Archive for January 25th, 2007

25th January
written by Matt The Cat

America loves its conveniences. But most of the time, convenience comes at a cost. It might be a higher price paid financially for it or in the case of the iPod and other MP3 players, convenience comes at a cost of a medium’s soul.

Dramatic? Maybe, but there are some facts here that should be noted. It is no secret that converting a wav file (the type of file that music on CDs are encoded in…16 bit, 44.1 khz) to an MP3 file uses a 10:1 compression ratio. That means that your CDs are ten times more compressed as an MP3, then they are when you listen to them off a CD. The math even works out. At a generous conversion rate, a 3 minute song will be 30 mg as a wav and it will become 3mgs when it is converted to an MP3 file. There is NO QUESTION that MP3s don’t have the presence and range of frequencies found on CDs and records.

Now, in the iPod’s favor, a section of my living room that is taken up with shelves holding thousands of LPs, CDs, 45s and 78s can fit into a little, portable device. I’ve done the calculations and it looks like a 60g iPod is too small, but as soon as Apple comes out with the 100g iPod, my entire record collection could fit on it. WOW. It blows my mind to think that I could take a vacation and bring all my R&B; 78s from the 1940s with me. That, my friend, is convenience at it’s finest.

The question is, and this is where the opinion comes in, do I want to take my entire record collection to Fiji? I think there’s something to be said for housing a library of antiquated music media. OK sure, there’s the collector side of me that just loves gathering like things together. Then there’s the history side of me that wants to preserve this great music for all time. Then there’s the fetish side. Yes, I said fetish. Hear me out on this now. In some ways, it’s the act of putting on a record and listening that really makes the iPod look small. Follow me now:
1. A song you haven’t heard in ages jumps into you heard. You HAVE to hear it.
2. You know you have it on 45, so you go digging for it (I’m anal, so all my 45s are alphabetical by artist and then within the artist category, they are arranged chronologically by release date). I’m such a loser.
3. You find it and take it over to the turntable. Slide it out of its sleeve, place it on the platter, grab the record cleaning brush and get all the dust off it. Gently move the tone arm and drop the needle in place.
4. You listen. Of course you listen intently, because you’ve gone through the above steps to make this music listening experience possible.


You could just turn on an iPod and go right to the song and groove to it while you ride the subway, read the newspaper or workout.

See, it’s all a matter of one’s taste and also I think your decision reflects on how you view the importance of music in your life. If you are more of a casual consumer of music, the iPod is for you. But, if music reaches down into your very soul and you love everything about it; the label, the smell, the feel, the look, then antiquated media is for YOU! Oh and did I mention records sound better? That’s a fact!

Yes, convenience comes at a price and that’s a price that I’m not willing to pay.

25th January
written by Matt The Cat

This week Harlem heads to the “cradle of rhythm and blues”…CHICAGO!
South Michigan Avenue, home of

CHESS and Vee Jay Records and some of the greatest R&B; and Blues of all time. Matt The Cat digs up some groovy sides by the likes of Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley and The Moonglows. Don’t miss CHICAGO RHYTHM & BLUES, this week on HARLEM!!

HARLEM Airs on the 50 on 5:
Monday 1/29 @ 1pm EST
Tuesday Night 1/30 @ 9pm PST and 11pm in Chicago
Friday Night 2/2 @ 6pm EST
Sunday Morning 2/4 @ 11am EST and 10am in The Windy City