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CMU Info
Top Stories
Sony Corp talking to Morris about Sony Music top role
In The Pop Courts
Clinton sues Black Eyed Peas over remix sample
Ja Rule expected to serve two years in prison
Rock photographer sues Live Nation over photo use
Awards & Contests
Jedward planning world domination via Eurovision
Quincy Jones rumoured to be working on Off The Wall remaster
Release News
New Trail Of Dead album for 2011
Blue Note compilation series planned
Sony to re-issue Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Gigs & Tours News
Dog Is Dead Christmas party
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Album reviews: Lanu - Her Twelve Faces (Tru Thoughts)
The Music Business
Russian business man increases HMV stake
Sony plans experiential marketing push for Walkman
The Digital Business
OFT rules against undeclared promotional blog posting
The Media Business
Billboard closing London office
New additions announced for Radio 1's new DJs slot
X-Factor watched by lots of people and stuff
And finally...
Shayne Ward to be dropped by Syco

In February, Jason Beck released a free mixtape to celebrate officially changing his name to Chilly Gonzales. Entitled 'Pianist Envy' it kick started what has been an incredibly busy and successful year for Gonzales.

Beck has, of course, recorded under the name Gonzales for a number of years, releasing numerous solo albums in the guise, and also producing artists such as Feist, Jamie Lidell and Buck 65. Although his career has spanned many genres, it all stems from the piano, an instrument on which he is classically trained and also the holder of the record for the longest ever solo performance (27 hours, three minutes and 44 seconds).

Receiving widespread acclaim, 'Pianist Envy' saw him apply his piano skills to a variety of hip hop and R&B tracks by the likes of 50 Cent and Kelly Clarkson over 28 minutes, with the man himself saying: "[This is] my declaration of defiance to the rappers and beatmakers who, unbeknownst to them, leave space for my musical imagination. You know those rap beats and electro songs - the ones with almost nothing in them? Well, I go all Liberace on these beats with my piano and my orchestra". He's not one for making half-hearted statements.

In August he released his latest album, 'Ivory Tower', which saw him and producers Boyz Noize throw all manner of styles at his piano compositions, adding dance beats, rapping, synths and 80s soft rock along the way to create an album that, while not perfect, has enough hooks and hits to keep you coming back. And the profile of the record was helped in no small part by its first single, 'Never Stop', being picked up by Apple for its iPad TV adverts.

Coinciding with the album release, Gonzales also began screening his first film, also called 'Ivory Tower' and featuring music from the record. Billed as an "existential sports comedy", Team CMU was treated to the first airing of the film in Germany, at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in September.

Directed by Adam Traynor and starring Gonzales along with fellow musicians Peaches and Tiga, the film follows two champion chess player brothers in a bitter battle of love and chess. This probably sounds weird already, and I haven't even tried to explain the concept of 'jazz chess', which runs through the entire movie. Although it takes a while to settle into, about 30 minutes in 'Ivory Tower' becomes one of the funniest and most quotable films we've seen in a long time. Tiga, in particular, turns out to be an incredible comic actor.

But that's not all. As anyone who has witnessed it will know, the Gonzales live show is where his genius really lies, and I've been lucky enough to see him play three times this year, both solo and with a full band. What's unique about his show is that he manages to blend music and comedy without diluting either, something he seems to have totally perfected in 2010. He can dazzle you with incredible musicianship and make you laugh until your face hurts both separately and at the same time, resulting in one of the most entertaining shows on the live music circuit.

As well as all of this, he even provided piano accompaniment for Peaches solo performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. I hope he has a rest soon, he's going to tire himself out. Maybe release the 'Ivory Tower' film on DVD next, that probably doesn't require much exertion.

Website | iTunes | Amazon | Spotify
As Porcelain Raft, multi-instrumentalist Mauro Remiddi creates songs which drift through dreamy worlds, drenched in reverb and echoing with shimmering guitar. At his live shows, he seemingly effortlessly manipulates a sampler and loop pedals while also playing keyboard, guitar and singing, recreating the lush soundscapes of his recordings.

The project is still in its first year, but he has still managed to release three EPs in 2010, 'Curve', 'Gone Blind' and 'Collection Of Porcelain, and two singles, 'Everything From Your Hands and 'Tip Of Your Tongue', all of which are filled with beautiful collisions of dream-pop and electronica. The latter single came out through Acéphale last month, while the other releases are available from the Porcelain Raft Bandcamp page.


CMU is looking for a full time (Mon-Fri 10.30am-4pm) intern to assist with editorial tasks at its Shoreditch-based HQ.
Working closely with the Editor, the intern will manage the reviews database, input content into the CMU content management system, prepare photos for email bulletins, and assist with other editorial tasks. There will also be opportunities to write, including artist biogs and reviews.

Some writing experience and a passion for music are a must, while any admin, CMS and/or Photoshop experience will also be useful. Although unpaid, this internship role will provide excellent hands-on experience and some formal training. Zone Two travel will be covered. The post runs from one month minimum to three months maximum. Early January start.

Send your CV and two recent examples of your writing to recruitment@unlimitedmedia.co.uk, indicating how soon you could start and how long you would like your internship to last. Deadline 5pm Wednesday 15 December.
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According to Reuters, Sony Corp has held early talks with outgoing Universal Music big cheese Doug Morris about him taking over as top man at Sony Music.

As previously reported, rumours of Morris moving to Sony emerged last week following the news another contender for the top job at Sony Music, Barry Weiss, who heads up Sony's RCA/Jive division, had announced he was heading to Morris' current haunt to join Doug's successor in the Universal CEO role, Lucian Grainge. It seems certain Weiss decided to jump ship having come to the conclusion the Sony Music CEO role would not go to him.

The role of Sony Music chief is up for grabs because the incumbent, Rolf Schmidt Holtz, completes his current contract with the major next March. Weiss and his counterpart atop the other big Sony Music division in the US, Columbia/Epic boss Rob Stringer, have long been considered favourites to succeed the current Sony chief.

One problem for Stringer - other than recent articles in some US media remarking on what a disaster his time running Columbia/Epic has been - is that his brother Howard is top man at parent company Sony Corp. And sometimes family connections can go against you, in that, some insiders say, the Sony Corp board won't want to be seen to be employing nepotism when appointing the new top man for their record company.

Another problem for both Stringer and Weiss is that they each respectively represent the old Sony and old BMG camps within the company that was, for a time, SonyBMG. The merger of the Sony and BMG record companies in 2004 was something of a disaster and the tensions it created remain, especially in the American wing of the business where the two main operating divisions still represent the old merged companies - Stringer running the old Sony labels, Weiss the old BMG labels.

Although Sony subsequently bought BMG out of the merged major, rebranding as Sony Music, the old BMG camp are still influential within the US business, partly because Schmidt Holtz came from BMG, and partly because Simon Cowell - through whom SonyBMG enjoyed the lucrative 'Idol' partnership in the US and the wider Syco partnership in the UK - was ex-BMG too. Promoting former BMG man Weiss would be seen by some as a continuation of the old BMG team's dominance, a promotion for Stringer could be spun as the Sony camp retaking political control of the Sony record company. Neither is ideal for internal politics.

Which, some argue, is why Howard Stringer and Sony Corp recognise bringing in someone from outside Sony Music could be beneficial. As previously reported, the New York Post recently reported that a favourite was Marty Bandier, boss of Sony's music publishing company. But insiders say he is not keen on making the move from publishing into recordings and, unlike his former colleague at EMI, Roger Faxon, who now heads up both publishing and recordings, Bandier would have to pick one or the other. Sony don't own the Sony/ATV publishing company outright, making a merger of the CEO roles at its two music businesses difficult, even if it would be sensible strategically.

Which brings us back to 72 year old Morris. He was meant to be handing over the reigns of Universal Music to the aforementioned Grainge to take the more backseat role of Chairman at the world's biggest music company but, possibly because he's decided the backseat isn't so much fun, or possibly because of rumours of growing tensions between him and his successor, Reuter's insider sources say Morris is seriously considering the Sony CEO job.

Morris isn't the only contender on Sony Corp's shortlist though, Reuters say. Another possible is Rob Wiesenthal, currently CFO of the Japanese firm's USA division. Some reckon he and a promoted Rob Stringer could work in partnership at the top of Sony Music, though that is unlikely to hugely impress the ex-BMG brigade.

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Those Black Eyed Peas are facing yet another claim that they nicked someone else's music for one of their tracks without permission. This time its funk legend George Clinton doing the accusing.

According to AllHipHop.com, he says a remix of their 2003 hit 'Shut Up' sampled his classic hit '(Not Just) Knee Deep' without his permission. He began legal proceedings for damages in relation to sales of the remix on Friday.

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Ja Rule is expected to serve two years in prison as part of a plea deal in relation to gun charges. He and fellow rapper Lil Wayne were arrested for possessing illegal weapons in 2007. Wayne also reached a plea deal and served eight months of a one year sentence earlier this year.

Having pleaded guilty at a New York court yesterday, Ja Rule will be sentenced in February. He is expected to actually serve sixteen months of his two year sentence. Had the case gone to trial, he could have been sentenced for up to seven years.

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According to Contact Music, rock photographer Ross Halfin has begun legal proceedings against Live Nation over claims its merchandising company has used a photo he took of Pete Townshend during a 1978 Who gig without permission.

The black and white photo of Townshend was taken during the last The Who concert that included original drummer Keith Moon. Halfin says Live Nation's merchandising business has used a stylised version of his photo on lithographs, lighters "and even a blanket". The lawsuit, filed in the New York court, is claiming unspecified damages.

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Jedward have told Digital Spy that they are in talks with Ireland's Eurovision people about representing their home country at the big Song Contest next year. The dynamic duo are excited about using the pan-European event to take their brand, erm, "worldwide".

Jedward One told DS: "Right now, our main focus is on Eurovision. Yes, the UK needs to pick a good act this year because we're going to win it for Ireland. We're actually serious. We're in talks".

Jedward Two added: "We're going to go worldwide. It's huge, Eurovision".

You know, it might just work. Jedward winning Eurovision for Ireland, I mean, not the world domination. That will surely come on back of their recent tie up with Nintendo, which has resulted in a TV commercial so bad, it has motivated Campaign magazine to compile a list of the ten worse celebrity-fronted ads of recent years...


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According to TMZ, Quincy Jones is overseeing the production of a remastered version of Michael Jackson's 'Off The Wall' album, which would be made available with some extra previously unreleased tracks.

The release is thought to be one of ten under the record deal between Sony Music and the Jackson estate following the singer's death in 2009. The soundtrack to the upcoming Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas is also expected to be released under this deal.

A previous special edition version of the 1979 'Off The Wall' album was released in 2001, featuring interviews with Jones and a handful of demo recordings.

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...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have announced that they will release their seventh studio album, entitled 'Tao Of The Dead', on 7 Feb.

Its final track, 'Tao Of The Dead Part Two: Strange News From Another Planet', was produced by Best Coast guitarist Chris Coady. Meanwhile, the first single from the album, 'Summer Of All Dead Souls', was released last month.


Introduction: "Let's Experiment"
Pure Radio Cosplay
Summer Of All Dead Souls
Cover The Days Like A Tidal Wave
Fall Of The Empire
The Wasteland
Spiral Jetty
Weight Of The Sun (Or The Post-Modern Prometheus)
Pure Radio Cosplay (Reprise)
Ebb Away
The Fairlight Pendant
Tao of the Dead Part Two: Strange News From Another Planet

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Jazz FM and EMI have teamed up to release a series of four compilations of artists from the Blue Note label. Launched in 1939, the label went on to become hugely influential in jazz, releasing music by the likes of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Herbie Hancock, Chet Baker, and more.

Jazz FM chief exec, Richard Wheatly told CMU: "Blue Note is an icon in the big wide world of jazz. Jazz FM has a big international audience and this partnership is an exciting moment, not just for us, but for all lovers of the Blue Note magic worldwide".

Guy Hayden, VP of Blue Note UK, added: "As one of the leading jazz labels since the 1950s, Blue Note are delighted to be able to work on a new partnership hand in hand with Jazz FM. Both of us are totally committed to this music and its wonderful fans and we look forward to a series of compilations which will shine a light into all corners of the Blue Note catalogue for old and new fans of this timeless music".

The first compilation, 'Blue Note Legends', is due for release on 24 Jan.

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Well, here's something I've literally not been waiting for at all. Sony Music has signed a new deal with Emerson, Lake And Palmer to re-issue their back catalogue.

The band's manager Stewart Young is quoted by Music Week thus: "We are extremely excited about our recent signing with Sony. The ELP catalogue has an enormous potential for development and we feel that together with Sony we can achieve great things".

Richard Connell, General Manager of the label's catalogue division Sony CMG, added: "The 1970s music scene can almost be defined by Emerson, Lake And Palmer and Sony Music is thrilled to be the custodian of such an important catalogue. These are the albums that firmly established ELP as the true kings of progressive rock with an influence that endures today".

The campaign will begin with a compilation, 'The Essential ELP', on 10 Jan, followed by the band's first six albums on 14 Feb.

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Up-and-comers Dog Is Dead, described as "uplifting pop for jazz junkies and choir folk", will headline the Laissez Faire club night's Christmas show at The Queen Of Hoxton in Shoreditch tonight. Support comes from Ice Black Birds and Hey Laura.

More info from laissezfaireclub.com.

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ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle Of Wight, 10-12 Jun: The reformed Cast, who have just announced that they are raising money from fans via Pledge Music to fund a new album, will play on Sunday night at next year's Isle Of Wight festival. www.isleofwightfestival.com

SONISPHERE, Knebworth, 8-10 Jul: Having previously announced Slipknot and 'X-Factor' favourites Biffy Clyro as headliners, Sonisphere bosses yesterday announced that thrash metal's 'big four' - Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax - will co-headline Friday night at the UK edition of the touring rock festival next summer. It's the first time they have all appeared on a bill together over here, Although they performed together at many of the travelling festival's European shows last year, only Slayer and Anthrax made it to the UK. uk.sonispherefestivals.com

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ALBUM REVIEWS: Lanu - Her Twelve Faces (Tru Thoughts)
Guitarist/Producer Lance Ferguson is frontman of The Bamboos, an Aussie funk band who are currently celebrating ten years together. Lanu is Ferguson's solo project, and here he teams up with ARIA winning vocalist Megan Washington for a slightly poppy, downbeat collection of grooves.

It's a nice little package, though I must admit I very nearly passed on it, the first two tracks being a little too sugary and kitsch for my liking. But I'm glad I persisted, because the sugar coating dissipated as the album developed. 'Wire', in particular, impressed, with a harder trip hop-esque background that seemed better suited to Washington's vocals. Meanwhile 'Fall', while it wouldn't look too out of place on Radio 2's playlist, is another good if rather different tune, the vocal delivery a little akin to Amy McDonald. And then we head further folk-wards with 'Roosevelt Blues'.

Washington doesn't appear throughout, with seven of the twelve actually consisting of Ferguson on his lonesome. And here too there is much to impress. 'Portrait In 50Hz' is beautifully majestic downtempo, while we hit the Tropics with 'Coral Route' and its lilting Hawaiian guitar. The delicate 'Jean Paul', with its music box feel, is quite simply lovely chill out, and we fade out with Roxy Music's 'More Than This' but with French lyrics, a touch peculiar but it just about works. PV

Physical release: 7 Mar
Press contact: DEC Promotions

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Much comment may have been made about HMV's woes when the music company and entertainment retailer announced its half year figures last week, but the Russian billionaire who has been quietly buying shares in the firm, that Alexander Mamut chap, hasn't been put off.

And why would he? Assuming he thinks HMV has a good future beyond the collapse of high street entertainment retail (ie digital, live and artist relations), then now is a great time to be buying HMV stock, all that aforementioned negative comment sending the company's share price downwards.

According to the Financial Times, Mamut, who recently increased his share holding to 3%, has now bought up more stock taking his share to 5%. There has been various speculation as to Mamut's motivation for increasing his HMV stake, some wondering if he sees a potential for expanding the firm's retail operations into Russia, others noting his interests in the mobile sector and pondering on whether he sees the potential of HMV's interests in digital entertainment.

Or perhaps he just thinks HMV's recent diversification out of entertainment retail has much more profit potential than the average City-boy Joe seems to realise, making taking a stake now while shares are cheap a good investment.

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Sony Electronics is planning some experiential marketing to educate the kids that when it comes to portable music devices that it's the Walkman you should be digging, not this new fangled iPod nonsense.

The electronics giant will be touring a 'Walkman Studio' in various shopping centres around the country in which bored shoppers can partake in a little karaoke or dancing, posting evidence of their efforts to their social media profiles, if they dare. The aim, in among all the young shoppers singing and dancing, is to promote the latest digital Walkman range, the E Series (and not the old fashioned cassette playing Walkman which, despite recent reports of its demise, is still being sold in some places around the world).

Sony's Walkman marketing man Omar Gurnah told Marketing magazine: "We want to give young people the opportunity to touch and try the new Walkman E Series from Sony, and to experience all the great features and wide range of colours available. The Walkman Studio creates a fun and engaging experience-led campaign, giving young people the chance to get their hands on a Walkman".

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This is interesting. The Office Of Fair Trading has criticised companies which make postings on blogs or send out strategically targeted tweets on behalf of paying clients without declaring that is what they are doing. Well, they have criticised one company in particular for doing this, but it possibly sets a precedent that undeclared promotional blogging or tweeting, ie where an agency pretends to be a neutral third party, is possibly against the law.

According to The Guardian, the targeted agency was London-based Handpicked Media. However that agency's boss, Krista Madden, has welcomed the OFT ruling, insisting that she always advises her clients to be upfront about their promotional blog commenting and that the complaint against her company stemmed from a single undeclared promotional tweet that was the exception rather than the rule with regards her work. She has now committed to always declare the promotional nature of her postings.

But, Madden says, undeclared blog posting and tweeting is widespread, with a number of her competitors operating in this space. The OFT has not said it intends to investigate those other companies, but this week's ruling may be food for thought for anyone providing such a service.

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US music industry trade magazine Billboard has announced it is closing down its London office with all UK-based staff to be let go. It's all part of efforts by the magazine's newish private equity backed owner E5 Global Media to make the publishing business add up, and is another sign the company's focus, despite its name, is mainly on the North American market.

The title's former Global Editor Emmanuel Legrand has written a blog post documenting the decline of the once truly global music business magazine, which is worth a read: legrandnetwork.blogspot.com/2010/12/billboard-shrinks.html

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Radio 1 has announced the 2011 line up for its In New DJs We Trust slot, which airs for an hour each Thursday night.

As of January doing the mixing will be INDWT incumbents Jaymo & Andy George on the first Thursday of the month and Toddla T on the third, with newcomers, dubsteppers Skream and Benga on the second and Dutch house DJ Chuckie on the fourth. Heidi will stay on also to look after the three 'fifth Thursdays' that will occur next year

Skream says this: "It's amazing. Who would have thought, me and Benga would bless the airwaves? I'm not sure if Radio 1 knows what they've let themselves in for, to be honest!"

Radio 1 Dep Controller Ben Cooper says this: "I can't wait to hear the energy and range of music this fantastic line-up will be playing on Radio 1".

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More than seventeen million people tuned in to the 'X-Factor' final on Sunday night, with an estimated 19.4 million tuning in for the big result where Matt Cardle was declared the overall winner of this year's contest. That's the biggest ever audience for the talent show, up 300,000 on the series' climax last year, assuming you ignore the fact TV ratings are basically made up (well, guessed).

It also resecures ITV and Simon Cowell the accolade of owning the biggest light entertainment franchise in the UK. Though they'll probably be more pleased with the news that Sunday night's 'X-Factor' phone vote brought in £5 million in cash, a figure shared between the show's owners, producers and broadcasters.

Cardle has been busy doing the media rounds as he tries to get his woeful cover of that lacklustre Biffy Clyro song to the Christmas number one spot, giving more exclusive interviews than that adjective really allows. Still, it's working, according to the Official Chart Company his single is currently leading the race for Christmas chart domination by some way, having shifted 112,000 units in its first day on sale. He is quite some way ahead of this year's anti-X campaigns, 'Surfin Bird' having shifted 25,000 units and charity fundraiser Cage Against The Machine 6000.

Among the questions asked of the 'X-Factor' champ yesterday was whether there was truth in the rumours One Direction member Harry Styles whispered to him "think of how much pussy you're going to get" shortly after he was declared winner on live ITV. Cardle seemed to confirm that was, indeed, Styles's remark, telling This Morning: "He's a cheeky boy, he's young; he was being cheeky".

It is true all Syco signings get lots of pussy, that's what's believed to have held up Shayne Ward's career, him being allergic to cat fur. Talking of which...

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According to the News Of The World, Simon Cowell's Syco label is preparing to drop 2005 'X-Factor' winner Shayne Ward after his third (third?!) album and its first single failed to perform well enough in the charts. Louis Walsh also ended his management contract with the singer earlier this year.

The paper got an unnamed source to provide some quotes, but we could probably all have guessed this ourselves. Five years is pretty good innings for an ITV talent show winner whose pop career doesn't go quickly global; well done Shayne.

Anyway, the source said: "Shayne is finished at Syco. Simon has tried his best to turn him into a star but it simply hasn't worked. He gave Shayne one more chance after ending his working relationship with Louis but his music hasn't connected with the public. The chances of him being a popstar again are incredibly low. It's a huge personal blow to Shayne. For a long time people thought he'd become the next Robbie Williams. But the music industry is ruthless and he is costing the company a lot of money at the moment".

They continued: "Shayne is also quite arrogant about his music [and] isn't the easiest person to work with. He will be quietly let go next year and the focus will turn to the new crop of 'X-Factor' contestants".

Now, see, I heard that Ward is unusually polite, or at least used to be. He also has a new single, 'Obsession', scheduled for release on 24 Jan.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
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