Evocation Poème Symphonique

Once in a blue moon, (or in this case a blood moon), I shed my polished sophisticate exterior and get a little creative.  Tonight is that night, so light the incense, don your beret and check out what’s cookin’.

I seldom get into poetry, doing my best to avoid anything with a rhyme scheme or regular meter.  But I do fancy a particular strain of poem – nonsense verse and cut-up/plunderphonia.

John Lennon developed his own delightful style of jabberwock in his books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works which inspired my first exercises writing “Lennonish” in college.

And in more recent years I found a fascination with the history of plunderphonics, perhaps best-executed by James Joyce is his masterwork, Finnegans Wake.  This evening I tried my own hand at the cut-up method, constructing something of a self-portrait from fragments of my music library. The library will be my legacy and I hope it will survive far beyond my years, so its content seemed well-suited for such a task.

Evocation Poème Symphonique

pulse steady
a chance operation
in and out of phase
from houdini’s musical box
deep distance kontakt
and the kosmische braindance
i sing the body electric
strange overtones
intergalactic echowaves
funky breaks and solo flute
one finger snap and the jazz of tomorrow
tricks of the light
cirrus minor
the broken radio of Istanbul station
turn me loose
walking like a shadow
voodoo fusion or synesthesia
a prayer for the paranoid
an index of metals
walkin’ the blues
it’s wonderland syndrome
tones for mental therapy
and bird’s lament
straight no chaser
alone again with the dawn coming up
we are the music makers
fast ‘n bulbous
and the curse of ka’zar
all this and more
tonight at innerspace

Regular readers will undoubtedly pick up on 20-30 references to favorites from my collection.  But I think it functions just as well without the cliff notes

Thanks for indulging me.  Back to our regularly-scheduled exercises in library management.

Fall 2015 Megapost: The Playlist Project

This summer brought many changes to The Innerspace Library.  First we started fresh with a Linux OS and finally said “farewell” to Windows.  There was a brief period of limbo as I tested various open source media management software to find the right fit for my collection.  I finally settled down with gmusicbrowser which outperformed Clementine and other major players in its handling of large libraries and in the incredible versatility and customization of its GUI.

This was the very first time since the launch of Winamp 5 (the amusing successor to  Winamp 3) that I’d explored the power of music metadata to organize my library dynamically across multiple data points.  (I’d never really saw the need during my years with MediaMonkey Gold.)

But as the summer drew to a close, I was still irked  that my Subsonic media server lacked the function of genre browsing.  I’d previously sidestepped this issue by generating mammoth genre playlists to serve as my personally-themed radio stations, each with hundreds or even thousands of the finest albums of their respective genre.

But it was this fresh start in the last few weeks that inspired my refinement of those playlists into distinct album libraries which would zero in on a specific moment of music history.  The aim was to bring a semblance of order to the hundred thousand plus tracks in my file library and to give me a set of starting points to really explore the neglected and unplayed folders of my drive.

I’m proud to declare that this evening, the project was a complete success.  I’ve created 100 all-killer-no-filler libraries showcasing each of the largest collections in my catalog.  I found that 68% (9,300 albums) of my music library fell neatly into one of these 100 categories.

The following is an index of these 100 playlists, sorted by number of albums.  This roster effectively summarizes and gives order to what is otherwise an insurmountable archive.  I’m going to enjoy exploring these playlists throughout the fall and into the winter months.

Playlists by Descending Size (in # of Albums)

Playlists with 1000+ Albums
Midnight on Mars: Ambient Worlds – 2,986 Ambient Albums
Hearts of Space: Innerspace Journey – 30 Year Complete 1,069 Broadcast Archive

Playlists with 200-999 Albums
Kelly Watch the Stars – 607 Classic Albums of the Downtempo Genre
Mentalism: Psybient Dreams – 545-Disc Archive of Psybient Electronic Music
Echowaves: Intergalactic Radio – 450 Legendary Krautrock Albums
The Shape of Jazz to Come – 387 Modern Jazz LPs (1959-1979)
Just Gimme Indie Rock!: 379 of the Greatest Indie Rock Albums (1988-2014)
Underworld: Dark & Long – A 35 Year Chronology – 339 Albums from Screen Gemz to Eno & Hyde
Old Time Radio: Dragnet (298 Broadcasts)
Salute to Birdland – 259 Classic Jazz Records (1924-1958)
FAX +49-69450464 Label Archive: The Legacy of Pete Namlook 254 Disc Catalog
We Came to Funk Ya – A 227 Album Funk Odyssey
Ninja Tune: Turn Me Loose – 204 LP Archive of Ninja Tune Records

Playlists with 100-199 Albums
Days of the Lords: 195 Album Archive of Ethereal & New Wave, Gothic Rock, Minimal Wave, Post-Punk, Jangle & Noise Pop (1976-1997)
The KLF: Abandon All Art Now – 189-disc Catalog of the Justified Ancients of MuMu
Shirt Tail Stomp: Swing & The Big Bands – 181 LP and Broadcast Archive
Tangerine Dream: Journey Through a Burning Brain – 178-Disc Chronology of TD & its Side Projects
Old Time Radio: The Adventures of Superman (171 Broadcasts)
Night Lines – 140 Album Archive of Deep House Sessions
Light Patterns – Jazz of Tomorrow – 139 Future Jazz Albums
Heaven or Las Vegas: 30 Years of Dream Pop & Ethereal Wave (134 Album Archive)
Max & Dima: Sapovnela Studio Sessions – 131 Deep House DJ Sets
Nurse with Wound: Walking Like Shadow – 127 Album Discography
Old Time Radio: X Minus One – 122 Broadcasts (1955-1973)
Deutsche Grammophon: 111 Years of DG (111-Disc Box Set)
Lemon Jelly : Going Places – 110-Disc Catalog of All Things Jelly
Miles Davis: The Complete Prestige & Columbia Recordings – 109 LPs released between 1955-2014
Daft Punk: Daftendirekt – 104-LP Chronology
Flea Market Funk – 100-Disc Archive of Funky Soul & Rare Groove
Frank Zappa: Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar – 100-disc Catalog (1966-2006)
RYM’s Top 100 Downtempo & Trip Hop Albums

Playlists with 75-99 Albums
Franz Liszt: Lisztomania! – 97 LP Archive
Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser – 97 LP Discography
Good Looking Records: 94-Disc Archive of LTJ Bukem’s Intelligent D’n’B Label
Franklin Mint: The 100 Greatest Classical Recordings – 88 LP Catalog
Somnium – 87-Album Library of Pure Drone Music
Aphex Twin: We are the Music Makers – 86 Album Chronology of Richard D James
Mike Oldfield: Tricks of the Light – 86 LP Discography (1973-2010)
Jimmy Smith: Jazz Scattin’ – 85 LP Discography
Cinematic Soundscapes – 83-Disc Library of Music for Films
Old Time Radio: CBS Radio Mystery Theater – The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (83-Disc Box Set)
Klaus Schulze: I Sing the Body Electric – 81 LP Discography
Ludwig Van Beethoven: The Bicentennial Collection – 80 LP Complete Works
Old Time Radio: BBC Radio – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (79-Disc Set)
Vangelis: Poem Symphonique – 77 Album Discographic Archive
Old Time Radio: The Shadow – 75 Original Broadcasts (1937-1954)

Playlists with 50-74 Albums
Sun Ra: Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy – 74-Disc Catalog (1957-1994)
John Cage: A Chance Operation – 73 LP Discography
2manyDJS – This is Radio Soulwax: 72 Mashup Sessions
Brian Eno: Strange Overtones – 70 LP Discography (1972-2015)
Peter Gabriel: Here Comes the Flood – 68-Disc Catalog (1977-2010)
Ornette Coleman: Change of the Century – 66 LP Discography
Prayer for the Paranoid: 66 Albums from a Decade of Shoegaze (1993-2003)
Muslimgauze: The Broken Radio of Istanbul Station – 63 Album Discography
The Piano Has Been Drinking: The Complete Recordings of Tom Waits – 63 LPs (1973-2011)
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: Just Coolin’ – 62 Album Discography
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Kontakte – 61 LP Archive
Old Time Radio: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Audiobooks (Unabridged 60-Disc Set)
Philip Glass: Glasspieces – 60 LP Discography of Operas, Symphonies, Sonatas and Scores
Cornelius: Out of Phase – 60 Album Discography
Spacemind: Wonderland Syndrome – 60 Psybient DJ sets
Cafe del Mar: Step into the Sunshine – 59-Disc Archive of the Sounds of Ibiza
Throbbing Gristle: 555 Jazz Funk Greats – 56 Album Discography
DJ Food – Solid Steel – 55 LPs of Classic Jazz Breaks
Herbie Hancock: One FInger Snap – 52 Album Discography
Ash Ra Tempel & Manuel Gottsching: Deep Distance – A 40 Year, 50 LP Chronology
Houdini’s Musical Box: Early Experimental Electronic Music (1940-1976) – 50 LP Archive
Porcupine Tree: Synesthesia – 50 Album Discography (1983-2013)

Playlists with 10-24 Albums
From Murmur to Monster: 21 Key Albums of the Jangle Pop Era (1983-1994)
Old Time Radio: Orson Welles Mercury Theater 1938 (20 Program Broadcasts)
Philips Prospective 21e siecle Label 18-LP Archive (1956-1972)
RYM: Round Midnight – 18 of the Highest-Rated Cool Jazz Records
Deutsche Grammophon Avant Garde: 17-LP Complete Recordings (1967-1971)
Braindance: A 15-LP IDM Chronology of Warp Records
The Plastikman Arkives: 1993-2010 (14-Disc Box Set)
Jellyroll Radio – Ragtime, Dixieland & Bluegrass Standards (13-Disc Catalog)
Claude Debussy – 12-Disc Complete Piano and Orchestral Works
Kompakt Records: Cirrus Minor – 12 Years of Ambient Music (2001-2013)

Ambient Sound for Study or Sleep

As I entered the final days before I move into my first home, I began to contemplate the changes to the sonic space of my studio. I anticipated that the new space would likely be devoid of external noises and the familiar nuanced sounds of other persons moving about in the residence. I also considered the longing I’d felt for the bustle of a metro village cafe – something I’ve yet to find locally befitting of an eccentric like myself.

So it appeared I’d a new project on my hands – to archive a bank of ambient noise to calm me and to promote productivity in my new home. Astonishingly, (as I’d never searched YouTube for ambient field recordings before), there was an incredible bank of 6-10 hour environmental recordings available, and all of it for free. I extracted the audio from each, archived my favorite selections, and put together a playlist for my readers to sample for themselves.

The playlist includes:

  • the sounds of drafting a dissertation in a university library
  • various intensities of rain in a variety of environments, from city streets to the inside of a vehicle in evening traffic, and from a tin roof to the inside of a camper’s tent
  • room-expanding noises from several coffeehouses.
  • and it ends with a soothing, 8-hour train ride

Explore my playlist below. I’d welcome further recommended environments if you have any to share!

Published in: on September 12, 2015 at 5:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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The End of Scrobbling – A Farewell to Last.fm

Digital music has been a fascination of mine since the turn of the millennium.  Audioscrobbler came into being in 2002 while I was in college, and the thought of sharing my listening with a global network of musical peers was exhilarating.

Audioscrobbler merged with Last.fm in 2005, taking the social element of music to a whole new level.  There were forums to discuss listening trends, metadata analysis and recommendation engines… all while independent blogging exploded onto the scene in a flood of obscure music fetishism.


In the years since I admittedly lost touch with the service and dropped off the scrobbling radar to focus on personal relationships, collecting unscrobbleable LPs, and developing my career.  As the summer of 2015 came to a close my life was settling up nicely – I left Windows for Linux, I have a fiance, a fantastic career, and I’ve just purchased my first home.

With these stations of life secure, my mind returned to the world of scrobbling and the possibilities of merging big data and my own hyper-specific musical tastes.  I developed a ~500 day plan to scrobble every track from my library 24 hours a day for over a year to submit every title toward Last.fm’s recommendation engine.  Surely a library of over 110,000 tracks would produce some intriguing results!

But this evening, I logged into Last.fm and looked around to find that the site has retired all of its original functions.  The social forums are closed.  The “neighborhood” of your peers is now inaccessible.  The homepage offers only a most-popular-globally-this-week roster plastered with “Uptown Funk” and other predictable tracks.

last.fm top artists

The Wikipedia spelled out what I’d missed – CBS had acquired Last.fm for £140 million in 2009.  Wasting no time, in February of that year the service handed listener data over to the RIAA over concerns about a then-unreleased U2 album.  By 2010 the service closed the custom radio feature, (again over licensing issues) and in early 2015 they partnered with Spotify, further crippling the usability of the site.

But the nail in the coffin came in August of this year with their fully-overhauled website.  It received almost universally negative criticism from its users, who cited broken and missing features.

Given the new light of this information, I’m terminating the full-library scrobble project and saying farewell to Last.fm.  Still, I shall not mourn the loss for long.  The social function of digital music has experienced a parallel evolution in the world of private forums and closed groups on social media sites like Facebook.

Terry RIley - Persian Surgery DervishesA magnificent record I discovered thanks to a Facebook Record Community

Every morning I’m greeted with “now-spinning” rare vinyl treasures and independent music reviews which top anything you’d find from a recommendation engine.  One user from South Korea offered nearly 40 daily installments of records from his Tangerine Dream collection, each accompanied by a custom write-up on the featured release.

Private tracker communities, classic bulletin board systems, and other social structures of the web continue to serve as a brilliant resource for musical discovery.  Last.fm served us well during a pivotal time in the age of digital media, and it will be missed, but we’ll carry on.


RIP Last.fm
2002 – 2015

Published in: on September 10, 2015 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Last.fm Project

My server is down for maintenance for the next 16 hours.  It was a perfect opportunity to begin my next long term music project.

When Innerspace Labs first switched to the cloud, I used the web-based RacksandTags service through my OrangeCD DB to create an index of all track information from my library.  Collections on the service can be searched by artist, album, or track, but lacks support for 2nd level organization like genre clustering, playlists, and other more valuable data points.

RacksandTags Interface

I later switched to Discogs.com.  Discogs offers real time market value assessment of your collection, but only supports physical media.  I was also disappointed to find that user-generated category foldersare not presently shareable with other users.  
Discogs Interface As I prepared for the downtime last night, I realized that I hadn’t given Last.fm a shot since I wiped my account clean in 2014.  That year I scrobbled 30,000 tracks, but was frustrated that there was no way to submit all my library’s data without playing every track in real time.

My goal was to explore the service’s recommendation engine, and my library data would likely produce some valuable results.

So last night, I went to work.  I quickly realized that the best approach would be to queue all 100,000+ tracks and to scrobble them in order of ascending track duration.  I organized the songs into four pools of nearly equal size.  Below is a map of my library based upon these four classes – less than five minutes, less than ten minutes, less than thirty minutes, and up to 24 hours.

Tracks by Duration

As the largest batch was that of the shortest tracks, there would be the greatest (and fastest) return from scrobbling these first.

I charted the play duration of each of these groupings to see what sort of timetable I’d be looking at for project completion.

Project Duration

Graphing the duration of each grouping clearly demonstrates that this was in fact the best course of action.

Projected Sync Progress

I began scrobbling immediately for the first time in a year.  Once the project is complete I’ll share some of the resulting recommendation data Last.fm provides.  I’m looking forward to it!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Holy Smoke: Explorations in Dub

Playlist of the evening – settling down with Holy Smoke: Explorations in Dub.

This was a smaller introductory list I built earlier on in my research. Focusing on just 60 key artists, the list explores standards of the genre like The K&D Sessions, Laswell’s dub contributions to the FAX label, and works by Jah Wobble.

I’ve several days of work ahead for my music library; this will provide a nice sound to groove to into the night.

Holy Smoke

Published in: on September 5, 2015 at 9:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Midnight on Mars: Ambient Worlds

Checking in for the Playlist of the Day! Tonight – Midnight on Mars: Ambient Worlds.

The list comprises the work of 1300 artists and clocks in at 2,794 hrs 29 mins. It’s a collection of the finest LPs from nearly a century of ambient music.

NP: Fripp & Eno’s “The Heavenly Music Corporation (Reversed) Pt 1”

Mentalism: Psybient Dreams

Today’s playlist is Mentalism: Psybient Dreams, a 400-hour archive of psybient space music.

The list features ~450 psychedelic ambient / psychill artists including Spacemind’s monumental mixes and veteran artists like Carbon Based Lifeforms, Shpongle, Hallucinogen, and Solar Fields.

Mentalism - Psybient Dreams

Now playing the track that initiated me into the genre: Cell’s “Audio Deepest Night.”

Playlist of the day – Kelly Watch the Stars: Downtempo Classics

Playlist of the day – Kelly Watch the Stars: Downtempo Classics.

Over 700 of the best downtempo albums ever recorded. The list includes several large discographies like the 108 albums and EPs by Lemon Jelly and 56 funky jazz break LPs and mixes by DJ Food. Several NinjaTune artists are featured, as well as a number of downtempo compilations like Hi-Fidelity Lounge, Cafe del Mar, and an archive of WRUR Rochester’s Plasmonic Lounge broadcasts.

Music to beat the heat.

Kelly Watch the Stars

Playlist of the Day – Flea Market Funk: Funky Soul & Rare Grooves

Playlist of the Day – Flea Market Funk: Funky Soul & Rare Grooves.

Flea Market Funk Playlist

All the expected discographies are here – catalogs from James Brown, PFunk, the Meters, the JBs, Skull Snaps, etc.

But the deeper cuts are the best – DJ Prestige’s killer Flea Market Funk mixes, the Saturday Night Fish Fry New Orleans Soul compilation, the Stone Cold Funk collection, a comp called Voodoo Soul: Deep & Dirty New Orleans Funk, and an awesome 25×7″ singles box set called WHAT IT IS!

NP: Episode 1 of FMF – the set that got me into the groove. The attached DJ pic is Prestige diggin’ through his personal collection for funky sounds to share.

Dust_and_Grooves DJ Prestige MI0000607332  MI0002272397 zzwhatitisfunkysoulra_102b  MI0001774447


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