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  • Joe Brockmeier 9:05 am on November 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buckethead, Digital, FLAC, Magnatune, , The Staves   

    The Staves: Tired as Fuck (and a rant) 

    A few months ago, I stumbled on The Staves "Tired as Fuck," and it's been a go-to listen on YouTube, Spotify, etc. It's got a great build – adding layers until it turns into a chorus of voices and blistering guitar and throbbing percussion.

    Really, you should listen to it right now if you haven't already.

    And now, the rant… I really want to buy a copy of this, but it's only available digitally. I can buy it via iTunes, or listen on Spotify and Apple Music. (Or YouTube.) Or I can buy it via Nonesuch as an MP3. (Presumably, I hope, at 320.) No CD, no vinyl, not even FLAC.

    Maybe demand is no longer there, but I don't want my only copy of music to be digital.

    I recently went with a deal on Bandcamp to buy 200+ releases from Buckethead, and it was similar – no vinyl, no CD, just digital. At least in this case, Bandcamp offers FLAC so the music quality is as good as you get on CD, even if you don't get the actual physical media. (And Bandcamp has a reasonably good archival experience, I can go back for my purchases anytime – at least as long as they remain in business. Which I hope is a long time.)

    Similarly, one of my favorite scrappy Indie labels (Magnatune) stopped offering physical media a long time ago. They're such an awesome outfit, I'm happy to subscribe and have access to their catalog, but… I'd really love to have physical copies of Ehren Starks' catalog, and Ninety Pounds of Ugly's Richmond Motel Room 3. (Pity they've broken up.)

    For folks who only want digital, that's great – but I want a pristine, physical copy. Hell, I want something the artist or band can sign if I get the chance. Something that, assuming civilization survives, somebody might pick up in 100 years and listen to.

     
  • Joe Brockmeier 7:58 am on November 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Magnatune, , ,   

    Ehren Starks returns! "Cry Wolf" on Magnatune 

    Last year when I did my 100 favorite albums, I put Ehren Starks' The Depths of a Year at number 74. It had been 11 years since his last album, Lines Build Walls, and there were no signs of a third album in sight.

    And then Cry Wolf dropped out of the sky unexpectedly. It was actually released in June of this year, but I hadn't caught wind of it until recently. I've given it a few good listens, and I do believe it's every bit as good as Depths.

    It's really great, powerful instrumental music. It's not just background noise – it's worth, and rewards, sitting down and just listening. (A habit, I'm afraid, people have gotten out of.)

    Go give it a listen, you'll be very happy you did.

     
  • Joe Brockmeier 10:04 pm on July 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cello, , Kate Gurba, Magnatune,   

    My favorite 100 albums of all time: #74 ("The Depths of a Year") 

    Album Cover "The Depths of a Year" by Ehren Starks Today's album was discovered by rummaging through the Magnatune catalog. This one is The Depths of a Year by Ehren Starks.

    Magnatune lists Depths in several categories: jazz, instrumental, neoclassical, piano, and cello. It's the last one that grabbed me. I realized sometime in the early 2000's that I really love the sound of cello. So I started seeking out classical and instrumental works that prominently feature cello.

    Eventually, I caught wind of Magnatune – a record label with the motto "we're not evil." The company's business model has changed over the years from individual CD sales to MP3 (and other format) downloads, to an "all you can eat" model. It was sometime after 2003 that I checked out Depths and loved it. It's been in heavy rotation ever since.

    (More …)

     
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