Turns out Mike Patton, and not Axl Rose, is the greatest singer of all time

19 Jul Featured Image -- 4229

Confirming the obvious.

Consequence of Sound

Last week, we published a list of the best singers as ranked in order of their respective octave ranges. Amid a list of powerhouse vocalists like Adele, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, and more, one Axl Rose reigned supreme with a mighty range of five octaves. However, if you thought it a little odd that the title of “greatest living singer” went to this guy, you aren’t alone; VVN Music went ahead and dug a little deeper into other singers’ ranges. As it turns out, Rose may want to wait to order those new business cards.

For their purposes, VVN expanded on the original criteria established by Concert Hotels, which drew its sample from Rolling Stones’ list of the 100 Greatest Singers, the nominees for this year’s Billboard Music Awards, and those singers who’d been analyzed by The Range Place. Because of that somewhat strict criteria, a rather sizable chunk…

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Richard Smith

9 Feb Featured Image -- 4227

Many thanks to Masters of Photography for featuring my art! The site regularly features many excellent artists with a great layout, too. Very honored!

Mírame y sé color

Richard Smith explores unexpected interrelationships between everyday images through surrealist photomontage. Working with elements from nature, pedestrian objects, specially-commissioned photos, and scenes from his travels and neighborhood, he fuses these components into ethereal yet cohesive views that transcend their origins. A self-taught graphic artist with 20+ years of professional experience, Smith incorporates assimilated photographic techniques and modern photomanipulation approaches into his hand-crafted compositions.

Smith has been recognized globally for his photomontage art, with his pieces being shared across several U.S. and international creative venues.

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Recent Musical Obsessions

1 Dec

Here are some songs I have been obsessed with lately. For one reason or another these tunes have been on repeat in my brain and in my iPod consistently the last several weeks.

“Baby Blue” by Badfinger

Ever since the final episode of Breaking Bad, like millions of other folks, I’ve been obsessed with this catchy tune by ’70s power pop rockers Badfinger. This track was the perfect music for the final moments of one of the best shows on television.

“Headache” by Frank Black

I first heard this song in the ’90s after Black’s band, The Pixies, broke up (now back together and touring), and I enjoyed the retro look of the video of the time. Little did I know, for some reason, I would want to hear the song over and over a decade later. I borrowed some of the lyrics for one of my recent photomontages.

Wrinkle In Time

“Wrinkle In Time” – Click to see full size

“In the Garage” by Weezer

I like the simple sing-song melody and declarations of what’s important: a 12-sided die, posters of KISS, and the safety a space like a garage can offer a creative spirit, something no doubt familiar to the members of Weezer, one of my favorite bands.

What do you think? What are some songs that have been in your head lately? Where do you go to discover new music? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Social Media, All These Years In

30 Nov

Made via iPhone with Decim8The way I’ve come to use social media lately is for curation, news and making new connections. Whereas a few years ago it was more about keeping in touch with friends and entertainers, these days, it’s as much a means of collecting and discovery, particularly now that I’m active in visual art more so now than back then. I remember doing my first MySpace page about 10 years ago now, and putting customized CSS in the “about me” section to alter the design. Ah, memories.

I wonder if in the decades to come, the term will seem outdated, as online connections simply become, “media.”

Have you found the way you participate in, or use social media has evolved over the past, say, five years? Has it become more integrated into your routine or other activities? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor Video Chats Onstage With Fan Dying of Cancer

25 Nov

The best use of technology I’ve seen in a while:

Above, Reznor Facetimes with Andrew Youssef, a photojournalist who has been battling terminal cancer for nearly two years. Youssef would have been at this very gig, but for health reasons could not make it, so Reznor got him there in another, very unique and personal way. Youssef has chronicled his story in his ongoing column at OCWeekly, titled, “Last Shot.”

Reznor_Youssef

Trent Reznor Facetimes onstage w/Andrew Youssef, diagnosed w/stage IV cancer. Photo via Consequence of Sound.

I first heard about Youssef in a writeup at Consequence of Sound, who summarize the event and Youssef’s story perfectly:

Whether you’ve followed Youssef’s story from day one or are just hearing about it now, it’s the kind of beautiful, gut-wrenching moment that not only proves the power of music but of a little human kindness.

Youssef replied, “I’m speechless” via Twitter after the performance:

I’ve been into Nine Inch Nails since before I saw them at the first Lollapalooza about a million years ago. I’ve followed Reznor closely ever since, respecting his music and commitment to his craft. Here’s another reason for respect, to both Reznor and Youssef.

What do you think? Have you heard of similar stories? What would you do in this situation? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Rob Ford Time Bomb Has Taken Months to Explode

22 Nov

It’s obvious what a public relations debacle Rob Ford’s situation is, and plenty has already been written on it. As one with an interest in PR, there’s a particular aspect I find very interesting.

It’s amazing to me that the situation taken this long to detonate. I remember reading in Gawker six months ago about this video of the Toronto mayor smoking crack. At that point it was just a bizarre, yet well-chronicled tale:

Gawker Original Coverage of Rob Ford Crack Video

Rob Ford, Toronto’s conservative mayor, is a wild lunatic given to making bizarre racist pronouncements and randomly slapping refrigerator magnets on cars. One reason for this is that he smokes crack cocaine. I know this because I watched him do it, on a videotape. He was f-ing hiiiiigh. It’s for sale if you’ve got six figures. Gawker, May ’13

The only thing that came of it other than an interesting story and an IndieGoGo campaign at the time was suspicion toward the mayor that only added more doubt to a shady tale. If the mayor and his team were at all serious about salvaging their professional futures, coming clean immediately back then and making reparations in some meaningful way would have been the best course of action and avoided a Saturday Night Live parody. But here we are. It will no doubt be interesting to see how this plays out as a great example of a PR “don’t” for decades to come.

As a side note, I have a Canadian colleague who notes that this whole thing will go away once the world sees the actual video, stating that as long as Ford was polite when smoking crack (“May I see that pipe, please? Thank you, kind sir.”), no big deal. If he was rude — well, then it’s all over.

What do you think? Have you been following the Rob Ford story? How do you see anyone in the Ford camp making it through all this? Let us hear from you in the comments.

KISS in M.I.A. Sample

21 Nov

Matangi & KISS’ Heaven’s On Fire on New Album

Listen to the first 5 seconds of both of these songs…

“Matangi” by M.I.A., 2013

“Heaven’s On Fire” by KISS, 1984

Cool, huh? Share this on Twitter!

What do you think? Ever recognized a sample? Are you a KISS or M.I.A. fan? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Get Thee To The Getty

10 Nov

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours at The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The only thing wrong with my visit was that it wasn’t long enough. Besides the many great works of art there, The Getty’s architecture and the grounds are a thing to behold. Here are some shots I snapped via Hipstamatic, and a bonus panorama shot. More at Flickr.

Getty01 Getty02 Getty03 Getty04 Getty06 Getty05

What do you think? Have you ever been to The Getty? Do you notice architecture and landscaping for their artistic characteristics? What’s a place where that’s happened for you recently? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Crossroads, Onward

6 Nov
Dream Catcher by rsmithing

“Dream Catcher”
Click to view more of my photomontages

So what if the world ends
Was it ever real to begin with?
Does anything really exist,
When it’s up to us to decide what “existence” means?

Maybe I’m plowing old ground.
Certainly, someone’s been here before.
I sure know I have.
Because I remember it from a dream.

Where did that memory come from?
An intersection of a thousand other memories.
Who’s to say we only live in the present
When the past is so alive?

Not that we can ever go back.
Onward. That is all.
Not a test, but the end?
Sure. Until next time.

Music accompaniment: Tomahawk, “Desastre Natural”

Fomer NSA Director Interview via Amtrak. Thanks, Twitter.

30 Oct

Train conversation further cements Twitter as a social media/mass media, real-time, citizen-journalism news outlet.

Tom Matzzie and Michael HaydenAmtrak passenger Tom Matzzie live-tweeted an on-background interview between news media and former NSA director Michael Hayden (also ex-CIA director) from a commuter train known as the ACELA. It was fascinating to watch this play out, minute by minute on Matzzie’s Twitter feed, and later by traditional media. As this was happening, Hayden was alerted by his team, approached Matzzie offering to chat, and even posed for a photo.

The entire episode is now secured for the ages in the form of tweets and the ensuing news coverage.

The Rest of The Story: Cocktails?

Here’s more from Matzzie, himself, by phone, via Soundcloud, speculating as to why the former official may have been so candid:


It’s particularly mind-blowing that the former head of an organization whose focus is security would be so loud on a train, but hey, Hayden is, in fact, now a public speaker — even if, in this case, inadvertently.

What do you think? Have you ever followed a live tweeting of news in real-time? Have you ever been a citizen journalist, or cited by the media for your social media activities? Let us hear from you in the comments.
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