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The Search For Soul

I came across a great post by Steve Dibb, and I wanted to share my experiences on finding and listening to great music.

First, a little background. I am a high end audiophile. I can distinctly tell the difference between 12-bit, 16-bit and 20-bit CDs. I can tell the difference between an MP3 and an OGG. DVD-Audio is superior to SACD. Ribbon speakers provide the best imaging over traditional cone speakers. Clean filtered power increases the tone to the audio. Regulated power ensures the best output and longevity of your system. High end cable, such as Kimber Kable (my personal recommendation) or Monster Cable greatly improve the performance of your audio. I could go on. Amplifiers, subwoofers, speakers etc. Let's put it this way: If I could make money just listening to high end audio equipment and music, I'd do it in a heartbeat. After all, it's my first true love.

So, as you can imagine, I am one to just sit back, and enjoy listening to music. To some, entertainment is playing a video game or watching a movie. To me, it's just listening to music. Put in a DTS audio disc, sit back, and enjoy. I like to close my eyes, pay attention to the imagery, and let the ambiance just fill the room. There's only one problem, though: I can't seem to find real good music. Well, I can, it's just quite difficult.

However, I recently just started playing with Last.fm. It's a great idea. Create an account, start listening to music, and build a profile about the music you enjoy. Then, like MySpace, create a social network, around which you listen to your friends music, group music or neighbor music. Tag music that you enjoy, and submit tracks that you love. It's a simple concept really. Great thing about Last.fm, is their service is Free. Last.fm can be loaded in as a plugin to stand alone media players, such as amaroK and Banshee, or you can download their FOSS player and use that to discover the music you love

I downloaded and installed the Last.fm player to my system, and started listening. But, as I mentioned, finding good music that I really enjoy is difficult. The Last.fm player makes it easy. I simply search for an artist, song, or genre that I enjoy, and I receive a "cloud" of similar artists that I may be interested in. Case in point: I listen to jazz music almost exclusively. Mainly swing, funk and female vocalists. I wanted to find some good female vocalist music, so I searched for Diana Krall, and started playing. A vocalist that came up was Eva Cassidy. Not only was the music splendid, but the tonal quality of her voice was breath taking. Needless to say, I went to my local CD shop, found one album "Songbird", and purchased it. It's a great album, and anyone who enjoys female jazz vocalists, will certainly enjoy this album.

Long story short, Last.fm is introducing a great deal of music to me that I would've not otherwise known about. The player they provide offers a clean interface, and plenty of features. Even a link to Amazon pointing to the album of the track you are currently listening to (I'll go over installing the Last.fm player in another post). The point of this post, is now I can discover great music, and easily get to it, thus, curing my need to listen to great music.

{ 4 } Comments

  1. phoenyx using Firefox 2.0.0.1 on Ubuntu | February 6, 2007 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    You should also mention that their client is available for Linux, windows and OS X

  2. Aaron using Firefox 2.0.0.1 on Ubuntu | February 6, 2007 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Yes. True. I'll be putting up a post about the official Last.fm player in Ubuntu fairly quickly. Probably the next post.

  3. Glen using Firefox 2.0.0.1 on Windows XP | February 7, 2007 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Haven't tried last.fm but will give it a shot. Don't know if you have tried it already, but http://www.pandora.com/ is pretty good and does most of what you describe without the social part

  4. Aaron using Debian IceWeasel 2.0.0.1 on Debian GNU/Linux 64 bits | February 7, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Glen-

    Pandora is good. The only problems that I have with it are the fact that as you vote on songs that you like and don't like, your station morphs. For example, I choose "Big Bad Voodoo Daddy" as my station. Then, as I am voting on songs, after a little while, different genres of music are slipping through. I start hearing classical, for example, rather than the Big Band, brass, swing that I want.

    The other problem I have with pandora is the lack of plugins with media players. Because of it's proprietary nature, the API is not released to the public to implement into stand-alone players. I would rather have amaroK or Banshee controlling both my library and some online streams.

    Other than that, pandora is a great free resource for some real good music. It's just not for me. :)

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