Archive for Music

Novarock 2007

Two rather exhausting weeks come to an end. I did my very first diploma examination for my four students at the Technikum, followed by a weekend at the Novarock music festival in Nickelsdorf, Austria. Besides myself losing a lens of my eyeglasses and living next door to tons of drunk 16- to 18-year-olds the extremely well organized festival was fun. Then I attended a two-day training course of Gigaspaces in Stuttgart (perhaps I’ll post some examples later – it’s really cool technology), followed by a household move. I guess the worst is over now, and I can start concentrating on the simpler pleasures of life again. Below you find some impressions of Novarock (with pictures of Smashing Pumpkins, Linkin Park, and Slayer.)

Smashing Pumpkins @ Novarock 2007

Peace @ Novarock 2007

Linkin Park @ Novarock 2007

Sunset and Flogging Molly @ Novarock 2007

Slayer @ Novarock 2007


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Festival summer…

…is getting better. The Beastie Boys are coming to the Nuke festival near Vienna in July – their first concert in Austria since almost 10 years. Although I haven’t listened to them regularly for several years, they’re still one of my favorite bands. As is Nine Inch Nails, who will play in Vienna on March 29.

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Vocal-Centric Aesthetics and Extensive Vamping

Pandora is an interesting alternative to, which offers music recommendations based on what you’re listening to. While is one giant data mining application based only (I think) on the actual playlists of their users, Pandora uses data from the Music Genome Project.  Actual people listened to thousands of bands and songs and tried to identify characteristic attributes of their music. While Pandora is probably a lot less “Web 2.0” than and (potentially) not that unlimited in scope, it might work better than the statistical approach taken by Some of my favorite bands were classified as follows:

  • Nine Inch Nails: electronica influences, minory key tonality, use of techno synths, a subtle use of vocal harmony, extensive vamping, a vocal-centric aesthetic and a clear focus on recording studio production. This leads to recommendations like Gary Numan, Kovenant or Type’O’Negative.
  • Tool: Hard rock roots, a subtle use of vocal harmony, a vocal-centric aesthetic, minor key tonality.
  • Beastie Boys: East coast rap influences, clean lyrics, bumping’ kick sound, use of background scratching, synth tweaking, a dry recording sound, trippy soundscapes, acoustic drum samples, and the subtle use of turntables.
  • Placebo: Composed melodic style, a vocal-centric aesthetic, major key tonality, basic rock song structures.

The quality of Pandora’s recommendations oscillates between “interesting” and “err… no”, but it’s definitely worth a try for finding new music.

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Novarock 2007

The line-up for this year’s Novarock music festival begins to emerge: among others, my personal highlights so far include the Smashing Pumpkins (didn’t even know they re-united), Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, and Flogging Molly.

That’s the good news, the bad is sure to follow: I’ll probably have to work on that very weekend, since the diploma examinations of my four diploma students just happen to be on the first two days of the Novarock festival. I hope I’ll be able to schedule them on the beginning of the first day, otherwise I’ll be pretty pissed on that very weekend in June.

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