In The News: Tom Waits, Squarepusher, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Trash Talk, The Notwist & More

Music for Robots is a new EP that Squarepusher made with robots. “The Z-Machines are three robots created by Japanese roboticists with the purpose of performing music that’s too advanced for the most skilled human musicians,” Pitchfork reports. “There’s a guitarist robot with 78 fingers and a drummer with 22 arms.” About working with the Z-Machines, Squarepusher said in a statement: “In this project the main question I’ve tried to answer is ‘can these robots play music that is emotionally engaging?’ I have long admired the player piano works of Conlon Nancarrow and Gyorgy Ligeti. Part of the appeal of that music has to do with hearing a familiar instrument being ‘played’ in an unfamiliar fashion. For me there has always been something fascinating about the encounter of the unfamiliar with the familiar. I have long been an advocate of taking fresh approaches to existing instrumentation as much as I am an advocate of trying to develop new instruments, and being able to rethink the way in which, for example, an electric guitar can be used is very exciting. Each of the robotic devices involved in the performance of this music has its own specification which permits certain possibilities and excludes others – the robot guitar player for example can play much faster than a human ever could, but there is no amplitude control. In the same way that you do when you write music for a human performer, these attributes have to be borne in mind – and a particular range of musical possibilities corresponds to those attributes. Consequently, in this project familiar instruments are used in ways which till now have been impossible.” — Pitchfork

AC/DC Heading Into the Studio: AC/DC singer Brian Johnson told a Florida radio station that the band will be going into the studio in Vancouver this May. The band is also planning a 40th anniversary tour for later this year. — Rolling Stone

Tom Waits Pens Song For Bluesman John Hammond: John Hammond’s new album is called Timeless and includes a song Tom Waits wrote specifically for Hammond called “No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby.” “He came to a recording date I was doing in San Francisco in 1992,” Hammond said. “John Lee Hooker had sat in to do a duet with me, and Tom Waits appeared out of nowhere and said, ‘I have a song for you, man.’ It was about 20 minutes long, with everybody in the Bible coming down to the river. I said, ‘Gee, you know, it’s a great song, but I don’t think I could do anything like that.’ He said, ‘Oh, you don’t like that one?’ So he goes into the control room.” About ten minutes later, according to Hammond, Waits returns with a new song he’d just written. “So I did it,” Hammond said. “He had left by the time we completed it, and so I sent him a cassette of it. And I hadn’t heard from him for a while, so I called — and he had it on his answering machine. I guess he liked it.” — NPR

Spoon’s Britt Daniel Has A Second Side Project: Britt Daniel isn’t content to Lead Spoon and play guitar in Divine Fits. Now he’s got a third band, Split Single that includes Daniel on bass and backing vocals, frontman Jason Narducy (ex-Verbow, also of Bob Mould’s band) and Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster. The group’s debut album, Fragmented World, will be out April 1, 2014. Check out a trailor for the album below. — Pitchfork

Lost album from Johnny Cash: As I previously reported, Johnny Cash recorded an album with producer Billy Sherrill in the early ’80s but the album was shelved when Cash left Columbia Records in 1986. That will change on March 25, 2014 when the album, Out Among the Stars, will finally be released. Here’s another track off it. “I’m Moving On” Bincludes vocals from Waylon Jennings:

The Notwist Return With New Album: Close To The Glass is the new album from the German electro-pop band, The Notwist. Read more about it and listen to the whole thing at NPR’s First Listen. — NPR

Hip-Hop Collaboration: New song, “97.92,” from Sacramento’s Trash Talk and Brooklyn rappers Flatbush Zombies. — Stereogum

Plus a mini-documentary on Trash Talk from Pitchfork:

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael recently completed his first novel, Days of the Crazy-Wild, and is currently writing a second novel.

2 thoughts on “In The News: Tom Waits, Squarepusher, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Trash Talk, The Notwist & More

  1. The Tom Waits tune ‘No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby’ was first released/recorded by Hammond on his 1992 ‘Got Love If You Want It’ release. Tom Waits’ version was released as a bonus track on the ‘Orphans’ LP version.

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