Disposable Music

Kapitano's Second Rule of Tidying Stuff Up: If you want to need something today, throw it away yesterday.

Still, Greebo (my desktop computer) is as pristine and neat and fully installed as it's ever likely to be, so...time for that baseline ghost backup. For only the third time in four days.
There is probably something slightly perverse about buying second hand albums on CD for fifty pence, ripping them to MP3, and throwing away the discs. Though for some reason it doesn't feel so strange for albums withdrawn and sold off from the stock of the local library. It makes sense - I own two MP3 players and no CD player at all that isn't part of a desktop computer.

I have four compilations of early 90s hiphouse and pop remixes (sans boxes and sleevenotes), an album of Depeche Mode covers, the soundtrack to Queer as Folk (which is painfully generic), and a compilation of ambient classics. All of which I will probably only hear in their entirity in MP3 form - possibly months from now.

All very postmodern. Music composed of references to other music, resold outside the intended retail context, made 'weightless' by abstraction from graspable physical media into a plastic box half the size of my fist, and called into performance in places and times alien to their original meaning.

See? A decade getting degrees in Cultural Theory wasn't completely wasted. Though I'm reliably informed that Cultural Theory/Studies (or as it's known in less exhaulted institutions 'Media Studies') is now well and truely out of fashion.
Unexpected email from Abel - the asian guy I corresponded with about a year ago but never got to meet. I'm not sure what kind of relationship he's after - actually I don't think he knows either - but I'll give it a go.

Another unexpected email from Tyler (aka 'Plat' aka 'The Cow Exchange'), who wants help with the phonological theory behind the next stage in development of his online rhyme finder for songwriters.


  1. If songwriters can't find their own rhymes they should stick to washing up. Damn that makes me angry... It's the 'Oh I can't be bothered to think, I'll let the computer do it for me' syndrome.

  2. Oh I don't think I can agree with that. The songwriter's art involves selecting rhymes from the various ones available. Finding out what rhymes there are to select from isn't the imaginative part of the process.

    Well, I've tried a little songwriting experiment which might help. As a starting point, I came up with a title ("Not Quite a Stranger"), a subject (internet love and lust), and a single opening line ("You have new mail"). This is a test about rhyming, so I decide on a challenging rhyme structure (ABAB), and when I come up with a line, I first find some words or phrases from my own head which are candidates to rhyme with it, and select those which I think might work. Then I use the Dillfrog rhyme-finder
    (http://www.dillfrog.com/tools/rhymer/sound.asp) to see what words *it* can suggest, and select possibilities that it provides but I didn't think of.

    The lines of the song are numbered:

    (1) You have new mail
    (2) My pulse rate starts to rush

    My 'candidate' rhymes for 'mail': fail, grail, sail, entail, prevail, rail.
    Candidate rhymes which I didn't think of but Dillfrog suggested: hail, nail, scale, trail, detail, veil

    My rhymes for 'rush': crush, hush, lush, clutch, too much, so much, such, blush
    Dillfrog rhymes that I didn't think of: flush, gush

    The lines I decide on are:

    (3) Dare to hope, dare to fail
    (4) Think about you oh too much

    So here, my own mind produced rhyming words that I preferred to the computer suggested ones. The next two lines come entirely from me, and they're tricky to rhyme.

    (5) I know I shouldn't want it
    (6) Not sure what I want at all

    My rhymes for 'want it': just a bit, here I sit, beyond my wit, give a shit, lick, I get a kick
    Dillfrog: hit, lit, pit, quit, admit, commit, submit, click, fix, pick, friendship, relationship, quick, trick, twitch

    My rhymes for 'at all': fall, wall, firewall, door, crawl, saw
    Dillfrog: call, hall, small, stall. recall, false

    There's two possibilities each for lines 7 and 8:

    (7a) If I call it a relationship
    (7b) Touch you with a mouse click

    (8a) Safe behind a glass wall
    (8b) Can't be real, must be false

    I decide on 7b and 8a. Okay, it's a rather mechanical way of writing, and a somewhat artificial test, but three of the six rhymes was suggested by a computer program. Given more time, I may have come up with the same rhymes myself.
    Okay, I'm now going to try to continue writing the song, and see where it leads.
    Two hours later, I have a song. Maybe not the final version, but close to it. The capitalised words are rhymes found electronically.

    VERSE 1:
    You have new mail
    Pulse rate starts to rush
    Dare to hope and scared to fail
    Think about you oh too much

    Shouldn't want it
    Not sure what I want at all
    Touch you with a mouse click
    Hidden by a glass wall

    In my room but a world away
    A picture and some words on a video DISPLAY
    Truth of the heart or a trick of the mind
    My life starts when you go online

    VERSE 2:
    It's better than love
    Don't need first hand reality
    flowing in my cyber BLOOD
    Pixelated SEXUALITY

    New man machine
    Animal Technology NATURE
    Only know what I feel
    You're not quite a stranger

    The 'computer assisted' rhymes are those I wouldn't immidiately have thought of, but I think they work quite well.