RIP: Max Mathews, computer music pioneer

RIP: Max Mathews, computer music pioneer

From Create Digital Music (via The Daily Swarm):

Max Mathews, the man who literally first gave voice to computer music, died [Thursday] at age 84. I can only offer my heartfelt condolences to Max’s friends and family.

Max was the man present at the moment when the very subject matter of this site was born. An IBM 704 playing his 17-second composition marked the first genuinely digital synthesis of music on a computer.

[Photo: Kevin]

Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV pushed back to June; Young Money promises free Lil Wayne pog with every copy

Lil Wayne has spent a little bit of time relaxing and regrouping himself (a.k.a. prison time), but he’s been a free man for a while and is back to doing what he does best: making music that helps me feel connected to modern culture. However, I’ll have to wait a little longer to feel like I’m hip, as Lil Wayne’s new album Tha Carter IV, originally scheduled for release May 16 through Young Money, has had its ‘drop’ date pushed back to June 21.

The album, which is more anticipated than the second coming of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, is seeing delays for Wayne’s perfectionism. “[Wayne’s] still perfecting a few things, he’s a perfectionist… changing a few lines,”explains Mack Maine, head of Young Money, “We have a little studio time and it should be done probably by Monday.”

According to an interview with MTV’s news and tanning department, Maine also lets us in on the fact that the new album’s fancy contributors are holding back progress as well. Maine tells us that tracks from top-draw rappers came in too late and “if you calculate all of that, by the time we would’ve finished mixing, we wouldn’t have met the [original] due date to turn in the album. So we had to push it back.” Don’t worry though, Lil Wayne is still coming back and he loves all of you, even if he won’t be showing up on any Pogs.

• Lil Wayne:
• Young Money:

Xiu Xiu jump to Polyvinyl, members of Parenthetical Girls and The Dead Science jump to Xiu Xiu

Somewhere deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, there can be found a sturdy oak. Carved in the oak’s bark, the skin of the great tree itself, is a heart surrounding the following symbols: “XX + KRS.” To the untrained eye, this is the work of two dumb kids who just happened to have a knife. To those in the know, this represents the unending love between noise-pop group Xiu Xiu and their longtime label Kill Rock Stars.

Shed a tear, romantics, for that unending love… has ended. Gasp, quickly followed by shock! For the first time in Xiu Xiu’s history, they plan on releasing a full-length on a label with no Kill Rock Stars affiliation. But who shall put out such a record if not Kill Rock Stars? To whom have Xiu Xiu given their heart? The answer to both these questions is Polyvinyl Records, who shall release this new Xiu Xiu record in early 2012. The as-yet-untitled record will feature the drumming of Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, whose band also recently jumped from Kill Rock Stars to Polyvinyl, and the production work of super-producer/Paper Chase member John Congleton, whose band I assume is still on Kill Rock Stars.

Thankfully for my fragile heart, this move is the only change in the world of Xiu Xiu. But wait! This is not the only change! And my heart is strong as an ox, or at least an ox’s heart! Xiu Xiu’s new material will feature a brand-new Xiu Xiu, one including, in addition to current members Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo, Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls and Sam Mickens of The Dead Science. Now, Xiu Xiu has had lineup changes before, but this one’s extra significant, as the band’s forthcoming album will feature contributions both musical and lyrical from all band members. Before that record comes out, the band will test these new waters of collaboration with a Polyvinyl-released 7-inch coming out in September. On the A-side will be an original new song called “Daphney,” the first song Jamie Stewart and his new band members wrote together. Obviously, the B-side will feature a cover of Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World.”

In the midst of this whirlwind of change, the band has managed to enter the modern age by creating a Twitter account. A quick glance of the account’s feed reveals the statistical breakdown of tweets to be about 5% band news, 95% grotesque/bizarre/awesome open-ended questions that they like to call their “Queries ‘O’ the Day.” Here’s a prime example: “if you look outside and there is a GIANT pumpkin on your corner, who would you force to live inside of it?” And here is my answer: myself, because living in a GIANT pumpkin would be amazing.

While we shed tears, one eye weeping with sorrow for Xiu Xiu’s lost love with Kill Rock Stars, the other weeping with joy for their new love with Polyvinyl, we must remember that the group does plan to play some European festivals in the summer. Never forgot that, and also never forget that they’re playing a short US tour in September, within which they will stop at The Independent’s Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina. And please, please do not forget to listen to Xiu Xiu’s remix of Parenthetical Girls’ “Careful Who You Dance With,” their contribution to a forthcoming free Parenthetical Girls remix EP, over at Pitchfork.

• Xiu Xiu:
• Polyvinyl:

RIP: Norio Ohga, CD pioneer, former Sony president/chairman

From CNN:

Norio Ohga, the former president and chairman of Sony Corporation who helped to develop the compact disc, died Saturday of multiple organ failure, the company said. He was 81.

Ohga worked for what is now Sony as a consultant and adviser while still a music student in Tokyo, before joining the company full time in 1959.

He rose to the ranks of chairman and president and is credited with driving the company’s growth in movies, video games and music.

Ohga saw the potential of the compact disc early and spearheaded Sony’s efforts in that area, the company said.

• Norio Ohga:

Fiery Furnaces’ Eleanor Friedberger to release solo LP on Merge, arranged by a special commission of Navajo basketball coaches and blonde ladies

You’ve been a Fiery Furnaces fan for a long time now, and in the process you’ve endured a lot of criticism and burned through a good chunk of change. You were there at their genesis, falling in love with the Friedberger siblings the moment Gallowsbird’s Bark arrived, dodging a hail of insults from friends that compared them to The White Stripes. Now The White Stripes are dead, your friends are buying glow-in-the-dark records from Third Man without owning turntables, and The Fiery Furnaces live/rock on. You remember with bittersweet joy the day that the Pitchfork hive mind praised Blueberry Boat, and you try to forget the day they lashed out against the brilliant Rehearsing My Choir.

Many fans ended their journey here, spooked by a lack of critical consensus, but you soldiered on, wading through the noisy, difficult, frenzied-yet-melancholy Bitter Tea, and for this you were rewarded with a trip to the gilded gates of Classic Rawk in Widow City. You’re still on the fence about the slightly lackadaisical I’m Going Away, but you haven’t had a lot of time to let it sink in since there were the two Matthew Friedberger solo albums to digest, then the self-covering Take Me Round Again, then eight more albums from Matthew… even you, superfan, are starting to fall behind.

But that’s just too bad, buddy, because here comes another one: Last Summer, the debut solo album from Eleanor Friedberger, hits store shelves (that are already buckling under the weight of Furnaces product) on July 12 via Merge. Merge is best known as the label that puts out albums by Butterglory. Apparently, after Eleanor recorded her renditions for Take Me Round Again, she enjoyed the time away from Matthew so much that she went ahead and fleshed out a group of songs written over the years that had never made it on a Furnaces album. You can listen to the lead single off Last Summer, “My Mistakes,” over at the Chocolate Grinder, where you may notice that the backing music only sounds like one overclocked carnival ride rather than several, which suits her singing approach quite nicely. Eleanor has plans to tour in support of Last Summer, but we’re too busy catching up on Matthew’s last two albums to get those confirmed yet.

Start saving your money, superfan, because along with the “rock album” the band’s been working on, I’ve heard rumors that the Furnaces’ session drummer has a bi-weekly subscription series planned for 2012. (Just kidding, people who get angry at jokes.)

• The Fiery Furnaces:
• Merge:

Swans working on new album, plotting tour, replacing gear that isn’t loud enough

In medieval days, troubadours sang of virgins that — if they were pure enough of heart and um, loin — could wander into the forest and sit beneath the embracing arms of a great oak and call forth a mystical unicorn by virtue of their hope, devotion, and love. The unicorn would emerge, a living symbol of beauty, belief, and eagerness for virgins. Now, in our modern world, we live blissfully free of many of the strange relics of those bygone days — lute players, bubonic plague, virgins, and forests, for example — but one thing does remain. The unicorn. Swans are our metaphorical unicorn.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “What? Shut up! You just ruined an article about Swans with your stupid intro paragraph!” I know this because I’m thinking it, too. But bear with me. After 1998’s live Swans album announced that Swans Are Dead, a period of darkness began for fans. Yes, Angels of Light were around, but fans — like that fabled virgin — still yearned for the lovely aggression of a good old-fashioned Swans song. Years went by. And then, in 2010, as if summoned by a higher power, Swans/Young Gods Records founder Michael Gira announced that Swans would return.

In the past year, they’ve been busy recording new material, releasing an album, and playing shows. And now this has just been revealed via their official Facebook page:

swans will be recording material for new album in berlin first 2 weeks of july…

Yes!! But that’s not all! Swans’ triumphant return continues with a lengthy European (and elsewhere) tour. The band was hand-selected by Portishead to perform as part of ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror Festival at Alexandria Palace in London at the end of July. Gira and Co. are also taking part in Roskilde, Primavera Sound, and in what sounds like a premise for a classic Swansian tale of self-hate, drudgery, and general down-and-outness, at a shipyard in Gdansk, Poland.


05.02.11 - Copenhagen, Demark - Vega
05.03.11 - Aarhus, Denmark - VoxHall
05.04.11 - Malmö, Sweden - Babel
05.06.11 - Oslo, Norway - Rockefeller
05.07.11 - Drammen, Norway - Union Scene
05.08.11 - Stockholm, Sweden - Strand
05.10.11 - Tampere, Finland - Klubi
05.11.11 - Helsinki, Finland - Tavastia
05.12.11 - Tallinn, Estonia - Von Krahl Theatre Bar
05.13.11 - Riga, Latvia - VEF Culture Palace
05.14.11 - St. Petersburg, Russia - SKIF Festival at Sergey Kuryokhin Modern Art Center
05.15.11 - Moscow, Russia - Avant Club
05.17.11 - Gdansk, Poland - Dockyards of Gdansk Shipyard
05.18.11 - Leipzig, Germany - Central Theater
05.19.11 - Munich, Germany - Feierwerk
05.21.11 - Budapest, Hungary - Trafó House of Contemporary Arts
05.22.11 - Brataslava, Slovakia - Majestic Teater
05.23.11 - Zagreb, Croatia - Teatar Itd
05.24.11 - Ljubljana, Slovenia - Kino Kiska Centre for Urban Culture
05.25.11 - Salzburg, Austria - Rockhouse
05.26.11 - Düdingen, Switzerland - Café Bad Bonn - Bad Bonn Kilbi Festival
05.28.11 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
07.01.11 - Rosklide, Denmark - Roskilde Festival
07.15.11 - Berlin, Germany - Melt Festival
07.16.11 - Herk, Belgium - Rock Herk Festival
07.17.11 - Ostrava, Czech Republic - Ostrava Open Air Festival
07.20.11 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Melkweg
07.21.11 - Cologne, Germany - Gebaede Neun
07.22.11 - Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
07.24.11 - London, UK - ATP “I’ll Be Your Mirror” Festival

• Swans:
• Young God: