Vin Du Select Qualitite

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“I try to look at these records as collaborations between the label and the musicians. We have no interns, I pack every order, I answer every email, I try to take as much pride in the daily operations as I do the grand picture.” Exploring eclectic, trailblazing guitar soli in the 21st century (inspired by Johnny Smith, John Fahey, punk, and noise) with the Vin Du Select Qualitite label.

VDSQ Brings a Punk Aesthetic to Acoustic Music for Bandcamp

A Guide to Al Green Deep Cuts

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“Al Green made seriously sensuous music, but the fascinating, evergreen quality of it all is in how he embraces and wrestles with both the carnal and spiritual manifestations of love. The friction between the sacred and profane can be heard in nearly every note, alluring and manic in equal measure. Al Green is as suave and silken as he is shattered.”

A Guide to the Essential Al Green Deep Cuts for Bandcamp

Mayo Thompson

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“Me, I go with the contradictions. That’s what I’m interested in. That’s where the action is.” On the occasion of his recent string of concerts performing his lone solo album, Corky’s Debt to his Father, a feature on Mayo Thompson’s long, strange trip through Texas psychedelia, British post-punk and art-rock, Chicago post-rock, and more. For Texas Monthly.

Persian Electronic Music

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Digging through an old CDr of work from 2007 and came across this piece, originally written for The Believer, though I don’t believe it ever ran there and remains unpublished. It was based on a compilation of composer Alireza Mashayekhi and a CDr that Simon Reynolds sent to me. Not sure where either item might be now. But in light of this story about how David Rockefeller’s involvement with the Shah has led to decades of conflict between the US and Iran (buried in the Times buried at the end of the year), it felt timely. Most recent events suggests war is unavoidable. And so…

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Holly Herndon & Spawn

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In January of this year, I started speaking to Mat Dryhurst about artificial intelligence and machine learning. I knew very little about it, save for the works of David Behrman, George Lewis, and the like, early pioneers into the interface between man and computer. Mat was open, enthusiastic, and suggested many fine articles. Along with partner Holly Herndon, the two created Spawn, an artificial intelligence that was also a member of their vocal ensemble.

In April, I chatted at length with Dr. Holly Herndon about her upcoming album, PROTO, which was the first album to feature AI. It certainly won’t be the last.

And in November, an excerpt from this chat was finally published as part of New York Magazine‘s Future Issue. You can read that here.

Below is a deeper dive into the future of music and machine learning.

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My Deadspin Non-Sports Writing

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I only got to write a handful of times for Deadspin (h/t to Down in Front), but I greatly enjoyed what I submitted over there. At one point in time, I wrote often about cinema (even having a column about soundtracks at Idolator called VHS or Beta) but those outlets slowly evaporated, or rather, stopped paying money. So it was fun to get to write about shitty directors who kept name-dropping John Cassavetes while not taking one aspect of his work to heart and the brain-frying brilliance of Jack Nicholson’s early westerns. Back when Guardians of the Galaxy was a box office smash, I got to wax about the mighty 10cc in all their permutations, from the woolly Consequences box set to Godley and Creme’s godlike “Cry” being used on an episode of Miami Vice, making it “ideal music for a sockless-yet-shoed Don Johnson to shoot a shirtless-yet-sports-coated Ted Nugent to.” And when Roberta Flack was used on the final season of Mad Men, I got to tell the little-known story about how Play Misty for Me actually put Flack in the public consciousness.

My favorite Deadspin piece was no doubt “Big In Jamaica: Why Reggae Fans Mysteriously Love Air Supply,” which explored why the pillow-soft Aussies were revered throughout the Caribbean and plastered on reggae festival posters in my old neighborhood of Crown Heights. The piece touched on the likes of FKA twigs, the Clash, Bread, and Marty Robbins, none of the above sports figures per se, but it was fun and enlightening to cover non-sports for a site that’s getting shittier by the day.

 

 

Journey Through the Secret Life of Neighborhoods

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A while back, I had the privilege and honor of bestowing Best New Reissue upon Ernest Hood’s 1975 album, Neighborhoods, over at Pitchfork. If I were to try and summarize it in one line, it would be: “Hear children shouting out songs, crickets chirping, and the noise diesel engines rumbling past and feel the illusion of time dissolve.” The review has most of the bio/ backstory in it so won’t go into much detail here, save that it was a real thrill to finally hold a physical copy of it in my hands. Freedom to Spend label did an incredible job, even digging up the master tapes for it (a real rarity in this age of the easy-rip reissue).

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Yvonne Turner Helped Invent House Music—So Why Does No One Know Her Name?

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I was doing what I loved to do, working in the studio and create. That’s where being a woman in the business really became real to me. I felt like if I had been a man, it wouldn’t have happened in that way, not being called for work. I had to kick the door back down. I felt like I was being a girl, that’s the way it goes.” 

“Music is the Answer,” but the question is who created one of the first house tracks? And why don’t more people know Yvonne Turner’s name? A case made for Yvonne Turner at Pitchfork