Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DATAMOSHING

Recently I have been working on a music video that is incorporating a glitching technique called DATAMOSHING. Datamoshing is kinda 2009, but whatever, Wikipedia has this to say about datamoshing...."

Datamoshing occurs when the I-frames or key-frames of a temporally compressed video are removed, causing frames from different video sequences to bleed together."

Basically datamoshing takes advantage of an aspect of compression in encoding. To make the videos smaller, encoding creates Key frames (or I frames) and it references other frames based off that, to make the file smaller. So, it takes one frame, and says hey, these next 30 frames are pretty similar, lets base the video information off that frame and use it as a reference. So what datamoshing does is take out those keyframes and leaves in the P-frames, and p frames reference I frames for information, the main ingredient in a p-frame is motion information. So, you take a video with an i-frame and couple it with a video with nothing but p-frames, it makes the second video work off the first video, applying its motion information to the other information of the clip..... thats datamoshing.
Here are some examples.....



and obviously...


I think its amazing that datamoshing works as well as it does, but I am surprised no one has created a plug in yet to mimic the results. I feel like there is whole world of glitch manipulation out there that is completely uncharted, and is being hindered by programs like Final Cut and Avid, which make everything work properly...... But hey.

Now, it just takes a while and it has really made me alter my workflow. Here is a really nerdy explanation of it...... Basically what I do is I line up my clips that I want to datamosh in Final Cut , then export the seperate .movs . I then encode the clips in FFMPEGX, which pulls out all the i-frames and creates an .avi file. You then have to take those two encoded files and put them into a basic editing program (one that won't put the i-frames back in), then you pull out the remaining i-frame and export it as an .avi. And then you see what it looks like, you can kinda guess what the final product will be based on the videos motion content, but its really trial and error. You then convert the .avi back to an .mov and plop it back into Final Cut.

Here is a great video with a tutorial and all the links you need to start datamoshing. I think this guy does a great job explaining how to do it. It's 3 videos in total, but he makes it pretty entertaining and datamoshes the whole tutorial.


When the music video is done I will post it up on this blog.

Monday, October 25, 2010

KOBROWSKI

Millennium Blonde recently completed shooting its short film "KOBROWSKI". The film is co-directed by Michael Borowiec and Nathan Rogers-Hancock. KOBROWSKI has been in the works for some time and after six days of shooting in Schenectady and Valatie, NY the film moves into the editing room. We threw out script after script until we landed upon KOBROWSKI, which is co-written by Nathan Rogers-Hancock and Michael Borowiec. We wanted a great story, but more so, a great character, that we could work with in other films and stories. Also, we really wanted to bring a strong, action-hero-type character to independent films. The story of KOBROWSKI goes......

"KOBROWSKI- the boy-genius detective who joined the force at 16 years old. KOBROWSKI instantly became a media and tabloid sensation, inspiring American's across the country, becoming a legend in his own time- an American hero. But, at 23 years old, involved in a turbulent court case, he found the public scrutiny too much. Facing a quarter life crisis he retired from the force and moved from New York City to Upstate New York, where he goes into retirement. But, even in this small town, he could only avoid trouble for so long...."

The film stars Michael Borowiec as KOBROWSKI, and Camille Balsamo as MARIA. (below). The film also has appearances by Mike Oshins, Zach De Sorbo, Paul Ruth, Robert Nevulis and many more.

We were fortunate to have a great crew on this film, which was small, but incredibly efficient.
We had Logan Olberg (line-producer), Steve Levine (director of photography), Darcie Wilder (assistant camera), Alan Lapointe (Sound), John Hogan (grip), and Joseph Borowiec (special effects). Check back for more KOBROWSKI updates and photos from set.



Check back for more updates on KOBROWSKI.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Updates and Downloads- New As Tomorrow

In January Astro Club Blonde released our first EP, New As Tomorrow. We gave a limited amount cd's away at some of our shows, but never made the EP available for download online- until now. Below you can download New As Tomorrow. The album has tracks like the motorcycle pop-rock song "My Girl", an electronic-dance cover of Rod Stewart's "Young Turks", the Chinese-American love song POWER_LOVE, and the glam-pop title track "New As Tomorrow". All in all every song on the album is an upbeat anthem dedicated to love in the modern world. Enjoy.
Astro Club Blonde recently played at the Free Art's Society. Apparently, they are losing their space that they have on Grand Street, but they promised us they are going to be holding events in the future in a new location. We will keep you posted with future events and gallery openings.

Next week Astro will also be having t-shirts available for purchase. We will keep you updated on where you can get your hands on one.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Updates and Downloads


It's been a while since we've updated everyone on Astro Club Blonde's activities- and there is a lot to update on. The band is currently recording their first full length album- DEBUTANTES. The album is currently scheduled to be released October 1st and will be a big step forward for the band. If you have followed the band over the internet you most likely know Astro Club Blonde's first EP "NEW AS TOMORROW". But, the band has grown considerably since then and mostly perform their new material which will be the basis for DEBUTANTES. The band also has two new music videos which will be released with the new album.

Astro Club Blonde has also been working on a new live set up and has been practicing to get it all ready. The band will be playing this Sunday in the Lower East Side, it will be a good opportunity to see what we are doing now and all of our new material. The event is hosted by the Free Arts Society, the info is below....it's actually really strange.


DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE Sunday, August 1st, 9pm to ?

This is
an after party for the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Tompkins Square Park. Basically the event location is undisclosed as of now. You will have to wait until the Tea Party is done to learn the location. Check out all the info on Facebook, it is usually a pretty good time with these people.




Over the next few weeks there is going to be more updates and downloads. But, until then, you can download the Power_Love ipod video. (I know it's old, but we got new stuff coming.) You can download this file and plop it on your iPod video, or iPhone and watch it till your heart's content.


POWER_LOVE for your iPOD/ iPHONE

DOWNLOAD HERE


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Genuine Caveman Disco Sound



The title of the post is taken from Comeme Label head Matias Aguayo's description of the Xalapa, Mexico based Rebolledo.



Aguayo is a fascinating figure himself; after being part of Closer Musik, one of the founding minimal techno bands to be featured on the Kompakt label, Aguayo retreated from Cologne and headed back to Chile, where he started a solo career based on strange, divisive dance tracks based on latin rhythms and sampled voices. He started playing Bumbumbox Parties, dance events in public places that used cobbled together sound-systems and played music far from the usual material.

I personally love the videos Rebolledo uses for his tracks; cheap and persistent, just like his music, they run right up to the edge of being a joke and look down into the chasm, floating away on force of will alone.

Taking Latin rhythms and using them for white dance music has been in vogue since the Pet Shop Boys and Madonna did it in the late 80s, and the tendency has resurfaced in recent years. Aguayo, Rebolledo, and their cohorts do something else, using the techniques of Latin pop and dance music to explode the conventions of modern techno and dance and get something very different, but still completely functional as dance music. The ironic thing is that, despite being perverse by the dictates of the dance club, their music is ultimately more accessible to the listener who is not already indoctrinated into those styles.

On the other side of the equation, though, is his Pachanga Boys collaboration with Superpitcher, where any thought of dance music is left behind, and we just get strange, off-kilter art, if that is the right word at all.

Monday, June 14, 2010

4 Lonely Messages From the Future of Pop






For extra credit just play them all at once. I had planned to draw some conclusions for you all, but I have a feeling we'll have to wait twenty-five years or so to really know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bunny and the Bull - A Short Kind of Review





Don't know when or if this 2009 comedy by Paul King is going to be released in the US, but it's worth discussing for a few reasons. King is the director in charge of a good 20 episodes of the Mighty Boosh TV series, and will probably handle the feature film version of that enterprise, so it's reassuring that this, his first feature, works as well as it does. The Boosh tv show is sort of an odd duck - it's a comedy that stumbles about in an odd, stream of consciousness fashion, with far more emphasis placed on absurd turns of phrase and elaborate graphic design than jokes and punchlines. The tone here is somewhat similar, and its still a comedy, but the whole essence of it is quite a bit different.

In short, an agoraphobic young man remembers details of a trip to Europe he took with his friend Bunny a year ago, which ended with him in his present state. The OCD/agoraphobia thing plays like lazy short hand, the character dynamics (though well played) suggest that the everyone involved saw Withnail and I a few too many times at an impressionable age, and it all ends up feeling both overextended and a bit slight at the same time. But the film uses the flashback structure to present almost all of the remembered material in an exaggerated, mixed media style, sometimes slipping into the territory of straight animation. What's fascinating to me, though, is that there is absolutely no attempt to make the slips into animation at all seamless; you can get a little of the effect from this clip. The flashback structure presents a nominal excuse for this kind of thing, but it's a slim one.The most comparison I've heard is to Michel Gondry's style, but if anything this goes further.

This is hard to articulate, but: this kind of special effects work is nothing new, and in a way the philosophy behind it goes back to Melies at least. Video, however, makes it feel much different, and the fact that this is digital video makes everything feel much different; when every single frame of video has been digitally "sweetened" you simply don't feel that the appearance of a stop-motion bull is an intrusion at all, just an extension of the artifice. A lot of people were wringing their hands over just what kind of impact something like Avatar will have on the way people will watch and make films, but I would argue that it's a low-budget independent film like this one that shows the real impact these technologies are going to have on the film making that will emerge in the near future.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

DJ Power and Associates




Get it Here

Friend of the company Alan Lapointe has been working at his hip hop project for awhile now, but it sounds to me like he's really hit his stride on this one, and not just because he starts it off with an iLove beat. This one is really strong, a sure fire way to start the Summer right.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The iLove 2

Here is a new song "iGot" off the upcoming iLove album. The album will be released September 6th (Labor Day) So, we've got a bit of a wait, but not to worry the new Astro Club Blonde album will be here soon. Very exciting!

iGot









Charlie Phillips is featured on the track with a rippin' guitar solo. I'm also putting up the exclusive ghost story b side "iGhost" for a limited time download. "iGhost" will not appear on the album so this may be the only time to get it.

iGhost







Limited
Download

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Notebook Post - Hell with This Video, and Thoughts on Why




M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.



Eighteenth-century satire became nineteenth century observation. In the twentieth century observation became surreal. It became an ironic sensuality, and the basis for satire, which was once moral, became irony. As if by attraction, or even kinship, observation, along with its concerns for sentiment and social justice, followed satire to sit on its new ironic base.

Guy Davenport, from A Balthus Notebook

-Late last year music critic Simon Reynolds wrote a terrifically ambivalent post for the Guardian, explaining why M.I.A. might be the artist of the decade. He suggests, more complexly than my summary will allow, that the amount of buzz over M.I.A. has more to do with a hunger among certain writers about music for a "redemptive populist voice" in the style of Joe Strummer or Bob Marley, something that has been conspicuously absent over the last ten years or so - but only when combined with a use of very web-based modes of distribution and hype that she seemed to use better than almost anyone not named Lil' Wayne.


-"Born Free" exists only thanks to a very, very 1960s/70s set of aesthetic choices. The central sample is from Suicide's "Ghost Rider", linked above. Suicide's name was not chosen in advocacy, but warning; the title character of "Ghost Rider" is "screamin' the truth/America America is killing its youth." Their style was bizarre, theatrical, edging close to performance art, and a kind of legend has surrounded shows were crowds would get outright violent, like the "23 Minutes in Brussels" tape, which ends with Vega's microphone being stolen by the crowd, the singer screaming at his audience. Even today Vega is a bizarre, uncomfortable presence onstage; his acting is both so focused and intense and so on the face of it "fake" that he causes a kind of cognitive dissonance in his audience. Its hard to think of any other now-Canonical rock band that, when viewing their live performances, you have to wonder if this is really any "good" in the first place.

-M.I.A.'s track, recorded in a mansion in 2010, sounds more "Lo-Fi" than the Suicide track, recorded in poverty in mid '70s NY. Why? Affectation. This, after all, is a day and age where someone like Wavves will slather his Garageband recorded tracks in post-production distortion to get that special authentic sound, just to sound closer to artists like Pavement or Royal Trux, who were considered ironic more than anything in the ear during which they emerged.



-The above is the only other track I can think of that cribs so openly from "Ghost Rider." You may recognize it from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Like M.I.A.'s track, it could be described as "kind of political, or something."

-The director of the video is Romain Gavras, son of Costa-Gavras, who made one iconic film (Z) in 1969, and followed it with a career that became increasingly irrelevant, film by film. I guess Romain is best known for this video, which treats content and treats imagery and material that would have read as definitely "retro" back in Suicide's day as completely and totally current.

-The main reference in "Born Free" (is reference the right word?) is Peter Watkins Vietnam Era Punishment Park; the trailer can explain the set-up better than I can.

-Watkins has a long, strange history as a film maker. His best known film is still probably "War Game," a fake documentary ("mockumentary" before the word) that illustrates the effects of a hypothetical nuclear strike on London. He thought that the government had mislead the population as to the true cost of nuclear war, and wanted to set things straight. The movie pulls few punches, and there was something of a scandal upon its initial release. Some years later he would make a film on the painter Edward Munch, combining the usual biographical drama with a very clear emphasis on how the troubled social realities of Munch's era are clearly reflected in his painting, and the emergence of Expressionism in general.

-The painting at the top of the post is by James Ensor, a Belgian painter, born in the 19th century, who managed to live through half of the 20th. This painting, "Banquet of the Starved," was done in 1915, and is more or less his expression of dismay at the Germans having invaded his country. The "Last Supper" reference is quite clear, and so is his commentary. But the painting has a strange, indelible quality; it's so attached to its time and place, but you cold almost imagine it standing in any year of the Twentieth Century. There is an excess, the thing that is left when the "meaning" is explained away, that stands proudly on its own. Watkin's films have a not dissimilar quality; he may not be at the same caliber as Munch or Ensor, but neither War Game or Punishment Park feels dated in the least. This may just be the sign of our time, but "Born Free" feels dated already, and more than a little threadbare.

-So as not to leave this on a sour taste, I will embed another video, a nearly current video even, that hits many of the buttons that M.I.A. and Gavras are missing. I wouldn't say I'm advocating this, not really. But I think that our "Banquet of the Starved," when we see it, will be dressed more in this style than the other.

Major Lazer "Keep it Going Louder" from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thinking About Bananarama

Why? Because it's a Wednesday night.







So...is "Robert De Niro is Waiting" about rape? Yes. And "Hot Line to Heaven" is about heroin abuse. Of course. Most people only know the band through the pop hits they had through the production of Stock Aiken and Waterman, but their career, like many British bands with roots in new wave, is stranger and more interesting than their big hit . Their amazing first single was noticed by Terry Hall, of the great band The Specials, and Hall invited the girls to sing backup on his next band, the genuinely very strange Fun Boy Three. Much like,say, Simple Minds or OMD, Bananarama lost a lot of what made them special after they started to hit it big; where they once made perfectly composed pop with strange, unsettling undercurrents they now made perfectly composed pop for its own sake. Not a crime, of course, but one has to wonder what could have been, even just a little bit.

But this post is leaving out a whole lot. I'm sure there are a lot of Bananarama obsessives out there in the audience, what do you guys think of as the band's high point?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"L'Ortolan" - Lilli C a r r é

L'Ortolan from Lilli Carré on Vimeo.



So, Lilli Carre, the young cartoonist whose book The Lagoon is one of the more interesting books I've read in t he last few years, has been making these strange little short films and uploading them on her Vimeo page (all in addition to the great drawings and animated .gifs she has on her blog. She has about five shorts uploaded, and each one is well worth the time it takes to watch (I think What Hits the Moon is particularly good).

The re-emergence of this kind of animation is, I think, one of the great things about the youtube/vimeo world we live in right now. You used to get a ton of short animation as a part of going out to the movies, of course, but that hasn't been true for years and years before we were born, despite the botched attempts by theaters like the IFC center in NY to add short films to their programming. But lo and behold, put up an online video service and you start to get things like this - charming, low budget, and personal. Not to overstate the democracy of this sort of thing - Carre is an accomplished cartoonist with four published books to her name, in addition to all the short work she's done in publications like MOME - and I do not want this to sound like triumphalism for the web. But the existence of this sort of thing, readily accessible and for free, is the kind of thing that makes a bright and sunny morning feel just a little bit less wretched.

Also: Renee French has the best blog of any working cartoonist, by my estimation.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Formalism

Micro Loup from Richard McGuire on Vimeo.



Richard McGuire's "Micro Loup" is one of those brilliant little shorts that seems to come out of nowhere. Unless, of course, you're familiar with his long, strange career. The cartoonist behind the incredible six page comic Here, which is one of the most inventive bits of concentrated narrative I can think of. Playing bass in Liquid Liquidtoo, and then getting sampled for White Lines. And this strange kind of almost film career.

Everything he does seems to touch on these formal plays, tricks of style that come off as either effortless and charming (Micro Loup) or absolutely devastating (Here). In every case they're kind of brilliant, the sort of unassuming brilliance we could all use a lot more of. Of course, that sort of thing doesn't make one rich, and that may be a reason he only has a handful of work for his years in the field. Children's Books aside, of course.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stingray Sam












Cory McAbee is an interesting figure, to be sure. The main talent behind the 1990s Alt-Rock cult band (cult band or never made its, tough call, this one) The Billy Nayer Show, he also directed one of the more overlooked American films of the last decade or two. The American Astronaut", released in 2001, is kinda like an American Guy Maddin film, trading the latter's Eurocentrism and decadence for a much more American sense of iconography and tone. It did alright, and you'll still hear people talking about it now and then, to a point, but it seems like the victim of an International Film Culture that just doesn't prize this kind of (willful) eccentricity.

So what did he do? Position the next film on the web. "Stingray Sam" did get taken around to some theatrical screenings, but its made up of a series of episodes, perfect for streaming on the web. The first two are free, the rest you have to buy, with a DVD option if you get real excited. It's all on his website, I guess.

I still feel really ambivalent about this kind of thing, this method of viewing and selling movies - I really dislike the Webisode concept, even if ninety percent of my disgust comes from the word Webisode. What he seems to have done right, and what we should all think about and try to emulate, is make an entirely "scalable" work; it can be chopped up into parts, screened on Youtube or the big screen, turned into a live performance or a soundtrack album, and the interior sense of the work as its own thing would not be ruined or diminished.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Short Film For Thursday



I've been thinking about short films a lot, recently; they really are a kind of red-headed step child of film, aren't they? Mostly because there's so little way to make money off of them , they are usually made early in a director's career, and then abandoned for success or failure. There are a few exceptions, of course - Raoul Ruiz springs to mind, and his incredible "The Film to Come" is available to watch here , though sadly without English subtitles.

The film above is by the Portuguese director Joao Cesar Monteiro, well towards the end of his life (that's him starring). I think it's an almost perfect short, elegantly packing a world of experience into less than three minutes. I'm glad the internet has given a home to this sort of thing, even if it has been cast adrift onto the lonely waters of Youtube, or whatever strained metaphor seems to fit.

Monday, May 17, 2010

NYC Video Art

Every now and then I post some of Peter Shapiro's work on this blog. Peter is a NYC based video artist who I met working a corporate job. I always enjoy talking to Peter about new digital technologies which he is very knowledgeable about. He is always looking for something smaller and cheaper, without sacrificing video quality, for his run and gun tactics. I remember when we were watching a video shot on a Casio DSLR. It was a majestic slow motion shot of pigeons flying up into the air off the sidewalk, and Peter just began to clap and yell "Bravo!" in a tech server room with three people. Here are some of his videos that I have been into....


Friday, May 14, 2010

Astro CLUB BLONDE

Astro Club Blonde is playing at 9 pm the UC Lounge in the Lower East Side. There will be 2 for 1 drink specials until 10 pm. So, I would recommend being ready to double fist a few. And as always you can listen to their stuff HERE and see some videos HERE and HERE. The band is also currently working on their next music video, so that is something to look forward to I suppose. The info is below...

ASTRO CLUB BLONDE @ UC LOUNGE
Starts at 9 pm ($10 to get in)
87 LUDLOW ST
NY, NY 10002

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LSD No-No

Here is a little short, excuse me, an award winning short from a Parkslope/Gowanus illustrator, James Blagden. The film is called Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No. The film uses audio from an interview with Dock Ellis, a pitcher who claims to have pitched a no hitter in the 70's while under the influence of LSD and bennies. James Blagden's illustrations in the film are pretty amazing, but you should check out his site HERE and take a look at some of his other work. Living in Parkslope on the border of Gowanus, I frequently take strolls through the industrial lands near the Gowanus canal and wonder where the artists are working in this area. Glad to know we got a guy like this around.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Downsizing

A good friend of mine, Rob Nevulis, recently released his first solo album, DOWNSIZING.
I remember seeing him in his basement with all his recording equipment set up and thinking, "What is this kid up to?" He has been working hard at this album for a while and it's all paying off. I have to say I am impressed with his pop sensibilities and think he has found the sound he was looking for. Rob has been going to school at SUNY Buffalo and has been involved in multiple bands, but only recently has he started a solo recording project. (Who needs a band now anyways?) I think it would also be safe to say that this is some of the best stuff to come out of Buffalo, NY in a while. So, give the kid some support and check him out at iTunes and all the usual spots.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Behind The Scenes of Night Shift

Here is a behind the scenes peak at ASTRO CLUB BLONDE's new music video NIGHT SHIFT.
AWV5JXQNQQKU

Friday, April 23, 2010

ASTRO CLUB BLONDE plays CAVE RAVE @ THE CO-OP


AWV5JXQNQQKU
This Sunday the 25th, ASTRO CLUB BLONDE will be playing the CO-OP at SUNY Purchase. The fun begins at 4:30 with Adrienne Mack-Davis,

5pm Matt Levy
5:30 Leila Hegazy
6pm Laurie-Anne Crues
6:30 Kelly Izzo
7pm Dana Mancuso
7:30 Melissa Ahern
8pm Russ Barnett
8:30 Kelsey Byrne

And at 9pm the light turn off and the RAVE begins!

Pre-Game to ASTRO's newest single NIGHT SHIFT.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

ASTRO CLUB BLONDE-NEW DIGITAL SINGLE

Download Astro Club Blonde's new digital single for free
NIGHT SHIFT







DOWNLOAD


Here is a new digital single from Astro Club Blonde. The band is currently recording their new EP, which is scheduled to be released in June. Be sure to check back, since Astro Club Blonde is shooting the music video for Night Shift next week. Check out Astro Club Blonde's last music video, POWER_LOVE And enjoy the track.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Culture Shock 2010 (update)

Hey everyone. So, ASTRO CLUB BLONDE is playing this Friday (the 16th) at Culture Shock on the side stage. Our time slot has been moved from 5:45 pm to 7:30 pm. So hopefully we can help bring the sun down and get things really moving for that night's headliner BAYSIDE. Check the Culture Shock Blog for more information. Below is the lineup for the main stage. ALSO, Astro Club Blonde will be releasing their new digital single "Night Shift" online before Culture Shock. Their EP "New As Tomorrow" will also be handed out at Culture Shock along with the new single.

MAINSTAGE
FRIDAY'S LINE UP (April 16th)
10- Bayside
9- Los Campesinos
8- Black Milk

7- Das Racist
6- Surfer Blood
5- Defeater
4- River City Extension
3- Falu/Mahogany Brown (Nyorican Poets)
2- Mokaad
1- Blastoids
12- Spitzer Space Telescope


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oh Wow, Malcolm McLaren Just Died

So it looks like McLaren just passed away, and you can get all of the important details at the usual sources. Now, McLaren is often cited as one of the progenitors of punk, but he's really one of the smartest marketers in all of pop music; the Sex Pistols were originally formed to promote his fashion store, and in his command of the vagaries of selling pop culture to masses we can find so much of the world we live in. All this you can probably find elsewhere; I'm writing this post because I hope this will not get lost in the shuffle:





A series of deeply strange albums in the 1980s, the first (Duck Rock) being a legitimate masterpiece. Stressing dance and pop music, not to mention deeply multi-cultural sensibilities, they couldn't be a thousand miles away from the dressed up classic rock the Sex Pistols sold to the world. Madame Butterfly! Kids, in this day in age, it's that track that seems like punk rock.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Get the Ringtone!

Power_Love by Astro Club Blonde is now available as a ringtone for FREE! You can get the ringtone from MYXER.COM, by texting "BLONDE" to MYXER (69937), or by simply using the little widget on this page. Once again, this is absolutely FREE. Check back for more ringtones from Astro Club Blonde.

More from Astro Club Blonde at Myxer

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Wanna Be Your Boy


I Wanna Be Your Boy









eric said...
nnooooo thats such a mistake that flashback 80s stuffs* going to beeee the next top 40

So just in case Eric is right, here's some throwback.

The Expendables!

Here is a trailer for Sylvester Stallone's newest film, THE EXPENDABLES. The concept of this movie is nothing short of amazing. Stallone has used his clout to get the biggest action stars together, even a busy governor with a failing economy. The cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Randy Couture (UFC legend), Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even the late Brittany Murphy has a small role in the film.

If you are into action films, especially ones which have a certain amount of playfulness to them, I would recommend checking out COBRA. It is one of his lesser known films and considered to be a flop, but it really is quite good. (It's also on watch instantly on Netflix.)


I have always been a big fan of Sylvester Stallone, but over the years I have realized that his fan group is pretty small. Frankly, I just don't think people really know his full body of work, or know how to really interpret it. I think the biggest problem people have with Stallone is his franchise films, ie Rocky and Rambo, which he has consistently reverted to throughout his career. But, we have to give him credit, he is an actor/writer/director/producer and was one of the highest grossing actors in the 80's and help define action films as we know them.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ASTRO CLUB BLONDE SHOW

Hey everyone. ASTRO CLUB BLONDE is playing a party this weekend, which will basically be a fundraiser/video shoot for a theatre company in NYC. It's $10 bucks to get in, but after that there is free beer, compliments of the Brooklyn Brewery. There is also gonna be a lot of stuff there that you are suppose to smash. It should be a good night. The info is below.


When: Friday, April 2nd
Time: 11pm - the wee hours of the morning
Price: $10 for unlimited everything!
Where: CSNY
48 W 21st St #401 (Between 5th & 6th Ave)
NY, NY, 10010

"It will all be filmed and the footage will be used in the production of Associations of Hip. We are making a loft out of CSNY with bands, beer, wall painting, costumes, and more. And all of you will be our Extras! Astro Blonde Club, Rocky Business and one more special guest will be playing music to get your bottoms moving and spirits high."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gary! Wilson!



Sometimes we call people like Gary Wilson legends in their own time, but Wilson was never really a legend, in his own time or any other. Best known, if that's the right word, for the late '70s "You Think You Really Know Me," recorded in his mother's basement and featuring such undying classics as "6.4=Make Out". This is certainly music ahead of its time; in a very strange way a song like the absolutely amazing "Chromium Bitch" predates not only obvious followers like "Midnite Vultures" era Beck but even musicians like Prince, at least in his "Pussy Control" /Camille mode.

If anything can show the change the internet (and, you know, decades of MTV) has wrought on our culture, just try and listen to these performances by Indie Critcal Darlings Ariel Pink and Nite Jewel:





Right? Now, I like both artists, but I do find the issue somewhat perplexing. I hope this doesn't sound like a complaint, but: why is the lunacy of yesterday the blog pop of today?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition







Kraftwerk, of course, needs no introduction.

Hikashu may, a brilliant pop ensemble from Japan in the 1980s, they were mostly the band of choice for Japanese experimental musician and theatrical performer Makigami Koichi . You can see the band performing in its early glory days here; for a genuinely fascinating look at the New Wave scene in 1980s Japan, look no further than this post at the great Mutant Sounds blog.

Big Black is of course the first band of Steve Albini, who's star may have fallen slightly since he was producing for the Pixies and Nirvana, but still manages to be one of the name producers in so-called Indie music.

It is very hard, I think, to imagine in this day and age that three bands that were from such different scenes would do the same song, and having so much in common nonetheless in their versions. This wasn't always so; look at this WFMU post of 78 versions of "Popcorn".

Why? It's hard to say, but there's a real sense that these bands back in the early 80s were genuinely trying to spread a kind of solidarity, to create a sense of community with like minded individuals. In this day and age where every man woman and child can nod their heads to the very disappointing new MGMT album for free well before it drops, it's hard to remember that the people listening to Hikashu in Osaka and the kids listening to Big Black in Chicago would have had almost no way of hearing each other at all. More likely, one would just make a remix, which (given the similarities of the three recordings above) is maybe not so different after all. Just thoughts, not problems, so no solutions offered or needed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Candy Flavor Kiss


Candy Flavor Kiss








A bubble gum pop song about bubble gum pop. I recently upgraded from Logic Express 7(New As Tomorrow) to Logic 9 in preparation to begin recording the next Astro Club Blonde EP. The boys and I are moving away from the 80's flashback pop sound, and into the realm of top40. It's a bold move, but long overdue.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A New Beat For Download/Production Workshop

rappers round the world!

Got a new beat for ya'll to play with. We also got some great mp3's submitted using the Goliath beat. I'm gonna share the new songs you all have done, and then give a few production tips.
So let's hip-hop to it then!

Here's the new beat for everyone. The beat is at 148 bmp, it's got a dark vibe and a lot of soul.



Luv @ 60Hz








Download it, sing over it, lay down a dope rhyme, cut it up, sample it, put visuals behind it, burry it in the back yard and take a picture of it. Whatever you decide to do just remember, it means nothing unless you share it with the world. So when your done creating, post what you've done back online. Link to me, and I'll link to you, so that we can all enjoy the work we do. If you have no way of getting it back online, you can send it to me at beats@millenniumblonde.com I will post it back up on this blog.

Let's here what you've done!


Goliath
Original Beat











By D-Boy








Both these guys put something really interesting together. Alan (a.k.a the world) I can't wait to hear the next verse, that flow is ill. I'd be happy to produce it up once it's finished. Dave (a.k.a D-Boy) I liked the reverb you put on the track, it really filled the beat out.

production tips for reverb

Reverb can do a lot of good but it can also really mess up a track. Reverb can make the bass and low end really muddy, and can lead to phase issues if your not careful. A good thing to do when using any reverb is to put a high-pass filter on it. Most reverb plug-ins feature some type of high-pass or EQ option. You want to filter out anything below 200hz-600hz. A trick for even more accurate reverb shaping is to put your reverb on a bus track. Bus the audio you wish to put reverb on out to a separate track. On the bussed track you want to put your favorite reverb with the dry signal brought all the way down to 0%. Now you can put any effect you want on the reverb track(e.g. Distortion, EQ, phaser, modulation, tremolo) without effecting the original audio track. (note Make sure you assign your bus track and audio track to the same output)

Another cool production trick Dave used was the "Demon Voice." You can accomplish this by using some combination of pitch shifters and vocal transformers.

production tips for transforming vocals

When done properly pitch shifting is a very cool effect and tool. It can also be over used, and when not done well can sound very ugly. When using a vocal transformer there are two main elements, a pitch shifter and the formant shifter (called "sound" in garage band). In a vocal transformer the pitch shifter works by shifting the tracks fundamental pitch. The formant shifter works by shifting or stretching the harmonics of the sound around leaving the fundamental pitch alone. The larger the discrepancy between the pitch and the formant the stranger and more inhuman the voice will sound. Keep the pitch and the formant shift close to each other to keep the sound more natural (some pitch shifters move the fundamental and the formant together using one of these in a chain with a formant shifter can create interesting results).

Whenever you use a vocal transformer you always get a lot of extra noise especially on the sibilance (the "sss" sounds), this can lead to problems with diction, and can just sound bad. There are to ways to combat this. You can go and by an expensive pitch and vocal transformer (Antare makes good ones) or you can try my hacked together method. First take the vocals you are planning on effecting and create a duplicate track of them (either by bussing or just copy/pasting). On track one put a hard high-pass filter on at around 3000-5000 Hz, this is your sibilance track. On track two put a hard low-pass filter on at around 3000-5000hz. Now you can put your vocal transformer on track two and effect the sound leaving the sibilance alone. With fiddling you can use this method to greatly transform your vocals without them becoming a complete incomprehensible mess.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Culture Shock 2010

Yes, the rumors are true- Astro Club Blonde is set to play Culture Shock 2010. Yesterday on March 18th The Independent released their weekly publication with this article (click to enlarge) that unveiled the lineup of Culture Shock 2010. This year's Culture Shock will be taking place on April 16th and 17th. It is still unclear when Astro Club Blonde will be playing, since the band found out they were playing by reading this article. But, we will keep you posted. Sam Schachter, the major events coordinator at Purchase, states that this year's line up with be more diverse and eclectic; something for everyone. Below is a little video about the unveiling of the line up.

If you want some more info on Astro Club Blonde. Take a look at the following links.

Advice You Can Count On

This is a bit of a classic; take a good look if you're not familiar.


Wally Wood was one of those possibly brilliant artists who came of age in the years after World War II, working on disreputable books like MAD and Tales From the Crypt and the Mars Attacks card series that nonetheless shaped a lot of the way we see mass pop culture in this day and age. He ended up kind of a tragic figure, as anyone named Wallace Wood is probably destined to be.

Anyway, legend has it that by the time his career started stretching towards the tragic stage Wood had this set of images pasted on his studio wall at all times. The crazy thing is not only that these panels do almost always work, but that we see so many of these techniques in the "intensified continuity" of so much recent film. Although I guess you rarely see instances of anything like "L Shape Silhouette" these days.

Also, see Ivan Brunetti's 22 Panels for a bit of contrast, if you would; this may be more useful to many of us, for better or worse, who can tell.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Only Future for Rock Music



I know the title probably sounds sarcastic, but I'm being sincere; let's get these birds onto some synthesizers and we'll all have a better time of things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Digital_GlitchGlamour

bad video of bad video = cool video from ps on Vimeo.


Here is a video by a friend of mine, Peter Shapiro. He told me that this video was from his defective Harinezumi camera that had some sort of signal issue.

JUST WATCH IT

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feels Like Spring, So...

Here's a biographical comic strip about the great French songwriter Francoise Hardy, by the great American cartoonist Ivan Brunetti (click to enlarge).



From this terrific blog...

The Woman Herself

Here's a cover by Os Mutantes, from their first album.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Anyone Else Excited For This?



Gainsbourg is of course the great French song writer and film maker; this biopic is directed by the great French cartoonist Joann Sfar. Plenty of other trailers online, including a full trailer ; a good bit of nudity in that one so watch out kids. A video of the real Gainsbourg below.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Free Beat/Musical Workshop

(for technorati AWV5JXQNQQK)

Here is a new beat for you guys to play around with.

Goliath (The Cookie Cuttin' Robot)







Download

Take it, rap over it, sing over it, cut it up, and/or put visuals behind it. Once you're done post what you've done online. Put it up on your blog, your myspace, your facebook, where ever, just remember to link back to us so this community of artist can grow. Let me know either by e-mail or by comment where you hosted you're work so i can link to you too. If you can't post what you've done online yourself; send it to me at beats(@)millenniumblonde.com and i will post the cream of the crop back up on this blog.

A few weeks ago I posted a free beat (under the label "Free Beats". I asked that you use the beat to create a new song. Yesterday I received the first noteworthy response from Dennis Seaman. Here it is!

Talk Like This
Original Beat








by Dennis Seaman







Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ASTRO CLUB BLONDE



This is some footage from ASTRO CLUB BLONDE's recent show in the Lower East Side. Even with the biggest snowstorm of the season the band managed to get a crowd. (thanks for coming!) This song is "Cage of My Love" and deals with the oh so relevant topic of capturing an unobtainable woman. We hope to have some more footage from the show soon. Many thanks to Andrew Gitomer (from "Curb Your Blog" fame) and Joel Neville Anderson for shooting the footage on their Canon 7D's.

And if you want ASTRO CLUB BLONDE to play at your next event or social gathering, don't be shy, just email booking@millenniumblonde.com (we do house calls)

For now, enjoy.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"COMMERCIAL"



This is a commercial we shot for Millennium Blonde. We shot it in Bushwick at Nathan's apartment. We were both extremely hung over and went searching for a cake in the morning. Eventually we found a mexican bakery and we asked for an old cake. The woman presented us this cake and said it was quite delicious- we told her we weren't going to eat it. We got back and pushed the dust bunnies to the side and set up the tripod. A pack of cigarettes later we were done. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some Concept Notes



This is the first installment of what will hopefully be an new series of posts, offering a series of exciting new concepts for film and music, few of which will ever be realized. Every post in this series is open source; we encourage all who read to feel free to challenge the world by bringing these dreams to fruition. Follow on, if you might be so inclined.


A MUSICAL JOURNEY THROUGH CHAIRS

As much as music has often been discussed as a social art form, a performance medium that exists, especially in popular genres, as a kind of barometer for the movement of societies and cultures, I have to say that there has been another, perhaps less romantic fact apparent about the use music in this century. A fact more derived from anecdotal evidence than anything else, but still one I cannot imagine many people contending. Which is that most people listen to music, recorded or performed, while sitting in chairs.

Think about it. When is the last time you decided to listen to music in some fashion, and ended up hearing it while not sitting in a chair? A chair at a concert, your computer chair, the seats on the subway or your car, an arm chair, even the living room couch, which functions as a surrogate chair in many families all over the American nation. I am listening to music while I write this post, and although I am technically sitting on an ottoman, I happen to be sitting on the ottoman almost exactly as one would otherwise sit on a chair.

In light of this, I have found myself wondering, often several times in the course of one day, if it would be possible to record an album in tribute to this fact, a kind of musical journey through the chairs of our life time.

While there are several notable contributions to the literature of chair-centric pop music, I believe the scope of this album would very much need to go further. What if, for example, the music for each song would be made to resemble the chair being honored? This could be done via Matmos like sampling techniques, or through more abstract gestures. In the case of chairs that date to very specific historical periods, or those that suggest very specific social/cultural tendencies, the music could reflect these very particular tendencies within the chair itself. A Bauhaus style chair might reference the classical music of early 1930s Germany , the 1980s goth band Bauhaus, or merely reflect the experience of the chair in a more pragmatic fashion. Every single disposable item at Ikea would have its own musical identity; every one who has ever spent considerable time in a car can find significance in the feel of its cushions.

Even looking past the possibilities in terms of installation art and licensed advertising, the performance possibilities opened up by this project are considerable. Imagine an enormous theatrical performance, the history of civilization as seen through its chairs, every chair scored with the perfect composition, accompanied by the actual chair itself, which the performers would proudly sit upon. Perhaps some lucky audience members would be able to sit in these chairs alongside the performers; the chairs would be paraded through the crowd for a victory lap following their musical selection. Just think of it, the way the music would tumble through your mind as you sit on the subway going home, as you sit on the toilet before going to bed, as you sit at your computer and e-mail your friends about the experience. Just think!

So, those of you sitting down right now could take this as a challenge. Are there any chairs you think particularly deserving of the musical treatment? Anyone writing a short piece of music inspired by this post will certainly have their efforts featured proudly on this blog.