“Vortex” is up for Best Piano/Keyboard Performance on TalentTrove.com!

Click to visit TalentTrove.com
Click to visit TalentTrove.com

As I posted yesterday, I recently learned of an online talent community called TalentTrove.com, which holds a series of talent contests among its members. The site just finished accepting submissions for Best Piano/Keyboard Performance and I managed to submit a reworked techno song from my past called “Vortex.” It’s not really what I am into these days, but of all the songs I have written and recorded over the years, “Vortex” seemed to best capture the spirit of this particular contest.

Anyway, I am happy to report that “Vortex” is indeed one of four nominees for Best Piano/Keyboard Performance on TalentTrove.com.

TalentTrove.com – Best Piano/Keyboard Performance Voting

I would love for my friends to support me in this endeavor, especially since the prize is $100. However, in order to vote, you need to be a member of TalentTrove.com, so there is a level of commitment involved.

But since so many of my friends are talented artists who could probably benefit from the tools provided by TalentTrove.com, such as media uploads and social networking features, I think you might wind up enjoying the site.

In any case, I really hope you enjoy the song. If you go the extra step to vote for me, I want you to know your efforts will be greatly appreciated.

And thank you to TalentTrove.com for this opportunity!

Oh, if you want to take a listen to “Vortex,” just use the embedded player below or visit the song’s page on my TalentTrove.com profile.

“Vortex (2009)” – Brian Kelley

Source: Tandem with the Random

New web site…old song (made new)

So I recently became aware of a great online community called TalentTrove.com, which I kind of think of as “Star Search 2.0.” Basically, it is one big talent search site featuring all the social networking tools you know and love (friends, messaging, forums, and — most recently — blogs).

What sets it apart from other social networking sites is that TalentTrove.com puts an emphasis on getting talented artists — spanning several disciplines (which I’ll get to later) — discovered by the rest of the community, as well as external audiences. This creates a network of friends all supporting each other’s creative endeavors. Through the daily “Stage of the Day” profile (profiles are referred to as “stages”…or a person’s “MyStage”) and the editor’s picks featured on the home page, the site promotes the talents of its own members to both the TalentTrove.com community and to external visitors.

In addition, there is TalentTrove.com Radio and TalentTrove.tv. TalentTrove Radio provides streaming audio of programs and music featuring the audio-based talent found on the site. TalentTrove.tv, meanwhile, provides channel-based navigation of the user-generated videos found on TalentTrove.com.

The site also has regular contests, such as Best Comedian, Best Cover Band, Best Singer, Best Guitar Solo, Best Drum Solo, etc., which are voted on by other members of the TT.com community (more on these later).

And getting back to what kind of talent is on TalentTrove.com…well, it’s probably easier to talk about what talents are NOT featured on TalentTrove.com, because almost any kind of talent imaginable is showcased on the site. Of course, you have your musicians, bands and singers. But you also have actors, comedians, writers, dancers, culinary artists, craftspeople…just go to TalentTrove.com and click on “categories” to see for yourself.

The site can also be used by people seeking an online portfolio, as TalentTrove.com accepts uploads in the form of audio, video, photos and text (and the upload process is pretty easy). Another great feature is that it allows you to copy videos you may have already uploaded to YouTube so you don’t have to go through the trouble of uploading the same video to your TalentTrove.com profile (or stage).

While TalentTrove.com is a relatively young company, it has received some pretty strong press and it appears to be gaining a devoted following.

OK, back to the talent contests. TalentTrove.com was recently seeking submissions for a Best Piano/Keyboard Peformance contest. Now, I know I’m not that great of a keyboard player, but there was this techno thing called “Vortex” I recorded back in the early 1990s that I thought would be my best option for the contest. Even though techno really isn’t my thing anymore, I felt it best represented a full keyboard peformance. Even though all of my songs are keyboard-based, I cover a lot of the crappy playing with fake strings and stuff that take the emphasis off the actual keyboard playing.

However, the only recorded version of “Vortex” I have was done on an old 4-track cassette recorder and the song is poorly mixed with a couple of audio glitches thrown in, as well.

So I decided to try to record the song entirely from scratch using GarageBand on my MacBook. I didn’t have much time to do this either, but I managed to remember how most of it went. I didn’t necessarily need it to be an exact copy of the original. I just wanted to capture the spirit and feel of the original song while updating it a bit. Unfortunately, a lot of the sounds on the original recording came from an old Roland Jupiter synthesizer I had for a few years. However, I sold it to Christian Beach’s former keyboard player in Slave of Id and Artists That Kill. That meant I was going to have to settle for the weak sounds included with GarageBand instead of the fat, warm Jupiter sounds featured on the original. But I still think it came out pretty well, considering I was trying to reconstruct a 17-year-old song while working under a tight deadline with little time to spare.

Anyway, I submitted “Vortex” to the TalentTrove.com contest. The finalists will be revealed tomorrow (Friday, May 29) at 10 a.m., but even if it’s not among the candidates, I am glad the contest inspired me to bring another old song of mine back to life.

You can listen to the new version of “Vortex” by going to its media page on my TalentTrove.com stage, or by using the embedded player below.

Like I said, this isn’t really my kind of music anymore, but let me know what you think.

“Vortex (2009)” – Brian Kelley

Source: Tandem with the Random

What is up with Facebook?

As most people on the Interwebs know by now, social networking giant Facebook made a slight change to its terms of service (TOS) recently that had a big impact on what the site could do with your content.

As the original post on The Consumerist blog reported, the TOS states this:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

The original TOS, however, included this passage at the end of the section quoted above:

You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.

Basically, Facebook’s tweaking of the TOS meant that it had rights to your content forever — even if you cancel your Facebook account!

The uproar caused by The Consumerist post eventually led Facebook to revert back to its old TOS early Wednesday morning — a temporary move by Facebook as it reviews language to create revised TOS that will address the fears and concerns of the site’s users.

However, during all this, I discovered something a bit odd while using FriendFeed, a link-sharing service that has the ability to feed content into my Facebook profile’s “wall.” During the Facebook firestorm over the past few days, I posted two articles about Facebook to my FriendFeed account.

Neither made it onto my Facebook wall.

Every other article and link I shared with FriendFeed made it onto my Facebook wall…but not the two stories I shared that were about Facebook itself. If you happen to be a friend of mine on Facebook, go to my profile and click on the FriendFeed tab. You will see all the links I shared with FriendFeed are there, including the two Facebook-related items.

But go back to my wall…and the two stories are not there. And I did not delete them, that’s for sure.

So this blog post will be another test to see if there is some kind of filtering going on over at Facebook. This blog feeds into my FriendFeed account so it should technically wind up on my Facebook wall.

If it doesn’t, I think Facebook needs to answer why this is happening…because it would look a lot like censorship to me.

And, just to be fair, I will update this post to let any readers down the road know what happened.

Stay tuned!

UPDATE…OK, so this post appeared on my Facebook wall, but there is still something troubling me about why the Facebook news links I shared via FriendFeed did not make it there.

Ustream.TV: Christian Beach live on “Sunday Jams” (7/13/2008)

Below is a Ustream.tv archive of a live “Sunday Jams” performance by Christian Beach on July 13, 2008. The backing band, which comes on for the fourth song, features Gorgo (mandolin, bass, backing vocals), John Pfeiffer (guitars, dobro), Michael Scotto (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and yours truly (organ, accordion, tambourine).

Set List:
1. Shadows (Christian Beach solo)
2. Cemetery Friends (Christian Beach solo)
3. Don’t Want to Be a Lonely Man (Christian Beach w/ Gorgo)
4. The Finest Day (Christian w/ full band)
5. Great Ideas (Christian w/ full band)
6. Poet of the Great Plains (Christian w/ full band)
7. Song for Matthew (Christian w/ full band)
8. Open Spaces (Christian w/ full band)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “7/13/08 Christian Beach, broadbandbox…“, posted with vodpod

There’s something in the air (at Macworld)…and we’ll soon know what it is!

Well, in about one-half hour, Steve Jobs will be taking the stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif., for his highly-anticipated Macworld 2008 keynote.

The Apple Web site was updated yesterday to include the phrase, “There’s something in the air.” What this means will undoubtedly be explained by Jobs during his presentation. Rumors of an ultra-thin, ultra-portable MacBook-like wireless Internet device called MacBook Air have been circulating around the ‘net in full force the past few days, and this slogan seems to lend credence to those reports.

But we shall soon find out what it all means…directly from Steve Jobs himself.

To follow the keynote, check out these and other sites that will be live-blogging the event:

Macworld | Expo Keynote – Live Update

Macworld.Ars | Macworld 2008 Keynote Live on Ars

CNET News.com | Live blog from Macworld 2008


Movie Trailer: “Speed Racer”

“Speed Racer” trailer

As you can see, above is the trailer for the Wachowski brothers-directed “Speed Racer” movie scheduled for release on May 9, 2008.

Now, I loved “Speed Racer” as a kid and I’m not sure what to think of this quasi-live action film version. However, despite what most people think of the final two installments of “The Matrix” trilogy, Andy and Larry Wachowski make films that are visually stunning. And, in that sense, it looks like the Wachowski brothers have succeeded once again.

This movie “looks” incredible…whether or not the film is any good remains to be seen, in my opinion. But the trailer is fun, so check it out.

First “Technology & the Arts” podcast is up!

There are a few technical issues we need to work out and some production improvements we need to make, but the first “Technology & the Arts” podcast is up over at the Technology & the Arts blog.

I think it’s pretty good for a first crack at podcasting. It will only get better as John LeMansey and I get the hang of being podcasters/show hosts.

Please take a listen. Yes, it’s a bit long at nearly 34 minutes in length, but I won’t mind if you skip through it and cut it down to 10 (we’re going to try to get future installments down to a more manageable 25 minutes). Just give it a shot.