Today started out with a spin of the album “Actor” by St. Vincent (2009). Buying vinyl records is something that really lets me jump into the work of an artist without any compromises. I opened the vinyl record and sat it on the record player with side A up and let it play. At the end of that side of the record I’ll either let it play again or move on to side B. This time around I made a slight mistake with the discography and grabbed the second album by St. Vincent. I was going to try to listen to them in order to see the progression of the artist over time, but I’ll have to circle back on that one at some point. Later today my big plan is to move my vinyl record collection from the top shelf of my bookshelf to a lower shelf. My record collection has grown to the point where I cannot keep it sorted into autobiographical order anymore. I’m going to have to take the plunge and go alphabetical with my entire record collection.
On playing vinyl records
That title is enough to trigger some folks. Please understand that is not my intention. My vinyl record setup is pretty straightforward. I run two powered speakers from Audioengine and they are directly connected to the record player. Audio is delivered in a stereo format from the two Audioengine A5+ speakers and the sound occurs in the room exactly how the audio engineer mastered the record to play. Yeah my epic post on playing vinyl records is really all about just letting the sound the artist was trying to achieve occur. I don’t do anything to change the sound or mix of the record. Honestly, I have over 50 records and things have worked out well enough. At one point, I did consider buying the subwoofer to go with my speaker set, but that purchase has not happened to date.
A new record arrived
Things never really got going yesterday. It was one of those days that happens, but does not advance things in a forward direction. Rebounding from that type of day is key to getting back on track to doing something a little bit better to build on the momentum as things start to swing forward. Yesterday an absolute mint record arrived from an eBay purchase. That is one of those things that does not always happen. Buying vinyl records online is always a little bit questionable. You never really know if you are going to get a well cared for record. Scratches, scuffs, and blemishes are not your friend when it comes to sound quality. This record was from 1969 and pressed by Liberty Records. It was a mint condition original pressing of the Warren Zevon classic record, “ Wanted Dead Or Alive.” It was a solid find from an online charity auction. You can imagine my surprise when I opened the package and pulled out a barely used 50 year old vinyl record.
Looking at guitars
This morning I spent some time looking at guitars online. Advertisements are everywhere this time of year and some of them are for guitars that look pretty awesome. The one that caught my eye this morning was a, “Chapman Ghost Fret Pro Limited Edition Electric Guitar Bad Blood.” It sports a guitar top that looks pretty epic based on some sandblasting and special color efforts.
Whoa… today started out with two scoops of Soylent Mocha or roughly 400 calories of breakfast. Things got going a little bit slowly today. That in part is due to a very early start to the month. I’m trying to make the most of my October.
For some reason, I spent some time looking at Frank Zappa vinyl records on eBay after listening to Mattias IA Eklundh on YouTube for like 45 minutes. The song “A Reshuffling of Atoms” is currently my favorite Mattias jam online.
Writing to the sounds of instrumental music
Getting warmed up to do some writing today is happening at a much slower pace than it should. Yesterday I spent some time learning how to play the intro from the song Universal Mind by John Petrucci. That effort took me about 45 minutes of learning to very slowly play 30 seconds of the song. It was worth it. Today I’m probably going to listen to the Liquid Tension Experiment album.
My Google Chrome browser build is now up to date at Version 76.0.3809.87 (Official Build) (64-bit). People seem to be really excited about this build. This morning I spent some time watching TWIG (This Week in Google) and really enjoying the depth of discussions that happens on these shows. Sadly it reminded me that news organizations at large end up being all breadth and no depth. I know that the medium drives the content presentation style. That does not mean that it actually informs people to any real degree based on presenting a degree of content depth.
I got some Pedalboard Mounting Tape
Writing every day is about taking the time to write. Today my choice of words are going to be related to something I worked on today. This week a package arrived with some Power-Grip Pedalboard Mounting Tape. It seems to be better than velcro, but sort of does the same thing. My new Boss BCB-60 pedal board has been great. Pedals have been put in place. They have power that does not come from 9-volt batteries. It is very easy to pack them up now and put them away when necessary. Getting all the pedals setup was pretty easy. It took me a bit to try different orders and combinations. I found one that works. That pretty much set up the possibility of using the mounting take to position all the pedals in a more permanent way.
Getting things set up was fun. Each pedal needed to be checked to ensure the battery leads were not touching metal. I watched a video on YouTube the other day where somebody wrapped the leads in electrical tape to prevent shorting or noise in the pedal chain. That was pretty easy to do with each of my pedals. Every cable connection was checked and every power cable connection was examined. Pretty much the entire pedalboard chain from guitar to amplifier was checked out for any potential issues. All of this effort did reduce the howl in the chain, but it did not completely get rid of it. My current guitar amplifier does not have an effects loop. That means the pedal chain between the guitar and amp needs to be clean enough to be playable. Sometimes a bad configuration or a bad pedal will create such a howl that it is off putting. Thankfully that was not the case this time around. Things worked and that is great news.
On music streaming in 2017
It should have been harder to give up using my Pandora streaming music service. Years had been spent clicking up and down training stations to play a perfected collection of sonic awesomeness. Seamlessly the Amazon Music Unlimited service has replaced my usage of Pandora music streaming. It happened without any real fanfare or celebration. Access to unlimited music seems to be my prefered listening experience.
Surfing the web for guitars
I have been eyeing an Ibanez JS140 guitar online. It seems the advertising tracking algorithms have noticed my interest and are splashing up guitar sales on every website. That is not something that I mind to see from website to website, but it is rather interesting. This is probably the most focused advertising campaign I have seen since watching a few videos on the Casper mattress.
My thoughts on the Amazon Music Unlimited service
A few minutes today will be devoted to the incredibly important act of cleaning up the papers on my desk. The pile of papers has gotten a little out of control over the weekend. You may recall a few weeks back I cancelled my Pandora streaming service in favor of trying out the Amazon Music Unlimited service. It is an interesting experience to have access to pretty much anything you want to listen to anytime you have an internet connection.
Renting access to digital music is probably not the best way to support independent artists. I make a conscious choice to actually buy vinyl albums. I buy albums that I really like and for the most part they sit on my shelf. It is much easier to play streaming music throughout the day. I do listen to them, but not every minute of every day. Consider for a moment the sheer daunting weight of the music based choice when you stand before your Amazon Echo and ask Alexa to play any album. Literally, you could just listen to the top ten albums of all time and call it a day. You could ask Alexa to play anything.
Overall, the Amazon Music Unlimited service is very powerful. If you like to switch it up and listen to a wide variety of music, then the service is probably a good fit. Most of the time I switch between listening to an artist inspired station (Pandora is great at that) and listening to albums from start to finish. My preference usually is to listen to albums.