June 18, 2016

2013 Exhumation: Robots want your love.

I’m unearthing a unpublished draft post written in reaction to the announcement of Google Play All Access from 2013.  I recall thinking of “Tyranny of the Majority”, “Dunbar’s Number” and “The 90-9-1 Principle” and the notion that communities of unpaid music curators are rare, fragile, precious and worthy of preservation.

The thing is, what Google was promoting then is equally apropos to what Spotify is now.

So here it is, from 2013, what the presenter said announcing All Access, and my reaction:

“Music unites us. It’s universal. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, the joy of music is a constant. And with ubiquitous mobile devices, there is a potential to bring that joy with us wherever we are. But when a bunch of us on the Play Team got together to talk about the next generation of our Music service, we all agreed the reality was somewhat different. Yes, mobile devices give us more choices than ever before, but they weren’t helping us discover music we loved. It felt more like work. .. so why is it that like managing my queue feels like a chore?”

My answer: “because it is a worthwhile chore.”  Would you ignore a reading a book that wasn’t on the New York Times Bestseller list? What is wrong with expending effort, especially on something you are passionate about?  For me the hunt and sharing of discoveries of any art is a joy. Google may have a spectacular categorization, tagging and recommendation algorithm, but if one succumbs to only what the robots anticipate as your every desire, it diminishes the value of one’s connection to every other sentient being.Radio Wall Plate • closeup

April 30, 2016

The glory of Deerhoof, two decades hence

I would like to celebrate the twenty-plus years of the Art, Noise, DIY, Mysticism, and Creative Joy of Deerhoof.

Trivia: Their seminal Apple’O album was recorded in one nine hour session.

 

February 26, 2016

Post-Rdio

As far as I can discern, ex-Rdio, ex-MOG, and ex-Lala citizens are struggling to share their music discoveries. They’ve migrated to Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music or whatever, but it’s so painfully obvious those platforms have no interest in letting that band get back together. None of those platforms afford any notion of community.

download

So I’m forgetting the spreadsheet-oriented music boxes. I’m now thoroughly content diving into page 18 of YouTube search results and pivoting on the wonders I find there. And there is the additional bonus that I might directly correspond with the original artist.

February 2, 2015

We Believe The Cellist: Google Smears @zoecello and All Independent Artists

The Trichordist

As David noted in his recent post (“Zoë Keating vs YouTube: The End of an Artist’s Right to Choose Where Their Music Appears on The Internet“), Google started a whisper campaign to journalists against Zoë Keating as soon–if not even before–the story first broke on Digital Music News.  What is a “whisper campaign”?  It’s an anonymous effort by a usually skilled corporate PR department to discredit someone who is criticizing the corporation, an effort directed at journalists with whom the corporate flacks have a relationship and who are willing to publish unattributed statements that contradict the whistleblower who spoke on the record.

Aside from the first exchange with Digital Music News that was probably unintentionally on the record, this is exactly what YouTube is doing to Zoë, and it is exactly what Google does all the time.  Aside from very carefully scripted statements by Google executives, almost all of…

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January 18, 2015

An Overdue Memorial

A quote from Tony Bennett, a performer I adore:

Some people think that anyone could sing jazz, but they can’t. It’s a gift of learning how to syncopate but it’s also a spirit that you’re either born with or you’re not. And Amy was born with that spirit.

The Amy he spoke of was Amy Winehouse.

On March 23rd 2011, Tony and Dae Bennett met with Amy Winehouse at Abbey Road Studio 3 for what was to be the British singer’s last recording session, exactly four months before her death on July 23rd.

This is a video of that session. 

I am gobsmacked with her choice of singing under Tony with her contra-alto on the second verse that just fucking slays me.

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I did not know she started by accompanying herself by playing guitar.  
At 21, she laid down jazz riffs and expounded on the virtues of a Stratocaster. 
I mourn our loss.
January 12, 2015

Dedication To One’s Craft

Regardless of whatever categorization could be applied to the objects created by this artisan, I believe you will find the implementation astounding.

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Regard the works of Dmitry Tihonenko

November 11, 2014

A Sincere Recommendation If You Can Spare Two Hours For Teleportation

birdmanYes, I’m making a movie recommendation, because we all require a change of perspective. The film’s setting is the NYC theatre district, likely insignificant with respect to your ever-present concerns. However, I believe you will savor the artistry of this work because (a) you are a performer, (b) you have uncanny visual and audio acuity, or (c) you harbor suspicions regarding the panem et circenses of mass media.

Please treat yourself to the masterpiece that is Birdman. Hasten to your local art-house cinema. Or not, and wait for it on DVD, Netflix or whatever, but please, please avert your eyes and ears from any spoilers or reviews except for my proclamation that the sound editing alone is worth 50 Oscars.

“A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.”

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:
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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.

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