Listening to music

May 31st, 2017 by harold

It’s difficult to measure exactly how better audio people become at listening to music. In my case, it started with bass. Before playing bass in a band, I didn’t care so much about instruments I had my preferences and knew some of them I guess but didn’t care so much. Now I’m playing the 4-strings bottom so I’m more into that. It took over my life.

The first step was to watch music videos but the 80s sucked at that because you would have people fake playing instruments that have nothing to do with the music. It was confusing as hell. They didn’t even plug instruments in! In the 90s with the resurrection of rock and guitars, it was much better. I was spotting the longer neck, and big strings and looking at what bass players would do.

These days I can hear a clap, the reverb behind it and tell you if it’s Dayton or Kashif. It means I can recognize an artist with no melody or harmony information, just on a mere 900ms of percussive sound. It’s kind of nuts how much you can train your ear. I loved it when I started to be able to recognize styles of production. I remember being like I KNEW IT when I heard the Ross Robinson-produced Limp Biskit’s first LP. I knew that sound.

Sound is a mix of specific brands of instruments, specific effects, composition skills and mixing techniques… And they all influence each other constantly. It’s hard to pinpoint but your ears know, they will sense it. Knowledge obviously plays a huge part. Once you play some Stratocaster and Les Paul guitars, you know and understand. Once you know that FM rhodes sound, or that 808 hit hat, you know. And once you listen to Nile Rodgers Pharrell or Thom Bell for a while, you know too. It takes years, decades. So many parameters to memorize and remember.

As often with everything people are either too much into the detail “I think he uses this keyboard but the thing is busted so it sounds different” or don’t know nothing about musical instruments or the basics of low and high frequencies. Sigh.

Music is organized and satisfying noises layered in a convenient package and I love it so much.

Sowing the seeds of love

May 31st, 2017 by harold

Listening to that song after hearing it at my local supermarket, instinctively knowing when the song changes because I loved it so much when I was a kid.

You know that feeling when you hear a song you know and all you picture is you in the back of a car, looking outside with music coming out of the radio? I love that feeling.

This song –and the singles from that album- is incredible. There’s so much going on. It might be too much. There are not a lot of song out there that have an opera singer and a vocoder, big drum toms dropping left and right, reverse snares and trumpets, luscious strings and still sound like a pop song only it’s over 6 minutes long. That break kills me every time. I remember DJs talking over the sound design at the start of the song.

At first the album was a total financial disaster. A huge toll on the band to the point where they parted away. I try not to focus on the fact that everything today is made to make efficient money but when I hear big stars having really conventional music out there, not taking any risks, I cherish those absurd late 80s jams man. They are out there, forever.

Fast Lane

May 24th, 2017 by harold

LA, 2017.

The age of spin

May 24th, 2017 by harold

Yo Dave,

I was watching your last standup special again after a few months and man, the “he rapes but he saves” thing I mean it’s smart and real but… Fuck no to the hell nah.

Nah because you know it: all women on earth, 100% of them, including the ones not born yet and the ones gone will experience that creepy ass motherfuckingly disgusting behavior that some of us men have and that we most of us (RIGHT?) condemn. So that makes us not really qualified to joke on this you know what I mean? And you do it well, I don’t think you could go through that joke on stage with lights on your face better than you did but…

I don’t know why I picture your wife going “nigga you’ll see” on you but I do. My girl on my couch, women in the audience, none are not like “wait, that’s not funny is it?” pondering, which is bad in itself. But also I giggle and I feel stupid and sad because I know that it’s because I’m not as concerned about rape as women are. Shit is wrong. Fuck rape, nothing to laugh at there when half the planet will have to deal with it in a way or another.

About Bill Cosby. Fuck him. He will stay in history just because he also did marvelous things, whatever. I’m like you a care bear-raised, Cosby-was-so-important-to-me type of dude. I want him to be gone from the realm of heroes though because we have to have standards as much as possible and we can’t be sad about a grown ass, smart dude doing that fucked up shit. Fuck that.

I thought we would find the weirdest shit about Prince like some appalling fetish or something. Dude wore heels but he was a simple romantic and kind of a nerdy lover for what I read. He probably stole credits for some songs here and there like his guitar licks straight outta Carlos Santana’s playbook, but that’s it. That’s all the wrong he did. We should celebrate him as a hero of ours more. Make jokes about him and his absurd life, celebrate how much life he gave to the entire human sexual spectrum, all that shit. Maybe that’s bad material I’m just bitching on a blog.

Anyway I love you bruh and I hope you leave that rape/save/cosby combo that makes my head tilt 30° sideways in the past. Peace,


May 22nd, 2017 by harold

Edward Crawford.

Deandre Joshua.

Darren Seals.

Jordan Edwards.

Richard Collins III.

Timothy Caughman.

I will not forget about you. I wish I could hold you tight and know for sure that you are here. Alive. Breathing.

The pain, the anger, the exhaustion.

Spurs coulda

May 21st, 2017 by harold

Damn. With a healthy squad, they could be up 2-1 against the Warriors. And if KD hadn’t joined Golden State, they definitely could be up 3-0. I don’t know if Pop is planning on winning 4 games straight but I guess that’s a big stretch here.

I still don’t get how people talk about prime time being late 20s. No, prime time is when you know what to do and have the physical abilities –still- to make it happen. Manu Ginobili, 39, schooling these bums. Lebron James is considered old at 32 but he can now land those chase-down blocks at will when he never could before.

Experience matters a whole lot, y’all. You ain’t shit in your 20s, you’re still learning then.

I hate that people talk about J Simmons getting paid, the fuck? He’s making 500K a year –that’s enough to raise four kids comfortably-, has the best coach in the league if not of all time, plays for a team that makes the playoffs every year, fits in a great roster with depth. He could just stay like that for years and be happy and get better on the court. Why the fuck would you want him to get millions somewhere else? He has everything already! He looks like a humble guy. Leave him alone.


May 21st, 2017 by harold

There’s this philosophical discussion about whether monopolies and oligopolies are good or not.

Netflix. The Cavs. Time Warner. Verizon. It’s a bit everywhere.

Monopolies and oligopolies are not good if they last. Because they destroy competition and any incentive to get better. They just get fat, impotent and indulgent. We all lose.

They make things better by setting up expectations and standards though. No Microsoft hegemony, no Universal Serial Bus. Netflix forced competition to hurry the fuck up and get aggressive on content, price etc.

That’s good. But the world we live in these days is so brutal that… It goes too far? I think about Netflix. They are ultra aggressive, producing tons of content, a lot being good. They are flooding our senses, force-feeding us with binges we can’t escape. To the point that even if the last OITNB season leaks no one cares because waiting a few months for it while finishing some season of something is totally fine. There’s far too much going on. We saturate.

Take those superteams in the NBA, a handful of them destroying everyone else. it’s kind of fun, and it’s kind of the worst shit ever. The other day the game was over at the end of the first quarter. Eastern finals completely useless, we already know who will win. Those blowout games probably bring a lot of people to watch games live. Maybe? Maybe not. People love drama, hail to the King. But it’s probably bad in the long term (why watch the regular season or playoffs games if it’s always the same teams at the end?). We’re bored.

The focus is not on doing good or great anymore, to sustain something. It’s to intensely retain, funnel people into extreme behavior, burn us out. It’s weird.

Fell on a Thursday

May 18th, 2017 by harold

The first CD I bought was Rage Against The Machine’s first album. the second one was Soundgarden’s Superunknown. I was nervous as I only knew Black Hole Sun. Keep in mind that I was in France, MTV was not really available there –unless you were wealthy, I knew like 2 people who had it- but I had been in a hotel on vacation and that song was on heavy rotation on Music TeleVision.

So gen X. But also, so hipster in my old country. Very few people around me knew about that band.

I remember spending summer ‘94 listening to those two albums endlessly. I went on a small Soundgarden binge a couple months ago, talking about how that album is so good to friends on Slack. I hadn’t listened to it in over a decade. Superunknown is one of those albums, it’s so much better than the previous ones and the more recent are just following that beast. The master of them all. I have no idea what he’s singing about, it’s all music to my ears and I just felt Chris Cornell’s voice was just right in all circumstances.

At that time I’m 15, in my room in the suburbs of Paris surrounded by green trees, opening the window trying to catch some wind, loving that heavy rock and anger from the West Coast. Playing with the EQ on my sound system. It was around that time that I was deciding that when I grow up I’ll be somewhere at the corner of music, audio engineering and computer games, all that stuff. The Seattle sound. The Simpsons. Street Fighter II. Sony Playstation incoming.

And Chris singing “alive in the superunknown”. The only lyrics I could understand. Well Chris got fed up to be alive in that motherfucker.

New tek

May 18th, 2017 by harold

Reading about the latest gadgets:

Google Home will also provide proactive notifications in the near future. Initially, the Assistant will focus on travel, keeping track of upcoming flights and appointments and then alerting you to flight delays or traffic alerts. For the latter, it will even calculate a new travel time and suggest leaving earlier so you’re not late to your next appointment. Another new feature, this one rolling out today, is the ability to use Assistant on Google Home to create reminders and calendar appointments, which will then appear on your other Android devices.

Who has a life so busy that they can’t create with their own hands, in a matter of a few dozens seconds, a reminder and calendar appointment? People who are that busy have an assistant in each room they go to.

Why do you need those notifications to appear on other devices when you have your phone with you 24/7? Why clutter my brain with something I already know?

Do you know that most people don’t fly? 7 billion people on earth, 8 million flying every year. That’s 0.1% of the world population that Google aims at. Traffic? Unless you live in a new town all the time, you know the drill and how to navigate through traffic thanks to that thing called experience.

The new wave of technology doesn’t solve much, is invasive, expects us to be brainless drones.


May 16th, 2017 by harold

Man, fuck Zaza and the odds. I hope the Spurs go ahead and realize that the Warriors are just like them, a basketball team and that they can beat them as they did very well in the first half of game 1. Patti went cold, KD was free and San Antonio lost by one bucket. I think they can reverse that. For Tony and Kawhi y’all.

What up East? Well, the Celtics came through with my dude IT dropping 29 pts in game 7. Jesus Christ this man gives me life. It’s unbelievable. They have to double team or triple team a 1.75m point guard. If they don’t, he can score 52 pts like the other night. And the dude is in pain, lost teeth in game 1, lost his sister in a car accident… IT’s a legend now about to go at it against Lebron, another legend.