Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Music from the Harkive

I am being harvested for science. Or rather, my music habits are being collected for an academic study. And yours can be too.

Harkive is the brainchild of Craig Hamilton, who's doing an MA in Music Industry Studies at the City of Birmingham University. For the next 24 hours he wants you to tell him "the story of how, where and why you listen to music".

Why? Well, it's not particularly clear. But think of it as a census of music consumption. And imagine how different the same study would have been just 100 years ago: where every entry would essentially read "Went to church, heard some hymns".

You can contribute on email, Twitter (#harkive), Facebook or a myriad of other routes. Details are here and my diary will be updated throughout the day after this full stop.

00:00 In bed, listening to Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Mosquito album, via iPod plugged into HiFi system. I started listening before midnight, so all the best tracks are finished. I fall asleep to music most nights due to tinnitus. 
08:42 BBC Breakfast is doing a "bit" about the Proms as I eat my Shreddies. There's a montage of Nigel Kennedy; the Last Night; Maverick Sabre (Imagine! A rapper at the Proms!); and some truly off-putting opera. They also show a clip of the Doctor Who Prom, which looks like "fun".
09:30  Headphones on for the commute. I've asked my iPhone for a genius playlist, triggered by Michael Jackson. It imaginatively selects subsequent tracks by the Jackson Five and Janet Jackson, who smoulders her way through That's The Way Love Goes. A stone-cold classic. 
13:45 I'm on jury service this week, so I'm not as plugged in as normal. Still, it's lunchtime and I've taken the opportunity to have a look at other people's Harkive diaries. Talia Kraines from Heat radio just posted this mash-up of Solange's Losing You and Say My Name by Destiny's Child. Not quite as mindblowing as I'd hoped, but a welcome distraction from my limp, wet tuna sandwich.

17:05 Court has finished and the sun is out. I need something peaceful and mellow, and my current band crush is The Staves. I cue up In The Long Run on the iPhone and listen to it twice on repeat. Then I decide to embed it on the blog and end up listening to a live version on Soundcloud, too. I love the finger-picked arpeggio that underpins the melody and make a mental note to look up the fingering online. I make a further mental note to buy a guitar.

17:25 Hit shuffle. Get Demi Lovato's Heart Attack. RESULT!
17:38 Back at home. I'm going to start trawling through my inbox for submissions to the blog. This might not be pretty.

17:40 "My name is Sam Dickinson and I am a soul singer based in Newcastle and will also be going on a small UK Tour this summer. [My] album is currently available for pre order on iTunes and immediately went into the iTunes top 200 on pre orders, higher than Alicia Keys' pre order for her new record".

Hmmm... I'll ignore the fact that Sam should have hyphenated "pre-order" and listen to his new single, the "soul-infused" Learn To Wait.

17:41 It's fair to say Sam can sing. It's just a shame he had to sing this.

17:46 Next up, it's Lady Lykez - a very exciting female rapper (it says here) from London. Her song is called I Love My Butt and, awful title aside, it's got a slinky groove that's reminiscent of Missy Elliot's She's A Bitch.

"Arse so fat it's like a tank engine," she notes. "No vegetarian, I got a lot of meat". Funny and refreshing. You can hear it here.

17:54 "FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BEN CARON" screams the next email. At least one of those things should be the name of his new single, and where to hear it. But no, apparently it's more useful to know whether he prefers Vodka or Gin.

17:56 Instead, here's Cleo Sol, a British soul singer who's been hovering on the edges of greatness for a while now. She's been called "the UK's brightest star" by Tinie Tempah, and her new single is a sexalicious swing that incorporates elements of Aaliyah's More Than A Woman, The Fugees' Ready or Not and Kendrick Lamar's The Recipe. I listened to it twice in a row, then downloaded it.

18:05 This is the last one. The band is called SPC ECO but you pronounce it Space Echo, which instantly makes you think "Oh, please fuck off".

Spack Echo are a new project from Dean Garcia, who was the main impetus behind 90s indie-goths Curve. For Spook-E=cow he's teamed up with Rose Berlin who, the press release reveals, "recently completed a BA Sculpture (with first class honours!)"

Delusional Waste is wispy, dreamy, dronepop with vocals thinner than water vapour. It passed through me like a double espresso.

18:20 To be honest, those were better than the usual rubbish that gets filtered into my inbox. But it's back to my own choices again. And it's MKS O'Clock (other times that are MKS O'Clock include 09:00, 10:00, 14:25, 17:33, 23:07, 11:11, 11:12, 11:13, 11:14, 11:18, 11:16, 11:16.5, 11:16.55, 11:15.551, 01:23, 11:17, 11:16.01, nighttime, daytime, hammer time).

18:52 Playing The Last Of Us on the PS3. It has a soundtrack by the majestically-named Gustavo Santaolallo, who won an Oscar for his Brokeback Mountain score. 

20:00 - 22:30 We are out with friends in a local pub. The local pub is playing "Anonymous Pub Background Ambient Classics" by "Various Artists" over a PA that is hidden in a tree. I Shazamed some of the tracks. They included I'm Easy by Jazzy Lee - an entirely shit version of The Commodores' classic; and Zombie by Elena - a cover of the Cranberries' IRA protest song, as delivered by an automated telephone banking system voice-over artist.

23:48 Bedtime. Tonight's soundtrack is Stevie Wonder's Innervisions. Plenty of records capture a cool Californian breeze - but only Living For The City clings to you like a night gummed up with oppressive urban heat.

And that's 24 hours in the life of my auditory-cognitive nervous system. It was interesting to write it all down - I hope it was at least partially interesting to read.

PS: Thanks to everyone who looked at this page before 22:00 and didn't point out that my iPhone had auto-corrected the phrase "most nights" to "moist nighters".

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