Recent Articles

Fresh on Pandora :: Vol. 2

Welcome to this week’s Fresh on Pandora, a semi-random mix of music, new and old, that just went live. Enjoy! — Michael (music curator)

Mashup Culture – Baile Funk :: On the One :: Vol. 5

baile-funk-crop.jpgBaile funk, aka funk carioca or bailes funk, is a good example of how dance music conventions can be — and often are — shaped by the people and for the people. The DJ doesn’t necessarily define the sound, but the DJ does nurture it, develop it and mash the sound up with the contributions of other cultures that share similar experiences. In this case, the Baile funk experience was using the spirit of music and dance to rise above the poverty and oppression of the ghetto.
The term baile funk was used originally to describe a type of dance party that started happening in the favelas (ghettos) of Rio in the 70’s. Funk, r&b, and soul music being produced by American artists like George Clinton, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes had a strong voice with the people who populated the favelas. This music not only had relevant social messages, but grooves that were explicitly crafted for dancing.

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Music as Food :: Play Listen Repeat :: Vol. 45

Click here to listen to Balanced Diet Radio while you read
Picture 4.pngCompetitive Eating?
It’s hard to judge music, but I have to. It’s a necessary part of things for me. As those of you who have read my previous posts (here, here or here, for example) know, to be consistent when doing so may be impossible.
When I’m writing my own songs or making records, it’s at least possible to be definitive. I just have to do stuff that I believe in. Not easy, but possible. As Pandora’s music curator, though, it’s a whole different thing. I have to maintain a sense of aesthetics in general; a sense of musical quality that goes beyond my own opinions and tastes.
It’s a narrow path to walk.
On one side there is a kind of musical moralism which says: “this is good and that is bad; and therefore you should listen to this and not that.” On the other side is what you might call musical sociopathy, with its relativistic axiom: “there is no such thing as musical quality; everything is equally good.”
I don’t relate to either of those points of view at all, and I don’t want to.
Top Chef
Happily, though, I’ve found a strategy that is just imprecise enough to filter out esoteric pitfalls while allowing for some ideas to get through: I talk about music as if it’s food.

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Wax Cylinders to Earbuds and Beyond :: Tomorrow Never Knows :: Vol. 1

BrainRhythm2.jpg…Meanwhile, in 2027: 5ally runs her forefinger up the embedded metal grid on back of her ear, turning up her music and drowning out the annoying yammering of her parents trying to tell her to pay attention…
You’re soaking in it!
Music is streaming around you right now in the air. Music is, after all, something that we can encode into small pieces and send out riding on any sort of wave (AM, FM, Wi-Fi, Photons, whatever… gravity?) to something that can reconstruct those bits into movement of the air pressure near your ears – your ears will perceive the music.

We’ve already come a long way: only a few hundred years ago somebody would have to physically play an instrument near you for you to hear it… People started a system of writing music on paper, the first encoding: a piece of music could be sent to another location and then played, albeit still by a person with an instrument. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that someday got the bright idea to record the actual changes in air pressure that were being produced by the player. Then they could use their recording to change the air pressure in another location and the sound would be reproduced.

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Fresh on Pandora :: Vol. 1

Welcome to this week’s Fresh on Pandora, a semi-random mix of music, new and old, that just went live. Enjoy! — Daniel J. Craig (music operations, ripper)