Music and Me
Top picks of 2008
Top picks of 2005
Top 10 of 2004
Top 10 of 2003
Top 12 of 2002
On my iPod - 40GB
On my iPod - 80GB
On my iPod - 160GB
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"When New York Was New York"
A random selection from my archive:
Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives
Moment of Zen
Courtesy of Timmay
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Saturday, September 05, 2009
I've had an idea for a good mix in my head for a long time. I've been too unfocused lately to actually mix it, though. So I'm just offering up the unmixed version. You'll have to pretend that the tracks flow together seamlessly until I'm ready to labor over some mixing software. I hope you enjoy it just the same.
Apnea Monofin Mix (1 hr 1 min; 103MB)
Proem "I Don't Know How To Tell"
Joker "Do It"
Martyn "Far Away"
Vaccine "Wishful Thinking"
Joker & Rustie "Play Doe"
Zomby "One Foot Ahead Of The Other"
Burial "Southern Comfort"
DJ2000F "You Don't Know What Love Is"
Kode 9 "Curious"
Pinch "Angels In The Rain feat. Indi Kaur"
Disrupt "Bomb 20"
Friday, September 04, 2009
Here's a great way to start off a holiday long weekend. A few minutes after getting home from work, I spy a small bug a few feet away on the wall. It looks a bit like a tick, but its body seems a little long for a tick. In any case, I go in for a closer look just to be sure. I'm just a few inches away and I scare it. It starts to fly. So it's definitely not a tick. And it flies right into my mouth and I promptly swallow it. Happy Labor Day!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
No, the beer wasn't vegetarian. But everything else was. We celebrated our 4 year anniversary last week at Armsby Abbey in Worcester. It has quickly become one of our favorite restaurants of all time. They consistently serve great, fresh, local food with an excellent rotating showcase of 20+ beers on tap.
On August 26th, Armsby Abbey closed from 6pm to 10pm to host 65 people for a 5 course vegetarian meal. All ingredients were sourced from farms and other spots within 50 miles of the restaurant. Accompanying each course was a beer from the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project based in Cambridge, MA.
The owners of Armsby Abbey as well as the couple behind the Pretty Things project made their rounds to say thank you and check in to see how the food and beer was treating everyone. Everything was remarkably good. A 5 course meal each with its own beer over 4 hours in a chilled, laid back atmosphere. A perfect way to spend a late summer evening.
It was so refreshing to see local restaurant and farm owners gather together for one special evening. I only hope they make a habit out of this kind of thing. Everything was delicious and you can see for yourself in the night's menu.
Friday, May 29, 2009
I'd like to think it's an auspicious sign of things to come, but I can't help but think that two hailstorms in two weeks is not a good thing. I witnessed a hailstorm while in central India in early May. And then just last weekend an even bigger hailstorm in central Massachusetts. What gives?
Friday, May 15, 2009
I just returned from a two week visit to India. It was my 6th time visiting the country, but my first time exploring anywhere outside of Chennai. This trip took me to Chennai, Delhi, Agra (the site of the Taj Mahal) and Bangalore. Quite a crazy trip, but very productive work-wise and it was very eye-opening to experience other parts of an amazing country.
I've posted lots of photos from the weekend side-trip to Delhi and Agra. I also took a bunch of (shaky) videos with a Flip camera including this one -- we were surrounded by water buffalo as we took a tour around Agra.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Using a new service called Wordle, you can create a tag cloud of your website. Neat!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Apparently a mote is a small particle or speck, usually in reference to dust, but can also refer to an atom. I learned this word through a new Windows game called Osmos.
In Osmos, you're a mote. And your objective is to absorb other motes to become the biggest mote on the block. I was drawn to this game for the same reasons that I was drawn to Electroplankton: simple yet mesmerizing gameplay along with its outstanding soundtrack and musical qualities.
Three artists provide the musical backdrop to Osmos: Gas (from em:t fame), Julien Neto and Loscil. All tracks fit quite well into the ambient, dreamlike nature of the game. I learned about Osmos from reading the blog of Mat Jarvis (Gas/High Skies) where I also purchased the remastered version of his em:t 0095 release.
Nice music from nice people. If you enjoy these tracks I advise you to also buy the albums. I've been exchanging emails with Paul from Microscopics who has been very friendly and informed me that although there are no plans to release the mysterious em:t 2298 album (love the cover art), some of the tracks will be released under the High Skies moniker.
Excerpts from Osmos soundtrack (zip), including:
Gas "Discovery" from em:t 0095
Julien Neto "Farewell" from Le Fumeur De Ciel
Loscil "Sickbay" from First Narrows
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I have an addendum to my top picks for 2008. I can't believe I forgot about this one. Lindstrøm's Where You Go I Go Too was a fantastic little EP of 3 songs all clocking in at over 10 minutes each, with the title track almost pushing a half-hour. So maybe it's considered a full-length?
Regardless, it's a great piece of work that I've heard referred to as a collection of epic ambient disco revisionism. Listen for yourself as the ball drops. Happy New Year!
Lindstrøm "Where You Go I Go Too" (mp3)
Saturday, December 06, 2008
A few years have passed since I compiled a formal list of my year's favorites. My "Tracks of the Week" are long gone and my podcasts also died quietly. A year ago I didn't reflect back on 2007 to pick my favorites because I didn't feel like I discovered much new music then.
This year is different. Particularly over the last six months, I found myself enjoying quite a few new releases. The majority of this list is electronic music, or at least influenced by electronic music. But I'd like to think that there's still variety to be found.
You can sample some of the albums yourself with a zipped collection I compiled.
Top Picks of 2008 Pack (~200 MB)
In order of enjoyment:
Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Songs From The Beehive - This one sailed into the #1 spot after I spent much of the summer listening to Move D's releases from the last couple years. This is quality electronic music that seems to bend a few different genres to be labeled with its own style Arthropod-house. Whatever that means.
M83 - Saturdays=Youth - French musician Anthony Gonzalez has quite a few releases that mix shoegaze aesthetics with lush ambient pop. This album is his heaviest nod to pop so far, and it's gorgeous. The beautiful sonic textures complement its nostalgic sounds of the '80s and is the most fun album on this list.
Burial - Untrue - I'm at #3 and I've already broken the rules. This album was released in November 2007, but close enough considering I've listened to this one the most of all releases on this list. The genre of dubstep hit its stride earlier this year and this sophomore effort from the mysterious London-based Burial is a standout. It even caught the attention of NPR's Song of the Day feature last spring.
Flying Lotus - Los Angeles - This album got some recent press too in a New Yorker article by Sasha Frere-Jones. For a while, I seriously considered placing this one at the top of the list this year. Although taking some cues from artists like Prefuse 73 and DJ Shadow, I found this to be the most inventive album of the year. It's a mess of sounds and rhythms, but after repeated listens it just gets better and better.
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend - New York City's Vampire Weekend self-titled album was on heavy rotation all summer long. I mentioned that the M83 was the most fun release of the year, but I might take that back and choose this one instead. This one isn't electronic music, it's pure indie rock with shades of Paul Simon's Graceland throughout. Considering its their debut, this is a really well-executed, charming effort that might be my album for summer 2009 too.
Bvdub - several releases - For recent dub techno, Bvdub is my favorite. I tracked down four of his mini-releases throughout 2008. Very relaxing, sublime music. I particularly enjoyed Dreams Of Red Chambers and Where To Now. A track from each is in the zipped pack.
Windy & Carl - Songs For The Broken Hearted - I already own eight albums from this Michigan duo, but I'll always pick up their latest because their output is consistently great. Call it space-rock, atmospheric ambience, or drone, they've never disappointed since they began recording in 1992. This gets the "easiest to fall asleep to" prize this year.
Newworldaquarium - Dead Bears - And this gets the "huh? not quite sure what this is" award of the year. It's clearly electronic music. The man behind Newworldaquarium is Jochem Peteri and he describes his music to be stuck halfway between hip hop and house. I agree and his production skills are fantastic. More quality electronic music from 2008!
HEALTH - //DISCO - This is an example of one of those rare occurrences where the remix album is better than the original. HEALTH's self-titled release is terrific and a loud mess of rock and electronics, but this remix album is slightly better with more dimensions. The video for "Crimewave" features a bloody zombie wandering around Toronto.
Various Artists - Round Black Ghosts - I'm rounding out the list this year with a dubstep compilation from the ~scape label run by Pole's Stefan Betke. Considering Betke's quality output in the past, it's odd that his contribution to this collection is probably the weakest track. But it still blends nicely with the rest of the dubstep artists here. The track from 2562 is a highlight as well as his full-length from this year entitled Aerial which didn't quite make the cut.
Happy listening and happy holidays!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Lately my listening habits have been focused solely on a genre of music called dub techno. I tend to get sucked into a certain style of music until I've run out of air. This happened about 5 years ago with a quirky brand of electronic music called tech-house or micro-house. And more recently I leapt back to the early 20th century to explore western swing.
Unlike earlier instances where I can't pinpoint how I was suddenly swept up by a particular genre, this time I can say I know exactly when dub techno got ahold of me. It was Thursday July 31st at 7:09pm. I was commuting home and listening to Boston College radio when I heard a track called "Distance" by Rhythm & Sound (mp3). I already had some Rhythm & Sound in my collection, but not their self-titled debut album. Looking back, the track isn't particularly mind-blowing. But for some reason it caught my ear and pushed me to dive into my dub techno CDs when I got home that night. Ah the wonderful Basic Channel metal tins from the mid '90s. Clever design, but the CD is left extremely vulnerable to scratches. Beautiful vinyl too.
Part of the enjoyment is the thrill of the hunt for these rarities. Because, after all, how much of this stuff do you really need to own? But over the last few months, through various sources like Beatport, eMusic, iTunes and some independent sellers like Polybonk and Juno, I've tracked down a mammoth amount of releases.
Dub techno is a blend of electronic music and dub which has its roots in reggae. One of its originators, owners of the Basic Channel label were interviewed in 1996 by The Wire magazine which offers a pretty good description of the music. In general, dub techno is downbeat, slow and warmer than traditional techno. Occasionally you'll have some singers involved, but primarily it's instrumental music. I find it a great match for driving, reading, or working on the computer. It's repetitive and discreet enough to work just fine as background music; but I find it rewarding when listening carefully too. So it's feeding my music obsession quite well.
It's been a long time since I've created a podcast and this could be a good topic for a new one. But I'm taking the lazy route and offering up some samples in a zipped bundle. If you follow the link, here's what you'll get:
Dub and Dubber Pack (~300 MB)
DeepChord Presents Echospace "First Point Of Aries" (The Coldest Season)
Mikkel Metal "Dromos" (Brone And Wait)
Convextion "Equanimity" (Convextion)
Deadbeat "Lost Luggage" (Journeyman's Annual)
Echologist "Midnight Dub" (Explorations Vol. 1)
Model 500 "Starlight (M 69 Original Mix)" (Starlight)
Octal Industries "Arrival" (Arrival/Departure)
Paul St. Hilaire & René Löwe "Faith (Vox Mix)" (Faith)
Rhythm & Sound with Willi Williams "See Mi Yah" (See Mi Yah)
Rod Modell "AbA" (Plays Michael Mantra)
Spectral Network "Part 4" (Defragment: Part 4-6)
Porter Ricks "Nautical Dub" (Biokinetics)
Bvdub "Always On The Outside" (Return To Tonglu)
Fluxion "Hiatus" (Vibrant Forms)
Ovatow "X - Dub II" (X - Dub)
Paperclip People "The Climax (Basic Reshape)" (Basic Reshape)
Substance & Vainqueur "Resonance" (Libration/Resonance)
Octex "Emergon" (Idei Lahesna)
Anders Ilar "Make Believe" (Everdom)
Monolake "Static" (Gravity)
Quantec "Infinite" (Thousands Of Thoughts)
Yagya "SnowFlake 6" (Rhythm Of Snow)
Atheus "Unendlich" (Unendlich/Drone 37 Hz)
If you're up for it, drop a note in the comments and let me know about your favorites.