September 4, 2014

Rdio, dear Rdio

I’ve been a subscriber since June 2010. I’ve been a loyal supporter and paying customer. I’m seriously disappointed by the most recent UI changes which have either buried or eliminated the features that distinguished you from your competitors.
I am not alone in this opinion. See here, here, here, herehere, and here.
But that’s not the worst of it. There is a more serious problem. You’ve allowed an employee to treat paying customers, who are long-time, fervent advocates, who have given countless suggestions for improvements, promoted Rdio to their friends and family, like dirt:
Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.11.38 PM
Why is this an egregious offence?
First, one of the reasons I adored the Rdio community – and yes there is a very social aspect to your site (whether you recognized it or not) – was that it was generally free from the troll-ish behavior such as this. Folks espoused positive emotions about music, through collaborative playlists and their reviews. My first reaction was:“who is this person?”, and then “why are they not cogently expressing their thoughts?”
Second, upon discovering Joe Armenia was an employee, I felt sad for Rdio’s customers, it’s investors, and it’s other employees. There is no surer way to destroy a brand than to insult your paying customers by an employee who is utterly clueless as to whom is buttering their bread.
I’ll make it easy for you Rdio. Either Joe Armenia or I am leaving Rdio.
August 24, 2014

​Please enjoy ​Roberto Capocchi playing​ “Loro” by Egberto Gismonti​.​

I’ve known Roberto for a few years via a mutual friend and as such I knew some of his wonderful qualities, but until recently was totally unaware of the depth of his musical artistry. 

Exhibit A is his performance of Loro, composed by Egberto Gismonti.

I believe this performance is especially noteworthy. The original is a Brazilian fusion/pop hit from 1981. In 1994, the composer performed it with John John McLaughlin placing it in jazz nerd-dom. Subsequently both pianists and vocalists have employed to highlight their chops.
 
What Roberto did with it is sublime.
March 9, 2014

What is this Kawaii Metal?

I’ve seen lots of stuff I don’t understand but this particular video has me prisoner because I believe it signifies something of import. Yes, it is a mash-up of Death-Metal, Kawaii, millisecond edits, Jesus, teen-fetish, and intricate over-loaded hand gestures. It may play out as an ephemeral trans-cultural fad. However, I ponder why this artifact came to be.

Perhaps this simply a shallow global marketing effort akin to The Monkees.

Or perhaps it is evidence of something else? Indulge me in over-abstraction wherein a particular signal is selected. Could it be an eruption of latent Japanese pride, of long suppressed nationalism, saying “Hey Western World: Remember us? We were rebuilt in your image and likeness. We gave you Kanban, adoration of technology and sushi. Why have you forsaken us for China?” Japan has experienced a catastrophic housing bubble, outsourcing, and a dankai no setai generational welfare Rubicon. Japan is your future. Japan’s culture is asking us to pay attention.

January 22, 2014

Tech Support Please

How does one get iPhone control thingy (start, stop, skip) added to a set of cans?

January 21, 2014

A Tiny Silver Lining, post-Snowden

A Tiny Silver Lining, post-Snowden

I now cheerfully respond to all solicitations, telemarketers or otherwise, with “You sound awfully nice and sincere, but because you might actually be the NSA, I am uncomfortable speaking with you.”

April 2, 2013

Our SoundBridge Has Finally Collapsed

Our beloved Roku SoundBridge has ceased to function. After seven years of service tuning into SomFM, otherwise unreachable radio stations and our iTunes library, it emits neither light nor sound.

SoundBridge1

It turns out, the thing is beautiful inside. Constructed like double-ended Pringle’s can. Pop the ends off and it’s inner shell slides out of the aluminum tube.

SoundBridge2

Splitting the clamshell exposes a single circuit board.

SoundBridge3

SoundBridge4Notice the how the primary circuits are completely encased in a shield? This unit was unaffected by nearby cell phones, the microwave oven or other radiation sources. Which is pretty amazing because I don’t think things like 3G phones were invented when this was made.

Fortunately, there is EBay and it’s vintage replacement is on it’s way.

March 22, 2013

Marvelous Band + Game Show to Tour Again

March 19, 2013

Jon Brion on Songs vs. Performances

Jon Brion

In 2006 whilst on a relatively rare appearance outside Los Angeles, Greg Kot & Jim DeRogatis of SoundOpinions interviewed Jon Brion.
The Full Show • Interview with Jon starts at ~ 20 minutes in. See also the Footnotes.

TL;DR edited version: An illustrated YouTube excerpt of  Songs vs. Performances

February 22, 2013

Cross Bones Style • Cat Power

Inspiration for the song is said to be from Chan’s visit to South Africa where she met children orphaned by the diamond trade.   However, she didn’t write the song until later.  From Wikipedia (emphasis mine): 
Marshall wrote “Cross Bones Style,” along with five other songs from Moon Pix, one night in the fall of 1997, after awaking from a hallucinatory nightmare while alone in the South Carolina farmhouse she shared with then-boyfriend, Bill Callahan. “My nightmare was surrounding my house like a tornado,” she explained. “So I just ran and got my guitar because I was trying to distract myself. I had to turn on the lights and sing to God. I got a tape recorder and recorded the next sixty minutes. And I played these long changes, into six different songs. That’s where I got the record.”
Oh to be struck by such a muse. 

Listen on Rdio Cat Power • Cross Bones Style

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June 29, 2012

Philip “Pud” Kaplan

Why am I writing about Philip Kaplan? Pud founded AdBrite and Fucked Company.  In retrospect, Fucked Company may have best thing I ever experienced on the internet (perhaps except for 4chan, about which I cannot and shall not comment).  This is perhaps astounding because FC was nothing like the internet of today.

FC was all text.

Were such a forum to exist today, one might exclaim: “Fucked Company is the well-spring of tomorrow’s poetry, yet also the definitive locus of the internet’s largest anarchist cesspool.”  A bizarre prototypical social network. I spent what seems like a lifetime reading FC during its brief existence, whose era was pre-Y2k to post 9-11.  The “Happy-Fun-Slander” board, purportedly authored by vetted employees, was a momentum trader’s wet dream. I found my tribe among the free-for-all non-elite mosh-pits – a treasure-trove of unbounded raw emotion. The rumor was many comics and writers both tested and gathered material from the message boards there. When Pud finally shut it down (there were tears, lawsuits, and worse), I asked him if it’d be possible to curate a Best-Of book. I don’t think anything was ever re-constituted from its ashes, though Pud did sell a book about the experience of running the joint.

To be clear: FC was the antithesis of web properties today – anonymity was essential to its existence. As such, it was an elaborate sock puppet theater whose sophistication has not been replicated in the transparent, post-Facebook era. The only openly verified in-real-life FC persona was Pud.

Cut to today. I just asked Pud about his newest venture, Fandalism. I told him I’m a fan and I loved the concept, but I’d like to talk about what happens after the “dates” hook up .. ya know: getting tabs, rehearsal schedules, lyrics, finding the right key signature for the singer, remembering your unique arrangement, and so on.

If something wonderful results, I’ll let you know, but I feel very confident about approaching the domain defined by the intersection of “practical technology” and “musical practice”.

Namaste.

References

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