Monday, April 30, 2007

JJ Cale - Any Way The Wind Blows: The Anthology

What can I say about JJ Cale that haven't been said before? Eric Clapton spent a whole decade trying to be JJ and failing. No wonder - there could be only one JJ Cale, the guy who did it his own way. Laid-back before the adjective became popular, a downshifter before the term was invented, Cale dropped a promising rock career to disappear in the woods and communicate with the world through the postcards of his songs - brief and cryptic, like a zen parable, but containing all the answers to the world's problems.
This is a great compilation that reveals a stubbornly individualistic artist, not carried by the shifting trends from style to style, but sticking to his vision. The qualities I look for in music are present in Cale's work: it stands up to repeated listens, it does not age (there are very few albums I listened to ten years ago that are still with me), it's a world of its own... So, come all y'all to listen to the wisdom of the rock'n'roll hermit!

JJ Cale - Any Way The Wind Blows: The Anthology
megaupload CD1
megaupload CD2
220VBR, 121mb + 124mb

1. Call Me The Breeze
2. Carry On
3. Crazy Mama
4. Runaround
5. Magnolia
6. Mama Don't
7. After Midnight
8. City Girls
9. Lies
10. Devil In Disguise
11. Changes
12. You Keep Me Hangin' On
13. If You're Ever In Oklahoma
14. Downtown L.A.
15. Midnight In Memphis
16. A Thing Going On
17. Cajun Moon
18. Don't Wait
19. Rock And Roll Records
20. Wish I Had Me A Dollar (Live)
21. Anyway The Wind Blows
22. Money Talks
23. Crying
24. Hard Times
25. Everlovin' Woman
26. People Lie
27. I Got The Same Old Blues
28. Unemployment
29. Woke Up This Morning
30. Trouble In The City
31. Cocaine
32. Santa Cruz
33. The Woman That Got Away
34. Shanghaid
35. Ride Me High
36. Change Your Mind
37. Hey Baby
38. New Orleans
39. Durango
40. Humdinger
41. I'll Make Love To You Anytime
42. Lonesome Train
43. Don't Cry Sister
44. Jailer
45. Thirteen Days
46. Artificial Paradise
47. Things Ain't Simple
48. Long Way Home
49. Sensitive Kind
50. Closer To You

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Professional Suicide of a Recording Musician, an excellent article on the media corporations and copyright issues.

Rock out, Mao! Some Chinese AGITPROP vinyl

Little Red Soldiers Follow Close Behind Chairman Mao

Update: and this is how it sounds

Monday, April 23, 2007

Calypso podcasts

I'm back, but not in the swing of things yet, so the regular postings would not resume quite yet. Meanwhile, I wanted to compile the links to some calypso mixes and podcasts. Calypso as such is not an album-oriented music; a lot of it was recorded as singles, and even on the actual albums there are often a few good songs and the rest is filler. So mixes might be the best way to listen to calypso - if the person has a fine enough taste to like calypso, I guess you can trust him with the choice of songs.

Here are a few:
J'Ouvert Morning Calypso series on Pod-O-Matic:
Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5

A great mix at, grab it!

Two podcasts from MobTown: one, two.

Most excellent offers several calypso mixes: Bam Bam (Mentomania), Big Bamboo: Calypso Picong Songs, Mango Bang Bang, War at Dirty Jim's.


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Miscellaneous iPod stuff

Wooden iPod

See it on Flickr

An interesting article on upgrading iPod drives. Maybe when mine dies, I'll try that.

iPod defragmentation

Can and should iPods be defragmented and why?
I defragment my iPod regularly. I also read through some forum discussions to hear what people say on this. Below is the summary of my reading and my own experience.

There are two types of iPods - flash memory-based and with regular hard drives. Flash memory is used in the smaller capacity iPods, i.e. nano and shuffle. Flash memories have no moving parts and file fragmentation is not a problem; these do not need to be defragmented.

The following remarks apply to the Windows-formatted iPods which have FAT2 file systems. For Mac, some people use DiscWarrior to defragment iPods, but I am not sure whether that is necessary. I believe that Mac-formatted iPods may have HFS+ filesystem that prevents fragmentation.

Anything above 3 gigs has a regular hard drive, not a flash memory. When the songs are copied onto a blank drive, they are written continuously. If the songs are erased and replaced often, files tend to become fragmented. In order to access a fragmented file, the hard drive head has to move from fragment to fragment, which results in slower performance, battery draining faster, and more wear on the hard drive in the long run, which might considerably shorten its life. Therefore, it is better to avoid fragmentation.

Some people do it by restoring and re-syncing iPod, which is basically a poor man's defragmentation, i.e. erasing everything and copying it anew. A better and faster way to do it, though, is by using a defragmentation software.

The software has to be able to "see" the iPod as a mounted disc. For that, one needs to Enable Disc Use on the iPod. This could be done though iTunes by checking a button named "Enable Disc Use". Even then, some defragmenting software would not see it as a disc, but the WinXP default defragging utility will (Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disc Defragmenter). It can generate a report of how badly fragmented your iPod is and whether it is time to defrag it. If the iPod is full to the capacity, the program might warn you that no less than 15% of free space is needed for the defrag. It is possible to defragment with less than 15% free space, but it may considerably slow down a process which is rather slow already.

If the battery dies during defrag, files will be corrupted and lost. Before beginning, make sure you are using a powered connection - either a USB2 port, or a double cable to USB and the power outlet. Defragmenting an iPod which is not powering up during defrag is generally a bad idea.
Also, defragmentation may take a while; all this disc activity together with battery charging may heat up the iPod significantly, so it is better to take it out of the protective cover, if you got one (and you should!), and lay it on an open surface.

Monday, April 2, 2007

We'll meet again some sunny day

I'll be gone for the next two weeks. Meanwhile, leave your comments, requests, compliments, and curses here.

Amadou and Mariam

Amadou and Mariam - my favorite afropop. A blind couple from Mali playing an amalgam of blues, pop, funk and traditional Mali music. They are the living reminder that it only takes a bit of talent and 25 years of non-stop playing and touring to become famous (I don't know about rich). The stuff I wanted to share is all available already, so I'll be the link aggregator again.

Je Pense A Toi - The Best of Amadou et Mariam
This collection presents a cross-section of their work from the last decade. The tracks from their first French album, Sou Ni Tile (Je Pense A Toi, Chantez-Chantez, A Radio Mogo, Pauvre Type), have more of the roots/afro-blues sound, with shimmering guitar arpeggios and delicate flute melodies over the hypnotic, repetitive chord progressions. By their third LP, Wati, they moved firmly onto Fela territory: Les Temps Ont Changé and Nangaraba are high-octane afrofunk.

1. Je Pense A Toi
2. Les Temps Ont Changé
3. Nangaraba
4. Chantez-Chantez
5. Mouna
6. A Radio Mogo
7. Toubala Kono
8. Mali Denou
9. DJagnèba
10. Fantani
11. Ko Bé Na Touma Do
12. Pauvre Type
13. Walide

Amadou & Mariam - Dimanche A Bamako
By 2005 they got big enough to attract big-name collaborators: Manu Chao produced this album, and also co-written and played guitar on a few tracks. It shows, too: Dimanche a Bamako (Sunday in Bamako) sounds more like a great lost Manu Chao album than anything else; a lot of his trademarks are here - musique concrete sound effects mixed into and in between songs, many of the production tricks and effects associated with Clandestino and Esperanza... Nonetheless, the result is a fine piece of music:

4shared, 87 mb

Alternative artwork (European version?):

01- M'bife.
02- M'bife balafon.
03- Coulibaly.
04- La realite.
05- Senegal fast food.
06- Artistiya.
07- La fete au village.
08- Camions sauvages.
09- Beaux dimanches.
10- La paix.
11- Djanfa.
12- Taxi bamako.
13- Politic amagni.
14- Gnidjougouya.
15- M'bife blues.

For the real fans, there is a live bootleg available over here:
Amadou & Mariam - Le Couple Aveugle du Mali
The sound is a bit muddy, though.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Red Krayola - The Parable of Arable Land

I used to take drugs, and trust me, this is a better experience - an unknown internet reviewer.

If you think that you might be interested in music described as a "free-form freakout", this would hit the spot. It may have come a little too late for me; if I've met it back in my free jazz/avantgarde days, I would have been converted. As is, this album is heavier on the freak-outs than on the actual songs and may not have quite the universal appeal they probably hoped for. Nonetheless, it still is a legendary recording and interesting enough to be worth keeping it in circulation.

Review from Pitchfork
Wikipedia entry

The Red Krayola - The Parable of Arable Land
61 mb, 192 kbps
1. Free Form Freak-Out
2. Hurricane Fighter Plane
3. Free Form Freak-Out
4. Transparent Radiation
5. Free Form Freak-Out
6. War Sucks
7. Free Form Freak-Out
8. Free Form Freak-Out
9. Pink Stainless Tail
10. Free Form Freak-Out
11. Parable Of Arable Land
12. Free Form Freak-Out
13. Former Reflections Enduring Doubt