Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄
🎵 The song for this post is Many Moons, by Janelle Monae. 🎵
I love when I run
brew update and it changes around dynamically-linked
libraries, destroying many other binaries and interpreteres in the process!
Sincerily, someone who just had to rebuild my site generator to relink its
libraries to publish this 😄
Doom, compression in sounds, RSS/YouTube
I wrote a bit about audio effects and compression the other day, and today I read an article on Doom Eternal's soundtrack, which incorporates those topics as well as others around AAA game-making and rights to artistic work. I found it pretty cool!
Meanwhile, Doom Eternal speedrunning is already broken! Karl Jobst gives a great explanation on the physics mechanic runners exploited to effectively fly:
If you're using an RSS reader like I am, I'd recommend subscribing to
specific channels via RSS. Most pages/guides telling you how to do this don't
work (I go to the channel's "About" tab, View Source, then Ctrl-F
"rss" for an
rssUrl). Watching an old video from a quality channel is
a great lunch break. Some channels I've subscribed to (and their RSS links):
- Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell (RSS) — cute, well-animated, well-written informational videos.
- 3Blue1Brown, (RSS) — math-ey animations and informational videos.
- Karl Jobst (RSS) — videos on speedrunning achievements and community.
- Joseph's Machines (RSS) — fun Rube Goldberg machines.
- Innuendo Studios (RSS) — lefty cultural and political analysis.
- Carlos Maza (RSS) — the same.
- Last Week Tonight (RSS) — while many have tried to take their Daily Show experience into more newsy late-night (Colbert, Klepper, Bee), John Oliver's is probably the only one that YouTubes well and I generally enjoy.
Please suggest others, I just started doing this 😄 Maybe I end up trading one political hellscape (Twitter) for another and become a person who's brain gets poisoned by YouTube, we'll see.
NPR produced this great little video on Ella Fitzgerald. I think it does a good job demonstrating why Jazz can be joyful to listen to, whether you've been doing it for years or are listening for the first time. They center it around a specific improvisation of Mack the Knife in 1960:
My favorite example of "voice as an instrument" came from Sarah Vaughan's Autumn Leaves:
I wrote about music tastes while growing up a bit in my boy bands post:
[...] I was a year or two away from being a horny gamer listening to White Suburban rock like Sublime, Limp Bizkit, and Kid Rock. The White suburbs "counterculture"… it's Bad!
And for most of middle school, those were my tastes, which are fine enough, but a few things put me on different paths too:
My uncle lived with us. He immigrated here when he was 12 and didn't know any English when he did; one way my dad helped him with his English was to trace liner notes from records while the songs played. Martin later did the same to us, teaching us how to read (I would lie down on his chest and follow his fingers, shortly after learning the alphabet), so we got a lot of early-90's rock that was older than the angrier stuff that was targeting The Youth.
My cousin Bernardo had a high school band, which got Robert to try the bass in Middle School. Robert getting involved in bass started a chain reaction which would get me into, like, 5 other genres. The first was funk, which is obviously the coolest shit on the planet. One time we did a holiday at Hershey Park which calls itself "Chocolate City, USA," and after years of listening to Parliament let's just say I was sorely disappointed to arrive there.
The second consequence of Robert's bass-playing was to seek out rock bands with exceptionally interesting bassists. This is how I got into Primus, which is a total mess but fun regardless. When I think of Primus, I always think of this roast thread on Twitter:
Another unlikely influence: I was in a disco-themed Twelfth Night production in high school (of all the "memorized Shakespeare" to flex, Malvolio's M.O.A.I. speech isn't as useful as anything from Hamlet or MacBeth or Midsummer lol); I listened to the playlist our director made for months to teach kids who weren't alive in the 70's what it sounded like. Disco is criminally underappreciated, and there's a lot of interesting history on how hating disco was a weird proxy for hating people with boots on their necks, echoing a lot of other cultural movements with no self-awareness.
To bring us back, the other big Robert bass influence was Jazz: Robert loved the rock bass and my memory was that this was the first thing to really "stick," to give him purpose. But he knew "being a rock god" wasn't a path he and his friends were going to take anytime soon, so we looked around and the best way to Serious The Fuck Up on bass-playing was Jazz programs (idk why we didn't look at classical more seriously; maybe there were fewer programs? maybe were we rubes?).
And… Robert hated it. Tremendously. He came out of his first performance pretty traumatized, saying "I'm never doing this again." My parents let us quit things, but not halfway through a commitment: "finish the season," so Robert (as Meier kids are exceptionally capable of doing) was resigned to just chew glass while being as good as he could be for months until it ended.
When my parents tell the next part of the story, they make it sound like I was Making A Very Astute Point. Their telling goes like this: we were in the kitchen, my parents were sad about how Robert seems to be getting really down about the Jazz thing, and I said: "Mami and Papi, how can we expect Robert to appreciate something that we have made so little effort in appreciating ourselves? If we played more Jazz in the house, we, and he, might come to like it better." I was… maybe 11? Or 12?
My memory is different; I mostly pointed out that when Robert became a superfan of prominent bassists, he came back from Tower Records and subsequently played all of the Red Hot Chili Peppers stuff in our shared room, all the time. I enjoyed the hits like Give It Away or Under the Bridge, but I used to hate all the other stuff from their older albums (True Men Don't Kill Coyotes? Fight Like A Brave? Knock Me Down?!). But, crucially, by playing it all the time, I came to like them. I suggested we play Jazz around the house not in an act of empathy or deep insight into cultural appreciation, but a weird form of browbeating and subversion of his tastes, as I felt had happened with mine.
Regardless, we played more Jazz in the house! And Robert's subsequent gigs didn't do what the first one did (throw him in a river and say "swim!"); he got more support and made some friends in his program, and took to the Serious Bass Life pretty well. With that, he got a lot of jazz albums, and a few years into it I was bored in Guatemala and gave a Thelonious Monk compilation album a deep listen, and never heard the same after that.
I'll leave it here. You'll notice that most of 👆 isn't really, uh, White People music (except Primus, which was very White). When I got to college I got some harsh lessons in performative taste-having (as you can see, now I'm an expert) because while I could speak at length about Jazz, Funk, Disco, Guatemalan Folk, Bluegrass, Rock, and Electroacoustic music, to a lot of my peers I wasn't seriously into music, you see, because I didn't have an exasperated positive reaction to Radiohead, The Decemberists, The Postal Service, Sigur Ros, Bright Eyes, or Surfjan Stevens, nor did I read or care about Pitchfork. What do each of those bands look like lol. It was a precursor to the forces that eventually had me leaving theater and running to Computer Science, which has fewer pretentions about its ability to shed light on The Human Experience, and pays a lot better. But that is a much longer story lol.
If you found this interesting, you might like this odd genre roundup post I did back before I was blogging more, and I definitely encourage you to post your favorite tunes in the comments 😄
Thanks for the read! Disagreed? Violent agreement!? Feel free to join my mailing list, drop me a line at , or leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you 😄