Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Revisiting the Ontario Emperor's Virtual Domain

I had occasion to visit a website that I created nearly twenty years ago.

The website, Ontario Emperor's Virtual Domain, can be found on Tripod. Originally created around 1998, I haven't really interacted with it since 2009. In fact, I recently had trouble remembering whether the site was on Tripod, or Excite.

Yes, the color scheme betrays its 1990s heritage. But the color scheme is unique.

Reading through the website lets you wander through ancient tech history. References to mp3.com, geocities, DejaNews, and Beseen can be found in its pages.

Regarding the content, I stopped updating the website in January 2009. The website doesn't even include the very last (so far) Ontario Emperor recordings, uploaded to last.fm in May 2009.

Yet I still find myself visiting the website every once in a while, and for those few who like MIDI-generated synth music, you may like it also. "Little Vegas One" from Exile One is a personal favorite.

Monday, May 2, 2016

(Not) Crawdaddies in Space (Goo Goo Ga-Ga-Ga)

In a 2009 post in this Empoprise-MU music blog, I quoted from a Crawdaddy review of a band that achieved its initial fame in the 1970s.

Discarding theatrics for pure energy, Talking Heads undressed pretension and the expectations of typical CBGB fare, allowing each note to attack the flesh on its own....

When the Crawdaddy reviewer was writing this, the reviewer probably wasn't thinking of a Star Trek episode from the 1960s. Halfway through this clip, at about 1:30, Spock notes that something is fascinating, and then describes his observations in two words.

If YouTube is blocked in your home country, those two words are "pure energy."

And yes, you've heard those words before, if you were around in the late 1980s. (I'm jumping decades so much, I probably should have posted this to my tymshft blog.) The words (along with other Star Trek phrases) were incorporated into the Information Society song "What's on Your Mind."

Of course, something that is sampled can be sampled again, as a Pittsburgh radio station demonstrated. Often when radio stations change formats, they stop the old format, play a short snippet of audio on a loop over and over again until people go crazy, and then start the new format. That's what the Pittsburgh radio station did, as the station - then known as WYDD - prepared to change formats, and to change its call letters to WNRJ.

WYDD-FM started playing the song "What's on Your Mind" by Information Society at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and when it got to the phrase "pure energy," repeated it over and over until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, when the station changed to its new format. Program director Rick Sklar made a tape loop that "just kept repeating, 'Pure energy, pure energy,' " said Bob Hank, station general manager. The new station's theme is "Energy 105," based on the new call letters, W-N-R-J.

Unfortunately for the station, the listeners panicked in an Orswellian sort of way.

But listeners hoping for the usual tunes became alarmed when regular music never came on and began phoning the station, the police, the 911 emergency number and the FBI....

And the Organians weren't around to stop them from doing it.

Once the station started its "energy" format, it apparently was playing Bon Jovi rather than Information Society, based upon this soundcheck.

And the format didn't last. In less than a year, WNRJ became easy listening station WEZE, and then switched two years after that to Christian talk as WORD. Today the 104.7 frequency is occupied by WPGB, which is currently a "new country" station.

Not a "big country" station, because then we will have gone full circle in this post - and I'm not talking Scotsmen.

(For a fun trick, play the Star Trek, Information Society, and Talking Heads videos all at once.)