Archive for the 'Obituary' category

Neil Armstrong

Aug 26 2012 Published by under Obituary, Personal, Travel

I can think of no greater tribute to the life and legacy of Neil Armstrong than Brian Eno’s monumental “An Ending (Ascent)” from the Apollo album.

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RIP Steve Jobs

Oct 05 2011 Published by under Internet/Media, Music, Obituary, Personal, Technology

sad mac

The first computer I ever used was an Apple II.  There was an Apple store in Riverside, California back in the early 1980s.  They might have sold computers, but they were too expensive for me.  I did take computer classes there, however.

My first real computer was an Apple clone (a Lazer, I think).  It was an old “green screen” thing, no hard drive, just floppies.  That was 1986.  From then to now, I’ve never stopped using Apple computers.  I held on even during the dark days of the 1990s, before Jobs came back to Apple in a blaze of glory (like Lenin or something) to reinvent the company and, really, reinvent the world.

I seem to remember just about everyone in the world made fun of Apple in the 90s.  And the change is usually attributed to the iPod and the subsequent iPhone, iTunes, and iPad.  But I think the real change came when Jobs returned to Apple in the 90s and developed the first “i-device,” the iMac, which was multi-colored, weirdly-shaped, and totally unlike every other computer (including the Apple I had).  It boasted an artist’s flair and it was dismissed as so much artistic crap.  But what the engineers and other PC people didn’t realize at the time was that people, by and large, didn’t like computers.  They were confusing and didn’t work right most of the time.  Jobs didn’t fix everything with that first computer–but he made a nice-looking computer, something that 14 year old girls wouldn’t mind having in their rooms.

From there, the world changed.  Jobs would announce a new device; it would be mocked, then become amazingly popular.  Soon, all his competitors would create their own copies.  For fifteen years, as computers have become more and more central to our lives, Apple products have led the way.  Today, it doesn’t matter what computer you own or what mobile phone or handheld whatever you have–they all resemble Apple products, right down to the round edges on the monitors.

Jobs was an artist in a computer world dominated by engineers.  Where engineers focus on the internal workings of a computer, Jobs focused on the user: how do people use computers?  How do they interact with them? How do they hold them?  Where engineers focus on productivity, Jobs focused on music, photos, and videos and finding ways for people to take these things with them everywhere they go.

You might have hated him, you might have mocked the cult of Apple (who hasn’t?), you might have made fun of the pretentiousness of Apple commercials (and they were and are pretentious, to be sure), but you can’t deny that the world we live in today is shaped by a design philosophy largely created by one man and his company.

A great person has died today, someone whose name will probably be around as long as computers are.  Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.

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RIP Trish Keenan

Jan 14 2011 Published by under Music, Obituary, Personal

The announcement came from Warp:

It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9am this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care.

Our thoughts go out to James, Martin, her friends and her family and we request that the public respect their wishes for privacy at this time.

This is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly – a unique voice, an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. Rest in Peace.

In trying to process this news, I’m reminded of how seminal Broadcast’s music is to me today.  When I create music, I seek to capture the playful, eerie, haunting qualities that make their work so distinct (the answer is always: not even close).  When I seek out new music, I always look for artists who possess these Broadcast-like qualities.  But there is no other Broadcast, and there is no other Trish Keenan–an incredible voice that grounds Broadcast’s music so that it can go in every direction at once and still make sense.  I will miss that voice.


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