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Blake to become a full-time muso

Big changes are afoot here at Coralspin. I’ve decided to quit my job as an academic to become a full-time musician (and writer). The idea is that this will open up a lot more time to spend on Coralspin. That’s the theory, anyway. Whether that happens in practise is another matter, because I’ll be taking on a few projects to earn some money.

But hopefully before too long I can get back to finishing our second album, a fair bit of which is already in the can.

We also want to get playing live again, although the album is the bigger priority at the moment, and anyway the drummer we were using, the amazing Ed Gorrod, has moved to London to become a professional drummer, so we need to find another sticksman before we can do that.

So look out for Coralspin to be back on your radar some time in 2017.

Rhythmic Robot introduce Silencio

The genuises at Rhythmic Robot have released an amazing new virtual instrument called Silencio. I’ve already used it this morning to make a new track — in fact, you’re listening to it now.

Introducing Silencio
Fully-professional multimode 24-bit silence engine

In a world of loudness wars and over-crammed mixes, what our music sometimes needs is space to be; the individuation and clarity that come from the absence of sound; in other words, contrast. Silencio brings you that contrast in pristine 24-bit quality, whenever and wherever you need it.
Comprising eight meticulously-recorded silent environments (six analogue and two digital) plus hard bypass, Silencio gives you instant access to different tonalities of silence across a full 88-key range. A comprehensive control set allows further tailoring of the core silences. Its uses are limited only by your imagination, but there are some standout applications:

• Perfect for adding space to a mix. Today’s mixes easily become crowded, with frequency bands jostling for attention and fatiguing the listener. Use Silencio to bring air and space to your mix. Just one or two tracks of Silencio can make all the difference.

• Ideal for Jazz musicians. We often hear jazz aficionados saying of great musicians that we should ‘listen to the notes the guy isn’t playing’. This is central to classic jazz soloing. With Silencio, you can play these notes directly.

• Great for experimental musicians. Silencio can be at the heart of experimental music. It’s ideal for playing John Cage’s 4’33 (in fact it’s possible to play 4’33 in under three minutes using Silencio).

‘What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence’
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

No copyright blurred lines

The Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams vs Gaye estate verdict is a complete joke. The judge said that the case was to be decided on the ‘sheet music’ aspects of the song, and they are completely different. Different melody, different harmony. You can’t play those two songs on a piano and say one’s a copy of the other. That’s rubbish.

Of course Thicke and Williams ripped off the vibe. You don’t need to be a musician to tell that. The whole feel of the song, the drum beat, the electric piano sound (and a bit of the e. piano bassline), the high vocal, the party atmosphere in the background, they’re obviously all very similar, and you might feel that Thicke and Williams deserved to lose for that reason alone. But decisions like this don’t just concern those in the trial, they concern every composer in the world. If two songs that are so dissimilar are said to be copies, then disaster lies ahead. I really hope this verdict gets overturned on appeal (I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t). It never should have gone to trial. Why didn’t the court consult some compositional experts beforehand, who could have told them to throw it out?

Bob Stanley has a good article in The Guardian about this.

I was also amused by this article. In it, E. Michael Harrington from the SAE Institute (one of the best sound engineering schools) says the verdict is a bad one. For the other side of the argument the journalist turned to… the Gaye estate’s lawyer!

Update: Apparently the Gaye estate had some musicologists in who testified that the ‘sheet music aspects’ were very similar. Looks like Thicke and Williams made a big mistake in not getting their own musicologists in to testify that this was BS.