(September 10 – 16)
This week, for a change, has mostly been about music.
One on end of the spectrum: the streaming variety. I’ve been a longtime Spotify subscriber, but recently got the urge to try out Google Play Music, mostly because it supposedly does a better job of integrating with the Google Home. So far I’ve been unimpressed. Spotify is less than flawless in its design, but I’ve grown used to it. Meanwhile Google Play Music isn’t lacking anything I can put my finger on, but it’s often hard to find what I’m looking for. There seem to be minimal options for browsing music, so the user is forced to search. I’ve got it for a month, so I’ll keep trying, but so far it’s not looking Iike I’ll be making that switch.
On the other end of the scale, I’ve been immersing myself in hi-def multichannel music. Way back when I bought my first DVD player, I discovered that DTS (rivals to Dolby) had started releasing multichannel remixes of classic albums. These were mostly hard to get hold off, relatively expensive, and included very few titles that I was interested enough in to pay the money. This was followed by DVD-Audio, which offered high resolution sound as well as multichannel. Same story. Limited selection. Hard to find. Too expensive for my pocket back then (although I did end up with a couple of titles). After this came SACD. Same story yet again.
All of this was enough, however, to give me a taste for multichannel music. Some audiophiles may look at it as a gimmick, but I love hearing all my speakers coming to life, and being completely surrounded by the music.
Fast forward to a few months ago when I decided to set up my old SACD compatible player for the hell of it. I also decided to check out what SACDs are available to buy, thinking that no one plays SACDs anymore, so there must be a cheap secondhand market, right? Wrong! Most of the bastards are well over $100. Amidst this, somewhat absurdly, is a newly released SACD of Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms at the price of a regular CD. I snapped it up (I used to quite enjoy the album when I was younger) and it sounds absolutely awesome.
Since then I’ve been investigating options for getting hold of some more multichannel music. I’ve picked up a few Bluray audio titles (which is the latest format; again, relatively expensive and offering only a small number of titles that I’m actually interested in). I’ve continued to look at SACDs on eBay, but they mostly continue to be way too expensive.
However, over the weekend I stumbled across a Definitely Not At All Dodgy site that offers downloads of hundreds of these out of print titles and I’ve been downloading them like Napster never went out of fashion. I’ve bought myself a portable DVD burner and a stack of discs (and now also have the inevitable stack of failed burns). Where I can, I’ve bought original discs (I’ve ordered at least four titles from eBay in the last few weeks) but most of these mixes are either long out of print, or are secluded away within hugely expensive Super Deluxe reissues of albums.
Consequently, I’ve finally been able to enjoy treats like David Bowie’s Station To Station in 5.1 (pleasantly immersive, but not quite a revelation); I’ve rediscovered a few old Queen albums (The Game and Night At The Opera); I’ve realised that I should have been spending a lot more time listening to Groove Armada’s Vertigo album; and I’ve even found that an old multichannel download of Propaganda’s A Secret Wish (one of my favourite albums) works quite nicely on my new Bluray player.
The market remains defiantly adult-oriented. Naturally we’re talking about people who buy physical music, and like to listen to in on a hi-fi system, which means you’ll see a lot of Sting, Genesis, Dire Straits and the like getting the multichannel treatment—artists that are a bit less to my taste. Luckily, there have also been some David Bowie and Simple Minds titles release, which is a bit closer to the sort of music I’d buy anyway.
Sadly we’re unlikely to find the likes of Chvrches or Tash Sultana hitting this market. Maybe one day.
For Fridate Horror this week we did something a little different. I spotted something called The 50 Best Horror Films You’ve Never Seen on [Amazon] Prime Video and we decided to watch that, since who doesn’t love a list show? Despite a straight-to-video budget it was a surprisingly engrossing. It as presented by people who clearly love the genre, as opposed to the usual Z-List celebrities that are often unearthed for theses things. Furthermore, it introduced me to several films I’d never even heard of, let alone not seen. Suffice to say, there are about 10 new films on my Friday Horror viewing list.
For Saturday night I treated myself to a shiny new Bluray of Deadpool 2, having missed the movie at the cinema. There’s not really anything profound to say about it, other than it’s just as awesome as the first one, and had me laughing out loud at numerous moments.
Finally, on Sunday the Elderbeast (who has managed to come down with yet another virus) went straight to bed leaving me free reign to choose my own viewing. I opted for The Similars, which has been on my Netflix list for some time and has something like a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (unlike most of the films in my Netflix list). I can’t say too much about it without giving things away, but it’s a beautiful looking film and if you’ve ever wanted to see a Twilight Zone episode directed by David Lynch then this is your almost-chance.
Still listening to Dune. Still reading The Haunting Of Hill House. I promise I will read something different soon …