September 19, 2005

Playing with in the last days

On the past days I discovered, a social-tagged-internet-radio that allows you to discover new music from people with similar taste. I have been a bit "busy" trying to build my profile in order to better define my musical tastes to other users. The amazing thing is that the system is integrated with iTunes (and even the iPod) so your profile is defined from what you actually listen to.

My first reaction was: ok, I am an electronic music junkie who loves Detroit Techno so I will communicate how much I love Detroit artists and tracks... My surprise was: I can't do that, at least directly. It is not possible to edit your tastes in the profile... How it works, then?

First, you need to download iScrobbler, a small app that monitors iTunes and sends the information to A profile is "what you listen" and not "what you claim to listen". That's a big difference. If you love a track, don't build your profile rating it "5 stars". For, a loved track is a track that you play a lot of times. The same goes for artists.

Your actions, not your words, define your profile. That protects us from people who say "I love IDM" but they are actually listening to Britney all the time. This is more accurate, and I am starting now to fully appreciate this approach, even when it can confuse beginners (like me). You can check my profile here.

But that's not all. If you download the player then you can actually listen to a HUGE database of music. You can even create your personal radio (profile-based) and listen to the personal radio of other users or groups, like the Detroit Techno group. There is even tagged radio. Check, for example, the Detroit Techno tag radio. is a dream for people that are always in exploratory mode with regard to music. Other people already have enough with MTV.

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September 07, 2005

What? Less than 400 tracks per iPod?

This is crazy. A study by Solutions Research Group shows that the average songs per iPod is 375, and that half of iPod owners have less than 100 songs in their devices. Remember that we are talking about a device that can store around 20,000 tracks! This is amazing, as my iPod mini is always in shortage, and I have a Creative Zen of 20 Gb that is also full.
it seems that most iPod owners are not hardcore music fans, but they wear an iPod as they wear sunglasses in a cloudy day. But there is another explanation, related to which kind of music do iPodders listen to. If you are into country or trash-metal I doubt there is even 300 songs that deserve to be stored on your iPod. Just take at look at George W. Bush's iPod. Think about it: how many songs did U2 wrote? how many songs did The Beatles wrote? Coldplay? Britney? I think you can store all their full discographies in a single CD, and that's the music that most people listen to.
But we, electronic music fans, will be always short of space. Not only because there are thousands of styles, artists and tracks to listen, but also because we love DJ mixes. So if an artist like, say, Derrick May, has actually published few tracks, you can find/buy/download a lot of live mixes by him that are absolutely wonderful, absolutely different one to each other, and absolutely long (from 45 to 120 minutes). Hell, I have almost one Gb of Richie Hawtin mixes! And growing.
On another side, I don't think we are in love with the "song" format. We focus on more on "tracks", a form that is not done for listening in isolation but to combine with other tracks. We even enjoy doing our own mixes, and we need a big pool of tracks for that.

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September 05, 2005


Retrofuturism portraits images of the future as they were seen in the past. It also portraits images of the past as if they were the most futuristic ones. The effect is truly amazing, when done right, as retrofuturism can be more futuristic than futurism alone. Examples can be found in every art. My favourite example is the song "one more kiss" in the soundtrack of Blade Runner (a movie full of retrofuturistic references). In videogames, you can see it at work in the "Fallout" series. Retrofuturism works because it's emotional, somehow nostalgic.

In techno, a good example is the soundtrack of "Metropolis" by Jeff Mills. Clearly, with that work, Mills was pursuing something retrofuturistic and, IMO, he completely succeed, at least if you listen to his music as you watch the film. I remember to read in hyperreal that all the DJ/rave culture is highly retrofuturistic, as you have the most electronic and futuristic music combined with the "old-fashioned" vinyl. Also, this wonderful motown-with-electronics sound that we all *love* posses a retrofuturistic touch.

The most amazing thing is that, when you are into retrofuturism, you can no longer look at some images of the past in the same way. Some things done in the past work perfectly as retrofuturistic today, even when the author had no intention of doing it. It does not even need to be artwork. That happened to me when looking at the videos of the "mother of all demos", that is, the demos made in 1968 by Doug Engelbart, father of the mouse. They would work perfectly as backgrounds for a Jeff Mills session. Take a look at them, you will be amazed.

What about Kraftwerk? I think they sounded futuristic at their time, but they sound more and more retrofuturistic each year ("computer love", "the model"). However, that is a *good thing*, and proves that their music will remain forever.

Well, "the future is not as it used to be" (who said that?).

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September 03, 2005

What happened to ?

Today I went to the discogs web page only to find that the domain has expired. This is really bad news. Discogs was the best reference in the www for finding information about electronic music. The only positive sign is a message in the caption bar that says " coming soon". Very sad story...

Update: It seems there has been a problem with the expiration date of the domain. It is working again now. (thanks, module-records)

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