The Glory of Outsider Music

On this episode of the podcast, we take a look at Outsider Music, recordings by iconoclastic and unique creative voices whose naive craft channels passionate music-making. Using Songs in the Key of Z: the Curious Universe of Outsider Music by Irwin Chusid as starting point, this episode features some of the most unexpected and distinct music you'll ever hear. 

Playlist for this episode:

  1. Florence Foster Jenkins - Aria, ‘Queen of the Night’ (1944)
  2. Conlon Nancarrow - Study for Player Piano No. 21 (1961)
  3. Elva (Mrs.) Miller - A Hard Day’s Night (1966)
  4. Wild Man Fischer - Merry Go Round (1968)
  5. Legendary Stardust Cowboy - Paralyzed (1968) & Standing in a Trash Can (Thinking About You) (1989)
  6. The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World & My Pal Foot Foot (1969)
  7. Shooby Taylor - Stout Hearted Men (1972)
  8. Luie Luie - El Touchy (1974)
  9. Gary Wilson - 6.4 = Make Out & Loneliness (1977)
  10. Jandek - They Told Me I Was a Fool (1978)
  11. Daniel Johnston - Walking the Cow (1983)
  12. The Frogs - I Don’t Care If U Disrespect Me (Just So You Love Me) (1988)
  13. Wesley Willis - Rock n Roll McDonald’s (1995)
  14. Bingo Gazingo - Up Your Jurassic Park (1997)
  15. Eilert Pilarm - Jailhouse Rock (1998)

The History of Punk, Pt. 3: Rise of the Indie Label

FINALLY, the next (final?) installment of our deep dive into the history of Punk music, its main artists and cultural influence. Part 3 covers the 1980s underground scene, knitting together far-flung regional efforts where bands pioneered a DIY approach that laid the foundation for huge independent rock bands in the 1990s.

"The History of Punk, Part 1: The Velvet Underground & Nico" is available here or here

"The History of Punk, Part 2: The Stooges to the Clash" is available here or here.

Playlist for this episode:

  1. Rise Above - Black Flag
  2. Filler - Minor Threat
  3. Waiting Room - Fugazi
  4. Unsatisfied - Replacements
  5. D’s Car Jam - Minutemen
  6. Something I Learned Today - Hüsker Dü
  7. I Against I - Bad Brains
  8. Schizophrenia - Sonic Youth
  9. Sludgefeast - Dinosaur Jr.
  10. Sweat Loaf - Butthole Surfers
  11. California Über Alles - Dead Kennedys
  12. Touch Me I’m Sick - Mudhoney
  13. Bewitched - Beat Happening
  14. Jaded - Operation Ivy
  15. No Control - Bad Religion
  16. Double Dare Ya - Bikini Kill
  17. Summer Babe - Pavement
  18. New Slang - The Shins
  19. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire

More Music We Like

This episode does what it says in the title, it’s another hang out where we listen to and talk about music that we really like! Featuring music by Janelle Monaé, The Internet, Michael Jackson, Anderson .Paak, Punch Brothers, and Kamasi Washington.

We hope you discover something that you like!

Playlist for this episode:

  1. Janelle Monaé
  2. The Internet - Come Over
  3. Michael Jackson
  4. Anderson .Paak - 'Til It's Over
  5. Punch Brothers
  6. Kamasi Washington

Music We Like & Happenings in Musical Culture

The Loose Filter Podcast is back, with WEEKLY episodes! This episode is just a fireside chat with Anthony and Stuart, musing about recent happenings in musical culture, like Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize in Music, and the Music Modernization Act. Plus, as always, a few fun digressions. Join us every Wednesday for new episodes!

Playlist for this episode:

  1. Mason Bates - Terrycloth Troposphere
  2. Kendrick Lamar - DNA., HUMBLE., and LOVE.
  3. Galactic - Percussion Interlude

From Musique Concrète to Plunderphonics: Recorded Sound as Source Material

 This episode of the podcast highlights our ongoing creative fascination with the ability to capture and manipulate sound. As always with human creative work, curiosity and experimentation started as soon as the tools became available: in April 1948, the first commercially available audio tape recorder, the Ampex Model 200, hit the market. Before the end of that year, composers were using it to create recordings that they would cut, splice and edit together in all sorts of interesting and weird ways, to create new pieces of 'sculpted music,' recordings called musique concrète.

As the available tools grew in number and sophistication, this general practice--of altering, editing, adding to music after it has been recorded--grew and multiplied, too. In our journey here, we quickly move from the conceptual to the popular, so you'll listen to the practice jump from experimental composition to the recording studio and audio production, its evolution into remixing and the internet, and arrive at a still-evolving practice aptly described as plunderphonics.  

The playlist is really pretty wild for this one (even for us), so to really expand your musical frames-of-reference, be sure to follow up through the links below (or wherever you get your music that you listen to) and explore this peculiar and extraordinary soundscape further. 

Playlist for this episode:

  1. Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux chemins de fer (1948)
  2. Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry - Symphonie Pour un Homme Seul (1949-50)
  3. György Ligeti - Artikulation (1958)
  4. The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)
  5. The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations (Stereo Backing Track, 1966)
  6. Pink Floyd - Money (1973)
  7. Björk - Cvalda (2000)
  8. Brian Eno & David Byrne - Mea Culpa (1981)
  9. The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (The JAMS) - Whitney Joins the JAMs (1987)
  10. John Oswald - Dab (1989)
  11. The Evolution Control Committee - Whipped Cream Mixes: Rebel Without A Pause (1994)
  12. Danger Mouse - 99 Problems (2004)
  13. Girl Talk - Triple Double (2010)
  14.  Neil Cicierega - Bustin (2015)
  15. YITT - I Really Like A Hole (2015)
  16. DJ Earworm - United States of Pop 2015 (50 Shades of Pop) (2015)
  17. SirFluffy Productions - JayZ vs. The Verve: Brush Your Bittersweet Shoulders Off (2016)

Hyperreality has been weaponized (and we better pay attention)

The topic of this podcast episode really stretches the "loose" part of our 'loose filter' concept, since we don't talk much about music. We do talk about something really important, though, something that is unprecedented in human history, involves a fascinating and frightening confluence of cultural behavior and technology, and is happening all around us--and to each one of us!--but that very few people have noticed and discussed: the weaponization of hyperreality.

To help us understand and explore this topic smartly, most of the episode features a conversation with Keith Nainby, whose academic specialty is human communication, and who is a terrifically lively guest whose insights still have our heads spinning.  Since this topic can seem pretty esoteric at first, I wrote a post that serves as introduction to this topic, but it's not necessary to enjoy our conversation about this timely and important topic.

Playlist for the interstitial music and clips in this episode:

Continue reading "Hyperreality has been weaponized (and we better pay attention)" »


Understanding Donald Trump: how technological mediation leads to actual surreality


I.
Introduction

Neil Postman is, in my estimation, one of the most important writers whose work needs to be more actively read, studied, and taught than it is currently. While his work is not obscure, and has had some influence, I open this short essay by asserting its significance because Postman has articulated and explained the fundamental necessity of deconstructing, understanding, and moderating the influence and effects of our media on ourselves (and by extension our culture, our collective behavior and decisions) better and more accessibly than any other writer I've found.

Also, for me, through much of his work as a whole Postman implicitly draws out the evolution of a primary thesis of communication studies--the medium is the message--into our growth and experience of hyperreality (which is vastly accelerated by the internet). I think that this process has continued, and that--because our experience of hyperreality is so pervasive and so convincing--we are now actively trying to make reality match our own subjective notions of what it should be, and the phenomenon of Donald Trump as PEOTUS is as clear an example of this large-scale reification of hyperreality as I've seen.

Look: I know that those previous two sentences are maybe not the clearest I've ever written, and that this can seem dense and obscure and not really worth thinking about too much. But, and I urge you to find me persuasive on this, it really is important and actually not too complicated, if you can stay in a conceptual space for a bit. I think it's urgent that we see and understand this set of phenomena we're currently experiencing, to help explain a world where "President Trump" is not a joke in a Simpsons episode from 2000, and to inform how we react and act going forward.

Continue reading "Understanding Donald Trump: how technological mediation leads to actual surreality" »


Christmas Music That Doesn't Suck

Christmas can be tough. Though often considered "the most wonderful time of the year," the holiday season brings significant challenges for many, who are far from loved ones, or have recently lost a loved one, and it can be pretty rough--and sometimes being close to family can actually be the rough part. 

Whatever the reason, when the holiday season is trying, it doesn't help that the music surrounding us is often just terrible. Not merely 'not great.' Terrible. I'm talking "Last Christmas," "Wonderful Christmastime," terrible. 

But despair not, in this sea of awful music, pumped into the air incessantly around us for another couple of weeks, there are a few shining beacons: Christmas music that is actually a pleasant experience, maybe even uplifting or joyful, that has the potential to get you into the holiday spirit in the best and most genuine ways. Here is some not merely palatable, but truly enjoyable Christmas music, to help brighten up your holiday season:

Continue reading "Christmas Music That Doesn't Suck" »


Congress Approves Bill to Eliminate Automated Ticket Bots

On December 7th, the House of Representatives passed the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or BOTS Act of 2016. The bill “prohibits the circumvention of a security measure, access control system, or other technological measure on an Internet website or online service of a ticket issuer that is used to enforce posted event ticket purchasing limits.” The bill will now go to the White House for Obama’s signature. Enforcement authority will be granted to the Federal Trade Commission.

In 2013 Ticketmaster estimated that 60 percent of the most desirable tickets are purchased by bots. There is some doubt about the effectiveness of the bill, though. Automated ticket bots are illegal, but scalping itself is not. “There is only one way to stop the scalping industry, and that’s to make it illegal,” said Seth Hurwitz, owner of the 9:30 Club in Washington. “Anything else is just Whac-a-Mole, and grandstanding by politicians.” Websites like StubHub will remain in operation and are unaffected by the new law.

“Laws don’t stop every crime, but the fact that there are new civil penalties for circumventing the technology that tries to keep tickets in the hands of fans will create a disincentive,” said Daryl P. Friedman, chief advocacy and industry relations officer of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Politicians in Europe are also working to reform ticketing laws. Italy is considering proposals and the British government commissioned a massive report on the scalping industry.

The bill passed with bipartisan support in Congress, showing that if there’s one thing politicians in America can agree on it’s that the American people have a right to see Hamilton at a fair price.


Music for an Uncertain Time

In difficult times, it's important to focus on what is truly important and meaningful and real for you--in your life, family and friends, work, spiritual or religious practice, and so on. Negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and anger are primal, powerful, and capture our imagination and attention with unpredictable effects--especially when they are caused by events beyond our personal control or influence. 

While not political, this episode is offered in response to an obvious, pervasive mood of shock and uncertainty following the recent U.S. election.  Attentive listening, to music that really rewards the effort, provides experiences that are cathartic, calming, energizing, mournful, and more. Here, the music we recommend and discuss offers some comfort, brief escape, and opportunities to focus on what's most important, right here, right now.

Playlist for this episode: 

  1. John Luther Adams - Become Ocean
  2. John Adams - Harmonielehre: Pt. III: Meister Eckhardt and Quackie
  3. Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
  4. Philip Glass - Prophecies
  5. Olivier Messiaen - Quartet for the End of Time: Praise to the Eternity of Jesus
  6. Bob Dylan - Forever Young
  7. John Corigliano - No. 7, Postlude. Forever Young
  8. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
  9. Johann Sebastian Bach - Partita for Violin Solo No. 2 in D Minor: Ciaccona