Sunday, February 21, 2010
I'm watching a concert on HDNet - it's a band called moe.. Never heard of them before. I was been enjoying their rock sound, very good musicians, some nice on-stage energy, interesting progressions and catchy rhythms. Then I heard one of their singers. Sorry dudes, that's probably why I haven't heard of you. No offense, especially from this bloke who can't sing happy birthday, but vocals are very poor. I'm not drawn to singers, nor pay a lot of attention to lyrical content, but holding these guys up as an example, it just shows how important a good voice is to the success of any band. I sampled a few tracks on their web site, big on the instrumental laden tracks, vocals again weak. Another singer now singing on HDNet. No better. If these guys had a decent voice up front, we'd probably hear more from them.
Monday, February 15, 2010
One of the ways I align my (wide) music tastes with my life is to listen to specific genres and tempos at specific times of the day. I don't always do this and not always have my say in what music is played at home, but when I do have the turntable, and when I'm not fussy on specific bands or newer versus older tracks, then I switch on a few large, tailored playlists to fill the specific music gap in the day. To do this my way, you need to have a pretty good grasp on genre assignments and upbeat/mellow settings. For instance, I've been able to narrow the number of genres down to 22 and I use the Grouping attribute to indicate whether the track is mellow or upbeat. My library isn't perfect and I don't necessarily categorize and rate tracks my wife or kids download, but for me it works quite well.
My music genres (with some examples) are:
My music genres (with some examples) are:
- Rock/pop - U2, Robbie Williams
- Rock and Punk - AC/DC, The Clash
- Modern Rock and Alternative - Arctic Monkeys, Metric
- New Wave and Early Alternative - New Order, Talking Heads
- Pop, Idol and Kids -Spice Girls, Miley Cyrus
- Pop/Rock - The Script, The Beatles
- Folk/Rock - Devendra Banhart, Diane Birch
- Country - Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton
- Electronica - Thievery Corporation, Morcheeba
- Dance - Tiesto, Madonna
- Hip Hop and Rap - Timbaland, Lauryn Hill
- R&B - Mary J. Blige, James Morrison
- Reggae and World Music - UB40, Matisyahu
- Jazz vocal - Madelaine Peyroux, Ella Fitzgerald
- Jazz instrumental - Chris Botti, John Coltrane
- Blues - B.B. King, Susan Tedeschi
- Soul - Joss Stone, Duffy
- Soundrack - instrumental scores mostly, like Big Night and Snatch
So, for instance in the morning, the playlist is of course mellow, and I exclude genres like R&B, Hip Hop and Electronica. Late/easy evenings is mellow again, but excluding Folk/Rock and most Rock categories. For me, I can't picture listening to Madonna on a quiet Sunday morning or The Beatles when I'm tired and having a night cap. Of course, there are many more times in the day and music appropriate for different mealtimes, e.g. some get up and go music on a weekday morning (upbeat rock/pop for instance); heading to your hockey or ultimate game (upbeat dance or punk); or jazz instrumental and mellow soul during dinner.
So how about the following menu for this coming Friday ?
- Some gentle mellow folk/rock to greet the day, then changing folk/.rock to upbeat mode during breakfast time and some upbeat new wave for the commute.
- Over lunch, we go with the blues.
- Heading home we get urban with some upbeat hip hop & rap, but change to mellow R&B as appertizers are prepared.
- Some jazz vocal and mellow modern rock and alternative (to keep the kids interested) over dinner, followed by some upbeat soul for dessert.
- Drinks with candlelight with mellow electronica to finish your day.
Custom music menus available by request. Bon Appetit.
I just switched on iTunes Genius. I have used it in the past, but haven't used it since getting our MacBook over a year ago. There a few people who think that sharing your iTunes library is a little concerning (including my wife), but I don't see any big worry, especially considering all the other stuff I share online about myself. The one thing I do do (yes, I said do do) is to clear the comments field for the music I have purchased from gray Russian sites.
So, with Genius, you can simply pick a track and hit the Genius button and it will create a new playlist from your library based on a set of magical and mystical attributes from iTunes users world wide. For me, with a iTunes library that is large, but not very fat, it gives me a refreshing way to create a fresh playlist with forgotten old tracks, mixed with new tracks looking for a home. It also has a sidebar with purchase recommendations that is good for those people who don't have a large library or those looking for new stuff.
The latest release of iTunes also creates some automatic genre based Genius Mixes with funky names like Neo-Soul, Surf/Garage Revival and Electro-Pop.
I think the feature is definitely worth switching on and playing with for big music fans.
Another feature in iTunes that I haven't used much is the iTunes iMix, I've uploaded one as a test, but not published yet. I may spend a little time composing a few if there is an audience out there for my tastes in music.