February 13, 2014, is the official release date for my 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin's 1994 album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Pop Hook Theory (MP3)

The latest from Sarah Brown's series explores Taylor Shift's dance with dubstep.

There aren’t many podcast series that inspect the post-country pop of mall diva Taylor Swift while touching on dubstep, word painting, reversed piano, early-17th century composer Thomas Weelkes, and synthetic instruments, but Esbie‘s (aka San Francisco–based Sarah Brown) sure does. The latest from her “Pop Hook Theory” spends 20-plus minutes investigating Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” emphasizing music theory over tabloid speculation (though some enters in toward the end), which given the subject matter puts Brown in rare company. She investigates the song note by note, delineating its chord structure, rhythmic play, and instrumentation, narrating the progress and occasionally dropping in related audio reference material, or playing sequences on keyboard herself. There’s a remarkable attention to detail in an area where details are rarely attended to (her previous entry looked at Maroon 5′s “One More Night”).

Track originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/esbie. More from Esbie/Brown at twitter.com/esbie. Previous Esbie coverage here has included a “pseudo song” drawn from subterranean documentary footage, San Francisco cable car tropes, and “the sound of an empty Petron bottle, pitch shifted over 3 octaves.”

By Marc Weidenbaum

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