Rian van der Merwe

Product manager • Designer • Speaker

A sunset run through the streets of Philadelphia.

Espresso and sun at Wildbit HQ.

Snuck in a Philly run before it got too dark. Nice to stay in a different part of town this time!

End-of-year reflections at Mt. Tabor, Portland, OR.

🎵 Music Recommendation: Jimmy Giuffre 3

This is a great example of “don’t judge an album by its cover”. Jim Hall is absolutely wonderful on guitar, and the drum-less trio format gives the album such a nice, relaxed feel.

End-of-year reflections.

🎵 Discogs’ list of 2018’s best albums

I’m so happy to see that the Discogs list of 2018’s best albums includes the amazing On the Corner Where You Live by The Paper Kites. This bit of the write-up is so spot on:

This album is drenched in feelings of solitude and loneliness; a quietness that’s almost meditative. The album isn’t concerned with impressing you with flashiness. It’s mature, confident songwriting and production at its very best.

The fascinating world of bootlegging

Jesse Jarnow’s Wired article The Invisible Hit Parade: How Unofficial Recordings Have Flowered in the 21st Century is such a delight:

Like every other part of the music world, taping has changed utterly in the digital age. Once dismissed as mere bootlegging, the surrounding attitudes, economies, and technologies have evolved. It’s been a long haul since Dean Benedetti recorded Charlie Parker’s solos on a wire recorder. In the ’60s and ’70s aspiring preservationists snuck reel-to-reel recorders into venues under battlefield conditions, scaling down to professional quality handheld cassette decks and eventually to DATs.

I’m particularly fond of the values that serious tapers feel pretty strongly about:

To serious tapers, “phone recordings” are synonymous with incomplete, inconsistent, and rarely enjoyable documentation.

“Put in a little effort if you’re going to do it,” says Pier-Hocking, who would love to see more serious tapers. “If you need to secure a spot, get down to the venue early. Don’t be a jerk to others. Don’t do something that’s going to affect other people’s enjoyment of the music.” He emails me one night after a Neil Young show, still stewing at the video recordist who gave Eric and his wife guff about blocking his camera’s view, and then proceeded to not even record complete songs anyway.

The Story of Lenny, the Internet’s Favorite Telemarketing Troll:

Sahin pointed out how Lenny’s recordings are very flexible in the sense that they can be reasonably applied to a number of telemarketing prompts. More importantly, however, Lenny is also able to control the conversation and force the caller to adjust to Lenny’s narrative. This is why so many telemarketers end up staying on the line for ten minutes or more, despite interacting with a looping recording.

David James Swanson, The Simple Joy of “No Phones Allowed”:

The no-phones policy illuminated something about smartphone use that’s hard to see when it’s so ubiquitous: our phones drain the life out of a room.