The Afrobeat music of superstar Fela Kuti - or just Fela - is powerful, political, and so influential that Fela's sound is baked into the last forty-odd years of pop, rock, and hip-hop. It's also great music to work to.
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Last week a nerdier segment of the music world was abuzz with the news that an Austrian company Rebeat had taken a $US4.8 million ($6 million) dollar investment to help bring its "HD vinyl" records to market by mid 2019. Huh? HD vinyl? How does one make the last analogue music storage format (that people still care about) high-definition?
It screamed pure marketing buzzwordship to us, but we consulted with some experts and surprise, it seems there's reason to be cautiously optimistic.
Vinyl sales have seen an exponential increase over the last 12 years -- 2017 marking a record high (pun intended). According to Nielsen Music, vinyl made up 14% of all physical album sales, up from 2016's 11%. Vinyl's back, baby! It has been for a while, and if you want to get in on the game (or update your turntable. I see you, non-novices) then allow us to help. Here's how to find the perfect record player for you.
If you are a parent and have been suddenly thrust into the world of kids' music, I am sorry. Most of the stuff out there is mind-numbingly bad. Nobody wants to hear Alvin and the Chipmunks singing, "Hot body, rock the party," or another rendition of "Finger Family", or a tune about a kid who brought home a baby bumblebee and then ate it (why?). And after five years and about a gazillion replays in my house alone, can we finally let "Let It Go" go?
At the Metropolitan Opera last spring, in a show called "The Exterminating Angel", soprano Audrey Luna sang a high A, setting a new record for the highest note ever sung at the Met. You might be more familiar with the phrase "High C", a very typical high note at the Met - the high A is several notes higher. And it's the first thing Luna sings in the show. She spent years working her voice up to that pitch. So we asked her how she did it.
For the first time in twenty years, as the Atlantic points out, a whole year's worth of copyrighted works will enter the public domain in the U.S. on January 1, 2019. Under the terms of the Sonny Bono Copyright Act, works first published in 1923 will enter the public domain, meaning anyone can re-publish them, or chop them up and use them in other projects, without asking permission or paying the old rights holders. You can record new versions of the musical compositions; you can show the movies for a profit; you can even remake them. Amazon can sell you the ebook and keep all the money, and Project Gutenberg can give you the ebook for free. The Atlantic has a short list; we have a longer one below.
Instead of shopping around for a streaming service that will ultimately disappoint you, why not cut out the middleman and start using a music library you actually own? Advantages such as uninterrupted music, increased portability, and increased longevity of the hardware you actually use make it worth the cost of a few albums.
Some people can dig up great music like magic, or have friends inside the industry who keep them updated. Some people are contented with their weekly Spotify Discover playlist. But if you need more ways to find music, here are 50 ideas, taken from Twitter users, my colleagues at Lifehacker's publisher Gizmodo Media Group, and some of my own habits. Some are obvious, some bizarre, some embarrassing, but they have all helped people find their new favourite song, or even their favourite band.
Ravel's Boléro, the famous repetitive piece that builds to a full-orchestra climax, is the most famous example of a classical form, based on the Latin dance genre of the same name. TV Tropes, a website made entirely of rabbit holes, lists over 50 examples of this particular song structure, and we've collected as many as we can in a Spotify playlist.
The only thing that makes long-distance driving tolerable is music and/or podcasts. Unfortunately, using the car stereo isn't always an option. Perhaps the speakers are busted, or the person in the passenger seat hates your taste in music. In these situations, the obvious solution is to don a pair headphones. But is this actually legal?
Your Discover Weekly probably doesn't suck - the feature is so popular that it's the subject of long glowing profiles on tech blogs and business blogs. Spotify even built an ad campaign out of users tweeting how much they love the feature. Each week, every active Spotify user gets a new list of 30 tracks, and over half of them find a new favourite. But depending on your Spotify habits, it is possible to get a garbage Discover Weekly. Here's what's happening and how to fix it.
I learned how to play the piano the old-fashioned way -- by being dragged by my mother to weekly lessons taught by an elderly woman in the neighbourhood, and yawning at the sheet music as my kid-fingers played a clunky rendition of Für Elise. Since then, music instruction has evolved. There has been a crop of video game apps that introduce children to instruments such as the piano, guitar, drums and ukulele and through fun challenges, get them to practice -- willingly.
If you are an owner of vinyl records, you may have noticed that they tend to attract dust, little hairs, and dudes who love to talk about the finer points of Pet Sounds. I can't do anything to help with that last one, but I've found that dry electrostatic cleaning cloths are really great for getting rid of the first two.