After putting out a successful album in 2018, an illness left Gia Margaret without the ability to sing for about a year. To cope, she made an ambient album.
The first video from the album is for a song called ‘Body.’ Something about the juxtaposition of the gentleness of the track and the samples from Alan Watts with the roaring excitement of a monster truck rally strikes a chord.
The album Mia Gargaret (see what she did there) is due out on Orindal records in June. Which makes Margaret label mates with one of my faves, Moon Racer.
via Gorilla Vs. Bear
In his latest newsletter, Chris Bowler spends a bit of time on the Roam note taking service that is currently in beta. His reference for Roam was Drew Coffman. I love Drew, and he attaches to new ideas with the zeal of an ancient Athenian. Roam bares more resemblance to a wiki than anything else, but its proponents insist it’s a completely new way of thinking about note taking. The service is thick with enthusiastic documentation on how to use it for different purposes, adapting it to GTD, increasing your speed and productivity with a plethora of keyboard shortcuts, etc.
Roam only has a web app, and it’s not a particularly attractive one, at that. The site for the service partially obscures this by resizing browser windows in screenshots to make things seem a bit more native. The app just looks clunky, though. The pages have more bullets than a early-20th-century Chicago gangland murder scene. Perhaps a bit unintuitively, you can turn most of the bullets off by right-clicking on the title of the page. Otherwise, you end up looking like a PowerPoint junkie in desperate need of a fix.
The big draw with Roam seems to be the ability to create linked notes on the fly, by typing the name of a new note in double brackets. It is a cool idea, although I could also see it creating a fairly unwieldy database or a bunch of empty pages waiting for content that never comes. I’d like to see apps like Bear and IA Writer try out something like this, though. Bear already has a similar style of linking to other notes and IA Writer’s content blocks seem like a natural fit for this sort of functionality.
It’s clear that, even in the 21st century, note taking is still evolving. For a information hoarder like me, that’s a good thing, even if I don’t love every solution that is created.
My Harvard employed younger sister spent the better part of yesterday morning trying to virtually pet my son’s virtual dog in Minecraft. So I’d say this isolation thing is going well.
My son’s voice has changed during this whole COVID isolation thing and I hear him sometimes and wonder who is in our house.
When Austin Kleon started making zines out of a single piece of paper, and then kept on making them, I knew at some point, I would have to try my hand at it. Despite what those who mean well keep suggesting, not everyone has a lot more time on their hands because of the COVID-19 restrictions. I have gained a bit of time in dropping my commute to and from the office, though. This has opened up some space for creativity and craft.
In love with the cut and paste zine culture of the early nineties, I made my first zine with a typewriter and some photo copiers in 1993 or 1994. With ideas borrowed from some other zines and some amateurish writing, I put together a few issues and dropped them in the found materials spaces at local record stores. Hoping to connect with a kindred spirit or two, I included my mailing address on the back of each copy.
The hand-crafted zines of the era felt right at home with the musical scenes that were emerging at the time. The DIY aesthetic was blooming and cut and paste collages encapsulated that aesthetic perfectly. Some of the pillars of the indie rock scene adorned their album covers with surrealist mixed media collages.
Despite the ability now to immediately sample any piece of music for yourself, I still find value in writing and reading about music.
“Bright Eyes Reveal New Single ‘Forced Convalescence’ Featuring Flea on Bass” is not a headline I ever thought I would read.
Jeremy D. Larsen, writing for Pitchfork, uses the riotous 1913 Paris debut performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to illustrate the difficulty our brains have in enjoying new music. The performance, to perhaps understate the effect, took its audience outside of their sonic comfort zones.
Many members of the audience could not fathom this new music; their brains—figuratively, but to a certain extent, literally—broke. A brawl ensued, vegetables were thrown, and 40 people were ejected from the theater. It was a fiasco consonant with Stravinsky’s full-bore attack on the received history of classical music, and thus, every delicate sense in the room.
He goes on to explain why new music, truly different music, is so hard for us to enjoy.
People love the stuff they already know. It’s a dictum too obvious to dissect, a positive-feedback loop as stale as the air in our self-isolation chambers: We love the things we know because we know them and therefore we love them. But there is a physiological explanation for our nostalgia and our desire to seek comfort in the familiar. It can help us understand why listening to new music is so hard, and why it can make us feel uneasy, angry, or even riotous.
I’ve often read that our musical tastes solidify somewhere in the late high school/college years. I like to think I’m an exception to that, because I still spend a fair amount of time seeking out new music. I read music blogs and diligently check out their recommendations. I listen to the Apple New Music playlist that is algorithmically curated for me every Friday, comparing my list with my wife’s. I make a new playlist every month, comprised of mostly fresh tracks (with some evergreens thrown in for good measure).
How exceptional am I really, though? Is the new music I like that much different than what I would have liked in the past? Is it really challenging me?
For example, one of my new favorite songs is “I Feel Alive” by the band TOPS. The band describes itself as “a raw punk take on AM studio pop,” though it feels like more of the latter. So of course I like it! The band itself is fairly new, but I got introduced to music by AM studio pop in the seventies and I spent my high school years listening to punk.
It is true that I do listen to things that I wouldn’t have in high school. Don’t tell anyone, but I didn’t really like My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless when it came out. I can’t imagine having enjoyed the Velvet Underground at the same time I was exploring industrial bands. However, the noisy rock and quiet modes of the VU did influence a lot of the bands I listened to in high school and college, so again, eventually liking them is hardly a stretch. I never would have been into sophistipop in the nineties, but having grown up in the eighties, I was able to appreciate it more when teenage angst died down.
I plan to keep exploring new music, but I don’t expect my tastes to change in a revolutionary way. Whenever I so much as look at the band/artist names that are trending on Apple Music, I’m just not sure what to make of them.
I’m happy that my tastes didn’t get stuck in a lock groove in 1994, but I’m also cognizant that there is a familiarity and sometimes nostalgia with even the new music that I appreciate.
It’s worth noting that I don’t like a lot of the stuff I did in my teens. Those industrial bands didn’t stick with me, and neither did hip hop or ska or half a dozen other genres I threw myself into for a while.
Jason Morehead discovers Being an Introvert During a Pandemic Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be. I can relate to much of this.