Flip Flop Flying

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Stone Roses

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Drawing of the Stone Roses playing “Waterfall” on British telly a long time ago.

More finger painting here.

Written by Craig

October 28th, 2012 at 3:12 am

Happy Mondays

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Drawing of Happy Mondays playing “Performance” on British telly a long time ago.

More finger painting here.

Written by Craig

October 27th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork

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R.A. Dickey and Andy Pettitte. And Dillinger’s lyrics.


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September 30th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Harvest Moon

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Written by Craig

September 16th, 2012 at 7:11 pm

The Sounds of Science

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A while back, shortly after Adam Yauch’s death, I did a chart of who sang what on “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)”. At the time, I intended it as the first in a series. Here’s the second in the series, looking at my favourite Beastie Boys song, “The Sounds of Science.” Click the image to embiggen.

Written by Craig

August 10th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

A little GIF

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Sad news. Here’s a little pixel-y animated GIF I made in 2004, of a part of the “Ch-Check it Out” video.

Written by Craig

May 4th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Artwork,Music

Two quick reviews of concerts

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Radiohead, Foro Sol, 18 April 2012.

It was good to hear There There, but aside from that, they were average. They need to get out of their arses and realise the glitchy songs don’t really have a place when you’re playing to a jillion thousand people in a baseball stadium. But then, I thought their last album was shit, and they played a bunch of songs off it, so, y’know. I got drunk, though, so that was good.

Pulp, Palacio de Los Deportes, 23 April 2012

Way way way better than Radiohead. First time they’ve ever played in Mexico. Crowd so into it. And it’s rare I feel any patriotic pride for my home nation, but there was something so amazing about hearing songs with lyrics about things which seem so local, so British – woodchip on the wall, for example – being sung by 10,000 Mexicans. I got drunk again.

Written by Craig

May 3rd, 2012 at 10:14 am

Posted in Blah blah,Music

Home and Dry

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This was released ten years ago. Ten years. Still a beautiful song and a wonderful video. I can still clearly remember going to Saturn, a big electrical chain store, in Berlin on my lunch break with my then-girlfriend to go and buy the Pet Shop Boys “Release” CD on the day it came out. Not my favourite Pet Shop Boys album, but this is definitely top five Pet Shop Boys songs for me. Especially the bit where Chris Lowe says “we’re going home.” Love that bit.

Written by Craig

April 12th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Music

Very pretty

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And not really giving a shit about lip syncing properly.

Written by Craig

April 2nd, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Music,Video

Divine Madness

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Last night I listened to the “Divine Madness,” one of the many “[Shouty Word] Madness”-titled compilations of music by the British band, Madness. Looking at the track listings of those compilations, “Divine Madness” seems to be the best one, at least for a brain like mine, that likes things to be complete and in chronological order. It’s got all of their British singles from 1979 to 1986 (apart from, oddly, what would’ve been the second to last of the sequence, their cover of Scritti Politti’s The Sweetest Girl; although Wikipedia tells us that a later re-packaging of the album corrects this).

When I think of my childhood, and the music that I liked, it’s not very often that Madness come to mind. Aside from Baggy Trousers being the first 7″ single I bought, my childhood musical memories tend to be headlined by Adam & the Ants, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Dire Straits, Bruce Springsteen, and U2. As you can tell from that list, I was not one of those kids who was buying imported hip hop 12″ singles when I was a teenager (although I did buy the 7″ picture disc of White Lines). But listening to “Divine Madness” last night, and again this morning, they do, in a way, complement the memories of those years pretty well. And, in that way that music can, hearing Madness songs flashes my brain back to moments during those years.

So, here’s a review of a compilation album that came out in 1992, full of songs released between 33 and 26 years ago. Say what you want about me, but you cannot accuse me of not having my finger on the pulse of popular culture. I’ve inserted a few YouTube videos into the text, but rather than doing all 22 of them, I’ve only included the videos of songs I bought on 7″ when they were in the pop charts.

The Prince 1979
Can’t say I was really aware of this song at the time. I have no strong memory of it at all. It didn’t get into the top ten, and I was eight years old, so I have forgiven myself.

One Step Beyond 1979
I’ve always liked bands that have a band member that doesn’t really do a whole lot. (See also Paul Rutherford, Bez, Cressa, Barry Mooncult, Shinya Hayashida.) At the time, that’s kinda what I thought about both Suggs and Chas Smash. Suggs does virtually nothing on this song, and aside from the intro, all Chas does is shout three words.

My Girl 1979
Pfff, I’m nine years old when this is in the charts. It’s a song about a girl. Why in the hell would that be of interest to me?

Night Boat to Cairo 1980
It’s funny looking back how exotic some places seemed to be. The whole James Bond franchise was pretty much based on that concept: you’ve never been to India or the Swiss Alps or wherever, and Roger Moore is there right now, about to slip into something more comfortable, which, at that tender age, I had no idea meant “the vagina of the pretty lady with a strange accent and well-conditioned hair.”

Baggy Trousers 1980

As I mentioned, this was the first single I ever bought. My memory, my faulty creaky memory, is that I’d kinda been gearing up to buying a record all of my own for some time. It was probably just a couple of days, though. Time seems mammoth when you’re a kid, and the impatience of wanting to buy Baggy Trousers on a Wednesday and having to wait ’til Saturday was torture worse than Dick Cheney could ever imagine in his cold, black, recently-chucked-in-the-bin heart. My mum worked at a clothes stall at a covered market in the centre of Lincoln at the time, thus she knew the people who owned the market’s record store, Save Records. She mention that I might be able to get a few pence off of my purchase if I went there. For whatever reason, I didn’t go there; I bought Baggy Trousers at WH Smith. It was one pound. After that, I bought most of my records from Save Records where I got them for 90p, which allowed me to spend the remaining 10p of my pocket money on sweets. Sweets! Sweets! SWEETS!

Embarrassment 1980
After the school-themed previous single, this one seemed a bit adult to me. And the title was difficult to spell correctly. The first line is “Received a letter just the other day.” How many nine year old kids get letters? Not me. Therefore: adult-themed material. (Not adult as in naked people doing it, but adult as in gas bills and paying for groceries.)

The Return of the Los Palmas 7 1981
Hold on! This one’s an instrumental (aside from some background chatter and the odd bit of ad-libbed talking). That’s not right. Music should have singing on it, shouldn’t it? At the time I was well aware of Telstar by the Tornados, as it was one of the seven inch singles that my dad had from his youth. But that just sounded like fantastic space future music, not music made by normal people. Space music don’t have no singing. I’m kind of of the opinion that pretty much all instrumentals done by bands who normally do singing are rubbish. They often have a feel of “the album is due and the singer’s too busy slipping into something more comfortable, so let’s make this one an instrumental.” This song is an exception to that possibly-harsh view of instrumentals.

Grey Day 1981
Can’t say I have many memories of this song. Quite like it now, though. It’s got an enjoyable middle eight.

Shut Up 1981

The second Madness single I bought. I would not be surprised if the video was influential in that. Cops and robbers and a piano dropping from the sky. The spaghetti western-style guitar solo is pretty cool, too. And about two-and-a-half minutes in, the piano playing gets pretty great, and sounds slightly “off,” for want of a better word. I liked that. The 7″ copy I had of this had what I assume was a slight pressing error. You can faintly hear the start of the song a second or so before the song actually starts, like a pre-echo. I have other records like that, but it was really noticeable on this, because of the big crashy piano chord at the start.

It Must Be Love 1981
Eleven years old, and as with My Girl, I care way more about Kenny Dalglish, Kia-Ora, and picking my nose than anything to do with girls.

Cardiac Arrest 1982
No way I was going anywhere near this one. I remember clearly my mother expressing the opinion that it was an inappropriate song title. That was the moment that I learned that cardiac arrest meant heart attack, something my father had recently had. The song is good, the chorus has a lovely melody, I quite like the lyrics, too, but it’s not a topic that I’m ever that keen to hear sung about.

House of Fun 1982
Not really sure why I didn’t buy this. The most memorable video they did, I’d say. And, snigger, it’s about buying rubber johnnys!

Driving in My Car 1982
If you, dear reader, are a youngster who wasn’t around to buy vinyl records in the early Eighties, you won’t remember that for a couple of years, record companies put out compilations that- well, let’s backtrack a bit: before the Now That’s What I Call Music series, most pop hits compilations in the UK were a bit crappy. They’d have some good stuff on there, but there’d always be a few songs you’d never heard of, that barely dented the top 40. I assume this is because the record companies putting out the compilations would be forced to include the crappy songs if they wanted to licence the hit song songs. Anyway, there was a couple of years when compilations would be double LPs. Not in the sense we all know double LPs to be, with the gatefold sleeve and that, but as “buy one, get one free” offers. Driving in My Car was on one of those such records that my father had bought, so I didn’t need to buy this single. Hurrah for my Dad!

Our House 1982

This had a children’s drawing of a house on the cover. As a twelve year old, that seemed stupid. There’s that great “a-wuh a-wuh” bit of bass guitar near the start of the song (39 seconds into the YouTube clip). Pretty song. Lyrics that, really, I was too young to appreciate back then. In a way, it’s kind of a shame that Madness had all the fun videos. They were great, obviously, but I wonder if they haven’t detracted from the band as artists. If they existed as records with the only visuals being black and white Top of the Pops clips like bands from the Sixties, maybe Madness would be more lauded. Not that they aren’t appreciated, but you know what I mean.

Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day) 1983

Never did understand the need for part of that song title to be in brackets. Seems to me that brackets in song titles are there to kinda remind the person in a record store about the line they like from the chorus, but without the bracketed title bits, the title of this song would be simply Tomorrow’s. Listening to this song now, it’s clear that my age was almost perfect for these years of Madness’ career. As I entered my teens and became a wee bit more grown-up, so did their music.

Wings of a Dove 1983

Good golly, this song is a happy one, isn’t it? That’s the main feeling I have about it, and the memory I have of it: the overwhelming joy. That may partly be because it was released in the summer when we were on our family holidays. I can’t remember where we went in 1983 (it was either Wales, Somerset, Devon, or Cornwall) but this songs sounds like the joy and the sunshine, the Beano summer special and a copy of Smash Hits in the back seat of the car as we listened to endless Radio 1 driving from beach to cafe to pottery gift shop and back to our sleeping bags at the camp site. Probably because we were on our holidays, and thus away from the telly, I don’t remember this video at all. But I do remember being thrilled that the single sleeve had a white-on-white embossed dove. (You can just about make it out on this photo, a little bit up and to the right of the middle of the sleeve.)

The Sun and the Rain 1983

The fourth of six straight Madness singles I bought. I guess I’d decided to buy all their records by this point. Once I liked a band to a certain extent, I was kinda determined to buy them all. This was never really one of my favourites, but listening to it last night and watching the video again before typing these words, it’s bloody fantastic. Another really pretty chorus, something I will say again about the next two singles.

Michael Caine 1984

The back of the single sleeve had an old picture of Michael Caine. Without glasses, with short straight hair. I could not marry that image of the young Caine with the contemporaneous one I’d seen on the telly: older, curly hair, big glasses. This is probably my favourite Madness song. It is utterly beautiful from start to finish. Love the bass playing, love Chas Smash’s (Carl Smyth by now) singing, love how well the “My name is Michael Caine” bits fit in to the flow of the song, love how it stops and then starts with an ace bit of piano and guitar (around 1:58 in the video). The chorus and singing therein are brilliant. Love it all. And it was released in the winter, and I think it fits the cold British wet February days, perfectly.

One Better Day 1984

If Michael Caine didn’t exist, this’d be my favourite Madness song. As it is, it’s a really damn close second. The seven inch single of this came with a fold-out poster, six times the size of the record. Can’t remember what was on the poster. I think the best thing about this song is how it takes about two minutes to get to the chorus, and when it does: bam! a gorgeous melody, Abba pianos, and the strings that are so pretty, in that way that almost feels like you are being emotional blackmailed to like the song. It’s even got a decent saxophone solo, and for me, that’s usually the sign of a song I will hate.

Yesterday’s Man 1985
Uncle Sam 1985
(Waiting For) The Ghost Train 1986
The three songs I didn’t bother copying to my iPod. Pianist Mike Barson had left the band after the “Keep Moving” album, and the crappiness of Yesterday’s Man and Uncle Sam pretty much signalled the end of my interest in Madness. Barson was back for the one-off single (Waiting For) The Ghost Train, but, y’know, whatever: it’s not very good. But maybe Madness had done their job in my life. I was 15, I’d moved on a little bit, moved away from Smash Hits and on to the NME.

Still, a couple of years ago my mate Mark mentioned that their then-album “The Liberty of Norton Folgate” was pretty good. And he was right, it’s a cracker. It’s nice when bands come back with something special after a long time of not really being that special. I still hold out hope that Weezer can do an album as good as the blue one and “Pinkerton.” I sometimes imagine Prince might do something good again, too. You never know, do you? I’d love to listen to a 60 or 70 year old Prince come back with something as ace and pervy as Darling Nikki. But maybe he won’t. And just like Madness, he’s done more than enough to make me happy over the years. Bands don’t owe me anything. I’m just happy that Madness were there to take me from being nine years old into my early teens.

Written by Craig

March 31st, 2012 at 10:22 am

Posted in Blah blah,Music,Video

122.86 beats per minute

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David Byrne:

London’s tempo is 122.86 beats per minute.

I brought along some field recording gear to use while I was staying in the lovely pod/room/boat. I went out during the day and recorded sounds that I thought might be useful and evocative. It turned out that most of the sounds—even the church organ in Southwark Cathedral—seemed to converge around a common rhythm. It’s a bit too good to be true—that every large city should have its own rhythm, but here it is. I let the sounds dictate the groove, the tempo, and then I simply played along.


Written by Craig

March 30th, 2012 at 10:16 am

Posted in Links,Music

Lovering, Santiago, Deal, and Francis

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February 19th, 2012 at 8:28 am

Posted in Music,Photos


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1. Great song.
2. Peter Wolf looks very cool in the video.
3. At 2′ 08″ he does a great drawing of a car on the blackboard.
4. J. Geils Band had a member with the best nickname ever.

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February 17th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Music

600 lines

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I like this. (The music, not the YouTube clip.)

Written by Craig

February 17th, 2012 at 11:23 am

Posted in Music

Something’s goin’ on…

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Something strange happens about one minute and 25 seconds into the video of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. One of Justin’s mates’ plain black cap turns, for a few frames, into a Los Angeles Kings cap. Curious.

Written by Craig

February 16th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Posted in Blah blah,Music,Silly

Reign in Blood

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Long time readers, all two of you, may remember that I once cobbled together an mp3 with all of the songs off Pet Sounds playing simultaneously. This is what it sounds like. My friend Delme and I were emailing today and the topic came up and, him being a particularly big fan of heavy metal, it got me thinking. So I did the same thing with all of the songs off Slayer’s Reign in Blood, which you can listen to here.

You are welcome.

Written by Craig

November 21st, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Music,Silly

Primal Scream

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Last night I went to see Primal Scream. I’m not a massive fan in general. I loved their third record, liked their second record, and liked parts of their fourth, fifth and sixth records. Not bothered listening to any of their albums since then. But between 1990 and 1992, I loved them. I’ve seen them five times before. First time was around the time Higher Than the Sun came out in the summer of 1991 at the Marcus Garvey Centre, Nottingham. They were supported by The Orb and Andrew Weatherall. It was a magnificent night. Saw them in a big arena (can’t remember which one) with The Orb again. I also saw them at Rock City, Nottingham around the time of Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Saw them at the Hummingbird in Birmingham. Not sure when that was. And I saw them at Victoria Park in Mile End at some point in the late nineties, ’97 maybe.

And last night, I saw them for a sixth time. I was quite excited when I first heard that it was gonna be a “Screamadelica” concert, especially knowing that it was the night before my birthday. Yay. The venue was this big circus-shaped place called Centro De Espectáculos Premier. I guess it holds around 3,000 people. It looked like on any other night, it’d be full of men in suits, wide collars, and a crap-ton of hair gel; kinda like a provincial British night club.

The song I heard when some friends and I walked in was Jesus on the Payroll by Thrashing Doves. A fine tune. It was kinda nice to walk into a venue knowing that I’d be listening to a 20 year old album being played by a band, and hearing contemporaneous music straight away. There was definitely a nice timewarp element for my brain. Danny Rampling was DJing, and it was one of those DJ sets where every new song was like, “fucking hell, I’ve not heard this for aaaaaages!” Stuff like What Time is Love? by The KLF, Love is Contagious by Taja Sevelle, and the absolutely fantastic Driving Away From Home by It’s Immaterial. God, I love that song.

I’d not drank alcohol for three weeks because of my dumb headaches. It’s a slightly depressing thing to note about yourself that you tend to get miserable without drink for just three weeks. Most of that misery, though, is because of the headaches, but still, the fact that I couldn’t drink didn’t help. It really does make me realise that I should never ever allow myself to become an alcoholic. Obviously it’s a horrible thing to be an alcoholic, but for me, I just don’t want to ever have to stop drinking. I enjoy it too much. First drink I had was water. Then I took a tentative sip of a friend’s beer, waited ten minutes: no headache signs. Fuck it. Got myself a beer. Then another. And I was like a thirsty man in a desert all night. Beer, for lack of a better word, is good.

The DJ played Sympathy for the Devil, and then the band came on. Kind of a bold choice to come on after such a good song. As they came on stage, I looked at my watch (one of those habits one picks up, seeing how long a band plays for) and it was ten seconds to midnight, and a few seconds into my birthday they started playing Movin’ On Up. I’m not much of a dancer in general. And when I’ve been at places where dancing occurs in Mexico, people dance all fancy, moving their feet and hips and stuff. Coming from that British shuffly school of dancing, that’s tough to get to grips with. But last night, the shuffles kicked in, and I’m fairly sure I was doing exactly as I was doing twenty years ago. Every now and again, there’d be one of those really clear moments where you are aware of something. This was what I loved twenty years ago. And the birthday made that even clearer. Twenty years ago, I’d have scoffed at someone going to see a band playing twenty-year-old music. But things change, your mind isn’t as certain, and, well, I want to see Primal Scream play a record that reminds me of being young. Most of the people in the crowd seemed to be too young to have been around twenty years ago, but there were some. (And, incidentally, I’m fairly sure there were a smattering of Brits there, too. There’s something about British faces: they’re easy to spot in a crowd of non-Brits.

Like most places in the world, there’s an indoor smoking ban in Mexico. Not really enforced last night, though. Apologies to the non-smokers out there (although, the rabid *cough-cough-cough* type of non-smokers can fuck off), but I broke the rules. Smoking and drinking are fun when watching a band. And, really, sticking to the rules when no-one else is sticking to the rules is pointless. Plus, y’know, it was my birthday. Another thing that enhanced my evening was the green lasers that they had in the venue. Maybe it’s because of the night club experiences I had in my early twenties, but to me, the pinnacle of night club visual entertainment will always be a shitload of dry ice and those lines of green laser beams in the air. Damn, I love that stuff.

The band didn’t really stick to the tracklisting of Screamadelica like other bands tend to do when they play an album live. They skipped around a little. This was the set list (and somebody in the crowd put some clips of the show up on YouTube, so should you be interested I’m fairly sure you know how to access those clips):
Movin’ On Up
Slip Inside This House
Don’t Fight It, Feel It
I’m Comin’ Down
Inner Flight
Higher Than the Sun (both the regular and dub versions)
Come Together (another clip of the end of the song)

The last three songs sounded fantastic. I especially liked Come Together because it started out like the album version, then went into the original 12″ more singing-y version; a version that when I used to DJ at a night club in Lincoln in 1991-2, I used to play as the last song every night. The band played Country Girl, Jailbird, and Rocks for the encore. The only slight disappointment was not hearing anything off of Vanishing Point in the encore, but that’s a minor quibble.

After the band finished, something else reminded me of that first time seeing the band. Back then, Primal Scream hadn’t really been doing “dancey” music for that long. A lot of the people at the show were skinny jeans, black hair indie kids who buggered off once the band had finished, missing out completely on the wonders of Andrew Weatherall. Last night was kinda similar. I have no idea who the DJ was after the band, but he was playing some great music. I kept on dancing, a wee bit drunk, but doing the Lincolnshire shuffle in my own little world, as the people all around dispersed. I could’ve kept on shuffling for a while, but it was a wee bit sad seeing such an empty dancefloor. Again, a minor quibble, but a wee bit more of a quibble than my previous quibble. I like the word “quibble.”

The exact opposite of a quibble was the prices of the t-shirts. 20 pesos. Twenty pesos. That’s 99.3 British pence. Less than a quid. That’s €1.15. US$1.57. CAN$1.57. For an official t-shirt at a concert. You know this already, but concert merch is a rip-off. Unless you live in México. (Although, my flatmate’s boyfriend said that the 20 peso price is incredibly unusual, and normally it’s more in line with regular concert t-shirt prices.) But I bought one, the Screamadelica t-shirt, the red one. I had one of those back in the day and wore it to its death. This new one has “méxico 11″ on it too. There was a time when my whole wardrobe was band t-shirts. Now, though, the only one I own is this one. Hopefully, I’ll be shuffling around, drinking Coronas, and buying a Screamadelica t-shirt at a concert somewhere in the world in 2031, too.

(And I know what you’re thinking: on the venue’s logo above the stage in the photo at the top of this post, the M in Premier is the wrong way around. I know. It was bugging me all night.)

Written by Craig

September 22nd, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Posted in Blah blah,Music


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I hesitate to call this an infographic, because it’s not really very info-y or graphic-y. It will make no sense whatsoever if you are not familiar with the Kraftwerk song, Numbers.

Bigger version here: http://www.flipflopflyin.com/kraftwerk/nummern.html

Written by Craig

September 4th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Chocolate Kling Klang

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It amuses me that the Google advert that I got over this YouTube clip of Kraftwerk playing Pocket Calculator is for “Chocolate Kit Kat.” It just seems perfect in so many ways.

Written by Craig

August 30th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Posted in Blah blah,Music,Silly


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My friend Steve alerted me to this. Stevie Nicks just singing while she’s getting her make-up done. Amazing stuff.

Written by Craig

July 8th, 2011 at 11:52 am

Posted in Music