5:30 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Stairway To Litigation

Led Zeppelin in Hamburg, Germany 1973. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page
Credit Heinrich Klaffs / Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons

Led Zeppelin was one of a wave of British bands enamored with American delta blues, and they covered a large number of blues artists like Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon.

“Borrowing” songs from someone else is part of the blues tradition, but Led Zeppelin might have taken things too far. They have already been sued in the past for plagiarising Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson. Now, they find themselves in court again, this time over the authorship of the band’s colossus, "Stairway to Heaven," a song that has earned more than half a billion dollars.

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6:30 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Way Back In The Day When Hip Hop Began

Credit hansthijs / Flickr / Creative Commons

When hip hop began, it sounded like this:

This is Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, from 1979-- the year I was born, and six years after DJ Kool Herc invented the breakbeat. As one of the first hip hop records, it’s emblematic of a lot of early rap music: it’s a long track and the emcees throw in pretty much every rhyme in the book. At that point, hip hop was still largely party music, with rappers functioning primarily as boosters for the deejay.

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12:30 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

The Evolution of Game Soundtracks

Credit / Google Images / Creative Commons

Music in video games has come a long way from the bleeps and bloops heard in the very first games.

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5:00 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Remembering Robert Town

Robert Town and the Marcussen organ at Wichita State University
Credit Wichita State University

This past weekend, a memorial service was held for former Wichita State University professor Robert Town, who died in December. Town was professor of organ at the university from 1965 - 2006 and played a major part in the university's acquisition of the great Marcussen organ, which is housed in Wiedemann Hall and was the first such organ built in North America.

The voice you'll hear in this remembrance is Andrew Trechak, associate professor of piano at Wichita State, who arrived at WSU in 1981. The music is from a May 1990 concert by Town, playing the Marcussen organ.

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5:00 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Moon Salt, Bros And The Spidernauts All Part Of New Spirit Of The Stairs CD

Spirit of the Stairs: (from left to right) Kyle Hupp, Ben Wells, Torin Andersen, Paul Anop
Credit Torin Andersen

This weekend marks the release of the latest CD by Spirit of the Stairs, Tronan Vs. The Spidernauts.

Whereas past releases from the all-instrumental group have clocked in around the hour mark, Tronan consists of only four songs—all recorded since the release of the group’s 2012 effort, Lambo Doors.

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12:00 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

A Musical Life: Steve Hatfield

Steve Hatfield is a freelance musician in the Wichita area.
Credit Courtesy photo

Steve Hatfield is a drummer/educator based in Wichita, Kan. He has shared the stage with artists such as Joe Williams, Martina McBride, Glenn Alexander, Bob Florence, and Jerry Hahn. He currently performs with The Bodo Ensemble, The Elemental Trio, Cabaret Oldtown, Music Theater of Wichita, and leads the aptly named Steve Hatfield's Band.

I’m Steve Hatfield. I’m a freelance musician in the Wichita area. I also teach at Wichita State [University] and I have my own private studio here in town.

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6:58 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Musical Space: Haven't I Heard That Song Before?

Did you ever notice that “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” has the same tune as the “Alphabet Song?” It’s also the same as Baa, Baa Black Sheep, and, slowed down, it becomes "What a Wonderful World."

A song with new lyrics given to an existing song is called a “Contrafactum.” This is a great way to express a new perspective, even if it’s just satire, like singing “Batman Smells” to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”

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11:16 am
Fri October 18, 2013

A Musical Life: Phil Ross

Credit KMUW

Phil Ross is a founding member of the instrumental duo Cricket Wand. A 10-year veteran of the Wichita music scene, he has performed in a variety of bands including Arms For Hands, the experimental noise project Leavenworth, and Low Oriole. He is also owner of 5nakefork Records, co-owner of both Spektrum Music and Straight Screen Printing. Ross counts Primus bassist Les Claypool as his main inspiration for picking up the instrument. Cricket Wand’s current release is called Mega Series Fantastic.

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12:00 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

A Musical Life: Aaron Wirtz

Aaron Wirtz, whose stage name is Cutter J the Absurdist, performing what he calls "a living collage of music."
Credit Georgia Andersen / Courtesy photo

Wichita-native Aaron Wirtz is an electronic music and video performance artist whose stage persona, Cutter J the Absurdist, combines the phases of his life into a living collage of music, technology and dance. By combining traditional American folk arts such as tap dancing and spoons playing with an ever-evolving approach to DJing, turntablism, and interactive video art, he seeks to explore the emotional vocabulary of digitally influenced consciousness. Aaron is married to singer Reby Wirtz, recently graduated from Wichita State with his MFA in creative writing, works full time as a social media manager, and contributes to F5, Wichita’s weekly alternative newspaper.

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9:54 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Musical Space: The Flaming Lips

Credit Bella Union Records

Market forces have made it hard for musical innovators to succeed. And then there are The Flaming Lips, who have been able to thrive in the post-digital landscape while creating and delivering music completely on their own terms.

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