Thursday, November 08, 2007

Gracenote and Joseph Arthur

Gracenote, the famed and incredibly extensive database of music that a number of programs including iTunes uses, has produced a new feature: Music Maps. Click on a region of the globe and find out the current top artists and albums (based on the number of times they are looked up by applications from that region). Unfortunately Canada, that great country of mine, is not broken up by province like the U.S. but you can get a good idea of what those segments with computers or similar devices (jukeboxes) are listening to.

Today I just discovered Joseph Arthur via his song A River Blue on the Serve2 (Fighting Hunger and Poverty) album. Given that he is such a great artist I feel somewhat ashamed that I have not heard of him previously. I downloaded a few free tunes and listened to his new album Nuclear Daydream. I also downloaded a recent concert featuring most of the songs as well as a number of others. The concerts cost $9.99 (less in Canadian $, ha!) and are available in MP3, AAC, and FLAC. In addition, nearly all the proceeds go directly to the artists. The sound quality of each concert varies widely so preview them before downloading.

After watching M.I.A's creepy Best Story Every on The Hour, I checked out some of her music. The track Paper Planes combines the haunting but jolting sounds of a gun firing, the gun being cocked and a cash register ringing. The clever mixing of these sounds provides an social commentary on its own which underpins the song's verses. Brilliant but disturbing.

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