If Record Store Day is Dead, Maybe We Can Celebrate Music

Record Store Day has come and gone over the weekend. But 2015 will surely be remembered as a year in which Record Store Day did less to increase the visibility of vinyl records so much as to increase the visibility of how much everyone has grown to hate Record Store Day. And that seems it’s time for a post mortem – and a call to action. I watched closely the reports from this weekend, just to see if there was anything positive – and there was. For every Foo Fighters (Grohl was this year’s ambassador, weirdly), there’s something with more …

Push play, eh? Photo (CC-BY) Annie Roi.

Taking On Controversy, with RA Critics Roundtable, from Pressing Play to Running for the Border

Sometimes, it’s worth pushing pause on overheated blog diatribes and angry Facebook threads. Step away from the computer, you can have a real conversation. Resident Advisor, in the latest installment of their regular Critics roundtable, takes on three hot-button issues with a mix of people able to bring some nuance to the chatter. And since it’s a podcast – part of their excellent RA Exchange series – you can listen while doing dishes or driving to work. I’m one of the panelists in the series, but all three are touch some vital issues: Visas and cross-border international shows. Australian-born DJ/producer …


Op Ed: What Do “Mastered for iTunes” and “Sound Check” Do To Music Listening?

One way or another, Apple is involved in a whole lot of the music to which people listen. Here, writer David Dodson considers what that means (and similar issues with other digital music listening beyond Apple, like Spotify. Photo CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano. What does it mean to “master for iTunes?” Apple tripped that question with the launch of a suite of utilities and sound-processing algorithms intended to master music for their codecs and software, rather than more generically as would be done with the CD. More significantly, what does it mean that an increasing number of music listeners experience all …


Ambient Listening: Cory Allen + Marcus Fischer (USA) Track Congruities in Two Gorgeous Tracks

In two ambient works, musicians Cory Allen (Austin, Texas) and Marcus Fischer (Portland, Oregon) chart connected sound worlds mined from shared samples, in a sweeping opus of a musical environent. Released yesterday on February 22, coinciding with birthdays of the artist and Chopin, it generously has the you’ve-just-got-to-buy-this price of US$2.22, well worth adding to your downloaded collection. TWO / TWENTY-TWO by CORY ALLEN + MARCUS FISCHER The first track is nothing if not womb-like. It begins with a warm, pulsing hum, delicate tones peeking above the blur. Then it gradually succumbs to binaural fuzz, producing a whitened atmosphere of …


CREATED: Discover Music from Testtoon, Oubys, and Teal & Beastie Respond

Ready for some focused listening time? Photo (CC-BY-SA) Toshiyuki IMAI. [website – JP] Writing about the meeting place of technology and music, we cover potential: what’s possible, what might be in the future. So as he launches a new music column, our new contributor Kid Kameleon has coined a cheeky title: “created.” This isn’t just what you could create with digital music, but what has been made, as he discovers and reviews new sounds. And while words like “genre-defying” get overused, producer/DJ/journalist Kid Kameleon – aka Matt Earp – really is on a quest for music that pushes out from …


Korg’s Kaossilator 2, Mini Kaoss 2: Handheld Sonic Fun That’s Not an iPhone

Photo: Marsha Vdovin for CDM. Remember when electronic sound gear hid in hulking, rack-sized cases? Korg’s Kaossilator series had already begun shrinking the desktop KAOSS Pad gear, but even the first-generation Kaossilator wouldn’t fit in your pocket, given its square shape and corners. (Well, unless you were wearing overalls.) The Kaossilator 2 and Mini Kaoss Pad 2, on the other hand, are scaled perfectly to your hand and would tuck neatly into a pocket in your pants or bag. And while I know some readers were hoping for a new Pro addition to the KAOSS line, these little bundles of …


Good Listening, Good Taste: Selection of Ghostly Sonic Output, Inspiration for Getting Things Made

More than just a label, Ghostly is establishing itself as a hub of design, as in the new poster series by Swiss artist Sonnenzimmer, available from their online store. With artists likewise drawing heavily from visual inspiration, the connection between sight, sound, and taste is an evocative one. Photo courtesy Ghostly International. You can expect to see ongoing appearances by Ghostly International, the 12-year-old label with roots in Detroit that has since established firm outposts in California and New York, in these pages. (Pixels?) The reason is simple: Ghostly is a grand experiment in how to retain relevance as a …


Ten Years into iPod Era, the Big News: Apple’s Dedicated Player Survives

Rocking it old skool… sort of. The iPod Classic, the true successor, ten years on. Photo (CC-BY-ND) Mac User’s Guide. The tenth anniversary of the iPod debut means you’ll find plenty of commentaries on Apple’s iPod and how it has changed music. It’s an issue that’s been talked to death enough, continuously, in the past ten years that I’m literally uncertain there’s more I can say about it. Here’s one good, compact commentary from Daring Fireball, inspired by Macworld’s sharp review from the 2001 debut of the hardware. Instead, let’s consider what hasn’t happened: Apple hasn’t discontinued the standalone iPod, …


Topspin vs Bandcamp vs Both: One User’s Thoughts on DIY Web Music Platforms

With direct-from-the-artist sales catching on and some superb tools, the question for the independent artist or label is, which tool is worth your time? We’ve seen plenty of discussion revolving around Topspin Media and Bandcamp. Bandcamp earned interest early with a dead-simple DIY digital store for artists; Topspin has become widely available more recently, but had as an early draw merch stores and free download email capture as major features, among many others. Artist Tricil sung the praises of Topspin in April. Since then, I did my own LP release on Bandcamp, about which I hope to share experiences soon. …


New Music Listening, Free and Pay-What-You-Will: Shigeto to Squarepusher to Ambienteer

Squarepusher plays Rome in April of last year. Photo (CC-BY-ND) funkoolow. To take us into the weekend, here are some favorite online music releases this week to download, stream, and enjoy. Be sure to click over to the site if you’re on RSS for the included players if they’re not appearing.