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ExtraNoVocal (new album – out May 2018)

‘ExtraNoVocal’ is the twelfth album by Dutch musician Ewald Kegel, to be released in May 2018.

The album is a collection of instrumental (hence ‘no vocal’) music recorded between 1987 and 2018. ‘Extra’ refers to the fact that these tracks have not been released before and can be considered as an addendum to regular releases.

The album contains a variety of styles ranging from minimalistic music and piano music (“Work in Progress”, “Sombre”, “Finale”) to full fledged, complex songs like newly recorded tracks “Please Make Me Wonder” and “Another World”. Also there are improvised tunes like ‘Mine’ and the chaotic rock of “Unintentional”. The album is centred around 80’s and early 90’s electronic music influenced by the then popular Yamaha FM synthesis. The album forms a pair with a previous album “Extra Vocal”, an earlier 2018 release. “Extra Vocal” had a similar approach, which is also expressed in the comparable album cover design. In the case of ExtraVocal the album obviously vocal tracks.

The album opens with ‘Please Make Me Wonder’ , an original version of the song was composed and recorded in 1985. The title refers to the Beach Boys song ‘Please Let Me Wonder’. By the time of the original recording of the song the producer noticed that some of the melodic elements sounded similar to the Beach Boys song ‘Please Let me Wonder’ from the mid 1960s.

The song can be listened to on YouTube:

The album weighs in on a rediscovered VHS tape in 2015. That tape contained mixes of songs that mostly were considered to be lost or forgotten (‘Xandra’ – ca. 1988, ‘Party Jam’ – ca. 1988, ‘Rush Hour’ – ca. 1988, ‘Hard Beat’ – ca. 1987). Many of these compositions were written originally for use in audiovisual productions. ‘Hard Beat’ was composed for a 1987 BMW commercial. The late 1980 songs on this album represent the introduction of the computer (Atari 1040STf) in the recording studio. Sampling became a common place in the music as is clearly audible on a track like ‘Hard Beat’.

‘Extra NoVocal’ also contains two tracks from the never released album ‘Synthesizer’ (2007): ‘Yess Delight’ and ‘Finale’. Other tracks on the album ‘Kirana’ – 2014, ‘Disco Daze’ – ca. 1992, ‘Mine’ – 2008, ‘Unintentional’ – ca. 2009, ‘Back 2 the 80s’ – 2011, ‘Sombre’ – 2014 and ‘The Last Supper’ – 2016 contain edits, remixes and added recording made in 2018. Another -more electronic sounding- version of ’Mine’ was originally released in 2008 on the ‘Magic Colors’ EP. The acoustic version on ‘Extra NoVocal’ is the original recording of the song.

Apple Pay evolution to the blockchain

In its current format Apple Pay is depending on traditional banking and credit card institutions. This has not proven to be a guarantee for a fast world wide roll out of the service. There are tough negotiations involved both on the side of merchants as well as the financial institutions.

For example in The Netherlands there have been talks about rolling out for more than a year. Finally next month things should be ready for ‘prime time’. I have no idea what the final ‘service’ will look like in the Netherlands. It surely will be along the lines of scanning your bank debet card(s) and credit cards (hopefully all financial institutions will be involved) in order to enable transactions. The final seal of the transaction will be made through the Touch ID of Face Recognition when iPhone X will make its way to the community. There is the challenge to attract  merchants to accept Apple Pay. Judging from the acceptance in the USA where Apple pay already is active, another possible factor that the final service will be somewhat crippled from the start.

Suppose that in the near future Apple would be skipping the financial institutions and operate as a financial intermediair supported by a decentralised public ledger (blockchain). It would look something like this.

Blockchain, currency

Apple starts the blockchain with its own currency, opening the ‘to be’ blockchain to miners processing transactions and offering financial compensation delivering the computational power for transaction processing.

Consumer

The consumers are able to buy Apple’s own currency, exchanging fiat money for the Apple Currency (which I shall name ACX for convenience reasons). This process is from a consumer perspective similar to buying something from the App Store. Only the exchanged money does not land on Apple’s bank account but on the blockchain, so Apple has a function here as an exchange institution (from fiat money to ACX). As soon as the exchange transaction is processed (all made possible through an Apple device like an iPhone, iPad with a dedicated app) the ACX balance of the consumer is updated and visible from the app.  The consumer will now be able to spend his ACX balance online or through Apple Pay at physical stores.

Transaction with merchant

The merchant who is affiliated with Apple Pay is then capable of adding balance to his Apple business account also stored on the blockchain. The transaction between consumer and merchant takes place between two Apple devices for example an iPad on the merchant side and an iPhone on the consumer side. There must be a kind of handshake between the two devices, finalized by a ID on both merchant and consumer side. The consumer will be debited for the transaction, the merchant credited. Apple will allow the merchant as well as the consumer to exchange their ACX for fiat money (USD, EUR etc.). Transaction will processed by decentralised processes on the blockchain enabling miners to receive a fee for the transaction.

Conclusion

I am sure that solutions along the lines as described above will be made available in the near future. I can imagine that Apple choses its own blockchain, it has the financial power to do so. Not only by Apple but all the major big players (Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc.) wil start offering services along these lines. I use the example of Apple because they are probably already ahead of the bunch and already have an integrated ecosystem.

The implications are far stretching: Apple becomes a financial institution itself and largely independent from the traditional banking and credit card institutions. Therefor it may decide to start a specialised branch named Apple Pay. The underlying blockchain technology will be essential to guarantee the integrity and security of the ecosystem. I also understand such a scenario will have far reaching fiscal and financial consequences which I will not address here, but in general Apple’s dedicated branch will behave very much like a traditional financial institution from a fiscal and financial perspective.

The Hague, October 21th 2017