Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Harkive: A day in the life of my headphones

Today is Harkive day - when people all around the internet keep a 24-hour diary of their listening habits. It's for a running project by Craig Hamilton, which aims to track how our access to and experience of music is changing. You can read more about it (and interrogate the data) on the official Harkive website.

I'll be updating my day's listening below, if it's of interest.

07:15 - 07:37 Listening to Years and Years' Communion on a hot, sticky train carriage. Because I have borderline OCD, I'm rating the songs on my iPhone as I go. It's mostly 2 and 3 stars - but King gets a four.

10:35 Streaming The Letter by Joe Cocker on Spotify. I'm writing an obituary for the song's composer, Wayne Carson, for the BBC News website and need a quick reminder of how it goes. I seem to have chosen a live version by accident. It's brilliant.

11:15 A colleague announces that 1980s one-hit-wonders Musical Youth are coming back with a new single. We get a short blast of Pass The Dutchie from his phone. Age has not withered its beauty.

11:48 Watching a video by "soul -pop sensation" Seinabo Sey on YouTube / Vevo. "Pretend is a fascinating blend of Swedish noir pop with a slinky dancefloor beat," says an email from her record label. It's very good, but the recurring refrain of "knock on wood" makes me want to listen to Amii Stewart.

11:52 Watching a fantastically overblown performance of Amii Stewart's Knock On Wood. It's been dubbed off VHS by the look of it.

For some reason, when I first click on the video, I get an entirely different video - Collette Carr's Static - which is like a less commercial Ellie Goulding track.

12:04 The new Foals single is on Soundcloud. It is not my cup of tea.

12:07 Actually, it gets a lot better at the end.

12:09 Writing up an interview with Robyn and La Bagatelle Magique for publication later this week. The piece looks at how Robyn and Markus Jägerstedt finished off their recordings after the sad, untimely death of producer Christian Falk. Listening to one of Robyn and Christian's earlier collaborations - Dream On - for reference and "the memories". Beautiful song.

13:47 Another Robyn track on YouTube - Tell U (Today). A cover of the Loose Joints cut, recorded for an Arthur Russell tribute album. More research for the article.

14:05 Having lunch in a branded cafe chain. Their barely-audible soundsystem is playing such classics as Fleetwood Mac's The Chain.

14:58 I've been pitched an interview with up-and-coming urban act Little Simz for the BBC News website. The blurb is interesting: She's an unsigned London artist with BET nominations, who's been championed by Kendrick Lamar. I click on the Soundcloud link. The first line of her record is "I puked up on my sneakers indoors" and she's giving the finger in her profile picture. Reader, what should I do?

15:21 Watching a video that I can't tell you about because it is embargoed until tomorrow.

16:26 On the way home. Had planned to check out Apple Music to see what old bollocks Zane Lowe was spouting today - but it won't load on my phone. Instead, I've loaded up a playlist of current singles from my library. Chemical Brothers, Demi Lovato, Janet Jackson, Lianne La Havas.  

21:49 The kids are safely in bed - somehow having avoided watching any television or listening to their favourite songs (currently Little Mix and Bob Marley), although I have been subjected to the refrain from Let It Go approx 107 times, as it emanates from my daughter's Princess Elsa magic wand.

Now in the bedroom, reading Moonraker and streaming the new Tame Impala on the home stereo (via Apple Music). The selection was inspired by a tweet from my old 6 Music colleague Sinead.

I'd quite forgotten that I blogged about the epic 7-minute opening track back in March. The rest of the record seems to be living up to its woozy, psychedelic promise.

22:50 I suffer from tinnitus, so I tend to listen to music as I nod off. Tonight, the sound of The Staves' second album (If I Was, on an old-school iPod classic) is being augmented by a tower fan, giving the music a certain windswept quality. I'll be asleep by track six. Nanite.

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