Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Music Fun

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I recently got a friend’s old – yet large – external hard drive. And with that dared to make the difficult step of moving my itunes Library to it as the music was filling quite a lot of the internal drive and I just had to spend too much time deciding what to keep and what to dump. So now there’s plenty of space on the iBook and I can only use iTunes while I’m at home. That’s not ideal, but I hope I can compensate it with the help of the iPod and the last.fm player.

The iTunes Library

Having the iTunes library on a large drive means that I could finally fill all the gaps that had been left in there and rip many of my CDs which hadn’t made it onto the computer so far. That’s great. And as a consequency many of my special playlists such as the one going around the world or up the numbers have grown considerably.

Questions I observed to be surprisingly difficult to answer in this context would be. Order from East to West:

  1. Prague
  2. Berlin
  3. Rome
  4. Venice
(if you thought that was easy, add Tripoli and Luanda…) or, for our friends who know their way around better on the other side of the world, I’d offer ordering:
  1. Saint Louis
  2. Memphis
  3. New Orleans
  4. Tupelo
(with bonus points for adding places called Jackson (MS) and Jacksonville (IL) to the game). File under ‘things we wouldn’t bother to find out without Google Earth’.

One nice thing of filling up the iTunes library was that I could finally feed it with my whole Glenn Gould obsession which can look quite pretty with CoverFlow.

Glenn Gould CDs in CoverFlow


As was recommended to me by several people I tried out last.fm’s (I thought audioscrobbler was a more fun name, btw) streaming service when having a network connection but not my iTunes library around. It’s quite nice. Although I have the impression that it can be a bit repetitive after a while and that – like most of modern technology – it isn’t too good when dealing with non-pop music. When listening to similar artists to Glenn Gould, say, you’ll have many things coming up which just don’t fit in. Not many new things to discover in that area, unfortunately, and no reasonably consistent flow of music for working coming from it either.

One other thing I found a bit irritating on last.fm is that when looking at the details of your neighbour list you’ll see numbers indicating how good the match of your tastes is. And even for people with which I have fairly much in common – mostly seventeen year old Dutch girls – that value is much lower for me than it is for other neighbours of theirs.

Which in turn probably means that it’ll be quite hard for me to become anyone’s (except Dan’s) visible musical neighbour. And my variance in music taste isn’t excessive, it’s just that I like listening to classical music when working. So this looks a bit like the broader your taste is, the less likely it will be that people get to see it. So to be ‘successful’ at last.fm you’d best have a very focused taste in your profile. Which is a shame, because it makes me think that you’ll probably not find the people in your neighbour list which you’d consider to be the most interesting.


I never quite got the hang of Podcasts. I mostly fail to see the point. And for those where I can see a point, I forget to listen to them and then see that there’s a lot of stuff to ‘catch up with’ weeks later. That isn’t fun and possibly not even entertaining. I still subscribe to a podcast or three just in case…

The first one I liked was Buzz’ now-defunct delicious based podcast. It had good music and rare posts… both points which I appreciated. This was the only podcast I actually listened to for a while but the novelty has worn off by now and I was too lazy to go for the new URL. Then there was the Tocotronic podcast for the release of their best of album. While there was quite a bit of crap in there (most musicians or music publishers just shouldn’t talk… it tends to be disappointing) it was a nice review of the band’s history in a dozen or so five minute episodes. A cool idea, fun, and short.

Hm, and then I discovered the stereogum website with their podcast. Which is good as they link to loads of amazing stuff. But somehow the texts and text links they have are interesting enough to read the posts anyway… thus rendering the whole podcasting effort a bit redundant. [Grab a little Automator action for downloading all MP3s from Safari’s current page.]

I highly recommend this post with its numerous links to music – a non-trivial fraction of which is good. As I indicated before, I essentially have the music taste of a seventeen year old girl, so it’ll come as no surprise that I really like the Be your own Pet song Fire Department in there.

April 21, 2006, 1:28

Tagged as music.


Comment by d.w.: User icon

The secret to understanding podcasts — they’re for people with long commutes. I didn’t “get” them either until I started spending 2 hours a day in the car (or bus or train or whatever.)

April 21, 2006, 13:07

Comment by ssp: User icon

When I commuted two hours per day I listened to the Pixies a lot and got through many books. Apart from the ride on the bus, it was brilliant!

Couldn’t see how podcasts match that…

Couldn’t really see myself driving a car that much either ;)

April 21, 2006, 13:37

Comment by Jake Montero: User icon

Hey, I’m a Glenn Gould fan too! …But I don’t get into itunes or mp3s. I still like good old fashioned CDs [and now SACDs].

April 21, 2006, 18:14

Comment by ssp: User icon

I just ripped my CDs into iTunes so I can have them in there and on the iPod as well. Naturally I’ll prefer using the CDs while at home with my proper stereo.

April 22, 2006, 1:46

Comment by Buzz Andersen: User icon

Hey Sven, Do you have an Odeo account? If so, I’ll add you to the list of people on my new “underground” distribution list :-).

— Buzz

April 24, 2006, 8:20

Comment by ssp: User icon

I didn’t have one, but Odeo seem to have the painleast sign-up ever, so I went for that as ssp.


April 25, 2006, 0:53

Comment by d.w.: User icon

Just saw this show up on the iTMS — seems to neatly merge the “podcast” and “listening to classical music at work” ideas…

April 25, 2006, 13:23

Comment by ssp: User icon

Thanks Dave. Bach sounds good :) I’ll give that a try.

… let’s see how iTunes behaves when told to download podcasts while the drive containing its music folder isn’t present.

April 25, 2006, 13:55

Comment by ssp: User icon

Hm, I think I’m not entirely convinced by that either. It’s not just that I’m generally grumpy and hard to please but also the frequent and deliberate switches between completely different pieces and from piano, to harpsichord to cello, to piano… that freak me out (I knew a guy in my first term who rushed, or rather skipped, me through is entire music taste in an hour and I’m still freaked out by and highly skeptical about that today).

I think I also disagree with some of the piano playing. At least with all the Glenn Gould listening I have done and the appreciation for a similar no-nonsense (dull?) style of playing I have I even found the WTC pieces in last week’s issue quite irritating.

April 25, 2006, 16:22

Comment by d.w.: User icon

Oh well. I hadn’t actually listened to it, I’d just seen it. Meanwhile, I’m about 60% through a thousand SXSW2006 MP3s.

April 25, 2006, 20:57

Comment by ssp: User icon

Ugh, those 60%… Sound a bit like what is fun turns almost into work… I haven’t been too impressed with your picks so far (for which I don’t blame you), although I do like that Goran Gora song.

April 26, 2006, 2:21

Comment by d.w.: User icon

It’s not really work, so much. My general pattern most mornings is to build a playlist and sync it to the iPod right before work. The playlist always begins with a selection from this wonderful thing, followed by a couple of albums, interleaved with songs from my “SXSW Unplayed” feed, and whatever other things I’m feeling like hearing on the morning drive. At this rate it’s taking a while to get through them all, but I’ve actually noted a few bands worth following up on.

May 1, 2006, 23:05

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