Tangents (XPC, 44, ZZ)

Quick Links, News and Good Reads: (1) The big news in digital music this week was a piece of aggressive copy-protection software called XPC included on select Sony CDs. It drew such widespread and quick negative publicity that the label promptly put the program on hiatus. None of the 20-odd CDs reportedly sporting the software were notably electronic, but if you dig the Bad Plus, Trey Anastasio or Dexter Gordon, or like to keep tabs on Rick Rubin, who produced the new Neil Diamond album, check out the list of affected CDs (eff.org). … (2) Brian Eno is selling a bunch of his old gear at spheremusic.com (via musicthing.blogspot.com, which has more info on the items). … (3) Google’s advanced search (google.com/advanced_search) now has a “Usage Rights” pull down, which aids in searching for netlabel and other artist-sanctioned MP3 downloads, among other things (via google.blogspace.com). … (4) Snapshots of an Etch-a-Sketch music machine on flickr.com (via makezine.org).

… Select New Releases: A few releases of note this coming week: (1) Brian Eno‘s 14 Video Paintings DVD (Rykodisc) contains two video works, “Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan” and “Thursday Afternoon.” According to Ryko, “The music for ‘Thursday Afternoon’ is a different version than what appears on Eno’s album of the same name, while the music that accompanies ‘Mistaken Memories’ comes from two of his acclaimed ambient albums (On Land and Music for Airports) and features an unreleased track.” … (2) Screaming Masterpiece is the name of a new documentary about the Icelandic music scene, featuring Bjork, the Sugarcubes, Sigur Ros, Mum, Bang Gang, Mugison and Minus (screamingmasterpiece.com), soundtrack due on the One Little Indian label. … (3) Wim Mertens and Glenn Branca‘s The Belly of an Architect soundtrack, reissued (LTM). … (4) Aoki Takamasa and Tujiko Noriko team up for 28 (FatCat).

… Disquiet Heavy Rotation: (1) It may take a village to raise a child, but in the case of the Village Orchestra‘s Et in Arcadia Ego (Highpoint Lowlife), it’s a community of one. What sounds like an ersatz collective is, in fact, a single person: Ruaridh Law, one third of the electronic act the Marcia Blaine School for Girls. Law’s first full-length solo album on Highpoint, Et in Arcadia Ego is a feat of glistening epiphanies and flash-forward road music. At its best, it is everything one might attribute to Tangerine Dream on a generous day, and more. … (2) So much beat-oriented music sticks to a set metrical mode that, despite all the evident frenetic activity, it’s really going nowhere fast. Sickboy‘s Into Oblivion (Mirex) ventures where far too few beat-based albums dare: mixing it up every few bars, which keeps your ears, not to mention your feet, guessing. … (3) The Disquiet Downstream MP3 download of the week is Peter Koniuto‘s exercise in space music for the Stasisfield netlabel, Past Andromeda (link).

… Quote of the Week: “The novelty of new gear helps to lubricate those pitfalls.” That’s Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top guitarist, author of Rock & Roll Gearhead) speaking to the New York Times on November 10 (link).

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