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09 Sep: Holger Czukay’s Secret Code

My friend Tom was years older than me, and he let me regularly visit his house to listen to records. I was a weirdo growing up isolated in Central Louisiana, and friends like Tom were invaluable. His record collection was immense and consistently opened my mind to amazing sounds. Tom introduced me to Krautrock, a music genre that was startling to a Louisiana teenager in the mid-’80s. I think Faust came first and I paid…

Noise Gate and Gated Reverb

19 Aug: The Gated Reverb Conundrum

Do I know someone over at Vox? Perhaps there’s some psychic mind-link? I ask because the music topics the site covers in its ongoing video series are coming from my unbeknownst internal wishlist. I mean, here’s an eight-and-a-half minute video on gated reverb. Holy cats.   Okay, so we’ve got to talk a little bit about music production trends. These trends represent sounds, styles, and motifs that, at best, enhance a song and, at worst,…

Beach-Boys_Pet-Sounds

16 Aug: Decoding a Pocket Symphony

Posted by the Polyphonic YouTube channel, this video essay illustrates all the remarkable things that happen in the three minutes and thirty-nine seconds that comprise The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” It is remarkable when the details get laid out: the convention-defying sections of the song, the ingenious chord combinations, the metamorphosing moods and transitions, even how the deceptively simple lyrics reveal a deeper meaning. “Good Vibrations” is indeed a “pocket symphony.”   Wikipedia: The making…

Ways of Hearing Podcast

08 Aug: ‘Ways of Hearing’ Explores Listening in the Digital Age

  I’m excited about this new Radiotopia podcast named Showcase. Mostly because the first season consists of the six-part series Ways Of Hearing, hosted by Damon Krukowski who you may know as the drummer for Galaxie 500 and a member of Damon & Naomi. Apparently inspired and culled from Damon’s recent book The New Analog, Ways Of Hearing explores how listening has changed as audio delivery moves from analog to digital. It looks to go…

04 Jun: Hitting the Links: Music’s Technological History, Repetitive Pop Lyrics, and Peter Saville

Technology In Music: A Chronological Playlist Through History: Let’s start from from the beginning, in 1937: a timeless feel – eerie and alienating at times, permeates ‘Oraison’ by French composer Olivier Messiaen. The song was originally written for an ensemble of early electronic musical keyboards called Ondes Martenot. The Ondes Martenot is a very expressive instrument, meeting Messiaen’s avant-garde composition techniques. If you’re expecting beat drops you may want to keep in mind the release…

30 May: Decolonise: A Punk Fest Celebrating People Of Color

The Quietus: For those who have no experience of being a person of colour the fact that this event is even happening may come as a surprise. Why would anyone need a punk festival for people of colour in 2017? What does race have to do with the music you listen to? Why are you complaining, isn’t racism over? You might be reading this thinking the very same. Well despite your misgivings I can explain…

28 May: Hitting the Links: Talk Talk, a Package from Felix Laband, and Hippie Architecture

Talk Talk – 10 of the Best: Engineer Phill Brown, speaking to the Guardian in 2012, recalled “an endlessly blacked-out studio, an oil projector in the control room, strobe lighting and five 24-track tape-machines synced together. Twelve hours a day in the dark listening to the same six songs for eight months became pretty intense.” Felix Laband – A Life In Collage: Hailing from Johannesburg South Africa, Felix hasn’t exactly become a household name here…

27 Apr: 2017: Saxophones No, Flutes Yeah

The Outline: There’s no song in the Top 40 right now with a saxophone solo. There’s hardly a defined saxophone part on any of those songs at all, which is incredible because for most of American popular music’s history, the saxophone was the backbone of making a song a hit. In today’s pop, the saxophone is used sparingly, because instead of seeming cool and propelling singles, it runs the risk of making you look corny….

19 Mar: Hitting the Links: Paper Synths, The Velvet Underground, and Cuban Numbers Stations

Perhaps a budding Sunday tradition? Once again, I present five online articles that caught my fancy over the past week: Meet The World’s Most Obsessive Fan Of ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’ Satlof’s collection began in earnest in 1987: a $90 autographed copy from “a record dealer in an antiques mall on Canal Street,” with a scrawled signature that the seller said was Warhol’s, but turned out to be Reed’s. Satlof casually picked up more…

15 Mar: The Tale of Vulfpeck’s Silent Album

Today I Found Out just posted a video detailing Sleepify, that fascinating crowdfunding ploy by Michigan band Vulfpeck: An important bit that’s mentioned in passing is that Vulfpeck encouraged sleeping fans to play the silent album on repeat overnight (thus, Sleepify) to add to the playcount coffer. Though this tactic was initially creative and effective (really, hats off to ’em), I do think Spotify were justified in putting a stop to the potential trend of…