What do we read next?

jan-mellstrom-242087

We suffer from the infinity of choice, to what type of books we're interested in, all the way down to the format we want to read them in.

Amazon's recommended book algorithms allay the frustration of making decisions by taking into account your past reads and what others have read to suggest what to consume next.

Algorithms (or recipes) therefore resolve two things: Indecision fatigue and the wisdom of crowds.

Spotify Discover Weekly works the same way — after it gets to understand your habits and preferences it recommends prebuilt playlists to appease your taste.

Algorithms free up our brain space to do rather than toggle between the options. They are the antidote to the chaotic linear 21st-century feed.

The more time we spend consuming rather than selecting what's next is time well spent. By outsourcing our digging, we create more time to learn.

Even the proactive tastemaker must yield to the occasional “if and then” statement to build on top of the symphony of algorithms. A remix is not always artistically lesser than its origins.

In an increasingly algorithmic world, there can still be an element of human touch to prove we're not headed toward complete thoughtlessness after all.

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The obsession with Kate Bush, explained

kate bush eat the music tricky

I first heard of artist Kate Bush on Tricky’s Back to Mine album in 2003. The former Massive Attack frontman also had this to say about the singer:

“I don’t believe in god, but if I did, [Kate Bush’s] music would be my Bible.”

Watch any of her iconic music videos. Her unique fashion sense and dances inspired the likes of Bjork and Tori Amos. Like David Bowie, she interpreted music as an act and sang and danced in a way that befitted the character of the song. So why wasn’t she a star like Bowie? One of her biggest admirers, Andre 3000 of Outkast, once explained:

“Kate Bush’s music opened my mind up. She was so bugged-out, man, but I felt her. She’s so f*ckin’ dope, so underrated and so off the radar.”

Before Bush became a recluse, she made 50 demo tapes by the age of fifteen, got signed, and eventually went on tour in 1979 to promote her first album The Kick Inside. As Emmanuel Happsis writes for KQED writes:

“And then she stopped touring completely, as if to say, I don’t need your validation. I will release life-changing music on my own schedule whenever I want and you will flake on your friends to stay home and cry to it.”

Like the release of any new iPhone, her life secrecy inspired ever more interest. She even made fans wait 12 years between album releases — she released Aerial in 2005 after 1993's The Red Shoes. And finally, 35 years later, she’s back on tour in London.

Bush took an unusual, slow route to making music – making her fanbase beg for her reappearance. After a long wait, it is a relief to have her back.

Do yourself a favor and catch up on everything in ‘Kate Bush: A Crash Course for the Non-Believer.’

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Before the popular rise

Gif of sound volume or channels going up and down

Some people enjoy the process of discovery. They have access to niche communities and discrete resources, tending to “get it” before everyone else.

These people are also the incubators of trends, filtering the good from the bad before deciding what goes mainstream. Naturally, they lose interest as soon as something or someone like an artist becomes a commercial sensation.

But the internet flips the trendsetters on their heads. It connects a mass of niches and then builds on top of their ideas. Take a walk around New York–hipsters are a cohort that share similar interests and look the same.

There will always be an exception; the authentic curator enjoys digging the abstract art before saying a word to anyone else. But what's also cool is to educate and share artifacts. If few are interested in uniqueness, let it be.

Popularity is rarely a barometer of what matters.

gif by @linski101

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Forest Swords – Crow

“Every flight begins with a fall,” the crow said.”

― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Mesmerizing cyberpunk video from British electronica producer Forest Swords. Can you imagine a world that's entirely urban? 

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Watch Little Dragon’s video for “Lover Chanting”

The Swedish electronic band Little Dragon is back from a two-year hiatus to release its new music video for single “Lover Chanting.”

What's a catchy song is an even better music video, combining elements of first-person video gameplay in which the main character winds up at a concert that looks like something out of Star Wars Cantina.

Watch Little Dragon’s video for “Lover Chanting”
Preorder Lover Chanting EP

If you're new to hearing Little Dragon, be sure to dig into their old stuff as well. I'd start with a song entitled “Twice” (also an excellent video) and “Constant Surprises”, both from their eponymous 2007 debut album. And then peep “Klapp Klapp” and “Paris” from their 2014 album Nabuma Rubberband.

The single “Lover Chanting” appears on the new EP dropping November 15. Preorder here.

Discover more new music in the tag: MUSIC.

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“Hey Jude” turns 50

“BETTER, BETTER, BETTER, BETTER, AY!” 

This Sunday celebrates the Beatles longest-running single “Hey Jude.”

Back in June, you may recall that the song's writer and Beatles icon Paul McCartney appeared on Carpool Karaoke to sing the track at the band's hometown Liverpool pub.

In this piece, the Smithsonian recounts the epic history of the song, including the fact that the song was originally entitled “Hey Jules.” McCartney's lyrics were intended to soothe John Lennon's son, Julian, who was distraught after his father's affair with Yoko Ono.

Below are some of the other interesting tidbits about the historic tune.

Hey Jude” skyrocketed to the top of the singles charts in the United States and Great Britain in 1968. After an August 26 U.S. release, it immediately arrived in the Top Ten and sat atop Billboard’s Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks, making it the most successful single recorded by the most prosperous band in history. The single sold more than 5 million copies worldwide in six months and 7.5 million over four years. It performed more spectacularly on the charts than any other single between 1959 and 1977. It was also the first release on the Beatles’ own record label—Apple.

Shunning public appearances, the Beatles introduced the song to the world via film and video. The film version premiered in Britain on September 8 on David Frost’s show “Frost on Sunday,” and a month later the video version premiered October 6 in the U.S. on the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”

At more than seven minutes long, “Hey Jude” remains one of the longest No. 1 singles ever. The extended coda—a repetition of “nah, nah nah nahnahnah nah, nahnahnah nah, Hey Jude”—fills the second half of the record. In all, the lyrics use the sound “nah” 240 times.

‘Nah nah nah….’

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