Archive for the 'Music' Category

Sleepless in London Sleepytime Mix

starry night over the rhone (or thames in this case)
First night in London, jet-lagged, can’t sleep.  Since I forgot to pack melatonin, I’m going to try some mellow-tunin’ (TM ;-)).

Anyway, here is my restless attempt at a sleepytime compilation.  I hope it puts you to sleep…

Blackbird – Sarah Mclachlan
The Boatman – Nitin Sawhney
Closer – Goapele
Come Away with Me – Norah Jones
Daydreamer – ADELE
Everlong (acoustic) – Foo Fighters
Eyes – Rogue Wave
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Flightless Bird, American Mouth – Iron & Wine
For the Good Times – Al Green
I’m Ready – Tracy Chapman
I’m Yours (From the Casa Nova Sessions) – Jason Mraz
I Know – Fiona Apple
I Love, You Love – John Legend
I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab for Cutie
Imagine – John Lennon
It’s Probably Me – Sting
It Never Entered My Mind – Miles Davis
The Kiss – Last of the Mohicans
Moonlight Sonata I – Beethoven
Only You – Joshua Radin Live Session
Pale Blue Eyes – The Velvet Underground
Paris – Yael Naïm
Paul’s Song – M. Ward
Pink Moon – Nick Drake
Rain – Priscilla Ahn
Rosie’s Lullaby – Norah Jones
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Such Great Heights – Iron & Wine
Sweet Jane – Cowboy Junkies
The Way You  Look Tonight – Harry Connick Jr
Tremolo – Pacific Uv
Wild Horses – The Sundays

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Genius is Genius

I’m not talking about the Genius Bar at retail Apple stores (although I love that, too)… I’m referring to the new features in iTunes 8. My purchase rate has definitely shot up since the addition of the Genius Sidebar that appears alongside my song list – yet another testament to the value of good recommendation technology.

My favorite iTunes feature, however, is Genius’s dynamic playlist technology which uses a single song seed to create a playlist of my own music. I’m amazed by its ability to group together songs that are diverse across basic characteristics like artist, genre, and album but similar in “essence.” It seems like they’re basing this solely off of other users’ song/playlist data instead of “music genome” data like Pandora. Works great for me and, theoretically, this should improve over time. In the following playlist (seed = Our Swords) there are probably 2-3 songs max that seemed like audible outliers:

Our Swords – Band of Horses
Haiti – Arcade Fire
Fast As You Can – Fiona Apple
Kiss Them For Me – Siouxsie & The Banshees
Only You – Joshua Radin
Sunshowers – M.I.A.
Til Kingdom Come – Coldplay
No Myth – Michael Penn
Marry Song – Band of Horses
Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins
Joey – Concrete Blonde
The Last Time – Gnarles Barkley
Babylon – David Gray
Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I Know – Fiona Apple
All I Want Is You – U2
Warning Sign – Coldplay
Lullaby – The Cure
Wicked Gil – Band of Horses
Amie – Damien Rice
WRAPPED AROUND YOUR FINGER – THE POLICE
Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire
Run – Snow Patrol
Head On – The Jesus and Mary Chain

Aptly named feature. :-)

Rediscovering music

One of my favorite pastimes in my early to mid 20’s was pirating music… When I first moved to San Francisco I had some friends who lived in a flat in Lower Haight, the heart of urban gentrification at the time. Every Sunday morning we would congregate in their living room for a lazy day of reading, recovering, talking, and file sharing. It wasn’t all about getting music for free… It was more about having access to a gold mine of music, sampling new sounds with virgin ears, and rediscovering ourselves through a newfound love. All without incurring a permanent cost.

Over the past few years I’ve dropped my piracy habit… mostly because it’s become increasingly difficult (I confess) and also because I do want to reward artists and producers for compositions I enjoy. Friends, TV/movie features, and radio (bleh) have become my primary sources of new music… until now. Thanks to advances in social music, I can once again safely explore uncharted ground.

Pandora is a site I’ve used in the past and while I think it’s incredibly promising, it needs a few key features. For one, they should just scour your music directory to save you the effort of typing in your favorite artists/songs (maybe this is in the works). Also, they’re still working on building out their catalog of music… for example, they have no matches for ‘A.R. Rahman‘ – one of the greatest and most prolific Indian composers of our time. They did, however, recently enable search for user generated stations and I immediately found a couple of stations I love. Unfortunately there seems to be no indication of what song is currently playing… or any way to stop it… obviously still a work in progress.

I tried iJigg.com today for the first time and was pleased to discover that the top (most popular) song listed is “Ya Rabba” from the new hindi film Salaam-E-Ishq. Beautiful song… Although I think this site is supposed to allow artists to upload their own, original music. In any case, this is probably a good site to track.

I’m definitely excited about the prospects of finding new incredible music… I even added a ‘Music’ category so I can share my discoveries with my blahg readers!