Category: Music

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Jesus Christ Superstar

Soundtrack for my life this Good Friday is the rock opera written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Track “Superstar” released as a single in October 1969 and the entire album on Oct. 27, 1970. The first stage musical production followed the next year and a film in 1973. Jesus Christ Superstar was a phenom, benefitting from timing.

JCS arrived at the peak of the Jesus Movement spreading across North America to Europe. Jesus People riding in brightly, multi-colored painted buses remains a stereotypical icon of the era. June 21, 2971 Time magazine celebrated the “Jesus Generation”. Like other Baby Boomers, these young people sought love and change but by getting high from shared spirituality rather than sex and drugs. 

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Goodbye, Palladia

February chill kills one of my favorite television channels—changing character, possibly, with major rebranding. Palladia will become MTV Live on the 1st. Oh joy. Tomorrow comes too soon. There’s something about the current name that delights the tongue—double l and how the ending “ah” syllable rolls. Granted, Palladia also is a FDA-approved drug for treating canine cancer, which isn’t the best connotative association for the television channel.

Still, it’s an established brand, as is MTV, and I can understand the rationale of uniting the channel with others in the music video and programming empire—perhaps funneling all the network’s recorded live broadcasts to the renamed channel. My concern: Losing the programming character that I find so appealing; perhaps you, too. 

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It’s Early Spring for Apple Software

My Apple love-affair started with the allure of hardware—the original Bondi Blue iMac in December 1998—but stayed true because of software. I found Mac OS 8.5.1 to be substantially more satisfying than Windows Me and to support broader range of applications than NT 4. The experience carried forward, particularly during the iLife era and priority placed on content creation that matters to most people. The company caught the transition from documents to digital media as main content created by most people

Over the past couple years, Apple apps and operating systems feel stuck in the last decade. They’re directionless. But as 2016 slowly advances, i see hopeful hints that software innovation will rise to the standard set by the company in the early 2000s. Fresh example, which is but a curiosity to some, foreshadows much: Music Memos; released yesterday. 

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A Legend Leaves Us

The seeming suddenness of David Bowie’s death yesterday cannot be overstated. He hid his liver cancer from most everyone, and he left this world with remarkable dignity—externally living normally as could be nearly up to the end.

The singer celebrated his 69th birthday on January 8th—yes, two days before his departure—when his last studio album, 7-track “Blackstar” released. The song that surely will be a meme is “Lazarus”, which issued as digital download the week before Christmas; in my listening to the song is epitaph to all the people he leaves behind. From first stanza to the last, unrequited fate is transcendence.

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The Pricey and the Priceless

Christmas came early this month, with the acquisition of Google Pixel C tablet and Master & Dynamic MW60 wireless headphones. So Santa rightfully pulled only a few items from the sack—and they are more than I deserved. The pricey: Sunglass clips for my spectacles and Hard Graft Atelier Hang Camera Strap (pictured) for my Fujifilm X-T1. Priceless; Necklace made by my wife.

The strap is in some respects more than the X-T1 needs, being such a compact, mirrorless camera. But the accessory commands more respect, hangs the Fuji better around my back, and easily pulls up for hand carrying. A last-minute purchase, Hard Graft shipped from United Kingdom on December 22nd for Christmas Eve delivery. I must thank DHL for calling that day to ensure someone would be home and by ringing allowing me to provide the apartment complex gate code. 

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The Beatles escape from Apple Prison

If Christmas Eve 2015 is remembered for nothing else, it will be the gift given to anyone wanting to listen to The Beatles anytime, anywhere, and on anything. As I write, the group’s last recorded album, “Abbey Road”, streams from Tidal in the glorious 1411kbps Free Lossless Audio Codec. Listening with Master & Dynamic MW60 headphones, detail is super fine, such I can appreciate Ringo Starr’s drumming and hear just how tight is the Fab Four’s playing. I haven’t heard The Beatles like this in years, if ever. You go on and listen to 256Kbps AAC from Apple.

My introduction to the group came from the soloists, following the breakup. I was too young when Beatlemania stormed England, the United States, and most everywhere else. My first record album was Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Band on the Run”, which title song is metaphorically appropriate for The Beatles’ escape from Apple prison. 

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Last-minute Tech Stocking Stuffers

Here we are, days before Christmas, and you’re thinking about last-minute stocking stuffers. I’ve got an eclectic selection of things I would want to get or give for December 25th. Some of them will demand rushing online to take advantage of last-minute shipping offers. Others require no shipping at all, like music subscription services. Confession: Some items will require a larger stocking but no wrapping.

I present the list alphabetically, and in no order of preference. 

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Six Headphones for Christmas

As Christmas comes closer, it’s time to think about rewarding your ears, or someone else’s, with exceptional audio experience—headphones that I would ask Santa to bring for myself or deliver to another. If big, booming bass is your thing, read no further. Buy Beats, Sony, or another brand boasting barreling lows that shake your skull as well as eardrums.

My picks deliver broader audio range, each with warmer mids and highs and amazing detail, depending somewhat on the source of your content. Highly compressed AAC or MP3 tracks lack lots, but these cans will get a little more fidelity from them. CD or lossless source might change how you listen to music forever. 

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Google’s Sharing Spirit of the Season

Ho. Ho. Ho. Google gives early Christmas presents this holiday, by focusing on ways that families (or roomies) can better share that which is contextually precious: music, photos, online, payments, and videos. But Big G also trails Apple, which already offers its customers many of the same benefits.

Fresh today: Google Photos Shared Albums, which applies collaborative concepts that Apps users should find familiar. “People receiving the shared album can join to add their own photos and videos, and also get notifications when new pics are added”, according to the official announcement. “You can even save photos and videos from a shared album to your Google Photos library, so that you can hold onto them even if you weren’t the one holding the camera”. 

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Indochine My Morning

I can’t speak, nor do I comprehend, more than ten words of French. But I love this band’s music, nevertheless. At 10:45 PST this morning, Indochine streams live from Paris, and I am so down for it. Maybe I’ll Chromecast to the tellie from one device, while working on another (got lots of writing to do).

The live stream is one of the many benefits subscribing to Tidal, which now sells lossless albums, too. Oh la la. The $19.99 monthly service gets better and better. I hear the difference listening to tracks encoded with the 1411kbps Free Lossless Audio Codec versus AAC or MP3.