Category: Opinions and Rants

Favorite edition 2006 forecast

We’re entering the final third of 2006, and I’ve started to think about what I’ve heard in the past eight months to include on the year-end favorite list.

On the whole, 2006 hasn’t been that much more exiciting than 2005, but the brighter moments of this year stand out far more than last year.

The best album I heard in 2005 was originally released in 1982. (That would be Entertainment! by Gang of Four.) But the keepers of 2006 have far more staying power.

Still, I did manage to discover some albums in 2006 I wished I heard when they were first released. Although they can’t technically be included in a "best of 2006", there’s room to mention them with the "favorites of 2006".

The first half of my list is set, but there are still some open slots that the coming fall release season might fill.

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Too much choice can be paralyzing

Three months ago, I signed up for eMusic.

Although iTunes is the 800-pound gorilla in music downloads, the DRM pretty much keeps away. eMusic sells MP3s, and the subscription model sounds like a good deal. For the price of mid-line CD, I could get about four albums’ worth of music.

I’ve taken to using eMusic as a paid preview service — rather than buy a CD, I’ll download it from eMusic first, then see how attached I get to it. It’s resulted in a number of purchases since I’ve signed up.

I’m subscribed to the most basic service, which is 40 files a month for $9.99. In the first few weeks of using the service, I put a lot of stuff in my "Save for Later" queue, thinking the moment my download quota refreshes, I’ll eat it up right away.

It hasn’t quite turned out that way.

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YesAsia NoWork

I knew something was going to happen, but I went ahead and did it anyway.

I ordered UA’s cure jazz from YesAsia, and I paid for it using PayPal. I’ve used YesAsia’s PayPal feature before, and I’ve had no problems.

But the last three orders I paid with PayPal ran into some serious problems. I detailed my previous experiences. This time around, it looked like the order went through. I got confirmation the order was placed, which was far more than what happened before.

Then I got a message from YesAsia.

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CRI, R.I.P. (Three years belated)

Right now, I’m listening to The Music of Lou Harrison, an album part of the American Masters series from the defunct label, Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI).

I spent a year in New York City on a college exchange program, and I worked for CRI that entire year. Back then, I had aspirations to be this avant-garde composer proletariat enough not to scoff at pop music. Working for CRI gave me a nice glimpse into the machinations of a non-profit record label.

Yes, there are non-profit record labels — New World and Tzadik being the most visible. (Of course, it could be joked that no independent label actually makes any money …)

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Late discoveries, early contenders

It’s really not possible to discover all 35,000 some odd music releases in a year, so I end up finding things in the first quarter of a new year that were released in the previous year. If I ran across them in the year they were made, I probably would have included them in the year-end list.

Wow. Those two sentences use the word "year" a lot.

We’re practically half way through 2006, and if it’s been any good, there should be some early entries for favorites of the year. So far, it’s been all right. In fact, it’s been better than 2005, which bored me to the point where I started listening to music from 20 years ago.

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