Music Tech

Catching Up On The Week (Mar. 6 Edition)

In preparation for the beginning of daylight savings time, a shortened list of #longreads…

Not too many articles to catch up on this week, but this interview from The Talks with Black Francis of the Pixies was interesting, as he discusses the evolution of underground culture, his emotions and moods during the songwriting process, and his new painting hobby.

By now everyone is familiar with mp3s, but not all understand the process of compression that creates these sound files.  Vox provides an overview of the compression process and cites the more detailed work of Ryan MaGuire.

The AV Club provides an extensive look at Prince’s 1980 album Dirty Mind, a record that often gets lost in the shuffle when discussing his extensive discography.

And finally Pitchfork offers up the experience of first-time Sleater-Kinney concert-goers as well as a plea to listen to more music without consideration of its context, arguing that it is easier to enjoy songs without knowledge of all that excess baggage.

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Catching Up On The Week (Jan. 2 Edition)

Some #longreads while you nurse that hangover…

It’s always a treat when we get to hear from Aphex Twin, so you should probably read this interview where the man himself answers questions from several famous DJs and producers in this special from Groove magazine.

The AV Club takes a look at how Pink Floyd ended up with a number one album when they released The Division Bell in 1994, based purely on the power of nostalgia.

A look at the greater context of Black Messiah, with an eye towards how those unfamiliar with the work of D’Angelo should approach it, with help from a fan.

And finally, for the more technologically inclined, here’s a look at how the different ways you physically store your digital music can affect its sound quality.  I haven’t read it yet, but for those readers who have a stronger scientific background, feel free to chime in and respond.

Over the Weekend (Apr. 22 Edition)

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend, whether it was spiritual, musical, or “miscellaneous”, and we also hope that you didn’t mind waiting an extra day while we recuperated.  I believe my stomach is proof that Costco should not be allowed to sell jellybeans.

Record Store Day was this past Saturday, and perhaps you scored some cool vinyl or just enjoyed a good excuse to spend a weekend afternoon scouring the racks at your local record store.  I only picked up a 7″ Mudhoney/The Sonics split-single, mainly in part to my reluctance to splurge on vinyl.  And now I have some ammunition when a so-called “audiophile” tries to insist that I’m missing out on superior sound, courtesy of Vox.  I’ll just be sure not to mention the Nyquist-Shannon theorem, because I have it on good authority that it’s not really handled correctly in the piece.  Otherwise, it’s a great scientific explanation of sound recordings in different formats; of course, if you prefer the sound of vinyl, feel free to keep rocking.

There weren’t really that many videos to share this week, but there was this footage from Soundgarden’s SXSW appearance that was just uploaded, with the band ripping through “Rusty Cage”.

Next week marks the return of the Pixies, who will release their first album since 1991’s Trompe le Monde.  NPR has Indie Cindy available to stream right now, so be sure to check that out while you read a feature of the band from Crack Magazine.

Finally, it’s the 20th anniversary of Above the Rim, one of my favorite movies to watch whenever it shows up on cable.  First, there’s a look at the making of the film with the screenwriter, Barry Michael Cooper, courtesy of Complex.  When you’re done with that, have some fun with a more irreverent look with a roundtable discussion about the unique greatness of the film from Grantland.  If you’re wondering why we’re discussing a basketball movie on a music site, you should probably check this slideshow, then ask yourself why you bothered to pose the question considering this was one of Tupac’s great roles, and it featured “Regulate”.

Catching Up On The Week (Apr. 18 Edition)

We’ve got some great #longreads for you this weekend, so try to fit these in as you enjoy Record Store Day.

Many music fans were excited for the reunion of OutKast at Coachella last weekend (this one included), but unfortunately it wasn’t the joyous celebration that we were hoping would occur.  There’s a lot to be said about the general shittiness of festivals, and Coachella specifically, but even that doesn’t account for some of the disappointment that many OutKast fans felt (personally, as a viewer watching things on my couch, I was able to enjoy it, album-plug for Future notwithstanding).  Rembert Browne at Grantland does a great job of expounding on this sentiment.  And if you’re wondering why the OutKast reunion was such a big deal in the first place, Andrea Battleground at the AVClub can help get you up to speed.

Last weekend I engaged in a scavenger hunt across Portland with some friends, and one of the items that we procured was an 8-Track of Bob Seger’s Night Moves.  It is now one of my most valued possessions.  Coincidentally enough, Steven Hyden wrote a piece this week why you shouldn’t scoff at this notion.  Behold, in all its glory:

My new most valued possession

My new most valued possession

SPIN has an excerpt from the recently released oral history of Dinosaur Jr.  You get a look at the early, early days of the band, as they toured around Massachusetts and their early ventures into New York, as well as their first tour as they opened for Sonic Youth.

Pitchfork has a couple of excellent features this week, both analyzing more the business side of music, and specifically the use and accumulation of data.  First, there was an article outlining the evolution of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and how its current format leads to problems in tracking songs.  It raises some interesting points, but to dismiss the impact on how the specific genre has had an impact on Top 40 is a bit of a mistake, and maybe a solution that is more in line with how Billboard charts Alternative Rock may be one way to go.  The other piece looks at the history of streaming and its future, finding analogues in prior devices like the jukebox and looking at how data is processed to give a better idea for programs in dispensing recommendations.  Both are great and worth the time to read.