October 1, 2014
I took last Friday off and gave myself a 3 day weekend. I treated it like a vacation and quickly lost the normal forced rhythm of sleep/wake. I puttered and worked on projects when I felt like it, and took naps when I felt like it, which was often. Four hours awake, 1 hour napping, 2 hours awake, 20 minutes napping, etc., randomly, seemingly. But it felt good.
I made field recordings and laid down some music tracks and painted space money and hung out with kitties. Sunday was Swarm, and LaunchPad played very well, we thought. Mrs. Random made an excellent Swarm dinner, and we were all happy. Now the 3 day vacation is receding in the past, and I’m in the middle of a work week.
Yesterday I picked up our newly repaired and cleaned Marantz cassette deck. Very exciting. I brought it home and put on an old tape of Pink Floyd’s Meddle, recorded from a housemate’s well worn vinyl years ago. Later I played a Thelonius Monk cassette, probably recorded from a library cd years ago. Arrrrr! The cassette is a perfect format in many ways. I’m glad there has been a resurgence of late among little indie labels, but the glory days are certainly gone. I keep functional cassette decks around because I love playing my cassettes, and I have hundreds. Same with record players. I have hundreds of vinyl records and I love to play them. I never bought into the idea of ripping my analog music to digital, except when I want to do something particular with it on the computer, like podcasting or sampling, etc. I’d rather keep working machines that can play the original media. Anyway there’s something satisfying about putting a record on the turntable and listening to the needle hit the groove–and plunking a cassette into the player and pressing play and hearing that tape hiss start after the leader runs through. There’s a unique physicality to the actions and sensations of playing analog recorded music. But with a computer or smart phone, playing music is pretty much like doing anything else. Type on keyboard or swipe on screen. So what, big deal. (But still, you’ll have to pry my mp3s and my Spotify premium account from my cold dead hands, haha.)
September 23, 2014
This unique anthology assembles primary documents chronicling the development of the phonograph, film sound, and the radio. These three sound technologies shaped Americans’ relation to music from the late nineteenth century until the end of the Second World War, by which time the technologies were thoroughly integrated into everyday life. There are more than 120 selections between the collection’s first piece, an article on the phonograph written by Thomas Edison in 1878, and its last, a column advising listeners “desirous of gaining more from music as presented by the radio.” Among the selections are articles from popular and trade publications, advertisements, fan letters, corporate records, fiction, and sheet music. Taken together, the selections capture how the new sound technologies were shaped by developments such as urbanization, the increasing value placed on leisure time, and the rise of the advertising industry. Most importantly, they depict the ways that the new sound technologies were received by real people in particular places and moments in time.
via Music, Sound, and Technology in America: A Documentary History of Early Phonograph, Cinema, and Radio – Kindle edition by Timothy D. Taylor, Mark Katz, Tony Grajeda. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com..
September 23, 2014
In just the first month and a half of 2013, eight different anti-science bills were introduced in five states. Under the guise of “academic freedom,” these bills would allow or require public school teachers to “critically review” allegedly scientifically controversial explanations, including evolution and global warming. Neither of these theories is controversial within the scientific community. Alas, they are controversial among much of the American public.
via Denying sea-level rise: How 100 centimeters divided the state of North Carolina | EARTH Magazine.
September 11, 2014
Two years after landing on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached the base of Mount Sharp, located in Gale Crater. The $2.5 billion rover will now begin conducting scientific drillings. The US space agency announced Thursday that the rover has reached the base of Mount Sharp, where it will begin drilling.
via NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Reaches Mount Sharp.