January 11, 2017

2016 Music Digest

Season-appropriate greetings everyone! As such, the ritual of compiling a best-of-year playlist continues. Predictably, it generally eschews well established artists (exception: Bowie) and is bent to my aging tastes, mostly soft-ish pop/rock with a few instrumental pieces thrown in. I’ve published it on Deezer and Spotify.

Surprisingly I survived all of tretcherous 2016 on Deezer. The platform didn’t improve at all over the year but I’ve come to rely upon a set of features: collaborative playlists with comments, LastFM scrobbling and play-next (insert at top of queue). The ex-Lala/MOG/Lala new-release hunter-gatherer tribe remaining on Deezer has dwindled down to just a few souls and has continued the tradition of unearthing the best of new and unknown artists. However, we are missing obscure selections made by the most erudite folks of the Lala era. C’est dommage.

In other news, in January, Pandora will be launching its premium subscription Spotify/Apple/Google/Amazon on-demand competitor (news via Forbes and Verge). Early indications are the only DNA scraped from the carcass of Rdio is it’s slick UI design. The industry press is saying “too-little, too-late”, but I believe they have some capital in the form of it’s long-time users who have ever pressed the thumbs-up button [I could be wrong, but I believe the Pandora thumbs-up predates Facebook Like]. Imagine one button to play a stream of everything you liked from an era. Could be either glorious or scary!

December 8, 2016

Why I’m using Deezer

Season-appropriate greetings everyone! 

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So I’ve survived a year on Deezer. The platform didn’t improve at all over the year but I’ve come to rely upon a set of features not available on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music or Amazon Music Unlimited (yeah, they’re into that now too):

  • collaborative playlists with comments 
  • LastFM scrobbling

The ex-Lala/MOG/Lala new-release hunter-gatherer tribe remaining on Deezer has dwindled down to just a few souls and has continued the tradition of unearthing the best of new and unknown artists. However, we are missing obscure selections made by the most erudite folks of the Lala era. C’est dommage

As such my ritual of compiling a best-of-year playlist has endured. Predictably, it eschews established artists (exception: Bowie) and is bent to my aging tastes, mostly soft-ish pop/rock with a few instrumental pieces thrown in. I’ve published it on Deezer and SpotifyObviously, there is no obligation to listen, but if you know any musical directors looking for navel-gazing, dramatic audio material on likely favorable terms, please share. 🙂

In other news, in January, Pandora will be launching its premium subscription Spotify/Apple/Google/Amazon on-demand competitor (news via Forbes and Verge). Early indications are the only DNA scraped from the carcass of Rdio is it’s slick UI design. The industry press is saying “too-little, too-late”, but I believe they have some capital in the form of it’s long-time users who have ever pressed the thumbs-up button [I could be wrong, but I believe the Pandora thumbs-up predates Facebook Like]. Imagine one button to play a stream of everything you liked from an era. Could be either glorious or scary!

Anyway, thanks for reading and I love you.

August 25, 2016

Long live Rdio. It’s theme transcends Spotify’s darkness.

For those among us who still mourn the loss of Rdio, Devin Halladay has produced a reasonable facimile to be used when consuming the Spotify product:

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August 19, 2016

Paradise Lost

The garden of Eden with the fall of man, by Jan Brueghel de Elder and Peter Paul Rubens

Like so many Friday’s before, tonight is when the music industry releases it’s latest creations. There was a time when there had been an obsession, a cult, that had the thrill of discovering interesting productions, where robots weren’t involved. Sorry all you folks that deliver delightful data-mining results. I do admire the science of it. But there’s something lost: the opportunity for individual souls to react unencumbered to new art.

As such, I’m rather sad.

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

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