Listened album by Jónsi from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
I have slowly been growing into Shiver. Brian Howe does not believe that the combination of A.G. Cook works:

Frequent Charli XCX producer A. G. Cook’s hectic Max Martin style is far from a natural fit for the dramatic, drawn-out singing Jónsi prefers, and without the dynamic presence or indestructible hooks of a pop artist, most of the alchemy he discovers with Cook is spinning gossamer into lead.

However, I wonder if it is a case where the music is different to what one has come to expect, in a similar manner to Taylor Swift’s work with Aaron Dessner. As Andrew Trendell suggests:

The record certainly boasts enough quirks and textures to keep you coming back to make new discoveries with each listen.

Listened 2020 studio album by Taylor Swift from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Evermore has been described as the sister album to Folklore, with the majority of the album produced by Aaron Dessner.

On “evermore,” she sounds loose and unburdened—free, finally, from the debilitating squeeze of other people’s expectations. It’s a lush, tender, and beautiful album, steadier if less varied than “folklore,” and infused with backward-looking wisdom.

On evermore, she’s gone even smaller. It’s a soft, meditative, consciously quiet album. This time around, she’s not really writing pop songs and presenting them in the clothing of NPR-style indie. Instead, she’s just straight-up writing NPR-indie songs. It’s a small but crucial distinction.

The folkloreevermore era has been one marked by a spirit of artistic freedom. Unbound by pop convention, and perhaps with newfound commercial flexibility – with the success of folklore as proof of surprise-release viability – Swift is able to both explore abstract turns of phrase (“gold rush”) and unfurl narratives (“champagne problems”). On both albums, she’s been permitted to play with sound and texture in a way that feels uncharacteristic of contemporary radio pop.

Listened The Haploids from YouTube

We are a ‘The Haploids’, and we came here to party with you!
The Haploids are a band who make music for kids that grown-ups can enjoy too.
We play a variety of genres, from punk rock to space-funk to folk to ska to hip-hop. Our
lyrics are inclusive and often accidentally educational. We sing about the awesomeness of
vegetables, the importance of play, treating others with respect, gardening and art. We
semi-guarantee your kids will eat more veggies and be nicer to their siblings if they come
to our shows!

The Haploids is a children’s band that ‘make music for kids that grown-ups can enjoy too‘. They match contemporary genres with lyrical content that children can relate to. As Dylan Lewis argues in an interview on Nova,

Kid’s don’t hate good music … If you talk dumb to kids, they turn out dumb. If you play them awesome music, they turn out awesome.

In the same interview, Lewis explains that the name was derived from crocheted animals his father made in the 70’s which he called ‘haploids’. A picture of one of these creations has been posted on Instagram:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by DiRK & Ugg & Shaun (@the_haploids)

Listened Male Loneliness — And What Men Can Do About it | Art of Manliness from The Art of Manliness

Show Highlights

  • Men and suicide — unique risk factors and why men have higher rates of death by suicide
  • How Dr. Joiner defines loneliness
  • What does it mean to be alone but oblivious?
  • The value of social redundancy
  • The biological detriments of being lonely
  • Is the feeling of loneliness rising in America?
  • Social media’s double-edged sword
  • How are young people spoiled when it comes to relationships?
  • Why relationship maintenance is more valuable than new relationships
  • Why you should reconnect with friends from high school and college
  • Is therapy the right solution for men struggling with loneliness?
  • What can men do start investing more in relationships today?
  • How does this work in the age of COVID?
In this episode of the Art of Manliness podcast, Brett McKay speaks with Dr. Thomas Joiner about his book, Lonely at the Top: The High Cost of Men’s Success. They talk about the male tendency towards loneliness, even if they are somewhat oblivious to it.

This has me again returning to Austin Kleon’s depiction of ‘increased complexity‘ and the challenges associated with balance as life becomes more and more complex. As I wrote in the past, I wonder if it actually takes a family for such interventions to occur?

I wonder then if the greatest challenge we face in regards to leadership is realising we cannot do it alone and recognising those who help out to make it possible?

Listened album by the Avalanches from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
This album has been on the periphery for a while, with various teasers, it was not until the album dropped that everything seemed to fall into place. There are some great tracks, with my favourite being Wherever You Go, however the strength is listening as a whole.

Place between Oneohtrix Point Never and FourTet

Marginalia

But if that album [Wildflower] felt like the world’s most jumbled playlist, We Will Always Love You has, as they say, a better algorithm. Now reduced to a duo of Robert Chater and Anthony Diblasi, the Avalanches are still dedicated crate-diggers, unearthing obscure oldies at every turn. But this time, they go lighter on the samples and heavier on post-trip hop soundscapes and contemporary singers, making for recombinant pop that feels joyfully seamless and organic.

The record begins with a farewell voicemail—a final communication, we are led to believe, from a young woman who has passed away—and it ends with the Morse code-like bleeping of the Arecibo Message, an interstellar transmission carrying information on the human species into the infinite beyond. In between those poles, the Australian group continues doing what it has always done: spinning the sounds of disco, soul, easy listening, and other nostalgic staples into luminous, ludic shapes, turning musical collage into a sparkling, four-dimensional fantasyland.

Like the other two Avalanches albums, We Will Always Love You is an odyssey. Each track feels like an encounter with some new character or a scenic passageway in between outposts.

A sense of interconnectedness flows through “We Will Always Love You,” and Chater said the process of working with live singers isn’t that different from selecting found sounds. “It’s almost like sampling,” he said, “in trying to find the right vocalist, to match the music with someone who seems like they’ve got a certain spirit.”

That so many disparate talents have been corralled into such a cohesive whole is testament to Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi’s vision, with samples meticulously stitched together from a mass of voices and an underlying concept of remembering those singers no longer with us.

As they’ve grown older, they crave transcendence over hedonism; it’s why the album is slower, warmer, more contemplative and mellow overall.

In many ways, We Will Always Love You is The Avalanches’ own Golden Record, tracking their sonic DNA through an epic list of collaborators who have influenced their sound in some shape or form over the years while exploring love, human connection and our place in the universe.

Listened I’m Your Empress Of, by Empress Of from Empress Of

12 track album

This was one of those albums that I overlooked earlier in the year. I dived in after it came up in my recommendations in Spotify. Listening to this album I was reminded of some of the textures from Banks’ III, only to realise that they were both produced by BJ Burton.

Place between BANKS and Sylvan Esso

Marginalia

Written in a two-month break between tours in her Los Angeles home studio, Rodriguez produced the record whilst also processing some serious heartbreak, making ‘I’m Your Empress Of’ deeply personal. It also sees her soaring avant-pop imbued with a new sense of urgency.

I’m Your Empress Of is exhilarating, filled with layers of emotion packed tightly into some of the most infectious, club-ready songs of the year.

I’m Your Empress Of vibrates with the contradictions that one person can contain: how mourning the loss of a partner is bound up with anger, the fatigue of resilience, and the pleasures to be found in escaping it all, if only for one lusty night. With unexpected production and left-field samples, Rodriguez’s album is powered by a heady rawness that bucks the trend for theatrical concepts in today’s electronic pop nonconformists, producing epiphanies like hot stones spat from a fire.

Listened Free Love, by Sylvan Esso from Sylvan Esso

10 track album

Ferris Wheel seriously got stuck in my head, but I was late to the album.

The major single from the record, ‘Ferris Wheel’ is almost the opener’s complete counterpoint. It provides a series of summery vignettes providing hopes of sexual gratification and a beat that is unstoppably infectious. It’s a piece of music that can transport you to a whole new place, time and narrative. It’s a real joy. This duality is what sets Sylvan Esso apart from the rest.

This is the sort of album to just listen to. After a few listens, you manage to know all the twists and turns. There is nothing that wrong with this. Like like how Lucy Shanker captured this:

Free Love is an inherently soothing album, but placed in the context of the year in which it’s being released, its predictability is practically a gift. Each of the 10 songs continues to build on the foundation Sylvan Esso have laid over the past seven years. It’s not boring or repetitive despite it being expected; it’s just the exact album you want them to put out. After all, hasn’t there been enough shock this year?

They also released a follow-up live reworking of some of the tracks as With Love.

The six-track EP was recorded on Tuesday night — mere hours ago as of publication — as part of the final installment of their virtual concert series “From the Satellite”.

Place between Lykke Li and Matthew Herbert

Marginalia

Detractors will rightfully point out that Free Love utilizes the same sonic architecture as its predecessors, but it’s a fairly idiosyncratic template and one that Meath and Sanborn have shown great skill with over three albums now. Besides, the world always needs more dance music for introverts.

There is a word that’s been rattling in the back of my brain this year: phantasmagoric. It’s basically an illusion that has the appearance of truth but isn’t the truth. An interpretation that is created in your own mind that may not exist. The phantasmagoric appear in everyday of our lives, in our politics, in our tweets. It’s how we interact with media of all forms from allowing the suspension of disbelief for a town overrun with monster on Netflix or feeling like a beloved musician wrote a song that speaks just to us. Music is its own deception, a 3-minute escape for whatever ails you. Sylvan Esso seems to be contemplating that imaginary space as well. Ideas about authenticity, celebrity, love, music, and self shift and filter over the course of their new album, Free Love.

Listened
I remember hearing the track Foreign Bodies in a mix by Andy Barlow from Lamb.

I had recorded it on tape and then transferred it onto the computer. However, in the days before Shazam, I had no idea what the track actually was or who it was by.

It was a few years later when when I stumbled upon it. I think it was after taking a dive into the world of Matthew Herbert via Rosion Murphy.

Listened Stream Chris Cornell’s Previously Unreleased Covers Album No One Sings Like You Anymore from Stereogum

The last studio album that the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell completed was No One Sings Like You Anymore, a collection of covers that he recorded in 2016. Although he died in 2017, before it could be released, his family and his estate have decided to release it now as a special holiday gift to his fans.
In addition to Cornell’s cover of Guns N’ Roses “Patience,” which was released on what would’ve been his 56th birthday earlier this year, No One Sings Like You Anymore includes renditions of songs by John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, ELO, Prince, Janis Joplin, and more. All instruments on the record were played by Cornell and Brendan O’Brien, who produced and mixed the whole thing.

I think that the title of this album catches everything about this album.
Listened
Antony Funnell speaks with Frank Pasquale about his new book New Laws of Robotics. Pasquale builds on the work of Isaac Asimov to propose a more human first orientation to the development of artificial intelligence.

Pasquale says we must push much further, arguing that the old laws should be expanded to include four new ones:

  1. Digital technologies ought to “complement professionals, not replace them.”
  2. A.I. and robotic systems “should not counterfeit humanity.”
  3. A.I. should be prevented from intensifying “zero-sum arms races.”
  4. Robotic and A.I. systems need to be forced to “indicate the identity of their creators(s), controller(s), and owners(s).”

In a follow-up, Funnell speaks with Michael Evans about public opinion in regards to AI and government strategy. He also discusses the report AI for Social Good with Neil Selwyn.

Listened From MP3 to vinyl — listening to music in the 21st century, plus Archie Roach’s ARIA gongs from ABC Radio National

We’re spoilt for choice with ways to listen to music these days — CD, MP3, streaming, Bandcamp, vinyl, and even cassette tape. So which formats are here to stay? Plus, we celebrate Archie Roach’s ARIA Award haul this week.

Andrew, I enjoyed this conversation about the development of music technology.

I am particularly interested in the discussion of the way in which streaming services strip out context. This leads to different artists being combined as if they are the same.

In regards to the CD renaissance, I wonder about disc rot and the impact that this will have?

Disc rot is the tendency of CD or DVD or other optical discs to become unreadable because of physical or chemical deterioration. The causes include oxidation of the reflective layer, physical scuffing and abrasion of disc, reactions with contaminants, ultra-violet light damage, and de-bonding of the adhesive used to adhere the layers of the disc together.

Listened 2020 film by Nick Cave from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Although I did not watch the live stream, I listened to the performance. I really enjoyed the cut-back nature of the performance.

The result is a performance that exists in a strange hinterland, an album that’s unnervingly intimate yet flickers with the strange unreality of a dream. Idiot Prayer is as up-close and personal an encounter with Cave as there’s ever been. But a little mystery remains, always.

Listened Taylor Swift Releases Surprise folklore Live Album – Stereogum,Taylor Swift Releases Surprise folklore Live Album from Stereogum

Yesterday, Taylor Swift pulled another surprise attack. This past summer, Swift released her quarantine album folklore with only a day of advance notice. Yesterday — the same day that folklore was nominated for a buttload of Grammys — Swift announced the impending release of Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, a new live-concert movie that Swift made with her folklore collaborators Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, and Justin Vernon. That film is up on Disney+ today, and Swift also went ahead and made a whole live album out of it.

Continuing the reimagining of live music, Taylor Swift released an intimate ‘live’ performance which strips back folklore even more, while at the same time presenting to the world. Rather than ‘three ingredients’, each of the songs was limited to Swift, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner.

Given that folklore was already basically an acoustic album, it’s still striking to hear Swift and her collaborators stripping those songs down even further, giving them a different level of intimacy.

The conversations between Swift, Antonoff and Dessner were insightful and worth the watch.

Listened NEW SINGLE ‘WHEN THE MACHINE STARTS’ OUT NOW! from missyhiggins.com

I know this track won’t hit home for a lot of people and that’s OK. I wrote it during Victorian Lock-down 1.0 at a time when I was feeling particularly lucky to be able to spend so much time with the kids while they’re still so young. To be able to look at my calendar and see NOTHING on it, forcing me to be completely in the moment because suddenly the future didn’t exist.


Surprisingly, that felt like a gift. I realised I’d been running an invisible race, a rabid dog chasing a phantom rabbit. But to what end? So to be given this chance to stop… well, I really didn’t want to forget it. So this song came out of that moment. It’s a post-it note to my future self: “don’t forget the good things you’ve learnt!”.

Missy Higgins has released When the Machine Starts, a song written about the truth of seeing beyond all the busyness of life to the being in the moment. She wrote it as a post-it note to her future self.

The video clip associated with the song is made up of multiple screens capturing the culture of video conferencing so prevelent during the crisis around COVID.

She has also produced a ‘live’ clip for The Sound which features Higgins walking around Melbourne before finally ending in with a performance at the hauntingly empty steps to Flinders Street Station.

Similar to Child Gambino’s This is America a few years ago, Higgins’ song encapsulates the current state of affairs, especially the hope at the end of the tunnel.

Listened The Number Ones: Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” – Stereogum,The Number Ones: Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” from Stereogum

“How Will I Know” only fell into Houston’s hands because Janet Jackson said no. The song came from George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam, a married couple from Seattle who sang backup on Deniece Williams’ 1984 chart-topper “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” and who recorded as the duo Boy Meets Girl.