Recent Articles

Play Listen Repeat Vol. 33

Have you heard that sales of vinyl records are way up these days, and that last week Elvis Costello announced plans to release his upcoming record on vinyl only, with…
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Atlanta recap

We’d like to thank all of our Atlanta listeners who joined us for our “Walk Through the Genome” party at Tree Sound Studios on March 9. It was a pleasure to enjoy the positive live sounds of Laura Reed & Deep Pocket, as well as those of the great new band Folk Festival. We loved getting to meet a great bunch of Georgia listeners, and answering some very thoughtful questions.
You can hear more music from Laura Reed & Deep Pocket in our new video about Tree. Here are some photos from the event, courtesy of Pandora’s Jennifer Zeidler:
(above: Laura Reed)

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Viewer Mail #1

So we thought we’d try something new and start posting video answers to the most common questions listeners have about Pandora. We’re going to start doing this regularly. If you…
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Play Listen Repeat Vol. 32

Philip Alperson, in the introduction to “The Philosophy of Music,” describes “the four broad areas of music which were to become standard areas of inquiry in Western thought” about music….
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Play Listen Repeat Vol. 31

[Music] exists as and for appearance. There is no actuality underlying it… Musical coherence is abstracted from actuality, not based upon it… [Music’s] appearance and its actuality are one and the same.
Geoffrey Payzant, Glenn Gould: Music and Mind
ghost song.jpgClearly, it’s possible to create believable, effective, amazing recorded works independent of the quality of the music on which the recording is based. Even when a recording’s musical content is lackluster or unremarkable, vibrant elements (a great vocal performance, a hook, or clever stylistic choices, etc) can work to make the recording itself into a potent creation, such that the so-called “deeper” content doesn’t matter.
This seems obvious enough. Is anyone really going to be troubled by the suggestion that the sounds within a recording are of comparable importance to the so-called content (i.e.,the musical ideas, words, melody) that we ordinarily perceive to underlie it? I doubt it.
Now, some critics might say that this sort of music makes silk purses from sows’ ears, and common sense would probably agree. Anyone who has ever noticed a vapid lyric or a tired chord progression underpinning a beloved popular song has had that view, if only for a minute. Silk purses from sows’ ears.
But when we look more closely at a recording, we get into some trouble, because (to state the obvious) the true contents of a recording consist only of the actual recorded sounds themselves, and nothing more. The recorded sounds are not just of comparable importance, they are all there is.

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