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Stuart Sims
California
Cool podcast about music and interesting things.
Interests: Music and culture and stuff.
Recent Activity
For a lot of reasons, music and music-making proliferated and diversified in many, many directions, throughout the 20th century. Not just because of ideas (i.e., Modernism) and tools (so many new technologies), but the convergence of culture, technology and mass communication enabled a creative crucible that’s unprecedented in human history. Unfortunately, this makes any comprehensive musical exploration of the past 100 years daunting for many, and challenging to the tastes and expectations of most. In this episode, we hope to distill an amazing century of musical thought and practice into a comprehensible summary, by using a consistent, unchanging frame of reference: the piano. The piano is an instrument that existed in its present form prior to the 20th century, and remains essentially unchanged from that version through today. We hope that this familiar and constant tool for musical creation and expression will help elucidate the amazing variety of ideas and inventiveness of composers from the past century, up to and including our own decade. Tracks & excerpts: Johannes Brahms - Six Pieces, Op. 118 (1893) - No. 2, Intermezzo in A Major Claude Debussy - Images, Set 1 (1905) - I. Reflets dans l'eau & III. Mouvement Alban Berg - Piano Sonata, Op. 1 (1909) Charles Ives - Piano Sonata No. 2 "Concord, Mass., 1840-1860" (1915) - III. The Alcotts George Antheil - Jazz Sonata (1922) Bela Bartók - Out of Doors (1926) - With Drums and Pipes & Musettes George Gershwin - Three Preludes (1926) - Prelude 1 &... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Loose Filter Media
Well, 2018 was maybe not the greatest year in human history, broadly speaking, but it sure was musically interesting. In this episode, we discuss a handful of the most thoughtful “best music of 2018” lists, and then listen to a few of the recordings shared by those lists, ones that are particularly outstanding and engaging (and that we haven’t already recently discussed). We also briefly consider some paradigm-shift-type happenings in creative culture: the potential impact of new works entering the public domain for the first time since 1998, and the first Kennedy Center Honors award to a collaborative work rather than an individual artist. Use the links below to follow your musical curiosity! Playlist for this episode: Robyn - Missing U from Honey Kasey Musgraves - Butterflies, Space Cowboy, and High Horse from Golden Hour Rosalía - MALAMENTE (Cap.1: Augurio) and DI MI NOMBRE (Cap.8: Éxtasis) from EL MAL QUERER Tierra Whack - Hookers and Hungry Hippo from Whack World Pusha T - The Games We Play from Daytona Royal Liverpool National Orchestra - On the Waterfront Suite, II. Adagio from Bernstein: On the Waterfront Yo Yo Ma - Unaccompanied Cello Suite #1, BWV 1007 - I. Prélude and Unaccompanied Cello Suite #6, BWV 1012 - III. Courante from Six Evolutions - Bach: Cello Suites Wet Ink - Auditory Scene Analysis, Pt. 1 from Wet Ink:20 Janelle Monáe - Make Me Feel from Dirty Computer Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2019 at Loose Filter Media
A funny thing happens sometimes in music, where the original version of a song as recorded by the artist(s) who wrote it, is not the most popular or well-known version. In fact, if a cover or remake of a song is successful enough, the original version is supplanted in popular imagination. In this episode, we give a listen to eight terrific songs, each in two versions: the famous one and the original one, and the contrasts within each pair are sometimes striking. We also discuss some recent musical finds you’ll enjoy, from all over the world. Playlist for this episode: LP - Lost On You [Live Session] Rei - Cocoa Jeanine De Bique - “Rejoice Greatly” from Messiah Toni Basil - Hey Mickey Racey - Kitty Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Robert Hazard - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Soft Cell - Tainted Love Gloria Jones - Tainted Love Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - I Love Rock ’n’ Roll The Arrows - I Love Rock ’n’ Roll Bananarama - Venus Shocking Blue - Venus Quiet Riot - Cum on Feel the Noize Slade - Cum on Feel the Noize Beyonce - If I Were A Boy BC Jean - If I Were A Boy Santana - Black Magic Woman Fleetwood Mac - Black Magic Woman Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2018 at Loose Filter Media
In this episode, we explore an interesting question: does awareness of structure and process in music have any impact on the experience of listening to that music? Given that music occurs in time, the ways that we choose to organize and develop musical ideas are critically important for musicians, but may not be apparent to a listener. Here we take several examples from widely different kinds of music with some before-and-after listening, so that you may explore the answer to our title’s question. Playlist for this episode: "Dear Theodosia," from Hamilton - Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr. I Believe I'll Dust My Broom - Robert Johnson Hound Dog - Big Mama Thornton Mercy - Duffy Cherokee - Clifford Brown and the Max Roach Quartet Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578 ("Little") - J.S. Bach It's Gonna Rain, Pt. 1 - Steve Reich Piano Phase - Steve Reich Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 (IV) - Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection Symphony" (III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung) - Gustav Mahler Sinfonia (III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung) - Luciano Berio Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2018 at Loose Filter Media
On this episode of the podcast, we take a look at Outsider Music, recordings by iconoclastic and unique creative voices whose naive craft channels passionate music-making. Using Songs in the Key of Z: the Curious Universe of Outsider Music by Irwin Chusid as starting point, this episode features some of the most unexpected and distinct music you'll ever hear. Playlist for this episode: Florence Foster Jenkins - Aria, ‘Queen of the Night’ (1944) Conlon Nancarrow - Study for Player Piano No. 21 (1961) Elva (Mrs.) Miller - A Hard Day’s Night (1966) Wild Man Fischer - Merry Go Round (1968) Legendary Stardust Cowboy - Paralyzed (1968) & Standing in a Trash Can (Thinking About You) (1989) The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World & My Pal Foot Foot (1969) Shooby Taylor - Stout Hearted Men (1972) Luie Luie - El Touchy (1974) Gary Wilson - 6.4 = Make Out & Loneliness (1977) Jandek - They Told Me I Was a Fool (1978) Daniel Johnston - Walking the Cow (1983) The Frogs - I Don’t Care If U Disrespect Me (Just So You Love Me) (1988) Wesley Willis - Rock n Roll McDonald’s (1995) Bingo Gazingo - Up Your Jurassic Park (1997) Eilert Pilarm - Jailhouse Rock (1998) Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2018 at Loose Filter Media
FINALLY, the next (final?) installment of our deep dive into the history of Punk music, its main artists and cultural influence. Part 3 covers the 1980s underground scene, knitting together far-flung regional efforts where bands pioneered a DIY approach that laid the foundation for huge independent rock bands in the 1990s. "The History of Punk, Part 1: The Velvet Underground & Nico" is available here or here "The History of Punk, Part 2: The Stooges to the Clash" is available here or here. Playlist for this episode: Rise Above - Black Flag Filler - Minor Threat Waiting Room - Fugazi Unsatisfied - Replacements D’s Car Jam - Minutemen Something I Learned Today - Hüsker Dü I Against I - Bad Brains Schizophrenia - Sonic Youth Sludgefeast - Dinosaur Jr. Sweat Loaf - Butthole Surfers California Über Alles - Dead Kennedys Touch Me I’m Sick - Mudhoney Bewitched - Beat Happening Jaded - Operation Ivy No Control - Bad Religion Double Dare Ya - Bikini Kill Summer Babe - Pavement New Slang - The Shins Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2018 at Loose Filter Media
This episode does what it says in the title, it’s another hang out where we listen to and talk about music that we really like! Featuring music by Janelle Monaé, The Internet, Michael Jackson, Anderson .Paak, Punch Brothers, and Kamasi Washington. We hope you discover something that you like! Playlist for this episode: Janelle Monaé Make Me Feel Dirty Computer Pynk The Internet - Come Over Michael Jackson Beat It Smooth Criminal Black or White Don't Stop Till You Get Enough Anderson .Paak - 'Til It's Over Punch Brothers Three Dots and a Dash Just Look At This Mess Jungle Bird Kamasi Washington Fists of Fury Truth Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2018 at Loose Filter Media
The Loose Filter Podcast is back, with WEEKLY episodes! This episode is just a fireside chat with Anthony and Stuart, musing about recent happenings in musical culture, like Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize in Music, and the Music Modernization Act. Plus, as always, a few fun digressions. Join us every Wednesday for new episodes! Playlist for this episode: Mason Bates - Terrycloth Troposphere Kendrick Lamar - DNA., HUMBLE., and LOVE. Galactic - Percussion Interlude Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2018 at Loose Filter Media
This episode of the podcast highlights our ongoing creative fascination with the ability to capture and manipulate sound. As always with human creative work, curiosity and experimentation started as soon as the tools became available: in April 1948, the first commercially available audio tape recorder, the Ampex Model 200, hit the market. Before the end of that year, composers were using it to create recordings that they would cut, splice and edit together in all sorts of interesting and weird ways, to create new pieces of 'sculpted music,' recordings called musique concrète. As the available tools grew in number and sophistication, this general practice--of altering, editing, adding to music after it has been recorded--grew and multiplied, too. In our journey here, we quickly move from the conceptual to the popular, so you'll listen to the practice jump from experimental composition to the recording studio and audio production, its evolution into remixing and the internet, and arrive at a still-evolving practice aptly described as plunderphonics. The playlist is really pretty wild for this one (even for us), so to really expand your musical frames-of-reference, be sure to follow up through the links below (or wherever you get your music that you listen to) and explore this peculiar and extraordinary soundscape further. Playlist for this episode: Pierre Schaeffer - Étude aux chemins de fer (1948) Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry - Symphonie Pour un Homme Seul (1949-50) György Ligeti - Artikulation (1958) The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows (1966) The Beach Boys... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2017 at Loose Filter Media
The topic of this podcast episode really stretches the "loose" part of our 'loose filter' concept, since we don't talk much about music. We do talk about something really important, though, something that is unprecedented in human history, involves a fascinating and frightening confluence of cultural behavior and technology, and is happening all around us--and to each one of us!--but that very few people have noticed and discussed: the weaponization of hyperreality. To help us understand and explore this topic smartly, most of the episode features a conversation with Keith Nainby, whose academic specialty is human communication, and who is a terrifically lively guest whose insights still have our heads spinning. Since this topic can seem pretty esoteric at first, I wrote a post that serves as introduction to this topic, but it's not necessary to enjoy our conversation about this timely and important topic. Playlist for the interstitial music and clips in this episode: George Carlin - On Language Ratatat - Imperials Tool - Lateralus Brother Ali - Uncle Sam Goddaman Stephen Colbert - The Colbert Show inaugural episode, Oct. 17, 2005 Eyedea & Abilities - Powdered Water Too Red Hot Chili Peppers - Throw Away Your Television The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows Igor Stravinsky - Symphonies of Wind Instruments St. Vincent - Marrow Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2017 at Loose Filter Media
I. Introduction Neil Postman is, in my estimation, one of the most important writers whose work needs to be more actively read, studied, and taught than it is currently. While his work is not obscure, and has had some influence, I open this short essay by asserting its significance because Postman has articulated and explained the fundamental necessity of deconstructing, understanding, and moderating the influence and effects of our media on ourselves (and by extension our culture, our collective behavior and decisions) better and more accessibly than any other writer I've found. Also, for me, through much of his work as a whole Postman implicitly draws out the evolution of a primary thesis of communication studies--the medium is the message--into our growth and experience of hyperreality (which is vastly accelerated by the internet). I think that this process has continued, and that--because our experience of hyperreality is so pervasive and so convincing--we are now actively trying to make reality match our own subjective notions of what it should be, and the phenomenon of Donald Trump as PEOTUS is as clear an example of this large-scale reification of hyperreality as I've seen. Look: I know that those previous two sentences are maybe not the clearest I've ever written, and that this can seem dense and obscure and not really worth thinking about too much. But, and I urge you to find me persuasive on this, it really is important and actually not too complicated, if you can stay in a conceptual... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
Christmas can be tough. Though often considered "the most wonderful time of the year," the holiday season brings significant challenges for many, who are far from loved ones, or have recently lost a loved one, and it can be pretty rough--and sometimes being close to family can actually be the rough part. Whatever the reason, when the holiday season is trying, it doesn't help that the music surrounding us is often just terrible. Not merely 'not great.' Terrible. I'm talking "Last Christmas," "Wonderful Christmastime," terrible. But despair not, in this sea of awful music, pumped into the air incessantly around us for another couple of weeks, there are a few shining beacons: Christmas music that is actually a pleasant experience, maybe even uplifting or joyful, that has the potential to get you into the holiday spirit in the best and most genuine ways. Here is some not merely palatable, but truly enjoyable Christmas music, to help brighten up your holiday season: Sufjan Stevens has released two epic sets of music for the holidays: 'Songs for Christmas' and 'Silver & Gold', both of which are terrific. They're an eclectic mixture of somber, haunting carols and bizarre, upbeat reinterpretations of old classics that makes for an exciting musical journey that will have you crying and laughing in the span of a few minutes. Both sets are quite long, with over two hours of music each. (The best part about that is that you can pick and choose your favorite tracks to create... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
This post doesn't really have a coherent theme, other than "here is some cool stuff I've had bookmarked to share for a bit, and am finally getting around to sharing." I'm hoping it will be a nice tonic to, well, you know, current reality. Four things for your enjoyment: from Vox.com, the video Rapping Deconstructed: the Best Rhymers of All Time. Based on the work of Martin Connor (whose website Rap Analysis is well worth close reading), this short video encapsulates how the technique of rap and rappers grew from its origin to its most gifted and skilled practitioners, and really clearly illustrates how they do what they do. It's a great medley of many of rap's best artists for those who may already know; and a fun primer for those unfamiliar with this musical style and practice: Of the many things I will miss about President Obama is his intuitive understanding and celebration of the importance of creative, cultural work as absolutely essential (one of the many, many displays of his emotional and spiritual intelligence). He and the First Lady held events and participated in creative culture often, and one of my personal favorite ways they did so was by personally curating and sharing playlists. Through Spotify, the President released several summer playlists over the past couple of years, which are really superb (free to listen, but Spotify login required): from 2015, Day and Night playlists (track lists here) from 2016, Day and Night playlists (track lists here) Michelle... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
In this episode, we look at bands that were signed to major labels despite being unconventional, abrasive, or just plain weird. We explore conditions in the industry that led to these bands getting signed, along with the virtues of being weird. The really amazingly cool playlist for this episode is: Captain Beefheart - Diddy Wah Diddy Captain Beefheart - Moonlight on Vermont Frank Zappa - Montana Frank Zappa - Don't Eat The Yellow Snow Talking Heads - I Zimbra Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime Devo - Jocko Homo Devo - Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA Butthole Surfers - Concubine Butthole Surfers - Pepper They Might Be Giants - Istanbul Mr. Bungle - Quote Unquote (Travolta) The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Tom Waits - Singapore Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
This guy plays with himself, and it's pretty great: Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
In this episode of the podcast, we talk about how we think about music: the concepts that inform musical work, the different ways that people listen to and think about listening to music, and how we use metaphor to describe the ineffable. We even wander into some discussion about how those ideas influence our tastes and what we enjoy. Playlist after the fold.... Playlist for "How We Think About Music": LCD Soundsystem, "Get Innocuous!" Bon Iver, "Wash." Harry Nilsson, "One" Battles, "Tonto" Steve Reich, Music for 18 Musicians, "Section V" Marvin Gaye, "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" John Coltrane, "A Love Supreme, Pt. 1: Acknowledgement" Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
No, seriously: Alarm Will Sound has recorded an acoustic performance of the Beatles' (in)famous track "Revolution 9" (a peculiar example of musique concrète). And it is FANTASTIC. Like, really seriously the best thing I've heard in a while. It's kind of rehabilitating my opinion of the original track, actually. Give it a listen: Their new album is available for pre-order here. You should get it. AWS is one of my favorite musical ensembles of any kind. Their audacious and bold originality never fails to delight. Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
Produced under the umbrella of Loose Filter Media, we are very proud to introduce Lisette & the Loudmouths, and their new EP Old, New, Borrowed, Blue. You can listen to and download it here. Enjoy! Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
Yes. Yes it does: Source: 'Get Lucky' cover played on bassoon and theremin by jeffbsn on Rumble Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2016 at Loose Filter Media
Buster Keaton footage cleverly edited with the brilliant and satisfying Fearful Symmetries, by John Adams--it works so well: Video is by Jérôme Bosc (parts 2 & 3 after the jump). If you're curious at all about my calling Buster Keaton an American Master, you must watch Tony Zhou's episode "Buster Keaton - The Art of the Gag" from his amazing Every Frame a Painting series. Part 2: Part 3: Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2015 at Loose Filter Media
This is fantastic: i put “All I Want for Christmas is You” through a MIDI converter, and then back through an mp3 converter the result is this garbage Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2015 at Loose Filter Media
This week's pick is "Doin' It Right" by Daft Punk. I am not so disillusioned to think you haven't heard of Daft Punk. From "One More Time" to "Get Lucky", Daft Punk is the kind of group that it's hard to avoid, even if you wanted to. Most of their overwhelming popularity stems from their sense of mystery: the two Frenchmen wear robotic looking helmets to hide their faces, they rarely perform live, and they release music very sporadically. (They also collaborate with big names, past and present, and they have a merch line that would make any electro-hipster drool.) Beyond all this, they make exceptionally great music. This is all well known--what you may not know are some of the other amazing tracks on their albums that did not become one of their beloved singles. "Doin' It Right" is one of the last tracks on their latest album, Random Access Memories, and is an incredible auditory experience: One of the best things about "Doin' It Right" is the production. Granted, Daft Punk always have very high quality production, but this song in particular is a perfect example of their abilities: there is simultaneously tons of space and incredibly rich textures (not an easy thing to accomplish), and while relatively simple in content (a lot gets repeated), the subtleties of timbre, texture, and space create a surprisingly engaging musical atmosphere. (The spaciousness in the production especially reminds me a lot of "Royals", by Lorde.) The infectiously catchy melody sung by... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2015 at Loose Filter Media
This is the first episode of a three-part series we've been recording about the history of punk music. A musical style often derided for its simplicity and unpolished nature, punk is actually quite seminal and important, and for part one we look at one of the earliest punk albums, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and consider the music, what ideas informed it, what impact it had, and so on--the usual stuff. What we found was surprising to me personally (I've mostly regarded punk as something akin to day-old garbage: not quite stinky and gross, but not desirable at all, either), and has really changed my estimation of this music and social movement. It's a fun exploration of a musical style you may not have considered very seriously before, but should. Playlist after the fold.... The playlist for this episode is all tracks from The Velvet Underground's first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967): Venus in Furs I'm Waiting for the Man European Son There She Goes Again Sunday Morning I'll Be Your Mirror Heroin (outro) Sweet Jane (from Loaded) Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2015 at Loose Filter Media
I'm becoming more and more fascinated by graphical, software-based music composition tools. A well-known, simple example is ToneMatrix, a pentatonic step sequencer (if you've never played with this before, you're welcome). If you find that one interesting, give these a try (flash plug-in required, sorry): Online Sequencer: straight-forward, most resembles traditional organization of musical ideas. Drumbot: a bunch of cool tools: several drum sequencers, chord charts for discovery and composition, practice tools, and more. Otomata: a generative musical sequencer. Seaquence: my personal favorite, Seaquence adopts a biological metaphor, allowing you to create and combine musical 'lifeforms' that will then interact, resulting in unpredictably evolving compositions. Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2015 at Loose Filter Media
From Ted Gioia at the Daily Beast is a great article detailing what the continually faltering and failing music industry can learn from what TV, as an industry, is doing right. His framing makes a powerful point: not only is TV thriving by selling content via a profitable subscription model, as an industry it is taking a product that was long given away free and convincing people to pay for it. Read it here: Five Lessons the Faltering Music Industry Could Learn From TV. (Gioia's writing about music is always interesting, btw.) Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2015 at Loose Filter Media