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u/logo5 · 27 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

I feel like this argument ^(apologies ^if ^I ^misinterpreted ^it!) is always brought up whenever new technology gets introduced. New technology threatens an old system of music production and while it frees up artistic creativity because of its availability, some people point to the perceived value of loss of musical integrity.

People will say something like "It's just not as good as it was before", that there are too many people diluting what x music should be.

A particular example I'm thinking about is the deejaying aspect of hip-hop in the 1970s; at first, it was just only people who had the resources to purchase turntables and speakers. Who had the double turntable/loudest was king. The rap aspect took the backseat to the dub/deejay aspect. In the early days, it was all about having a good time, getting people to come to your party, and keeping the music playing.

But then when radio discovered what was going on in New York, power dynamics changed. Rapper's Delight by The Sugarhill Gang was recorded and broadcasted in 1979 and the entire hip-hop landscape changed. Hip-hop was no longer viewed as a simple extracurricular activity, but the possibility of a potential profitable career. The live aspect of deejaying yielded to the much more profitable rapping aspect.

And this made some people upset. These rappers were diluting the already "good" deejaying scene. If you were big and didn't adapt to these new changes, you basically lost.

What do I think? I think over-saturation is great! I don't need to depend on filters to find good music; I can be in a small town in Kentucky and still find cool musicians who play in Austin, TX. While I do occasionally use BIRP and some indie youtube channels/tumblr pages, I am able to make value decisions. From my computer. I simply need a library account to access the computer and I have access to a world of music. It is super egalitarian in my mind.

Hipster moment here: I remember when I listened to Zoe Yin's Midnight back when it had a hundred something views. She's incredibly talented imho. I don't know her, probably wouldn't have seen her live even if she was in my town. But because she uploaded her stuff on the internet, I was able to find it in my free time. That's cool!

But I do acknowledge that there are some poorly mastered mixes out there. That's the nature of the beast. With ease of availability comes inexperience.

Another example (not music-related, but very relevant): film photography vs. digital photography. I learned how to take photos with b&w 35 mm film. It was expensive and it demanded a lot of time. Hours and days were put into developing/burning/dodging that I wanted my pictures to count. So, I worked and only took photos that passed a threshold of interest (due to the limitations of materials, expense, and time). Therefore, what I produced had a significant amount of thought and effort into them. And people liked it.

But now we have instagram, mobile phone cameras, and inexpensive point and shoots. More importantly, we have SD cards. Now instead of limited to 24 shots, you can take thousands! And it is reusable!

What does this mean? It means the effort behind the photo is reduced. Just a simple click with minimal thought. A lot of stuff I see on Facebook or Twitter... Well, it isn't that "good". But that doesn't mean it isn't art. And it doesn't mean we get to immediately write it off. We just need to look at it differently with the technical process in mind. Who is taking it? Who is their audience? What is their intention? How did they do it? Just like the internet scene, photography is going through the same debates.

And the best advice I can give is... just go with it! Find stuff. Hate it, love it, be indifferent. As long as you keep questioning the basis of your value system and don't hold on to a traditional viewpoint of what x should be every time/all the time... You'll be good!

^Jesus... ^this ^was ^long, ^thanks ^for ^reading ^if ^you ^made ^it ^this ^far


Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang

tl;dr: the perception of oversaturation is just a mindset; allow yourself to be open from whatever old nostalgic system of value you hold and you can find some really cool stuff out there

u/Nav_Panel · 5 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

> Therefore, the creation of music by these groups was not centered on live performance and the studio was the safest space to create music. So this has resulted in rock music generally favoring "authentic" sounds that mimic live performance, while pop sounds "synthetic" and often uses electronic instruments and many effects.
> I would argue that Disco, House, Techno, Hip Hop, etc... all were created under similar conditions.

Except, they weren't created for the conditions of domesticity. Disco came out of Philly Soul which was a live music. Add a drum machine to a soul band and you have Disco. Disco led to Garage, which was the name for what Larry Levan played at his club, the Paradise Garage -- diverse stuff, and the man Levan as the DJ was the driving force behind it.

A bunch of guys from Chicago, notably Frankie Knuckles, took Garage back to the clubs in Chicago, the most popular being called The Warehouse. When people were looking for dance cuts from the Warehouse, they'd eventually just start asking for "House" music.

Techno came from the affluent Detroit suburbs as a consciously-futuristic style of music inspired by Kraftwerk, etc.

Hip-Hop came about from a unique mixture of Caribbean "Dub" mobile sound system culture and "breaking" to the raw drum beats on funk/soul/disco tracks -- have a DJ loop the breakbeats back to back, toss on a dub/reggae MC, and you have hiphop.

I'd recommend a book called Last Night A DJ Saved My Life for more detail on the origins and development of these styles into contemporary dance music.


The only one of these styles created as a conscious studio effort designed for domestic listening was Techno. The other styles are all specifically styles of dance music which doesn't even interact with the public/domestic dichotomy.

In fact, I'd suggest these styles of music were created for the third space of the nightclub -- fundamentally distinct from the first space of domesticity and the second space of the workplace i.e. public sphere. Similar to the idea of a "safe space" today but considerably broader, though often serving the same function.

> Disco, in all of it's joy and frivolity, was favored by those who had to navigate oppressive systems that sidelined lgbtq people, ethnic and racial minorities, and women.

This is a point I can potentially agree with. When I listen to tracks like Dreaming A Dream by the Crown Heights Affair, especially in the context of a mix, I feel a palpable desparation alongside the joy and exhileration -- almost like "this is your only chance to dance, make it count". This seems to agree with the ethos of Northern Soul, a very working-class style from the UK that would pillage American soul and r'n'b records and dance all night to them.

On the other hand, it could just be the tension inherent in good dance music: build, and release. This was very popular with Larry Levan -- tracks like Put Your Body In It seem to dragggg onn... until the euphoric chorus hits. And Levan was known for doing tricks like playing two copies of the same record offset, so when the audience expects the chorus to hit, he can cut away to a verse again and keep the tension building.


We could also view this as a technological development in one area: drugs. My pet theory is that the history of popular music (in the broad sense of not-art-music rather than top 40) can be traced to the development and popularity of various drugs.

During the late 70s, MDA became popular in the clubs -- a drug similar to MDMA, but stimmier and less euphoric. Just as dope fueled jazz, speed fueled skiffle, and LSD fueled psychedelia, we can view MDA (or coke, if you could afford it) as fueling disco. You can see dance music change further in the late 80s when MDMA enters Ibiza and the UK (rave culture?).

u/boxguy1111 · 3 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

There's plenty of research, data and interviews with current musicians and label owners in these books:

Steely Dan for an example stopped touring in 1974, they broke up in 1980. They were able to sustain themselves and pay studio musicians for 6 years with JUST record sales.

A band like Steely Dan could be viewed as indie imo despite selling millions, they do not have a lot of catchy songs, they never catered to their audience and became less and less catchy as their career progressed.

Bands that are viewed as indie today (St. Vincent, Mac DeMarco, whatever) would have had a lot more money if they had careers in the 70s/80s/90s, they wouldn't have to tour so much. They'd lead more balanced lives and focus on songwriting more and not just endless touring.

In the UK you had a band like 10cc which is similar to Steely Dan, they didn't tour much, just lived in the studio and made records. Not possible anymore.

So, ok, we lost these kind of studio bands. What did we gain exactly? Amateurs being able to upload their bad songs on Soundcloud and get fake likes/comments from bots?

Sure it is cheaper to record today, but since there is little money in music, a musician has to play the role of the songwriter, recording engineer, arranger, mixer, businessman. He can't afford to get help from people who specialize in recording, or writing lyrics, or arranging. People who are amazing at songwriting, lyrics, recording and mixing all at the same time and extremely rare.

Now a guy that just wants to write songs has to waste his time learning how to record cos' there's no music industry to support him anymore. He has to learn about how to connect stuff together, about acoustics, about some electrical stuff related to audio... In the past he could have just focused on his songs, his record label would get him help from audio engineers and producers and pay for the recording of his songs.

I am talking about bands that I personally like the music of, bands that can't exist anymore in today's music climate. How much more indie can you get than that? They were not outliers back when they were in their prime. They often lived from JUST record sales.

I don't know what kind of indie musicians you talk about? Local bands or something? I mean, every artist starts locally and if they have good enough songs and are promoted well, they start making actual money.

I'm saying that even those local bands would have been better off in the past than today, the average payout per gig today is almost the same as it was in the 90s... the money local live musicians earn hasn't even adjusted for inflation. This data is presented in one of these books I think, but there's also data about it on the net.

u/solidmotion · 4 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

Merzbow live was one of the best things ever.

I'm no expert on the contemporary noise scene, but there's stuff I like in it. I suppose it interests me more theoretically than practically. A couple weeks ago I read a bunch of essays extolling noise, some of which were really fascinating (in the book Audio Culture, which I highly recommend). Highlights (not that they're necessarily right, just interesting): Futurist Luigi Russolo saying that the modern man doesn't care about "music" and that "noise" is all that will appeal to listeners in the post-Industrial Revolution world; Henry Cowell saying that "noise" (unintended sound) is already on equal standing with "signal" (intended sound) in classical music, just not recognized as such, and that "noise" is what makes each instrument distinctive and what gives dramatic climaxes their power; various others promoting different ways of listening, including Pierre Schaeffer's "acousmatic" listening (basically - hearing the sound for what it is, completely separate from the source of its creation (i.e. not hearing a "violin", but instead hearing the specific timbres the sound), the result of which is moving away from strictly musical sounds and incorporating noise and natural sounds (he's a musique concrete composer); etc., there were lots and lots and lots of cool ones.

I suppose my interest depends on how broad your definition of noise is. If all it encompasses is the contemporary noise and noise rock genres then I'm... kind of interested - I like that stuff. But if it's expanded to all non-traditional sounds in all their contexts... then that's precisely what I'm interested in.

u/louderthanbombs · 1 pointr/LetsTalkMusic

certain mentions such as tune-yards, the weeknd, james blake, bon iver, beach house are definitely of the "hipster" variety if you're one to look at pitchfork and such. but that they're still all incredibly talented especially with acts such as the weeknd and james blake expanding the idea of what soul can be.

the ones i definitely would've mentioned would be the pop group, this heat, pere ubu for examples of what post punk was. punk was more of an artistic philosophy than a music genre with particular musical attributes. as cliche as it sounds it truly was more about a DIY attitude than a theoretical music style. the bands really had very little to do with each other musically. the same happened to grunge. the only thing they really all had in common was a geographical area. the "seattle sound" became a brand and music suffered for it. after awhile bands that had the same feel came out of the woodwork and grunge pretty much died.

if you like reading about music I'd highly recommend Our Band Could Be Your Life for the American indie bands of the late 80s and early 90s and Rip it Up and Start Again for Post Punk from 1978-1984, mostly in the UK.

Another thing to consider is the creation of entire universes of music whether it be electronic music or metal. Or really hip hop for that matter, which is a lot more than thugs and gangsters. There was an alternate movement of conscious rappers, many of which were members of the Native Tongues Collective.

oh and on the sonic youth thing, i'd recommend Hey Joni.

u/Vespera · 2 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

Try reading this book:

Victor Wooten - The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music

It reflects a lot on what you've written and how to really listen to music. It's narrated in a somewhat spiritual way, but the messages are pretty clear.

Book description:

> From Grammy-winning musical icon and legendary bassist Victor L. Wooten comes The Music Lesson, the story of a struggling young musician who wanted music to be his life, and who wanted his life to be great. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a teacher arrived. Part musical genius, part philosopher, part eccentric wise man, the teacher would guide the young musician on a spiritual journey, and teach him that the gifts we get from music mirror those from life, and every movement, phrase, and chord has its own meaning...All you have to do is find the song inside.

u/SecondSkin · 1 pointr/LetsTalkMusic
  • Life by Keith Richards - I thought this was a pretty interesting take on his own life. Richards certainly didn't gloss over things that happened (and took shots at Mick Jagger!).
  • Who I Am by Pete Townshend - For the record, I think Townshend is amazing so I'm a bit biased... HOWEVER, I found the book to be a very good read. He's a complex guy and I feel this is the closet I'll ever get to knowing him. (And Roger Daltery is releasing a memoir soon-ish. I'm hoping that'll be a good read as well.)
u/AZZAMusic · 5 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

Don't have much time or nearly enough knowledge to answer but you must read this book - there's a massive chapter on Northern Soul and a great deal before and after covered in the meat of this book. Fascinating stuff and definitely helps shed a lot of light on why some of the peculiar parts of the genre are embedded in both DJ culture and also seem so strange to us now.

u/lifted_keynes · 4 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

If you guys like his style, I would highly recommend his 33 1/3 book on Celine Dion's "Let's Talk About Love". It more or less breaks down subjective taste in a really entertaining way. Best of the series, for sure.

u/innerspaceboy · 2 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

I have a substantial library of music-related literature and reading about/studying music is my favorite pastime.

Generally I queue up a lengthy session of music intended for passive-listening when I set out to read critical/analytical texts. Any sample from one of the ambient subgenres, or modern classical, or field recordings of study-friendly atmospheres will do.

There is much more to music lit than just texts describing how music sounds. I have a strong affinity for socio-cultural criticism, particularly as it relates to sound art. And there is certainly no shortage of these texts available which explore music and society in various ranges of depth.

But to directly address the scenario you've posed - words about music - I can cite a wonderful example which I am reading at present.

Ethan Hayden is a linguistics expert, composer and performer currently pursuing a Ph.D. in music at the University at Buffalo, US. I had the pleasure of attending one of his performances of his work, "…ce dangereux supplément…" in 2015. The work is a set of phonetic studies for voice, video, and electronics in which Hayden makes a wide range of vocal sounds, none of which are coherent expressions of any known language.

This made Hayden a fitting author to tackle Sigur Ros' ( ) album for an edition of the popular 33 1/3 book series. The parenthetical album is sung entirely in the nonsense Hopelandic language created by the members of Sigur Ros.

So what does one write about an album with no discernible theme or statement? And how would one begin to describe the nonsense sounds of the Hopelandic language? Over the course of 150 pages, Hayden expertly addresses these questions, and presents both a critical analysis of Hopelandic and a philosophical perspective on the recording itself. The book adds a fascinating critical dimension to the album and aims to help listeners approach the recording with a greater sense of understanding.

I hope that this (somewhat extreme) example suffices to justify the task of writing about music. I'll offer a few other exceptional examples of music lit for further exploration:

Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music edited by Christoph Cox

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross

and for an example of musio-cultural analysis, read

The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds by John Higgs.

u/grumble--grumble · 13 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

There are feminist cultural critics who suggest that the gendering of rock as male and pop as female is a result of the gendering of space, public is male, domestic is female. This results in the live performance space being one that is a space that favors men, and can become inhospitable to women and lgbtq folks (how many times have I heard some dude yell at a female performer on stage and demand that she show them her tits). Therefore, the creation of music by these groups was not centered on live performance and the studio was the safest space to create music. So this has resulted in rock music generally favoring "authentic" sounds that mimic live performance, while pop sounds "synthetic" and often uses electronic instruments and many effects.

I would argue that Disco, House, Techno, Hip Hop, etc... all were created under similar conditions.

My general understanding and working hypothesis is that rock represents something that was unnecessary to the lgbtq community. There are sociologists who show tends in pop music where in depressed economies tempos shift upwards and keys become major. We could argue that when times are hard people turn to music to give them hope and joy. Disco, in all of it's joy and frivolity, was favored by those who had to navigate oppressive systems that sidelined lgbtq people, ethnic and racial minorities, and women. Perhaps, then, there was a turn towards hopeful and fun music to counter daily struggle. Contrast this with trends in rock music beginning in the 70's that turned toward nihilism and depression as a sign of authenticity.

It should be noted that "rock" is many things and there has ALWAYS been a queerness in rock music. Punk began with a lot of lgbtq folks involved, the glam rock of the 70's definitely had gay trends, the 80's and new wave played with gender, "grunge" and Riot Grrrl definitely had some gayness, and the emo scene of the 2000's was clearly playing with sexuality. So I wouldn't say the lgbtq community dislikes rock.

The anti-disco movement was clearly, if subconsciously, influenced by homophobia and racism, and the need to place the white working class male fan of rock music as the norm and all others as flawed.

One book to look into is Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture

u/knellotron · 16 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

For something kinda recent, I pick Undercurrent by Matisyahu. It's his best album in quite a while, but that cover just looks like amateur Photoshop filter madness. Even without that, is this supposed to be a super hero team or something?

u/Drfiresign · 2 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

You make a nice point here, and I'd like to clarify it a bit.

Goth was more of an offshoot from Post-Punk. Joy Division and Killing Joke (along with Wire (my favorite band of all time), Pere Ubu, Bauhaus, Gang Of Four, Magazine, etc., etc., etc.) set the ground work for Goth, Industrial, American Independent Rock (thinking here of bands profiled in Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life), and many others, in wonderful and profound ways.

u/chrkchrkchrk · 3 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

If you have any interest at all in expanding your view on musical taste and the blurry division between "good" and "bad" music, I implore you to please visit your local library and check out Carl Wilson's entry in the 33 1/3 series - Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste.

It's late and I gotta get to bed so here's the Amazon blurb:
>Non-fans regard Céline Dion as ersatz and plastic, yet to those who love her, no one could be more real, with her impoverished childhood, her (creepy) manager-husband's struggle with cancer, her knack for howling out raw emotion. There's nothing cool about Céline Dion, and nothing clever. That's part of her appeal as an object of love or hatred — with most critics and committed music fans taking pleasure (or at least geeky solace) in their lofty contempt. This book documents Carl Wilson's brave and unprecedented year-long quest to find his inner Céline Dion fan, and explores how we define ourselves in the light of what we call good and bad, what we love and what we hate.

It's a must-read for anyone who likes to take a critical approach to music and I almost guarantee it will spark a paradigm shift in how you consume and discuss music.

u/rrl · 2 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

I think you are confusing postpunk and posthardcore (which I've never heard of) Husker-du were definitely a hardcore band. Postpunk were people like Public Image ltd and Joy Division, who definately had VU influences. For a good bio on postpunk, check out "Rip it up and start again "

u/WhatWouldSpaderDo · 33 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

A lot of times the story behind the albums make them better. My personal favorite is Marvin Gaye's 1978 album Here, My Dear. When I first heard this album I thought it was just okay, and just a little too long. Then I read his biography Divided Soul and learned that this album was actually used to pay his ex-wife after their divorce, I had to go listen to it again.

As part of their divorce, the album's profits would go to her. Marvin was just coming off a hit single, Got to Give It Up, his first hit in a few years. So instead of making a disco dance pop record that would most likely be a hit, he makes Here, My Dear. The title just reeks of bitter sarcasm. Mind you, his ex-wife is Berry (the founder of his label, Motown Records) Gordy's sister, who was 17 years older than him. And the album is just chock full of slight jabs and straight uppercuts. After reading the book, knowing their history, and his life up to this point, no album of his is as personal and carries such weight. So going in and listening to the album again, the lyrics resonate much deeper. I also started noticing the production of the album, which Marvin Gaye produced himself, and took notice of all the nuances and subtleties in it. Is That Enough is everything perfect within the album. The personal and biting lyrics, along with the fantastic production where instruments just creep in and out across the whole thing. Not to mention, it's just smooth and syrupy as fuck.

In 1978 the album was critically panned and a commercial flop. Over the years, it's grown to become a classic. And that's due to Marvin's tragic story. In this case, the story+time made people appreciate something that was easily dismissed when originally released. Everybody knows of Marvin Gaye, but not many Here, My Dear and the story behind it. If you're a fan of his, reading Divided Soul is a necessity.

u/YOBDOOM · 20 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

I read this book a while ago
which offered some pretty interesting insights into the business.

u/Indy_M · 6 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

He's probably talking about this:

There's also this one:

I don't think it comes with any onboard memory, but it can hold up to two 128GB SD cards, supports all kind of file formats, and has a much, much better DAC and amp than the iPod. The downside is almost definitely going to be its UI, which has been historically abysmal in the DAP market.

u/attackofthesam · 2 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

this player seems to get good reviews, although I can't personally vouch for its effectiveness. I've been eyeing it, though, as a potential replacement for my trusty iPod classic. It has a microSD card slot, for which you can get 128gb for $40 (maybe less, this is just at first glance). If you do go this route, please share your experience!

u/robinenrique · 6 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

I would like to suggest a cheap FLAC player such as this one it does not have a better UI than the iPod of course and it is not as user friendly, but reproducing FLAC in a portable player is great

u/submarinefacemelt · 1 pointr/LetsTalkMusic

Last Night A DJ saved My Life will give you a really good run down most dance/electronic genres and the development of their scenes from the 60s until the 2000s.

u/FivePercent · 2 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

They — along with bands like Fear, Minor Threat, Mission of Burma, Minutemen, The Replacements, and other late 70s/early 80s DIY-era acts—had a massive impact on the industry and indie artists. It's really where the idea of the independent label and the indie artist really picked up and became perceived as viable.

OP and anyone else interested in this topic, I HIGHLY recommend this book. It's a must read if you'd like to learn everything you can about this topic. And extremely entertaining I might add. I've read it over a dozen times and have "noted" it to hell and back, haha.

u/dudemanwhoa · 6 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

This is one I saw. Its $350, and takes two SD cards. 128 GB Sd cards are about $100, so all told its about $550. I think its possible to find 128 GB SD cards at $70 so it could be as low $490. A bit out of my price range.

EDIT: plays FLAC. yay!

u/alexthesock · 2 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

The book Outliers explains instances like this really well.

u/Capn_Mission · 1 pointr/LetsTalkMusic

Robert Palmer used to be one of the more important rock writers for Rolling Stone magazine and the New York Times. His magnum opus is the acclaimed Deep Blues.

From my perspective, 50s rock performances were truly unpredictable and transgressive. The activities that went down at those venues (drug use, bi-racial sex orgies, etc.) were very much illegal in many places and caused the whole nation to be freaked out. In contrast, the Rolling Stones and many other bands recognized the wildness of the 50s, and made a deliberate attempt to mimic it. Spontaneous wildness is something more wild than planned mimicry of wildness.

u/Nichotine · 13 pointsr/LetsTalkMusic

So this iPod classic being discontinued business has really left my life in tattered little bits and pieces as I'm sitting here trying to resuscitate my dying iPod for the umpteenth time. I wish I was given some kind of warning. I know it's irrational to take this out on the human race but it really is our failure that high capacity MP3 players aren't in adequate demand. MP3 players had such an awful start before Apple came in and once the iPod happened you'd figure it was just a matter of time until other companies would jump in and the thing would just keep evolving from there. But it just winds up being shit, shit, shit, shit, iPod, shit shit shit shit shit and here we are now.

I don't get where things went wrong you guys. It's a device where you take your music library, put it on the thing, and you take it with you wherever you go. You take every album you own with you wherever you go and we just let it sit there. And now it's gone and I don't know what to do. What took its place? Streaming? Streaming? I don't want to live my life under the threat of buffering and I don't want to have to now seek out a phone, get a new plan and pay extra money month to month just to do what I was doing without it.

I look online for alternatives and it's like, people recommending 8gb devices and phones. Motherfucker I don't want a phone I want an MP3 player argh. I just want like 80 to 160 gigs on a working device. Alright I'm calm now, my iPod is back in order after about the 6th reset. It's warm. This is my life now. It didn't used to be this way.

Is there life after the iPod? Has anyone moved on to something else that's any good? Money is becoming less and less of an object for me with each time my iPod fails. I see the FiiO X5 get brought up from time to time, though I hear tell it doesn't support playlists which is really unfortunate but heard it sounds really good. I might just have to settle for someone's greasy used iPod or something. I don't know. These are sad times.

EDIT: And it's dead.