4 June 02005

Incense and Playlist #2

An anecdote from yesterday evening's Twisted Folk gig. Arriving a few minutes early, and alone, I went straight to my seat rather than hang around in the bar. There were only four or five people in the stalls when Devendra Banhart jumped down off the stage, and criss-crossed the rows of seats carrying a smoking incense stick to fumigate the space. Now I liked the idea of this: it demonstrated an unusual attention to detail, a bit of an Alan Watts touch, and not many acts care about how their gigs smell. But just as he was disappearing back up on stage, a security guy appeared at the back of the stalls, with the exasperated air of someone who's spent the whole afternoon curtailing the eccentricities of a bunch weirdy-beardies. You know the type: haircut like a worn bogbrush, and an abrasively nasal tone as he spoke into his walkie-talkie, "Gary, can you ask him to extinguish that?!" (And yet this was the same venue that, eighteen months ago, tolerated Julian Cope performing with one leg slung over the parapet of the circle — not to mention his unconventional cohorts.)

Loosely connected — M.Ward is the common denominator — is the second instalment of my playing around with different online playlist services. Compared with the first one, this was dashed off very quickly.

It started when seven of us went to see Alasdair Roberts last Saturday. Support was from Richard Youngs, who divided our group very sharply, particularly with one fourteen-minute song performed with no instrumental accompaniment. Jeremy and I spoke to him afterwards, and I was pulled up by my own ignorance, asking if Youngs had any recordings available, only to find out that he's been putting out albums for fifteen years… So the next day, I found some of these recordings freely available on the web, and sequenced them with some others that I thought might set them off well and help 'make sense' of his approach.

This time I used webjay to record the playlist. Webjay comes into its own when using music files that are accessible (legally, with the permission of rights owners) on servers around the web: once you have compiled your playlist and provided details of where the files are, webjay will generate a stream to play the tracks from beginning to end. The stream can be produced in any of the major formats used by popular media player software (though the Windows Media Player stream doesn't work on my Mac). Here's my webjay 'haunted folk' playlist — try it!

Posted by David Jennings in section(s) Cultural Calendar, Curatorial, Playlists on 4 June 02005
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