Every Noise At Once

A fun romp through just about every musical genre … h/t to BoingBoing

…  an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 1123 genres by The Echo Nest. The calibration is fuzzy, but in general down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier.

  •  Click anything to hear an example of what it sounds like. Click again to jump to the middle of the song, a third time to stop it.
  • Click the » on a genre to see a map of its artists.


David Foster Wallace was right: Irony is ruining our culture

“How does art progress from irony and cynicism to something sincere and redeeming? … In the present moment, where does art rise above ironic ridicule and aspire to greatness, in terms of challenging convention and elevating the human spirit? Where does art build on the best of human creation and also open possibilities for the future? What does inspired art-making look like? … We must move toward … the possibility of something greater. The best art can inspire us and push us closer.”

From Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll in Salon

On Downton Abbey and the Crisis of Culture

When in doubt, ask Hannah Arendt:
“The challenge posed by the mania around a show like Downton Abbey is that it is part and parcel of a cultural moment when art abandons its transcendent and protected realm and appeals to the needs of overly busy ‘educated philistines’ who want their entertainment also to be useful … The point is that a consumer’s society cannot possibly know how to take care of a world and the things which belong exclusively to the space of worldly appearances, because its central attitude toward all object, the attitude of consumption, spells ruin to everything it touches.”


From Collossal:

“Unstable Matter is kinetic sculpture by Finnish artists Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen, a.k.a. Grönlund-Nisunen. The moving table contains thousands of small ball bearings that move and crash within the confines of a giant wobbly table, sort of a modern take on a rain stick. The table is part of several kinetic and magnetized works by the duo that were recently on view at Esther Schipper in Berlin.”

New Year’s Resolution Poems

New Year’s Resolution Poems”>

From the editors of Poetry magazine, a great list of poems to get your 2013 started on the right foot.

Kick the Habit

On Quitting” by Edgar Guest

This poem is a direct challenge. Guest asks whether the “pluck” you’ve shown in the world matches your private muster. The only way to tell—give up something that you love.

Quit Smoking

A Farewell to Tobacco” by Charles Lamb

Lamb’s hyperbolic allusions to Bacchus, ancient Egypt, Katherine of Spain, and the like romanticize tobacco. Instead of renouncing smoking altogether, he resolves to replace time spent on the bad habit with time spent praising it—in other words, he writes a poem instead of lighting up.

Just Do It

Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Nye burns through a year of memories—literally. Her biggest regret at the start of a new year? Not doing what she set out to do the year before.


Sections 1 and 15 of “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman

Perhaps Whitman understood better than anyone else the importance of balancing one’s desire for inwardness with living a public, dynamic life. In “Song of the Open Road,” he invites us to put aside our books and papers and venture out.

Get Organized

Living” by C.D. Wright

Wright’s poem is a giant to-do list: take out the trash, go to the post office, make car payments, all of it interrupted by reveries on the self—”My mind like a mirror that’s been in a fire,” “Our love a difficult instrument we are learning to play.”

Find More Time

Time Problem” by Brenda Hillman

The fact that Hillman is carrying on a conversation with both her young daughter and Stephen Hawking as she writes “Time Problem” sheds light on the double-edged nature of time. How can we understand its absurdity and feel inextricably bound to it?

Get Out of Debt

XII Mon. February [1746] hath xxviii days” by Benjamin Franklin

At age 20, Benjamin Franklin developed a plan to observe 13 virtues. Like most of us, he sometimes failed, but his wisdom lives on. Here Franklin reminds us that our actual needs are few, and that “fancy” and “pride” are among the forces that trick us into thinking we need to possess more than we actually have.

Spend More Time with Family

Eating Together” by Li-Young Lee

In 12 short lines, Lee captures all of the tenderness and tension that can exist in a family meal. Though we may feel exhausted by our families by the time the new year rolls in, Lee reminds us that we’ll miss the most ordinary occasions when a family member isn’t with us any longer.

Don’t Explain

New Year’s Day” by Kim Addonizio

After another year of far away loves and high hopes, the poet thinks perhaps acceptance is the best way to maintain equilibrium in the new year. “Today,” she says, walking in the mud on the first day of the new year, “I want to resolve nothing.”


“The accepted norm for hudreds of years of western civilization is the artist exclusively has the right to exploit and control his/her work for a period of time. (Since the works that are are almost invariably the subject of these discussions are popular culture of one type or another, the duration of the copyright term is pretty much irrelevant for an ethical discussion.) By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission on a massive scale and globally. We are being asked to continue to let these companies violate the law without being punished or prosecuted.”