a blog about culture, sound, music, and technology.
updated occasionally by Nick Seaver.
This blog is pivoting.
When I started posting here, back in June 2009, I was in my first stint of graduate school, and this was a place to collect and share things that I found interesting and exciting. Those things tended to be about experimental music, music technology, and basically anything sound-related that tickled my fancy.
Then, grad school redux came along, I stopped reading so many blogs so often, and this blog dried up. I had a lot of shit to do, and reading Durkheim on primitive classification does not leave you with much energy for the para-academic work of blog-making.
But recently, having emerged from the thick of survey courses and returned to my own research, I found myself wanting to share again. Twitter has been great for sharing snippets of text and images as I come across them, but saving my longer form writing exclusively for academia has left me missing the health benefits of writing in public.
This blog has always been influenced by my academic work, whether on noise and audio recording [pdf] or the history of player piano re-performance [pdf]. Now, I’m in an anthropology department, studying algorithmic music recommendation, and some new topics have been added to the mix.
On the oldest version of the site I can find on the Wayback Machine, the About section read: “Sound theory, youtube videos, other stuff.” Then it became the more general “Vibrations and how they get to your ears.” Eventually, I added in this description, which is still over in the sidebar: “a blog about culture, sound, music, and technology.” Those descriptions will stay true, but there will be more anthropology, more algorithms, more taste.
Instead of starting up a whole new blog1 and abandoning this one, I decided to pivot, stealing that unfriendly corporate word to justify shifting my focus while keeping my name. It is, arguably, not much of a shift at all — algorithmic recommendation is an unavoidable influence on music and culture online, and this blog has always been about the thrilling and discomfiting relation of musical expression and technical systems. Over the coming months, I hope the connection will become clear.
If this feed has been dormant in your RSS reader or dashboard, hello again! I hope this change will be interesting for you, I hope it will be interesting for me, and I hope that I actually remember to post.
The lead candidate for new blog name was “Accounting for Taste,” har har har. ↩