The Echo Nest – The Intelligent Music Metabase Architecture

The Echo Nest continues to enhance its leadership role as the open music metabase architecture. The software engineering team is total genius. I urge you to read their latest blog post, The Future of Music Genres Is Here. Everything you thought you understood about genres of music will be blown away as you take the jump to light speed.

I have developed an appreciation for music subgenres (e.g. Main genre:Blues, subgenre: Blues Rock, Country Blues, Rhythm & Blues)  the past couple of years. Now I am able to explore and listen to 800+ music genres.

The Echo Nest approach to genres is trend-aware because their intelligent music metabase listens, analyzes, then delineates the granularity of the genre/subgenre being heard.

This is superior to the static hierarchical metabase that Gracenote supplies. I am very curious to test beatsMUSIC next week to see if they hitched their wagon to Gracenote or The Echo Nest metabase. Gracenote will make their cloud music solution “closed and fixed” vs. “open and dynamic” as The Echo Nest allows.

To get a better “visual interactive” feel for the Open Genre API Methods try playing with this “proof of concept” demonstration. I almost want to call it Mother Popcorn a.l.a. James Brown ;). Try it and you’ll see why I am thinking like that…

1) Music Popcorn

ZimZamZim – Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Last August I made a contribution to the Arthur Brown Pledge Music Project. I was motivated by a commitment to technology and the modern day artist’s never ending quest to create, innovate and entertain.

Arthur Brown was the first artist to use a drum machine live back in 1973 with his band Kingdom ComeThe Crazy World of Arthur Brown is again in the forefront of music technology innovation with Arthur Brown’s Psycho -sonic Thought Control Headgear. It was premiered to UK audiences on stage at the Hard Rock Hell Festival on 28th November 2013.

Arthur Brown explains the technology, ‘In relation to music, the headgear will first deal with triggering sounds by thought. It will not just trigger sounds that are preset. It will create sounds in real time just as a Theremin does, or as do the voices of a human choir. Then it will develop to include body energies. Next will come the energy of feeling. Then the sexual energies will begin to be accessed. After that, the energies of the spirit and soul will become instigators of sound. Eventually, the energies of the whole human being will be used.’

Arthur Brown’s ZimZamZim project on audio CD reached my front door step from England yesterday.


I am excited by what Arthur Brown is accomplishing. Bear with me as I digest the music, presentation etc. I plan to get back to you with an updated perspective.

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Jaron Lanier To Lecture at Sacred Heart University

I greatly admire and respect Jaron Lanier. I am jubilant to learn that he is conducting a lecture in our backyard next month, I must attend. I last blogged about him in 2010, Jaron Lanier – Visionary Musician

Jaron Lanier
Jaron Lanier (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

Jaron Lanier will lecture on “Who Owns the Future” at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut on October 9th at 7 p.m. This presentation is associated with the 50th Anniversary Lecture Series on Libraries: The Future is Open – Or is it? It is sponsored by the Ryan Matura Library and will take place at the Schine Auditorium.

His latest book, “Who Owns The Future?”, will be available for purchase and signing after his lecture.

Raspberry Pi and Music Hacks (Raspberry Beret – Prince)

I am both a music and techno-geek. I have been employed in information technology for 32 years now. My interest has become refocused on software design and development. Call me a digital music wonk 😉  Just like my computer network management students I too want to hack.

I have followed the Music Hack Days actively for the past two+ years now. I have finally found the niche to pursue as a music hacker in earnest with a stated purpose and direction.

My tool of choice is to buy a Raspberry Pi credit card computer ($25-$35) and accessories (TBD)  that allow me to exploit the media center and music hack options. I am eager to emulate, test and then build upon that learning to create a music hack of  merit.

(I freely associate music songs with ideas and vice-versa, so the song by Prince, “Raspberry Beret” continually comes to mind when I think about Raspberry Pi and music…)

Raspberry Pi is a “hot” phenomenon with the ever-growing Linux crowd. It is the lowest cost way to teach yourself how to program in the Python programming discipline. First and foremost its a great toy that you can feel free to experiment with and make a modicum of success right away.

Like most technology revolutions Raspberry Pi has forged a community of enthusiasts that want to succeed together at the low-end of the spectrum for now.

Mark my words it is my “mind’s eye” prediction that Raspberry Pi designers/developers a.k.a hacks will produce commercial electronic solutions worthy of attention and initial sales by the time the Consumer Electronics Show happens in January 2014. Raspberry Pi is poised for exponential growth.

Here are just a few of the early music hacks I have discovered with Raspberry Pi.

1) How to Hack your Raspberry Pi to Play Music Wirelessly from any IOS Device

2) Raspberry Pi Synthesizer

And when all else fails, remember we Got The Beets LOL!

3) BeetBox

We Built This City on Google fiber

Google fiber will be available in Austin, Texas by the middle of next year. SXSW as a Fiber Metropolis will be the reality of SXSW 2014.

So let’s pop that champagne bottle and issue high fives all around for our Austin brothers and sisters. Way cool you got Google fiber Austin! If you build it they will come! This truly makes Austin the Music Technology Capital of the World.

John Mayer Leverages Social Networking

John Mayer is on the mend and will be announcing this week his Born & Raised Tour 2013 plans. John Mayer, his technical management team are collaborating with Billboard.Biz to hosting a Google+ Hangout with invited fans on Thursday March 21st.

I teach technology priding myself incorporating the latest software engineering advancements when I use the InterWeb. My compliments to the John Mayer team and Billboard for structuring an intelligent qualification survey form for this event. A direct benefit of the invitation to this event with John Mayer and Don Was is that it will sharpen your Google+ Profile for precision and accuracy.

John Mayer is on the comeback trail. He’s endured and overcome painful lessons of late, some of which were self-inflicted, others were due to his health. I’m pleased to report that John Mayer is resuming his live performances with a renewed sense of vigor.

My first sign that John Mayer was back was his appearance segment on the CBS Sunday Morning February 10th broadcast. That insightful segment piqued my interest in what John Mayer is doing next.

I hope I qualify to be invited to the John Mayer Google+ Hangout this could be historic.

If you like knowing what goes into the making of album art and graphics design watch this John Mayer YouTube video about Born and Raised.

Going Mobile – The Who

This song by The Who from Who’s Next underscores my renewed energies for education, technology and life. Now all we need is that camper and the open road 😉

I don’t care about pollution
I’m an air-conditioned gypsy
That’s my solution
Watch the police and the taxman miss me!
I’m mobile!
Songwriter – Pete Townshend 1971

File:The Who Behind Blue Eyes.jpg

Pono Lets You “Feel the Soul of the Music

The InterWeb buzz for Neil Young’s PONO increased markedly this past week. The Music of Our Heart sifts through the various tea leaves to gather a  PONO brew for you as we enter the Christmas and New Year 2012 Holiday weeks. The number #1 PONO FAQ was, When Can I Have It?. Quite the act of faith considering PONO is unheard by the masses and very little is known, technically about this much-anticipated high-resolution audio solution. Neil Young tweeted earlier this month that Pono will roll out the service’s cloud-based music-library component and portable digital-to-analog players by summer. Patrick Flanary free-lance writer for Rolling Stone continues to keep us well-informed about PONO. Read more: Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

“It’s actually a little early for us to give any information,” Elliot Roberts (Neil Young’s Business Manager), the head of Lookout Management in Santa Monica, said in a brief telephone interview. “When we can comment, we’ll be an open spigot.”

Neil Young’s Ivanhoe, Inc. published “the” InterWeb home page for PONO where you can stay informed via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook 😉 MyPono From the About page…

Hi Friend, There’s an awfully good chance you heard about a revolution we’re working on. Something that will significantly improve the way you get to hear and feel your favorite music. Shocking you say? That perhaps the promise of “Perfect Sound Forever” propagated by the inventors of the Compact Disc was a bust? And that“CD Quality” promoted by the likes of iTunes and the creators of the MP3 was only an inkling of the flawed format they were hoping to emulate? We’re here to say it’s incredibly true! Miraculously, there’s a wealth of music & soul (or if you must, “data”) trapped on millions of recordings made over the last half century, that we’re hoping to unleash for the very first time. Can you imagine? Your own personal time machine, to take you back to the place and time of the original musical event, and let you feel music in ways you’ve only felt seeing it live? We here at Pono are listening to it now and assure you, IT’S AMAZING!!!! We ask dear music lover that you root for Pono bringing this very real technology to the world. We’re still toiling away on making this happen (yes, there are record labels, artists, publishers and more to finalize with), but we wanted to share our excitement with you. In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates. Rescuing an art form, The Pono Team

Twitter:  @RealPono Facebook:

SoundCloud HTML5 Powered Platform


The SoundCloud platform has undergone a major transformation. It is now powered by HTML5 which generates a rewarding play and listening experience.

The revised SoundCloud home page produces an immediate, eye engaging result through the beauty of its responsive design.

I am enchanted with the drop drown interface for users, developers and creators. I don’t create or record music so I won’t be able to leverage those new interface features. I am a music consumer and journalist. My objective is to enhance my audio listening experience.  SoundCloud scores high marks in user experience improvements.

Drop Down Interface

SoundCloud piqued my interest through the successful use of intelligence with their redesign. I am an HTML5 zealot, ask my computer network students who hear me pontificate about the relevance of HTML5. SoundCloud takes major advantage of HTML5 fluidity with an effortless delivery flow for the user.

English: W3C HTML5 Badge in SVG.
English: W3C HTML5 Badge in SVG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Such features as Search and Explore along with Continuous Play engage more intimately than the original site design which  I found cumbersome and non-interactive as a past listener.

Soundcloud has targeted the curator which is a wise move with all the interest in increasing the intelligence surrounding this task. Registered users like myself who do not upload original music can build indexable profiles by re-posting and set-building tracks garnered from fellow listeners and creators.

SoundCloud has made a step in the right direction as digital music steps up to the sophistication of its global audience.

Intelligent Digital Music Curation + Discovery = Daisy (Trent Reznor and Beats By Dr. Dre)

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Joni Mitchell, Both Sides, Now © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The music of our heart steadfastly believes in the next “desired” future state of cloud based digital music. There are some exciting technologies “under construction” above and around us, floating our way.

I reported on Neil Young‘s PONO solution awhile back on this music blog. I see a similar order of magnitude. if not something larger or uniquely designed emerging from Beats Electronics. Inc.

One such solution receiving a huge degree of “buzz” factor is the intelligent music curation and discovery music cloud service, code-named “Daisy” from the collaborative brain trust of Trent Reznor,  Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and others at  Beats Electronics, Inc.

I have sorted through the multitude of music articles about “Daisy” published in the past 48 hours to discern what’s this all about?

“Daisy”, according to Mr. Reznor, Chief Creative Officer for Beats Electronics Inc. will create a recommendation platform where “the machine and the human would collide more intimately”.

The music service “uses mathematics to offer suggestions to the listener… [but also] would present choices based partly on suggestions made by connoisseurs,” describing it as “like having your own guy when you go into the record store, who knows what you like but can also point you down some paths you wouldn’t necessarily have encountered.”

How’s this different from everything else out there? “Here’s sixteen million licensed pieces of music (Mog states) but you’re not stumbling into anything. What’s missing is a service that adds a layer of intelligent curation,” explained Reznor. “Think of how many emotional ties you have with songs from your past.”

I love that phrase “intelligent curation” now I want to know how that technology will be software engineered and implemented. An example of intelligent curation is The Browser, which is creating a 21st century library of Writing Worth Reading.

Trent Reznor posted on Facebook on October 16: Some of you may have read that I have begun working with Beats By Dre. For the past year I have indeed been involved with Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Luke Wood, and the rest of the team on a number of very interesting projects that will start to emerge next year. I have wanted to experiment and focus my energy and creativity in some different directions, and Beats has afforded me that very opportunity. The process has challenged and fascinated and as much as I’d like to tell you about the things we’ve dreamed up… I just can’t.
Not yet…
(I can tell you it’s probably not what you’re expecting!)

Origin: The company has “very big plans,” for Mog, the streaming service it purchased earlier this year, hinting that it relates to how people consume and discover music. Most streaming services need consumers to program their music experience themselves and consumers can’t be expected to do that, which would seem to suggest a greater emphasis on music discovery and recommendations, possibly including a radio function.

David Byrne and Trent Reznor

Speaking of intelligent conversations centering upon the state of digital music, David Byrne and Trent Reznor recently got together in Los Angeles as part of David Byrne’s book tour for How Music Works.

Both artists shared the stance that the current landscape is not about label deals vs DIY marketing but about choosing the right path and the right deals for the artist in question. Here is a YouTube of that conversation.

Conversely after founding his own record label in 2008 and releasing music independently, Trent Reznor has reverted back to the majors for help in releasing his latest project through Columbia Records, How To Destroy Angels, “Ice Age” pointing out that “complete independent releasing has its great points, but also comes with shortcomings.”