Damon Krukowski used to be in Galaxie 500 and is currently the first name in Damon & Naomi. He also spends a lot of time thinking philosophically about our cultural shift from analog to digital media. I briefly wrote about his brilliant Ways of Hearing podcast series here, and he recently followed that project with a book of the same name. It’s near the front of my reading queue. In the meantime, Damon appeared on the Madison, WI, public radio program A Public Affair to talk about the concepts of his book and podcast. That topic gives us much to chew on. I also enjoyed (and cringed at) the side-story of how Galaxie 500 had to bid on their master recordings in an auction.
Season two’s first episode of The Secret History Of The Future tackles the relationship between technology and music dating back to the invention of the phonograph. It turns out songwriters have been panicking about getting paid since the beginning of commercial sonic reproduction. Go figure. The podcast follows the prescient concerns of John Phillip Sousa (he’s a lot more fascinating than I would have guessed) to the freak-outs over digital sampling. And then there’s the more recent tug-of-war over The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.” The hosts provide an excellent intro to music rights, delivered in a way that is entertaining and comprehensible to the novice.
Listen to “Rutger Bregman’s utopias, and mine” on Spreaker.
In the last paragraph of yesterday’s post, I wrote that “we need to imagine that better world to draw us closer to it.” This interview with Rutger Bregman on The Ezra Klein Show is all about that sentiment. Bregman wrote the book Utopia for Realists (also near the front of my reading queue) and speaks about accomplishing change by aiming for a shared paradise. His ideas are rosy and appear ludicrous to many — open borders! universal basic income! 15-hour workweek! — but he makes the case that any step toward these visions will improve our world. We need to foster hope and optimism in the face of despair and defeat — admittedly not an easy task right now. I strongly recommend this episode.