Monday, November 10, 2014

Listening to Podcasts.

By the time Howard Stern left the regular radio at the end of 2005 I was already listening to my iPod for both music and the newly emerged medium of Podcasting. My car radio was with me for the two hours every day that I drove to work and it now acted as a playback device entirely. I didn't bother with CDs since my 30GB iPod had a large chunk of my favorite music and I also would use it to sync new Podcast episodes from my computers iTunes almost daily before driving.

Three years later my iPod was replaced with an iPhone 3G but the syncing ritual was the same. Within a couple of years Podcast Apps started to come out for the iPhone.  Some good, some not. I tried several over the years.

  • The Podcasts App from Apple had a rough start but is better today. (And is now included by default in iOS 8.) It syncs across your devices with iCloud and is free so that's an easy way to get started.
  • Instacast is one that I liked for years (until my current favorite came out) and aside from a few glitches a few years back has always worked well.
  • My current Podcast listening App is Overcast. It's free, but spend the money on the in App purchase it offers to get the best out of it. 
What made Overcast my current favorite is the things that it can do with audio. I listen to several different shows of varying audio quality and episode length. Some of the less professional podcasters use poor microphones, bad mic technique or don't know how to correctly use a compressor to even out volumes. Overcast's Voice Boost feature fixes many of those. Some of my favorite shows have lot's of dead air when the host or guest are thinking about what to say next or the Skype connection they are using to speak remotely causes a delay. (That's one of the reasons I would use the 1.5 times (sometimes 2x) playback speed.) Overcast has a playback feature that can, in real time, cut out dead air. That feature has saved me a full days worth of dead air time!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Patronage in music history and present.

Sometime around 2005 I was a member of the Nine Inch Nails fan club. One of the benefits of paying  for the fan club (in addition to shirts, posters and advance concert tickets) was the forums that Trent Reznor would sometimes pop in to chat.

He would occasional offer his opinion on this or that or ask a question or two of the community. One of those questions has stuck in my mind for a long time.

He asked the forum members about how music might continue to be a profession given that the internet had begun to collapse the music industry and how could artists continue to make art in the future. My contribution to the conversation was that we could return to more of a patronage model as had existed before records (and sheet music printing before it) allowed for a "music business". My thought was that the members of the NIN fan club would be happy to pay the same yearly fees to support the creation of the art itself rather then the supporting materials that it generated. It worked for classical music and musicians, why not for us in an era where music is listened to and loved more then ever.

Sadly he didn't try it, but he has tried a lot of different ways and has thankfully kept making music. (He even release a free record as a thank you for his fans continuing support.)

So if NIN didn't go the patronage route why the hell am I bringing this up?

Because while NIN didn't, others have begun to embrace patronage as a way forward to support not only music, but all the creative arts.

Learn more about Patreon in their FAQ or watch these short videos.

So basically what I'm saying is, THE INTERNET IS AWESOME!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another good video from XOXO. John Gruber tells the story of how Daring Fireball became his job.

It's about 45 minutes long. This is the kind of video I add to the watch later list on YouTube and pull it up on my AppleTV to watch.

I'd like to highlight a couple points that I really agree with:

  • CPM based advertising is a corrupting agent on the web.
  • He shouldn't be the exception with his way of doing business, he should be the rule. 
  • We need more singular voices like his. (Personally I wish we had more interesting dialogs/monologues in areas outside of tech.)
Some other thoughts:
  • I think his kind of thoughtful writing about a subject he cares about, and is knowledgable in, is a very much a kind of American Revolution idea. Example A, Example B
  • Because he answers to no one but his readers, he can have an unpopular opinion or two and doesn't need to bend to fit a majority opinion. He can be spiky when he feels the need to be.
  • He controls his own destiny in a way not many other writers can claim to.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ethan Diamond of (musician friendly) Bandcamp at the XOXO Festival in Portland 2014

Bandcamp is a site I've always liked. It is geared towards the musicians first, audience second and technology third. Many other sites that sell music have put tech first and it shows.

The attached video is one of the Co-Founders telling the story of the site at the XOXO fest 2014.

I found several things to like in this talk:

  • The story of how and why they never became a VC heavy company.
  • What they did to keep costs under control.
  • His outlook on why streaming services might be good for the audience and discovery while still being bad for music longterm and the creation of art. (Which is exactly how I feel.)

Go here to find Marqui Adora's music on Bandcamp.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A new Aphex Twin record!

Yup, he finally released an Aphex Twin, not a side project, record. While I've enjoyed some individual songs from the not Aphex Twin releases, it's nice to have a solid body of work that doesn't make me skip a few tracks.  He's clearly learned in the off time and does explore areas he never has before but in the end he still gives the songs a clear artistic style that makes them his.

Unpredictable, unpleasant at times, interesting and sometimes astoundingly beautiful.  In a world full of music that tries to be everyones non-threatening best friend, it's nice to hear music that says "this may not be for you".

Here's one of the tracks Warp posted to YouTube.

Monday, October 06, 2014

A podcast to checkout if you are a comic book or X-Men fan. Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men is a nice way to learn (or in my case be reminded) about what makes the X-Men such a popular multi-format success. While they mostly are talking about the X-Men comics (and many related titles) they do touch on the TV Shows and Movies.

It's one of the podcasts that moves to the front of the queue when a new episode is release.

Get it here on iTunes.

Or here if you use other Pod-catchers

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Q&A with Steve Albini that's worth watching if you're a music nerd or audio engineer.

He's recorded some of my favorite albums:

  • Pigface – Gub (1990)
  • Murder, Inc. – Murder, Inc. (1992)
  • PJ Harvey – Rid of Me (1993)
  • Nirvana – In Utero (1993)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Marqui Adora-Well Loved EP


So this week we finished mixing six of our songs that we started in "the long long ago. In the before time." We like them and we hope you do as well.  The Well Loved EP should be in all the usual places within the next few days. I'll post more links when they go live.

iTunes (We like money!)
Bandcamp (Pay what you like, including free.)
SoundCloud (Why not?)
YouTube (An easy way to give them a listen.)
BitTorrent Bundle (For those technically adept.)

Here's the YouTube versions for your listening pleasure:

Still flyin'

Monday, February 03, 2014

Final work on those Marqui Adora songs! (From the past few years.)

I'm spending a few days finishing the Marqui Adora songs that I started years ago. It's good to hear them (after a few months break) with fresh ears and be able to tell that they are as close to finished as I had hoped they were. I think the six of them will be up on iTunes and other places well before the end of the month. 

Feels nice!