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Top Stories
EMI sign up to Vevo
Judge reaffirms Tenenbaum ruling, but gives tips to any appeal lawyer
In The Pop Courts
Pete Doherty arrested in Berlin
Jack Rose dies
Awards & Contests
Music Week Awards to be revamped
In The Studio
Cat Power working on new album
Release News
Mr Fogg opens shop
Films N Shows News
RZA announces art project
Gigs N Tours News
BeatCast stream Mudhoney gig
Festival News
Muse to headline Roskilde
Pink to headline Wireless
Dizzee to headline Lovebox
Talks, Debates N Trade Fairs
Popkomm to return in 2010
Album review: Jack De Marseille - Inner Visions (Wicked Music)
The Music Business
Duke Special pledges
Live Nation criticise commission merger ruling
Amazon not opening high street stores
The Digital Business
Apple buys Lala
The Media Business
Absolute brand man stands down
Global rapped over iTunes-plugging chart show
Chart Of The Day
Total Rock World Album Chart
And finally...
Anka files for divorce
Pearl Jam man to marry
Fiddy wants to work with SuBo
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CMU Credits + Contacts

Together since high school, Dead Confederate are an alternative rock band from Athens, Georgia, who first emerged on the local music scene in 2006 and were discovered by Gary Gersh, who is probably best known for being the man who signed both Nirvana and Sonic Youth. After releasing an eponymous EP via The Artist Organization and gaining exposure at South By Southwest, the band released their debut album, 'Wrecking Ball', on TAO Records in 2008. Their sound is a mixture of alternative country and grunge, with comparisons made to the likes of Nirvana and My Morning Jacket. Having already supported Dinosaur Jr and A Place To Bury Strangers earlier this year, Dead Confederate have just been confirmed as the main support for J Mascis's tour later this month. We spoke to band's Hardy Morris to ask our Same Six Questions.
Q1 How did you start out making music?
My mother is a musician and so there was always music going on around the house early on. When I was around twelve she taught me [Neil Young's] 'Heart Of Gold' on the guitar, and that was that...

Q2 What inspired your new album?
I'm not sure if there was one certain inspiration amongst the whole band, but the songs on this album are kind of dark and personal. That's just where our heads were while we were writing them.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Well, for the songs on 'Wrecking Ball', Brantley and I wrote them all on acoustic guitar and then brought them to the band. Once we all played them together they turned into these bigger, heavier tunes. As for recording the tracks, we did them all live together in one room. We wanted the album to have a live, raw feel.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We all listen to tons of music that is all over the place, so I couldn't say specific artists that influence our music because there are just too many. It kind of goes without saying, but I think exposing yourself to as much music as possible makes for better personal work. I try to listen to a hundred songs before I write one.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I wouldn't really have anything to say, I don't think. I would hope they get it or like it, it's pretty straight forward. But I don't think there's anything you can say to make someone like your band, it's up to the music and their taste.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
We have been fortunate enough to travel many places so far, but I hope this record helps us to see even more parts of the world. I also hope that it is decent enough for our label(s) to let us make another record(s) and allows us to continue seeing the world(s).

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CMU ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: The Big Pink - A Brief History Of Love
As we head towards the end of the year, we'll be revealing, in no particular order, our ten favourite albums of 2009. Today, The Big Pink's 'A Brief History Of Love'.

The Big Pink's debut album 'A Brief History Of Love' has been on heavy rotation since it arrived in the CMU office back in August. Formed by Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell, who for several years have made and promoted noise at various levels of extremity, The Big Pink is very much an extension of that past. However, here the duo have avoided drowning absolutely everything in distortion, leaving melody and pop sensibilities exposed.
The tone of the album is set perfectly by opener, 'Crystal Visions', which is surrounded by swirling guitars, which buzz and flicker, getting ever closer. By the end of the track they sound like a swarm of angry wasps encircling your head, but Furze's vocals remain melodic and intimate, cutting through the noise.

As well as all manner of shoegaze bands, the album's most overt sonic reference point is The Verve, particularly in the deadpan vocals and lyrics, which are summed up by one line in 'Frisk': "If this is love, then I was just leaving". In fact, for the most part, the history promised in the album's title offers up a fairly dim view of love, often focusing on the fallout, or the period after the initial rush of excitement. Very Ashcroft.

Despite all this, the album's actually pretty upbeat, as the football terrace-style chanting 'Dominos' now elicits when performed live attests. And while you'd expect the wall of sound element of the recording to be a barrier for most, those pop elements seem to draw people in. That balance of noise and pop is no easy thing to get right, and that The Big Pink have managed it over an entire album is worthy of an Album Of The Year nod on its own.

iTunes - Amazon - Spotify

So, for the last few weeks we've been collecting your votes for Track Of The Year 2009. They've been coming in thick and fast, so throughout December, we'll be hearing what some people have had to say about their favourites. This week we throw it over you some of you fine people.

Wild Beasts - All The King's Men
When I picked Wild Beasts' 'The Devil's Crayon' last year, I thought maybe it was a one-off piece of genius. But then they returned with the stunning 'Two Dancers' and it was clear they could sustain that brilliance over a whole album. If there was a poll for gig of the year they'd probably win my vote for that too - their recent show at The Garage was very special indeed.
David Lloyd, Channel Manager,

Tell us your favourite track of 2009 here



IODA,, industry leading digital distribution company for the global independent label community, has a vacancy for a Client Relations Rep based at the London office.

As the first point of contact for our rights holders and roster of labels, the successful candidate will be the hub and advocate for information and co-ordination flowing between IODA internal departments. Providing support and assistance in educating and enabling labels to use our content management tools, coordinate release schedules, maintain and manage their catalogs and assets.

Send a CV with covering letter to [email protected].


Leading independent music PR company looking for a Press Officer with experience in both online and traditional PR. Must be passionate, enthusiastic, intelligent, and a creative thinker. Knowledge of communications: PR, marketing, and blogging would be ideal, but not essential. If you are looking for a challenge within a dynamic company, please forward a copy of your CV to: [email protected]


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Self-contained office space available in the centre of Shoreditch, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street, next to the CMU HQ. 5-8 minutes walk from Liverpool Street and Old Street tube stations. A top floor workspace with plenty of natural light in an exciting neighbourhood that is home to numerous music, media, PR and creative companies. 764 square feet, with room for 15-20 desks plus its own kitchen area and adjacent toilets. £1000 per month plus service charge and business rates (£275 per month and £600 per month respectively). Includes heating. Available now. For more information contact [email protected].


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So Vevo, the much previously reported new music video service being spearheaded by Universal and due to launch later today, will have EMI on board from the word go. The London-based major reached a deal with the Vevo team yesterday, meaning music from EMI's catalogues and indie labels distributed by the major will feature on the new video platform.

As much previously reported, Vevo will be a YouTube-powered video service pumping out pop promos and other music-related content on demand. It was in part conceived out of a belief by some label execs that Google are selling advertising next to music videos on YouTube too cheaply.

Universal hope that by only having official artist content on their site - so no ripped-off-MTV pop videos and crappy user-generated nonsense - they will be able to command higher ad revenues. They will share a cut of that revenue with YouTube for powering the service, rather than Google selling the advertising and sharing a cut with the content owner.

The EMI deal means Vevo will have content from three of the majors at launch - Universal, Sony and EMI. Unlike Sony, who took equity in Vevo, the EMI deal is reportedly a straight licensing arrangement.

Warner are the only major label hold out, then. They recently struck their own deal with Google which will see them sell their own advertising on Warner Music-owned channels on YouTube, again based on the logic that by having only official artist content they will be able to charge higher ad rates. It is possible Warner see Vevo as a competitor to their new look premium YouTube channels, hence their caution regarding signing up to Universal's platform. Or perhaps they are just holding out for better rates.

Whether Vevo will succeed remains to be seen. The major labels have a long history of disaster when it comes to launching their own digital music ventures. Prior to iTunes all five (then) majors got involved in one of two grand plans to launch an uber digital music service. Both were rubbish plans, and both faltered. Still, Vevo is almost unique in actually launching, and the plan to utilise an existing popular technology platform - ie the YouTube video player - is probably a good idea, it was often the tech side that particularly let down the major labels' past digital platform endeavours.

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The judge who heard what may be the last of the big old school P2P file-sharer court cases has reconfirmed her ruling, ordering student Joel Tenenbaum to pay the US record industry $675,000 in damages. I'm not sure why the ruling needed reaffirming, given we already know Tenenbaum will appeal the decision and, if unsuccessful at appeal, plans to declare himself bankrupt. But there you have it. There were, however, some interesting points raised in this latest hearing regarding Master Tenenbaum.

As much previously reported, Tenenbaum was one of the file-sharing kids sued by the Recording Industry Association Of America during their onslaught of music-fan-targeting P2P litigation. He was unusual in not agreeing to settle, despite ultimately admitting to sharing unlicensed music via a P2P network, and instead he let the case go to court where he was defended by Harvard law professor Charles Nesson.

The prof promised a strong defence, some innovative debate around the status of copyright in the digital age, and a bloody nose for the arrogant record industry. In the end he presented some pretty lacklustre arguments, most of which had been heard and rejected by the US courts before, meaning few were surprised when Tenenbaum lost the battle.

Even the judge who heard the case - Judge Nancy Gertner - strongly implied her frustration at just how shit Nesson's defence had proven to be. She'd indicated ahead of the trial that she had little sympathy with the RIAA, who she considered to be overly pushy, but Nesson's defence was so weak even a slight judicial bias in the defendant's favour wasn't going to help.

In a memo publishing alongside yesterday's hearing, Gertner reaffirmed her dislike for the way major record companies have stamped their feet all over kids sharing music on the net, and gave some handy hints for anyone planning on defending Tenenbaum on appeal as to arguments she'd find compelling for letting a confessed file-sharer off infringement liabilities, mainly encouraging a wider debate of the copyright law concept of 'fair use' in the digital age.

Gertner wrote: "As it made clear previously, the court was prepared to consider a more expansive fair use argument than other courts have credited - perhaps one supported by facts specific to this individual and this unique period of rapid technological change. For example, file-sharing for the purposes of sampling music prior to purchase or space-shifting to store purchased music more efficiently might offer a compelling case for fair use. Likewise, a defendant who used the new file-sharing networks in the technological interregnum before digital media could be purchased legally, but who later shifted to paid outlets, might also be able to rely on the defence".

Back to now, though, and in addition to the damages we all know Tenenbaum will never pay, Gertner also ordered the student to destroy any digital music files he obtained illegally. She refused, though, to censor Tenenbaum for speaking about or even supporting file-sharing. The RIAA is particularly pissed off that someone has made all the tracks the student was sued for file-sharing available via a BitTorrent stream, promoted on The Pirate Bay as 'The $675,000 Mixtape'. They accused Tenenbaum of promoting that mixtape and asked the judge to tell him to stop doing so. But Gertner said she had neither the inclination nor the authority to instruct the defendant as to if and how he discussed said BitTorrent stream.

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Oh, that Peter Doherty, can't he just keep himself out of trouble? I seem to manage it alright, and I'm a man of a similar age to him. How come I don't take drugs and sing Nazi anthems accidentally and get arrested all the time like he does? It just doesn't make any sense, does it?

Anyway, Pete Doherty has been arrested in Berlin after apparently throwing a drink at a car. Doherty was celebrating the end of his German tour with two friends by being all rowdy in a bar and, at around 7am, threw a glass out of an open window towards a parked car.

The barman at the bar, Trinkteufel (which translates as 'Drink Devil'), who is apparently called Banana, though that might not be his real name, told the Bild newspaper: "The three of them had just come from Wiener Straße. There they'd been tossed out of a bar. I almost threw Pete out, too. He was drinking shots and constantly asking about cocaine".

Doherty was held by police for three hours, before being charged with property damage and released. I hope he's learned his lesson. I'm sure he has.

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N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos has testified in a trial which sees her former fiancé Adam Bailey accused of being involved in a stabbing.

The incident happened during Bailey's 24th birthday celebrations, when he, Contostavlos, bandmate Dappy and someone called Fifi returned to a shop where Bailey and Dappy had been involved in an argument earlier in the day.

Bailey's lawyers say that the group returned to the shop simply to buy more alcohol, but the prosecution allege they returned with revenge in mind, a plan that led to the victim, Mark Nagle, being stabbed in the stomach. Although Bailey is not accused of actually carrying out the stabbing, he is being tried under 'joint enterprise' laws, which view him as guilty simply for being involved in the incident which led to the stabbing.

Accounts on both sides differ wildly, although both agree that Bailey crashed his car during the altercation. After leaving the scene, Bailey handed himself in to police the next day, and was charged with wounding with intent and dangerous driving. Tulisa was also arrested but later released without charge.

Tulisa told the court that her group had driven to the shop in the early hours of 19 Sep last year, she in her car with Dappy and Fifi, followed by Bailey in his own car. She got there first and initially waited outside the shop for Bailey to arrive, but after hearing a commotion inside entered the store to see what was happening, finding herself confronted by a group of around twenty people, one of whom approached her threateningly.

She explained: "All I heard was: 'Where's the ting? Buss it', which I know from many 50 Cent songs means: 'Where's the gun? Shoot it'. When I heard that I thought: 'Oh my God, he's got a gun'. I turned my attention back to the car and ran back. There was one of them in particular. His body movement was almost like an animal, swaying from side to side. He picked up a dark object and put it down his trousers and he moved towards me".

As she hastily returned to her car, Bailey seems to have arrived and crashed his car after an object was thrown at it by one of the gang. Tulisa continued: "As I saw [Bailey's] car come back, the boys turned their attention to the vehicle. I saw one of them take an object and throw something at the vehicle. I saw the car flip out of control. It did a full tumble and ended up on its side. I thought: 'Oh my God, he's dead'. I was screaming hysterically. I screamed at Dappy and Fifi: 'Somebody help him'. They were just staring. I thought: 'If he is not dead, they are going to jump in and they are going to kill him'".

However, Bailey managed to climb out of the wreckage and, disorientated, began swinging a baseball bat, which he had in the car, to keep the approaching gang at bay. Tulisa continued: "Adam got out of the car and he had a bat in his hand and another hand on his head, looking around disorientated, swinging the bat. He was just swinging at anyone trying to get a metre space away from everybody to protect himself. I shouted at Dappy to wind down the windows and I screamed: 'Get in the car! Get in the car!'"

They escaped, seemingly before any stabbing took place, leaving Bailey's car behind, and Tulisa phoned N-Dubz's manager, Jonathon Shalit, to tell him what had happened. Asked why she had done this, instead of phoning the police, she said: "My life is run by other people. Every move I make is controlled by somebody else. Everything gets done for me and my job is just to work. The first time we found about any stabbing was when Adam got arrested. I feel like we were the ones who were attacked and an innocent man is standing in the dock".

The prosecution's account of the incident is somewhat different. They claim that Bailey returned to the shop with a number of other men with the specific intent of getting revenge on the people he'd argued with earlier. He'd crashed his car on arrival, but this had simply acted as more of an impressive entrance for the group, who had then attacked and stabbed Nagle.

Prosecution lawyer Simon Ward said: "Mark Nagle says he was in the shop on Finchley Road. He hears a bang outside. He steps outside the shop and sees the car overturned. He sees two men emerge from that car and he sees one of them holding a baseball bat. He sees another car pull up and two men emerge from that car - one of them has a knife. The four men started running towards him. He heard someone shouting: 'He was with them'. He is hit on the ankle with the baseball bat and a moment later while he is running away he is stabbed in the abdomen".

Ward added that the defence's claims that a separate group were responsible for the stabbing after Dappy and Bailey had already been involved in the earlier argument was "an extraordinary coincidence".

However, Bailey's lawyer, Richard Horwell, responded by saying that Nagel had not been involved in the original argument, so there was no link between the two altercations. He argued: "The men involved in the first incident, namely Dappy and Bailey, were not involved in the attack on Mr Nagle. And why Mr Nagle? No one suggests he had anything to do with either the first or second incident, so why on earth should Adam Bailey become involved in an attack against Mr Nagle? There is no motive at all".

The case continues.

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Experimental guitarist Jack Rose died of a heart attack on Saturday, it has been announced. He was 38.

Born in 1971, Rose first became known as guitarist for noise-rock band Pelt, which he formed in 1993. However, he is best known for his solo work, which fused many different styles, although he is largely credited with updating the ragtime genre and introducing it to a new generation of fans. As well as solo work under his own name, he also released a number of records as Dr Ragtime.

Speaking in 2007, he said: "Anything that's pre 1942; Cajun, country, blues, jazz all that stuff... that's my favourite kind of music".

Rose had recently signed to Thrill Jockey, who will release his tenth solo album, 'Luck In The Valley', in February as planned. He is survived by his wife, Laurie.

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Music Week will revamp their big awards bash next year, moving it to a new London hotel, and adding a whole load of new categories. In fact, sixteen categories at the music industry awards bash will either be brand new or seriously rejigged.

Among the new categories will be gongs for best Live Production Team, Mail-Order Online Retailer, Studio, Consumer-facing Digital Service and Music Mobile App, as well as a prize for the Digital Tool Of The Year. We've got a few ideas of who should win that last one.

Confirming the revamp, Music Week editor man Paul Williams said these very words: "The ceremony that was held last April was a great way to celebrate our half-century as we recognised Chris Blackwell as the most influential UK-based executive of the last 50 years. Having reached that milestone, we thought this was now a great chance to draw a line under how we have done things in the past, take stock and reconsider how best the Music Week Awards can serve the industry moving into the future".

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Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, has revealed that she is working on new material, though she is currently unsure whether to record it with a full band or go back to the style of her earlier work, which featured just her with an acoustic guitar.

Speaking to Australia's Courier-Mail, she said: "It's just me this time... I don't know if I should push all these [new] songs away and actually try to write and record it with the band. I don't know what to do. But I'm at a point where my heart tells me, 'Chan, you haven't played piano or guitar for four or five years', and I do have guilt about that. People ask me, 'When are you going to play by yourself?' I have problems with strange yearnings and guilt. I'm also frightened because some of [the songs] are sad again and I feel really nervous about that".

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There's a lot of doom and gloom in the music industry these days. Record shops closing down and artists struggling to sell records are but two things everyone moans about of an almost daily basis.

Instead of following suit, Oxford-based electronic artist Mr Fogg is killing two birds with one stone and opening his own shop. Over four days this week, Mr Fogg will become proprietor of Fogg Shop, just off Charing Cross Road in London, selling his own CDs, t-shirts, badges and other merchandise, while also performing throughout the day and night.

Says Mr Fogg: "It's about creating a little Mr Fogg world just off one of London's busiest streets - seeing my logo in amongst the McDonalds and Starbucks. But it's also about putting music back on the high street. Just about the only place you can buy physical records now is your local supermarket along with the pizzas and frozen peas - this is an attempt to create an opportunity for people to interact with music in a slightly more creative environment".

Fogg Shop will be open from 9-12 Dec at 16 Manette Street. It'll open at midday and close "when it's obvious that we should".

It won't, however, be open long enough to stock Mr Fogg's debut album, which he has just finished recording in Reykavik with Björk producer Valgeir Sigurðsson and is due out sometime next year.

More info from

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Wu-Tang Clan's RZA has announced that he will unveil a piece of art entitled 'Victory Or Death' on New Year's Day. The giant canvas was created with WAIL (When Art Imitates Life), an organisation which focuses on creating art with musicians, and will commemorate twenty years of something.

Speaking about the piece, RZA told "[It's a] reworking of history onto massive canvas that focuses on the concept of 'hearing the call and revolution in an inspiring and provocative way'. It didn't begin twenty years ago, more like 200 years ago. And when you see the piece we're making right here, you're going to know what I'm talking about. We're about to rewrite and change history".

No further details of the project have been made available, except that 360 prints of the canvas will be available for sale from 1 Jan.

There's very little extra info at the following URL, but there are some amusing images, so take a look:

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Music video website BeatCast has put online an exclusive stream featuring a full 70 minute live set from Mudhoney.

The show marked the previously reported release of coloured vinyl reissues of classic Sub Pop albums 'Mudhoney', 'Superfuzz Bigmuff' and 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge' and was filmed exclusively for BeatCast at London's Koko venue in October.

As well as the live set, the stream is accompanied by a 25 minute 'Under The Beat' show, which includes exclusive interviews with the band, plus fans are able to download an exclusive, free video of 'I'm Now' from the BeatCast vidcast on iTunes.

BeatCast founder, Matt Francis told CMU: "Producing the 'Mudhoney Live @ Koko' film has been an amazingly exciting time for us at BeatCast. As well as being long term fans of the band, Mudhoney are also the biggest band the BeatCast team has worked with so far and it gives us a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the BeatCast channel, the live films we make and the artists we work with".

Check it out at

Those with tickets will be able to catch Mudhoney live in the flesh at the sold out Ten Years Of ATP festival this weekend.

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Jaga Jazzist were pretty amazing when they supported Efterklang at the Barbican last month, so it's good news that they'll be back in London on 3 Mar, when they will play the Islington Academy.

You can get yourself a free download of 'One-Armed Bandit', the first single from the band's new album of the same name, which will be out via Ninja Tune on 25 Jan, here:

Asked about the inspiration for the new album, Jaga mainman Lars Horntveth recently told us: "I was listening a lot to Steve Reich, Fela Kuti and MGMT before writing the music. One evening I wrote the title track 'One-Armed Bandit', which was very inspired by Fela Kuti. I suddenly started to make all these arpeggios and fanfares that reminded me of the sound of a slot machine. After that we tried to do more of that and added heavy brass on many tracks and crazy arpeggios as a 'theme' for the album".

Look out for the full interview right here in CMU in the new year.

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Muse have been announced as headliners for next year's Roskilde festival, which will take place in Denmark from 1-4 Jul.

More info at

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Pink and The Ting Tings have been announced as Friday headliners for next year's Wireless festival, which will take place in Britain on 2 Jul.

More info at

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Dizzee Rascal and Chase & Status have been announced as Friday headliners for next year's Lovebox Festival which will take place on Planet Groove from 16-18 Jul.

More info at

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German music business conference Popkomm, which took a year off this year of course, will return next September - from 8-10 Sep - at the Berlin Tempelhof, a former airport apparently. This scheduling will make the big music biz junket officially part of Berlin Music Week.

According to Billboard, some in the German music industry were surprised that 2010 dates had been announced because they hadn't been consulted. Some industry types say they fear the programme Popkomm bosses have planned will be too old school to appeal to enough people in the all new music business. But the convention's producers seem confident they have sound plans to relaunch the event in 2010. We'll see I guess.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jack De Marseille - Inner Visions (Wicked Music)
Hailing from Marseille, Jacques Garotta (Jack de Marseille, you see?) has been DJing for near on two decades. 'Inner Visions', the follow up to his 2001 debut, takes influence from a variety of dance offshoots, all captured with the help of engineer Sébastien Rexovice.

From the opening, 'So Lovely', with its nods to the White Isle, it's apparent that this man can craft a tune. He then takes us to bumping house pastures with some Eastern strings in 'Spiritual Life'.

Dub also features surprising heavily throughout the album - in the minimal 'Echospace' and less good 'Dubminimalogy' and the slightly brooding 'Deep Inside'.

Meanwhile 'Voie Celeste' takes us back to melodic techno from yesteryear, and 'Energizer' takes us to Detroit, with its pedal to the metal. The disc is rounded of by a more ambient, trippy vibe with 'Personal Feelings', a collaboration with countryman Trisomie 21.

A far from run of the mill electronic artist album, I'm pretty glad I gave this CD a whirl. Definitely worth a listen. PV

Physical release: 30 Nov
Press contact: Phuture Trax [all]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Duke Special is the latest established act to sign up to Pledge Music, the new fan-funding platform which enables artists to raise money from fans to fund albums and other projects. In return for upfront cash from fans, the artist offers a range of special gifts in return, ranging from the simple - so a copy of whatever album they are funding and maybe to access to exclusive back stage footage - to the more imaginative, including the opportunity to actually meet and/or collaborate with the artist. With Pledge it is up to the artist what they offer in return for fan funding.

Belfast-based singer songwriter Duke Special is raising funds to help him officially launch, promote and tour a collection of three albums. The first features songs he wrote using the words of Bertolt Brecht for a National Theatre production of the play 'Mother Courage & Her Children'. The second is songs written by 'Mack The Knife' composer Kurt Weill for a never finished musical based on 'Huckleberry Finn'. The third is a collection of songs based on Paul Auster's 2002 book 'The Book of Illusions'.

All three albums are already on sale via Duke Special's website, but he hopes to raise money to give the collection a proper DIY release in March, to hire the services of press types to help with said release, and to fund an ambitious tour in the early Summer.

Among the goodies offered to those who contribute are guided tours of Belfast by the Duke, dinner with him and his manager, and the exclusive recording of a cover version of the pledger's choice. His fans are seemingly keen, because pledging only began this morning and he's already raised more than ten grand.

More info at

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Live Nation has submitted a paper which, it says, identifies a number of "key legal flaws" in a provisional statement from the Competition Commission which was critical of the live music conglom's plans to merge with Ticketmaster.

As previously reported, the UK Competition Commission expressed concern that the Live Master merger would prevent a previously proposed arrangement between the live music firm and German ticketing major CTS Eventim, which would have seen CTS enter the UK market to administer Live Nation's new in-house ticketing operation. CTS say it will not launch in the UK if the Live Nation deal does not go ahead, which in theory will make the British ticketing market less competitive than it could be.

Which is why the Commission is currently hesitant about approving the Live Nation/Ticketmaster deal without one of the two merging companies flogging off some of their UK assets. While any final ruling from the Commission would only apply to the UK, its provisional ruling on the matter has been closely considered by competition regulators reviewing the merger in the US, which adds to Live Nation's keenness to find fault with the UK authority's findings.

According to Billboard, Live Nation say in their response to the Commission that it is wrong to assume their merger would block CTS from entering the UK market. While they may have threatened to avoid Britain if the merger goes through, there is still ample opportunity for the German company to set up base in the UK, Live Nation argue. And even if they don't, there are still sufficient competitors in the British ticketing sector - most notably SeeTickets - to mean Ticketmaster would not enjoy any sort of monopoly.

Live Nation stress that even if the merger goes ahead, individual promoters within the company would be free to use whatever ticketing services they felt best served the needs of their tours or events, which may be the company's in-house ticketing division - Ticketmaster after the merger - or a third party supplier. In their submission to the UK Commission, Ticketmaster say the merged company would be willing to commit farming out a portion of its ticketing requirements to third parties - probably CTS - if it meant they could avoid selling any of the two company's UK operations, something which, Ticketmaster argue, might make the whole merger unviable.

Regulators in both the UK and US continue to consider the merger proposal. Bosses at the two companies remain optimistic that eventually they'll get a green light.

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Amazon has denied reports in the Sunday Times that it plans to open high street shops. The Times said that the etailer was considering a high street presence not so much to fill the gap left by the closure of entertainment retailers like Zavvi and Borders, but more to provide a physical pick up point for some of the more bulky goods the website now sells, which won't fit through a letter box and which are harder to deliver to house holds where there is no one in during the day. It would sort of be like an Argos where you order goods on the net in advance. However, Amazon has told the Press Association that it has no plans to open any physical shops anywhere in the world.

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So it seems Apple have indeed bought, the Warner Music-backed digital music platform which offers a mix of download and streaming services. Apple seems to have confirmed to a number of US news outlets that the deal has been done.

There has been much speculation as to what the IT giant has paid for the digital service. One rumour said the deal was worth $80 million, though sources close to the negotiations have told TechCrunch that Apple has, in fact, paid $17 million for the Lala company. As the firm already had $14 million in the bank, which said sources claim it did, that would mean the IT firm got the independent for a bargain basement $3 million.

If Lala was sitting on those sorts of cash reserves, you might wonder why its owners would sell for such a cheap price tag. However, said insiders say the company was losing half a million a month with no obvious turn around of fortunes on the horizon, meaning its backers would rather cut their losses now than face the risk of having to shut down the company in a year or two.

As previously reported, some say Apple are primarily interested in the development team within Lala rather than any of the service's existing products, though some wonder if the IT firm is also interested in integrating Lala's pay-once-per-track streaming service into iTunes.

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Absolute Radio's Brand Director Chris Lawson, who was involved in the rebrand from Virgin to Absolute after the change of ownership at the station last year, is leaving the company. He is off to set up an as yet unidentified digital venture. He will not be replaced, with his digital, marketing and communications roles divvied up between other execs.

Confirming his departure, Lawson said this: "Over the last eighteen months, I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the brand in such a short space of time and I say goodbye to Absolute Radio with fondness and pride. One Golden Square is a hotbed of talented, innovative thinking - expect great things to come from the team I've left behind as they take Absolute Radio on the next phase of its journey".

Absolute boss man Clive Dickens added: "The marketing and digital challenge of rebranding and relaunching Absolute Radio was not for the faint-hearted. What Chris has undertaken over the last eighteen months and the plaudits won in awards and industry acclaim speaks for itself. Absolute Radio is firmly on its path to being a music and entertainment brand with audio at its core and Chris has played a very important part in that evolution".

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Global Radio has been told off by media regulator OfCom for blatantly plugging Apple's iTunes throughout its Big Top 40 chart show.

As previously reported, the Big Top 40 is basically the successor of the old Network Chart/Pepsi Chart/Hit40UK. It was launched earlier this year and airs in the customary Sunday tea time chart slot on over 140 commercial radio stations around the country.

The commercial radio chart has always combined both sales stats and airplay data from radio stations around the country in order to assess what the nation's favourite music might be. However the Big Top 40 is different in that all the sales data comes from one seller - iTunes - and the top ten is entirely based on iTunes download sales.

The idea is that listeners are told the Top 10 as of 4pm at the start of the show, but can influence the final Top 10, which airs between 6pm and 7pm, by going online and downloading their favourite tunes.

The implication of the concept, then, is: "Hey listeners, go and spend some cash with iTunes, and do it now". Such an implication contravenes OfCom rules, which are still pretty strict on there being a divide between editorial and commercial messages. That's not to say Big Top 40 presenters can't mention iTunes at all - the fact they are playing the iTunes Top 10 is a statement of fact - but they shouldn't be pushing listeners to go and spend money with the Apple service. Which they do. Rather a lot.

Following a listener complaint, OfCom investigated the show and ruled yesterday: "We do not consider that the repeated references throughout the programme to iTunes ... served any purpose and therefore appeared gratuitous ... there is insufficient editorial justification for the sheer number and frequency of these references".

Global argue that there is no commercial link between them and the Apple service (more fool them) - iTunes is not a sponsor of the show - and that the frequent mentions of the download platform are there to "remind listeners to interact with the programme and impact the chart itself, on an instantaneous basis". They add that such interaction is, really, no different than any other chart show based wholly or in part on record sales, where the implication is "go buy records to influence this chart".

However that's not a great argument, because no other chart show is entirely linked to one retailer, so while the Radio 1 Chart Show may be implying "hey kids, buy music", they are not specifically telling listeners to go buy that music from HMV, or Amazon, or Tesco. OfCom concluded that the Global Radio produced chart show was "effectively a 'portal' for the purchase of iTunes downloads". Basically Apple are getting three hours of advertising every week. The fact they're not paying for it tells you just how dominant and credible Apple still are in the digital music space.

No one at Global seemed overly impressed with OfCom's ruling, but presumably a memo will circulate around the show's team suggesting they play down the mentioning of iTunes moving forward.

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It's this week's Total Rock World Album Chart, as counted down on Total Rock last weekend - New entries and re-entries marked with a *.

1. Bon Jovi - The Circle (Mercury)
2. Foo Fighters - Greatest Hits (Sony)
3. Muse - The Resistance (Warner Bros.)
4. Creed - Full Circle (Virgin)
5. Slayer - World Painted Blood (Sony)
6. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures (Sony)*
7. Weezer - Raditude (Warner Bros.)
8. Paramore - Brand New Eyes (Atlantic)
9. Nirvana - Live At Reading (Geffen)
10. Pearl Jam - Backspacer (Universal)
11. AC/DC - Backtracks (Sony)
12. Nickelback - Dark Horse (Roadrunner)
13. Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg (Universal)
14. Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue (EMI)
15. Queen - Absolute Greatest (EMI)*
16. Fleetwood Mac - The Very Best Of (Warner Bros.)
17. Rammstein - Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da (Universal)
18. Kiss - Sonic Boom (Roadrunner)
19. Daughtry - Leave This Town (Sony)
20. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Warner)

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Lounge king Paul Anka has filed for divorce from his wife Anna Yeager just days after police were called to his Californian home to respond to reports of a domestic dispute. The couple seemingly got into a rather eventful row on Thursday last week after Anka discovered his missus had fired the family maid without consulting him.

During the resulting altercation Yeager called 911, alleging her husband had pulled a gun on her and saying that she feared for her safety. However, after arriving chez Anka police checked footage from the property's CCTV system and decided to take no further action due to a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing on Anka's part.

According to, Anka went straight to his lawyers after the run in and requested divorce papers be filed. It's not the first time police have been called during the couple's tumultuous eighteen month marriage, in November last year Yeager was arrested after throwing a large piece of ice in the general direction of Anka's head.

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For every divorce in planet pop there has to be a new marriage, that's the rule. So it's fortuitous that Pearl Jam main man Eddie Vedder was proposing to his long time girlfriend Jill McCormick on Friday, just as Anka moved his stuff out of his marital home and into a local hotel. It will be Vedder's second marriage, his first ending in divorce back in 2000.

As previously reported, Pearl Jam will headline next year's Hard Rock Calling Festival in London's Hyde Park. Tickets go on sale on Friday. Hoop-la.

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50 Cent wants to work with Susan Boyle. Of course he does.

The rapper told the Daily Mirror: "Susan Boyle is hot right now. I got to get her on a track, for real. We'd make a hit. Everyone is talking about her, the lady from 'Britain's Got Talent'. She's got an amazing voice, and together we'd get everyone dancing. I'm always looking to do something new and she's cool, so I'll ask somebody to let her know".

If Susan wants to take him up on the offer, where should she look for him? Oh, she'd find him in the club, of course. He continued: "I'd love to take her clubbing, show her around my world. She'd have a great time".

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