Category: Perspective

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Austin City Limits 2017: Top 10 local Austin acts

In the wake of the Las Vegas music festival shooting, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, Austin City Limits brought together legendary performers from all generations and proved that people will not be intimidated from coming together to enjoy music because of evil in the world.  Boasting performances from Jay Z, the XX, Solange, Ice Cube, Martin Garrix, The Killers, The Gorillaz, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper, and more the festival drew fans from around the world to Zilker Park.  However, this festival also showcased more than a dozen local Austin groups and musicians.  Below I highlight the profiles of 10 local musicians and groups that played for Austin City Limits.

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Balmorhea guides us through their sonic universe

As a firm believer in the power of music, I love to see and hear the ways in which people derive meaning from music. The experience is different for everyone: from minute details (eyes open or closed; the way in which people attach themselves to particular instrumental tendrils) to overarching patterns of interaction, music influences both physical affect and mental emotion. Evidence of this is abundant in our experienced world: athletes use music to center and motivate themselves as part of pre-game rituals, while parents’ lullabies soothe and settle children at bed-time. This is where so much of the beauty of music lies: in its ability to be a visceral tool, capable of interacting with both the mind and the body in deep, profound ways.

While this capability is inherent to all music, there are artists who realize and intentionally expand upon that visceral potential so that their music resonates intimately within their audience. Their music creates a world of its own, transporting listeners to a headspace that feels as if it manifests itself both physically and emotionally. Austin’s post-rock ensemble Balmorhea has spent the last decade flirting with this potency, and with the release of their new LP Clear Language they invite their listeners to a fully-fledged universe of the band’s own dreamy devise.

Read More the fate of streaming services

Analyzing the trends, trade-offs in digital music consumption

Streaming platforms, which continue to grow as a primary revenue stream for record labels, have successfully disrupted the music industry.  Streaming refers to music consumed legally over the internet and cloud with applications that track users listening habits and data. However, these streaming services must overcome a variety of challenges to be sustainable businesses.  First, we shall discuss the shortcomings of the top digital streaming platforms; then, we will highlight the trends that position this disruptive industry as a sustainable presence in the music industry.

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BUHU finds ungrounded footing on ‘La Truth’

Remember “Bop It”? That game you played as a kid where an energized gameshow host voice yelled at you to twist and pull different knobs and levers at an increasing pace until someone messed up? Beyond the agonizing weeping which ensued upon failing one yank away from the record, the most entertaining aspect of that game stemmed from the crazy, eclectic sounds the Bop It would make. Every flick, spin, and bop created its own unique noise, and amazingly this random assortment of tones organically morphed into a real pattern of beats that, though not entirely smooth, sounded good.

Perhaps BUHU played “Bop It” in the process of creating their new single “La Truth” as a macro view reveals a core similarity between the game and the track: sounds that don’t quite fit together but still create a pleasant whole.

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Why can we still buy music?

With all the music streaming platforms readily available at our fingertips, it’s hard to imagine why actually buying music is still an option. Many people may ask, “what is the incentive to buy each song individually when you can pay a flat monthly rate to stream thousands of full albums right on your device?” and they certainly have a point. Plus, not only does this model save consumers money, it makes money for labels.

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Are music festivals becoming elitist?

To Karl Marx, religion was the “opium of the masses.” I personally think music is the real opium. We listen to music for fun; to accommodate our sadness and anger. We listen to music to forget things, to experience specific emotions we normally couldn’t without music’s presence. So it’s natural for gigantic events, like music festivals, to be some of the coolest places one can go. Coachella, Reading, ACL, Governor’s Ball, and countless others, all bring the heat when it comes to memorable music experiences. But, something of a questionable trend has been gaining traction in recent times, as some publications have reported that some music festivals are becoming elitist, to counter the culture of mainstream festivals.