Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh Night Divine

This has been my favorite traditional Christmas song since I was small. I don't like Christmas music, traditional or otherwise. I especially have a dislike or modern takes on old standards. Whether by higher design or sheer luck of the draw or, perhaps, a genuine understanding and respect for the original, this version, by a band unfortunately named Seven Day Jesus, hits it out of the park.

I have a tendency to be repulsed by the nature of the lyrics in carols, as well in the way the are sung; heavy and dripping with lament. Many traditional carols seem to invent a manger scene, or some far-reaching ideal that doesn't quite ring true. Songs like "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "We Three Kings" use grand language and regal imagery, perhaps a result of the time they were written, to paint a picture that betrays the humble nature in which the Christ-child supposedly came into the world.

This song's lyrics touch on some common themes of other popular Christmas carols, such as the Savior coming to earth to redeem mankind. However, this song strips down the redemption to its lowest common denominator, as well as cutting through all of the august ideas of Jesus. "His law is love and His gospel is peace" is a strong challenge to much of the teachings of American Christianity.

Exposition aside, I can't listen to this song, almost any version I have heard, without getting chills down my spine when the line "Fall on your knees/hear the angel voices/Oh night divine..." is sung.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Hate Christmas Parties

There is so many things to love/hate about this song. It's catchy, it's delightfully melodramatic, it's irritatingly close to home. Originally released on a Happy Christmas compilation as Matt Thiessen and the Earthquakes, it's actually a bullshit pop/punk band called Relient K in disguise.

For some reason, I've thought about this song specifically this time of year since I was in high school. I wish I didn't, especially this year, but facts are facts and this is one of them

And also, I found this song accompanied with video from "The Office" so, no matter what, there is something to like.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Love is an Abandoned Backyard

If Derrick Brown can do wrong, artistically speaking, I haven't seen it yet. Even rough and unfinished demos carry more weight than a lot of slick polished work. His words on paper are dynamic, organic, violent and original. His voice only makes them come alive long enough to break your heart. The premise is preposterous, but the execution is spot on. Who hasn't felt like the baserunner who doesn't understanding the signal? If I could identify anymore with this, I'd be the one in the video.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Worst Band of 2010

Screw this band and their Hyundai holiday commercial. Fuck them.

I'm sure they're nice people, but I don't care.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why I Shouldn't Listen To Pop Music These Days

SF59: "I only see what I want to see 'cause I only hear what I want to hear. Because I'm right most of the time. That's the way I would self-describe...Call it what you want, it's automatic."

Eric&Magill: "I'm stranded."

Wild Nothing: "It just doesn't feel right when you're not here"

From now on, I'm restricting myself to a strict diet of Mono and Unwed Sailor. Words are slicing up my inside parts.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Audiophiles vs. Audio Files

I'm supposed to be giving a presentation in an hour involving the differences between analog and digital recording. Originally, I thought that this would be fun because I'm genuinely interested in the topic. But the more I learned, the more confusing it became. Also, I'm entirely unprepared for my presentation.

Up front, the differences are plain. Analog recordings, usually committed to magnetic tape, contain actual waves on them that are ANALOGUES of actual compressions in the air, which we hear as sound. Analog sounds, such as real sounds, are continuous frequencies through time. This means their graph will have a smooth curve over time. Digital recordings capture sound and convert the frequencies into numbers, called samples. Because no more than one number can be assigned at any given moment in time, the graph of the wave is not smooth, but boxy. See the graphs below.

Audiophiles argue that this makes a dramatic differences in how the sound is reproduced and is inferior to analog. A common CD, however, contains 44,100 samples every second. If we think of these samples as film, which is a collection of still pictures moving so quickly that the images themselves appear to be moving, we can begin to understand that a rapid rate of sampling would be heard just as well as an analog recording.

There are plenty of factors that serve to determine the quality of recordings such as sample rate, quality of equipment used to record and the quality of the equipment used for playback. So it's no easy task to definitively say which is better or higher quality or anything. They are two different processes that produce similar results. It is up to the user to determine which method they prefer to use for their purposes.