Writing on music worth your time

Poor Nick Mason
Pink Floyd Songs Ranked. Wait, come back, it's funny and surprisingly affecting. Also, it's 19,000 words long, but unlike the subject there's not much wasted space here.

Vorsprung durch Techno
In the interests of total uninhibited geeking out, I'm going to start doing all music-related Twittering from @lukasmusic. Don't get used to all the substantive news so far, it's mostly going to be me raving about new beats.

The grass on the other side, let me show you it
Gripping account of Aphex Twin and Hecker's set at Bloc Weekend from someone who shares my idea of good. Subscribed to Spannered.
For the most part the rave onslaught of Aphex built up and out from the front stacks, in densely packed clouds of bass with numerous changes of pace and turnabouts. All the while an insidious range of DSP flutterings, whooshes, cackles on the edge of hearing, and countless other aural smoke and mirror tricks played out behind. Occasionally a crisp sound would boom out from the back of the room, causing scores of people to spin round and look out for devilry going on behind their backs.
And unlike Aphex Twin, Florian Hecker makes legitimately terrifying music (see Sun Pandaemonium, which sounds really new.) I haven't really been excited about anything with afx on it since the Flow Coma remix, so maybe this bodes well.

Bjork's "Play Dead": some songs are only meant to be listened to in a movie theater over the closing credits.

Eight years of Fabric mixes, part one
Just expropriated a large number of Fabric mixes, going to go through them from the beginning with a friend of mine who's newer to the scene. Here are the reviews I'm sending him.

Fabric 1, Craig Richards (2001): a straight-up tech-house mix, from before minimal really got going. Very good, bassy and dubby. Workmanlike, lacks that sense a lot of Fabric mixes have of being an _event_, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Spoon, "Gimme Fiction"
Listened to this album yesterday on big honking headphones while walking through midtown Manhattan, carrying two moderately heavy bags, on my way to Penn Station, to Newark Airport, for to carry me home to LA. Getting my body, my feet on the pavement into rhythm with the bags, navigating through and around the crowds, checking out a few New York women, watching the New Yorkers reading and talking and smoking in their parks. The fact that half of the resulting awesomeness came from the album informs you, reader, that it is awesome, and deserving of praise, and that it disproves the shadowy, gray, lifeless fears about the disappearance of the vital impulse in art that have been troubling you.

and thanks to piekoz for the rec

My online Total 6 shrine
It's soo good. Album of the year. The tracks are all clearly in the microhouse tradition (can I say that now?), but the compilation has this extraordinary range. I wouldn't have thought it was possible for microhouse to sound this fresh. Sometimes when it's really hitting I get this fuzzy idea that, yes, this album is important. Which is one way of saying that Kompakt's whole transparent+intoxicating formula is in full bloom.

Pop song reviews. OMG, Lohan has a song out.

top albums of the 1990s according to ilm
Good list even though there are things about it which make Hulk VERY FUCKING ANGRY.

I Love Music rough guide to...
Holy shit. The thermonuclear version of "five cds to introduce you to [60s bubblegum pop, new orleans brass bands, metal, rave, etc]".

Andrew W. Pollack's "Notes On" series
Insanely detailed mini-essays on Beatles songs.

classical music blogs
including one by Alex Ross (of the New Yorker)

Dizzee's album got four stars in Rolling Stone, fucked up. Of course, so did Be Here Now.

Simon Reynolds' blog
I hear he's a really excellent dj. Damn.

The New York Press on The Streets
Can I just say: I think this whole idea that music fans want to keep their favorite bands underground is total bullshit. All of the music geeks I know spend their time shoving their favorite music at anyone within range: friends, lovers, strangers, everybody gets the pitch; we're worse than Amway distributors. Why do you think so many of us are djs?

I probably am a music snob, but it's not because I want to feel special. The couple times I've been to places where I'm not special, where I'm just another face in the joyful crowd...I liked it. A lot.

Like what he has to say about the Streets, though.

Good review of the new DJ Vadim.

piekoz, narrativestructurez
I want to take a stab at explaining why I enjoy piekoz's album narrativestructurez so much, and why I think it's a great idm album. Creator Dave P was nice enough to send me the cd gratis, which doesn't often happen, so you're entitled to believe that my judgement is clouded -- but keep in mind that I have plenty of cds given to me by artists that gather both dust and moss. (Oh, not yours.)

On first listen, narrativestructurez may sound more like a downtempo album than an idm album. piekoz uses real instruments, human voices, and digital tweaking to create dark, smoky tracks about the speed of the human heartbeat. Really, it is a downtempo album, but there's more going on here, a restlessness that expresses itself as constantly evolving sound and melody. Every track, even the weaker ones (and the album does lose some intensity in the second half) keeps reaching to break out of cliche towards actual feeling. Nothing is static here, everything is morphing, moving in and out, varying.

The real achievement of this album is that it doesn't come out sounding prog. Somehow piekoz manages to have his cake and eat it too, twisting his sounds as much as any idm purist without destroying the delicate noirish atmosphere he starts out with. Calling something downtempo isn't a slam, necessarily, but if idm fans don't claim this album for their own, they'll be missing a beautiful example of sonic experimentation as a vehicle for emotional expression.

The obvious example of a group that's dared to evoke an environment that isn't industrial or mechanical is Boards of Canada. narrativestructurez is more subtle, though, and doesn't go for the cheap insights of psychedelia. It's just as good at putting a dizzying array of sounds into a coherent whole, but the song structures are freer (and I'm a total sucker for multipart songs). narrativestructurez hardly ever sounds self-indulgent, though, it just sounds, well, self-contained, self-defining, sui generis, new not for the sake of being new but because there's something new to express here, and I know it's a lot to lay on an album but that alone is almost enough to justify the existence of a genre focused on new sound.

piekoz's site is here, and you can buy it and listen to sound samples here

update: it's now, I dunno, six months since I wrote the above. I'm enjoying the album at least as much now as I did then. It's fucking great.

Last Plane to Jakarta
I think we can trust that someone who creates a new page design for every album review cares about what they're doing.

"pretty hip chord changes"
I've been listening to piekoz's album. Don't have a full review yet, but I will say that he makes it obvious how little imagination the idm crowd has been exhibiting recently. These are people that have the tools to create literally anything, and yet they seem unable to come up with anything that isn't either a variation on or a reaction to what's come before. If "narrativestructurez" is a reaction to anything, it's the general crappiness of the current idm scene.

ilxor: best music review websites
To be fished through later.

On one of the lower echelons of the British music hype machine.

Tim Finney seems to have decent taste in music - we both got into micro/tech-house around the same time. He also seems to have the same desire to write about it that I do - what he lacks are the inhibitions that prevent me from raving on for eight hundred words every day about the music that I love. Which is inspiring to see.

Which means: expect many music-related rants in the future. Starting, tonight, with why Luomo's Vocalcity is the Alpha and Omega of micro-house.

sonomu is motion's latest incarnation. I was weirded out when they asked me to login to read record reviews, but then I delved further: user reviews, comments on reviews...hey, maybe, finally, a web-based weird music community. Probably not - mailing lists are just easier places to have stupid arguments about albums - but if it takes off, imagine: new album comes out, you wait a week, then skim the community consensus on the latest batch of DSP fuckery and make your decision. The registration aspect is make-or-break, but I'm not sure which: either it'll drive too many people away, or it'll be essential in keeping the signal to noise ratio high. But why not let everyone read, and only registered members post?

Geogaddi is the best album of 2002. Game over. You can all go home now. I'm sorry, I know, we appreciate it, but the spot's taken.

Motion doesn't always have the best writing, but they seem to like the same kind of weirdo machine music I do, so I keep coming back. This time they hit it though:
Here's a simple home experiment to see if you'll like it: Run your television through a delay effect and put on the Classic Movie Channel while simultaneously playing Brian Eno's "Apollo" on one CD player, Massive Attack vs Mad Professor's "No Protection" on another, and Funki Porcini's "Love, Pussycats, & Carwrecks" on a third. Sporadically run around the room pausing a CD player every now and again.
I've actually always wanted to have a party where the soundtrack was provided by dozens of cheap tape players playing on autoreverse, each tape player playing something different - jazz, rock, ambient, street noise, white noise...I'd need more likeminded art-wank friends to do that though.

Links may come fast and furious for a little while as I add a lot of my old bookmarks to the site...anyway, idm geeks in training could do worse than check out neume. Gotta admit I mostly visit to read Philip Sherburne. His page even looks like like an Autechre record cover circa '96-'97.

This is Lukas Bergstrom's weblog. You can also find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Development, Net, Shopping, Collaboration, a11y, Android, Hardware, Open, MacOS, Web, s60, AI, OS, Energy, Mobile, Business, Storage, Wearables, Crowdsourcing, Web analytics, Product Management, Security, RSS, PIM, Visual, WRX, Data, Automobile, Social, Audio, Javascript, Medical, barcamp

NYC, Sports, Berlin, Minnesota, Friday, Feminism, Food & Drink, Toys, CrowdFlower, Surfing, Activism, L.A., Bicycling, Quizzes, Transportation, Geography, Politik, History, Clothes, Boston, Video, Agriculture, Travel, Podcasts, California, Statistics, Personal care, Life hacks, Housing, Games, San Francisco, Law

L.A., Business, Shopping, Boston, Making, History, Booking, Mixes, Musicians, Mp3s, Good tracks, Hip-hop, House, Streams, Labels, Videos, Events, Mailing lists, Lyrics, Reviews

Vocations, Weblogs, Languages, Working with, Buddhism, Friends, Me, Subcultures, Health, Stories, Life hacks, Meditation, Family, Gossip, Exercise, Heroes, ADD, MOTAS, Enemies

Poetry, Movies, Animation, Visual, Sculpture, Outlets, Rhetoric, Spoken Word, iPad bait, Desktop wallpaper bait, Humor, Burning Man, Events, Literature, Comix

Personal services, Taxes, Personal finance, Marketing and CRM, Real Estate, IP Law, Insurance, International Development, Management consulting, Non-profit, Investing, Web, Macroeconomics, Shopping, Microfinance

User experience, Architecture, Web, Data visualization, Furniture, Tools, Type, Algorithmic, Cool, IA, Presentations, Process

Statistics and Data, Physics, Networks, Psychology, Zoology, Environment, Cognition

Kenya, Uganda, Kingdom of Siam, Vagabond '08

Friends, Moblog, Photos I Wish I'd Taken


One Acre Fund


Internet classic

Subscribe to this site's rss feed

I'm also on Mastodon