I discovered Beats Antique through Pandora Internet radio, and after liking every song of theirs I heard, I checked the band out and discovered they are the real deal. The group blends electronica with traditional Mid-Eastern percussion and melodies (and live bellydancing). And they are my new favorite music.
I’ve always been a huge fan of percussion. I’m not a drummer, but I play I mean set of air drums to most any song. And generally speaking, things like shakers, gamelans, hand drums, and especially the tambourine (think: power pop 16th notes) have always appealed to me greatly, though my main instrument is bass guitar. Percussive effects are one of my favorite elements of electronica, but it’s even more amazing live – there’s a primal energy that’s in our DNA from when our cave dwelling ancestors beat on logs around a fire and danced around. And yet another super-cool thing about Beats Antique is that they’re real musicians, not just an electronica act. Check out the group breaking it down acoustically:
Compare the above “unplugged” performance to the actual studio version to fully appreciate the awesomeness – they don’t miss a note or beat.
Bellydance Music and Beyond
What I especially dig about Beats Antique is their blending of traditional percussion with unique instrumentation, along with melodies evocative of caravans traversing the desert or incense wafting through spice market stalls. But it’s not exactly “world music.” Nor is it simply electronica, and it definitely isn’t rock. Whatever you call it, Beats Antique definitely grooves, and makes for some excellent bellydancing accompaniment, as evidenced by the group’s dancer, Zoe Jakes.
Beats Antique is on tour right now, and I’m happy to have scored my ticket to see them at the Cat’s Cradle in NC in a couple of months. In the meantime, I’ll be blaring their beats and melodies through my headphones and in the car at every opportunity.
What do you think? Can you name other examples of traditional sounds blended with modern beats? What new music have you discovered lately? Or what are you listening to at this exact moment? What’s the last song played on your iPod/Zune/8-track? Let us hear from you in the comments!
Sabbath and Roses and Jurors – Oh, My! Big month here at rsmithing.com.
To make sure I stay on track with blogging, I’ve set myself the goal each month of writing at least one major post about each of the categories covered here at rsmithing.com. Early on, I didn’t even bother with categories, but as the amount of my posts grew, it made sense to, well, categorize them. Doing this inWordPress makes for an easy navigation menu, and that’s a blogging best practice: including navigation to give visitors a sense of what the heck your site is about.
I’ve done this successfully for two months now, and since you may be a follower, you might be interested in at least one of these posts (and if you aren’t following, consider signing up at left like all the cool kids are doing). Whether recent or from way back four or so weeks ago, your comments are very, very much appreciated, because, well, you rule for reading this.
Seriously: Thank You, from all of us at rsmithing.com (i.e. me and the cats). And now, the rundown:
What do you think? Should I keep doing this every month, or have you already seen all the posts here? If so, which was your favorite? Want me to comment on a post of yours? Just share your link in the comments below or at the posts listed and let’s do this!
Macro view of a nail in the laundry room. Shot with my iPhone using a Photojojomacro lens and the Hipstamatic app, using its Buckhorst lens and Blanko film settings. I also raised the saturation and sharpened slightly in Photoforge 2. The untouched version of this image made the honor roll in a recent Instagramchallenge, which inspired me to extend from my usual style and see what could be done within the limitations set by the contest, which indeed proved challenging, yet rewarding.
Considering our ever-more-digital world, with the U.S. Post Office teetering onbankruptcy, the decline of print media, and increasing social-connectedness, it’s with pleasure that I’m writing about a recent discovery: Postagram.
Send postcards from your iPhone and Android devices with Postagram.
Remember Getting Mail When You Were A Kid?
That was a big deal! Birthday card, handwritten letter, or even a postcard – that was something to get excited about. But since it’s so easy to email or post a photo online, why bother sending anything even resembling a postcard these days? That’s where Postagram comes in for iPhone and Android users.
Getting Mail is Fun
Made by Sincerely, Inc. Postagram brings back the old fun of getting mail to the new fun of being digitally connected – AND mobile photography (you can imagine the geek-thrill this brings me). Using photos already on your mobile device, you upload a picture via the Postagram app, type out a quick message, and Postagram sends a physical postcard in the mail to your recipient with your image. Your recipient is stored in your address book on the site, along with your billing information for easy sending in the future. It’s a whopping $.99 to send a card.
I may never buy another physical postcard again
I did this a couple of weeks ago for Valentine’s day, sending my awesome wife a card in remembrance our prior Valentine’s experience at this restaurant where, for dessert, they have a special all-gelato spaghetti & meatballs. It’s awesome:
Trevi Italian Restaurant - Gelato Master Hank Sbraccia’s Spaghetti Ice serves up plenty of double takes—it’s a brimming pasta bowl of fresh homemade vanilla gelato strands acting as the spaghetti, chocolate gelato scoops as the meatballs, strawberry sauce as the mariana and shaved white chocolate as the Parmesan. “When I make gelato, you’re going to remember it,” Sbraccia says.
Of course, I took a picture of this after our romantic dinner 12 months ago and kept it in my phone.
It's all gelato except for the freshly ground white chocolate on top. This photo does not do it justice. Trevi, Caesars Palace.
Now this year, having discovered Postagram, I had a cool pic ready to try out the product with. I sent this to her office address for a twist on having flowers sent to work (in addition to handling the flowers on my own, duh).
Unfortunately, here’s where things take a turn, because although I did this a week ahead of time, my Postagram got lost in the mail. No biggie; we had a fine day nevertheless. I did contact customer service the next day, who within minutes apologized, explaining that they’d been having issues over the holiday, and immediately righted the situation with a replacement. Even though the moment had passed, I appreciate a good customer service experience, and this was one.
Keep The Fun Going: Social Media
The real bonus of all this is one thing I discovered in my research: your Postagram remains online, with social media sharing built-in. I had no idea about this, since I handled the entire process weeks earlier quickly on my phone, then archived the receipt email. But in looking up the order number, I noticed the link. So while I was waiting for the replacement card to be sent, I was able to send my wife a link to the original card with the photo and my text online. I emailed this to her and also posted it on Twitter. We’re both social media geeks that way.
My awesome Postagram card, created on my phone, sent through the mail. You can also select an image for the "from" portion, and the main image pops out of the card as a standalone keepsake.
Returning the Favor with PR
Since my customer service experience was so positive, and since they mentioned they’d been having issues I thought I’d return the favor for Postagram by offering some sample tweets in our final email exchange they could send that might head off issues similar to the one I’d had:
Sorry about missing orders – but you can still send some Twitter love. Check your order email for the link!
Did you know you can Tweet a Postagram? See your confirmation email & click “Tweet”
Digital and traditional messages meet via tweet: Postagram postcards are Tweeetable!
Postagram not arrive? Do it digitally right now – here’s how [link to full blog post on how-to]
Relive the magic – follow up your Postagram with a Tweet [blog link]
They didn’t take me up on my tweet consulting, but they did express their appreciation, and did in fact send the replacement card as promised, which my awesome wife loved, even a few days after Valentine’s. So we’re keeping the fun going here even a week later.
From table to phone to postcard to my wife's desk: Postagram.
I’ll very likely use Postagram in the future, not only because of the good customer service, but also as a unique and easy way to keep in touch with my non-socially connected friends and relatives (and my social-networking-connected friends, just to freak them out with actual mail). They even recently integrated with one of my favorite photo-editing apps, PhotoForge2, with the functionality of sending cards right from within the app. Now I can send my creepy bug photos through the mail – excellent!
What do you think? Have you ever sent or received a card via Postagram or a similar service? When was the last time you sent a physical postcard? Will you be inclined to try something like Postagram next time you want to send a postcard? Let us hear from you in the comments!