Saturday, June 17, 2023

What I've Been Listening To Lately - Dog And Poppy Edition.

Ready for some more songs that all sound the same? I know I am! Also, if I don't keep shovelling these things out into the world they'll pile up in drifts and I'll go under. 

Tell you what! Just as a sweetener, let's have a picture of Beryl and some poppies. Cute dog, pretty flowers. Something for everyone , right?  

Don't like flowers? Try this:

Don't like dogs? Fine!

Don't like dogs or flowers? What the hell is wrong with you? But okay then, have it your way.

Happy now? That's what I got when I asked NightCafe for "The ideal picture for someone who doesn't like either dogs or flowers". Well, it's the least doggy or flowery of about a dozen attempts. I don't think AIs like negativity much, which is one way to tell them from humans, I guess.

Enough dilly-dallying. Play some fricken tunes, dude!

Aspartame - May Rio

This strand's called "What I've Been Listening To Lately" but sometimes it feels like it ought to be "That song I heard the one time and liked enough to bookmark but then never listened to again until I came to write this post." Sorry. Am I spoiling the magic?

Anyway, Aspartame is not one of those songs. Been playing this on repeat since I heard the live version on Jarret Wolfson's channel. I say "heard". The audio's so quiet you can barely make out she's singing at all. Jarret really needs to get a new mic. Or stand closer.

As I generally do with the stuff he uploads, I went to look for the original, recorded version so I could hear it properly and wow! He's not wrong when he says "Been singing it to myself ever since." Me too, Jarret!

There's more May Rio we could have but it's one to a customer today or we'll never get through.

I Lied Again - Buffchick

This has such an infectious chorus. Or it would have if they repeated it. It's barely there twice. Those booming power chords scream mid-90s but structurally it's so this decade. Add in the stop-start video with the vox pops that - SPOILER!! - also turn out to be lies and it's more of a post-post-modernist sketch of an idea of a song than an actual song. All the better for it.

The bare audio comes over a lot more radio-friendly, as you'd expect. I may be overthinking this. It's a pop song and that's probably all it is. Why should it have to be anything more?

Speeding '72 - Momma

If it's a nineties vibe you're looking for... 

Two things I like about it and one I don't:

1) that niggling three-note motif played high on the neck that digs away in the background then comes to the front right at the end

2) that everyone plays guitar in the video, even in the bit where it's supposed to look like they're playing live. Who's playing drums?

3) Momma sounds like something you'd call a biker band, not this band.

Karma - Taylor Swift feat. Ice Spice

You know that feeling, when everyone else sees something you don't and you're sure it's you, missing something, not them, seeing something that's not there? It's weird, right? Because, obviously, usually it's exactly the other way round.

I've tried to like Ice Spice but I haven't got there yet. This is helping.

Ibuprofen - Blaketheman1000

Honestly, this is waaaay more my kind of thing and not just for all the DC cosplay in the video, either, although it sure doesn't hurt. 

What is it about stuff like this that just works

It's in the lope, I guess, a lot of it. The louche swagger. The rhythm I can feel in my shoulders, just listening to it. It makes me feel confident everything's swinging as it should be. Young in the head again, I guess it's that. 

Among other things.

Blake2 - Blaketheman1000 feat. May Rio

Remember I said one to a customer this week? To quote Buffchick, I lied again. 

Didn't plan it. Not at all. I bookmarked Ibuprofen all the way back in April (I said stuff was piling up.) at which point I'd never heard of May Rio. Now I'm pulling the url for the embed and who's nodding at me from the recs?

If we're gonna deconstruct, the opening of this is anti-folk all through and then it timewarps. The anti-folk scene, from what I gather, was tight. This scene, whatever it's called, is too and it doesn't help, the way everyone looks the same.. The guy in the background with the long hair, looking like Titanic Sinclair in the beforetimes... is that the same guy from The Lot Radio, djing with May in this livestream? Then there's this next one...

Goth - Blaketheman1000 Feat. Frost Children and Shallowhalo)

... and now I'm wondering is that the same guy as well and is he the one out of Frost Children?  (Who we had here a while back, let's not forget. And it isn't, just to be clear. But it could be.) How many of these people are there in this scene anyway? I mean, is it just like half a dozen friends, who hang out and their friends, who tag along?

And does it matter?

No, of course it doesn't matter. Fie on you for asking.

Renaissance Affair - Shallowhalo

Not when it sounds like this. Also, when the hell are we now? The 'eighties, I guess? Time is a total fuck-up. I don't know why we even bother with it. 

You know what's so good about all the videos in this post? Everyone looks like they're having a hell of a time. No-one's getting stabbed or strangled or having their head pushed into a cake. I am so bored with all of that. Let's just have fun, right?

Lose - Hannah Jadagu

As far as I know Hannah Jadagu has nothing to do with any of the crew above but I can't prove it and it wouldn't surprise me. She's on SubPop though so she probably moves in different circles. I think I've mentioned before I'm suspicious of SubPop. I don't have a good reason. It's just a quirk. Record labels, eh? What can you do?

And that's about enough for today. Nowhere near cleared the backlog but at least we got to some of the oldest. I think I may have to clean sweep and start again for next time. This just isn't going to stop and I'm never going to get ahead of it.



  1. Not sure what it is about AI that has issues with eyes, noses, mouths, and hands --and apparently breasts, given that first pic above-- but that given that AI also churns out tons of faces that all look alike I'm quite puzzled by it all. I wonder if AI thinks we're all part of a Picasso artwork.

    Thanks especially for the Buffchick song. Damn, you're right about that chorus.

    1. Honestly, most of the AIs I have access to seem to have a problem with every part of human anatomy. It's one of the things I like best about them. I notice the results people get from Midjourney seem a lot less alien but so far I haven't been able to try it.

      The time is going to come when you'll be able to get a perfect result every time that can't readily be told from something a human would produce, which I'm sure has great commercial benefits but seems to me to be absolutely missing the point. It's the fractured, disturbing, alien qualities of the AIs' responses to prompts that have value for me.

    2. I think you're right about Midjourney, because a lot of people who do AI on DeviantArt use MJ and it's... somewhat disturbing as to how same a lot of them look. Some artists use MJ as a tool and a starting point, and others just use it as a means to an end (like the one person who seems to have a fetish for Emma Watson, cranking out tons of pieces with her face as the focal point).

  2. That Buffchick chorus is great, but ducking the vocals there is a crime against mixing. It would be even better with a better mix.

    1. I do find those videos that break up the song with conversation and other non-musical interludes very odd to begin with. I guess it doesn't matter to people who listen to everything on streaming services but for me, using YouTube as a primary source, it's somewhat disrupting to have to go to a separate audio stream to hear the actual song. What with all of that, I hadn't noticed the way the vocals recede in the refrain but you're right. It's a peculiar choice.

  3. 500 points to Gryffindor for the puppy and poppies! Including her in every post would not be too much! Atheren

    1. Thanks, although I kinda see myself as Ravenclaw, not Gryffindor!

  4. If you have 27 minutes to spare, here's the video you must watch in order to understand what conversational AIs do... and what they don't do:

    Seriously, it's worth seeing how they use maths and brute force (VERY BRUTE, MUCH FORCE) to calculate "what word should go next", and do t tagain, and again, and again, until it haves a text of the desired length based on everything that was fed into it during training.

    (But, only for English language, which then might be translated but since translation is also another mathematical bruteforcing process, I guess it's good news for non-English languages, because, no Large Language Model AI will ever be trained in the actual "wordness correlation" between non-English words due to cost and having less available sample texts)

    1. Thanks for the link. It's a very interesting watch. Other than the specifics of the math, which obviously I don't understand, even in the dumbed-down version here, Kyle confirms the whole process works pretty much the way I'd already seen it explained elsewhere and does pretty much exactly what I thought it did. I hope that comes across in the posts I've written about AI.

      I though the most interesting part of the video was the bit where he mentions how many iterations the model is being tasked with running each day by the general public and how much that's costing... someone. $500m a day. (Although I notice he says "might cost..." not "is costing...". He seems to be somewhat concerned with where the next step in the evolution of AI might lead but I'm more concerned about when free public access is going to stop and we're going to have to pay to play with these toys. Over on the image-generating side of the house, that's already happening. Text will presumably put up pay walls next.

      Lots more to say on the topic but I think it'd better go in a post, not a comment. Thanks again for the link.


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