I don’t know how I survived long-distance travel before mp3s. You can only carry around so many cassettes or CDs. When I leave the house for a trip my earbuds are pretty much a permanent fixture until I am home again. At home, if I’m at my computer, I’m probably listening to something all the time. I listen to lots of different genres of music, but overall my standard, fall back is something within the electronic realm. Don’t get me wrong, I can also listen to Bettie Serveert anytime of the day or night, but by and large electronica is my default if I’m just not sure what I want to listen to. I love listening but I’m not so good with the ten million terms used to slice and dice the music into the most subtle categories, nor do I really care that much. I’m not even going to bet that everything I lump in “electronica” would technically fall there for others. I have my own little system for identifying my mood/music match and the other day I was thinking of it in more concrete terms. So, here is how I tend to think of the electronic music in my collection with some tracks that I could find out on the internets. Lots of stuff falls all over the place and in between, but these tend to be my “moods:”
Comatose: This is the stuff that makes me drool from inactivity. I typically don’t listen to this except when trying to sleep (great for red-eye flights) or making myself take a serious energy timeout.
Some examples: Isan – Cinnabar, Dave and Ardai – Recovery Room EP
Groovin: I spend a lot of time in this mix. A lot of stuff I lump here tends to be called downtempo, ambient, blah, blah, blah, by the cool kids. It has more going on than Comatose but isn’t frenetic and can keep me moving along for hours at a time. Lots of stuff I love, love, love here.
Some examples: Cassettes Won’t Listen – MPC, Sternklang – The Herb
Dance: Yeah, OK, this is a range of music that just makes me wanna shake my booty or jump around. If I could stay up past 11 pm anymore, I’d love to still go out dancing, but since I’m old and lame I often only dance in my office or hotel room.
Some examples: Le Tompé – Tell Me, Tiësto – Traffic, Astral Projection – Kabalah
Soundtrack: For the badass mofo hero(ine) in all of us. Lots of flying fighter jets in space, blowing up 10-story robots, running through jungles, and all the ladies want to get with me. If you don’t have a world like this, I am sorry for you, though you may still like the music.
Some examples: Ugress – Zombie Eagles, Fluke – Another Kind of Blues, Astrix – Techno Widows
I’ve also got my standard stable of music resources. I tend to only have a handful of resources because my head would explode otherwise, so I’m sure there are a ton of awesome things out there. If there is something more awesome that what I’m using, I’m more likely to drop one and move to the other than try to keep track of more and more awesomeness. (I can only handle so much awesomeness in one lifetime, ya know?)
Yeah, I actually buy music. I used to mess with all the peer stuff and grabbed a ton of stuff for free back in the day but I’m not as into that anymore. Lots of the music I listen to is from smaller artists and labels and I’d like to support them.
My main service is eMusic. They have great stuff and reasonably priced subscription set up. They were doing DRM-free mp3s since the start so I’ve always loved supporting them. If I can’t find what I want there, my next stop is Amazon, which again, is DRM-free mp3s. iTunes store is my last stop. Both eMusic and Amazon downloaders will automatically add my new music to my iTunes library so there is no extra hassle involved with regards to that. Lots of the remix, dance stuff I want isn’t in the main stores so I also use Traxsource to get DJ cuts.
Now here’s the free stuff. I don’t subscribe to satellite radio, like Sirius. I’m a net radio kind of gal. While free, I do financially support free radio that I love. I donate to Soma.fm and am a subscriber at Last.fm. Soma has a bunch of stations, though I only regularly tune in to about three of them (Secret Agent, Beat Blender and Groove Salad). Great selection of tunes and no commercials. They rock. That is all.
Last.fm lets the social, friend thing get to work in addition to having stations based on an artist (similar to Pandora) or playing my favorites. One of my favorite things to do is listen to a high match friend’s station in explore mode. That will only play songs that I don’t have in my collection, so I get only new stuff. They also sometimes have good free tracks for download, like a bunch from the excellent Ugress. You’ll notice that a lot of my links up above to artists or tracks use Last.fm because it is a great, centralized place for me to keep track of and share the stuff I like.
The only other net radio that I tune into regularly is Radio Frequence Metz Woippy Clubbing and Dance. This is my typical dance-club-in-a-hotel-room mix.
I should also mention briefly that I will often grab my radio using Audio Hijack Pro so I can have a good mix while offline without having to work hard at making one up myself. It is for the Mac, I love it and it is cheaper than some other options out there. Take that for whatever you want.
I am not big into my RSS feeds or wandering the internets these days for info and honestly my radio sources turn me on to more music than I can keep up with already. I do follow one music blog though that often points to very small netlabel stuff, often free tracks, that I’d otherwise never see. I’ve found some really nice stuff through Disquiet, like Rich Vom Dorf. If you have any other killer blogs that track the cool, little stuff, let me know in the comments.