A few thoughts about music

For a couple of years in the late 90’s, I couldn’t really afford to buy new music, and lived a fair distance away from any decent record stores. I think it’s probably the only time in my life when I’ve felt totally disconnected from the world.‏

These days, thanks to the wonders of the internet, it’s possible to listen to new music every day without spending a penny, although thankfully I’m now in a position where I can justify a 50 song a month emusic subscription and can buy a few other bits and pieces of music each month without it really impacting on my standard of living.

I’m not sure if this makes me feel more connected, but it certainly makes me happier.

This week I’m listening to a lot of music released on the Captured Tracks label. They don’t release music on CDs, only on vinyl, cassette and digitally, and they remind me a lot of how Creation and Cherry Red were in the 80’s. They also are home to Wild Nothing and Veronica Falls, who are two of the groups I’m listening to a lot at present.

I’ve also recently discovered The Love Language, and am also very much enjoying the new albums by The Arcade Fire and Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. I am also not yet anywhere near bored of the Indelicates album, and there is another one on the way soon as well.

2010 has been a good year for music, and promises a few more interesting releases in the autumn.

Backup solutions

Since I started working exclusively on laptops, I’ve been backing everything up to a 500gb external hard drive. This is working well, but I do sometimes miss having an “always on” desktop computer that acts as a repository for everything I’ve ever owned. I keep toying with either buying or building something to fulfil this purpose, but I’m not sure what is actually required. I could go for some sort of NAS solution but that would take away the joy of actually building something myself, and I think for £260 I’d want something I could occasionally use for tasks other than storage. I was also looking at the Zotak Z-Box, which would be quiet and energy efficient, but which only takes 2.5″ hard drives (and thus would be more expensive per Gb of storage than a desktop solution). I suppose what I really need is a couple of 1Tb hard drives in some sort of shuttle setup. I’d also (at some point in time) like to experiment with pairing a Zotak Z-Box with a decent sized SSD drive which should result in a low-consumption (fairly) fast PC that would make a good long term successor to the ageing Mac we use as a media centre. Of course, this is not a good time for me to be thinking about buying computers, and I should probably think about how best to utilise the ones I have to solve this problem.