These aren’t quite resolutions, but there are several things I intend to do a better job of on Disquiet.com in 2011 than I have in the past:
1. Feature more streaming-only music. True, there is arguably no such thing as streaming music. It’s all downloadable, since the audio you’re hearing is on your computer (or other web-enabled device) by some means. In many cases, all you need to do is look at a streaming-only page’s source code (Ctrl + U in the Firefox browser) to locate the URL for the streaming media.
But even if the distinction between downloadable and streaming is artificial, an illusion, it is still a distinction made consciously, one way or the other, by people who post their music online. This site honors such decisions, aside from the occasional gray-market tip regarding particularly remarkable items that have long been out of print. This site also favors, to a great degree, downloadable music over that which is only intended for streaming. (There’s a whole department dedicated to it, Downstream, much as there is for commercial music, The Crate, which has far less coverage, and there’s no section for streaming-only.)
Part of this decision to pay more attention to streaming audio is curatorial: There’s an enormous amount of streaming-only music available. Part of the decision is practical: Once upon a time, the distinction between downloadable and streaming-only was a matter of what was and wasn’t portable: downloadable music you could pop onto your iPod (or semi-equivalent MP3 player), whereas streaming music was only available while you sat in front of your computer. With the rise of the smartphone, especially in our age of 4G/Mobile-WiMAX/LTE/etc. connections, it’s arguable that the tables have turned: the downloadable file is now a weighty object that needs to take up precious space on a device, whereas streaming audio is available (allowing for some hyperbole) in any place at any time.
In the past, there’s been this sense that downloadable music is part of a community that takes open-source culture seriously and that non-downloadable (i.e., streaming-only) music can, as a result, have a sense of being promotional, but that divide no longer seems to hold. (Please don’t read anything into this about the fate of the Downstream section — it will continue to exist, a new item each weekday.)
In any case, I’m hoping that in 2011 I’ll spend more time acknowledging, critiquing, recommending, and otherwise paying (and directing) attention to audio that is streaming-only … such as this track by Chris Herbert, titled “Shortwave Study for Scott Morgan.” Scott Morgan is better known loscil, and he and Rafael Aton Irisarri are compiling a compilation titled Air Texture II for spring 2011 release, and this is a rough sketch of something that Herbert is working on for them. It’s a lovely, low-key bit of near-silent ambience, all slow gusts of aether with occasion additional tones and textures and bits of voice.
More on the track on the page where it is hosted, soundcloud.com/chrisherbert.