A Promotion And An Introvert’s Dream

I was recently promoted at work and given the largest desk on the floor which is affectionately referred to as “The Fortress of Solitude” by my team. It’s off by itself with four enclosed walls making it an incredibly quiet and private space which is a dream for an introvert like myself. My supervisor was confident placing me there because he knew I could work independently but would also continue to supervise and interact with new members of the team to assist them as needed.

I wasted no time in making the space my own – a home away from home. I ordered a few antique art pieces, a Persian style rug, I printed custom posters and had them framed, ordered limited edition lithographs, and had a second bronze bust of Beethoven cast to match the one I use in my home office for use as headphone stands in each space.

To ensure that each of the pieces would function well in the space, I took a moment between tasks at work to sketch out a rough template of the work area’s measurements and where I planned to place/hang each artifact. Here’s the (very) rough layout.

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It took a few months for all of the art works to be created, printed, or to ship from their nations of origin, but it’s all come together. The final step was to replace the boring wheeled plastic desk chair with something more my style. Thankfully I scored a vintage red armchair for just $7 at a local garage sale.

Here are a few shots of the results.

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The last item has just arrived and is now handsomely framed on my office wall. This is the limited edition bonus A2 lithograph from Brian Eno’s new Extended Edition of Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, exclusively shipped to the first 250 persons worldwide to submit their orders upon the announcement of its release last May.

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The print showcases the lunar surface depicted on the original album cover from 1983. The piece is a perfect complement to the official Hearts of Space nebula poster I ordered from the ambient radio program that has been wishing space fans safe journeys for nearly forty years.

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The Beethoven bust turned out fantastic and really adds a refined touch to the space –

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My dual desktop wallpaper is a photo of the century-old chalkware “Nipper” statue and 1911 Monarch gramophone proudly displayed in my dining room in celebration of “His Master’s Voice,” the legacy of RCA, and the history of recorded music, and a small cast iron figure of Nipper sits humbly between the two monitors.

Here’s the actual statue in my home –

Chalkware Century Old Nipper and 1911 Monarch Replica Gramophone 02-12-19 - Close Up Pulled Back a Bit

and the cast iron figure –

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Also on display is my recently-acquired “His Master’s Voice” antique art mirror –

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a portrait of James Joyce, mantel clock, and I found a vintage lamp and shade to complement my burgundy-and-brass theme –

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a collage I assembled of influential figures in the history of experimental music titled, “The Rest Is Noise” –

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DJ Food (Strictly Kev)’s poster of all the releases from the late Pete Namlook’s ambient FAX +49-69/450464 record label –

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an engraved tea chest –

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and a limited edition t-shirt graphic I framed of post-rock legend Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Faulty Schematics of a Ruined Machine from their majestic F# A# ∞ LP –

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There is also a fun antique style console radio clock –

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and I produced a high-res scan of Brian Eno’s sheet music for his seminal Music for Airports LP and formatted the layout to frame beautifully in a 10×13 frame above my desk.

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And on the far wall behind my desk I’ve framed the Apollo print and a classy 24” x 36” portrait of Miles Davis taken in 1948 in NYC from the Herman Leonard Collection.

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The Persian style area rug finishes off the space nicely, and makes it feel extra cozy.

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It’s a serene work space and really makes me feel at home.

A Firehead Finds The Goons

Not a proper journal entry but a quick update on today’s project.

I’m getting into The Goon Show tonight after reading that the show was cited in the Firesign Theater Lexicon (a context database of every sub-sub-sub reference dropped by the surrealist comedy troupe). Here’s my favorite entry – the lone Google search result of which brought me to the Lexicon:

QUID MALMBORG IN PLANO:

A mysterious phrase which recurs in BOZOS. It was first exclaimed by the discoverer of FUDD’S LAW. No one (yet) seems to know its true origin, although it is said to have been written on a cigarette lighter that Phil PROCTOR used to have, and belonged to a person named Malmborg, who lived in Plano, Texas. This has since been confirmed by Peter BERGMAN. Another listener is convinced that he saw this pseudo-latin phrase inscribed in a drawing by Albrecht Duerer. The phrase seems to be a mixture of latin and middle-english: “Quid” may be translated from the latin root meaning “this/something/that”, and “plano” simply means “flat/horizontal/smooth”. The nearest translation of “malmborg” we are willing to conjecture is based on the Middle-English word “malm” which the OED tells us is a type of man-made chalky clay, which is often worked into “malm-bricks”, so perhaps this phrase refers to the conversion of this(quid) clay into flat (plano) bricks, as consternation turns to lucidation. The mixture of ME and latin, together with the brick reference, may indicate a Freemason influence, but this is wild conjecture on the part of the editor. Many other theories abound. For example: malborg sounds suspiciously like ‘malbolg’ (malbolgia?). Malbolgia, as read-ers of Dante may remember, are the “bad pockets” of Hell, where the corrupt and treacherous souls simmer. Here one finds thieves, hypocrites, whores and panderers. Schismatics are ripped to pieces and reconstituted in an assembly-line manner, liars are steeped in a sea of ****. It is lower than that part of the Inferno where the sensual and brutal are found, and just above the lowest part, where Judas and a coterie of betrayers sit. Dante puts several nasty folks in Malbolgia, including a few popes. Nixon probably has (had) a reservation.

For anyone not in the know, The Goon Show radio broadcasts of the 1950s featured anarchic, ludicrous comedy characterized by absurdity, manic surreality and unpredictability. The program was also highly innovative in its use of sound effect production techniques borrowed from the realm of musique concrete.

The Goon Show inspired the humor of The Firesign Theater, The Beatles, Monty Python, and Douglas Adams, among countless others, and evidently was also the inspiration for the band Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s name, lifted from an episode in 1959.

The audio quality of the shows vary as tape was a new technology when the show premiered, but the filesharing community has assembled a complete catalog of all surviving recordings spanning 1952 to 1960 as well as the two specials in 1972 and 1991. I had to do a little work to refine the file naming, folder, and tagging structure of the library but with a few batch scripts I’ve tidied it up to an archival standard including all broadcast dates and re-broadcasts variations. (I don’t half-ass any of this stuff.) Official commercial releases are less-consistent so this will be something I’ll hold on to.

Now that I’ve done all the work, I can start listening to the stuff.

The Goon Show

Results of the Innerspace Labs’ Music Discovery Survey

The results are in for the Innerspace Labs Music Discovery Survey!  A huge thank-you to all who offered their input.

I created the survey out of a personal curiosity.  Sadly, I have very little contact with the general public outside of the few members of my digital publishing team at the office, and I wanted to know what impact the web has had on the ways listeners discover new sounds.

I suspected listeners utilized multiple media resources in their musical explorations and that certainly proved to be the case.  Contributors cited an average of 6.44 sources for new music data.  The majority of the music sources I offered as options for the survey were widely-used, save for rateyourmusic.com, music subreddits, Gnoosic, and Usenet groups which each accounted for fewer than 3% of users’ musical resources.  I found this particularly interesting as I visit RYM frequently as my primary ratings and review aggregator and find its information invaluable when researching artists and genres.

Survey Tablepsd

As expected, Youtube ranked as users’ most-used resource when sampling new sounds.  I was surprised, however, to find that radio, motion pictures, television, or other forms of mass media were the third-highest ranked information resource, right behind user’s own friends.  While I only see ~3 new films annually, and have no exposure to television or radio, it still appears that mass media is still a significant part of most people’s lives.

Spotify and other streaming services were the next-highest ranked source, accounting for 10% of listeners’ discoveries.  While they are not a viable source for non-commercial or analog-only recordings, they still offer an incredible convenience for quick-and-easy personalized radio stations and there is no shortage of articles proclaiming streaming the new standard for mass media.

Crate digging was another significant source, as were vinyl Facebook communities and private music forums.  I’m curious whether this is representative of the public at large or just for Innerspace readers, but it is exciting nonetheless.

I was similarly please by the results for music lit and other periodicals, which accounted for more than 5% of musical discovery.  While 5% doesn’t sound significant on the surface, bear in mind that users cited an average of 6-7 sources for new music, so I’m considering 5% a threshold for this survey.

Other sources of note are independent music blogs and local music performances, both of which were a delight to see still holding their own in the survey.  After attending the latest concert at my local university, I will certainly be visiting their music library for further research into works by their professors.

I’m also curious to see if torrenting will grow in popularity for general music research in the years ahead.  Personally, torrenting is a critical step in my music purchasing process.  I’ve yet to find a better system, whether for surveying the catalog of an artist or to compare various masters before investing my hard-earned cash.

I consider the survey a success as its certainly given me a better understanding of how users find new music.  Thanks once again to everyone who contributed!

How Innerspace Readers Discover New Music

Last Change to Add Your Voice to the Innerspace Music Discovery Survey!

A huge thank-you to all who’ve participated in The Innerspace Music Discovery Survey!  I need just a few more contributors before I begin my write-up, so if you haven’t answered the single-question survey yet – now’s the time!

It takes about 1 minute, and the results will be published in an upcoming article.  Add your vote now and tell us how YOU discover new music!

Click here to answer the single-question survey before it closes!

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