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iTunes upgrade – DRM free at last!

I just got the notification on iTunes that there’s an upgrade available to 7.2. So I hopped over to to see what was new. And there it was, iTunes PLUS, DRM free music available at 256kbps. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time for two reasons:

1. I’m a snob and prefer higher bit-rates (my CD collection is ripped to FLAC for my Squeezebox players);
2. Apple DRMed files don’t play on the Squeezebox

So this week I bought 9 CDs, not something I do every week but I just got paid and I’m filling in holes (all the old Wonder Stuff CDs and the new one, and all the Muse CDs).

For the last year I’ve been ripping everything to FLAC onto a server and it took me pretty much most of the year to get through them all. Then a couple of months ago I got rid of ALL my CD jewel cases and put the disks and inlays into CD ring-binders. The amount of space I got back was incredible.

So, I’m excited that DRM free music is now a feasible option for me, although I would like to see higher bit-rates even than 256 kbps before I declare the CD dead to me. But I can live happily with 256 if it’s DRM free and means instant gratification.

I just bought my first iTunes PLUS album, Genesis — Duke (2007 Remastered) but only two tunes downloaded before the server timed out. Same deal when I hit the upgrade button in the iTunes store to upgrade the few DRMed songs I did buy to non-DRM. I guess Apple’s servers will be getting slammed for the next few weeks while folks upgrade their libraries. It will be interesting to hear the stats about how many people are actually upgrading.

It also means I’m much less likely to use P2P to get instant gratifcation. In fact I just shut Soulseek down to kill my Genesis downloads!

I see this as a milestone in the digital revolution. May you live in exciting times, as the old Chinese proverb allegedly goes. These are certainly those!

Feeling Good – Muse Live

Muse do a pretty good cover of Feeling Good on their Origin of Symmetry album and I was treated to a live version of it at the gig last Saturday night.

They had some good visuals during the song — bees on flowers, that kind of thing.

Here’s a video some kind soul shot and YouTubed:

Muse – Feeling Good at the Rockhal

Not too shabby, huh?


mp3eme VOX: Summuhtime



It can have summer in the title or reference it in the song…or it can
just be one that always reminds you of hot days, warm nights, cooking
out, laying out…whatever.



Some good old Roy Harper to start me off on this week’s th(m)eme. I’ve since become more of a fan of his son, Nick Harper, but still listen to Roy from time to time. I used to listen to him a lot during my university days.

On Summer Day
Roy Harper

The opposite of Friday the 13th (Monday the 21st)

I had a great day on eBay today. I found out too late that Muse are playing at a venue really close to my house. It was sold out and tickets were going on eBay for double face value. Lorraine is quite a pro with eBay and knows how to search out auctions that are under the radar. She found one listed on by a seller who had put that she was willing to ship only to France, so it didn’t show up on or I ended up winning the auction for just over the face value! It also turned out that the seller lives a mere 12 km from my house, over the border in France, so I drove over there (passing through Belgium for a bit — three countries in the space of 10 minutes) and picked them up. I now have them in my bag and I only won the auction a few hours ago!

Next up was the more important concert, Genesis! The first concert I ever saw was Genesis at Hampden Park in Scotland in 1987. Tickets for the Brussels concert were selling for just over face value and I’d been monitoring a few auctions. Then I found an auction for two category 1 tickets (face value of 100 euros) with a starting price of 100 and BuyItNow of 250. I put in 100 to kill the BuyItNow and then waited for the closing minute to put in my max. And d’you know what? Nobody else was bidding! So I basically got two for the price of 1!

Muse is this coming Saturday; Genesis is 24 June.

And finally, some other good news…

More on that later. Hoodies will know of what I speak but I’ll post up a hood only post about that some time tomorrow when the dust has settled and it’s confirmed 100%

So, from now on, Monday the 21st is a lucky day and it all balances out. Time for some Mackies ice-cream to celebrate!

mp3eme VOX: There Are No Words



Music: A composition for one or more instruments, usually without vocal accompaniment

Notice the above definition says “usually without vocal…”
…so I guess its ok to have a bit of vocal in your choice…but try to keep it to a minimum.


Couldn’t resist posting another of these. I love the mp3emes; it really gets me thinking about my collection and what I’d like to share.Andygeek’s post of Sur le Fil brought Anouar Brahem to mind. I read a review of this CD in the Acoustic Guitar magazine of all things (I say “of all things” as it’s not really an acoustic guitar CD) and was intrigued enough to download a few samples. That was enough to send me scurrying off to Amazon to buy the CD. I just listened to it again on a long drive and it really is an excellent CD. If you like Yann Tiersen, give Anouar Brahem a go!Zarabanda

Anouar Brahem

mp3eme VOX: There Are No Words



Music: A composition for one or more instruments, usually without vocal accompaniment

Notice the above definition says “usually without vocal…”
…so I guess it’s ok to have a bit of vocal in your choice…but try to keep it to a minimum.


Pierre Bensusan is one of the leading guitar players of solo compositions in the world. This tune was composed in the wake of 9/11, a beautiful tune to be sure. I have downloaded the sheet music for it and have yet to attempt it. It’s on my to learn list though!

Hymn 11
Pierre Bensusan

mp3eme VOX: It Takes Two



[doo-et, dyoo-]

a. A composition for two voices or two instruments.
b. A group of two singers or two instrumentalists.



I’ve been a fan of Tommy Emmanuel for a while and saw him in concert in Glasgow a couple of years ago. Every guitar player should see Tommy at least once, in fact, everybody should see a Tommy show at least once. He’s in a league of his own.

Then there was the viral video of Jake Shimabukuro playing While my Guitar Gently Weeps in Central Park that every guitar player must have seen at least once.

Well, now there’s a duet! This is superb folks. Enjoy!

Tommy Emmanuel / J.Shimabukuro: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Save net radio – progress report from Tim Westergren of Pandora

Hi, it’s Tim again,

I wanted to thank you again for your extraordinary support in the fight to save Internet radio and Pandora. Thanks to the overwhelming number of calls you made, letters you faxed, and emails you sent, the Internet Radio Equality Act is fast gaining momentum in the House of
Representatives (74 sponsors and growing). It’s nothing short of remarkable for this to happen in such a brief period of time – almost unprecedented.

Last Friday a Senate version of the bill was introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KS):
This is a promising development, but we need your help again. I know we’re asking a lot, but the stakes couldn’t be higher and the fight is not over.

Please call the offices of your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act, S. 1353.

Senator Harry Reid: (202) 224-3542

Senator John Ensign: (202) 224-6244  

to keep up on our fight to save Internet radio. There are some powerful testimonials there from musicians who have found their audience through Internet radio.

We are deeply moved by your support. Thank you.

Tim Westergren

(Pandora founder)

mp3eme VOX: Your 1st Time



Post a song from the band/artist that played the first concert you ever attended.

It could be your first real concert as an young adult/adult or one your parent(s) dragged you to …whatever you consider to be your first.

The more background info…the more interesting. (Date? Location? Seating?Did it suck? Rock? Don’t Remember?)

If you don’t have a tune from the actual album said concert was promoting…you can post a favorite song from the band/artist.

Time to ‘fess up!


Genesis, 26 June 1987, Hampden Park, Glasgow. Support artist: Paul Young.

Genesis drum duet Wembley concert

Here’s my diary entry:

I didn’t do milk this morning. I went for Claire at 12 and got the 12.50 train to Glasgow. I asked Claire if she knew her way about Glasgow and she took it sarcastically. Then we got on a train to Mount Florida and wandered about. Claire bought a Genesis T-shirt for £5 off a guy in the street then I bought one but Claire said she will give me the money for it. She was dead bitchy to me. It was dead warm and sunny. Just perfect. I met Youngy and co. we got in about 4 and then I saw the stage. It was amazing. It had big canvas things with dominoes on it. We were in stand L. The food was extortionate so I only had a hot dog. People started coming into the middle but we couldn’t get to the middle. We had a good view anyway. There were 2 big TV screens. Princess Anne came about 7. They just played music from 4 till 7. Then Paul Young came on. He was great. I like Paul Young and he sounded 10 times better live. It is so loud. He went off and they just played music again until Genesis came on. It started with a video of Anything She Does. It was brilliant. Then Genesis came on. They were just so… There are no words to describe how good they were. The feeling you get is intense. Unexplainable. It was dead loud and you just can’t believe what is really happening. At one point I was crying with emotion. Phil Collins is a magic laugh. He talks to the crowd but he talks just as if he was only talking to you. Whenever he played a song I knew, I went wild inside. The lights were amazing as well. Smoke was rising an the lights were all the colours you can imagine. When they put the floodlights on the crowds, you really saw how many people were there; roughly 40,000. It was truly unbelievable. He sang Throwing it all Away and he sang wee tunes through it and everyone copied him. Magical Then he got the crowd to hold their hands up and hum to contact the other world. They went off but we all chanted “we want more” and they came back on better than ever.

It finished at half 11 and we went out. The streets were packed and there were big queues for the train back to Central station. The trains were chocabloc standing room. We got back to Central and had missed the last train so Claire phoned her dad and told him to come for us. Then she goes to me, “don’t come near me” and started going on about when I asked if she knew her way about Glasgow so she moved away and sat on her own. Then her dad came and I got home about 2, had something to eat and then went straight out on the milk, but that’s a different story.

So that was my first concert, first of many. Not sure how long Claire and I stayed together after that, but I think it was quite a while.

Land of Confusion – 21 years later

I was a big Genesis fan in my day and remember very well the Land of Confusion video with the Spitting Image puppets in 1986. The first concert I ever went to was the Invisible Touch tour at Hampden park in Glasgow. I must’ve been 14.

I just found a cover version of the song by a band called the Disturbed. Never heard of them but the video and song are still as relevant now as then. Judge for yourself.

Land Of Confusion – Genesis
Disturbed – Land Of Confusion