Friday, November 9th, 2007


I downloaded the brand new Jay-Z album, “American Gangster,” his excellent seventies-soul-soaked concept album. He’s yanked it from iTunes, forcing it to be downloaded — and ideally sonically consumed — as a whole album. Fine by me: I want to hear what he has to say artistically, and if he needs to say it via a 60 second burst or a 40 minute album or a 4-hour unbroken stream of music – I’m there. What makes my head spin, though, is how dedicated we remain to preserving the standard album format (roughly 12 songs, 40-55 minutes), considering the fact that it was originally defined not by any artistic intention, but by a rather droll matter of physical engineering – namely, how much audio data could physically fit onto an object, i.e. grooves in a vinyl record. In practical economic terms, I understand why the album format persists: over half a century has been spent establishing well-oiled distribution and marketing machinery, and that won’t change overnight just because sound can now be digitized. But… what majorly intrigues me is the effect that our powerful cultural ‘album habit’ has on the creative process of musicians. What kinda sounds and visions might come pouring out of us if we didn’t presuppose, consciously or not, that it ideally oughtta fit into ‘songs’ and ‘albums?’ The smart-alecs among you may answer: “104-minute Grateful Dead jams, duuuuuude!” Fair enough answer. I’m just intruiged to be an observer and participant in what will be a mind-numbing transformation of the recorded music scene during our lifetimes, wherein recorded music is freed of its vinyl and plastic prison and is simply data buzzing around the ether by satellite and wire. One thing’s for sure: it’s gonna get wayyyy weirder than 104-minute jams and iTunes-only singles. (Sent from mobile phone.)

Brooklyn, NY: Treatise On Digitized Gangsterism
Originally uploaded by MeganFromTheLastTownChorus

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Here in Park Slope, those garish, garland-ish Christmas decorations have been unceremoniously draped across the shopping streets while we were sleeping. Whether they’re hanging in NYC or a small town, those municipal-type holiday decorations — usually a bit wilted from ten months stuffed into storage — have always conjured up in me the same wistful brew of feelings, which has its soundtrack in Joni Mitchell’s song, “River.” (From my favorite of her albums, “Blue.”)

(Sent from mobile phone.)

Brooklyn, NY: Skate Away Originally uploaded by MeganFromTheLastTownChorus