Ghost in the Machine?

Posted in ...And A Legend Was Born., Being a Fan, Breakthrough Artist, Collaborations, Concerts and Other Happenings, Constructive Crtitisism, Let's Take it Back to the Start, Losing A Legend, Off The Beaten Track, Technology, Then and Now with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by midnightradiostar

Something that has me quite excited and slightly terrified is projected images of artists at concerts. I think the first time I ever saw something like it was during the 2006 GRAMMY Awards when Gorillaz and Madonna performed together. Images of the Gorillaz and Madonna were projected onstage to make it look like they were actually there and giving the effect of Madonna being able to dance around and interact with the animated avatars of the Gorillaz. I was amazed at the potential of these ‘holograms’, at the sheer creativity and incredible technology behind it. Here’s the video:

 

This video got me thinking about the possibilities of resurrecting the beloved musicians we have lost. Would it be possible to bring back legends for the future generations to witness ‘live’? Of course it had to happen. During Coachella in 2012, Tupac Shakur was ‘resurrected’ to perform once more for old fans and new through the brilliance of modern CGI technology. Now granted these images of Tupac at Coachella and Madonna and the Gorillaz weren’t strictly holograms; they were a result of a projection technique called Pepper’s Ghost which uses glass, mirrors, screens and other reflective surfaces with light to create and project illusions. You can read more about it here.

This is Tupac’s performance at Coachella:

 

 

There are also many bands today who use this technology to project concerts to different locations. German band Tokio Hotel tied up with a company called Musion to create mini virtual concerts in stores/malls across various cities including Berlin and Barcelona and this till today remains one of the coolest things they have ever done [at least in my opinion]:

 

 

Of course with the birth and popularity of such technology, comes the literal rise of the machines. Leave it to the Japanese to create one of the most revolutionary pop-icons of the world, and when I say create I mean an amalgamation of imagination and a whole lot of hi-tech software. A particular software called Vocaloid led to the creation of  the completely computer-generated Hatsune Miku, a Japanese pop singing sensation. Although artificially generated and technically not a living artist, Miku has millions of fans around the world and is even going to be touring with Lady Gaga for her upcoming ARTPOP Ball. You can read more about Hatsune Miku and her fellow digital pop-stars, also products of Vocaloid, here.

This is a video of Miku performing one of her super hit songs, ‘World is Mine’ :

 

Do let me know in the comments below what you thought of Miku. I know I was completely shocked when I first saw this video and filled with wonder laced with fear. It is incredible what technology can do these days, but is it possible they are doing too much? Does Hatsune Miku mean the end of musicians as we know them? If a musician can be created and cater to a record company’s every whim and cause no problems like drug addiction, death, controversy etc, then it very well could mean that we are on our way to replacing our human artists. Although all this seems quite probable, we need to remember there’s nothing quite like a human being. The joy of meeting your favourite artist, shaking their hand or maybe even hugging them and talking to them is torn away. Eye-contact during concerts is next to impossible and projections do not reach their hands out for you to hold. Just watch the concerts I’ve linked you to and compare them to concerts you’ve been to or concerts with human artists. There is definitely a huge difference.

While I do love the evolutionary technology involved behind all these concerts, I believe they should be limited to perhaps something an artist does once in a while, like Madonna and Tokio Hotel, or something to help us see ghosts of artists dead and gone. A virtual ghost like Miku is a unique addition to the musicians of the world, but she cannot be a replacement for the real thing; she is better as an act on her own or a collaborative act with an artist like Lady Gaga. Technology has changed the face of music and will keep doing so for hundreds of years to come!

 


 

 

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Worshiping Lorde

Posted in ...And A Legend Was Born., Breakthrough Artist with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by midnightradiostar

First of, I want to start by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. I know I haven’t blogged in a long time, and I admit I have been feeling rather uninspired. Couple that with exams and an endless mountain of assignments, you have a very lazy blogger!

But I want to post really quick about someone who’s taken the music industry by storm: Lorde. She is the first 16-year-old to enter the industry in recent years who has great song-writing talent. You can tell by her hit single ‘Royals’ that this girl has got talent and means business.

She sort of reminds me of a younger Lana Del Rey, where the angst is all teen without being about boys and high school which is so refreshing, I can’t even communicate it enough. We have Taylor Swift and Selina Gomez for all the whining, I think we need something a little hardcore to really relate to, especially us who don’t whine and cry about relationships.

The best thing about ‘Royals is how much truth it contains. A lot musicians today sing about ‘jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash’ which Lorde points out are beyond the reach of us mere mortals who live ordinary lives simply dreaming for something better. The song is also something my friends and I sing as a group every time it plays because it’s catchy and the lyrics are almost hypnotic in their frank disregard for the life of luxury.

I also find ‘Tennis Court’ quite fascinating because it’s dark and hardcore, two things that you don’t see in many 16 year olds. She seems to get life, if I may put it that way, its complexity and its simplicity. I also find the music video extremely fascinating.

Some of the best memories I have with my friends is driving into the night blaring ‘Royals’ and singing along for all we’re worth, harmonies and all. I’ll admit Lorde and her album Pure Heroin are acquired tastes, but for those who like a little something different, she is a breath of fresh air.

You Wrecked Me

Posted in 2013, Classy as f***, Let's Get Personal, Then and Now with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2013 by midnightradiostar

I know there’s a lot of shit going around about Miley Cyrus, and I am no innocent bystander in the process of throwing piles of hot, steaming slander at her through the years. I’m not going to talk about her evolution or ‘devolution’ as many prefer to term it, because frankly it’s been discussed too much for my liking. Talking about it isn’t going to do anything because like she has rightly said, it’s her life and she can do what she wants. If we expect the same freedom, I guess so can she. And you know what, people change. #Life.

Behaviour aside I really want to talk about her new song ‘Wrecking Ball’ from her upcoming album Bangerz, and here’s the shocker: I love it. I feel it’s one of the most honest and raw songs she’s come up with. Like a lot of songs about heartbreak, there is regret and tears, but there is also anger and the bitter tinge of masochism in self-destruction along with the demolition of a relationship. I think love is extremely destructive, and the comparison of her to a wrecking ball signifies that destructive, invasive power a lover has over the other.

True, it’s not often that we connect the word ‘deep’ to Miley Cyrus, but I feel in this song at least she has succeeded in touching a depth she seldom does. It reminds me a little of ‘When I Look At You’, and I absolutely loved that song, although not her vocals. She has improved greatly and sounds way less nasal than she used to. She also looks incredible in the video. She’s got a fantastic body and an attitude sharp enough to cut. Although a lot of people were disapproving of her nudity [I'll admit I wasn't too sure about it initially, either] watching the video again just showed me that we can safely say that her new image and vocals leave Hannah Montana in the dust, and for that I cannot be more grateful.

Maybe the ‘Disney Death’ was the goal, [though I think the VMAs did that job already] or maybe it really is a rendition of her feelings on her break up with Liam Hemsworth, all I know is that I love it, the video, the song, everything.

The only thing that irks me is when she licks the hammer at one point, but then again the masochism is evident in the action. Terry Richardson as a director focuses on the raw core of an artist when he captures them on film, and this video is no different. I wouldn’t recommend watching it with your parents.

The New Kidd On The Block

Posted in ...And A Legend Was Born., 2013, Breakthrough Artist, Classy as f***, Collaborations, Off The Beaten Track, What Women Want with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2013 by midnightradiostar

Someone who I’m absolutely in love with at the moment is Vince Kidd. If any of you guys have watched the Voice UK then you’ll remember him as Jessie J’s finalist in 2012. Leather clad and wearing enough eyeliner to put Adam Lambert to shame, he got all judges to turn for him when he sang his own version of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’. I never thought a man would sing this song, and I was just as stunned as the judges by his song choice. Like Will.i.am said, Vince completely changed an iconic pop song into a signature soul piece. Absolutely brilliant. And that falsetto is out of this world.

He’s got this delicious edgy, alternative look with bits of grunge thrown in along with eyes that are so gorgeous they’ll sweep you off your feet even if his voice doesn’t. I can’t tell you how blown away I am by him. He’s got the whole package: talent, looks and stage presence. He’s like a mix of Adam Lambert and Bill Kaulitz with a bit of Billy Idol thrown in for good measure and I’d say that’s a pretty fantastic blend.

His music is vibrant and soulful, along with being tracks you can dance along with. What I love most about him is his versatility. Vocally he reminds me of Daley and Robin Thicke but the most accurate way to describe him would be to say he’s like a male version of Jessie J herself, which is why I felt she was the perfect coach for him on the Voice.

His latest video for ‘The Zoo’ ft Vanessa White is absolutely crazy and infectious. The beat is intoxicating and I have not been able to stop listening to it all day. It’s full of energy and colour, very much like Vince himself and I believe this song really suits him and has given him more freedom to explore his space as an artist. I highly recommend listening to this song and watching the video.

He’s definitely an artist who deserves more recognition and album sales, so do tell your friends to check out his music because I think he’s absolutely worth it. He’s got a certain charm you just don’t see in musicians these days. If you’re looking for something a little soft and mellow, you can check out his performance of ‘Smother Me’.

Needless to say he really has knocked my socks off, and I look forward to the day that I get to see him sing live in front of me.

Cheers!

Why Did The Romance Have To End?

Posted in 2012, 2013, HeartSONGS For the Soul, Let's Get Personal, Let's Take it Back to the Start, Losing A Legend, The Joy Ride Ends with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2013 by midnightradiostar

I think My Chemical Romance has been one of the greatest bands of our time and will continue to be so. Their raw energy and angst has fueled every teenage dream that I’ve had and spurred me on to try harder to be better, faster, stronger and more emotional about things that really matter. They came like a shooting star into my life and like most shooting stars are now gone, but their legacy will remain.

It was a shock when I heard they had announced their break-up. It was simply so hard to fathom, I sat there for ten minutes with my mouth open, sputtering words of denial and anger. Why? How could they do this to me? I felt as if they had wronged me personally because a world without MCR is a difficult world to live in.  My throat closed up and all I wanted to do at that moment was cry because this band meant more to me than I had realized. It’s true you don’t miss something until it’s gone.

Their third studio album and [arguably] most celebrated and successful one, The Black Parade, changed my life. It made me understand how intense music can be and never have I seen lyrics so artfully crafted. Gerard Way is a fantastic idol. A man of immense intelligence and a man who understands the change music can bring in a generation. I’ve spent so many years listening and re-listening to the Black Parade that I have memorized the lyrics of most of the songs and each of the guitar solos. I can’t even choose one favourite song from that album since I love them all so much. It seriously feels like there are little nettles in my belly when I think about the fact that MCR will no long create such masterpieces.

At the end of the day though, reading Gerard Way’s letter on why MCR broke up put a lot of things into perspective for me. I understand that it was time for them to end their journey as a band because all good things do come to an end as much as we don’t want them to. Perhaps someday they will reunite for a concert or collaboration to give us members of the MCRmy a little treat.

I want to celebrate this band. I want to celebrate what they have come to mean to me since the first time I discovered them in 2006  and how much they’ve taught me as I’ve grown up. They are one of the biggest names in Alternative Rock and have influenced so many other good musicians and inspired so many. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a fan because as frontman Gerard Way said:

“My Chemical Romance is done. But it can never die. 

It is alive in me, in the guys, and it is alive inside all of you.”

Long live the Romance.

Why JT Got it Right

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2013 by midnightradiostar

So this is going to be a really quick post since I have exams this week, but even though I have to face that demon I knew I had to take some time out to talk about Justin Timberlake’s new music video for ‘Mirrors’, his second single of his new album The 20/20 Experience.
The song is about his grandparents and their relationship and how true love really is about staying with each other for so long, through the good and the bad.
The video uses mirrors beautifully to create an illusive and haunting image of two lovers lost in limbo.
I’ve always loved mirrors and the mystery surrounding them, so I have to say I really adore this video.
Well done JT, and welcome back.

Stay in My Heart

Posted in 2013, Back With A Vengeance!, Collaborations, Let's Get Personal, Life, Love with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2013 by midnightradiostar

I don’t think any song in 2013 so far has impressed me as much as ‘Stay’ from Rihanna’s new album Unapologetic. It brings out a whole different side of Rihanna that we rarely get to see, and the emotions portrayed are raw and powerful. The power of love is expressed in an entirely different manner, how addictive it is and how much pain it can cause.

Check out the video for ‘Stay’. I had tears in my eyes while watching Rihanna because I felt like she was sharing something extremely personal that brings her a lot of pain and grief. Her facial expressions and vulnerability in the video shook me up.

What I also loved about the song was the fact that it introduced me to an artist as gifted as Mikky Ekko. He is unique, good-looking and extremely talented, and I predict he will be quick to rise this year. His voice has a soft and mellifluous quality to it that reminds me of R&B singer Daley. I might also have a thing for him based on the fact that he sort of resembles Tom Hiddleston who I adore.

Mikky Ekko

Tom Hiddleston

See? There’s definitely something.

Do have a look at some of Mikky Ekko’s music. He definitely needs to be recognized more.

In other news, I am plenty excited about Justin Timberlake’s return to the music scene. Eight years is a very long time and what I’ve heard so far from his upcoming album The 20/20 Experience has exceeded my expectations. I absolutely loved his first single ‘Suit and Tie’ ft Jay-Z. I can’t wait to get my hands on the entire album. R&B and JT are an ideal combination. I like his suave look for the video and the rhythm of the song really gets me moving. If you need the perfect tune to get ready for the evening or to go for a drive, this is it.

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