Letters from Somnolescent

 

Tag: music

Music, Somnolian-created or otherwise.


June 30, 2021

Spring 2021 — A Change of Pace

bulb

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

mariteaux

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,

September 24, 2020

Ranking Spotify’s Top 50 Songs Named “Undone”

mariteaux

Song titles are funny. They’re usually hardly unique, and tons of bands from all across the music spectrum have songs with the exact same title. Spotify’s search is an absolutely useless landfill for this stuff; the song you want will invariably be so unpopular that 200 other identically-titled songs (and in some cases, artists and albums) will come before the one you want. Lovely.

The inspiration for this one came about when I realized I actually know three different songs with the title “Undone”: the Failure song, the Weezer song, and the Josh Joplin song. When I checked through Spotify search, it turned out to be a very popular song name indeed.

So in short, I got curious enough to add the 50 most popular ones to a playlist, listen through, and rank them. I originally wanted to do every single song on the platform named “Undone”, but that’s just not feasible. Even the top 50 was a solid three hours worth of music, and has been hell to put together.

Alas, the Joplin track didn’t make the top 50; if it did, it would’ve probably ranked at #2. Nonetheless, we’ve got a lovely mix of yeehaw music, white girl piano pop, boppy electronica, acoustic torment, Backstreet Boys, and even a few artists who might not even exist. We’re starting at the bottom here, so apologies for the rampant negativity at first. It does get better. Here we go…

Tags: music,

November 23, 2019

End it Someday: Looking Back on With the Lights Out

mariteaux

With the Lights Out

It’s been 25 years, 7 months, and 19 days since the death of Kurt Cobain. You might remember him as the singer and guitarist for Nirvana, who later ended up trying pellet-flavored Pez in his greenhouse. He’s pretty much been canonized as the last great rockstar, and eh—I don’t care. I love Nirvana, but I don’t care.

It’s also been 15 years since a little three-CD-one-DVD Nirvana treasure trove of B-sides, live tapes, and rehearsals came into the world. With the Lights Out was the first official look into the home demos and leftovers that went into producing Nirvana’s three proper records. It’s a fascinating little document with a lot of history—and a lot of flaws.

Join me as I ramble about my history with the boxset, its highs, its lows, and where I think it sits in the Greater Nirvana Canon as a Sacred Text or something.

Tags: music,

November 2, 2019

How the Goldfish Man Changed My Life

mariteaux

The day I swapped my album for two goldfish

My stepmom had a bookshelf CD collection when I was little. Young spergs have active imaginations, and I was no exception; album art was everything to me at 5. I probably spent more time staring at the cracked out, surrealist album covers and being confused, fascinated, and terrified than I did listening to anything at that age. (Redman’s Malpractice, whose blobbily-proportioned cover guy is still unsettling to look at, is a prime example of the weirdness I found in there.)

Of course, I knew just enough about CDs to know what they were for, and just enough about our family’s Athlon-based Windows XP machine to be able to listen to the odd album or two. Somewhere down the line, Counting Crows’ This Desert Life fell into my lap. It was bound to catch my attention; it had a man with a fishbowl for a head on the cover, how could it not? What wasn’t bound to happen was how important the album would become to me; in fact, it’s the first album I ever truly loved.

That album turns 20 today, and I’m feeling sentimental. No one else is looking back on it, so I’m going to.

Tags: music,