Gregg Horton's Blog

Technology, Code, and Rabble

15 Songs That Changed How I Listen to #music

This is a list of 15 songs I’ve selected that I feel changed the way listen to music.

  1. Kid 606 – Total Recovery is Possible This song was included on a mix tape from a friend in high school. I was slightly interested in electronic music before this, but these sounds really got me hooked to electronic and experimental music.

  2. Cursive – Art Is Hard
    Whoa! Listening to this song it comes in pretty epic and carries on. The sounds are so dynamic and a cello? what? The layered sounds just burst out at you. Kasher You’re so Cool.

  3. The Faint – Glass Danse This was the song that made me want to make music. It was punky, dancy, electronic and raw and still fast paced. The faint were another band that got me thinking more about electronic music. I wanted more.

  4. Negativland – C is for Cookie I had a point when exploring anarchism for myself in my teen years of revisiting the band Chumbawamba, This lead to me finding this album, The ABC’s of Anarchism. This was a three track record of songs, if you could call them such. Audioly Negativland is a collage mashup of pop culture, found sounds, audio production banter. I knew listening to this album I wanted to destroy sound and put it back together.

  5. The Blood Brothers – Cecila and The Silhouette Saloon As much as a have a soft spot for The Blood Brothers still to this day, The beginning of this song with the synth riffs is why i included this song. It still catches my attention in a good way.

  6. Refused – New Noise My radical leanings as a teen had only been sastified by the likes of System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine by the time I caught this song. This is still music I’d like to revolt to. There are few songs that make you feel like a total badass in whatever you are doing by listening to it. You feel important, powerful, like you could destroy worlds. This music would lead me to appreciating Atari Teenage Riot years later.

  7. The International Noise Conspiracy – Capitalism Stole My Virginity It’s a interesting thing to be listening to two projects by the same front man at the same time. I was intregeted by the change of sound and technique in saying the same thing. Now the lyrics feel cheesy and preachy. I would have to say preachiness is one of the reasons I hate doing super explict poltical art even to this day. I listened to this song way to many times not to include it though.

  8. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – A Perfect Teenhood If any song could be the theme of my teen existence, this would be close. Fast, layered, loud. I discovered this band by watching a skate video and this song was featured for the skater Brian Sumner on Adio’s One Step Beyond.

  9. Kayne West – Through The Wire The first rap song on this list, but Kanye West changed how i viewed song production. I liked some rap but wasn’t very tapped into the dynamicism of rap music and sampling. The fact you can hear in Kanye’s voice his jaw wired shut is just jaw dropping. At this point and this album, you knew Kanye was someone to pay attention, and I’ve been captivatied since. He made me love production.

  10. Aphex Twin – 4 Found this song on the creator of Salad Fingers website, he made a video for it. Aphex Twin filled my void for some solid electronic music, it was experimental and dynamic but also very listenable. It was almost like classical music when compared to some other forms of electronic music. The sounds come in waves, and you can pick out some real instruments still.

  11. Kraftwerk – Computer Love This song was exposed to me by the owner of Book Zoo in Berkeley california. My friend and I would head to the book zoo after school on fridays and hang out with the owner as he gave us various counter culture books to look at and showed us really cool stuff. When he put on the kraftwerk album it was unlike anything i had heard. Of course it sounded like bits and pieces of generalized 80’s music but it was complete and not attempted to top the charts. I think this album and being able to see in the flesh a Playboy Magazine for the blind are the best things book zoo gave to me.

  12. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – I Should Have Kissed You When I Had The Chance – I found this artist on a whim heading to Gilman St. on a night alone when i had nothing better to do. The fact he was able to do so much with such basic tools really engaged me. I still have a soft spot for a Casio VL-Tone

  13. Le Tigre – Deceptacon There’s something about having a woman yell at you that makes to want to dance. Dance music with a hard edge. I couldn’t get enough.

  14. Ratatat – Germany to Germany Ratatat a band with virturally no lyrics but just a guitar and a synthesizer made songs that you could take long trips to. I feel this first album was coming from a completely new space. I know all of these songs by heart and could sing them to you, if it weren’t for the lack of lyrics.

  15. Justice, Simian – We Are Your Friends The last song on this list more speaks to my desire for music to be a driving force for rupture. If anyone who was in the 2009 student movement in california knows this song well. A mobile sound system was built for the occupations at UC Berkeley and this song was played on a loop all night long (either on purpose or accidental, no one knows for sure). I love the idea of using music to inspire rupture.

So that’s the list. Please let me know what you think.

#hopex: Reportback and Thoughts

This July 18th and 19th, I attended the tenth Hackers On Planet Earth Conference. This was my second time going and I was extremely excited to go, mostly because i had been asked to speak. Here are some quick thoughts about the conference and some inspiration.

  1. Don’t rely on the internet for your presentation, My presentation was hindered a lot by loading videos. I will avoid this in the future. You can watch a video of my talk here:

  2. This conference was much more packed than last time, a lot of people attributed this to the so-called “Snowden Effect”. I would have to agree. More people care about computers now.

  3. People like it when you decide to not just talk about hacker stuff at a hacker conference. I am thankful for the friends I made who like art and philosophy but also hang out with hacker culture. If hackers and techies read more philosophy the code and projects that came out i feel would suck a lot less. There were quite a few other talks that touched this arena and that is exciting.

  4. Edward Snowden is a Moderate. Daniel Ellsberg is a Liberal. These positions do a lot for selling their “product”. I’m not so sure what these positions do for the rest of us, except give us entertainment and contribute to the spectacle. I like knowing things, but I also have desires that are less global. The both of them should run away to Russia and Make-Out. Best quote from Ellsberg is that his Grandfather was one of Emma Goldman’s Lovers.

  5. Jeremy Hammond needed a lot more press at this conference.

  6. Hackmeet needs to happen again and fill a void that still exists between radical politics and hacker culture. This will happen.

  7. I have a lot of projects I need to work on and expand, People are doing awesome shit and I need to further my own projects that have been sitting on the back burner.

  8. The EFF’s presentation shows that they are a very diverse organization. I’m not sure that this is good for them in the long run.

  9. Quinn Norton’s Talk was on point and emphasized working on the projects we already have and not reinventing the wheel all the time. UI will win the war, not better backends. I’d have to agree.

  10. I did not have enough time to go to all the talks I wanted to and engage socially with all my friends. I will catch up on talks later. God Bless The Internet.

  11. My Favorite Talks I went to. (I will update with videos as they come go live):

Bless the Cops and Keep them far away from us – Alexander Muentz

Art Under Mass-Surveillance – !Mediengruppe Bitnik

Disruptive Wearable Technology – Becky Stern

When You Are The Adversary – Quinn Norton

Why I No Longer Sleep With My Phone

I used to have a stressful job that required a bit of stressful night time work of servers flipping out and databases dissapearing. Like most people i kept my phone near my bed as an alarm clock.

As much as it was nice to wake up to the sounds of birds or waves, the phone was a point of stress in my life. every flash or buzz was a potential outage. I felt this created an unecessary stress and it effected my sleep.

so I began doing something revolutionary in our times., i stopped sleeping with electronics, no phone, no computer, no tablet. The bedroom became a safe space from work or technology, which made me sleep better. Also i got to pick out a pretty cool alarm clock for when i did need to wake up at a certian time. There are some downsides, i miss phone calls in the morning, sometimes i don’t get to problems in time, but most things that are a 3am problem can be a 6am problem as well.

What Did I Do This Year?

This is a post acting as a catalog of all the stuff i did this year (that i can remember)

  • Got Laid Off
  • wrote 16 new songs
  • Graduated College
  • Went to Hawaii
  • Got a Dog
  • Planned and Executed the 2nd Annual EBAB
  • Taught 2 workshops
  • Played music at at least 4 venues
  • I moved
  • Learned Ruby

I think that’s it, probably much more but i wanted to write down somethings.

My Weekend With Cryptocurrency

I am legitmately facinated with cryptocurrency. A few years ago i spent hours researching and bothering with bitcoin, but the ability to mine them was already long gone at that point. This past weekend i messed with two other cryptocurrencies, Litecoin and Feathercoin. I have to say, overall i’m very disapointed.

The whole concept of having to “mine” these coins is so time and energy consuming its rarely worth it for anyone who’s not obsessed with it.

Code Every Day

I’ve taken up coding as a “thing” many times, and have spent years attempting to learn concepts and never really getting to any point where i can call a language my own. I’ve taken all the basic CS classes, and even some advanced ones, but still here i am. Programming isn’t easy for me, it takes me a lot of work. The reason I persue it is because the way i feel when i build something using programming is amazing. This time around i’m at least lucky to have a lot of time on my hands, but i’ve also been doing something a bit different as of a few weeks ago:

I Code Everyday

First it was codecademy’s ruby track, then going through onemonthrails, now i’m currently working through test first ruby and after that i’ll be doing coderbyte and Rubyquiz

But before coffee, before breakfast, I code, everyday.

Thoughts on Unemployment Part 1

In October of this year i was let go from a job which I viewed in a lot of ways was “perfect”, but this was more of a blessing than a curse.

There was a large part of me who felt very comfortable and stuck in my last job. There wasn’t a lot of time for me to focus my energies on where i wanted to.

Now about 2 months later i have a better perspective, and i have actually been able to work on the project i want to.

  • Taught a Field Recording Course
  • Learned Ruby on Rails
  • Produced a Podcast
  • Build a blog using octopress (HA!)

As part of greater unemployment conquest, i’m going to write more, code and words and use my spare time to learn the stuff i want to. This is pretty much the best thing to have happened to me in a long time.