Gregory Moskovitch

About

I'm Greg.
Deputy Editor at Music Feeds.
Melbourne, Australia.

In an effort to uncover security flaws in online streaming services like Spotify, Filimore decided to send “garbage” tunes to the top of the charts and generate royalties in the process. Filimore started by using algorithms to compile public domain audio and splicing cheesy MIDI tracks together.

Filimore then purchased three Amazon-linked compute instances — virtual servers that are able to run applications — and created a simple hacking script to simulate three listeners playing his songs 24-hours a day for a month, while accruing reviews that described his music as “rubbish.”

“I’m not a musician,” Filimore told SC Magazine at the Ruxcon security event, held in Melbourne this week. “But I kept hearing that artists were going broke and wanted to look into it. As it turns out, you’re doing it wrong if you want to make money in music by being a musician.”

Filimore’s account was banned by Telstra’s MOG and Spotify, though Filimore suspected it wasn’t through any kind of automation. In the case of MOG, Filimore’s 1,200 plays would have been unusually high traffic, while Spotify users likely reported the popular yet awful music to site admins.

Besides seeing his tunes rocking the tops of the Rdio charts, Filimore’s experiment also netted him $1,000 in royalties and uncovered serious security flaws hidden in the way online streaming services operate, all for the price of $30.

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Speaking to VladTV, Lord Jamar explained that he differentiates between “hip-hop” and “rap,” saying that while the former is “the music of the have-nots” and centred on a message, the latter is a consumerist vie for fame and money, and thus, he believes, friendly towards gay people.

“Rap is gay-friendly, rap is rich people-friendly,” Lord Jamar said. “You know what I mean? It speaks for ‘haves’, whereas hip-hop speaks for the have-nots. So within a lot of that money culture…there’s a lot of people with money that happen to be homosexual.”

Jamar implied that Macklemore’s anti-homophobia lyrics such as those in his collaboration with Ryan Lewis, Same Love, are disingenuous and a ploy to ingratiate himself with higher-ups in music, fashion and other industries.

Jamar continued his comments by explaining that Macklemore’s ‘gay agenda’ is part of a larger agenda being employed by white artists to take over what is traditionally black music, likening white people to expatriates in the world of hip-hop and not full citizens.

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Last month, Ticketmaster announced the launch of their own ticket resale market in Australia, looking to mirror the US success of their TM+ initiative. Set to launch in 2014, the system will allow fans to browse tickets “straight from artists, teams, and venues” on the Ticketmaster website.

Meanwhile, events promoter Live Nation have invested $100 million in updating Ticketmaster’s purchasing platform to combat high-tech scalpers who use specialised software “bots” to purchase tickets in bulk. The bots are reportedly responsible for snagging up to 60% of concert tickets.

Ticketmaster remain incredulous towards government-led efforts to stop the scalpers, saying “The proposed legislation will do little to combat sophisticated fraudsters who operate outside state borders where even the keenest NSW Department of Fair Trading officer cannot reach.”

Swiss ticketing company viagogo agrees with Ticketmaster’s position, stating “The ticketing legislation Minister Roberts has proposed won’t work and will simply increase fraud by pushing people back to the black market.”

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Evans also elaborated on the issue of lineup quality as related to ticket pricing, saying “Artists aren’t getting cheaper, but [promoters have] got to keep ticket prices in check. We’ve seen that once prices get to a certain point people start to fall off.” Meanwhile, acts and cost aren’t all that’s impacting the state of local live music in Australia.

Of the survey sample, 68.7 percent believed there were simply no local venues in their area. “The reality is not every town can have a high quality commercially viable venue, so venues are getting people to travel,” explained Evans. With draconian liquor licensing laws ensuring the continuing closure of venues nationwide and the perception of small warehouse venues as “illegal” and “dingy,” the report doesn’t bode well for Australian live music.

Respondents also made it clear that lineups are important when it comes to local gigs, with 98.1 percent identifying the headlining artist as the key influence behind purchasing tickets. Only 39 percent of the survey sample said they’d see a gig purely for recreation. Furthermore, 1.9 percent said they attend local gigs a few times a week, while 42.2 percent said they go a few times a year.

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Ticketmaster contends that these new laws are an insufficient solution to a market problem and that industry self-regulation would be more effective, saying “Ticketmaster believes a pan-Australian approach with the support of other primary ticketing companies would be best suited to assisting the NSW Government’s goal to ensure a safe and secure resale marketplace for fans.”

Ticketmaster has warned of “unintended consequences” if amendments are not made to the Government’s proposal. They say the NSW legislation would prompt consumers to use foreign companies to resell their tickets and that the creation of a secondary market, fully unrestrained by government regulations and reforms, would only cause the scalping problem to metastasise further.

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“People are quite inventive on how they defeat police and security methods so it doesn’t really matter [what we do],” said Penrith police Detective Inspector Grant Healy. According to Inspector Healy, the drugs brought into the festival included “magic mushrooms, cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, what people were reporting to be ecstasy [and] some GHB.”

The punters’ indulgence in the substances ended in 20 overdoses and the tragic death of one 23-year-old Victorian man, who was taken to a medical tent suffering seizures as the result of imbibing an as-yet unidentified drug. Paramedics took the man to Nepean Hospital where The Sydney Morning Herald reports, he suffered several cardiac arrests before being pronounced dead at about 10:30pm.

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Companies owned by Australian concert promoter Andrew McManus are facing imminent collapse after it was revealed that the company formerly known as McManus Entertainment Pty Ltd had been placed under voluntary administration. The news comes amid reports of the cancellation of the Summadayze Festival, a result of the Future Entertainment company’s insolvency.

Back in July, McManus changed the name of his primary company from McManus Entertainment Pty Ltd to Irving Road Pty Ltd, likely in an effort to save face once the company reached inevitable ruin. According to documents obtained by Tone Deaf from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the newly christened company is under administration as of 3rd September, with creditors given until 12th September to prove they are owed money.

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On Doris, rhymes are strategically blended with on-point punchlines, metaphors, similes, Earl’s trademark alliteration, in-jokes, references, call-outs and self-referencing meta, then tightly rolled like a masterfully assembled blunt. Earl deftly traverses through the skate park of the English language, popping every trick he knows without ever betraying an air of showboating, nor wallowing in purposeless fill-in-the-blank rhyming. There’s a sharp intelligence that resides behind every line.

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Perched at the centre of the Corner Hotel stage was Airbourne singer and lead guitarist Joel O’Keeffe. He raised the VB can clenched in his twisted paw and we watched as it was momentarily eviscerated between his protracted claws and emptied in a single gush into his waiting muzzle. He discarded the remnants of the can into the audience with a smile. A receptive hand seized it and a young man with long hair, clad in a denim jacket dripped what beer was left inside into his mouth.

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You arrive before 11.00am, when the gates officially open, lining up at the “Skip The Line” banner armed with either three canned food items, $5.00 in hard currency or a used mobile phone to benefit the Feed Our Children NOW! food drive. You do this because you’re a good person and because it will ensure early entry and avoiding the long general admission line.

You will have with you a small backpack, inside, one sealed bottle of water, a disposable or small digital camera, a homemade snack and a sharpie to collect autographs at the meet ‘n’ greet table and for writing down set times.

You will have divested yourself of all wallet chains, professional cameras, alcohol, illicit substances such as crack or crystal methamphetamine, recording equipment, firearms, projectiles, and bladed weapons of a cutting or thrusting nature. The revelry is nigh.

Once you’ve entered, you will approach the great monolith that is the inflatable schedule board. Looming high above revellers buzzing harder than a teen girl on her first Vodka Cruiser, a giant inflatable wall is pasted ad hoc with band names and set times, arranged by stage. The makeshift look of the board is a result of the set times having been determined the day of the show, keeping with tradition.

Hands forming the day’s first layer of dirt-sweat will scurry for sharpies to write down when their favourite bands will be playing. Then the crowd surrounding the board will disperse and you can enjoy everything from the bands to the merch tables, band signing tables, skating and BMX displays, food vendors, mist stations and the thousands of people who are there for the same reason as you.

But before all this you will be subjected to incensed chatter from cynics who listen to “real punk rock, like the Ramones!” This would be the same Ramones who wrote Here Today, Gone Tomorrow – arguably the single most emo song ever written – and covered songs by The Ronnettes and The Rivieras.

It’s an unfortunate fact that the Warped Tour is much maligned by many self-anointed punk rock purists. They find youth to be a foul and caustic stench, infecting one with insufferable nativity and a lack of appropriate aesthetic comprehension. But that is, as a wise man once said, no fun, my babe, no fun. “That’s not real punk rock. That’s just boy band music,” they say, which leads one to wonder: when did fascism become so punk?

So to the haters, lighten up. And to the fans, have a good festival.

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I used to say “totally” a lot. Too much. It was a habit I developed during adolescence, a physiological symptom of the hormonal skirmish that raged inside me. This simple non-committal adjective became a tic that I had to sink to remarkable lows to rid myself of. I found that if I burned my palm with a lighter for fifteen seconds whenever the urge to say it was aroused, I could keep at least the second and third syllables at bay. I lost friends, I lost a girlfriend, and it was clear I had a problem.

What my experience taught me was something about the nature of addiction. The more I used “totally” the more instinctual it became, less a physical dependence and more a matter of reflexive routine. It was much like a junkie awaking in the morning from his syrupy, crepuscular stupor and immediately ringing his dealer’s burner so he can cop, and no less sinister.

Hip hop is rife with individuals, “cases” to use the vernacular, who bear the scars of the same affliction that I was fortunate enough to have recovered from. You wouldn’t know it, but with every instance of “Waka-Waka-Flocka-Flocka!” Waka Flocka Flame is suffering. Every time he or Gucci Mane call out “Bricksquad 1017” they are suffering.

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Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is equal parts Amon Tobin and Brian Eno. Understandable, with Hopkins having played keyboards for the latter. But where Hopkins matches Tobin and Eno in vision, experimentalism and meticulous sound-design, Immunity is a far more visceral experience. Hopkins captures our primeval urge to move and proceeds to analyse it from every angle, like a scientist studying a novel organism.

The crunchy beats, gauzy synths and ever-expanding layers of album opener We Disappear establishes the thematic architecture of the album: pure head candy, no melodies or hooks, no golden rope from the heavens for you to grasp. Hopkins instead provides a variegated aural experience that evolves before your very ears. It’s intelligent dance music without the IDM label that gets tagged on to every dance release that ventures past a four-on-the-floor rhythm.

Tracks like Open Eye Signal, Breathe This Air and Collider offer vivid portraits of sound that slowly uncoil while displaying Hopkins’ remarkable grasp of atmosphere and tempo. Pitch a track up or down and you have an entirely different piece of music. The somber Abandon Window has you standing alone inside the great white expanse of the echoplex before the glitch-minimalism of Sun Harmonics and the fey, distant vocals and winding, piano of the title track direct the journey inwards, where it comes to a glorious close.

In any conversation about Al Pacino the topic of discourse inevitably turns to the fact that in the 70s, he would act, whereas now, since Scent of a Woman, he simply shouts all of his dialogue like a maniac. Perhaps if he’d won an Oscar for Michael Corleone, like any reasonable person agrees he should’ve, instead of for whatever his character’s name was in Scent of a Woman, we’d still have that superb, meek-voiced Pacino that turned great films into classic films.

In similar fashion, Robert Redford is a man who sticks with what works.

In The Company You Keep, Redford, who directed the film, plays Nick Sloan, a former member of ’60s radical group The Weather Underground, who disappears into another life after a bank robbery ends in murder. When former associate Sharon Solarz – a reserved and engrossing Susan Sarandon – is arrested by the FBI, young journalist Ben smells a story that could save his job. He begins an investigation that sets off a chain reaction of events that put Sloan on the run.

Shia LaBeouf is likeable and convincingly charming in his role as the young journalist. It is when he’s on screen that you find yourself engaged and enjoying the story, which tries hard to explain itself, and ultimately that is the problem. Redford is doing what he knows how to do almost by rote. It’s a political thriller without any thrills. Every twist is just a turn. Everything is handed to the audience, like a gift forced on you that you don’t really want.

You’re left scratching your head, trying to determine if this is all an underachieving attempt at narrative obscurantism, or if we’re supposed to know everything right away and were simply deprived of a big pay-off that never occurred. The film resolves itself aptly, but it’s a resolution that is both underwhelming and, worse than predictable, inevitable.

Julie Christie’s character Mimi, a not-so-former radical, is unsympathetic and though her redemption is secured (don’t worry, like everything else they telegraph it very early on) there is little she could do by that point to win the audience back, short of refunding their time.

The exposition is at times clumsy “You’re my brother”, “I’m the father of a daughter whose mother just died,” but the dialogue otherwise rings true and sounds natural as a result of good casting. An interrogation room scene between LaBeouf and Sarandon is the highlight of the film. A variegated smorgasbord of good filmmaking—well acted, well shot and very well edited. The two actors find a nerve and proceed to pound at it, achieving a back-and-forth rhythm and cadence that is almost musical. But the film strays very far from this one sublime peak, and doesn’t return.

There is a surplus of talent here. The FBI agents played by Anna Kendrick and Terrence Howard go underused almost to the point of irrelevance. At one point I found myself thinking “Oh yeah, he’s being chased by the FBI.”

There is an entertaining and vital film inside of The Company You Keep. Every instance of post-hippie polemic, every blithe jab at the death of print journalism, every regaling of baby boomer coming-of-age is a baited hook dangling just above the water, if only the line were cast a little deeper. Multiple chances to make a very relevant film are squandered, acknowledgement of the mouldering state of print journalism notwithstanding.

The film suffers from simply not knowing what it wants to be. There are myriad themes and each seems to be grasped and discarded, only to be picked up again later when the audience has forgotten about them or stopped caring.

The Company You Keep could have been a good film, instead of an okay one. It’s a balloon that is set aloft by a solid idea, star power, good acting and beautiful cinematography, and deflated by chunky storytelling and critical mismanagement of its own concept.

This Is Not a Film is the best picture ever to be smuggled out of Iran inside of a birthday cake. Period.

As I write this, director Jafar Panahi is sitting an Iranian prison cell serving out a six-year sentence for supporting the 2009 Green Revolution, and making what was dubbed “anti-Iranian propaganda films.” His most recent film, This Is Not a Film, is a cinema verite documentary shot by his friend Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, who too has served prison time, and by Panahi himself on his iPhone. The film depicts the director while he is still under house arrest, awaiting a judge’s ruling on his appeal. Early in the film Panahi is informed that judges – in Iran, that is – almost never overturn sentences. His only hope is for a “discount” on the proposed sentence.

But it is not the house arrest or the imminent prison term that confines Panahi. He is also forbidden from making a film for the next 20 years. He is not allowed to write screenplays, he is not allowed to give interviews to the press, he cannot leave the country, he cannot give instructions on how a camera is to be set up, he is prohibited from yelling “action” or “cut.” He is completely divested of the only freedom that truly matters to the creative mind, stripped of his only means of self-expression.

This Is Not a Film is, for all intents and purposes, a video diary. We follow Panahi throughout his sprawling apartment, going about his day. Black fades to a beautiful kitchen aglow with sunlight. A tall healthy pot plant stands beside the entrance to a balcony that looks out onto Tehran. Panahi soon enters and places a small tray of flat bread on the breakfast table. He is a kind-faced, middle aged man. He takes a seat and looks off to the side pensively. He spreads jam on a piece of flatbread and eats it. A sound, like a gunshot, goes off in the background and a siren is heard immediately afterward. Panahi, continues eating, pressing buttons on his iPhone. He calls his friend and turns the speaker on. “Listen…I’m stuck in a problem,” Panahi tells his friend “I can’t say much on the phone. Can you come to my place?” Mojtaba Mirtahmasb agrees to come over to “discuss some ideas.” “Just don’t tell anyone you’re coming over, okay?” Panahi tells him. He reassures him that nothing is wrong, hangs up and continues his breakfast.

Arriving at the flat, Mirtahmasb becomes Panahi’s proxy—using the camera, plotting, arranging scenes, making decisions. He is Panahi’s insurance from accusations of “directing.” He films Panahi read through his latest script—a film he will now probably never make. The script is about a young girl, forbidden by her parents from attending university and locked inside of a room. The two filmmakers try to figure out how they can make the film without actually making it.

Panahi arranges tape on his floor, simulating the main character’s room. He sits inside his makeshift set and plots camera placements and actor movements, all the while growing increasingly frustrated. The artist realises slowly what he has always known, that his art is the result of the majesty of collaboration and concerted effort and cannot be achieved to any satisfaction on his own. Voiceless and insulated in his home, Panahi is trapped at the bottom of a well and it has finally dawned that no one can possibly hear his muted cries for help. So he abandons the notion of being saved.

He instead decides to play DVDs of his previous films and explain the various instances of creative serendipity that he was lucky enough to capture. He muses on the times when an actor’s impromptu decision enriched a shot in an unforeseeable way or how a minuscule detail transmuted the film from narrative to parable. It is simultaneously heartwarming and devastating. “The film must first be made for us to be able to explain it later,” Panahi says.

Throughout the non-film we are introduced to various co-stars: Panahi’s pet iguana Igi, a small dog that the downstairs neighbour, Shima, asks Panahi to watch, a delivery man who brings food to the apartment and a handsome young student who, substituting for the building janitor, comes by to collect the garbage. “You’re making an actor out of me,” he tells Panahi. All of them unknowingly become co-conspirators in Panahi’s act of non-violent resistance.

It is the day of the Iranian New Year, on which it is customary to light firecrackers to celebrate. President Ahmadinejad has banned fireworks, declaring them to be “against Islam.” Panahi stands on his balcony and films the sparking firecrackers with his iPhone—we watch a censored man clutching a morsel of nourishment for his starved and battered soul.

Ultimately, This Is Not A Film, is work that is bigger than the sum of its parts. Incredibly fitting, as it becomes a recurring motif in the film itself. But firecrackers notwithstanding, there is nothing incendiary depicted This Is Not A Film. There is no explicit indictment of the Iranian government, nor any real depiction of the brutality of the Iranian regime. It as much an indictment of the Iranian government as The Diary of a Young Girl is of the Third Reich. It is not a politically-charged celluloid declaration. It is instead simply a document. A dispatch. A record. But it is not a film. Because it can’t be.