Media – December 2017

Things that caught my attention this month, in no particular order:

Dizzy:  Oshawa band with just a couple of songs released. I am eager to hear more. Playing Vancouver Jan. 12, 2018.

Original Swimming Party – Biggest Curse: I don’t really have words for this piece, just watch it.

How to Ditch Apple Completely:
In the early 2000’s I switched from PC to Apple after struggling for years trying to produce media on Windows machines. Microsoft had locked me in to their platform for years using illegal monopoly, but the emergence of the internet had helped me escape that business lock-in. The extra cost of going Apple was well worth it since their devices were far superior for my needs.

For years now, I have been feeling locked in to the Apple platform in much the same way. The value I perceived back then is gone, and when my 2011 MacBook Pro gives up the ghost I will probably be switching back. I have already abandoned their mobile and music platforms. There are many concerns about making such a move, that’s what “lock-in” is. This article does a good job breaking down how to do it.

Media – November 2017

Some things that have caught my attention this month:

What the End of Net Neutrality Means for You:
Don’t kid yourself, the effects of upcoming US legislation changes will be felt throughout the ‘net. And as is often the case, legislators in other countries will continue to be pressured by the same powers moving American decision makers.

Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference:
If you are a jazz fan you know this man. His new EP continues where “The Epic” left off.

The Dark Side of New Media
Here is a good piece on some of the many worries about our new media, and what it is doing to us. I can hear Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman muttering “we told you so” from the great beyond. There’s no doubt that our technologies change us. I do doubt, however, whether we have sufficiently thought through the problems that our new media can and will cause.

“This is a deeply dark time, in which the structures we have built to sustain ourselves are being used against us—all of us—in systematic and automated ways. It is hard to keep faith with the network when it produces horrors such as these. While it is tempting to dismiss the wilder examples as trolling, of which a significant number certainly are, that fails to account for the sheer volume of content weighted in a particularly grotesque direction. It presents many and complexly entangled dangers, including that, just as with the increasing focus on alleged Russian interference in social media, such events will be used as justification for increased control over the internet, increasing censorship, and so on. This is not what many of us want.”  Read more…  Something is wrong on the internet – James Bridle – Medium

Next is a tenuously related video discussing the effects of the same media from the perspective of a wildly successful pop artist:

A More Positive Side of New Media
This internet thing isn’t all bad. Or even mostly bad. It certainly has been destructive to old forms of media, in particular large (slow) companies relying on monopolistic power artificially enabled by barriers based on the old media forms. But it has also allowed artists that are interested to connect directly with their audience. Kickstarter is a well known site for facilitating this sort of thing, and their latest project, called Drip, is worth checking out. Currently in an invite only stage for artists, it allows them to manage subscription type relationships with their audience: read more.

 

Tori Amos – Cloud Riders (Audio) :
I often lose track of Tori for years at a time and then a new release comes out that reminds of how consistently good she is.

Slow – Against the Glass Remastered:
It still stands up as simply great music.

Media – October 2017

Things that have caught my attention, in no particular order:

Songhoy Blues – Resistance
World music meets crunchy guitar. More great music with political insight from this group from Mali.

St. Vincent – Masseduction
More brillance.

Courtney Barnett + Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
Pure unadulterated roots guitar picking and singing. No pretensions here, great for a fall bike ride.

Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder
A new album, same old sound. If you like it (and I do), that’s not a bad thing.

Vancouver Music: October 2017

Songhoy Blues – Great new album “Resistance” out, playing the Biltmore Friday Oct 27.

Jasper Sloan Yip – “The Day Passed and the Sun Went Down”, from his upcoming third full-length record Post Meridiem, to be released on October 27th on Afterlife Music. The album release show is at the Wise Hall on October 5th.

John Stetch & Vulneraville CD Release – John is an Edmonton boy, schooled in Montreal and based out of New York for years and years. He’s moved to Vancouver and we’re lucky to have him. Creative, virtuosic, and funny. This will be a great show. October 19 at Frankie’s Jazz Club ($25)

 

 

October’s Favourite Technology Stories – 2017

“Muted” Reaction to new iPhones
A common problem for successful tech companies: keeping customers buying products when they are happy with what they have. Apple makes great hardware and seem to be trying to keep people on the purchase treadmill through planned obsolescence. My iPad 1 and iPad 2 are still both very healthy physically, but run slower and slower with each update and I will soon be unable to install new apps or update the existing ones. My iPhones are the same, and my MacBook Pro too. My solution: move to Android devices and back to Windows for laptop. There is a problem when an economic system rewards companies for acting in this fashion.

TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer
This company keeps coming up with great designs, this is no exception. I am very cautious about buying their pedals, however, as I believe build quality to be low. I have had a number of their pedals begin to introduce noise into my signal chain after about a year or so of use.

Vancouver Music: September 2017

New releases, upcoming shows, and sounds that caught my ear.

  • Jasper Sloan Yip – “The Day Passed and the Sun Went Down”, from his upcoming third full-length record Post Meridiem, to be released on October 27th on Afterlife Music. The album release show is at the Wise Hall on October 5th.

Media-September 2017

Things that have caught my eyes, ears, and mind this month, for whatever reason.

Polaris Awards
This pretty much sums up Canadian music to me. Diverse, challenging, and interesting, it is always worth checking out the list of nominees for hidden gems. My favourite find right now: Weaves

LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
Some people question the “comeback”. This is another great album, what else matters?

Whitehorse – Panther in the Doll
Consistently great releases. Roots rock with fantastic tones and vocals.

Tinariwen – Elwan
World beats with crunchy guitar. Hypnotic.

Medium: “The Success Bloggers Are Selling You Bullshit.” by Jon Westenberg. I like Medium – thought provoking articles, many that I disagree with. Thus one hits the mark.

September’s Favourite Technology – 2017

Here’s some of the technology that has caught my eye this month.

Boss Angry Driver Pedal:
2 very popular pedals combined in a very clever and flexible way. I have more gain pedals than I can use, but it is the kind of thing that you can’t get too much of.

Jam Pedals LucyDreamer Supreme:
Multi-purpose (boost and drive) plus you can hook up an expression pedal and use this thing as a master volume too. That’s what attracts me – I am tired of having to fix volume pedals and want to get rid of physical circuits that inevitably wear out (and cause disturbing noises as they do).

New iPhones! New iOS Versions!:
This now interests me only as an outsider looking in and wondering why people still buy the hype. The Apple ecology wore thin on me a couple of years ago. The hardware is better but the proprietary and monopolist nature of the environment makes me feel too boxed in as a user. I can’t ignore that world as a mobile developer, but am happy to not have to embrace it as a user.