January 2009 Archives

I apologize. I am so far behind on posting these here.

It’s no secret that polka is one of my favorite musical genres. So here’s Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” as sent through Microsoft Songsmith. I think it does an amazing job. As a polka.

Download the mp3 here

You asked for it, you got it. There will be a series of these, but here’s the first one: Rick Astley, Microsoft Songsmith, and metal. BITCHIN’!

Download the mp3

You’ve probably been calling them THE Eagles this whole time. Microsoft Songsmith renders Hotel California a club for alternative lifestyles. Enjoy.

I’m always finding out about these things way too late. NPR ran a feature on the Classic Hits by Microsoft Songsmith series this afternoon during Day To Day (segment E if you’re that curious)… all your favorite hits were featured.

Thanks to Alex Cohen for, uh, recognizing my brilliance. You can listen to the segment on NPR’s handy Flash player.


We’re back with one of my favorite creations: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, which Microsoft Songsmith managed to turn into a Bob Seger song. Seriously, this would fit perfectly on Stranger In Town.

Download the mp3

We went over 1,000,000 channel views today, roughly 925,000 of which came in the past seven days. That’s better than your average cable drama, so I’m happy. Here’s celebratin’ with one of my favorite songs, ever. Weezer, “Buddy Hollly,” and Microsoft Songsmith come together to make gloriously creepy babies.

Download the mp3

Some have called it “Hillbilly Idol.” Others, “Shotgun White Wedding.”

I call it hilarious. Microsoft Songsmith does wonderful things with Billy Idol’s “White Wedding.”

Download the mp3

Why yes, that is the New York Times

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If you were reading page BU4 of the Sunday New York Times, and saw a reference to my current project, why, yes, your eyes are true.

I can’t offer the same apologia for Songsmith’s output when it transmutes the rock canon into synthetic treacle. The most excruciating Songsmith output I’ve run across on YouTube is a result of feeding the software vocals of the Beatles song “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Listening to it, I wonder if software is now capable of thinking like a human being and can enjoy its own private jokes at our expense. If so, I suspect that Songsmith is snickering.

It wasn’t just in the Sunday Times, it was in the Int’l Herald-Tribune and the roughly 40-some other papers that use Sunday Times content in THEIR Sunday papers.

I believe that the provided hyperlink meets guidelines for citations. I have new lines to enter in my vita now.

This features a 909 and I then realized that The Postal Service uses 909s in a lot of their songs.

So, basically, this is what it would sound like if The Postal Service covered “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. Or if Geddy Lee had sung into Microsoft Songsmith. Either way.

Download the mp3

Trying to catch up with the YouTube action… here’s what happened when I sent the vocals to “Creep” through Microsoft Songsmith. It makes the Radiohead song even… more effectively creepy.

Download the mp3

Daft Punk vs. Adam Freeland - AER OBAMA

This is the most amazing video I’ve ever seen. How it escaped me for a full week is a mystery.

Daft Punk vs. Adam Freeland - “Aer OBAMA” from Gold Greendot on Vimeo.

Basketball Dreams

My favorite blog — hell, my favorite WEBSITE — is The Mid-Majority. Kyle is a brilliant human being who has elected to use his considerable talents to bring the reality of Division I college basketball to all of us, every day, during the regular season.

The only way Kyle can adequately do that is with money to put gas in the tank of whatever rental car in which he is speeding down America’s back roads and freeways. So click the link above, and find the donation link. If you couldn’t get out and do something productive in Dr. King’s name today, send five bucks to Mr. Kyle Whelliston. I’ll buy you a beer someday in return for your generosity.

Microsoft Songsmith takes on another classic Marvin Gaye hit from 1968 today, with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” in the style of.. wow, I have no idea. It’s just noise.

Download the mp3

People like us, they really like us

People who have talked about my work with Microsoft Songsmith lately:

The London Guardian:

But it turns out that YouTube’s azz100c is having fun with the program. Songsmith is a bit like karaoke meets Jive Bunny, the sort of record that can clear whole neighbourhoods of anyone with the least bit of musical taste. Basically, you “sing” any old rubbish and Songsmith provides an appropriate backing track. But it turns out that the program, launched at CES, does have a use. You can produce naff backing tracks for pop classics and run them behind the original video, to humorous effect. Roxanne, by The Police, is a typical example (above).


Who knew “Just What I Needed” was such a sad song? I mean, it’s a sad/angry song. But not this sad.

Spreeblick (in German):

The wonderful Autopopmaschine Song Smith. YouTube users azz100c has extracted vocals known pop songs and song Smith can do the rest. The results are terribly beautiful, terrible plastic songs that are super safe in the next Microsoft Commercial make. Because they are so good fit for the company. Until now there is Oasis’ “Wonderwall” in the UmtzUmtzKirmestechno version, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye as Schunkelpop, “Long Train Runnin ‘” by The Doobie Bros in test-tube radio, The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper “in the solo entertainers blues version, and very bizarre: The Police” Roxane “in the solo entertainer-merengue remix.


The slowdown before the verses start again = best.

Yes But No But Yes:

I’ve been following the emergence of a wonderful genre - Songsmith redoing classic tracks. If you haven’t heard about it, Microsoft’s new Songsmith software takes any vocal track you create and automatically generates a backing track. While it’s meant for kids to put music to their singing, enterprising individuals have been isolating vocal tracks from classic rock songs, feeding them into the software, and capturing the output. It’s a very twisted type of artificial intelligence. Forget Terminators, this is the way Skynet will take over the Earth.

There’s more to come, kiddos. I think this is the closest Entertainment Weakly will ever come to appearing in Entertainment Weekly.

Microsoft Songsmith was brutal to the Beatles this time around, making “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” even more of an assault on the senses than it was back in 1967.

Download the mp3 here

Microsoft Songsmith gets romantic today with its interpretation of “Just What I Needed” by The Cars.

Download the mp3

Microsoft Songsmith continues to astound, impress, annoy, and inflict ear pain. Upon being fed Sting’s vocals from “Roxanne,” Songsmith spat out a weird amalgam of Latin/Reggae. Strangely, the YouTubers seem to like it.

Download the mp3

Plane crash in New York City

An Airbus crashed into the Hudson River in New York City.

Q. Where’d the passengers go? A. They ran, they ran so far away.

One of my rules for importing vocal tracks into Microsoft Songsmith is that I use whatever the default music style is when the program first starts.

And that is how you end up with a techno version of Oasis’ 1995 hit “Wonderwall.”

Download the mp3

“Long Train Runnin’” is my favorite Doobie Bros. song, and one of my favorite songs of all time. This is, undoubtedly, because it is played relentlessly by the Ohio University Marching 110, the Most Exciting Band In The Land.

This is the vocal track (technically, the lead vocal + background vocal) from the 1973 recording of Long Train fed into Microsoft Songsmith. Songsmith does less well with this material than it did yesterday’s.

Download the mp3

So Microsoft released an application called Songsmith. You might know it from the goofy commercials where the little girl sings some goofy song she wrote into the computer, and magically Microsoft spits out a complete song. It’s actually kind of a neat concept, but I was curious to see how well it worked.

So I took the vocal track from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 recording “What’s Going On” and fed it into Microsoft Songsmith. This is the result. To be honest, I’m actually a bit impressed.

There will be more of these to come.

Download the mp3 here

Five hilarious minutes with John Ziegler

John Ziegler appeared on MSNBC today to pimp his “How Obama Got Elected” website. (No, I am not going to link to it.) He proceeded to start a war with MSNBC’s David Shuster, claiming that MSNBC engaged in “character assassination.” It is utterly hilarious how batshit insane John Ziegler is.

Palin supporter John Ziegler goes crazy live on MSNBC

stephen curry -- FLASH

I made a highlight video for Kyle Whelliston of The Mid-Majority. It’s Davidson star guard Stephen Curry, set to the video of Queen’s “Flash,” from the Flash Gordon movie. I hope you like it. (Yeah, my blog cuts off the edge. That’s my fault, not YouTube’s. But it’s in HD! You can view it there if you don’t believe me.

logic is easy

I attended a university that requires all students take some form of logic class. You could take it in philosophy, math, computer engineering, whatever. But you had to take logic.

I thought all colleges required students to take logic, as it was pretty much the only class they had at the original Academy (along with Public Speaking, of course) and it just seems like it would be a rather important class to require for all college students today (along with Public Speaking, of course).

I took logic in the philosophy department from a master’s grad assistant named Liza. Sicky took the class, too, and while Liza wasn’t the best lecturer (neither was I, my first year teaching) I learned what I needed to.

That is to say, I can take this test and find it rather insulting. Though, really, anyone with a functioning brain should be able to get all the questions right. If the massive global food shortage ever requires sacrificing half the world’s population, I move that requiring a perfect score on this test be the arbiting factor in whether you live or get eaten.

Hint: It’s helpful that Americans are fatter than the rest of the world, since we’re the ones who are gonna get eaten first.

tostitos are hypocrites

Attention, lady in the Tostitos ad:

Before you get all high and mighty about the “THIRTEEN INGREDIENTS!??” in the generic tortilla chips, perhaps you should consider the two bottles of Mountain Dew in your shopping cart.

My new year's resolution

A lot of people called me yesterday and asked what my New Year’s Resolution was. I replied with the truth: “1680x1050.”

Amadeus, Amadeus

We pronounce his last name “MOAT-zart,” not “MO-zart.” So why do we prounounce his first name “WULF-gang” instead of “VULF-gahng”?


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    This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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