Fun interview about creating one of my favorite albums. Nice bit:
Out of the 13 months we took to make the album, there was six months of partying. Seriously. We would come into the studio, and Marvin would say, “Let’s go play basketball.” And we would play basketball half the day, on studio time. There was no pressure.
I Want You Still: Celebrating 40 Years of Marvin Gaye’s Sensual Classic | Pitchfork
By virtue of being atmospheric, ambient music tends to make the listener aware of the hardware involved in reproducing it, so it’s always, in a sense, about technology.
Resonant Frequency: A Glitch in Time: How Oval’s 1995 Ambient Masterpiece Predicted Our Digital Present
Yet here is a most crucial piece of knowledge regarding sound quality: Transmitting electricity is easy, moving air is hard.
The Myth and the Reality of the $43 Download | The Pitch | Pitchfork
This is what genres do really well, for good and for ill: They make large amounts of music easier to talk about (and, by extension, sell). Most often, genres do not stand up to scrutiny, yet they’re a fundamental part not only of music discussions online and off, but of any conversations we have about culture more generally. Particularly with the infinite online options for music access and conversation, pithy and memorable genre names can make it easier (if not necessarily accurate) to classify, discuss, and compare music. Genres arise out of tastes, and are often institutionalized (I wrote about one such example here), though online there’s infinitely more space to create, market, sort and search by micro-genres. (Remember “witch house”?) People have lengthy, years-long arguments using genres as combatants. If nothing else, genres make music easier to fight about.
I Started a Joke: “PBR&B” and What Genres Mean Now | Pitchfork
Queue Up: 20 Essential Music Documentaries | Pitchfork.
Classic or seldom-seen music films available to stream for free online.
We think he was a good guy but we really have no idea; we know he was a drug addict and that he abandoned his family, but many of us overlook that because we think we understand his pain, and who are we to judge. But of course, we can’t do the same for people in our own lives. Forgiveness in real life is much harder and more complicated, which is another alluring thing about interfacing to an iconic image: We get to practice feelings when the stakes are low.
@_markrichardson also has a great tumblr you should be following.
Resonant Frequency: “Happy Birthday, Kurt” | Features | Pitchfork
[Hair-metal musicians] are idealists, some of the last true believers in a weird idea that had floated around for decades: that rock music could be used to escape all the moral and hygienic values of the working and middle classes–self-restraint, work ethic, humility, sexual decency–and live happily among baser pleasures.
Why We Fight: Uncomfortably Numb | Features | Pitchfork
Paper Trail: Atlanta | Features | Pitchfork. Nice interview with Kelefa Sanneh about the Atlanta book, and Atlanta, and hiphop.
Another thing that’s interesting about Atlanta is that it’s a real magnet. A lot of the people that define that music aren’t from there; they’re drawn there. Gucci Mane comes from Alabama.Waka Flocka was born in Queens. The amazing producer Lex Luger comes in from Virginia. T-Pain’s from Florida. Even when Lil B launched his own first co-sign post Pack, he goes and hooks up with Soulja Boy. Machine Gun Kelly, from Cleveland, goes to Atlanta and hooks up with Travis Porter. I think one reason why the city has sustained itself so well is that it has welcomed artists from all over the place.
Pitchfork: Yeah, even Ludacris is from Illinois.
KS: Right. There is this industry infrastructure. Maybe it’s because Atlanta is known as a comfortable place to live if you’re African-American and have some money, and people generally enjoy living there. Can it become the Nashville of hip-hop? With Nashville, it’s not even about a Nashville sound anymore. It’s just that if you want to go into country music, that’s where you go. It’s not impossible to imagine that Atlanta can get there.
Somehow, and this is weird to me, the labels are all still in New York, except for Interscope in L.A. But you see these people get contracts. Living here in New York, I got the feeling that the label people were signing Atlanta artists because they had to, but that there wasn’t much enthusiasm for them within the labels. It’s like the history of hip-hop in miniature because that’s how hip-hop used to be treated by the music industry, like: “I guess we’ll sign them because this is what the kids are doing, but we don’t really get it, and we don’t really want to spend more time on this stuff than we have to.” So, for better or for worse, the Atlanta stuff has been pretty grassroots.
Making pop music– more than almost any other art– sits right at the intersection between being yourself and finding something better than yourself to be. This, in the end, is what we’re looking for: Someone who can devise some fantastically compelling version of herself to act out, while still seeming as if she’s… being herself. Musicians are expected to write a great part and convincingly act the role at the same time. And even after that, we’re not really judging them on how compelling the identity they’re offering us is– we judge them based on which types of identities we personally need or aspire to at the moment. There is no identity politics quite as nuanced or complicated as people arguing about music.
Nitsuh Abebe kills it every time.
Pitchfork: Columns: Why We Fight #15
I just love musicians. They’re not all super-happy all the time, but when they’re playing they’re happy, and it’s such a beautiful thing. I also like them because they sleep late in the morning; they’re more like children.
Pitchfork: David Lynch Talks New Music Projects
Dang, Nitsuh Abebe can write the shit out of a pop-culture essay. Every time.
Pitchfork: Why We Fight #4 – The Trouble With Maya
“Why celebrate pretense and bold gestures in pop music, but get weirdly skeptical of them in the indie world?” See also part 2.
Pitchfork: Why We Fight: Why We Fight #1