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Mid-April 2015
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Senseless Rambling
Technology And Music
Sometimes you have to lose everything to 'win' it all.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

  So there I was watching Formula 1's Chinese Grand Prix live at 3am, which I'm sure is no surprise to regular readers of mine. Love the look of the new cars, hate the soundtrack, go Hamilton, and those boys really put on a great show. So the race ended as I was of course already second screening before they got to the drivers interview on the podium. Must have been 15 minutes into some infomercial when I realized what the background noise was. Ok, it wasn't noise; it was for some Time Life vintage rock collection, which probably explains why it was being enjoyed, even on a subconscious level, as my second screen became the primary one. Epic bands like The Who and others were playing in the background. What was once my primary screen (F1) became the secondary. Seamless transition, and there is no doubt we see it all the time nowadays with those below the age of 40.

So realizing my old primary screen was an infomercial, I actually had to physically picked up a remote control that deals with the cable TV box (screw you Time Warner for not having an app for the box), and guided through the many hundreds of channels all easily accessible within my fingertips. Ah yes, Science in HD was playing "How It's Made". While many peeps might have chosen something else, I thirst for these types of programs. As luck would have it, they had a segment about jukeboxes. Oh snap, this should be awesome! I love those old jukes! Works of incredible visual art, mechanical science/art and music/art all rolled into a single device. Orgasm!!! No, seriously, for me that is as close to a geek orgasm as I get.

Side Story: Years ago I was workin' on one of my new toys (Dub Bot) at RMAF 2013 and while deeply concentrating on the task at hand someone asked me what I was doing.  Without looking away or missing a beat from my work I replied "Masturbating with electronics". Then I looked up and saw it was John Atkinson standing over me who asked the question. Fear came over my face and asked him not to quote me on that.

So where were we? Oh yeah, jukeboxes on Science HD channel. In the old days of legacy print media I'd have to start describing to you the show. But wake up and smell the Café Do Ponto espresso as here's the video.

So this article came into my head. I cued up Songza on my PMP, chose my Activity, then sub-channel/mood and away I began to type as Ambient Bass began to play (Koan's Legends: Inhale). Go ahead and second screen the vid and read my joys and horrors and revelation if you dare. That's one of the great things of using a monitor that is 99% color accurate/calibrated and 1200 x 1920 (WxH, not a typo). Haven't done 4k yet. Watching the beginning of the How It's Made segment I was focused like a deer in headlights. Look at those great old jukeboxes! Gloriously beautiful cabinets artfully decorated to draw in your attention. Stylin'! Then they open one of those vintage babies up. Have you ever spent time truly examining the inner-working of these old 45rpm vinyl 'boxes? I have. My eyes glaze over as my brain begins to calculate the details. Remember the look on your child's face the first time visiting Disneyworld? Yeah, kinda like that. So the Science HD special played on and what started out as joygasm turned into my worst nightmare. Taking you step-by-step through what it takes to build a modern juke felt like you just ran over and murdered my faithful dog. What was once a 'work of artistry and mechanical engineering meets music' in now cheap-ass Plexiglas, some whorish flashing LED lights, circuit boards for this, power supply for that, a touchscreen and of course it is either Ethernet or Wi-Fi connected. What... the... f--k! They killed Kenny! (You bastards!) The longer I watched this segment the more I wanted to turn into the Hulk and destroy.

 

But Then It Hit Me
I'm an old soul with a young soul trapped within an ancient body. Nowadays I wear two watches. Crazy, yeah, given most peeps don't wear watches anymore. You don't need to wear a watch. Our cell phones have a clock on 'em so who really has to wear a watch? For those curious, the two I tend to wear are a mechanical Patek (one of many that make the rounds here) on the left wrist and whatever is the best wearable on the right. Nowadays that would be the Samsung Gear S because limited second screen devices are so, like, two-gens behind the curve. Those old wearables I used years ago had limited battery life; completely worthless crap by today's <cough>modern</cough> standards. I can stream music from my watch cuz it also has a cell phone and good battery life of three days or so. Anything with less than two days of battery life and no built-in cell connection is crap to me. Second screen wearable devices are outdated rubbish! Next gen should do broadcast-quality Skype too. Anyway...

Where was I, oh yeah, jukes. So as the Science HD special went on and on with the build-out of the newest j'boxes my skin was crawling in horror. The more I watched, the more it brought me to tears. Where is the artistry? What happened to the brilliant mechanical engineering? Where's the soul, man? Then reality hits as the guy, sadly it's always a guy it seems, closes up the cabinet and interacts with the touchscreen. In the old days of magnificent jukeboxes you had only a handful of songs to choose from. As soon as the guy on TV touched the screen the reality of nearly endless choices of music became available. My eyes lit up, hope was restored and all was once again right within my (albeit tiny) world.

In a sense, we lost everything to 'win' it all.

Of course it is not lost on me about the whole vinyl versus digital debate. Check out some of my show reports and notice I always seem to take two pics of turntables. One photo being of the entire turntable device, with the other photo being the business side of the intricate mechanical workings of the tonearm. Oh, BTW, I designed a tonearm and gave the plans away for free last year to the only company I think can pull it off (never asking for a single penny cuz I just want to hear the benefit of the 'organic' mechanical/mathematics as can only be produced using today's technology). Anyway, the whole vintage juke versus newer one has so many different angles to make a good article. So yeah, it is now 6am and am at this very point of this Senseless Rambling.

 

I Love Vinyl
Look, I love vinyl. The whole coolness, and art, and of course that sound. But go ahead and try it on a subway, or in a car doing some crazy shit on the racetrack in the dry or open parking lot in the snow. The needle is not going to track the groove all that well with these outside physical forces. Furthermore, surprise (not), my desired music selection at any point in time can be highly dependent or variant as it pertains to the conditions (external) or emotions (internal), with perhaps some collusion of both to a variable degree. Furthermore, there has never been a better time in the history of humanity to discover music than today.

Songza is still playing whatever channel I chose at the beginning of this article and have never heard a single song that has been playing before in my life. Am enjoying some movin' and chillin' tunes that keeps the vibe-flow going as words fill the page. Once again, losing everything to win it all. Today, many of my friends are tired of listenin' to the same shit over and over and over again. Sure Floyd's DSOTM is legendary, and Rush one of my faves, yet just yesterday I flipped the station because they were playing Rush and was tired of it. I can't hear the same song over and over and not eventually get bored. Took a 10 year hiatus from "Stairway To Heaven" and Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue. Then listening to them again after 10 years, it was inspiring! Gave away, lost them, to eventually get them back and "win it all". I discovered things I felt I had never heard before. Perhaps it was that a newfound appreciation, and angle/attitude in such listening experience, was re-discovered for these aural works of art.

Instead of hearing the same 'played out' music all the time over and over and over as within that vintage jukebox, today we can easily discover nearly limitless aural sensations all within the most portable of devices. Home, car, skydiving, scuba diving, bicycling, driving along the roadway, off-roading... It does deeply sadden me to see that magnificent vintage jukebox, filled with brilliant mechanical engineering and a selection of 45rpm records become so outdated by today's computer generations. Then again so is the mechanical grand complication timepiece that is an extraordinary accomplishment by nearly any standard of measure. Of course our cell phones can do so much more than those old-yet-exceptionally engineered relics, which time will never forget.

Sometimes you have to lose everything to 'win' it all.

Funny, Songza is still playing, and never heard this song.... How very appropriate! Ah yes, a new music discovery and using YouTube to find the video, it works perfectly in some ways, too. Will always fondly remember those vintage 45rpm Jukeboxes. Wish I had one here, bubbler please, in mint condition. Or a Sparton 566 "Bluebird" radio. Almost bought one of those years ago, wish I did. Love my PMP and CIEMs. It is right now 7am and finishing up this article. Songza, you chose the perfect song to end this article. Thank you oh great computer-programming-based predictive algorithm.

Do you control the dream?
Or does the dream control you?

As always, in the end what really matters is that you...

 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

 

 

 

We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world.
We give little thought of the 'machinery' that generates the sunlight and makes life possible.
To the gravity that glues us to an earth that would otherwise send us spinning off into space.
Or to the atoms that which we are made... and on who's stability we fundamentally depend.

Few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is.
Where the cosmos came from.
Whether it was always there.

If time will one day flow backward.
Or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know.

What is the smallest piece of matter?

Why we remember the past and not the future....

And why there is a universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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