Letters from Somnolescent

 

Tag: music

Music, Somnolian-created or otherwise.


December 8, 2023

The mtlx Chronicle II

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The original art from the original release of Last Summer

Back in January 2020, dcb wrote up his search for an elusive indie-electronic EP released on MP3.com: mtlx’s Last Summer. While he located a CD case for it at the library, the disc was missing–and unfortunately, the trail went cold from there.

I’m happy to bring you the entirety of Last Summer now! Yes, it’s been located, along with some words from one of its equally-elusive creators. Better yet, Somnolescent has been given the go-ahead to release a restored and expanded limited edition CD of the EP. Let me bring you up to speed. Apologies if I sound a little odd, it’s been an exciting day.

Tags: mtlx, music,

November 1, 2023

First Draft: Pixies’ Come On Pilgrim

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Pixies' Come on Pilgrim

Rarely do albums come out right on the first shot. Labels reject them, bands disown them, and they get added onto after release. Here on First Draft, we take a look at albums that got cut down or remade and see what difference the changes made.

This review looks back on the Pixies’ debut EP Come On Pilgrim, the infamous purple tape it came from, and the re-records of the leftover material scattered throughout the rest of their initial run, and whether or not the EP would’ve been better served as a full album.


October 1, 2023

First Draft: Failure’s Magnified

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Failure's Magnified

Rarely do albums come out right on the first shot. Labels reject them, bands disown them, and they get added onto after release. Here on First Draft, we take a look at albums that got cut down or remade and see what difference the changes made.

This second edition examines the home demos that almost comprised Failure’s second album, 1994’s Magnified.


September 18, 2023

First Draft: Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

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All eight CDs of the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot boxset

Rarely do albums come out right on the first shot. Labels reject them, bands disown them, and they get added onto after release. Here on First Draft, we take a look at albums that got cut down or remade and see what difference the changes made.

This especially long-winded First Draft concerns the infinite permutations of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco’s 2002 art rock opus which streamed online officially for the first time 22 years ago today.


July 1, 2023

First Draft: …The Dandy Warhols Come Down

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The Black Album and ...The Dandy Warhols Come Down

Rarely do albums come out right on the first shot. Labels reject them, bands disown them, and they get added onto after release. Here on First Draft, we take a look at albums that got cut down or remade and see what difference the changes made.

This first review concerns the first attempt at the second Dandy Warhols album, 1997’s …The Dandy Warhols Come Down, as given to us by the band seven years later.


June 15, 2023

A Tale of Two Welsh Record Stores

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A plushie badger with my CD haul

If I didn’t tell you about it already, I was in Wales for three weeks last month into this month visiting Caby. It was genuinely life-changing, and even though it wasn’t that long ago, I’m still wishing I was back over there, and her and her family keep telling me how much they miss me too. Life is seriously much easier in person–and it’s a lot more fun when there’s adventure to be had! And what better adventure can you have than foreign record stores?

There’s two in Caby’s immediate area, and I hit up both to great success. It was a lot of fun digging through the bins, picking out CDs, telling stories, trying risks, and even having some encounters with some curious strangers! I even bought some Welsh-language music! While I continue to put off working on the much larger trip diary, let me laser-focus on the days I visited…

Tags: crossovers, music,

August 15, 2022

Revisiting the Official MP3.com Guide to MP3s

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The front and back covers of the MP3.com Official Guide to MP3s

I don’t think it’s a stretch to call myself an MP3.com historian at this point. From my initial essay two-and-a-half years ago, to digging deep into how the service worked, to previewing some of the music that MP3.com were promoting their service with, I’m part of that small group who have been trying to keep the memory of one of the most forward-thinking dot-com startups alive after it was all but forgotten post-closure in 2004.

I was effectively honor-bound to pick up the last copy of The Official MP3.com Guide to MP3s from Amazon after all that work, and I was not disappointed for my $6.29! We’ve got late 90s MP3 hype, forgotten MP3 and MP3.com competitors, and even some screenshots of the backend of MP3.com, far away from where any web spider could’ve gone. It’s a trip.

Tags: music, technology,

October 1, 2021

Summer 2021 — Growing Frosty

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Summer has come and gone once again, and with Somnol having slowed but never stopped, we’ve grown quite nicely into the seasonal recaps. Really, the rush towards the back end of this year has just been clearing off plates and getting ready to move onto another phase of our lives. Sometimes it takes a while, but there’s always tomorrow…


June 30, 2021

Spring 2021 — A Change of Pace

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Yeah, been a bit, hasn’t it? I was pretty good for over a year about doing these on a monthly basis, but so far this year, I’ve skipped the first three months! What madness! I can’t handle such out of left field changes to my schedule, Cammy…

Too bad, because now, they’ve gone seasonal. Click along, I’ll explain why, and then we, well, recap! Got three months to go through and about 3,000 words and Lord knows how many pictures. It’s a work-in-progress, yeah?


June 24, 2021

The Absurd Netherworld of Internet Archive Tape Transfers

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A sampling of the Internet Archive's batch of cassette transfers

For a period of time after Sound of Dentage’s release, I was pretty keen on digging through archive.org’s Cassette Audio section to see what strange, forgotten things I can find. It’s ostensibly only non-copyrighted audio, but that’s a crock of shit. The flood of content makes policing it with anything other than automated bots a non-starter. And even then, I think the Internet Archive is too busy with me wgetting Somnolescent’s old sites to run them.

In any event, I found something rather fascinating, and the kind of collection that no one but me would be interested in: over 1,300 amateur-recorded cassette tapes, transferred and stored in lossless. We’re not simply talking releases (though there’s tons in there). We’re not just talking demos (though they’re in there too–everyone from Dave Grohl to Coheed and Cambria to Juicy J). In a lot of cases, we’re talking mixtapes. Often recorded off the radio mixtapes! (And nature sounds. That’s what 90s kids did for their ASMR.)

Now, invariably, a lot of this is probably just noise and ambient stuff, same sorta thing that has always flooded the avant-garde experimental underground scene, same stuff the netlabels put out now, and the same stuff I’m not really interested in. However, the hand-dubbed tapes? Are where, well, strangeness lies. I’ve picked out three amateur ones for us to go through, recorded from various sources by regular people on cheap equipment. Download links are provided for each.

Tags: 70s, music, technology,

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