Friday, May 19, 2006

It's going to take some time to fix this love of mine...

I'm going to blog about the genius of Stephen Thompson shortly, but before I do, I think this deserves some attention.

As usual, from NPR's Song of the Day, I learn about another great artist. I've bolded some entries from the story that I thought were particularly well-written. As usual, you can hear the song from a RealAudio stream at the article.

A 'Time' for Sweetly Subtle Devastation, May 19, 2006 - Even when she was singing in the poppy punk band Tiger Trap, Rose Melberg had a flair for sad, gentle melodies. During a career evolution that's taken her through stints as leader of Go Sailor and the appropriately named Softies -- and on into her sweetly whispery solo work -- those melodies have only gotten sadder and gentler.

As lovely and bittersweet as "Take Some Time" gets, it's Nick Krgovich's sly minor-key piano line that grants the song its status as a major-league tearjerker. Melberg doesn't hide her emotions to begin with -- "Just let me take a trip someplace / where no one knows my sad, sad face" -- as she piles on bittersweet vocal harmonies. But the elegant plinking of Krgovich's piano propels an otherwise straightforward lament into the realm of the sublime.

"There was once a time when all I wanted was to just be by your side," she sings, adding, "Now that's all but died." There's enough pathos there to support a hundred ballads, but in spite of all those tiny but devastating flourishes, "Take Some Time" never sounds overwrought: It surveys miles of emotional wreckage, yet the scene it sets seems oddly sweet.

On another quick note, (and I'm tempted to blog about this separately too) as much as I hate to admit it, RealAudio streaming beats out all of the competition. It's clear. It doesn't have any of the funny higher harmonics and sampling problems that you get with other streaming types. In radio streams, the buffer often lets you rewind and pause the live stream just like TiVo. This advanced buffering does to streaming what "ESP" did to "DiscMen"... It makes it so that a few dropped datagrams/frames/packets don't seem to make much difference.

I'm really impressed with RealAudio. It sorta sucks that it's a proprietary format. However, it makes sense that they'd be the best at streaming... They were really the first!

So I really hope they stick around. Most likely though people will just get faster and faster connections and the substandard protocols will end up performing well even though they're crappilly put together. I have a feeling they've been engineered that way. Real is robust, so it works now. The others are not robust, so they'll work later (and probably thrive) when robustness isn't needed.

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