February 19th, 2015 | Category: Reviews
Placing the Playback: Hip-hop in Context

The perpetual now of digital media makes it difficult to contextualize events in time: watching old SNL sketches and trying to explain what it was like to watch them live on television, playing old records and trying to capture what it was like the first time the world heard that sound, talking about where you were when the Shuttle exploded or the Towers fell. As Shinya Yamazaki so bluntly puts it in William Gibson‘s All Tomorrow’s Parties (Putnam, 1999),
I know you all think you live in all the times at …

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December 07th, 2014 | Category: Reviews
Top 14, 2014

Depending on the fandom, our attention to music can span from the insignificance of wallpaper to the altar upon we sacrifice our days. It can be everything from decoration to downright worship. I probably tend more toward the latter than the former, but you probably already know that.
Of all the things that December brings, year-end lists might be the most polarizing, to some by their contents and to others by their mere existence. Regardless, these are the records that soundtracked my 2014, in no particular order. The links on this …

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November 10th, 2014 | Category: Reviews
The Indexical Trace: Records and Retrieval

The selection of particular information to be saved or archived is an act that predisposes that information for attention in the future (Weick & Roberts, 1993). What we record receives future attention just by dint of being recorded. Jacques Derrida (1995) called our obsession with recording “archive fever,” writing, “The archivization produces as much as it records the event” (p. 16-17; my emphasis). We think of archives as collections of pieces of the past, but we use them to save those things for future use. The past matters here not …

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November 07th, 2014 | Category: Interviews, Videos
Clay Tarver: Gone Glimmering

I first came across Clay Tarver in the very early 1990s. His guitar playing drove two of my favorite bands back then: Bullet LaVolta and Chavez. The former was, like a lot of the bands of the time, a hybrid of punk, metal, and some third strain of rock that was brewing but had yet to boil. I noticed producer Dave Jerden’s name on the back of several CD jackets in and near my player: Mother’s Milk, Nothing’s Shocking, Facelift, Symbol of Salvation, and Swandive. Swandive (RCA), Bullet LaVolta’s last …

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