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WRONG NOTES: a blog of ear reverence

Wrong Notes collects posts on music, art, culture and fun stuff. Also included: news about the Ear Reverends.

New WIP tracks from Phone-E.P.

I've been recording a lot but I haven't released anything new in a looong time. So I thought I'd share some work in progress...

For several years, I've been collecting robocall voicemails and dreaming of music around and of them. As a bit of an aside, I often wonder what our actual sounds, as a society / civilization, might reveal about us—especially in the future when people have more perspective on our lives and times. And I think about things like robocall voicemails as being part of what we sound like right now.

The following links are to two WIP tracks from what I'm thinking of calling the Ear Reverends Phone-E.P. It's an idea I've been working on again this past week.

So you might imagine a robocaller calling my phone, which triggers a robot voice on my phone who announces the call, and then the phone gets answered by my voicemail with my robot voiced greeting. That's the setting:

Call from Null and Void / Error Code 2018 / Call from The Void [WIP mix1 mp3]

Greeitings (Sometimes I am the robot) [WIP mix1 mp3]

Update: just realized I'd shared and written about my robot greeting here on Wrong Notes in 2009, in Phone recordings robots. So I guess there's a long running, but slowly unspooling thread here.

Err or Man now on streaming music services

For the 10th anniversary of its original release, I've distributed the Ear Reverends' Err or Man album to a ton of streaming and download music services, including Spotify, Apple Music, and iTunes.

Here's the nice DistroKid Err or Man page, with fancy links to Spotify and Apple Music.

Here are more / direct links: Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play/YouTube, Amazon, Deezer, Tidal, Napster, iHeartRadio. It's also on Pandora, ClaroMusica, Saavn, and MediaNet — just search for it there!

Does this still work?

Like I have some old gear that I'm not sure still works, I'm not sure if this site still works.

So here goes....

If I'm reading this online, I guess it still works!

If you're reading this online... I did not expect visitors, but hi! so glad you're here, too!

I'm not sure yet what, if anything will be happening here. But I guess it works, so maybe we can try some things soon.

Steve Reich, Philip Glass on UbuWeb

Wishing I could take a vacation where I mainly watch all the videos on UbuWeb.

It's one of my favorite sites—and I've always been a huge fan of their incredible sound collection. I guess my first choice vacation would be mainly listening to all that audio. But, I skipped into some of the video this past week, and just watched a couple great ones:

Ensemble Modern Plays Steve Reich in Tokyo is a somewhat recent (year unknown) 2 hour concert, filmed for a Japanese TV broadcast. The performances and sound quality are excellent, and it's great to watch (or, close your eyes, and listen). Steve Reich is one of my absolute favorites, but I've never seen his music performed live—so I was super super into this.

I also recently watched this documentary, Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera, from 1985. I am also a big fan of Einstein on the Beach, but, again, have never seen it performed live. It's amazing to see footage of it. And, the interviews with Philip Glass and Robert Wilson are very interesting.

There are more sound recordings and videos of Reich, Glass and Wilson on UbuWeb. And, there's just a metric shit-tonne of other amazing stuff on there.

Lately, I've been keeping-up more with new stuff that's posted on UbuWeb via @UbuWeb on Twitter.

Recommended. 10,000 stars.

Band practice

I've got a little side project going with some hairy-handed gents, and I just got back from band practice.

I've played with a lot of people over the years. Of course, there are shows and being in the studio. And, there's jamming and sitting in and coming by and laying down a track. But band practice is like a special category within which whole floras and faunas of rituals manifest.

There's always some relationship between band practice and food. This band always practices around dinnertime, so food is always part of getting there or getting home. And, during practices, there's either the part where we talk about what we ate, or where we talk about what we're going to eat.

Tonight was tacos at Taqueria La Fondita #2—and it was on the way to practice. Yes, it was discussed at the predestined moment of practice.

In the year 10,000, the history museums will describe band practices as if they were the staging of operas. They begin with a procession of characters showing up, gradually coming together to perform the overture. Then there is the plot development through recitative, solo and group instrumental interludes, and, of course, the songs that tell the heart of the story. At some point, a meal is discussed with great enthusiasm.

And, finally, there's a closing number that resolves the whole event. Then the characters exit, and the stage goes dark.

Surprise gift of the year: a quilt made of t-shirts from rock shows I went to as a kid, circa 1980–1985 (made by Anastasia)!

· · · good things come to those who click · · ·

Music streams, files and artifacts of enjoyment

CDs had a good run in my life—there were many years where I bought CDs at least once a month. Now, CD purchases are pretty rare.

Most of my life, I've listened to music on LP, CD, cassette tapes and the radio. (For this post, I am writing about only recorded music, not "live" music.)

It's really not too different now: just add mp3s (and digital files) and streaming over the Internet to the above formats. But, I've definitely crossed a line where CDs are the least used format of all of the above. I actually have listened to more cassettes lately than CDs (in the putting-a-CD-in-a-player sense).

But, I do love to collect music. So, I am still buying some CDs—they just get immediately ripped to the computer, and then subsequently played via iTunes (which, as a music library interface, totally annoys me). And, regardless of whether I get a shiny disc or files, I enjoy the whole experience of acquiring / collecting the music.

I am not buying CDs for a few reasons, beyond the above. One of which is physical space: the 1,000+ CDs I already have are more and more getting packed away in storage, and I have no interest in buying CDs just to store them. Given the choice, I am tending to buy a few LPs rather than a lot of CDs—if they're going to take up space, they need to be something I want to take out and hold regularly. And, that's part of what this post is about.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we're currently trying out the MOG music service. We're listening to a lot of music this way, which is accompanied by the least-physical collecting of all of the above formats. My MOG collection is "in the cloud"—maybe. I am not sure I "hold" anything when I get music from MOG—that's good and bad, I think.

I go for days and days where I listen to music non-stop, from the time I get up until I go to bed. And, radio is a good option for this, if you're lucky enough to have a good radio station handy. We have KEXP here in Seattle, which is both good and handy. But, by a coincidence of convenience, we listen to KEXP via it's online streaming more than via over-the-air FM broadcast. So, KEXP is everywhere via the web—it's actually the primary "streaming" service we use, in that sense (and, I'm listening to Larry's Lounge as I write this).

I'm enjoying MOG and having it fill a similar role as radio. I spent an afternoon and picked out about 700 tracks I wanted to hear, and now have been playing album after album. In this way, it's more like collecting CDs. It's like a hybrid of radio and collecting, which I'm liking.

I am a big fan of Television & Tom Verlaine, and I found his 1992 album Warm and Cool on MOG. I've listened to it twice now—this is pretty much the point where I'd own the CD if this were 5 years ago.

So, now the big question: can I just collect this album on MOG, and feel like I have it? And, in particular, will that feeling of having it "work" like it does with physical albums?

This week, I also have been listening to the Thelonius Monk LP, Epistrophy. It's a recording from a concert in Paris, November 1970 (almost exactly 40 years ago), and the LP came out in 1979—I bought it used a few years later. It's maybe the first jazz album I bought when I was a kid.

(Here's Monk playing the song, "Epistrophy" in Paris, 1966)

So, this Monk album has all this meaning to me. Yet, I hadn't listened to it in years, and it's meaning was invisible to me—out-of-sight, out-of-mind. But, when I picked up the album this week, and actually pulled the vinyl out of its sleeve, and heard the first notes: total magic.

Obviously, the music is the main magic. And, music we've had in our life for 30+ years and/or since our childhood might have more meaning to us than music we've heard for the first time this week. But, I wonder how and where (and, thus, if) I am going to collect the music "in the cloud" such that it fulfills this important role of being an artifact of life—my life, our lives, our time & place?

It's been 6+ years since I posted The future of music playback on Wrong Notes, and I can't help but revisit this notion that we'll need to create physical embodiments of our music collections, even if those collections are purely digital, or even in the cloud on a streaming service like MOG.

And, with the Ear Reverends, with works like Err or Man, I can't help but want to attach my own music to some physical artifacts that might help it have a life in our places and times.

Halloween for a Shrinking Head

In the garden today, mulching, rather than writing something original for here.

But, I couldn't forsake you on Halloween. So, a little magic trick: Bruce Kalver's Growing and Shrinking Head Illusion:

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. . . the new music player is very coming soon and such . . .