Pennyroyal Swale, Part 1

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Beth Anderson’s Pennyroyal Swale Part 1, played by the Rubio String Quartet. Images of Kentucky by photographer James Archambeault. Video by Dmitriy Khavin.

Bat Out of Hell III

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

I just noticed that Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman are releasing Bat Out of Hell III, appropriately enough on Halloween. This team’s been vastly underrated by everyone except the listening public. Their solo efforts have never been very good, ranging from bad to pathetic. (Steinman has done great work with other artists such as Bonnie Tyler too, but a singer he’s not.) However, put the two of them together and you get some of the best hard rock ever performed, even if (or perhaps precisely because) it sounds like it belongs in a Broadway theater instead of a football stadium. Now if only they’d released it on a non-evil label. :-(

Why I Never Go to Concerts

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

God damn it. Roger Waters is coming to Madison Square Garden, will play Dark Side of the Moon, I actually noticed far enough in advance to get tickets, and I’m going to be out of town at SD Best Practices those two nights. :-(

Usually I don’t even notice a band I’d like to see is touring until they’ve come and gone, or at least until tickets are sold out. I think the last rock concert I saw was X in San Jose in 2001. Before that maybe Joan Jett at Central Park Summer Stage or Meatloaf at Radio City Music Hall a few years earlier. That concert was weird: a lot of thirty and forty-somethings with their preteens in tow. One of the backup singers was Meatloaf’s ~20 year old daughter. Could it really be 40 years ago that Roger Daltrey first sang “I hope I die before I get old”? Even 90’s icon Liz Phair is now singing about dating men too young to know who she is.

Surely somewhere there’s a service that will let me enter a list of my favorite bands and e-mail me when tickets are about to go on sale? Ideally one that doesn’t spam me with a lot of needless HTML e-mail, advertising, and other junk. Any suggestions?

The Monkees: Most Complex Music Ever?

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

I am not a musician or a composer. I can’t personally hear or judge the complexity of different songs and records. However I recently noticed that maybe I don’t have to. I’ve been reencoding most of my CD library using Lame. Lame uses variable bit rate encoding. I’m sure audiophiles will correct this simplistic explanation, but in brief Lame samples different pieces of a song with more or less frequency as necessary to match the music. A pure tone could probably be reproduced using very limited sampling, whereas a dissonant cacophony of white noise with no predictability would require a very high sampling rate. Lame also takes into count the nature of the human ear. Frequencies humans can’t hear can be thrown away, and frequencies we hear preferentially need to be sampled more frequently.
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