Congress Restores Arts Funding, Drops Arts Stimulus Ban, After Public Outcry

Photo CC Brian Talbot. Here in the US, Congressional Democrats have reversed not one but both bad decisions on the role of the arts in the economic stimulus package. Provisions that would have blocked any stimulus funds from reaching arts centers, museums, and theaters have been dropped. (Golf courses and casinos are still in the ban. Maybe this time, someone read the actual legislation.) And the US$50 million (out of some $800 billion) that would go to the National Endowment for the Arts, dropped from a Senate version, has been restored to the bill. It appears both of those changes …

READ MORE →

Democrats, Republicans Join to Ban Arts Stimulus, Declare Arts Worker Jobs Not “Real”

Fore? Photo: Dan Perry. Folks, we have a lot of work ahead of us. To wrap up the thread I started, the plot in US politics, in the space of a few short weeks, has gone something like this: 1. A new Administration could bring new vision to making the arts part of the economy. 2. Arts spending is wasteful. 3. Any spending on anything should be specifically prohibited from reaching the arts, as that would be wasteful and evil, and the arts are the best symbol of Waste itself. I live on Wall Street (technically, on the corner of …

READ MORE →

Depressing Project of the Day: Stock Market, Set to Music with Microsoft Songsmith

I’ve been talking to folks about sonifying or music-i-fying data a lot lately; I even created a soothing, gamelan-like melody from my Gmail spam folder at South by Southwest last spring. But this particular example is, well … special. I hesitate to share this, because a) YouTube numbers suggest you may have seen it already and b) it’s pretty depressing. On the other hand, it’s not like the fact the economy is depressing is news, exactly, so I suggest we employ the time-tested coping method that is laughter. Thanks (?) to Paul Norheim for this. It also suggests a pleasing …

READ MORE →

Mopho, the $400 Dave Smith Analog Synth: Extra Details

Hot dog purveyor Gray’s Papaya in New York is beloved for its “Recession Special”: two dogs and a drink. Their champagne is made from coconuts. And you don’t just scarf these down in bear markets; you enjoy them any time. Dave Smith’s monophonic Mopho synth is perhaps the greatest recession special in the history of synthesis. It’s got the soul of a single voice from the Prophet ’08 analog synth, but with sub-octave generators, distortion that they claim ranges to “extreme skronk,” and the ability to process audio input. Interestingly, that means its “skronkiness” and input processing address some of …

READ MORE →

MeatWater “Survival Beverage” Offers Techno Stimulus Package for Economy

Photo: Todd Thille. Used by permission. MeatWater (C) Liquid Innovations. If this economy is getting you down, our friends at MeatWater, the “high-efficiency survival beverage,” have a prescription. A prescription for techno: MeatWater MP3 Techno Remix Now, perhaps this is just a crass ploy for MeatWater to sell more of their MeatWater-protein drinks, which come in flavors like Gyros, Beef Stroganof, Hungarian BBQ, and Dirty Hot Dog. But if there’s one thing I believe in more than the health-giving power of proteins, it’s in the stimulating power of techno. I’m steps away from the stock market, so I may take …

READ MORE →

Are Economic Concerns Likely to Impact Your Music Tech Purchases?

Politics and economics are well beyond the scope of this site and ridiculously far out of my area of expertise. But at what point does economic confidence start to impact music technology? That’s a question I know colleagues and industry figures are starting to wonder about. Here is an entirely non-scientific “temperature test” — even if these feelings may shift over time. Feel free to answer from wherever you live in the world. [Direct poll link, in case the embed isn’t working]

READ MORE →

MIDI Jacks, Radio Shack, Economic Theory, and Invisible Hands

What is the sound of an invisible hand playing a MIDI controller? Yes, in the latest evidence that the Interwebs really are Douglas Adams’ imagined Infinite Improbability Drive, a conversation from CDM’s humble forums about the economics of Radio Shack and MIDI jacks has led to a blog response from a non-musician defending the true legacy of Adam Smith. I’m serious. I’m not just, you know, dumbing down CDM and pandering to the economist audience to pick up cute economist girls. The blogger also feels our forum poster say “dude” too much. Like, whatever. Don’t have a cow, man. It …

READ MORE →