radio

THE PHILANTHROPIC POETRY OF NAS
June 30, 2016 1:26 pm

Who’s World is This? (The World is Yours The World is Yours) It’s Mine It’s Mine It’s Mine, Who’s World is This?

This year, the world clearly belongs to Nas. Everyone else is just living in it.

Nasir Jones–better known by his stage name Nas–is consistently ranked among the top rappers of all time. He’s been spitting bricks about social justice for minorities and growing up in the Queensbridge housing projects since he dropped his 1994 Illmatic, an essential hip-hop classic. Since then seven of his records have been certified platinum–he is an undisputed master, an urban poet laureate.

Even Harvard University can’t deny his profound impact on culture.

In 2013, Nas forged a partnership with the Ivy League School, thus establishing the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship with the broad intention of funding scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with Hip Hop. Now I know what your thinking–Harvard?! But hip-hop is less than 50 years old, has introduced sampling to the general collective conscious, and has been a key factor in not only enabling people of all backgrounds to think critically about society, but also acting as a tool for minorities to offer a strong sense of community and an expression of life through the eyes of the silenced. The Hip Hop Archive & Research Institute and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute will utilize the fellowship to bring in hip hop talent, fund projects, and allow the next generation of underprivileged poets to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement. It doesn’t stop there. In addition to helping pave the way for the next generation of hip-hop talent, Nas also wants to shake up the white and male-dominated tech sphere.

Nas isn’t alone in his assertion that Silicon Vally doesn’t have a diverse enough workplace–especially when you factor in that California is also one of the most diverse states in the country. Even Google admitted they needed to work on diversity when they released this report a few years ago. Then in 2014, the Internet services giant, along with Nas and software mainstay Microsoft, began collaboratively funding an initiative by The General Assembly (GA). The New York-based vocational program specializes in providing scholarships to underrepresented African Americans, Latinos and women that want to persuit a career in software engineering and web design. Pretty cool stuff Nas.

If you’re still unimpressed, Nas isn’t done giving back quite yet either. Nas will be hosting a free music festival for you New Yorkers this summer! In collaboration with his own Mass Appeal Magazine, Live At The BBQ will feature Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Shadow, Danny Brown, and Machine Gun Kelly.

WILDCAT! WILDCAT! HEAD STRAIGHT TO THE TOP
March 25, 2016 10:35 am

Wildcat! Wildcat! are back with their newest jam “Straight To The Top“.  Those familiar with Jesse Taylor and Jesse Carmichael’s signature mix of dueling falsetto melodies and tightly packed layers of synth and percussion are in for a treat. The duo’s wide vocal range and colossal sound is befitting of a song that dabbles with themes of perseverance and determination. We at ATYPICALSOUNDS agree: you’ve got to be a beast to get to the top.

Wildcat! Wildcat! emerged in 2012 with a string of infectious singles. 2013 saw the release of their self-titled EP via Downtown Records, and included the sensational tune “Mr. Quiche“, the accompanying video to which features a guy break-dancing in a cat costume. What more could you ask for, really? Wildcat! Wildcat! released their debut full-length No Moon At all in 2014 followed by an extensive world tour. One can only imagine how exhausted they were after that marathon of events, so it’s perfectly justifiable we haven’t heard from them in a minute.

Unfortunately, Wildcat! Wildcat! doesn’t seem to have any live gigs lined up at the moment, which means you wont be seeing them at any music fests this summer.  Worry not though.  Keep an eye out for new singles, as word on the streets is they have been busy in the studio piecing together new material, meaning there’s more on the way soon.  In the meantime, their entire catalog is available via their SoundCloud.  Check out the new single in all of it’s glory below.

SPOTLIGHT ON: MUSICOVERY
October 28, 2015 8:55 am

In an internet radio world dominated by big players like Pandora, Sirius XM, Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify, the little guys have a lot to prove just to keep up.

Musicovery is an app that integrates mood-based listening with online radio. It does so in the Songza vein; however, in a much more simplified fashion. While Songza boasts twenty different moods, Musicovery selects the big four: “Energetic,” “Calm,” “Dark,” and “Positive.” The four moods are set up like a grid with the “Energetic” and “Calm” on the North and South poles and “Dark” and “Positive” on the West and East poles. The user selects an area on the grid and the service plays a song based on both where the selected area falls on the mood spectrum and additional genre preferences the user can select.

Sometimes less is more. Other times, less is just less.

While Musicovery’s inclusion of only four moods certainly lightens the workload of the listener, it does not provide the ultimate experience that a more complex service like Songza provides. The few mood choices make the listening experience haphazard and difficult to listen to if you are a listener who has specific taste. Additionally, Musicovery’s lack of activity-based customization reduces the overall efficacy of the platform. If a user isn’t feeling in a particular mood but is doing a particular activity, the user cannot utilize the platform. Finally, the abundant technological setbacks, like not having an app with iPhone compatibility and bugs on the desktop site, make the user experience a frustrating one.

Amidst the more negative analysis, there is a silver lining to Musicovery. I have never seen a more diverse and global approach to the online radio listening experience. Musicovery is a go-to for a listener with a wide range of musical interests spanning every genre and every country of origin. For a World Music lover like me, this app is a great destination for a more globally focused listening experience.

At the end of the day, Musicovery’s globally focused listening experience cannot compensate for its lack of mobile accessibility, glitches on the site, scarce mood options and lack of activity-based listening. While I would love to root for the little guy, I find myself sticking with the big guns like Songza (acquired by Google and integrated into Google Play) and Spotify… at least for now.

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What’s the Deal with CÜR Music?
August 21, 2015 5:07 pm

CÜR Music doesn’t exist yet. In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was. The CÜR Music website describes it as “…a new streaming music experience that intersects Pandora and Spotify for listening on the web and mobile devices.” Their Facebook page is even more vague, stating that CÜR Music is “Changing the way you listen [to] and enjoy music. Coming soon for iPhone, Android, Tablets, and the Web.” Great, thanks guys. That clears up everything!

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My guess is that the service plans to take the algorithm generation capabilities that Pandora uses to create randomized playlists, and merge it with the playlist creation and social features of Spotify. This would create a randomly generated playlist that allows the user to save any songs they like. However, Spotify already does this with their radio feature, seeding a new playlist with any song or artist in their database.

Some serious digging revealed that CÜR Music originated in 2012 as Raditaz, an Internet radio streaming music service for the Web, iOS and Android. It allowed users to create their own stations, as well as listen to over 200 stations created by Raditaz. At one point, the service had more than 23 million songs available to listeners, but seemed unable to compete with services like Pandora and Spotify.

It’s interesting, then, that the initial quote above from the CÜR Music website states that they’re looking to create a service that features elements from both of its biggest competitors. Will they be able to pull it off? There’s little information on how the service plans to function, only a text box on the CÜR Music website where you can enter your email address for updates.

An article released in January by PR Newswire states the service had planned a “mid-2015” launch, but it’s already August, and that has yet to happen. The article then offers another infuriatingly vague description of the service, saying CÜR Music is “not about streaming, it’s about what the music means to you and how you want to express that to the world.” I guess we’ll all have to wait and see how CÜR Music decides to express what music means to them.

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