Hooked on Classics

Aside from classical music being the only music I can get away with playing in the presence of my spouse, it’s good both as aural wallpaper and if you hone in. A symphony orchestra playing as an organic unit, as well as a choral society sometimes, is a beautiful thing. Not to mention chamber music or prodigious soloists. Rock music on the other hand and especially rap and country cry out to have the lyrics be listened to (if possible—not so hard with country.) Classical (and jazz) don’t really require so much engagement with the forebrain, absent being confined to a chair in a concert hall. Pushing 70 years old myself I know my brain is growing mushy because I don’t really have as much discernment between good and bad. I used to hear more music I hated—not so much now. Maybe it’s because I don’t listen to the radio so much, and I’m mostly exposed to music that is recommended or (uh) curated.
One way I listen, for at least an hour every day, is to let my iTunes randomizer haul up an hour’s worth of music off my hard drive. Lots of it is classical, because I have a lot of classical (much of it Gramophone Gem-rated—so necessarily top grade), but there’s also jazz, blues, novelty, shlock, hiphop, gospel, reggae, soul/r&b, rockist rock, latin, world, afropop, plus just about everything Christgau rates A-minus or better as well as lots of B+ and *, **, ***, etc. You name it. Sometimes the mixture is heavy on the classical (like this one: https://flic.kr/p/2awPt7g). Sometimes there’s little or no classical, but I’ve come to enjoy the classical as much as anything. And I wouldn’t mind nothing but classical. But that’s just me—increasingly so, especially with the being so exposed to it.


my latest little tweak

I see that tomorrow the $33 DVD player I ordered will be arriving. Whoopee! The one I’d been using to play CD-R’s (my Rotel no longer likes them—only store-bought CDs) had a habit of crapping out for a few seconds several times during playback. I have a nice new home behind my recliner for this old DVD player—where I can find out if it can do a better job playing music DVD-R’s (that typically hold four or five albums.) The “new” DVD player is actually pretty old-school—no HDMI, no Wi-Fi, no Ethernet—probably no USB. It does have the obligatory coax digital audio output to go through my DAC into my stereo—so I’m hoping the sound will be okay.
I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to hook it up to my monitor to adjust settings—just stick in a CD-R and press play. But the old VHS player it will sit on top of, I decided I’d try to see if I could hook it up. To make sure it even works I found an RCA cable and an open input on my amp to at least find out if it still could play a VHS tape and get sound. It worked!—but only with the front controls on the unit. The remote, even with new batteries, I couldn’t make work. Still, the unit is within arms reach, and I could probably learn the buttons so I won’t have to always use my flashlight to see what they are.
I found that the dangling un-used yellow video input cable on my DVD recorder could reach the output on the VHS player—so voila! I had a Glenn Close TV-movie on my monitor screen—which needed to be set at 4:3 instead of wide. But now this opens up the possibility of watching the oodles and oodles of VHS tapes I still have in my cabinets and boxes all over the place in the cellar (where I “work”).
I’m sure I can use the same hookup that has the VHS working on all three cylinders with the DVD player coming tomorrow—to at least go to the menu and maybe make a few settings adjustments—like PCM instead of DTS (for stereo, not 5.1 sound.) Also, maybe I’ll have to set the DVD player to resume from where I left off, when I stop play. If it can’t do that I won’t be too happy.

1320 to 1400 and 182 to 193.

Even though with #1319 I stopped posting here screenshots of my daily hourlong playlists, I haven’t stopped producing them and listening to them. If anyone happens to be curious about them, the succeeding 81 playlists can be found here. Additionally, the PDF version (with additional album/source info, as well as composer info) is still here — and it is added to daily. The playlists I uploaded to Mixcloud (nos. 1 to 1234) should still be there — at least I hope they are, where they can actually be listened to. Playlists for these are here.
I try to avoid repeating same versions of songs, so all this represents a lot of very varied music. But still it’s only scratching the surface of what’s on my hard drives. I know I have way too much for me to ever be able to listen to, so these daily hours serve to give everything at least an itty-bitty chance of being heard.

I’d certainly be amenable to making these hourlong musical segments available for broadcast, but since I don’t avoid explicit content, over the airwaves might not work. I haven’t done anything to explore any possibilities, but given how much I enjoy the listening — and how I don’t know of anything that fits less into any fixed format (which is what I really like) — I should think there ought to be someplace for these things to go besides just into my ears.

Also, here are the screenshots for ‘Xgau Friday 182’ to the current 193. I’ve still been performing these every Thursday, as I did when I was uploading to Mixcloud. Can’t stop until I get enough, you know.

xgau friday 181

Even as I’m writing this now I’m waiting for Noisey to let me know what Bob’s come up with for his claque this week—Friday’s the day. This here’s my small homage to that day—dredging up a random assortment of songs the Dean has deemed worth mentioning, from albums he didn’t grade higher than a B+ or an Honorable Mention.
Wait, now here it is! I gotta go check it out. Meanwhile, here’s this:

xgau friday 181.png

Google Play had a couple tracks missing. I’ve replaced them with a couple from the on-deck circle. Here’s the playlist.

the 1310s

Another batch of who knows what—not me, that’s for sure; although I do exercise some semblance of picky-yuny-ness in deciding what to upload/buy/input in the first place. Still, quantity often would seem to outweigh quality—if it weren’t so astounding how much quality there is to be had. Even the lesser efforts can be charming as they whizz by.













xgau friday 180

Today’s Expert Witness deals with Christgau-fave Thelonious Monk. As usual I picked up all three albums right off the bat. I went with downloads on the Mast (Bandcamp AIFF: 1 whole GB!), eMusic for the “pricey French import” Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960—costing me I calculate less than $5 with Booster Pack deal— and the Real Gone Ornette, who I guess isn’t Monk, from big on-line seller.

Meanwhile, here’s my Xgau-inspired assemblage for this week:

xgau friday 180.png

I’ve tried to make a playlist, but one song was missing. So I tossed in one at the end from the on-deck circle. Here it is. Sorry, it’s not Spotify.