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Public broadcast announcement

Despite public demand, the Good Ship Stylus Stories will be setting sail tothe Earl Haig, on 19th Jan 2018, with the usual crew.  Dig out your records when you visit your mum and dad or ask Santa for some new ones. More details to follow…..


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The dying art of the great song intro

Great song intros, where a tune builds up before the vocal kicks in, are becoming an endangered species as fickle music fans skip tracks if they don’t get immediate gratification.

That’s the view of the man who co-produced two Clean Bandit number ones this year, and it’s backed up by stats.

The average intro time has dropped from more than 20 seconds to five seconds since the mid-1980s, research has found.

Producer Mark Ralph said it is because the rise of streaming services means it’s now much easier to move on to the next song if you’re not instantly hooked.

Spotify vs vinyl

“Attention spans have now decreased and that is potentially down to the ease with which you can chop and change between pieces of music if you’re bored,” he told BBC News.

“If you imagine trying to do that with one piece of vinyl, if you get bored in the first 10 seconds, to take it off the turntable, find another record, put it on and start again is quite a long-winded process.

“Nowadays, if you’re sitting on Spotify and get bored within 10 seconds, you just flick a button and you’re on to the next thing. I think you have to grab peoples’ attention much more quickly.”

Ralph worked on Clean Bandit’s smash Rockabye, in which Sean Paul’s vocal began after just a second; and Symphony, a number one in April, in which the vocal appeared after a whole seven seconds.

Three of this year’s other UK number ones have had intros that lasted just a second or two before the vocals kicked in – DJ Khaled and Rihanna’s Wild Thoughts; Artists for Grenfell’s charity version of Bridge Over Troubled Water; and the current chart-topper, Sam Smith’s Too Good At Goodbyes.

Feels, the mega-hit created by Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean, goes for 30 seconds before the main vocal arrives – but even that intro is punctuated by cries of “hey!”, “oh yeah!” and “ha!”.

In research published earlier this year, Ohio State University doctoral student Hubert Leveille Gauvin found that intro lengths had dropped by 78% between 1986 and 2015.

“That’s insane, but it makes sense,” Gauvin said. “The voice is one of the most attention-grabbing things there is in music.

“It’s survival of the fittest – songs that manage to grab and sustain listeners’ attention get played and others get skipped. There’s always another song.

“If people can skip so easily and at no cost, you have to do something to grab their attention.”

There’s another reason musicians want to grab fans’ attention. If a tune is played for less than 30 seconds on Spotify, it doesn’t count as a play and they don’t get paid.

Those are factors that songwriters and producers are aware of when crafting their future hits, Mark Ralph says.

“I think they’re talking about it a lot because obviously it’s in their interests to be as successful as they possibly can, and they want to have their tracks streamed as many times and played on the radio as many times as they can.”

Epic song intros

  • The Temptations: Papa Was A Rolling Stone – two minutes of pure groove, even in the three-and-a-half minute single edit
  • U2: Where the Streets Have No Name – 1:18 of atmospheric guitar before Bono butts in
  • Dire Straits: Money For Nothing – 1:05, although radio stations would have cut it to 30 seconds to start with its classic riffs
  • The Who: Baba O’Riley – a pulsating 1:05 in one of the all-time classic intros
  • The Eagles: Hotel California – a haunting 52 seconds sets the scene perfectly
  • Survivor: Eye of the Tiger – 50 seconds, just long enough for a boxer to walk to the ring
  • The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter – Keith Richards’ guitar wails for 50 seconds, although there are backing vocals

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British Library event

“Late At The Library: The Radiophonic Workshop And Guests” – an event at The British Library
28/09/2017 by Mike_H 4
The Radiophonic Workshop are one of the most influential electronic music groups of all time. As the in-house composers of music and effects for the BBC they created the sonic backdrops for Doctor Who, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Tomorrow’s World and countless others.
They soundtracked the childhoods of several generations, now they’re back to soundtrack your Friday night with a two part set. The first is a live version of their first studio album for 25 years, the improvised work Burials on Several Earths, with guest collaborator Martyn Ware (Heaven 17, The Human League and BEF). The second is a heritage archive set in which the Workshop perform some of their best known material – including the high water mark of early British electronica –
the signature tune for Doctor Who.
Join the Radiophonic Workshop at 18.30 for a special in-conversation event Soundhouses: The Radiophonic Workshop at 60. Tickets include entry to the Late event.
Audio installation provided by Bowers & Wilkins
Visuals for the night are performed by Obsrvtry, a collaboration between Michael Faulkner, founder of D-Fuse and Ben Sheppee, creator of Lightrhythm Visuals.
Guest DJ Tom Middleton (Global Communication)
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
When: Fri 13 Oct 2017, 19:30 – 23:00
Price: Full Price: £22.00
Member: £22.00
Senior 60+: £20.00
Student: £18.00
Registered Unemployed: £18.00
Under 18: £18.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546

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Audio Gold – The Movie

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The Art of Listening documentary

Great documentary, skip the first 2 minutes of credits and you’re in for a treat.


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Soon to be appearing at Walthamstows Mirth, Marvel and Maud venue. A converted old cinema that looks quite amazing. This is run by Earl Haig Halls Hannah who helped secure many shows there.
Keep visiting for more details !

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Joe Corré (son of Malcolm McLaren) to burn 5 million quids worth of punk memorabilia

It could be argued this is the ultimate commemoration of the 40th anniversary of punk and the most expensive iconoclastic move of all time – Joe Corré – the son of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and designer Vivienne Westwood – is to hold a ceremonial burning of punk memorabilia in Camden, in which he’ll torch a personal collection worth more than £5 000 000 in total.

Punk has now become so imbued with nostalgia that it feels like the Queen Mother of former youth movements. What was once firebrand now nestles in Boris Johnson’s record collection and the kind of venues that would have barred punks at one time embrace it as a cuddly eccentricty – venue the queen has sanctioned the 40th anniversary celebrations.

Corré, who is the founder of lingerie brand Agent Provocateur and the son of the controversial Malcolm has now decided to make stand. He will burn the collection in Camden November 26, the 40th anniversary of the release of the Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy in the UK’, in part in protest at the establishment-sanctioned nature of Punk London, which takes place later this year.

It throws up lots of questions – just what makes up 5 million quid’s worth of punk memorabilia? is that 5000 Anarchy singles? 10 000 pairs of bandage pants from Sex shop?

In a press release about his plan, Corré said: “The Queen giving 2016, the Year of Punk, her official blessing is the most frightening thing I’ve ever heard. Talk about alternative and punk culture being appropriated by the mainstream. Rather than a movement for change, punk has become like a fucking museum piece or a tribute act.”

“A general malaise has now set in amongst the British public. People are feeling numb. And with numbness comes complacency. People don’t feel they have a voice anymore. The most dangerous thing is that they have stopped fighting for what they believe in. They have given up the chase. We need to explode all the shit once more.”

article from Louder than war

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RIP David

Remembering Eamons’ David Bowie’s Stylus Story.
Soundcloud link

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