Truth in Advertising: Auto-tune and Britney Spears

Britney Spears has been a pop singer since at least 1998, but a leak of a music file of her singing one of her recent songs has all but destroyed what little artistic credibility she ever had.

First, read this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autotune

 

Auto-Tune is an audio processor created by Antares Audio Technologies which uses a proprietary device to measure and alter pitch in vocal and instrumental music recording and performances.[2] It was originally intended to disguise or correctoff-key inaccuracies, allowing vocal tracks to be perfectly tuned despite originally being slightly off-key.

The processor slightly bends pitches to the nearest true semitone (to the exact pitch of the nearest tone in traditional equal temperament). Auto-Tune can also be used as an effect to distort the human voice when pitch is raised or lowered significantly.[3] The overall effect to the discerning ear can be described as hearing the voice leap from note to note stepwise, like a synthesizer.

Auto-Tune is available as a plug-in for professional audio multi-tracking suites used in a studio setting and as a stand-alone, rack-mounted unit for live performance processing.[4] Auto-Tune has become standard equipment in professional recording studios.[5]

Auto-Tune was initially created by Andy Hildebrand, an engineer working for Exxon. Hildebrand developed methods for interpreting seismic data and subsequently realized that the technology could be used to detect, analyze, and modify the pitch in audio files.[3]

I have already written about how I view photoshopping as fraudulant, so clearly I view use of auto-tune to misrepresent singing ability as much the same. But not all auto-tuning is fraudulent, of course. It was used to make the Symphony of Science videos.

But listen now to this finished sound file of Britney Spears singing her song “Alien”.

And we have just learned that the song was auto-tuned.  Here is an article describing this discovery:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/08/britney-spears-alien-without-auto-tune_n_5567640.html

This might not be the first time we’ve heard a Britney Spears track without any Auto-Tune enhancement, but it doesn’t mean it makes us cringe any less this time around.

On July 2, the unedited vocal version of Spears’ track “Alien,” off of her most recent album, “Britney Jean,” leaked. As the video picked up steam, track producer William Orbit posted a statement Monday, July 7, explaining that the track is a vocal warm-up session, not Spears’ final take.

“I’d like to affirm that ANY singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalisations in order to get warmed up,” Orbit wrote. “Warming up is essential if you’re a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I’ve heard all manner of sounds emitted during warm-ups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners.

“A generous singer will put something down the mic to help the engineer get their systems warmed up and at the right level, maybe whilst having a cup of herb tea and checking through lyrics before the session really kicks off. It’s not expected to be a ‘take.’”

Oh, God!  If record producers are going to lie, could they at least try to be credible?

Hear the version of the song before auto-tune was applied. (Update:  the original link led to a music file that was later taken down; this is another copy of it on YouTube.)

The music is exactly the same, only the vocals sound like crap!

I have to wonder if auto-tune was used on earlier Britney Spears songs, all the way to her first album “Baby One More Time”. But what we can be sure of is that the record company knowingly committed fraud and was trying to suppress that fact. When the original non-auto-tuned version of “Alien” came out on YouTube, the company took advantage of the DMCA to try to suppress it:

Damn the company, and damn Britney Spears!

Adam Buckley

This is a Canadian DJ and radio personality who I have gotten to know from his YouTube videos rather than from his radio programs, which I have never heard. I happen to agree with almost everything he says, for he presents a well-balanced and enlightened view of almost everything. The only drawback is his tendency to use a lot of profanity, which has caused me to label him, “Sir Swear-a-Lot”. But if that is the worst thing about him, I will gladly overlook it, for he deals with a lot of the subjects I have covered on this blog for years.

Here are some of his videos:

And his newest one:

I would not call him my hero, but he certainly could be one of my best friends.

Copyright abuse

First, read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMCA

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet[citation needed]. Passed on October 12, 1998, by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of on-line services for copyright infringement by their users.

The DMCA’s principal innovation in the field of copyright, the exemption from direct and indirect liability of internet service providers and other intermediaries, was adopted by the European Union in the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000. The Copyright Directive 2001 implemented the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty in the EU.

Takedown notice

Google asserted misuse of the DMCA in a filing concerning New Zealand’s copyright act,[25] quoting results from a 2005 study by Californian academics Laura Quilter and Jennifer Urban based on data from the Chilling Effects clearinghouse.[26] Takedown notices targeting a competing business made up over half (57%) of the notices Google has received, the company said, and more than one-third (37%), “were not valid copyright claims.”[27]

The original purpose of copyright laws was to protect creativity by allowing artists, both of visual arts and music, to make their fair share of money from selling their own creations. It is certainly unethical for anyone to claim another’s original work as his own and then make a profit from that work being sold.

Too often, however, what happens is that people wanting to censor a viewpoint they find offensive make claims based on their interpretation of the DMCA to claim copyright infringement that is not valid or, even if technically valid, really is not fair at all.

Here is a perfect example. Watch this video by YouTube user cdk007:

Did you enjoy it? Maybe if you were a younger person you were bored by the classical music track that was used for it. But in fact, that was not the original music that was used for the video. Instead, cdk007 used this music first:

That DOES sound 100% better, in my opinion. But soon after cdk007 posted the video about evolution, he was slapped with a DMCA takedown notice and he was forced to replace the soundtrack. But he never claimed the song “Jesus of Suburbia” was his creation, nor did he make money from that video. I doubt that Green Day, the artist that made the song, was to blame for what happened, it seems so unlike them!

What happened in this case was de facto censorship. The DMCA actually SUPPRESSES creativity and freedom of speech and it should be repealed.

Science as a genuine source of spirituality

Science and religion are so often considered rivals that it doesn’t occur to many people that the deepest form of spirituality can be formed from modern scientific knowledge. This video by Symphony of Science illustrates that idea brilliantly:

Enough said! Just watch and enjoy this, then follow the link above to see more videos!

William Aura

William Aura is a New Age musician that has been putting out great music since the 1970s. Most of his solo works, spanning from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, ranged from slow ambient to upbeat jazz. He was one of the first artists signed to Higher Octave Music and later became a staff producer for that lable.  In 1994 he formed a trio called 3rd Force which became a leader in the smooth jazz genre. A devoted Buddhist, his spiritual vision is reflected in both his music and in his social activism.

Several months ago, I made this video featuring one of his early songs:

He noticed it and commented thusly:

Thank you for the kind words. Great to hear this track again. Beautiful graphics. You have brought joy to my heart. Take good care.

Here’s another video of an even greater song, “Dreamer”. The visuals of this video are even more impressive!
Here is his Facebook account:
And here is Aura appealing for aid to people in Nepal:
Thank YOU, Aura, for your works, both of art and of charity. The world is an oyster and you are a pearl the size of a human heart.

Good riddance to Prussian Blue!

A few years ago, I learned about a set of twin girls named Lynx and Lamb Gaede who had formed a music duo named Prussian Blue while they were still nine or ten years old . They played songs championing racism, anti-Semitism, and other evil dogmas. They recorded albums, toured at white supremacist functions, and otherwise made idiots of themselves, all to please their  bigoted mother.

Not any more!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_Blue

As of early 2009, the band’s Web site and MySpace page are no longer operational.

They do still have a blog up, but no entries have been made to it  since 2008.

[ready+for+the+dance.JPG]

So what happened? THEY GREW UP, and not just physically!

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/07/17/071711-news-nazi-twins-1-6/

Lamb and Lynx Gaede, the dimpled tween rockers whose Nazi-themed pop band, Prussian Blue, sparked an exuberant media firestorm several years back have grown up — and had a change of heart.

“I’m not a white nationalist anymore,” Lamb told The Daily in an exclusive interview, the twins’ first in five years. “My sister and I are pretty liberal now.”

“Personally, I love diversity,” Lynx seconded. “I’m stoked that we have so many different cultures. I think it’s amazing and it makes me proud of humanity every day that we have so many different places and people.”

And now that they are 19 and legally adults, they need never follow their mother and her views again. But at the same time, the damage the mother did to them may never be entirely undone; no matter where they go or what they do in the future, the legacy of “Prussian Blue” will probably follow them for the rest of their lives.

April Gaede, unless you have yourself changed and become enlightened as well, you can go to hell for what you did to your daughters!

A good reason not to be Libertarian – Classical music

As a lover of classical music for decades, I have been dismayed by its gradual decline in our society. In most record stores today (at least in north Texas), it is increasingly difficult to find a section of the store dedicated to classical music, or even new age music for that matter. Instead, I find our culture swamped constantly by rock, country, and even rap music. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with those genres, since I listen to plenty of rock and even some country myself  (indeed, I grew up only with country since that was all my parents would listen to). OK, I don’t like most rap. Want to call me elitist for that? Be my pest!

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Laci Green, your warning is too little, too late!

Laci Green is a YouTube personality that is known for two things: At first she was mainly interested in proclaiming and defending her atheism (she was raised a Mormon and rebelled against that religion in her teens). Later, she turned to discussing sexuality and dedicated herself to making “sex positive” videos in which she offers advice and suggestions on how to improve your sex life. But she does have her limits.

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A Pair of Musical Collages to Inspire and Enlighten

I’ve invented the term “musical collage” to represent a group of songs by different artists assembled around a common theme or storyline, much like a compilation album except the songs may be featured in a live performance. Here’s one example, which I’ve titled “The Price of Fame”. The videos are all by the original artists.

 

This is another musical collage, which I’ve titled “From a Broken Home to a Healed World”:

I would LOVE to hear a band actually play those songs together!

These videos, as assembled by me, are my gift to the world this Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

One Step At A Time

This song, by singer Jordin Sparks, is worth hearing and is something I think we should all live by.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIE5QtkxzvM

Hurry up and wait
So close, but so far away
Everything that you’ve always dreamed of
Close enough for you to taste
But you just can’t touch

You wanna show the world, but no one knows your name yet
Wonder when and where and how you’re gonna make it
You know you can if you get the chance
In your face as the door keeps slamming
Now you’re feeling more and more frustrated
And you’re getting all kind of impatient waiting

[Chorus:]
We live and we learn to take
One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen when it’s
Supposed to happen and we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time

You believe and you doubt
You’re confused, you got it all figured out
Everything that you always wished for
Could be yours, should be yours, would be yours
If they only knew

You wanna show the world, but no one knows your name yet
Wonder when and where and how you’re gonna make it
You know you can if you get the chance
In your face as the door keeps slamming
Now you’re feeling more and more frustrated
And you’re getting all kind of impatient waiting

[Chorus]

When you can’t wait any longer
But there’s no end in sight
when you need to find the strength
It’s your faith that makes you stronger
The only way you get there
Is one step at a time

The most beautiful couple in all of Texas!

This blog has been a forum for a lot of negativity over the years, but not tonight. Tonight, I want to share my adoration for a couple who I consider to have the ideal marriage, and express their love for each other and the world with the most incredible music:  Pamela and Randy Copus of the new age duo 2002!

http://www.2002music.com/index.html

http://www.2002music.com/bio.html?num=2

Pamela and Randy Copus, the duo known as 2002, have charted 9 albums on the Billboard Charts in the past 10 years. This Moment Now, won the COVR award for Best New Age Album in 2003. 2002 made the list of top new age artists in the Billboard Magazine “Year in Review” issue, December 2003. Also on the list; Yanni, Manhneim Steamroller, Jim Brickman, George Winston & Enya.

Pamela and Randy released 7 albums under the Real Music label: Chrysalis, Land of Forever, River of Stars, Across an Ocean of Dreams, The Sacred Well, This Moment Now and The Emerald Way. These albums charted on Billboard for a total of 264 weeks. Real Music also picked up 2002′s back catalog, Wings and Saviti and re-released both albums with new artwork.

2002 later signed with Gemini Sun Records. Their first release “Deep Still Blue” on May 8, 2007 featured 10 all new songs and a bonus DVD of the music matched to videos of beautiful oceanic photography by Susan Saibara. Then came the explosive “A Word in The Wind” and the contemplative “Christmas Dreams”.

Free at last of label contracts, 2002′s first release is a moment of coming full-circle. Beginning again at the beginning. The newest release is the super-soft “Wings II – Return to Freedom” CD, released November 19, 2009.

Randy Copus plays piano, electric cello, guitar, bass and keyboards. Pamela Copus plays flutes, harp, keyboards and a wind instrument called a WX5. Both musicians also provide all of the vocals on their albums, recording their voices many, many times and layering them to create a “virtual choir” with a celestial, angelic quality.

Check out their blog here:

http://2002music.wordpress.com/

Explore and enjoy!

Taylor Swift

In our twisted culture, most men and even some women seem to be obsessed with big breasts and big butts. Yet there is one young woman who comes across as absolutely stunning in her beauty and talent, yet she has neither oversized breasts or a big butt. In fact, she is quite thin, lacking curves at all. But that matters not when you see her as a whole.

http://www.taylorswift.com/photos

To all those plastic surgeons and others who give the impression that enlarging breasts can make a real difference in women’s lives, I’d like to give them a big F U! I’ve known some real unattractive women who were large chested. What matters is what is in the heart and the mind. But not the breasts or other body parts. Grow up, shallow minded pervs!