The 256 vs. 128 kbps Debate

With Apple and EMI announcing “higher quality” (256 kbps) DRM-free music on the iTunes store at a slightly higher price, one might wonder whether the difference between the two can be heard at all.
Are iTunes’ Premium Downloads Worth It?

Probably not. Studies have found that as long as you’re using high-quality encoding software, music compressed to a bitrate of 128 kbps or more is “transparent”—in other words, most listeners can’t distinguish it from CD quality.

I have a pretty good idea what your response to that will be… :)

The Voice Of Cheese: Giant Albino Penguin

With a bandname like Giant Albino Penguin, what can go wrong, I ask! The track he sent in is called “Watch The Magic Pumpkin”. Sean says:

At the time, my guitar had no strings, so all the stuff that sounds like guitar (except the horrible wibbly noises at the start – a background to another song, xenowhatsit in action) is actually a bass. Vocals performed by one of those little gizmo’s that speak what you type into it and made sinister by messing about with it.
The name of the band (well, it’s just me but you see what I mean) is taken from ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ by H.P Lovecraft, and the song title is a line from the film ‘Halloween 3’.

When I told Dr Sharleena this one sort of reminded me of Marilyn Manson, she said the track made her think of Kraftwerk.
Yourself? Have a listen:


Like it? Download it.


Cal Schenkel has a MySpace profile:

About me: Calvin blah blah blah bl-blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blahblah, blah blaaaaah blah. Blah eggs, blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah teeth, blah blah bla. Blah blahhh blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah. Blah, blahblah blah hitch-hikers blahblah. Blah blah blah.

Heh-heh. (via Duncan)

40 Minute Psychedelic Version (2)

ed-seeman-40-min-psychedelic.jpgYou may recall my mentioning this film by Ed Seeman a while ago. I got to see it recently and thought a little more info could be of (your) interest.

Of the 14 hours of footage Ed shot with Zappa, what’s shown here is a compressed (surprise!) 40 minute version. We see the Mothers recording at Apostolic Studio’s, Greenwich Village NYC ’67, then follow them along their European tour (London, Amsterdam). Included are shots from the Royal Albert Hall rehearsals as well as Zappa on the London sidewalks generally baffling pedestrians by pointing his audio-recording kit at them.

No voice-overs or interviews throughout the film. To make up for that though there’s the fantastic musical score taken from bits of Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and Lumpy Gravy (the all instrumental Capitol version, no less). Notable appearances: Cal Schenkel preparing a doll for the WOIIFTM cover, Suzy Creamcheese, home footage with Gail and baby Moon, Arthur Brown, and the London Groupies.

For more info and to purchase the DVD, visit Ed Seeman’s homepage.


Anthill Trading announces a deal with the ZFT allowing them to handle all aspects of merchandising not only for Frank Zappa but also for Zappa Plays Zappa:

Anthill recognizes not just the musical contributions Frank Zappa made but also the enormous visual impact his work contains. It is therefore with pride that we will work alongside Frank’s wife Gail in memorializing the entire Zappa legacy through a comprehensive assortment of lifestyle products that will appeal to his legions of fans worldwide.

Pipco shirts, hot-pink overalls, Bowler hats: coming soon to a retail store near you!

The Voice Of Cheese: Jonny Butter

It is time for VOC #10, and joining its ranks today is KUR regular Jonny Butter. His short yet totally sweet contribution is entitled “Commercial For Nothing”. Jonny says:

Here’s the story: The Consumer steps into the gigantic shopping mall. S/he is immediately beset with enticements all around – flashing lights and colors, shiny goods: look at me; no, look at ME! A sea of exciting products lunging out for his/her attention. Our Consumer feels a somewhat vertiginous, woozy thrill. Eventually, the moment of Peak Experience comes: buying something. The pulse quickens; hands get clammy; eyeballs throb. Finally, the frenzy peaks and the purchase is consumated, whereupon Our Consumer finds themselves back in the parking lot, alone, and feeling strangely empty. There’s only one thing to do…

Have a listen:


Like it? Download it!

New Release: Buffalo ’80

What’s new? I’ll tell you what’s new:


Zappa — Buffalo: Vaulternative Records is proud to present another scintillating sojourn in the tour itinerary of stages past. Live 1980 concert. 2 Discs. Replete & Complete. All you need is ears!

$28 a pop. Apart the major site update (made to fit the looks of the ZPZ mini-site), be sure to check the details of the freshly released Buffalo 1980. The barfie-speak email announcement is archived here.

Update: the site’s makeover brings with it quite an interesting video section.