmond (R) and Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wyoming are heading up this fiasco. For more information, check out BMI's fact sheet and their questions & answers pages on their site, then write or call your congressmen.

Monday, Feb. 23, 1998

Musician's Transition Alert! Chris Ballew Releases Solo Album Quasi-Incognito
I'm sorry folks, but this was just to unique to ignore:
"Imagine a little giraffe and an earless rabbit with the astonishing ability to improvise songs out of thin air instantly with only seconds to prepare! Imagine a foursome of hotel lobby jazz puppets led by a father and son team of wild monkeys on guitar and horns backed up by a shy bear on the two string basitar and a small duck on wheels tickling the ivory keys like she has a dark secret! Now if you will imagine these two musical paths colliding and creating a sound like none you can possibly imagine!" Read the press release.

That's how it starts. The real deal is that Chris Ballew of the Presidents of the United States has quit the Presidents and is putting out a solo album on an indie label because he wants to. Imagine that! Shunning the mainstream music biz to actually do exactly what you want to do.

He says on the My Own Planet Recordings website, "Well, here I am having finished being a "rock star". It feels good to have been lucky enough to have it happen the way it did and to back off when the gettin was good. I always fantisized that if I ever did become famous that it would happen because people wanted to hear the music and see the band before the record companies took notice and that I would quit at the top of my game..." The album by Chris Ballew is called 13 Other Dimensions by the Giraffes, and will be released on March 17. You can pre-order it now on CD-NOW.

Friday, Feb. 20, 1998

Mark of the Unicorn Ups the Ante For Computer-Based Digital Audio Recording
Mark of the Unicorn has just released the 2408 digital hard disk recording system. The unit is a rackmounted box that sports 24 simultaneous I/O's (analog, S/PDIF, Tascam TDIF and ADAT optical), a custom designed VLSI chip that outperforms the DSPs used in competitors' systems, 20-bit A/D D/A conversion through the analog inputs (24-bit depth through the digital inputs!), complete waveform editing software for Mac OS and Windows, and compatibility with many third party plug-ins and software packages. Additionally, up to three units can be linked to provide a total of 72 inputs. The MOTU 2408 connects to your computer via a PCI card that is included and is selling for less than $1,000.

Victoria Williams & Chris Stills Pair Up For Countrywide Trek
Atlantic Records - Singer/songwriters Victoria Williams and Chris Stills (23-year old son of Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame) are packing their guitar cases for a string of joint North American tour dates, slated to begin March 13th in Atlanta, Georgia. Both artists are receiving critical kudos for their new Atlantic releases: Williams's MUSINGS OF A CREEKDIPPER, her fourth studio album, and Stills's 100 YEAR THING, his debut. Check Ticketmaster or the Atlantic Records website for tour dates.

Thursday, Feb. 19, 1998

New Artist/New Release: "MAYDAY" by Matthew Ryan
Newly signed to A&M records, Matthew Ryan has been receiving some major market radio airplay of the first single, "Guilty" from his major label debut, so you may have heard of him. He possesses a lyrical ear that is similar to Bill Mallonee's from the Vigilantes of Love, and a vocal style and gritty folk-rock sound reminiscent of Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen. Check him out on the A&M website, which has four Real Audio song clips worth listening to.

Tascam Introduces DA-302 Dual DAT Recorder
The first product of its kind, the DA-302 incorporates a wealth of features the studio professional will most certainly appreciate - including external control I/O capability for multiple unit operation, high-speed and append dubbing capability, independent S/PDIF digital I/O for each deck, digital output format selection supporting both S/PDIF and AES/EBU protocols, continuous record capability between decks 1 and 2, simultaneous record capability and an optional LA-D302 balanced analog I/O kit. Note: This is a stereo DAT recorder, not a multitrack DAT.

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 1998

JBL Expands Microphone Line
Los Angeles, Calif. - JBL, known primarily for their amplifiers, loudspeakers and PA systems recently introduced the JBL EON M Series Microphones. An expansion of the EON series, the new M100S, JBL M80S and MBL MS60S microphones have been designed with a particular emphasis on reducing handling and breath noise. A new high performance shock mount system sets new standards for mics in this class. Improved low frequency isolation helps clean up vocal intelligibility and presence allowing channel EQ to be used for artistic control as opposed to "cleaning up" unwanted noise artifacts. The multi-stage wind screen has been redesigned to improve performance throughout the vocal region by reducing unwanted noise related to "p-pops" and "breath blasts". The MSRP for these mikes range in price from $69 to $135.

Polygram 1997 Net Sales For Music Division Up 17%
For the last few years the record industry has been crying the blues, cutting promotional budgets and citing poor music sales. Last week, PolyGram, the global entertainment group, recently announced a 17 percent rise in both sales and operating profit for the company's music division.

CD-NOW for Online Music Purchases
As you can see, we've added a link to CD-NOW, the internet discount music retailer. When you buy CDs from CD-NOW by clicking through the link on the toolbar here on our site, you'll be supporting this site. Stop paying mall prices for CD's - Get your music from CD-NOW.

* coming soon * Interview with Bill Mallonee of the Vigilantes of Love
We will be featuring an extensive interview with Bill Mallonee of the Vigilantes of Love in the next few days. Keep your eyes peeled!

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 1998

E-magic Revamps Logic Audio Line of Recording Software
Emagic, the makers of the Audiowerk 8 soundcard announced the revamping of their Logic Audio line of recording software at NAMM this year. There are now four Logic Audio software packages:

  • Platinum, which features up to 96 tracks of digital audio recording and seamless MIDI integration
  • Gold, which features 48 tracks of digital audio recording and seamless MIDI integration
  • Silver which features up to 24 tracks of audio and MIDI recording
  • AV which features up to 16 tracks of audio and MIDI recording.
Of course, as you go from one package up to the next many other features are added in addition to more recording tracks.

David Bowie's Internet Art Show
Art/Glam/White Soul/Dance/Industrial Rocker and former androgen David Bowie is selling his own lithographic prints on the web at http://www.bowieart.com. Works include a portrait of Iggy Pop, a wild self-portrait and others.

Monday, Feb. 16, 1998

Event Electronics Shipping Digital Audio Recording Hardware
Event Electronics and echo have partnered to deliver the 20-bit multitrack audio recorders Layla, Gina and Darla. Though sweetly named, these are powerhouse PCI cards (2 with break-out boxes) that are priced far less than their competitors.
Darla features 2 analog RCA-style inputs and 8 analog outputs with precision 20-bit, 128x oversampling digital/analog analog/digital converters, aided by a 24-bit Motorola 56301 DSP chip. All eight outputs and the two inputs can be used simultaneously for recording and playback.
Gina has everything Darla has plus 2-channel digital S/PDIF I/O with up to 24-bit resolution, automatic input gain adjustment circuitry, and the connectors are 1/4" unbalanced connectors on a breakout box, rather than RCA connectors.
Layla is billed as Event's flagship audio recording interface. There is a PCI host card (for Windows 95 AND Power Macintosh computers) which connects to a rack-mounted host of connections. The unit features all the processing power of Gina and Darla, but the inputs and outputs include eight (8!) 1/4" TRS balanced analog inputs, ten (yes 10!) analog outputs, S/PDIF I/O, Word clock I/O, MIDI in/out/thru, automatic input gain adjustment ciruitry, and its own power suppy. With this unit you can record ten channels while playing back 12 channels.
That's the good news about the Event products. The "better" news is that Darla is currently shipping and is selling right now for about $350, and is available for PC (Mac version coming soon). Gina is also shipping for the PC (Mac version to follow also) and is selling for between $400-$500. The bad news is that Layla for both the Mac and the PC has been delayed, but is predicted to be selling for around $850-950 (MSRP is $999). The last projected release date was December, 1997. There is a letter from the President of Event Electronics on their website apologizing for the delay. Not bad considering I spent $650 for my Digidesign Audiomedia III card with 2 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs, and S/PDIF I/O's.

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