Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

June 2, 2017

The first of 2017 Silver Anniversary album tributes.

velvet_underground_and_nico

March 12th was the 50th anniversary of The Velvet Underground & Nico, arguably one of the most influential popular music recordings of the twentith century, though it wasn’t evident at the time of it’s publication. The cast of characters included:

  • the lyricist, a survivor of electroshock therapy, inspired by writers and poets of disreputable subjects, who mixed literary references with deviant topics, and provided most of the lead vocals
  • the classically-trained utility musician (bass, piano, viola, celeste) and principal arranger, a friend of the lyricist
  • the guitarist, a friend of the lyricist
  • the drummer, a former IBM keypunch operator, who studied African drummer Babatunde Olatunji, eschewed a conventional kit, omitted use of cymbals and played standing up
  • the producer, who was mostly hands-off,  but a world-renown artist
  • the secondary vocalist, an actress, model, and singer, inserted into the band at behest of the producer, who was described as “half goddess, half icicle”

This cast is also known, in order as, Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, Andy Warhol and Nico.

In my estimation, the tracks on this album invented two new genres: Lo-Fi Pop and Noise/Art Rock. I’m sure you can pick which tracks did which. It would take another generation for those aspects to be relevant.

The album was a commercial failure, to which Brian Eno famously said “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”. There are a number of artists on record as being influenced by Velvet Underground: Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Joy Division, R.E.M, Talking Heads, Galaxie 500, The Melvins, Nick Cave,, PJ Harvey, U2, Joy Division, Morrissey, Artic Monkeys, LCD Soundsystem, Roxy Music .. and if that weren’t enough .. even David Bowie. Some of these adopted either the Lo-Fi Pop or Noise/Art Rock nature, or a hybrid of both. I hear echos of this album all over in grungeshoe-gaze, goth, art rock and even 90’s indie.

The other ground-breaking and perhaps more influential aspect of this album is the uncloaked lyrical depictions of drug use, prostitution, and sexual deviations. The list of norms shattered by subsequent artists is endless.

Robert Christgau would write ten years later after this record’s release that the album was too hard to understand in 1967 and “which is probably why people are still learning from it”.

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! 

photo

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.

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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