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Archive for January, 2003

The process of listening to music

Friday, January 31st, 2003

How about some methodological notes? I haven’t thought much about it, but I find different people’s listening habits fascinating. Except mine, which I think are pretty run-of-the-mill. There are three major ways I listen to music.

(1) whenever I’m in my dorm room, I have a CD playing on my computer, no matter what I’m doing (unless what I’m doing involves its own soundtrack, like watching a movie or playing a computer game). Working, putzing around on the computer, reading, talking, whatever. This is my standard method of listening to music, and it’s also generally when I get the least out of it, meaning I usually don’t actually actively listen, and so I digest very little.

(2) if I go to the library or something to study, I always bring a Discman and headphones. Sometimes this works incredibly well and I’m able to study well and simultaneously digest what I’m listening to. Sometimes I get too distracted by the music and I end up just listening. Either way, I always take more away from the music this way than I do when I’m listening in my room. There’s something about the intimacy of headphone listening that just demands more attention.

(3) when I’m driving. This is pretty self-explanatory, and I think in general this is where I most actively listen to music. That’s pretty disturbing I guess. But I find that whenever I listen to a good CD in the car, I’m definitely able to listen closely and digest what I’m hearing.

Noticeably absent in that list is me actually just sitting down and doing nothing but listening to music. I wish I had the time to do that. For a while during my sophomore year in college I tried to sit down each night and listen to a CD on my headphones while doing nothing else. That didn’t last very long - I just couldn’t budget an hour for music and nothing else each night. It’s a shame. I guess I do actively listen to music and nothing else when I’m reviewing a CD - when I review a CD I like to have a very, very good grip on what I’m writing about. So I’ll listen to it over and over again, until I can identify each song by name having heard just a few seconds of it. That’s why I’m such a fucking slow reviewer… I could never write for a magazine, cranking out 20 reviews a month or whatever. That’s also why I’m so slow at reviewing promo CDs - since I’m not familiar with the music at all, it takes many many listens for me to get comfortable enough with it to write a good review. The only exceptions are whenever I have extremely strong feelings about the music - it’s always easier to write a review of an album if you absolutely love or hate it.

Aw shit: The Dismemberment Plan is calling it quits

Tuesday, January 21st, 2003

I found out yesterday, and it’s reported on (the newly redesigned) Pitchfork today, that The Dismemberment Plan is breaking up. Fuck. It’s a damn good thing I have tickets to their show in NYC in February - it will probably be the last time I get to see them. They’re awesome live. And they’ve already written part of a new album, but those compositions will probably end up on a solo album of Travis Morrison’s. Fuck.

The full news can be found on the band’s website, along with the few remaining tour dates. Fuck.

Something a bit cheerier: I’ve been browsing the access logs for this site, particularly the hits off of search engine keywords. Here are some of my favorites -

  • 7 shittiest fucking website ever
  • 5 nude camel toes
  • 3 what is a good iq
  • 2 does lightning come from ground or the sky
  • 2 alex lifeson overrated
  • 1 men gone wild
  • 1 where can i find some art on bears
  • 1 is it ok to use the word enthused
  • 1 why is it hard to live in japan
  • 1 clitoris land

This tells that five (yes, five) searches for “nude camel toes” were made and hit G&S. What the fuck? And isn’t that an oxymoron anyway? And how exactly did “men gone wild” lead to G&S? Ah, the mysteries of search engines… actually, this says interesting things about the efficacy of different search engines. By far the most hits are from Google, and surprisingly, virtually all of them were quite topical. On the other hand, there were few hits from Ask Jeeves, and a lot of them were laughable (and many of them are listed above). This shouldn’t really be surprising, I suppose.

Sigur Rós on the road yet again

Monday, January 13th, 2003

So Sigur Rós is touring the US yet again in March. Those guys are ridiculous. They’ve played the US like four times in the last two and a half years or something like that. Unfortunately I won’t be able to catch them this time around, but hell - I saw them back in November or so, they sure couldn’t have come up with much new stuff between then and now! Especially since they’ve been, well, touring Europe and stuff…

One of my friends got to see Grey Eye Glances live at Club Passim in Boston, and absolutely loved them. She said that Jennifer Nobel was gorgeous, “magical”, and she was barefoot and she curled her feet around the stool she was sitting on… and that the guys were “weird”. Hah. Damn Echolyn prog-rockers.

People saying dumb shit

Saturday, January 11th, 2003


European music tradition is the only important one, really. Sure, the Asian one, maybe, too, but that one has developed in other directions, and people from Western cultures (which also includes Americans, even African Americans) should stick to the European musical traditions.

That’s from rmp, in a thread full of drivel entitled “Progressive/Art Rock” (that was crossposted to a bunch of other groups, making it pretty interesting actually). There’s also a lot of the usual stuff about all rap being “c”rap (hahaha, how clever) in that thread. I love Usenet.

PopMatters has an interview with Neal Morse. It contains the sentence “Snow is not only one of the finest concept records ever recorded, but also ranks as one of the most compelling albums ever committed to disc.” Shit, and I like that site :)

Really old CD players sound better

Monday, January 6th, 2003

I, uh, saw a Meshuggah album at Wal-Mart today. I was, uh, shocked.

I got a new portable CD player in the mail today: a Sony D-25S that I got for cheap on eBay. It sounds freakin’ awesome for a Discman. Check out this extremely in-depth review of this unit - pretty much sums it all up (and has a couple Rush references if you’re desperately looking for the prog connection :). Earlier, I got myself a SlimX MP3/CD player, basically as a Christmas present - it’s pretty cool, and I love it for driving, since I never have to change CDs even on an eight-hour drive. It doesn’t sound nearly as good as the D-25S, though; but that’s ok since all I’ll use it for is traveling and driving. I’ll be using the D-25S as a kind of “component” CD player until the far-off day when I can actually afford a decent stereo system.

Good stuff from Wayside Music

Saturday, January 4th, 2003

Small delay in updating the site, as I spent a week or so visiting family in Phoenix, and then spent a fun New Years visiting friends in DC. Anyway, I’m back, and the full site should be going public within 10 days or less. Today I got a big order in from Wayside - my first $100+ music order in a really long time.