Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Interesting article Derek ...who could ever dream of trying to pull a stunt like that! I see a screenplay in the works!

Sorry Derek, no archives on the Crypt ...in a way that's the beauty of radio though! you put something out there on the airwaves and then it vanishes into the ether. If i miss it, i miss it. If i manage to tune in for the occasional good show, i have had the privilege of catching a moment in time that can't be repeated, in a way. It's like catching a good concert at a club.

Now i know what your thinking, ...what's the difference if it happens to be a podcast ...not everyone has the ability to listen when at work, etc. etc. Somehow listening to good radio in real time, for me, is cool because you can't fast forward through the crap ...you have to endure the odd psa and adds for used computer resellers and health food stores or change the channel. You can't rewind to catch a track again and so it forces you to listen. Admittedly i'm not very good at that though! (listening that is) The other cool thing about community radio? If you ever want to know what a track is all you have to do is pick up the phone and call the dj. They love to know that someone is actually out there and digging the music.
Brian, actually beat me to the punch when it comes to my total lack of interest in the discussion of file formats etc but unlike him I couldn't even be bothered to post my disinterest. As for the CIUT deal that sounds like it would be a blast. The link you've posted Marc doesn't seem to take you anywhere. Do they have a site where you can listen to the past weeks show?

A much more interesting discussion than that of digital bits and bytes but in a somewhat technological vein is one that's been taking place in the UK re recently deceased classical pianist Joyce Hatto and whether or not her body of work might be entirely fraudulent. I'll post some links here and let you read in the International Herald Tribune and listen at the BBC for yourselves. When listening to the BBC program from last Saturday you can skip the first 10 minutes to get to the Joyce Hatto story.
...for example, Brian, the other night at the cd club, i believe you said that you never sit down in your living room and listen to your ipod hooked up to your audio system. hmmm!

I find that i have been listening to streamed podcasts and frequency modulation radio recently since i have been spending a lot of time all on my own (sob, sob!) in my office and i feel as if someone is trying to say something to me by selecting cuts and linking them together in a meaningful way ...i think that there is something to be said for that, as much as i do enjoy the occasionally randomness of a shuffle. I think it must have something to do with my fondness for the concept of the album, as apposed to the single.

Speaking of which, i must recommend "Hurray for Tuesdays" on ckln ...one of my favourite shows, Tuesday at 2:30 for anyone who has access to a radio or Rogers digital at that time. It is a little bit old fashioned, but there is something very comforting for me to tune in once a week to a favourite broadcast. It's live, spontaneous and since it is community radio, anything can happen.

I was mentioning to Stuart the other day a program on CIUT that is called "Vinyl from the CIUT Crypt" in which members of the listening audience are invited to come in as guest dj's and venture down to the u of t vinyl vault (and i hear it is a formidable collection) and select the music for the program and talk a little bit about their picks ...who's up for the challenge gentlemen?
Good point Marc, and nice job of moving me away from a one-dimensional invective.

It might be interesting to survey each of us to see how and when we listen to music, in which setting, using which technology, and what music aligns to each of these combos?

(I said might be....)
what i do find interesting about it though, is that our attitudes and preferences towards one format and media or another, reflects our personalities, lifestyles and listening habits.
yeah, they're almost as dull as one sentence posts. :)
I find discussions about file types excruciatingly dull.

Friday, February 23, 2007

it's okay, stuart, i won't give you any fl...

i guess it depends if there is a demand for that type of quality in a downloadable format. i suspect there will be, at some point, not because audiophiles will necessarily demand it but because i think cds will become ever more scarce in years to come. while i'll miss the packaging--the artwork and liner notes, that is, not those annoying brittle plastic cases that easily break--i certainly won't miss paying $15-$25 for a hard-to-find album. it would be interesting at a future cd/music club meeting to play an mp3 and flac files for the same song for comparison. i may be one of those people who may not be able to detect a difference but i suspect for some, the difference will be great enough to seek out the higher quality files, and go with a 'quality over quantity' approach when it comes to storing music on ipods.

it's understandable that, as the memory size of the newer ipods increases, the justification to shell out cash for a new one comes down to whether you can reasonably hope to ever fill the damn thing with music (or videos); why buy a 100-GB ipod if you only have 15MB full of music with which to fill it? however, if you increase the quality of the files and increase the file sizes, then you have a rationale for upgrading. think this bodes well for a company like zunior in the long-term.

gotta say as well, i like the fact that they're selling complete albums instead singles. i've read countless articles in the last year about the ascendacy of the single and the death of the album so it's nice to see a company stake it's revenue model on the idea that people still have the attention span/interest in 60+ minutes of music by one artist. i prefer to buy/download complete albums myself, and usually only buy a single if it's something catchy that i'm planning on mostly listening to at the gym or using to fill out a compilation cd. plus, they offer the artwork with each download, so if you wish to burn a copy and print it out, you can do so.

also gotta restate my support for any online music store which doesn't use drm-encoded files. for those with the time and or inclination, there is an interesting article in salon today about steve jobs' recent chastising of the music industry, which appears to be self-important rhetoric.
I guess I need a kick in the side of the head....I missed that you said Zunior was providing the FLAC online.. I guess that answers the question of if retailers will provide lossless product online....I wonder if Itunes will follow.....
The problem with FLAC is that it takes 7 times as much space as AAC or mp3.....Audiofile types seem to be having their cds transferred to FLAC or the like and then downgrading to the mp3s for your ipods...This 2 step process allows no loss for the home sterio and minimal loss with mp3s for your ipod.... I suspect new home audio receivers will interface this process much better then currently and also that ipod storage will become limitless in a few generations, the only problem will be (as Marc pointed out) that itunes and the like may not be interested in providing on line sales of cds in the higher lossless format like FLAC for audiofiles....
VE shall see
after some discussion last month about downloads and the quality of mp3s versus other encoding rates, it was interesting to find out about zunior.com, a Canadian online music retailer which offers high quality mp3 as well as encoding in FLAC format.

i haven't bought any albums (some are available on emusic, which is cheaper) but i did create an account so i could download the free sampler/mixed disc on offer.

the site looks interesting in that 1) it's canadian, and the only other canadian site that offers music downloads, puretracks, has arcane drm/usage rules 2) it (purportedly) offers higher quality sound files 3) they also sell some guy maddin films for download, at about the cost of an album which is interesting (to me at least). worth a look, imo.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

hey Kyle, after several hundred links on my website that's one thing i can do; if not, my site would be looking rather sketchy at the moment. ...shameless self promotion; next thing you know i'm going to try to sell a used car on the blog!
....oooops hit the wrong key and posted accidentally ...continued from below ...pardon lack of proof reading.

....oooops hit the wrong key and posted accidentally ...continued from below ...pardon lack of proof reading.

sorry couldn't resist
hey, at least you got the hyperlink thing down, marc, and that's half the battle. just try not to be so triggy happy on that 'publish' button.

really like what i'm hearing from pawa up first, and the fact that you can listen to snippets of the music on their website. in retrospect, you should have led with that one. is the dolphin-music disc really entitled, 'fukyo'? fantastic! for emusic-ers, pawa up first have two recent albums available for download.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

somebody should REALLY strip me of my blogging rights! Kyle, perhaps if i posted more than quarterly i would get the hang of it!
....oooops hit the wrong key and posted accidentally ...continued from below ...pardon lack of proof reading.

so like i was saying, sullied by the vocals of Sidsel Endresen who i also have on a Buggee Wessteltoft recording that i would avoid like the plague if give the chance. I'm looking forward to giving the 2006 release, American Compilation, a listen.

Still getting into Nels Cline Singers, The Giant Pin

...and Exploding Star Orchestra, We Are All From Somewhere Else, which i slapped on at the very end of the session as we were leaving.

I did not get to Pawa Up First out of Montreal ...very eclectic and well worth a listen in my opinion. The album is a mix of dreamy electronic Explosions in the Skyesque grooves with bits of MIA, BV3, Concious Hiphop and Reggea thrown into the mix . Pawa Up First are playing at Lee's on March 10th but i don't think i am going to be allowed to go to the show unfortunately.

Thanks for hosting Derek. Fine cheese, beer, music and company.
....oooops hit the wrong key and posted accidentally ...continued from below ...pardon lack of proof reading.

so like i was saying, sullied by the vocals of Sidsel Endresen who i also have on a Buggee Wessteltoft recording that i would avoid like the plague if give the chance.
All due appologies for the fornicating dolphins ...i think that will teach me to not play something straight out of the wrapper!

The fornicating Dolphins were courtesy of Toshinori Kondo in an aptly named album, Fukyo
i have not actually given the album a full listen since i managed to have left it a Derek's ...an inadvertant but perhaps subconcious attempt to distance myself from the disapointment. Brian, i would love to give your TK disk a spin before i slap down a wad of cash on another clunker. His DJ krush colaboration remains one of my favs.

I don't remember what order i played things in but i think next was Nils Pettre Molvear's first album Khmer, which i am still loving after having given a full listen ...all the way through! I think it is a far superior album to ER that is sullied by the vocals
Good fun the other night indeed...and yes, great to hear music in a room at good volume. Not something that happens Chez Doyle very often. Nice to see Rob out as well - the man knows his music.

My selections were:

Midlake - The Trails of Van Occupanther - America meets Seals And Crofts meets Alan Parsons meets almost any other mid-seventies atmospheric folk rock band. In fact an outstanding record and my current favourite.

Broken West - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On - great upbeat SoCal pop, also very retro (so many things are these days), but not as self consciously so in my view, and channelling more of a LA-sixties simple pop structure. Very well done I think.

The Earlies - The Enemy Chorus - interesting eclectic blend of pop stylings, sort of psych pop meets singer songrwiter meets large (somewhat goofy) synth.

Thanks for hosting Derek, and hope you maxed out on sleep.

Monday, February 19, 2007

much love to deeman for the hosting duties on friday, which included tasty scotch, cheese, and beer, as well as much played at a good volume, which i realized afterwards that i seldom get a chance to experience (headphones + loudness = bad news).

i don't recall any of us taking notes but perhaps rob was doing so while he pretended to sleep. with the exception of the disc of japanese dolphin flatulence, i enjoyed pretty much every album and artist played and i'd like to hear more. derek graciously lent me the best of 'pretty things' but i'd like to investigate some of the other music played.

for the record (pun would be great if we actually played vinyl anymore), i brought:

Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer? - best album title of discs brought, in my humble op
Mahogany - Connectivity! - highly derivative but at least diversely so and enjoyable
Brightback Morning Light - Brightback Morning Light - spiritualized meets zero 7

i also was going to play the new 'Apostle of Hustle' but didn't get around to it.

looking forward to your list.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I couldnt agree with you more, Derek and Kyle about the Robert Evert Green article , which I didnt think to be so much condescending to the Dixie Chicks, but rather insitefull and providing an alternate media type of perspective, which is what I though defined good journalism, especially in light of the bandwagon journalism we saw with the start of the Iraq war... I see him occasionally as he has kids at my daughters school , and he said he takes heat whenever he does this sort of thing and sometimes wonders if its worth it....sad..........
Finally, the most absurd scene at the grammys (I read about it) has to be ornette coleman giving the best new artist award to an idol contest winner...I would love to know what was going through his head........did this really happen????impossible that the show organisers couldnt see the irony in this statement...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I too read a large sample of the posts after reading his article and was surprised at the vehemence expressed in many of them. His basic point I thought was that all this fawning over the Dixie Chicks as some sort of standard bearer for free speech rights and standing up to the man has gone way over the top. I thought his take that "we're ashamed to be from Texas" is no different than "we love you London, Toronto, Tashkent..."was fairly astute.

The Macleans guy's article is quite funny re Globe "politics" but still think REG got it right.
I also enjoyed Robert Everett-Green's article on the Dixie Chicks that you linked to, Derek, and was a little dismayed to read so many chiding, borderline abusive comments that conveniently ignore his point entirely. Even the usually erudite Paul Wells of Maclean's chimes in with a snarky kick at the Globe critic in a recent blogpost.

I don't think Green was reflexively adopting a pro-Canadian, anti-American, or even anti-Dixie Chicks stance. Nor was he trying to promote himself as an arbiter of taste for the nation (at least no more or less than other critics, bloggers, or anyone with an opinion about music does). He was merely offering an alternate take on the 'aren't these Dixie Chicks courageous and aren't the Grammy voters therefore courageous by association' line that most of the mainstream media has been peddling ever since the trio picked up their trophys on the weekend: that perhaps their stance wasn't as brave and political as it appears, that the ensuing publicity that they have received has been well-orchestrated, and that the have ultimately benefited greatly from their positioning as anti-bushites.

I didn't think that Green was being condescending but perhaps my continuing disdain for the Grammy's has clouded my judgment.
Watched about 10-15 minutes of the Grammys on Sunday night and it was a sad and sorry lot of performances and nominees. What does it say about the relevance of "pop"ular music when 2007's show kicks off with 1982's biggest band? Kinda like Prince playing the SuperBowl.

There simply are no more "big" acts (certainly not the fucking Dixie Chicks) and this has the record companies running scared. What to sink your big promo money into when there are no longer any guarantees. Today's Limp Bizkit could be tomorrow's Creed.

And looking at your link to the list of Grammy winners I see that Frampton, Dylan, Tony Bennet, Stevie Wonder, and Madonna are amongst the winners. Are we celebrating 5 decades of music or just 2007?

It's too bad about your experience looking for the Prokofiev. Usually Gregorian is a bit better than the average store in helping you find something. Were you able to pick it up?

As for the 80's gems I do own the 12" version of Nowhere Girl and I'm pretty sure I own Let Me Go. You can certainly hear them tomorrow night.
I'll bring along my ipod, as well as a few discs. I should have at least one rocking track for you (already have it picked out).

Agree that it's been a little quiet here of late, which I attribute to a combination of the following: brian's vacay, the lack of interest in submitting a valentine's playlist of free mp3s (which i also lost interest in so please don't take this as a reprimand), stuart's recent fixation with music he already owns, derek's recent fixation with child-rearing, the fact that marc has already contributed his quarterly post, my travel, the cold weather, global warming, the incompetence of the bush administration, and the general despair associated writing anything about music in a world where the grammy awards exist.

I was tempted to write another diatribe against music awards shows, after reading that a novelty rap song wherein the female vocalist repeatedly boasts about the size of her tits was crowned 'best pop performance' at the aforementioned annual celebration of the mediocre, the irrelevant, and the downright fecal, but I think the complete list of winners speaks for itself.

I was also going to talk about how pitiful cd stores are these days. I went to HMV (Bloor/Yonge), Atelier, and Songbook recently to look for the Prokofiev disc and was sorely disappointed by the lack of selection and general disinterest of most of the staff. Will we have to buy all our music electronically in a few years? Is this a bad thing? I bought Sarah a copy of the latest Shins disc this week and she asked me why I didn't just buy it online. It's not available at emusic so I couldn't have got it for a steal but still could have saved $6 (tax in) by downloading the whole album from itunes for $9.99. I didn't really have an answer. Or rather, my answer should have been, "I should have bought it online".

All this brings me to an article in today's National Post, which suggests directions for the music industry that we've all discussed in the past.

My thoughts:
1) It's well past time for the record industry to join the 21st century and acknowledge that most people who actually give a shit about music don't really give a shit about most of the artists that they promote
2) Awards shows like the grammys and junos will continue their slide into irrelevance as declining sales can't even mask the conceit that they are bestowing honour based on merit
3) I will continue to reserve my right to complain about the inherent flaws of any future music distribution system

Also, XM radio rules. The rental car I had last week in WA had an XM radio receiver and I was treated to "All Cats Are Gray" by the Cure, "Nowhere Girl" by B-Movie, and "Let Me Go" by Heaven 17, all 80s gems that are largely forgotten and seldom played. Derek, do you have any of these tracks on vinyl (the cure song is on 'Faith' but the others are probably just singles)? If so, can you play them on Friday?
Assuming that anyone is still checking this rather moribund site wanted to remind everyone that we're getting together at my place tomorrow night, February 16th. Mey and the wee lad are off to his granny's for the night so we can turn up the music. I'll be relying on you gents to come up with the new "rock" goods as I've been mostly listening to classical and jazz these days as my sleep-deprived self rarely feels like shaking its money maker. If it's easier for some feel free to bring along your iPod as it can be connected to my stereo. Saves cutting copies of CDs of music you've downloaded.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I may be a little shy of new discs coming to the next cd club and its all due to the ipod....I never realised how constrained my listening experiences used to be (ie Yvette doesnt like jazz or hard rock, Rhys hates opera, music at the office cant be harsh and the selection is small, I only had 6 discs or so of choise at any one time in the car, etc... ) I was telling marc how now that I have access to hundres of cds in the car, at the office and on the subway etc... I have been listening to my back catalogue and enjoying the experience emmensly...the 400 bucks cost has repayed itself already in finding hidden jems in my collection I had forgotten or didnt know because of the rarety of listening to it...At any rate I will have to get my new purchases to gether shortly for the 16th......

Thursday, February 01, 2007

How do you like the new blogger? I actually hate it, as it fails to remember my password with each login, despite the fact that I click the 'remember me' box every fucking time i login. Arrrgh!!

Technical issues aside, thought y'all might be interested in a contest , where the best Valentine's Day playlist wins...well...little more than a shout out to that special person in your life, but hey, it's the journey and not the destination, right. Make sure you share your list here after submitting it at Salon. We could also come up with a 'Most Trite' Valentine's list, but this would likely fill an entire 80GB hard drive, even if encoded at a lowly 96kbps.