8K: Metropolis

Look!

*gasp* The number of albums er um musical units I have surpassed an arbitrary nice-looking number in the decimal number system!

But what album was the eight thousandth?

It’s this one!

Metropolis! A jazz-ish album from the late 60s by Mike Westbrook, who I discovered recentlyish after Phil Minton did a gig here, so I got the wonderful Wesbrook Blake album, which had Minton singing in a mode that I wasn’t aware of him singing in.

Everything’s so complicated.

And buying music from before my time seems to be a theme in my music buying habits lately. I even got the new The Beatles box set. *gulp* Shame! But I’ve been getting most of the music the last half year from discogs.com. It’s such a frictionless way to explore and buy old music: I’ll just be listening to some album and then think “hm, I wonder whether they’ve done any albums/EPs that I’ve missed somehow”, and the answer is almost always “yes”. Click, click, pay, click, then be surprised the next week when I get a package in the post.

And paradoxically, as physical formats for music grows steadily less a thing, the ones that do release new music physically put more work into it.

The other week I discovered a German (?) label called Oscarsson. I’d randomly bought two of their albums because they looked nice, by Jung Body and David Allred, and they were both great, so I decided I could just as well start buying a bunch of stuff directly from them.

And the releases are all like that. With booklets and pasted-in photos and stuff.

I got them yesterday, so I don’t know whether the music’s any good yet, but c’mon. It’s gotta be.

I do buy some music “digitally”, but all other sites than Bandcamp is just too much hassle. Bandcamp sells zip files with flac files inside, and with all the metadata and covers I need inside, so it’s just so hassle free.

Hm. I do see that I have about 1K of releases on mp3 only. Shame! They’re all pre-2002-ish, I think, though, so it’s bad mp3 as well.

Whatever will album er musical thing 10K be?

Useful Consumer Review

The backlight to the monitor in the hallway half died, and the monitor was more than ten years old, so getting a replacement seemed more prudent than trying to get it fixed.

I wanted a kinda small monitor for the table. The main use cases is me scanning record sleeves and paying bills (because this is the only computer I have with a numeric keyboard), so it’s not like a need a huge one. The rest of the time it’s showing the cover of whatever album I’m playing in the stereo…

But then I happened on to the Eizo EV2730Q monitor: It’s square! I mean, as in having a 1:1 width/height factor! 1920×1920! How cromulent! Album covers are square, too, so that’d perhaps look totally cool in the hallway?

Behold!

It is, indeed, square. It kinda visually looks like it’s taller than it’s wide, but I’ve measured it, and it’s not.

So what’s it like?

Well, it’s… a monitor.

I was briefly excited when I learned that it had a USB hub built-in, because I thought I could use it to charge gadgets and get rid of an external USB hub, but it’s a fucking non-powered hub. How lame is that? If I connect my keyboard and something power-draining to the hub at the same time, my keyboard goes AWOL. So its utility is severely limited, and since I have to have an external powered hub, anyway, there’s no point in using it at all.

They could have spent a couple of dollars more and made it powered, but they didn’t, the cheapskates.

I was also briefly excited when I read the manual and saw that it had speakers built-in. Not that I’d use those to play music or anything, but it’s occasionally useful if I were to check something out on Youtube. The monitor has a 3.5mm jack input, but I thought that surely it would also have audio input over either DisplayPort or over the USB input, but nope. It doesn’t have any other audio input than that 3.5mm jack. At least no audio device pops up in Linux when I plug in the DisplayPort cable, but surely this is the Year of Linux on the Desktop, so it has to be the monitor’s fault.

I don’t want to pull another cable from the closet where the computer is over to the monitor, so I guess I won’t be using that speaker, either.

So after those brief oh-so-exciting periods were over… what’s the picture quality like?

It’s fine, but the black levels aren’t very black. I’m spoiled by having an OLED TV, where black is black, but it’s a disappointment that you can’t get things blacker than you see in the picture there. I even went into all the menus to tweak, and you can make the black levels even more grey, but you can’t make it go darker.

So I guess it’s fine? But there’s nothing exciting about it.

Except the form factor, which is pretty neat. It’s hip to be square again.

Innovations in Music Distribution

I was at a jazz concert the other week, and I was looking at the CDs and stuff the musicians had brought to sell.

Adam Pulz Melbye had brought a shrinkwrapped bass string:

With a Bandcamp download code. (Censored above.)

I just had to buy one! Genius!

It’s weird that I haven’t seen anybody doing something along these lines before… It’s like a souvenir from the concert, but it’s also a way of selling music.

Useful Consumer Review

Some weeks ago I bought this Levimoon lamp. I didn’t really think it was going to work or anything, but hey:

Unfortunately, despite being totally cool and fun, it makes a “BzbbbzbbzzHhghghzzbz” sound after it’s been switched on for about two minutes, so it’s a crapgadget instead of a useful lamp.

And getting the moon to levitate (it’s done with electromagnets) can take a few tries, but I think I’ve got the hang of it now. Instead of taking a minute to get it to the right position, it only takes me ten seconds now. If I’m lucky.

But I can’t believe that I’m complaining about a hovering moon lamp not being perfect. It’s a hovering moon lamp!

Only useless!

Oh well. Perhaps the next iteration will be silent and you can actually have it switched on.

Nice Vinyl

Zola Jesus’ album Okovi was one of the best albums released in 2017, so now there’s a remix/additions album out, and it’s on totes groovey vinyl:

How pretty!

Sounds great, too.

And for some reason, Norman Records sent me a signed picture of Chris Carter in the same parcel:

Thanks? It’s what I’ve always wanted?

Perhaps it’s because I bought a Chris Carter album a month ago…

In conclusion: Norman are the best.

Bookshelf Porn

I enjoy those shelf porn posts that pop up from time to time (“Ooo! Books! Comics! Avarice!”) so I thought I’d do one, too, since I just got this fabulous bookcase and is just about finished sorting stuff out to put in it.

But first I had to rip out the baseboard so that the shelf could fit neatly to the wall. Look at this awesome wallpaper design I found behind it:

So awesome.

Wall ready.

Shelf installed!

Yes, it’s the same colour as that car down there.

Most of these comics have been living in shortboxes in a cupboard for the last few years, and the problem is, of course, how to select the stuff I want to stare at in the living room. You have to have some kind of system, don’t you? Yes. So I went for…

Japanese comics.

Raw and Raw-associated stuff.

Alternative weeklies.

Pap-pap comics.

And Drawn & Quarterly, Uncivilized, Picturebox and stuff like that. Leaving most Fantagraphics stuff to languish in the bookcase in the office.

And while rooting and sorting, I inevitably found an entire stack of comics that I’ve bought twice (or more). Does everybody do this? I think I’ll drag them over to the used bookstore.

Since I’m re-buying (and the re-reading without knowing) so many comics, perhaps I should just consciously re-read comics more. And since they’re now prominently displayed within arms reach (I have long arms), perhaps that’s going to happen.

Sure.