Friday, December 07, 2012

(Too Much) Music In

Man, so much good music! But it seems like I just cannot find enough time to listen to it all to where it sinks in. Between new albums from known favorites, and the 2 fabulous new Brooklyn bands I seem to find every month, and going back and mining gems I missed like Tom Waits, and ripping my vinyl to MP3 (which I basically haven't started yet), there just ain't enough time!

My current sources of new music are:

  1. An email every Tuesday from Amazon: MP3 Newsletter. Usually 20 or so recommendations. I'll usually listen to any indie / alternative that look interesting. (Note, I'd still like to have someplace to buy music from other than Amazon (or Apple)).
  2. Lexington Herald-Leader Friday Weekender section, In The Bins column lists newly releaased albums and albums to be released the next Tuesday. Plus their music critic of 30 years Walter Tunis usually reviews a few albums a week.
  3. The Rolling Stone RSS feed. It has around 10-20 items a day, usually one or two videos of new songs.
  4. Word of mouth (particularly Chris Cooper).
I got somewhat signed up for Spotify but haven't been using it. I unsubscribed from its email notifications "so-and-so is listening to blah" almost immediately. Way TMI.

OK, enough whining, let's get down to it! (Gotta get down to it!) This is acquisitions from the start of October to the start of December.

  • Dave Matthews Band, "Away From The World". I think about half the people I play music with don't like DMB. My daughters all liked them in high school (particularly my middle daughter), and I always liked it pretty well myself. I checked, my smart playlist of 5-star songs "Serious Medicine" has 7 DMB tracks in it (out of 115), so I guess I like them a lot. This album is a good effort. This is the first time that I noticed that some of the instrumental sections of multiple instruments playing the same theme reminds me of some of Frank Zappa's orchestral stuff. 3 stars.
  • Van Morrison, "Born To Sing: No Plan B". This one more jazzy that the last one. Very nice tunes. Some of the same world-weary lyrics as his last album: "Playing in the background, some kind of phony pseudo jazz". I classified this album as Pop, Van's 3rd genre, along with Rock and Blues. 3 stars.
  • A.C. Newman, "Shut Down The Streets". Very nice tunes, extremely listenable. 3 stars.
  • Grizzly Bear, "Shields". Man, another great Brooklyn band! From the catchy and distinctive opening riff of "Sleeping Ute", the 1st track, to the last track tour-de-force "Sun In Your Eyes", which became the 115th 5 star track (out of > 16,000) in my iTunes library. 4 stars for the rest of the album.
  • Benjamin Gibbard, "Former Lives". At some point I am going to go through the 3300 "Alternative & Punk" tracks in my library and break them down into more atomic genre. Benjamin Gibbard, along with his bands Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service, will definitely go under Emo. Very nice songs. Aimee Mann featured on "Bigger Than Love". 3 stars.
  • Of Montreal, "Daughter of Cloud". Their last couple of albums hadn't been up to the crazy energy of "Skeletal Lamping". Well, they're back, with Kevin Barnes at his snarky, gay, obscene best, with great ELO backgrounds and vocals and, of course, bongos! 4 stars.
  • Andrew Bird, "Hands of Glory". Much folkier than his earlier stuff, and as such, somewhat lacking in the quirky charm of the earlier stuff. 3 stars.
  • Donald Fagen, "Sunken Condos". OK tunes. Donald apparently is still a player. The best Steely Dan followup album is still "11 Tracks of Whack", by Walter Becker. 3 stars.
  • Beach House, "Bloom". This is the 2nd I have by this husband/wife duo from Baltimore. Very nice tunes. They remind me of the other excellent husband/wife duo Tennis. Wikipedia says their genre is Dream Pop. Another genre for the big split. 3 stars (almost 4 tho).
  • Dirty Projectors, "Swing Lo Magellan". Another great Brooklyn Band. Really distinctive voicings of both melodic and rhythmic instruments and vocals. In "Maybe That Was It" it sounds like the guitarist is playing the tuners on the guitar, very odd. 4 stars.
While doing this post, upgraded to iTunes 11. It created duplicate entries for ~400 tracks, not sure what that was about. Hopefully OK now.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


Weird. Posted as a response to Walter Tunis's article on the death of Dave Brubeck.
Very strange, this past Saturday 12/1/12 went to see the internationally renowned guitarist, the inimitable Ben Lacy at Azur. The first song he did was "Take Five". Talking to him later I told him he had to do "Blue Rondo a la Turk" as well. And he posted 3 days later that based on the positive reception of "Take Five", he was working up "Blue Rondo a la Turk" -- but that it was really hard (yeah right).

After he did "Take Five", I googled when it came out. I would have thought early 60's. My (3 years) older brother, who graduated HS in 1966, was a jazz fan in HS, so I heard Brubeck, Miles, Nina Simone, etc, when I was 10-15 YO. I was surprised to see it was 1959.

Within the last year, I watched Ken Burns "Jazz", loaned to me by a friend. The West Coast Jazz movement (Brubeck) was the only thing that kept the jazz of the period from being completely dominated by the (junkie) East Coast scene.

Anyway, one word: synchronicity.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Economy of Plenty, Part 4

So I'm totally churning here. I'm finding more and more stuff, bringing it here, throwing it up against the wall, seeing what sticks.

As Tim O'Reilly has been talking about Economy of Abundance rather than Economy of Plenty, I was considering editing my posts and changing everything. Nope, not happening. For one thing, I have also come across references to this concept as Post-scarcity Economy. This seems to be very science-fictiony -- right up my alley. But, with 2 optional names, I'll stick with Economy of Plenty.

O'Reilly is actually talking about something that exists now, in that, for digital goods -- an eBook or a MP3 track of music -- there is no natural scarcity. It has to be created artificially. Like when my public library has only 2 "copies" of a given eBook -- LOL, they have infinite copies. Hence the huge market for pirated music, movies, books worldwide. And, as 3d printers continue to come down in price, soon the same thing will be true for lots of physical objects as well.

Here's O'Reilly talking about "The Clothesline Paradox" and new economics.

I mostly talked about what I call "The Clothesline Paradox" - the way that our economic measures favor value captured from the economy rather than value created - and why we need to change that. Tim Berners-Lee and the people who created the open source software that powers the internet didn't capture very much of the enormous value they created for themselves. It was captured elsewhere in the economy. Meanwhile, the titans of Wall Street are very good at capturing value for themselves while actually destroying value for the economy as a whole.
Here's a slideshow of this same material.

Here's a post that does a nice analysis of post abundance. I posted this response:

Nice post. I've been researching this and done several posts lately. Not near as well organized, more on the order of thrashing around. My blog is

Your tiered system intuitively seems like the wrong model to me, not sure why, I need to think on that.

One thing I have seen is that my children (36-29 YO) seems to be much less materialistic than our generation. They also seem to be somewhat immunized to advertising.

My 33 YO graphic designer daughter in Brooklyn has done a lot of pro-bono work over the years. She finally cut back on that a few years ago and made some money, now she's done a lot of work for Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Sandy. In her community, and in software development communities, especially open source ones, there does seem to be a "reputation economy" growing up, which is often mentioned as a sign of a post-scarcity economy.

So, with so much as cheap as it is, and a billionaire unable to get a better smartphone then anyone else, maybe we're almost there already? Just need universal health care and some serious tax reform.
Google autocomplete also suggests Economy of Plentitude. That seems to have been coined by these guys. Their mission statement:
Inspiring, engaging, and challenging Americans to re-examine their cultural values on consumption and consumerism and initiating a new national conversation around what “the good life” and the “American dream” mean.
They've got a book, and a video. I like the video. Apparently mostly the brainchild of Juliet Schor, a Sociology prof at Boston College.

Here's another short post on Economy of Abundance.

One of my favorite sci-fi authors, Charles Stross (@cstross), had an interesting post on his blog re, what makes a billionaire want to make even more money? Three theories:

  1. "It becomes a habit". And amongst businessmen I know, just because you get (filthy) rich you don't change how you do business -- you do it right.
  2. "It becomes a game", trying to rack up the top score. Larry Ellison comes to mind.
  3. "you're trying to build up a war chest that will buy you a very expensive toy one that isn't currently available at any price, so that if you want one you'll have to sink billions of dollars and years of your own time into building it." Think Elon Musk saying he wants to retire on Mars.
All three reasons make sense.