Why the iPod Classic remains one of the best ways to listen to digital music

While it sounds like its hard drive may soon give up the ghost and it can't run for more than an hour without being plugged into power, I still use my iPod Classic around the house on a daily basis. I love it and even though I've moved on to using a Fiio M7 as my daily musical driver, I'll definitely spend the time and money to keep it running.

This video from Pitchfork deftly explains what made the original iPod and its clickwheel descendants such great products, and why using a smartphone to listen to tunes, despite the convenience they afford, doesn't hold a candle to the listening experience a dedicated music player can provide. Read the rest

A brief documentary about the sensorial wonders of field recording

Since the birth of audio recording in the 19th century, people have used the technology to capture the ambient sounds of our world for later playback. With the invention of high-quality, portable tape recorders in the 1960s, field recording evolved into its own art form. Now, all of us carry high-quality digital recorders in our pockets and myriad sound artists continue to push the form forward. Good field recordings have the power to transport us and, sometimes, attune our own senses so that we too listen more actively to our own experiences in the world. In this short documentary "Sound Fields," director Sam Campbell introduces us to contemporary field recordists who are masters at active listening and share what they hear with all of us.

(Vinyl Factory)

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Pauline Oliveros, pioneering avant-garde composer, RIP

Pauline Oliveros, the avant-garde composer and accordionist who developed the influential experimental musical theories of "deep listening" and "sonic awareness," has died. She was 84 years old. Oliveros was a collaborator of minimalist and electronic music pioneers Terry Riley and Morton Subtonick and beloved director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s after its move to Mills College.

“In hearing, the ears take in all the sound waves and particles and deliver them to the audio cortex where the listening takes place," Oliveros once said. "We cannot turn off our ears–the ears are always taking in sound information–but we can turn off our listening. I feel that listening is the basis of creativity and culture. How you’re listening, is how you develop a culture and how a community of people listens, is what creates their culture.”

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Relaxing with scientists

When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts... a bit tense. Read the rest