Unplugging: Artists turned inventors, collabos & a brand new music fest

We salute the tuneful inventors that keep breaking ground with new audio formats, biodegradable record balloons and brand spanking new music fests with amusements for all.

We also salute the innovative new collaborative projects that keep music a joint, shared medium. For example, Neil Young is taking major strides from musician to tech-savvy innovator in attempt to patent a new high-definition audio format.

Serving as an alternative to the mp3 format, which Young claims is a low quality audio format, this new high-def rival will project Young’s desire for file-storing capabilities able to retain all of the fully recorded data.

Rolling Stone reported Young’s application for 6 trademarks all in relation to the music format. Young even revealed that before the untimely death of Steve Jobs, they had been in cahoots, planning a high-quality music format with 20 times the reliability of today’s standard music files. For now, the odds seem to be in favor of Mr. Young receiving his patent, and this could even further into a means of distribution – of course, only time will tell.

April is a very important month for everyone over at Jack White’s Third Man Records, with Record Store Day swiftly approaching and White’s solo effort Blunderbuss about to drop.

With White’s crazy, innovative upcoming Record Store Day releases, such as a playable-etching record of the Third Man Records logo and a clear vinyl filled with blue liquid (available only at TMR headquarters, sorry!), it’s no wonder White wanted to take things a step further by releasing his new single “Freedom at 21” by way of gigantic helium balloons.

From the Third Man Records headquarters in Nashville, White and his cronies gathered outside to release a slew of balloons into the air, with 1000 flexi-disc records containing White’s new single attached to them. With such a major stunt like this one, Third Man Records made sure to use biodegradable latex balloons. Each balloon contains custom-made postcards with directions to a special TMR website that logs the dates and locations of the findings. What’s special about this unconventional release is that only 10% of the balloons have been discovered, making the single a rarity and something that will be of incredible value in years to come.

This week, New York City welcomed the birth of a brand new music festival called The Catalpa Festival. This new fest will be held on Randall’s Island, amidst the East River near The Bronx, but technically part of Manhattan.

This 2-day music fest is slated for late July, and will include installations by Arcadia, an art organization, and a silent disco where music will be played through headphones, and all shall jam out together, but silently.

Besides the interesting new amusements, the lineup isn’t bad either.

So far, Catalpa Festival’s inaugural lineup includes The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, City and Colour, TV on the Radio and more. Stay tuned on Catalpa’s webpage for the release of more acts to play the festival. As part of the early-bird special, you can currently purchase a weekend pass for $99.99.

This Must Be The Place,
directed by Paolo Sorrentino, is an upcoming film that features a retired Goth rock star, played by Sean Penn. To match the obscurity of the film, it seems fitting that former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and singer-songwriter Will ‘Bonnie Prince Billy’ Oldham have teamed up for the soundtrack.

The film’s title, in fact, was borrowed from a Talking Heads song, and several new renditions of the tune will be included on the soundtrack. Recording under the oh-so-classy moniker of The Pieces of Shit, Byrne and Oldham collaboratively recorded 5 tracks as composer and writer, featuring contributions from Jónsi & Alex, Iggy Pop and others. The album drops April 23 as a double-vinyl LP, with packaging that includes exclusive imagery from the film.

Zola Jesus has enlisted Brooklyn-based performer JG Thirlwell for a team-up for her upcoming performance at the Guggenheim in Brooklyn on May 10th. To make the performance extra special, Thirlwell, who’s known for his varying music styles and intense performances, has arranged 9 of Zola Jesus’ songs for string quartet.

The Mivos Quartet has been recruited to perform these original renditions. Zola Jesus and the quartet will perform arrangements from her last two albums, Stridulum and Conatus, while Thirlwell will act as musical director. It will definitely be a one-of-a-kind performance. Tickets will be available to the public on April 18th.
Unplugging In Brief:

Neil Young Applies for Trademarks for New Audio Format – Could Neil Young really get his new high-def audio format patented, and make new strides for music technology?

Jack White’s Third Man Records Release 1000 Limited Vinyl Singles Via Biodegradable Balloons – Jack White released his latest single “Freedom At 21” on 1000 flexi-disc records attached to huge blue balloons.

Catalpa Festival New York City Announces 2012 Lineup Featuring The Black Keys and Snoop Dogg – NYC’s new festival is on an island, and already features a great lineup.

David Byrne and Will Oldham Team Up As The Pieces of Shit for This Must Be the Place Soundtrack – Under the moniker The Pieces of Shit, David Byrne and Will Oldham have collaborated on a new soundtrack.

Zola Jesus Collaborates With JG Thirlwell and The Mavos Quartet for Special Performance in New York City – For a special performance in Brooklyn, Zola Jesus has enlisted the help of JG Thirlwell to spice things up.