I’ve got a lot of things happening personally that’s pretty much knocked the wind out of maintaining this site.
I’m biding my time till November, when I finally travel to Japan with my brother. I’ll be gone for most of that month. I’m working on some cover albums — yes, plural — for Eponymous 4, and when I’m in that headspace, it’s hard to get out of it.
I’m not listening to anything new at the moment. Shiina Ringo’s Sanmon Gossip is the last new release I bought. Everything else I’m consuming right now is catalog. (I may finally be warming up to Hüsker Dü.)
I’m also in the beginning stages of a relocation. I’ve already made the decision to move, but now it’s just a matter of the actual work — combing through job listings, saving up money. I would hope to move before the next 70 days of triple-digit heat that is now the norm for Austin summers, but I don’t get the impression the overall economy would be so accommodating.
With all that going on, updating this site has unfortunately become a low priority.
Oh, but I hope after the trip I have lots and lots of stuff to say.
I don’t know if freshening up the figurative paint is going to spur me to write much more, but at least I got some practice with using CSS frameworks.
All that to say, I’ve given Musicwhore.org a new look. I’m using the Blueprint CSS framework as a basis for the design. The last time I went with a fixed width layout was 2003. Fluid designs, when done right, can accommodate more content, which is why I switched to them back then.
Well, all my sites are starting to look a bit dated, and now that I using more frameworks in my development — CodeIgniter for the server side, jQuery for the client side — I figured I may as well extend that usage to the design.
I think this design is the first time I’ve used a white background on anything since the late ’90s. White backgrounds, while professional as all get out, hurt my eyes. I’ve always opted for light-on-dark. Still do, but with this design I get a bit of both.
There are a few victims in this relaunch. Namely, the widgets — the Last.fm and Blip.fm widgets were becoming eyesore to me. The only widget that remains is my Bandcamp widget for Eponymous 4.
I’m keeping the previous design for the Musicwhore.org archive because it works better with that content. I still have to update the favicon.ico to reflect the new colors.
But I may be overthinking how much I write — or lately, how much I don’t write — for the site. I’ve got tons of stuff playing on the media player, and they’re all organized by all sorts of priorities, but do I actually sit down and get through all that work? No, not really.
In 2005, I revamped this site from a fairly interactive music zine to a simple weblog. Now it feels I need to rethink my content priorities again.
I can’t seem to shake this sense of obligation to write about every single thing I’m listening to, which is not helped by the fact I can have tons of stuff on the media player at any time. And this blog is not the only outlet of expression I have.
So I think I’m just going to continue to post once in a while when something pops up — some release news — but for now, I need to take some more time to figure out about what I want to write and how I’m going to write it.
I don’t have much sidebar real estate to devote to my blogroll, and in reality, a lot of the blogs to which I’m subscribed in Bloglines don’t update very often.
Of the ones I read, a fraction of them has a content that makes its way here to Musicwhore.org. (Oh, who am I kidding? This site is essentially Bounce.com localized into English.)
After all this time, though, I ought to acknowledge some of the other sites I read when I’m not updating this one:
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise I actually like Alex Ross more as a print writer than as a blogger. I pretty much follow it to keep up with what he writers for the New Yorker.
Amped Out In my quest to find music by gay artists that don’t suck — and that’s a tall order, in my book — I follow this music blog published by PlanetOut. Most of the time, it dishes on gay-marketed music than actual music by gay artists.
ArtsJournal ArtsJournal is an arts-focused aggregator, and it used to have a separate feed for its music coverage. I think I prefer reading about all the arts now.
aworks I can more than guarantee that whatever Robert Gable is listening to is something you are probably not.
Bounce.com This site would not still be running if it weren’t for Bounce.com
Keikaku.net I’d call this site the Pitchfork of Japanese indie rock, but the writing on Keikaku isn’t insufferable. I actually lurk on the forums more than anything else.
purple Sky I actually contributed something to the purple Sky print magazine a while back — just a top 10 list. I found the site in my referral log one morning, and I’m glad to see they’ve moved the content online. Then again, a print publication is kind of a crazy proposition in this media climate.
The Standing Room Actual blog posts on the Standing Room have become few and far between, but the linklog has some really great finds.
So my latest excuse for not updating this site: I finished writing a novel.
I showed some friends this unfinished manuscript I’ve had sitting around since 2004, and they wanted to know how the story ended. So in between all the stuff I’ve been doing for Eponymous 4, I decided to chip away at it. I got the first draft done over the weekend. Now comes the arduous task of editing and rewriting.
I wrote the novel mostly without any music playing, but in that last stretch, I put on a whole bunch of Eastern European and Central Asian composers on the media player, primarily string quartets.
My Last.fm history should show multiple plays of Alfred Schnittke, Henryk Górecki, Béla Bartók, Dmitri Shostakovich, Osvaldo Golijov and a few instances of Sofia Gubaidulina. (A smattering of Arvo Pärt and Witold Lutoslawski is in there too.) I don’t think I reached a point where I had to bust out any Giya Kancheli.
I pointed out a long time ago I was on Blip.fm, and I even have my profile listed under the "Social nets" section of the side bar. (See it? Way, way, way down there?) I’m not sure how many readers here also listen to me there, so I figure I may as well stash another widget on the site and bog down the load time of my pages even more.
I’ve been having fun posting all sorts of myriad items, including a few Japanese tracks on occasion. Blip.fm is limited to what’s searchable on the web, so I haven’t been able to blip Tokyo Jihen’s "OSCA" (or better yet, "Kuronekodou") or anything by the Waitresses that isn’t "I Know What Boys Like" and "Christmas Wrapping". But I did manage to find the theme to the old Children’s Television Network show, 3-2-1 Contact.
The last time I wrote this kind of entry, it took five months for me to get my butt in gear. I anticipate the same kind of turnaround because I have been concentrating a lot more on other activities than updating this site. Still, it was kind of helpful to have that roadmap, despite the glacial follow-up.
Albums about which I’ve been meaning to write in greater detail:
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Century of Self
Department of Eagles, In Ear Park
FLiP, Haha kara Umareta Hinekure no Uta
Jennifer Koh, String Poetic
mono, Hymn to the Immortal Wind
Morton Feldman, The Violia in My Life / False Relationships and the Extended Ending / Why Patterns?
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis, For All I Care
After such a flurry of posts in March, I’ve all but disappeared this month. I have two excuses. The first is a whole of shopping I got done at the end of March, between the Waterloo storewide sale, the Austin Record Convention and my monthly eMusic quota. So I’ve actually been busy listening to a bunch of new stuff, trying to figure out about what I’d eventually want to write.
The more immediate excuse is the release of the first full-length Eponymous 4 album. Don’t get excited — it’s really just an over-glorified demo, and I’m branding it as such. (For the time being, I’ve even installed a widget on the right side there for you to hear the whole thing.) Head over to the Eponymous 4 official site to learn more about the album. Heck, you can even download the tracks for free.
But if you’re so inclined to purchase it, you can get it from such fine retailers as CD Baby, Bandcamp and Amie Street. CD Baby has also delivered the album to retail, so it may pop up on iTunes, Amazon and Lala any day now.
Oh, and this album is an online release only. I don’t have the cash to press up CDs, and really, who’s going to buy one when I don’t even play live?
Back in 2006, I bought a 160 GB external hard drive and decided to rip my music collection into MP3. To optimize space, I decided to rip everything at a constant bitrate of 192kbps. I wanted to leave enough room on the drive for future releases.
Hard drive space is now entering into the terabytes, and yesterday’s 192kbps is today’s 320kbps. My friend chip had the foresight to rip his collection to a lossless format, then encode into a lossy format. I’m starting to feel the 192kbps rips wanting.
So I decided to do the tediously crazy — I’m re-ripping my CD collection. According to the software database I use to track my collection, I have 1,054 CD, spread among 1,700 discs. I’m not sure how accurate that disc number is, because I include other formats in the database.
And I’m following chip’s lead, first ripping to FLAC, then encoding to MP3. I’m even going for the "insane" settings on the LAME encoder in Winamp. Compound the process with tagging from Musicbrainz, and … it’s going to take a while.
At least now I have the space to do it … I finally bought a 1TB external drive.
Now I just have to resist the urge to get a USB turntable.
I’ve been posting considerably less lately because I’m pretty much prioritizing Eponymous 4 above everything else right now. In fact, I’m going to start on Monday posting files from my first full-length album over at the official web site. I haven’t yet decided whether to release it commercially online, but I figure I may as well since I’m deducting my music gear as business expenses on my taxes.
I’m also busy trying to move all my sites to CodeIgniter, so I don’t have to develop both the framework and the site at the same time.
That means posting to the blog is pretty much squeezed out. Of course, I’ll pipe up when something on Bounce catches my attention, but the radio silence is going to continue for just a bit longer.
By the way, my brother and I are planning to go to Japan in November 2009, and while I’ve made noises about skipping SXSW before, this year may indeed be one I miss. The cash I sink into the Austin economy for those five days must be reallocated for the trip because I don’t forecast much financial growth in 2009. So don’t count on much coverage of the festival itself, but I’ll do what I can beforehand.