and ) : C

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Turnkey / Sound Control goes bust

Sad (-ish) news for British music gear buyers - Sound Control group, who own a string of enormo-shops and Turnkey, the UK distributors for Moog, DSI, Jomox and more, have appointed administrators after failing to find a buyer: "Following a review of the Group’s operations the Administrators have today made the difficult decision to close 10 of the Group’s trading locations and bring to an end its telesales and internet sales activities. These changes to the Group’s operations have resulted in 163 redundancies with immediate effect." The group has a turnover of £50m and employed 338 people across Britain. Obviously their competitors, like Dolphin Music and Digital Village are delighted. There's a very well informed thread over at the Sound on Sound forum which includes comments from various former staff.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Music Video - The Kooks(Always Where I Need To Be)

Music Video - The Kooks(Always Where I Need To Be)

-download MV here-
Music Video - The Kooks(Always Where I Need To Be)

Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Hollaback Girl)

Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Hollaback Girl)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Hollaback Girl)

Music Video - Eminem(Like Toy Soldiers)

Music Video - Eminem(Like Toy Soldiers)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Eminem(Like Toy Soldiers)

Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Rich Girl)

Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Rich Girl)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Rich Girl)

Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Sweet Escape)

Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Sweet Escape)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Gwen Stefani(Sweet Escape)

Music Video - Dido(Here With Me)

Music Video - Dido(Here With Me)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Dido(Here With Me)
pass :

Friday, April 25, 2008

The incredible mechanical adventures of Tristram Cary

As Create Digital Music reports, Tristram Cary died this week. Here's the first third of the wonderful Australian documentary What The Future Sounded Like, which does more than I ever could to explain why Tristram was important. For me, aside from all the pioneering and inventing and explaining and pipe-smoking and knob-twiddling and making the modern world a little bit more interesting, he'll always be best remembered as the recipient of the world's greatest ever synth-shaped birthday cake.

Where do bagpipes come from?

These days, I imagine that all musical instruments are made in one Chinese factory the size of Texas, so I was delighted to get an email from Waqas Yaqoob, sales manager of M. Basharat Dolit Maker. The company is based in Sialkot, Pakistan: "We Proudly inform you that M. Basharat Dolik Maker is family owned business, our family is in manufacturing business since last 50 years since our forefathers. Established by late Mr. Mohammed Hussain, who received the woodcraft of making music instruments from his father M M Khuon. Mohammed Hussain had devoted his life in the field of making music instruments and delivered his manufacturing craft to his son, M. Basharat, who is owner of M. Basharat Dolik Maker. We are manufacturers of fine quality Scottish highland bagpipes, smallpipes, harps, pipe chanters, reeds, congas, bongos, Scottish kilts, sporrans and other music instruments." Sialkot was a British army base from 1849 to independence, so perhaps that's where the sporran connection comes from.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

$50 gadget claims to "clean the sound waves of MP3"

Clari-Fi is a little passive $50 gadget which goes between your iPod and your headphones, and makes some huge claims about digital music: "This technology allows for real-time compression of digital audio, removing harmful digital artifacts and 'spikey-ness,'... Clari-fi's semiconductor was developed with custom silicon with the sole purpose of quasi-logarithmically compressing audio sources having earphone load impedances of 25 to 50Ω. The compression algorithm continuously limits digital artifact peaks." There's a whole page of what looks to me like long words for the purpose of confusing customers, but I'm not an expert. Can someone who understands sound technology better than me explain what this thing is, what it's doing, and why we don't have them built into everything already? Here's a positive review that doesn't tell me anything, with some extremely snakey comments: "It allows ‘good’ high frequencies to be heard and only compresses highs that are peaking...this thing flat out eliminates hearing fatigue." (via Palm Sounds)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Echo Nest: the amazing website that can understand music

Here's a technology in search of a killer app: Echo Nest is a web service. Send it an MP3, and it will send back a 800k XML file containing details about the track, from it's basic BPM to it's detailed structure, melodic content and dynamic range. You get timecodes for the start of each beat (or 'tatum'), then details of the loudness, pitch etc of each 'tatum'. Among other things, you could use the data to automatically chop a track into perfect loops.

It seems like a phenomenally powerful tool, but so far Echonest don't have many ideas what to actually do with it. Their first showcase is This is my Jam, a lame-ish widget to create automated beatmixes with predictable results (Tiesto to Tiesto = Good. Sabbath to Sinatra = Bad). For me, the first sign of real magic is The Jingler - a little novelty Christmas site coded in 12 hours last year. Using the API, it picks hitpoints and overdubs sleigh bells playing perfectly in time onto any song you upload. It's pointless but really clever. If you want to experiment with the system, you'll need to navigate their baffling site and apply for an API key. If you come up with anything cool, do let me know... (Image is 'Black in Black' through Adam Glazier's Echo Nest visualiser)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The most beautiful piece of synth porn I've ever seen

Here's Charles Cohen playing a beautiful and incredibly rare (only 14 were ever made) Buchla Music Easel. Be sure to click through to the Vimeo page and view full screen for true high def (embedded videos aren't in HD, they're just a lot crisper than YouTube). Here's Charles talking about the Music Easel: "I've been playing The Buchla Music Easel since 1976. With it's color-coded slide pots, it's musically logical panel layout, and it's almost sculptural patching system, I can comprehend the state of the instrument with a fleeting glance. The touch-sensitive, capacitance-activated keyboard responds smoothly at the speed of light to the slightest skin contact, and it's assorted control voltage outputs can be directed to sonic and structural perameters very quickly. The potential to supplely flow into and amongst all the basic electronic sound forms is literally at my fingertips. I am happy when I'm playing this instrument." I'm happy just watching...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cardboard synth dude Dan McPharlin on the cover of Wallpaper

Nice to see Dan McPharlin made a nice white reel-to-reel control panel thing for the cover of this month's Wallpaper. There are new models in his flickr set, an interview on Wire to the Ear, the splendid new-ish gear blog, and finally some shots of Dan's own home studio, which runs on CV/Gate from a Roland MC-4.

25 ways to kill a piano

A couple of years ago, one of the angriest comment threads ever on Music Thing concerned a bunch of students in Aberystwyth who bought a piano on Freecycle, put it on a beach, burned it, and said it was art. Today, YouTube is stuffed with people being mean to pianos. Damn, you must have had some bad piano teachers...

  1. Throw it off a cliff, set fire to it

  2. Shoot it with shotguns and an AK47

  3. Knock it over and jump on it

  4. Jens Johansson (who is Yngwie Malmsteen's keyboard player) smashes up an old piano while giggling hysterically

  5. Back a pickup truck into it

  6. Play it with a JCB digger (this one really is the stuff of nightmares)

  7. Drive over it in an enormous truck

  8. Put on a leather coat and fill it with fireworks

  9. Smash it and sample it

  10. Fire it from a trebuchet (or here at Burning Man, where presumably it's performance art)

  11. Throw it down a hill

  12. Burn it and call it art (again)

  13. Pull it off the back of a moving pickup truck

  14. Drag it behind a pickup truck

  15. Chop it with an axe

  16. Hit it with a sldege hammer

  17. Throw it off a building (Warning: Video contains giggling MIT students, where they've been doing it since 1972)

  18. Bash two together

  19. Drop it off a fork lift truck

  20. Drive a car into a piano shop

  21. Blow it up

  22. In the interests of fairness, here's an organ getting smashed by giggling metal fans

  23. Use a burning acoustic guitar to set it alight

  24. Throw stuff at it

  25. Blow up a grand piano with really a lot of TNT

(Idea from Michael, whose new book Sod Abroad will make you chuckle)

If you're going to do noise, do it properly

Love this video from Tom Bugs of Bug Brand, demoing the latest £100 Weevil 08, with a mini Kaoss Pad. The only problem with Tom's stuff is that it's impossible to buy - his lastest batch of Weevils sold out within hours. Previously: Tom Bugs in his workshop. (Via Matrix)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Neutrik CrystalCON: XLR plugs with Swarovski crystals

It looks like a late April Fool, but isn't. Neutrik, who make over 1,600 different types of connector, are launching blinged-up male & female XLR plugs, presumably for the growing diva market. The CrystalCON comes in black with a few Swarovski crystals attached. There's no price yet, but the connectors will go perfectly with a Sennheiser E835 covered in Swarovski Crystals in one of 25 colors. Standard E835 = £60. Bling E835 = £290. And while you're at it, you could be playing this gruesome custom strat which sold last year for £7750.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mini review: Sony PFR-V1 headphones - all bad, except for the sound

So, Sony sent me a pair of their new PFR-V1 headphones, which are supposed to sound like you're sitting in front of a pair of speakers. I'm not sure why, as they're not being sold as pro monitor headphones. Anyway...

The bad

So many reasons not to like these headphones: They look absurd - little inch-wide lacquered aluminium (I guess) balls containing tiny speakers, held in front of your ears by little metal tubes which stick into your ears.

Think that sounds uncomfortable? It is. You're sticking a curved metal tube into your ear. It's cold. My wife tried them on for a second and said 'euch, that tickles' and wouldn't go near them again. After a while, it heats up, and feels OK. They're very light, and you'll never suffer from 'hot ear'.

They come with a little inline booster which takes a 2xAAA batteries in a cheap plastic case with an on-off switch and an LED. It could use a clip and a volume control.

The cabling is all super-thin and rubber coated, so it takes a minute to untangle every time you get them out.

Because they're completely open, they're really noisy. Aside from looking like a tit, you couldn't use them in public, or in a room with anyone else.
If you wear glasses, you can't wear these.

They cost £249 from Amazon. That's £50 more than the Sennheiser HD650 at £199, which I suspect is a rather more sensible headphone choice, without doing a direct comparison.

The good

On my iPod, I have lots of snippets of music I've made, just loops and bits. When I started listening to these through the PFR-V1, it was, to use a terrible cliche, a revelation. I heard numerous details I'd never heard before. My normal headphones are Sony MDR7506's. They're comfortable, loud and bassy. They make music sound warm and nice. But the PFR-V1s are about accuracy: the bass isn't exaggerated, but it's there. The mids and highs are super crisp. The stereo image is huge and very precise. I kept hearing things I'd never noticed: clicks on loops, mistakes, sounds that clashed, subtle differences between guitar sounds, wonky mixes, things that sounded great, bass sounds that really worked.
This isn't news to those of you who work in real studios or have proper monitors in acoustically helpful rooms, but the question is - is there any way to get this kind of accuracy in a cheaper, more comfortable, less stupid-looking package? (This feature from Sound on Sound talks more about expensive headphones vs cheap monitors.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Leona Lewis Mp3 Album - Spirit

Leona Lewis Mp3 Album - Spirit

01. Bleeding Love 4:23
02. Better In Time 3:55
03. I Will Be 4:00
04. I’m You 3:48
05. Forgive Me 3:41
06. Misses Glass 3:41
07. Angel 4:15
08. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face 4:27
09. Yesterday 3:55
10. Whatever It Takes 3:27
11. Take A Bow 3:54
12. Footprints In The Sand (US Bonus Track) 4:09
13. Here I Am (US Bonus Track) 4:50

-download album here-
Leona Lewis Mp3 Album - Spirit

Music Video - Ashton Shepherd(Takin Off This Pain)

Music Video - Ashton Shepherd(Takin Off This Pain)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Ashton Shepherd(Takin Off This Pain)

Boy Kill Boy Mp3 Album - Stars And The Sea (2008)

Boy Kill Boy Mp3 Album - Stars And The Sea (2008)

-download album here-
Boy Kill Boy Mp3 Album - Stars And The Sea (2008)

Music Video - Akon feat T-Pain(I Can't Forget)

Music Video - Akon feat T-Pain(I Can't Forget)

-download MV here-
MV - Akon feat T-Pain(I Can't Forget)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Music Video - Madonna feat Justin(4 Minutes)

Music Video - Madonna feat Justin(4 Minutes)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Madonna feat Justin(4 Minutes)

Music Video - Alicia Keys(Like You'll Never See Me Again)

Music Video - Alicia Keys(Like You'll Never See Me Again)

-download MV here-
MV - Alicia Keys(Like You'll Never See Me Again)

Music Video - Bon Jovi(It's My Life)

Music Video - Bon Jovi(It's My Life)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Bon Jovi(It's My Life)

Music Video - Avenged Sevenfold(Afterlife)

Music Video - Avenged Sevenfold(Afterlife)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Avenged Sevenfold(Afterlife)

The surprising and wonderful history of Acme Whistles

I'd never thought about whistles until I stumbled across the bizarre-looking Acme Nighingale in the Thomann catalogue.
Acme is the brand name of Joseph Hudson & Co, based in Birmingham. The company has been responsible for every major advance in whistle technology since 1860.
In 1883, the Metropolitan Police were looking for a replacement for the bulky rattles they'd been using to attract attention. Amateur violinist Hudson created a two-tone whistle whose sound could carry for a mile - it was inspired by the noise his violin strings made as they broke. The met ordered 21,000 whistles, and 45 million have been sold since. (More police whistle history)
In 1884, the Acme Thunderer was developed for football referrees. The Tornado T2000, from 1989, was designed for referees in supersized stadiums and it used at all FIFA internationals. It costs £3.94 and is available in black, white, blue, red, yellow, flouro green and flouro orange.
In 1935, they invented the silent dog whistle, tunable from 5,400 to 12,800hz.
In 2001, they diversified into conceptual art, with the Acme Meteor, a giant brass whistle, designed to be dropped from an aircraft to become the loudest whistle ever. It's not clear whether it ever flew.

Highlights from the Acme catalogue include the three-note Samba Whistle, the Windmaster, which sounds a bit like an old synth, as does the Siren Horn. The Tug Boat Whistle does exactly what you'd expect. The Duck Call looks obscene. Finally, the signal horn is ideal for ravers.

Music Video - The All American Rejects(It Ends Tonight)

Music Video - The All American Rejects(It Ends Tonight)

-download MV here-
Music Video - The All American Rejects(It Ends Tonight)

Music Video - HIM(Wings Of A Butterfly)

Music Video - HIM(Wings Of A Butterfly)

-download MV here-
Music Video - HIM(Wings Of A Butterfly)

Music Video - Flipside(Someday)

Music Video - Flipside(Someday)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Flipside(Someday)

Music Video - Good Charlotte(Dance Floor Anthem)

Music Video - Good Charlotte(Dance Floor Anthem)

-download MV here-
Music Video - Good Charlotte(Dance Floor Anthem)

The Tone Generation: Great podcast on early days of electronic music

The Tone Generation is a ten part series of podcasts about the earliest days of electronic music. Part One [mp3 link] covers Britain - with rare recordings from the 1950s and '60s by people like Tristram Cary, Daphne Oram, and assorted Radiophonic Workshop alumni. The music on offer is all pretty challenging - lots of atonal bleeps and waves of noise and very different from the commercially-minded output of Raymond Scott, who was working at the same time - although with more expensive gear. The podcast is presented by Ian Helliwell, and produced by Simon James, who also did the splendid Welcome to Mars.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Glockenspiel plays the music encoded on credit cards

This is the Brockenspiel, a project by Brock Craft. It reads the magnetic strip on credit cards and swipe access cards, zips them through an Arduino board and triggers solenoids which bash the chimes. There's no real logic to the music - numbers 1-8 trigger chimes, 0 and 9 are rests. He's had it installed at work for 6 months, although it doesn't seem to be connected to an actual security system. That's a shame, because it would be nice to announce everyone's arrival in the office with their own personal chime. Brock will be demonstrating it at Dorkbot London in a couple of weeks.

From the maker of MidiGun comes the Midi Parasite

Remeber the MidiGun? It was a camp flouro plastic gun with knobs on it for controlling DJ software. Well, Swindon-based guitarist Stuart Rowe was so inspired, he commissioned Christopher Bauder, who build the MidiGun, to build him the Midi Parasite. I'm not entirely sure how it works - it clips onto his Telecaster behind the bridge, and has various knobs and switches to control Guitar Rig and Ableton Live, and it has some kind of laser theremin setup. It doesn't seem to take any midi data from the guitar itself. More details in the 'Interfaces' section of White Void (enjoy the bonkers 3D navigation) and in the White Void flickr set.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Scientists ask: Can you sing death metal without ruining your voice?

This video looks innocent enough until you skip forward to 6:30 (NSFW unless you've got headphones and you don't mind people thinking you're a wierdo), when you see full-screen endoscope footage of a singer's voicebox while they're singing in a distorted Tom Waits / Joe Cocker style. It's a terrifying, screaming, shuddering red hole (not unlike the Great Pit of Carkoon). The footage comes from a presentation by Dr Julian McGlashan from Queens Medical Center in Nottingham asking whether the non-melodic bits of singing - the grunting and growling that ranges from Bryan Adams gentle grit to the full death growl - can be performed safely without knackering your voice. The full death metal grunt is at 4:30 in this clip. And strangest of all is 8:50 in this clip - the singer doing 'hello baby' in a deep Barry White voice. It's the perfect valentines video message for a loved one. Anyway, to save you watching the whole presentation, Dr McGlashan concludes that it IS safe to sing like Napalm Death, refuting previous concerns in the Dutch media that "growling destroys the human voice". If you want to learn to grunt yourself, there's an extensive WikiHow on the subject.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Is it a guitar? Is it a keyboard? It's a Harpejji. And it costs $6,000

This is a Harpeggi - a new instrument that is essentially a huge, flat Chapman Stick. You play it by tapping the 24 strings on the 24 frets. It was invented by maths professor Jorn Starret as the StarrBoard, but is now being produced by Marcodi Musical Instruments in Maryland, for $5,995 in various finishes. The problem, as ever, is that this is a great idea and a nice sounding thing, but every potential purchaser will inevitably use it to inflict more widdly widdly music on a tired world.

(Thanks, Carl)

The Music Thing Massive

During the redesign, I lost the old list of MT contributors and friends. Here's an updated version.

Video Thing, Retro Thing, Boing Boing Gadgets,
Gizmodo, MAKE Magazine, Ektopia, Pixel Sumo, Hispasonic, Guitar Blog, Acetone,
Vintage Synth Explorer,
Harmony Central, Audio Porn Central, Rubadub,
No Rock'n'Roll Fun,
Sound on Sound,
Analogue Haven,
Little Steven,
Radio Nova, Paris, Tigersushi, Mikey,
Gareth, Kati Lopez, Floppyswop,
Tommy Walker III, Fabio,
Peter K, Peter T,
Dr Bing Klazenby, Brandon, Mark, David Owen,
Housepig, Neil,
Jason Theremin, Scott, Wiley,
Jun, Kevin,
Eddy, Eric,
Sabastian, Alex T, Brandon M, Chris, Dave, Drew, Inverse Room, JB, Jens from Malmö, Awakened_Yeti, Jason M, cemenTIMental, Michael M, Corky, Ortho, Niall, Jona B, Doktor Future, Chris Thorpe, Matt E, Brian K, Nick C-C, Randel, Raymond S, Reevo, Peter S, Tim D, Andy H, Fabio M, Frank, Michael O, Peter K, Phillip T, Rithie, Michel W

For Sale: Roger Linn's original prototype MPC from 1986

Here's the one and only prototype of Roger Linn's Midistudio. It was announced at NAMM in 1986 as the replacement for the Linn 9000. That machine had velocity-sensitive pads, but the Midistudio added sampling, and put the pads into the famous 4x4 grid. This machine was the demo model used by the sales team, and it's for sale in the current Vemia auction - currently for £880. Linn went bust in 1986, the Midistudio was never manufactured, and Roger went to design for Akai, releasing the MPC 60 in 1988. It's great watching design evolve. This has the sliders from the Linn 9000, but the colour from the MPC. The cool removable control panel (a 100ft extension cable would have been available) didn't re-surface until the Akai S6000 from 1998, by which time the hardware sampler was all but dead.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What's the best thing about the amazing Hobnox audio demo?

There are many reasons to love and be excited be Andre Michelle's Hobnox AudioTool Demo. Many of them were explained by Peter at CDM when he covered the Beta a month ago. My favourite feature? If you don't touch it for a while, the lights go out, leaving the LEDs twinkling in the twilight. In case you haven't seen it, it's the first teaser for a modular Reason-style music environment, working entirely in Flash in your browser. At the moment there are 2x303s, 1x909, 8xstompboxes and a mixer. An 808 will be along in a few weeks, and then interesting things will no doubt start to happen. Love the way it can be enhanced and tweaked constantly - there's no monlithic application to download. There's a nice discussion of the merits of luxurious 3D interfaces over at Analog Industries, where Chris has announced Dubstation 1.5, which looks beautiful: Commenter Tom: "IMO could have done without the fake jacks and 'table top' background" Designer Chris: "Those jacks aren't fake."

Friday, April 4, 2008

25 great music-making tips from musicians

In the results of the Music to make you happy survey in February, the things that impressed me most were the answers to the question "What's the best piece of advice about making music that you've ever heard?" Within the 1,100+ responses are hundreds of great tips - some old, some new, some obvious, some arcane. Like these, for starters...

  1. Like Kraftwerk, have a non-music day every week or so (Anonymous computer musician)

  2. If things go wrong, just maintain that you were playing jazz (Max/MSP enthusiast)

  3. Play less (Guitarist, and lots of other people)

  4. When learning to play a piece of music, play it first so slowly that you don't get a single note wrong. Then slowly increase the speed. Then, play louder than normal at the proper speed and you'll play more confidently (A bass player and a synth tweaker)

  5. When editing, don't cut the breath off before someone starts talking or singing (Guitarist)

  6. Finish the first draft (Bass plyer)

  7. It's essential to begin every recording by asking 'Are we Recording?' (Guitarist - is that you, Peter?)

  8. Before you start for the day, go for a long walk (Computer musician)

  9. Listen. Listen very carefully. No. REALLY listen. (A guitarist, although 115 people used the word 'listen' in their tips)

  10. Wear earplugs (Drummer)

  11. Hit it hard, ye massive ponce (Drummer)

  12. Grab some string and bend it. If it doesn't sound right move up a fret and try again. (Guitarist)

  13. Start now, don't wait (Keyboard player)

  14. Get into the groove / Boy, you've got to prove / Your love to me (Guitarist)

  15. Retune your guitar, so you don't know the notes, then try making music with only your ears as guides (Keyboard player)

  16. Tune your guitar, play in time (Guitarist)

  17. Do it in triplets! (Programmer)

  18. Make, go sleep and check again tomorrow... (Synth tweaker)

  19. You may think you're playing your instrument, but what you're really playing is the audience (Studio engineer)

  20. Keep your cigarette lighter away from my drummer - He'll set fire to anything that burns (Nord Modular enthusiast)

  21. Do something every day. Even if all you do is make a beat or write some lyrics or a bassline or whatever, do something. Even if you just have a few minutes a day to spare, the material you have quickly builds up (Field recordist)

  22. "Play more things that make me dance around and less things that make me sit and look miserable in a plastic chair" - Brian Eno (Guitarist)

  23. Learning any instrument is about scales. Scales. Scales. Scales. The trick is to make learning the scales interesting. Which is hard. And I've never done it. Which is a shame (Studio engineer)

  24. Never listen to the same loop for longer than 10 minutes (Beat maker)

  25. Write as many songs as you can and pick the best (Guitarist)

To be continued...

Goldbaby Analog Auto Rhythms

New from Goldbaby, the NZ samplists behind Tape 808, is Analog Autorhythms - a $24 collection of preset loops (+ individual hits) from old school drum machines like the Korg Rhythm 55B. Even if, like me, you already have tonnes of badly sampled, badly labelled, rarely used folders of 'old school' sounds cluttering up your hard drives, it's still worth giving this a go, because it's done properly.

Scratching with cassette tapes

Here's DJ Ramsey, from Scottsdale, Arizona, doing a pretty good job of scratching on two tape decks and a mixer. You may remember Russian DJ Artyom doing the same thing with a custom rig in 2005, and Japanese experimenter-in-chief Tucker (he of the hot ribbon controller action) has also had a go. (Thanks, Chris)

A Music Thing Muxtape

In case you haven't seen it yet, Muxtape is a wonderful, ultra-simple, fairly illegal mixtape-sharing site. Upload 12 mp3s, arrange them, pick a header colour and thy're there for the world to stream. There's no easier way to share you music (or anyone else's.) My 'spring is here, haul the barbecue up from the cellar' mix is at Where's yours?

Music Thing gets a fresh coat of paint*

If you're a regular reader, you probably read Music Thing through the RSS Feed and rarely ever see the site itself. If you do pop in, you'll see a few cosmetic changes - hopefully a lot more space and less clutter. Any feedback is welcome, particularly if you can work out how to get the Google Gadget (bottom of the middle column) to display reliably - it should pull in headlines from other fine music blogs. If you use iGoogle, you can get the music gear blogs gadget yourself. (Thanks to Peter, David & Michael for pre-launch feedback) *Actually, it's mainly css and really crude javascript.