Spotify no longer wonders “If I only had a brain…”, acquires music intelligence company The Echo Nest

Spotify no longer wonders "If I only had a brain...", acquires music intelligence company The Echo Nest

The extralegal American “security” apparatus has been a reliable engine of perpetual public outrage over the past several months, but, neglected almost entirely from the media coverage and the personally voiced e-concern about whether or not those special emails of mine are currently being circulated around NSA headquarters, lies a subject much more sinister and condemnable. Have we asked how the music feels about all this?

The founding of The Echo Nest in 2005 coincided with an invasion of privacy that even the personification of the Patriot Act would download and have a wank to. Their database aggregates the very souls (meaning the actual audio and textual data) of over 30 million songs for the purposes of powering, most notably, music recommendation services, but also for assisting companies in playlist generation, acoustic analysis, audio fingerprinting, and surely, the development of virtually any music-based software under the bitterly-curtained sun… on the part of the programmers. Those visualizers that come packaged with so many media players come to mind as an obvious application, but to offer a broader perspective, Echo Nest’s API is currently being used by over 7,000 developers. They’re patting down and getting all up in the anatomical crevasses of music.

On March 6, the self-described “leader” in music intelligence was acquired by long-term client and chronic Yorke-irritator, Spotify. Questionable is the notion of how Echo Nest can maintain relationships with Spotify’s competitors when Spotify ultimately wields control, but one such competitor has already severed ties in anticipation of conflict. Anthony Bay, CEO of Rdio, explains his forthcoming strategy: “So we will stop using that source of data and use other sources.”

Meanwhile, who knows what the acquisition/merger will entail for regular ol’ music fans, but it’s apparent that the parties involved are, at least, really really excited about it:

We spent our first weeks together just giddy at the potential of all that special Echo Nest magic working directly with the world’s best place for music. You’re about to see some great stuff from the new Echo Nest-enabled Spotify, and we’re excited to hear what you think. We’re all staying in town, our API stays up, and every single person at our company will continue to focus on building the future of music. Talk to you soon; we’ve got some work to do.

• Spotify:
• The Echo Nest:

RIP: Scott Asheton, drummer of The Stooges

From Iggy Pop’s official Facebook page:

My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night.

Scott was a great artist, I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Asheton’s have always been and continue to be a second family to me.

My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life.

Iggy Pop

• Scott Asheton:

SXSW sets up charity in aftermath of March 13 tragedy

Maaaan, this hasn’t been a good week at all. We might have to get our war on, some plane peaced out in the middle of the sea (which sea we don’t even know), and some washout ruined Banksy’s okay name. Most importantly, though, Austin’s South by Southwest Festival suffered an unfortunate tragedy: A suspected drunk driver, attempting to flee police following a sobriety checkpoint, rammed through the barricades near the Mohawk club and drove through attendees, injuring 23 and killing two. The driver is currently in custody and is facing capital murder and aggravated assault charges.

No doubt that everyone, everyone who is involved in the business is shocked, saddened, and worried about all this. While questions remain to be answered, SXSW is doing what it can to mitigate the effects of the tragedy. The festival has opened an Emotional Support Center at the Austin Convention Center that will run through the remainder of the festival, and both the Mohawk and next-door club Cheer Up Charlie’s will be open for business for the duration of the festival as well.

So yeah, things are pretty somber at the moment. But what can you, reader who skipped out on the festival but are reading every site to find out what’s been happening, do to help? Well, SXSW is partnering with the City of Austin and the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau to run a charity for those who wish to help the victims. Called SXSW Cares, the charity, operated by the local Austin Community Foundation, will distribute funds to victims through a community-based system. Any remaining money will be placed in a trust in the event of a future tragedy similar to this one. Donate at the link above, and send some empathy to Austin, will ya?

[Note: E. Nagurney’s roommate was one of the injured. TMT is keeping her and the other victims in our thoughts.]

• SXSW Cares:

Fat Worm of Error solo squelcher Bromp Treb embarks on first-ever US tour, drops three tapes at once!!

RANK AND FILE, ninkumquats: Bromp Treb is coming to town. Yeah, you heard me! It’s Bromp Treb, betch. Bromp Treb a.k.a. Neil Young Cloaca a.k.a. Fat Worm of Error drummer par excellence is tiptoeing out of his New England hobbit hole and then full-sprinting around the East Coast/Midwest, demonstrating via “onomatopoeic flailings” a little something called American ingenuity. It’s the SPRING TICKLES TOUR, and though it started a week ago it’s really cookin’ starting tonight. Check out this trailer, NOW:

You like that? We’re just getting started, Jax. Bromp Treb’s been training for this debut tour for 13 years (hey, why not release one of the best albums of the 2000s along the way), so he’s not about to slide into these cities sans posse. But whoa: take the sunglasses off each member of that posse and you’ll find yourself staring back at THREE BRAND-NEW TAPES! The first one is 78 Red Sticks, which introduces simple objects (glass, styrofoam, cardboard, the now-famous red sticks) to simple electronics (transducers, motors, effects) and lets them shoot the breeze:

Then there’s Abuse Abandon Abort, a bunch of Bromp-beaten garbage from the last decade-plus, dumped back onto the dinner table:

Your final selection is Nonfood Bespoke Innovation, which can only be explained in this way: “tape collage ruminating product packaging evolving the nature of nature”:

All are limited to 50 cassette copies, or you can just grab the digi(mon) for $4 each. Grammy’s gums are waitin’.


03.14.14 - Brooklyn, NY - Silent Barn
03.15.14 - Baltimore, MD - Red Room
03.16.14 - Philadelphia, PA - The Vat
03.17.14 - Oberlin, OH - Fairchild Chapel
03.18.14 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Shop
03.19.14 - Detroit, MI - North End Studios
03.20.14 - Chicago, IL - Bijou Theater
03.23.14 - Columbus, OH - Cat Science
03.24.14 - Buffalo, NY - Dreamland

• Bromp Treb:
• Yeay!:

Wooden Wand announces Farmer’s Corner for May release, grows more woodenier and wandier with every passing year

James Jackson Toth, as Wooden Wand, is about to get as Wooden Wandy as he’s ever gotten, and he’s going to do it right up in your business. What I mean is, he’s got a brand-new full-length planned for Fire Records entitled Farmer’s Corner. Now, you may think to yourself, “Didn’t he just put out two albums last year, what is he, a robot?” and you will be correct on both counts. Yes, he did put out two albums last year — Blood Oaths of the New Blues (TMT Review) and Wooden Wand and the World War IV (TMT Review) — and yes, he is a robot (though as a long-time Star Wars fan, he prefers droid). I have personally seen the metallic glint of his exoskeleton on no less than three occasions.

With Farmer’s Corner, Toth has brought together some of his best musical pals, including William Tyler, Darin Gray, and Doc Feldman. Together they form what’s called a band. Instead of posting up in one studio for a short period of intensive work like he’s done in the past, though, Toth opted to let the recordings for Farmer’s Corner unfurl in “fits and starts” across four studios in three states. The press release says this resulted in the “most ‘Wooden Wand’ album in the Wooden Wand discography,” and though I’m not 100% sure what that means, I’m going to go ahead and include it here because it sounds good. At any rate, it turns out that this is the first self-produced Wooden Wand album ever. You wanna know what the Wooden Wandiest of the Wooden Wandy sounds like? Listen to “Dambuilding” from the album below.

Farmer’s Corner tracklisting:

01. Alpha Dawn
02. Uneasy Peace
03. When the Trail Goes Cold
04. Adie
05. Dambuilding
06. Sinking Feelings
07. Home Horizon
08. Port of Call
09. Gone to Stay

• Wooden Wand:
• Fire:

Excepter announce European tour, intend to finish what they started nine years ago

Nine years ago, Brooklyn noise act Excepter crossed the ocean with the intent of conquering Europe. Clearly, they failed, as evidenced by the governing body of the entire continent of Europe being someone other than the band Excepter. In that time, they’ve licked their wounds, and they’ve put out some records. They’ve not, though, attempted to return to the site of their greatest failure. But, friends, their dream remains alive. This April, the group will venture once more into Europe. Will they succeed in obtaining absolute power within the territories? No, there’s no way, that doesn’t even make sense. They will, however, play a bunch of concerts. Here’s a promo video for the tour:

When not attempting to conquer continents, Excepter keep busy by releasing music. The group has two releases set for the coming year: the Familiar LP through Blast First Petite and The Stand EP through Dekorder. Neither has a set release date yet, but they’re coming sometime relatively soon. Until that relatively soon comes, watch the video for “Maids” off Familiar. If you need to kill more time, then watch this video of Excepter at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn.

Excepter dates:

04.03.14 - Porto, Portgual - Culturgest
04.04.14 - Lisbon, Portugal - Galeria Zé dos Bois (w/Tropa Macaca)
04.05.14 - Madrid, Spain - Electronica en Abril @ La Casa Encendida
04.06.14 - Barcelona, Spain - Apolo
04.07.14 - Lyon, France - SONIC
04.08.14 - Geneva, Switzerland - Cave12
04.09.14 - Turin, Italy - Velvet
04.10.14 - Milan, Italy - Wave Milano
04.11.14 - Innsbruck, Austria - p.m.k.
04.12.14 - Wien, Austria - fluc
04.13.14 - Prague, Czech Republic - Pilot Klub
04.15.14 - Berlin, Germany - Kantine am Berghain
04.17.14 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Jazzhouse
04.18.14 - Stockholm, Sweden - Fylkingen
04.19.14 - Tallinn, Estonia - ULME
04.20.14 - Helsinki, Finland - Korjaamo
04.23.14 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - WORM
04.24.14 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - OT301
04.25.14 - Paris, France - Instants Chavires
04.26.14 - Gent, Belgium - Vooruit

• Excepter:
• Blast First Petite:
• Dekorder:



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