Listened The artist and the algorithm: how YouTube is changing our relationship with music

You often hear about artists under-appreciated in their time, who don’t find recognition until long after they’ve died.

Little known Japanese composer Hiroshi Yoshimura was one of those people.

Despite being a pioneer of the unique genre of kankyo ongaku – ambient music produced in Japan in the 1980s and 90s – most of his airplay came from the speakers of art galleries, museums and show homes.

He died in 2003, with most of his albums sitting as rare vinyls on the shelves of obscure record collectors.

That was, until a few years ago, when Hiroshi suddenly found millions of fans in the most unlikely place – YouTube.

Miyuki Jokiranta explores the way in which YouTube algorithms promote certain types of music to sustain our time and attention on the platform. This is something touched upon by the Rabbit Hole podcast.
Listened Artificial cities – from futuristic urban dreams to ghost towns

When it’s completed the futuristic city of Neom will sit in the Saudi Arabian desert, a US$500 billion dollar metropolis, thirty times larger than New York.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman believes the project will transform his kingdom into the innovation centre of the world, but critics say it risks further widening inequality and dividing the country in two.

Also, what’s to become of China’s “ghost cities”? Built for future expansion, they now haunt the urban landscape. 

Guests

Anne Stevenson-Yang – Co-Founder, Research Director, J Capital Research 

Bill Bostock – Journalist Business Insider

Sarah Leah Whitson – Former executive director of Human Rights Watch’s MENA Division 

Listened Jacob Collier on staying creative and his 646 track song “All I Need” (EPISODE 169 B)

Quarantined in his family’s music room, musician Jacob Collier has been remarkably productive. Known for his polymathic musical talents, Collier has used this time to reflect on, and release new music. His latest song “All I Need,” was created with new technology that let him record remotely with his collaborators Mahalia and Ty Dolla $ign. The song is uplifting. It modulates into arcane keys that evoke the euphoria of newfound love. Collier’s also been convening live streams with artists like Tori Kelly and Chris Martin where Collier seemingly defies the laws of physics to collaborate, in time, over long-distance video chat. Collier is a hopeful voice, demonstrating how music can boost our spirits in dark times.

Charlie Harding talks with Jacob Collier about what it means to make music during the current coronavirus pandemic. Collier says that his process for recording music has not changed, however his perspective on things has. Being forced to stay at home has helped see past the big things to recognise the disarming characteristics of the everyday small things. This is something he describes as the ‘space between the notes’, where you need to look within something to find something.

He explains that as his music has grown in complexity over the years, he has had to rethink how he collaborates. One thing that has made this more doable has been technology, such as Source Connect, that allows you to record live sessions from across the world.

In regards to live streaming, Collier elaborates on how he taught his brain to compensate the latency by perceiving the music in two times to perform live, rather than the perception of being live that many performances are. Something Harding labels a ‘rhythmic multiverse’. He worked this out live with Tori Kelly:

He moves onto a discussion of his track All I Need. This includes an explanation of his intent in moving away from A 440 halfway through the song to musically capture the uncanny experience of love. He also touches on how he managed to have 646 tracks in his Logic session.

He closes the interview with a reflection on playing live and how the most joyous instrument to play live is actually the crowd.

I remember coming upon Jacob Collier a couple of years ago via his explanation of harmony:

As well as his breakdown of Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke:

I find his take on music so interesting.

Listened It’s coffee, but not as we know it Two long lost coffee species brought to light by Jeremy Cherfas

I’ll be honest, I thought I was pretty savvy about coffee taxonomy knowing that there were two kinds, arabica and robusta. Not surprisingly, perhaps, a research paper about “Coffea stenophylla and C. affinis, the Forgotten Coffee Crop Species of West Africa” caught my attention. And of course, as I should have known, there are scores of different coffee species. What is particularly intriguing about C. stenophylla, however, is that in its day people considered it a very fine coffee indeed. A 1925 monograph recorded that “The beans are said, by both the natives and the French merchants, to be superior to those of all other species.”

Another great listen Jeremy. I also like the new collections page.
Listened Will Mannon: Running an Online Course by an author

SHOW NOTES:

1:50- David and Will’s focus on customer happiness. Type one and type two online courses. What online educators can learn from the Navy Seals.

13:45- How fear is a part of transformational experiences. What held Will back from starting writing. What music can teach us about great writing.

19:27- Why we fear achieving our vision. Write of Passage guilt. How Write of Passage prioritizes helping people make friends.

27:23- Striking the balance between creating community and letting it grow naturally. How interest groups allow students to create their own communities. The structure of Will’s job as course manager.

35:58- Forte Lab’s yearly planning process. The three phases of Will’s course management. How Will and David are thinking about data collection.

49:14- How Will and David met. How Will’s course feedback led to working with David. Why classical education theory doesn’t really apply to online education.

59:11- Why Will and David create “type 2” courses. Why David learns from his students. How Write of Passages integrates feedback.

1:07:20- What feedback David listens to. The future of Write of Passage. Why David tries to solve very specific problems using software.

1:12:10- How the Internet makes attention a commodity. Why WOP can thrive with zero cold traffic marketing. How the Internet will help make creators money in the future.

This was a really interesting conversation, especially in regards to Type 1 and Type 2 styles of learning. I was particularly intrigued by the discussion of online pedagogy and how this differs from a professor who has studied education for thirty years. I agree that context is important and that online learning is different to the classroom, however I am sceptical of ignoring someone else’s knowledge and experience.
Listened Grizzly Bear’s unravelling songs

As founding member for Grizzly Bear, Ed Droste has shaped the sound of modern indie music. Across five albums, the American band have layered intricate and nuanced guitar music with choirboy vocals and a lot of heart. Their breakthrough album was Yellow House, but since then they’ve held fans enraptured and toured Australia multiple times over the years. Their latest album is Painted Ruins, a record that came after a five year break from the band. With Grizzly Bear’s layered music in mind, I gave Ed the theme “songs that unravel.” The mid 90’s reigned supreme as the meat in this sandwich, but he really did go all over the place and spoke about the songs he loved as well as the time we’re living in, as music fans. From album vs playlist culture, to the risks we take in music, this is a wonderful conversation not only diving into his own collection but his deepest thoughts on the state of the industry.

I really enjoy going back and listening to older episodes that I missed. A couple of things that stood out in this interview with Ed Droste was the listening process and the ‘playlist generation’. He reflects on growing up with records and how the form forces you to listen to each track, rather than skipping. For Droste, it usually takes five listens to form a judgment. This expereince reminds me of Jim Groom’s Vinylcasts.

The other point of interest in the podcast was Droste’s discussion of songs and the way they can change over time, evolving with their live performance. Sometimes the live performance forces you to re-listen to the recorded version.

There are also times when you can return to an older song with fresh energy.

Listened Is the future of live music an illusion? from ABC Radio National

As Australia’s live music industry has been left decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented damage to venues from bushfires, we’re attending more online concerts, virtual gigs and streamed festivals than ever before.

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, pushed along by the demand for content and even giving rise to the reality that not all live musicians have to be living.

But what does this mean for the future of live music? Can the digital and physical industries co-exist?

And what does the future hold for musicians, how they’ll be paid and immortalised in digital technology?

Edwina Stott takes a soundcheck.

Guests

John Wardle – Live Music Office of Australia

Professor Aaron Corn – Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal Language and Music Studies at the University of Adelaide

Dr Diana Tolmie – Senior Lecturer at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University and she teaches professional practice

Jeff Pezzuti – CEO and Founder of Eyellusion

Oisin Lunny – Forbes Senior Contributor, Professor of UX Driven Business, Barcelona Technology School and Host of the AudioMatters podcast

Edwina Stott leads an investigation into some of the areas of opportunity and innovation when it comes to live music. Two examples she discusses are Travis Scott’s virtual performance in Fortnite as well as the use of holograms to stand in for artists who are no longer able to perform. It will be interesting to see how this space changes and what the take-up will be.
Listened Bowie’s books and Anna Goldsworthy’s musical moments from ABC Radio National

Three years before he died in January 2016, David Bowie made a list of the 100 books that had fuelled his creative life – from ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ to ‘A Clockwork Orange’, from Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ to John Cage’s ‘Silence’. UK writer John O’Connell has done the reading for us, and in ‘Bowie’s Books’ he explores this list in the form of 100 short essays, revealing their influence on many of Bowie’s greatest songs.

Anna Goldsworthy is a concert pianist, member of the Seraphim Trio and sometime festival director. She has published two volumes of memoir – the best-selling Piano Lessons (2009) and Welcome to Your New Life (2013) – and now her first novel. Melting Moments is not about music, but music is never far away. For one thing, Schubert’s Moments musicaux provide not only the novel’s title, but also its structure.

Celebrating RN’s Big Weekend of Books, Andrew Ford speaks with Anna Goldsworthy about her new book and how it connects with the music of Schubert. He also discusses the books that influenced David Bowie’s thinking with author John O’Connell.

Goldsworthy discusses the development of a book that is a series of opening, of moments, rather than a narrative arch. This fragmented structure is taken in part from the music of Schubert and the way in which a piece may start in minor only to end in major. Asked about what makes a successful music piece:

Goldsworthy: I wonder whether the mark of a really successful piece of art is that it allows you to dismantle the critical apparatus. You are no longer thinking, how did they do this? You’re just submitting to the experience and then subsequently you might go back to it and look for the mechanics. But I guess I’m just like everybody else, I’m yearning for those moments of transport, of forgetting all the stuff you might bring to your own practice, when you can see the cogs, when you can see the process. There are some very celebrated writers who I still feel when I see their prose that there very much the product of maybe a creative writing program or maybe a whole lot of planning, there is a quality of painting by numbers. I can see the work, and I don’t like seeing the work. But there are some pieces of writing that are just driven and utterly disarm you and take you by surprise. And subsequently you go back and think, how did they do that? Can I do that? Could I learn something from that? But ideally you wish to surrender to the experience in the reading of it, I think.

Ford: Yes, it’s like there’s actors you see them acting, and it can can be thrilling, but then there are actors you don’t notice the acting at all. You just believe.

Goldsworthy: I think that’s the ultimate, the invisibility of technique is probably what we all aspire to on some level. My teacher, Eleonora Sivan, used to say, “A compliment is not that it looks difficult, a compliment is that it looks easy.”

Sivan’s comment reminds me of something from Chilly Gonzales:

The rest of the world experiences music. They don’t care if I’m technically good, they just want to feel something.

In the second half of the podcast, Ford speaks with O’Connell about his book Bowie’s Books: The Hundred Literary Heroes who Changed his Life. He also recounts how David Bowie used to take a library on tour. For example, while filming The Man Who Fell to Earth he had a collection of 1500 books.

Listened Toddlers and teens – better understanding their digital needs from ABC Radio National

“Playing IT Safe” is a new resource to help pre-school children better understand the workings of the digital world. It also gives parents a way to structure the conversations they need to have around cyber safety.

We also examine a pilot program for teenagers called Digital Compass. It’s been co-designed with Australian school students to help them as they navigate the challenges and ambiguities of our digital evolution.

Guests

Professor Susan Edwards – Research Director, Early Childhood Futures, Australian Catholic University

Daniel Donahoo – Senior Advisor, Innovation and Development, Alannah & Madeline Foundation

Professor Susan Danby – Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, Queensland University of Technology

Sheridan Hartley – Program Director, Behavioural Insight Team

In this episode of RN Future Tense, Antony Funnell dives into a range of initiatives currently being developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to help children make better use of the digital world.

The first program is Playing It Safe. Dan Donahoo explains how the online portal was developed to help parents and care-givers to start the conversation about digital technologies and online safety at an early age. This was designed in response to Early Childhood Australia’s Statement on young children and digital technologies.

The ECA Statement on young children and digital technologies was developed in response to an identified need for guidance for early childhood professionals on the role and optimal use of digital technologies with, by and for young children in early childhood education and care settings. This need has grown as children are increasingly growing up in digital contexts.

The intent of Playing It Safe is to explore the key concepts of relationships, well-being, citizenship and play and learning at their age of development. One of the activities within Playing It Safe is the creation of an explicit family technology plan.

The second program is Digital Compass. It is an application that has been designed to help teens to identify what they can do, rather than what they can’t do. It has been designed to be platform agnostic and focuses on building ethical prosocial activities.

Coming at the problem from the perspective of research, Susan Edward and Susan Danby talk about longitudinal studies they are a part of to take the conversation beyond discussions ‘screentime‘ and ‘digital natives‘ and capture a deeper appreciation of digital literacies within family life.

Listened TER #151 – Professional Coaching for Teachers with Chris Munro – 7 June 2020 from Teachers’ Education Review

I really enjoyed this curious conversation between Chris Munro and Steven Kolber about all things coaching. It touched on so many questions, such as the impact of coaching, can anyone be a coach and the different perceptions of coaching. In some ways the interview itself captured coaching as a way of being with humility and respect throughout.
Listened BBC Radio 4 – In Our Time, Frederick Douglass from BBC

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Celeste-Marie Bernier
Interviewed Guest Karen Salt
Interviewed Guest Nicholas Guyatt
Producer Simon Tillotson

An important discussion about slavery with an extensive reading list too.
Listened
Jamie xx’s 2020 Essential Mix

Jamie xx – idontpiano

Philip Glass – The Grid

Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi

ID – Wherever You Go

Sergio Mendes – Magalenha

Pangaea – Like This

DJ Technics – Party People

Breaka – Get Your Sweat On

Elliot Adamson – No Chill

Koreless – Joy Squad

ID – Smile Away

Lutto Lento & John Glacier – Rome

Peter Gabriel – Across The River

Tom Ze – Complexo De Épico (JG Wilkes Edit)

Aaaron – 2020 Souls

Nature Boy – Real

ID – ID

Greg Cash – I Got Your Love

Two Shell – ID

Kelly Lee Owens – Melt!

Vladimir Dubyshkin – Elvis Has Left the Building

Carli – Lights & Strobes

Mystic Force – Mystic Force

ID – I Just Make Believe

LaTour – People Are Still Having Sex

Jamie xx – Idontknow

Robert – Jockstrap

Henry Rodrick – Don’t Believe

Brother May & Mica Levi – Friday 13th

ID – ID

ID – How You Feeling That?

Pearson Sound – Cobwebs

Floating Points – Bias (Mayfield Depot Mix)

ID – Breathe

Jungle By Night – Spending Week (Oceanic Cornucopia Remix)

Fela Kuti ft. Roy Ayres – 2000 Black’s Got To Be Free

Kamasi Washington, Nubya Garcia, Yussef Dayes, Charley Stacey, Mansur Brown, Rocco Palladin & MC Outro Tic – Live Jam at 180 Strand

Listened ‘The way we get through this is together’: mutual aid under coronavirus | Rebecca Solnit from the Guardian

There is a long, rough road ahead. Without radical change, the way food, shelter, medical care and education are produced and distributed will be more unfair and more devastating than before. It seems likely that conservatives will argue for brutal austerity and libertarian abandonment of the most desperate, while the rest of us are going to have to argue for some form of post-capitalism that decouples meeting basic needs from wage labour – perhaps the kind of basic income that Spain is planning to introduce.

The devastating economic effect of the pandemic will make innovation essential, whether it is rethinking higher education or food distribution, or how to fund news media. The Green New Deal offers a model for how to move forward on jobs and leave fossil fuels behind as that sector founders and climate catastrophe looms. Protests in many fields – including nurses demanding PPE, and warehouse, delivery and food-service workers protesting against exploitative or unsafe working conditions – suggests that workers’ organisations may be gaining strength.

Listened How Big Tech Monopolies Distort Our Public Discourse from Electronic Frontier Foundation

The idea that Big Tech can mold discourse through bypassing our critical faculties by spying on and analyzing us is both self-serving (inasmuch as it helps Big Tech sell ads and influence services) and implausible, and should be viewed with extreme skepticism.

Cory Doctorow responds to Shoshana Zuboff questions about mind control powers held by platform capitalists and instead suggests it is a case of lying. As he summarises in his newsletter:

If you operate the only place people search for answers, you can give people the wrong answers, and if they don’t know enough about the subject to spot it, you can change their minds. That’s just lying, not mind control.

Listened Rabbit Hole

What is the internet doing to us? The Times tech columnist Kevin Roose discovers what happens when our lives move online.

In this eight part series, Kevin Roose dives down the rabbit hole in his investigation of the impact of social media and online life on today’s society. This includes the radicalisation of with Caleb Cain, the challenge to change YouTube algorithms and the rise of QAnon and the culture of conspiracy.

Along with Philip Howard’s discussion of lie machines, this series is a useful series to stop and assess the world we are in and the challenges that we face.

via Kevin Hodgson

Listened “Lie Machines” in the age of Coronavirus from ABC Radio National

Covid-19 is being weaponised in a new propaganda war against Western democracy, according to Oxford University’s Philip Howard.. His new book shows that misinformation extends far beyond a few bad actors – there’s a global industry behind the world’s problem with junk news and political misinformation Also, we hear about new legislation that human rights groups say could expose Australian citizens to silent data requests from US authorities.

Antony Funnell speaks with Philip Howard about his new book Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives. Howard unpacks the various changes to English speaking news and the playbook associated with right-wing governments to influence audiences.