Exfiltration Radio: À Paris en France comme dans la Rome antique

Guru and trumpeter Brownman

I had to do a presentation at work, and someone asked me the question I’ve been waiting for all my life: “What’s your walk-on music?”

I answered, immediately, without hesitation: “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” by Digable Planets.

See, the jazz-inflected hip-hop that was being made in the early 1990s, when I was in college, was the first hip-hop that I learned to appreciate. Before then I was as casually racist about “rap music” as any kid raised on classic rock radio in the South. But then began my great awakening. I don’t remember what the first thing was; probably Gangstarr’s “Jazz Thing” on the Mo Better Blues soundtrack. Eventually it completely got under my skin, with the result that this was a playlist that was a complete joy to put together.

Sure, a lot of it is the Native Tongues groups — Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest. There’s also a lot of groups influenced by the scene, like Us3 (the Blue Note hosted group that actually played their samples), the Roots (of course), the crazy MF Doom + Madlib collaboration Madvillain; and latter day follower Kero One. And off to the side stands Gangstarr and Guru, who arrived at the combination of jazz and hip-hop through their own path.

There’s also a lot of actual jazz in these tracks, whether sampled (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers on “Rebirth of Slick”, Lou Donaldson on “Le Bien, Le Mal”, Roy Ayers on “Borough Check”, Grant Green on “Vibes and Stuff,” Bill Evans on “Raid”, Jimmy McGriff on “God Lives Through”) or live: Ron Carter playing along with MC Solaar on “Un Ange en Danger” and Roy Ayers (again!) playing with the Roots on “Proceed II.” Both of the latter are on the fantastic compilation Red Hot and Cool, which I can’t recommend highly enough, especially for the tracks from the Pharcyde and the Last Poets, neither of which I can play on the radio.

Wherever the music comes from, that funky music will drive us til the dawn. Let’s go! Let’s boogaloo until…

Please do not attempt to adjust your set. There is nothing wrong. We have taken control as to bring you this special show, and we will return it to you as soon as you are groovy.

  • Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)Digable Planets (Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time & Space))
  • Proceed IIThe Roots with Roy Ayers (Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool)
  • Manifest (Alternate)Gang Starr (No More Mr. Nice Guy)
  • Because I Got It Like ThatJungle Brothers (Straight Out the Jungle)
  • I Got It Goin’ OnUs3 (Hand On The Torch)
  • Plug Tunin (Last Chance To Comprehend)De La Soul (3 Feet High And Rising)
  • Kool Accordin’ 2 a Jungle BrotherJungle Brothers (Done By the Forces of Nature)
  • Vibes And StuffA Tribe Called Quest (The Low End Theory)
  • Borough CheckDigable Planets (Blowout Comb)
  • Un Ange En DangerMC Solaar with Ron Carter (Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool)
  • Raid (Feat. MED)Madvillain (Madvillainy)
  • Give Thanks (feat. Niamaj)Kero One (Windmills of the Soul)
  • God Lives ThroughA Tribe Called Quest (Midnight Marauders)
  • Le Bien, Le MalGuru Featuring Mc Solaar (Jazzmatazz Volume 1)
  • Exfiltration Radio: jazz in inner space

    It’s that time again… time for the Godfather to grace you with an hour of weird music. Today’s playlist comes from the cusp of jazz’s transition into fusion and dives into the music that came around In a Silent Way, still one of the most revolutionary recordings in jazz.

    In this 1969 record, Miles had reached the end of standards, the end of modal changes, the end of the post-bop revolution he had led with his second great quintet. He was listening to other innovators, working beyond jazz, especially Jimi Hendrix. And most importantly, he was continuing to surround himself with musicians who innovated, listen to them, and push them to take their performances beyond where they could on their own. (He also sometimes claimed authorship of those songs, but that’s a different story.)

    The sound at the back of this new direction in jazz was the electric piano (usually a Fender Rhodes) fed into the echoplex and joined by musicians who were playing, as Miles said on the back cover of Zawinul, “cliché-free,” not relying on changes or modes but on rhythm and vamping and atmosphere and sometimes incredibly gorgeous scraps of melody that come and go in the middle of the track like smoke.

    One of the things that’s hard to appreciate just by looking at the track titles is how much of this music was made by the same handful of musicians. Let’s take a look:

    Herbie Hancock (electric and acoustic piano) plays on “Doctor Honoris Causa” (which Zawinul dedicated to him for his honorary doctorate from Grinnell), “Mountain in the Clouds,” “Opus One Point Five,” “Filles de Kilimajaro,” his own “You’ll Know When You Get There,” and “In a Silent Way.” Miroslav Vitouš (bass) is on “Causa,” “Mountain,” “Orange Lady,” and “Water Babies.” John McLaughlin (electric guitar) is on “Mountain” and “In a Silent Way.”

    Billy Hart is on “Causa” (percussion) and “You’ll Know” (drums). Joe Henderson (tenor sax) is on “Mountain” and his own “Opus One Point Five.” Jack DeJohnette (drums) is on “Mountain,” “Opus One Point Five,” and “Water Babies.” Chick Corea plays electric piano on “In a Silent Way” and drums and vibes on “Water Babies.”

    The great Wayne Shorter (tenor sax) is on “Orange Lady,” “Filles De Kilimanjaro,” his own “Water Babies,” and “In a Silent Way.” Airto Moreira plays percussion on “Orange Lady” and “Water Babies.” Ron Carter is on “Opus One Point Five” and “Filles.” Tony Williams plays drums on “Filles” and “In a Silent Way.” And Joe Zawinul plays on “Causa,” “Orange Lady,” and his composition “In a Silent Way.”

    It’s not surprising that some of the tracks seem to blend seamlessly into each other. It’s more surprising how distinctive the musical identity of each track is. Definitely worth an hour, and then many more checking out the albums these came from.

    Do not adjust your set; there is nothing wrong.

    1. Doctor Honoris CausaJoe Zawinul (Zawinul)
    2. Mountain In the CloudsMiroslav Vitous (Infinite Search)
    3. Orange LadyWeather Report (Weather Report)
    4. Opus One Point FiveJoe Henderson (Power To The People [Keepnews Collection] [ Remastered ])
    5. Filles De Kilimanjaro (Girls Of Kilimanjaro)Miles Davis (Filles De Kilimanjaro)
    6. Water BabiesWayne Shorter (Super Nova)
    7. You’ll Know When You Get ThereHerbie Hancock (Warner Archives)
    8. In A Silent WayMiles Davis (The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions)

    Exfiltration Radio: ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space

    Feels like a good time to go to outer space! Here’s an hour of space-themed tunes for this Friday that veers from funk to jazz to whatever the heck that Flying Lotus track is. Enjoy!

    1. Also Sprach ZarathustraBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Karl Bohm (2001: A Space Odyssey (Soundtrack))
    2. P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)Parliament (Mothership Connection)
    3. SpacePrince (Come)
    4. Leave the PlanetGalaxie 500 (On Fire)
    5. SpaceM.I.A. (MAYA)
    6. Space Is the PlaceSun Ra (Space Is The Place (Original Soundtrack))
    7. The PlanetsGary Bartz NTU Troop (Harlem Bush Music – Uhuru)
    8. Innerstellar LoveThundercat (It Is What It Is)
    9. Boom Boom SatelliteSigue Sigue Sputnik (Dress for Excess)
    10. See The ConstellationThey Might Be Giants (Apollo 18)
    11. Space Station #5Montrose (Historia de la Musica Rock: Locas)
    12. Hallo SpaceboyDavid Bowie (Outside)
    13. SatelllliiiiiiiteeeFlying Lotus (Cosmogramma)
    14. Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In SpaceSpiritualized (Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space)
    15. Space SuitThey Might Be Giants (Apollo 18)
    16. DriftBrian Eno (Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks)

    Testament of Freedom record: more details

    I wrote two posts from 2018 on finding a copy of part of the premiere recording of Randall Thompson’s The Testament of Freedom (part 1, part 2). Recorded at its initial performance on April 13, 1943 in Old Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia by the Virginia Glee Club and rebroadcast over the Columbia Broadcasting System, the recording of the work is significant for all sorts of reasons—the commemoration of Thomas Jefferson’s 200th birthday, the premiere of one of Randall Thompson’s most significant works, the occasion of greatest music-historical significance that the Glee Club was ever involved with, the connection to World War II.

    Over the past few months I’ve gotten a few questions in the comments that I thought I’d answer here.

    Can you supply label scans of these discs?

    I didn’t originally take photos of the labels, but here they are.

    I am a music researcher into Columbia Electrical Trancription 16″ record pressing that feature matrix numbers. Alas, this is not one of those. The record I received was a 12″ 78RPM record that featured just the last movement. Apparently there was, at one point, a multi-record album of which this was just the last piece.

    Would I be willing to digitize the entire performance? I would, if I had it. As it turns out, as noted in the original post, the record I have is just the last movement, and judging from the College Topics article it was part of a set. I suspect the only place that has a full set of all the discs of the original recording is the University of Virginia Library. That said, they have already digitized it and could probably arrange access.

    “Nusrat, he’s my Elvis”

    I started doing one of those “post an album cover a day” things over on Facebook, and because I’m bad at following directions I’ve been doing a couple a day and also writing about what the albums meant to me. In the process I’ve found a lot of cases where I could have sworn I wrote something previously about albums that meant a lot to me, but … crickets. So I’m treating those cases as writing prompts and you get to read them. Ha-ha!

    So, Nusrat. I because aware of the great legend of Qawwali the way most Westerners probably did initially, through Peter Gabriel. Just as “In Your Eyes” boosted the Western stardom of the remarkable Youssou N’Dour (previously), Nusrat appeared on Gabriel’s Passion, the (slightly-more-than-a) soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ. I consumed the album the summer between my junior and senior years in high school—actually bought it in a record store in Blacksburg while I was at the Virginia Governor’s School for Science at Virginia Tech. I don’t know that I fully appreciated what Nusrat was doing on “Passion,” but I at least knew who he was.

    The packaging of the album, which was the first release on Gabriel’s Real World label, also hooked me. The front covers—all bold images, with titles and artists only present via stickers—combined with the rainbow stripe along the side. The rainbow was actually an indexing system, with each stripe standing for a continent or region and an icon in each showing what regions the recording was from. So I kept an eye out for Real World recordings and started frequenting the world music sections of the record stores I visited.

    Fast forward a few years. I had become friends with Tyler Magill through the Virginia Glee Club, and he was a more voracious listener and musical cosmonaut than I had ever dreamed possible. So when he and his housemate Burt started raving about the insane things that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was doing on his albums, I finally bit the bullet and purchased my first of his recordings, Shahen-Shah.

    Calling me unprepared is probably an understatement. The harmonic language of the music was familiar enough on first listen; most of the works seemed to be variations on a few simple chords, with harmonium and choir underpinning the melodic improvisations. But what improvisations! Nusrat or his disciple Ali would essay the melody, and then flip effortlessly into a vocal run across one or more octaves. The rhythmic complexity beneath the apparently simple surface was mesmerizing. I must have listened to “Kali Kali Zulfon Ke Phande Nah Dalo” a dozen times. (It later made an appearance on one of my best early-90s mixes.)

    The reverberations Shahen-Shah made through my life were pretty deep. I sought out all the Nusrat I could and dug deeper for more world music. I used some of Nusrat’s tactics, particularly flipping to a different modal scale in the middle of an improvised run, in my own singing, particularly when we performed Babatunde Olatunji’s “Betelehemu” in my fourth year. And one memorable autumn night I attended a performance by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party in Washington, DC. (It was mesmerizing. I have at no other time in my life been the only white American in the room, but by the end we were all on our feet singing along with “Jewleh Lal” and “Mustt Mustt.”)

    And my love for Nusrat deepened my love for Jeff Buckley when I heard the extended version of his great Live at Sin-É, when he declared, “Nusrat? He’s my Elvis,” and went on to deliver an absolutely perfect rendition of “Yeh Jo Halka Saroor Hae.”

    So yeah, feels like a good day to pull out some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan again.

    Kronos Quartet, Black Angels

    It was the summer of 1990. I had just graduated high school. I had a little pocket money, from graduation gifts and maybe from a job, though I can’t remember which one. (I had stopped working at Sam’s Comics and Collectibles several years prior. Maybe I carried on at CEBAF for one more summer.) And most importantly, my parents had given me my first CD player, an all in one CD + cassette + (rarely if ever used) radio. So I went shopping for music, at the little store at the corner of Denbigh and Warwick (Tracks? Mothers? I think it might have been both at one time or another).

    Though I’m fuzzy on some of the surrounding details, I still remember the first stack that came home with me that summer, which included Branford Marsalis’ Crazy People Music and the Kronos Quartet’s Black Angels. I still can’t say what attracted me to the latter. I had probably heard someone talking about the nerve of the string quartet from San Francisco that played Hendrix and Monk, and had an ambient sound piece on one of their albums called “A Door is Ajar.” (It is exactly what you think it is.) But nothing prepared me for this.

    Black Angels” was an avant-garde composition protesting the Vietnam War, written by George Crumb in 1970 and incorporating amplification, percussion, chanting and more. It’s completely mind-blowing and I suspect that my mind never fully recovered from the initial threnody, “Electric Insects.” But it’s followed by a realization of the great 40-voice Tallis motet “Spem In Alium,” performed in overdubs; Istvan Marta’s “Doom. A Sigh,” which sets the quartet alongside two Romanian women lamenting the disappearance of their traditional village life; a quartet setting of Charles Ives’ 1942 anti-war song “They Are There” alongside the composer’s own voice; and a shattering performance of the Shostakovich Quartet no. 8.

    By the time the disk finished, I was a lifelong fan of the Kronos Quartet; of avant-garde classical music; of Tallis; of Shostakovich; of the string quartet form. And of music. I think this disk was the first time I really realized the power of unfamiliar sound to pull my mind out of its normal travels.

    I ripped the CD years ago and don’t play it as much any more, but this spring I found a rare LP copy on Discogs and listened to it again. It’s still as powerful 30 years later.

    You Are the Everything

    Sometimes I feel like I can’t even sing
    I’m very scared for this world, I’m very scared for me
    Eviscerate your memory
    Here’s a scene
    You’re in the backseat laying down, the windows wrap around
    To the sound of the travel and the engine
    All you hear is time stand still in travel
    And feel such peace and absolute
    The stillness still that doesn’t end
    But slowly drifts into sleep
    The stars are the greatest thing you’ve ever seen
    And they’re there for you
    For you alone, you are the everything

    I think about this world a lot and I cry
    And I’ve seen the films and the eyes
    But I’m in this kitchen
    Everything is beautiful
    And she is so beautiful
    She is so young and old
    I look at her and I see the beauty of the light of music
    The voices talking somewhere in the house, late spring
    And you’re drifting off to sleep with your teeth in your mouth
    You are here with me
    You are here with me
    You have been here and you are everything

    Sometimes I feel like I can’t even sing
    I’m very scared for this world, I’m very scared for me
    Eviscerate your memory
    Here’s a scene
    You’re in the backseat laying down, the windows wrap around
    To the sound of the travel and the engine
    All you hear is time stand still in travel
    And feel such peace and absolute
    The stillness still that doesn’t end
    But slowly drifts into sleep
    The greatest thing you’ve ever seen
    And they’re there for you
    For you alone, you are the everything
    For you alone you are the everything

    New Mix: Exfiltration Radio 13, Positive Vibrations

    Illustration credit: “Monty Stark/Stark Reality,” Espontaneo on Flickr.

    As I wrote last month, our twice-a-year Hackathon would have started yesterday, if not for the Current Unpleasantness, and this mix would have been on the “air” (or our virtual radio station) at 10am this morning. Following in the steps of previous volumes “The Low End Theory” and “The Mighty Hammond,” this is a jazz mix that focuses on the contribution of one instrument, the vibraphone.

    For me, the vibes are the instrument that makes midcentury jazz cool—not in the sense of Joe Cool but in the elegant, restrained tone they bring in the hands of a master like Milt Jackson. It was therefore a surprise a few years ago to find their avant-garde side, first in the hands of Bobby Hutcherson (who plays on four tracks in this set), then my more recent discovery, Walt Dickerson. I had to cut the set for time, but there are some pretty significant modern vibes players out there too who are well worth checking out, including Joel Ross.

    I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed putting it together, and remember, stay positive.

    1. Delilah (Take 3)Milt Jackson And Wes Montgomery (Bags Meets Wes!)
    2. First Things FirstRed Norvo (Hi Five)
    3. Wait Til You See HerGeorge Shearing Quintet (I Hear Music)
    4. MarsGil Melle (New Faces – New Sounds)
    5. Serves Me Right (Take 5)Cannonball Adderley (Things Are Getting Better)
    6. Death and TaxesWalt Dickerson (Spiritual Jazz 10: Prestige)
    7. Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro)Cal Tjader (Talkin’ Verve)
    8. LatonaBig John Patton (Let ’Em Roll)
    9. Jean De FleurGrant Green (Idle Moments)
    10. Searchin’ the TraneBobby Hutcherson (Spiritual Jazz Vol. 9 – Blue Notes, Part One)
    11. The Original Mr. Sonny Boy WilliamsonArchie Shepp (On This Night)
    12. VisionsSun Ra and Walt Dickerson (Visions)

    Guide to the players:

    • Milt Jackson (tracks 1 and 5) — most famous as the longtime vibes player of the Modern Jazz Quartet, he appears to have played with everyone in the classic post-bop era.
    • Red Norvo (track 2) — 1950s bandleader, played with Frank Sinatra on a few tours
    • Marjorie Hyams (track 3) — American jazz vibraphonist who played with everyone from Woody Herman to Mary Lou Williams to George Shearing
    • Joe Manning (track 4) — not much is known. Recorded on Gil Mellé’s first Blue Note session.
    • Walt Dickerson (track 6, 12) — jazz post-bop and avant-garde player noted for his collaborations with Andrew Hill and Sun Ra
    • Cal Tjader (track 7) — probably the most famous non-Latino player of Latin jazz. Brought cool to soul jazz.
    • Bobby Hutcherson (tracks 8-11) — bandleader who guested on many 1960s Blue Note and some Impulse sessions, including these featuring Joe Henderson, Grant Green, and Archie Shepp

    The vinyl inheritance: really, really finished

    I’ve written before about the project to rip all my vinyl, and about the various donors to what is currently a towering stack of unshelved records. But today I finished making my way through the very first group of donated vinyl, a set of about 100 records from my in-laws.

    The last album, which sat untouched for almost a year, was a ten-record set of classical “greatest hits,” presented (though not played) by the great Arthur Fiedler. It’s got a little of everything around the world, if by “the world” you mean Europe (including Russia) in the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s a Reader’s Digest compilation, which of course means it’s Pleasure Programmed® (though it didn’t come with one of the amazing “pleasure programmer” card inserts). In this case, it just means that the selections are organized geographically — not always by country of origin of the composer, given that the Hungarian record features works from Italian, German and Swiss composers, in addition to the inevitable Franz Liszt, but by “mood.”

    But it’s a pretty good tour of the canon and adjacent islands anyway. My wife, who is not normally forthcoming with musical memories, noted that she used to spend many hours with this set. Guess I have something to do with my time now that we have many hours at home…

    New mix: Exfiltration radio 12, Musical Piracy

    Next week would have been Veracode’s Hackathon, during which we do a lot of crazy things, including run a volunteer company Internet radio station. I’ve made a bunch of one-hour-long mixes over the last few years for this effort, and was looking forward to playing along loosely with the Hackathon theme (pirates!) this time, starting with an unusual (for me) mix of covers.

    Of course, the pandemic intervened. So it goes.

    But I had already completed one of my two planned mixes (the next one is, as they say, Coming Soon), so I figured, why not post it anyway?

    A few notes about the mix: it is a covers mix, because what is the act of taking someone else’s song and making it yours but musical piracy? And the covers are all reggae or reggae-adjacent (except for a bit near the end of reggae and ska originals of more famous cover versions by English and American bands), because (a) there’s a long tradition of reggae covers of popular songs that is a fun rabbit hole to go down, and (b) reggae is a music of the islands where the Caribbean pirates once sailed, and (c) one of the members of our pick-up band absolutely hates reggae. Also, (d) Dread Zeppelin. Enjoy!

    1. Black DogDread Zeppelin ( Un-Led-Ed )
    2. Sugar SugarBob Marley ( Randy’s Cover Versions )
    3. Mother & Child ReunionHorace Andy ( Mr. Bassie )
    4. The Song Remains the SameDread Zeppelin ( 5,000,000 )
    5. Don’t Let Me DownMarcia Griffiths ( Reggae Anthology: Melody Life )
    6. Here Comes the SunPeter Tosh ( 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Peter Tosh )
    7. Heartbreaker (At the End of Lonely Street)Dread Zeppelin ( Un-Led-Ed )
    8. Bridge over Trouble WatersJimmy London ( A Little Love )
    9. High and Dry (feat. Morgan Heritage)Easy Star All-Stars ( Radiodread (Special Edition) )
    10. Your Time Is Gonna ComeDread Zeppelin ( Un-Led-Ed )
    11. LithiumLittle Roy ( Battle for Seattle )
    12. The Tide Is HighThe Paragons ( On the Beach With the Paragons )
    13. Rudy, a Message to YouDandy Livingstone ( Copasetic! The Mod Ska Sound )
    14. Wrong’em BoyoThe Rulers ( Copasetic! The Mod Ska Sound )
    15. Immigrant SongDread Zeppelin ( Un-Led-Ed )
    16. Dub Will Tear Us ApartJah Division ( Rough Mix From Their TBA 12″ | www.thesocialregistry.com )

    Apple Music follow up – iPhone tips

    Following last week’s post about plunging into Apple Music, I have to temper my initial mild exuberance with some reality checks about things that didn’t work so well, and how I got past them. The issues are almost all related to my iPhone, but there was also some playlist weirdness that I had to work through.

    Learning number 1: You can’t copy music to your iPhone via sync when you choose to sync your whole library via iCloud. This seems kind of obvious when you write it out that way, but this was a major problem because lots of playlists were just not showing up for me when I flipped my phone to do a library sync with iCloud. These included my smart playlists that I listen to almost all the time (and which I’ll have to write up sometime soon).

    Learning number 2: The new Finder-based iPhone sync doesn’t pick up newly created playlists until the Mac Music app is quit. I thought I was losing my mind, because in an effort to fix the missing playlists problem, I created new copies of the playlists with the same rules but different names. And none of them were showing up in the Finder iPhone Sync window. After I quit Music, the new playlists appeared, as did other changes that I made.

    This reminds me of something I remembered about third party apps that read the iTunes library file a long time ago — certain changes had to wait for the app to quit because it would keep the file locked until then. Or maybe it was that there was an XML shadow copy of the library that was only updated on Quit? Anyway, I now could at least see the playlist.

    Learning number 3: Sometimes you just have to burn it to the ground and start over. Even after I saw the playlist in the Finder, clicked the checkbox, and synced my iPhone, I still didn’t see the playlist when I opened the Music app in the iPhone. This morning I just decided to hell with it, turned off all music syncing, then turned it back on and copied the playlist over. Which worked.

    I’m kind of glad I did this, because it gave me some evidence for some benefits in syncing in Catalina. I copied over about half my playlists — tens of GB of data — in less than 30 minutes. This gives me confidence that the underlying synchronization should be at least as fast, if not faster, than the iTunes based sync in Mojave and before.

    Other observations:

    Syncing your library sometimes duplicates playlists. I’m not sure where the issue was here, but I had something like two or three copies of some of my common playlists after turning on library syncing on my iPhone, iPad and work computer. I deleted the extras, crossing my fingers that I wasn’t causing any problems, but am not sure that this didn’t contribute to the issues I saw on my iPhone.

    The way playlists show up in the Finder is a mess. The list of playlists is a garbage fire. Possibly related to the observation above, I saw not only playlists but folders duplicated in the Finder list—and the duplicate folders sometimes had different contents. Not only that, but the playlists in a folder weren’t in alphabetical order. This means that finding a playlist to include in a sync is a total mess.

    Now that I’ve gotten through all the above, I am starting to wonder if all my initial problems were caused by a goofed-up iPhone Music library, and if turning on library syncing again might result in a fully working setup. I’m inclined to try the experiment, since syncing did solve one persistent problem for me by making regular-resolution copies of songs that were too high-resolution for the iPhone to handle available for mobile play. But I think I’ll wait until after the weekend.

    Deeper into Apple Music

    If you’ve read this blog for a while, learning that I’m sometimes a late adopter might come as a surprise. (Or not, given that the blog, and I, am now more than nineteen years older than when we started.) But I’ve held off on joining Apple’s various music-in-the-cloud offerings for a long time. Like almost ten years.

    In June 2011, Apple introduced iTunes Match, a feature that would match tracks with your library to tracks already in its cloud based services and upload the tracks that had no match, allowing you to take your music library anywhere. Theoretically. In practice, the rumors abounded of mismatched songs, and even accidental data deletion. And then there was the pesky 25,000 song limit. So I basically forgot about it.

    For about nine years.

    Somewhere along the way, they raised the limit to 100,000 songs. But I had figured out how to live without the feature. Somewhere along the way, we also became Apple Music subscribers, but I really only used it to look up the occasional release and listen to radio stations.

    Then The Girl started asking me questions about different kinds of music, and I really wanted to be able to share some South African music from the days of the battle against Apartheid. And I couldn’t. Home sharing no longer works on iPads, and there was no way to get her music on the Chromebook.

    So finally, I took a deep breath and turned on iCloud Music Library. And you know, it actually worked. Want proof? Here’s a playlist I made in 1994, which just shows up in the browser when you check a box:

    So once that was turned on, I took the other plunge and upgraded to Catalina, and said farewell to iTunes, in favor of the new Music app. It was surprisingly painless, once I realized that the app was very slow in copying album art. I also had to fix the AppleScripts that I use with iTunes, by copying them from ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts to ~/Library/Music/Scripts. And for some reason, though it found all my music on my external drive, it still wanted my library (“media files”) location to be on my hard drive. That was an easy fix (though it’ll probably take all day to update the library with the new relative file locations).

    And now I wonder why I took so long! Having access to all the music, being able to share playlists easily… all good things.

    Exfiltration Radio: Off Kilter Christmas

    It’s still Christmas, technically, until the Feast of Epiphany on January 6. That’s what I keep telling Lisa when she asks when I’m taking down the Christmas tree, and that’s what I’m telling you when I post this new Exfiltration Radio playlist of slightly askew Christmas (and Hanukkah) tunes and a few spoken word bits. Hope you find something in it to help ease back into the daily routine.

    1. Did You Spend Christmas Day In Jail? (excerpt)Rev. J.M. Gates (Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree – A Vintage Holiday Mixtape)
    2. The Toy Trumpet – Arthur Fiedler;Al HirtBoston Pops/Arthur Fiedler (Pops Christmas Party)
    3. Ring Those Christmas BellsFred Waring & The Pennsylvanians (The Sounds of Christmas)
    4. Good Morning Blues (feat. Cécile Mclorin Salvant)Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (Big Band Holidays)
    5. Please Come Home For ChristmasLittle Johnny Taylor (It’s Christmas Time Again)
    6. I’m Your Christmas Friend, Don’t Be HungryJames Brown (Hey America)
    7. Who Took The Merry Out Of ChristmasThe Staple Singers (It’s Christmas Time Again)
    8. Deck the HallsR.E.M. (Gift Wrapped – 20 Songs That Keep On Giving!)
    9. I Hate ChristmasOscar (Sesame Street: Merry Christmas from Sesame Street)
    10. The Little Drum Machine BoyBeck (Just Say Noel)
    11. Come on! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!Sufjan Stevens (Songs For Christmas)
    12. Do You Hear What I Hear?Chaka Khan (Do You Hear What I Hear? – Single)
    13. NutmegStephen Colbert & John Legend (A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!)
    14. Sleigh RideDread Zeppelin (Presents)
    15. Big BulbsSharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (It’s a Holiday Soul Party)
    16. Silent NightBootsy Collins (Christmas Is 4 Ever)
    17. Don’t Shoot Me SantaThe Killers (Don’t Shoot Me Santa – Single)
    18. Christmas IslandBob Dylan (Christmas In the Heart)
    19. Fan Club Christmas Record – 1964 (excerpt)The Beatles (Fan Club Christmas Records)
    20. Christmas GreetingOrson Welles (Vintage Christmas)

    Obsolete Media pt. 3, in which Christmas comes early

    Yes indeed! The mystery DATs were the master recordings from the 7pm and 9:30pm performances of the Virginia Glee Club 57th Annual Christmas Concert! Notable as the Glee Club’s first Christmas performances with conductor Bruce Tammen, the unedited tapes include the full range of a Glee Club Christmas, including audience carols, the eternal struggle between the Four Calling Birds and Three French Hens during the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” solo performances by Jayson Throckmorton, Craig Fennell, Eric Buechner and Bill Bennett, and some seriously moving renditions of favorites like the Gretchaninoff “Nunc Dimittis” and the Biebl Ave Maria. To say nothing of riveting announcements by Glee Club president Drew Cogswell.

    I’m going to try to make the whole concert available somehow, but for now here’s a teaser: Club’s performance of the Marvin V. Curtis arrangement of “Go Tell It On the Mountain” from the 7pm show. Enjoy!