Music and Becoming a Patron of the Arts

I listen to a lot of music. Still. Even though I haven’t recorded a Tracks Up The Tree in years, I curate and collect music as if another show is just around the corner. (In reality Josiah and I haven’t really ended the show. It still goes on, it just hasn’t been recorded for a while.)

Otto A. Totland's Pinô

In my searches for music, I inadvertently ran into the music of Otto A. Totland one lone and wintry night. His music is like listening to a pianist explore the keys while he thinks no one is listening. It is as if the music is too precious to share, the recordings keep all the artifacts of the playing – with foot steps, the rustling of clothing, the depression of piano keys. His music, late on that wintry February night, was a revelation for me and I ran through my trusted music selling services to find where I could get a high quality FLAC copy of the album.

FLAC you might ask? But Ben, who uses Flac files? And why use them? Can’t we just use the Apple iTunes Music Store and get to bed?

Well Shirley, (I am assuming your name is Shirley – if it isn’t – I’m really not in touch with my audience anymore.) you see I have encoded my entire iTunes collection 3 times in my life (MP3, 128kbps AAC, & 256kbps VBR AAC) and at this point I am paranoid about my music collection. Every CD I buy gets ripped to FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Compression) or ALAC (That is Apple Lossless Audio Compression Shirley) and then I make a AAC (Advanced Audio Codec like the iTunes Store) which I put on my iPhone (this is like a music player that also receives phone calls). The time consuming process is really the ripping of the audio, once I have that on my computer as FLAC, I can transcode it to any audio format and audio quality my heart desires. When I have created my iPhone compatible AAC file, I archive the FLAC files onto Blu-ray discs. (Fancy right Shirley?!) If I can get a FLAC file off-the-bat it saves me the process of buying and ripping CDs to get my music fix.

In searching for the FLAC audio or CD of Pinô, I came across a recommendation on mentioning a music service for independent record labels. After heading to the site I was greeted with a huge page of independent record labels which I could subscribe to. Each monthly subscription, varying in price from $10-$15, secures you a spot to receive everything the record label releases during that month. It is very “of the moment” and there is no back catalog for you to download. When you subscribe is when your music starts rolling in and you only get what is released that month or any back catalog the label decides to release.

So hoping I would get Otto A. Totland’s masterpiece Pinô – I subscribed to the M+6 drip pool. The M+6 pool is a conglomeration of 6 independent record labels; Morr Music, Altin Vilage & Mine, Miasmah, Shelter Press, Immune, Sonic Pieces, and Roots Strata. While I had only really heard about Morr Music, who represent Múm, Lali Puna, and Ms. John Soda among others, there is tons of music and artists I had never heard about from the other labels. Webpage

After about a month, I can say the experience has been great! The M+6 pool is always interesting. I’m not into all the music that is released. Some of it sounds more like an audio sketch than a cohesive piece of music, but everything has been fun to listen to for the most part. The awesome music far exceeds the music I am luke-warm on. I also promptly subscribed to Ghostly International drip as I was curious to get ahold of the new Com Truise album and the new Tycho album releasing mid-March.

So now I am a patron of the arts, blindly supporting record labels who make music the masses may not care to explore and it feels great. It is like the Columbia House Music Club for hipsters who want to be closer to the cutting edge rather than the mass market. I totally recommend it to any of you who love music and want to listen to interesting things they might not have the time to discover on their own. For me it is $10-$15 well spent.

A quick aside. When I was writing this, listening to Pinô by Otto A. Totland, Funtime Julia actually came into my office and asked

“What are you playing? This is the most beautiful music I have ever heard. I realized I am relaxed instead of anxious about going to work today.”

Design Music

Google Play Icon for Fluid


I have been using Google Play a lot more recently now that they have music matching and a free 20,000 song upload capacity. It is especially great when I’m at work and want to listen to a few of my tunes. However, I always forget I have the player open in my web browser and close it by mistake, thus ending my epic music party. To counteract this, I created a Fluid app for my Mac which will keep the music going even if I close the window.

But every app needs a great Icon, so I created this transparent PNG Google Play icon for my application. Feel free to use it for your Fluid app.

5 Stars Music Reviews

Gnarls Barkley – Run (Single)

Gnarls Barkley Run Run
Gnarls Barkley
:5 Stars:

If you kids haven’t already — beg, steal, and borrow the new Gnarls Barkey single “Run” off their next full length “The Odd Couple”. If this is any indication of their vision let me be the first to drink the punch. Gnarls Barley are making an early move for song of the year.

Oh and the single is available from a few sources including iTunes (bleh! not going to even include a link) or our preferred Amazon with no DRM! Or you can search the internets like ninjas for illegal copies because we all know we’re buying the album when it hits.