24/192 Music Downloads …and why they make no sense

(via xiph.org) 

Articles last month revealed that musician Neil Young and Apple’s Steve Jobs discussed offering digital music downloads of ‘uncompromised studio quality’. Much of the press and user commentary was particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of uncompressed 24 bit 192kHz downloads. 24/192 featured prominently in my own conversations with Mr. Young’s group several months ago.
Unfortunately, there is no point to distributing music in 24-bit/192kHz format. Its playback fidelity is slightly inferior to 16/44.1 or 16/48, and it takes up 6 times the space.
There are a few real problems with the audio quality and ‘experience’ of digitally distributed music today. 24/192 solves none of them. While everyone fixates on 24/192 as a magic bullet, we’re not going to see any actual improvement…

Read more:

https://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

Video of the Week: Why More Pop Songs Should End with a Fade Out

The Unlikely Return of Cat Stevens

Photograph by Matt Writtle / eyevine / Redux

(via The New Yorker) By

n a Cat Stevens, a.k.a. Yusuf Islam, a.k.a. Yusuf/Cat Stevens, concert in Boston a couple of years ago, there was a hushed pause in the room as the then sixty-six-year-old performer waited for a stagehand to bring him a guitar in between songs. “I’m really happy to be here!” the singer suddenly exclaimed. It did not sound like ersatz show-biz banter; it sounded humble, childlike even, as if he himself were surprised by the emotion. It sounded like capitulation. The crowd, in response, rose to its feet en masse, producing a sound that was more than just a cheer. It was an embrace. It was an acknowledgment by artist and audience alike: Cat Stevens, a figure who, for all intents and purposes, had ceased to exist more than three decades ago, had come back…

Read more:

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-unlikely-return-of-cat-stevens

Billy Joel’s 5 Stages of Grief

by Kevin McElvaney

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced these Five Stages of Grief in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. And though the theory was never fully embraced by the scientific community, it did take hold in the popular imagination. In the nearly five decades since its conception, the Kübler-Ross model has been applied not just to death, but to loss of all kinds — ultimately becoming a familiar trope in countless movies and TV shows.

Contrary to popular belief, the author herself never claimed that these five stages happen to everyone, nor that each person experiences them in a predictable order. Still, there’s something comforting about the notion that loss can be overcome, if only we’re patient enough to wait for that elusive fifth step.

At the risk of further watering down an already misunderstood concept, here again are the Five Stages of Grief: this time, told through the songs of the “Piano Man” himself, Mr. Billy Joel…

Read more:

http://www.articulateshow.org/articulate/billy-joels-5-stages-of-grief

Video of the Week: How a Recording Studio Mishap Shaped 80’s Music

Recommended Albums #74

Ron Sexsmith: Retriever (2004)

Ron Sexsmith’s 2004’s Retriever LP is the ideal primer on the work of the Canadian singer-songwriter, and certainly among best work of his career.

Delivered with his trademark McCartney-esque melodic knack, his insightful takes on (as he puts it) “the business of the heart and of the soul” come across as earnest, honest, and emotionally compelling.

“Hard Bargain” is a tribute to a stubbornly determined love that refuses to accept failure. In the hands of another–or lesser–songwriter, the self-loathing touched on here would have been the song’s focus. But in Sexsmith’s hands it is merely given proper proportion in the greater context of a remarkable love affair:

Each time I’m headin’ for nowhere/Doomed and determined to go there/Seems I never get far/’Cause you drive a hard bargain

How’s a guy supposed to fail/With someone like you around/I’ve tried, I’ve tried to no avail/You just can’t seem to let me down

“Imaginary Friends” is a cautionary ode to friends who “meet you when your ship comes in, but never meet you eye-to-eye”. “From Now On” is radio-friendly and had a topical feel in Iraq-War 2004. “Whatever it Takes” channels Bill Withers, adding another color to the album’s palette. And “How on Earth” extolls the amazement of finding a “love divine” in this vale of tears.

Unabashed romanticism is splashed across this album; it seems to come from a place of domestic bliss indeed. But Sexsmith’s understated style is always engaging, never cloying.

Sexsmith is a consummate song craftsman, combining the lyrical precision of Motown or Tin Pan Alley masters with an honesty that rings true. The songs sound lived-in here, as if the work of a man either revealing his own relationship status updates, as it were, or proving to be a talented illusionist. And that’s what a true songwriter does: either finds the universal in the personal, or makes the universal sound personal enough to feel real.

 

Listen to: “Hard Bargain”

 

Listen to: “Imaginary Friends”

 

Listen to: “From Now On”

 

Listen to: “Whatever it Takes”

 

Listen to “How on Earth”

Songs You May Have Missed #617

Tir Na Nog: “The Gangway” (2017)

The warm, faintly antique-sounding folk sound of Sonny Condell and Leo O’Kelly is intact on 2017’s The Dark Dance LP, as if it hadn’t been forty-four years since their last album (1973’s Strong in the Sun, commemorated on a page linked below).

Over their brief, three-record major label stint, they evolved somewhat from the pure acoustic sound heard here to more of a full-fledged rock band configuration, albeit one fronted by two guys wielding acoustic guitars. But their songs seemed most comfortable in the most rustic of settings: mostly acoustic with spare ornamentation to distract or detract from the haunting melodies and the spell of two voices intertwining harmonies.

Timeless stuff.

See also: 

https://edcyphers.com/2013/04/21/songs-you-may-have-missed-395/

See also:

https://edcyphers.com/2012/11/27/recommended-albums-30/

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: