The Null Device
I was in the vicinity of Heartland this afternoon, so I stepped in and picked up the imported DVD single of New Order's Here To Stay. It comes with four clips from the upcoming film 24 Hour Party People; it looks like it's going to be a very interesting film.
Though I wonder whether that's really Bernard Sumner in the Here To Stay video; he looks a bit younger and perhaps thinner.
(My verdict on DVD singles: they're a good medium for videos and such (the resolution is much better than Quicktime on CD-ROM), but they probably won't replace standard CD singles for audio, precisely because of the custom interface. When I put on music, I don't want to have to navigate flashy custom menus to hear it (let alone sit through the mandatory copyright warning message). It is precisely the CD's generic, no-frills interface which gives it an advantage over the DVD as a music medium.)
Research shows that online music fans don't mind paying for music; however, they can't stand locked-down DRM formats.
(And quite rightly, too. If Vivendi Universal or someone was to sell me music I liked from their back-catalogue for, say, US$0.99 per MP3, I'd be cool with that, and would probably end up spending a fair bit of dosh on it. But not if it's in some crippled format which (a) requires me to run their choice of operating system, (b) requires me to use and trust their software (which may show ads/have spyware/do ghod knows what), or otherwise (c) assume that I'm a criminal.)
However, what are the odds that the Recording Racket will get the point, clue in and drop their demands for "end-to-end content security"? We'll probably see Hell freeze over, Microsoft embrace the GPL and Nestlé stop killing third-world babies before that happens.
I had a fairly busy evening tonight (in a good way). Readers of my blog may remember my dilemma from a few days ago. To whit; two shows worth seeing, both unlikely to be repeated, on the same night. Firstly, American indie singer/songwriter Jen Turrell was playing at the Empress, in her last tour of Australia before she and Stewart have to stay in the USA for two years (it's a permanent residency requirement, I believe); secondly, the ever-rocking Ninetynine were set to play at the Tote, in possibly their last gig before their world tour. If I missed them, my next chance to see them would probably be in Reykjavík in November.
And then I realised that (a) Jen was playing a support set, while Ninetynine were headlining, and so if I went to see Jen, and then rushed down to the Tote, I had a good chance of catching them. Which is exactly what I did.
I got to the Empress shortly after 9. Jen was the first act on, and went on stage at 9:30, playing about a dozen short, sweet jangly-pop songs, accompanied by Stewart on bass and their TR-808 on Minidisc. It was a very nice set, with a lot of lovely harmonies and classic chord progressions, and a bit more than a touch of fey sensitivity.
Then I made my way to the Tote. I got there halfway through the second band's set. The band room was quite full, and I recognised a number of the people there (Jesse from Sir, Sarah-Jane from I Want a Hovercraft, a girl who followed Ninetynine all the way from Sweden, and a guy who collects Casio keyboards were some of the people I ran into.)
Anyway, Ninetynine came on, and they rocked hard. They had a lot of kit with them (vibraphone, glockenspiel and three Casios), swapped instruments a lot, played with great energy, doing a lot of new songs and finishing with an intense version of Polar Angle. Their new material is very strong; sophisticated and layered, and yet with a spiky edge and punk energy, and their next album (due in 3 or 4 months) should be something to look forward to.
It was a good night.