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January 1, 2021

Tech Rap: Recommended Songs

I thought I would do something new for the New Year by recommending some individual songs I have recently purchased rather than entire albums. Honestly, most of these songs are not all that new, though they were new to me when I found them. I hope these nine songs and mini-interviews inspire you to explore more music by these artists. Listening to music is only half the fun. Exploring and discovering makes up the other half. These songs originate from all around the world…places like Moscow, New York, New England, London, New Orleans, Nashville, and the Netherlands. Come explore with me as we unpack some great new sounds for the New Year.





  1. Caro Emerald: That Man (Grandmono)  
Streaming Caro Emerald’s “That Man” on a Musica.

This song is a throwback to the 1940’s golden age of Hollywood…not exactly the kind of song you hear on the radio every day, and that is partly why I love it. Caro Emerald (Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw) is better known throughout Europe and her home country, the Netherlands, where her 2010 album Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor became the biggest selling record in Netherlands history (even surpassing Michael Jackson’s Thriller).

Emerald got involved in music in 2007 at the age of 26, and after not gaining any traction with record labels, founded her own with her producer, David Schreurs, called Grandmono. That Man is the lead track off of her Deleted Scenes album on Grandmono. Is it jazz? Is it swing? Is it pop? Have a listen and decide for yourself. Either way, it is fun. The song is also available in different mixes such as instrumental and acapella, so you are rather spoiled for choice as they say.

Three questions for Caro:

PS: What drew you to the kind of music you perform?

CE: I was always drawn to singing jazz ever since I started singing. Simply because I had a “jazzy sound”. But I’ve always felt the need to update that sound, because I’m also a big fan of pop music and lots of other genres. This style of music really fulfilled that need.

PS: When you’re not from the US, is it harder to break into the US market as opposed to other countries?

CE: I guess it is, although I’m not an expert! The US market is very, very big, and it requires a good strategic plan and lots and lots of time investment. From a European point of view, it’s much easier to break into the much smaller markets here.

PS: How has COVID impacted you personally and professionally?

CE: Well, I guess it’s the same for a lot of musicians. It means being at home constantly instead of being on the road all the time. A big switch with lots of both positive and negative side effects. The benefits of a more-healthy routine is something that I really appreciate, but I miss performing with all my heart!

Trivia (supplied by Emerald):The final vocals for “A Night Like This” had to be recorded quite last minute, so when [producers] David [Schreursand] Jan [van Wieringencalled] asked me to come over to the studio, I wasn’t very amused. I had a throat ache that day and was also in a hurry, so I was quite irritated while recording, also because they kept pushing me to do better. I even thought it would never be the final take. But it turned out to be the best take ever, taking all of my furious energy and turning it to something happy! And yes, it’s those vocals that you hear on the track today :)”



2. Ele Ivory: LaZboys

Ele Ivory’s “LaZboys” playing on the Como Audio Musica.

Ele Ivory performed in the Blind Auditions for NBC’s The Voice and The Comeback Stage, and she was last year’s recipient of BMI’s John Lennon Award. I discovered her by chance through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform I covered in a previous Tech Rap. Her successful campaign raised almost $17,000 for her new “visual album”, as she calls it. As she explained in her campaign, “I will always view myself as a storyteller and songwriter first, and I deeply believe the art of narrative is beautifully highlighted through visuals. I view each of the songs on this project as a character in the world of this album and I want to elevate every story.”

I purchased her single LaZboys, the video for which also happens to be one of the more creatively fun music videos I have seen in a while. LaZboys indeed highlights Ivory as a storyteller: “And why does a picket fence sound like a death sentence / And why do all the happy endings end the same / And why did she build her life on someone else’s design / ‘Cause she’s bored to death with living in recline / Maybe one day she’ll escape / ‘cause she never liked LaZboys anyway”. LaZboys is a tune with a vivid story to tell both lyrically and visually.

Originally from Georgia, the now eighteen-year-old relocated to Nashville to pursue her professional music career. She recently released a new video for her song A Little More. Her new album will be available around mid-year and I am looking forward to what other musical stories she has to tell.

Three questions for Ele:

PS: What was the inspiration behind LaZboys?

EI: LaZboys was actually born out of one of the most frustrating solo writes I’ve ever had. I knew I had an idea worth digging for, but I probably wrote 6 songs that I scrapped before the real song emerged. I’m grateful for what LaZboys taught me about dedication to the craft of writing and to never give up on an idea. 

PS: The video for LaZboys is great! What can you tell me about it?

EI: Thank you for watching! The music video was an absolute joy to create. Growing up, I was very involved in musical theater and the Atlanta film scene, so visual expression has felt a part of my artistry for a long time. Phynley Joel, my co-creator and director, completely understood the wacky world I wanted to create for the song’s character, Cecelia, to live in. Surreal and a little kooky, but aesthetically (and misleadingly) beautiful. In Phynley and I’s first meeting, we were discussing concepts and while we were spit-balling ideas I started exclaiming “We just need FISH, Phynley! Fish everywhere!” …and that’s exactly what we did. Because of my background and the social commentary of the song, we included a couple of furniture pieces from my Grandparent’s old home. They were extremely supportive of my career and dreams, and It was important to me that their presence, as well as what their post-WWII era of the American Dream, was represented on set. The LaZboys music video really changed the way I write and launched my team & I into creating my next project, my debut visual album. We’re filming the next music video this coming weekend and the entire project will be finished by early Spring.

PS: For anyone unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your music?

EI: I would describe my music as folk storytelling and poetic pop having fun. I enjoy building detailed worlds with my lyrics and exploring organic soundscapes; I’m pretty obsessed with horns and strings and I find a way to have them on every song (even it’s just a little taste!!). Regina Spektor, Tori Amos, and Fiona Apple are some of my biggest inspirations sonically. John Mark Painter (Ben Folds, John Mayer, Brandi Carlile) is producing my project and he’s been a dream to create with. 

Trivia (provided by Ivory): Although she loves riding rollercoasters, Ivory has always been afraid of riding a bicycle.



3. Mik Artistik: Sweet Leaf of the North (self-released)

Mik Artistik’s “Sound” album includes the sweet song “Sweet Leaf of the North”.

I was listening to NPR in my car when a segment came on with host Steve Inskeep interviewing Iggy Pop. Pop called Mik Artistik’s Sweet Leaf of the North a “great song” and one of the best songs of the 2010’s. I knew who Iggy Pop was, but quite frankly, I had no idea who Mik Artistik was. Intrigued, I launched my investigation after I got home. This UK musician is in his late 50’s, classifies himself as a poet, comedian, artist, and performer. That NPR interview was a while back, but I only just got around to purchasing the song. Better late than never.

What is so cool about his song is the subject matter. Artistik was on the road with his band to play a gig in London when a leaf became lodged behind his van’s windshield wiper. They finished their performance and headed home with the same leaf hitchhiking all the way back. This is such a simple song about such a simple thing, yet it is something we can all relate to. Sometimes something simple hits the spot. Artistik plays accordion and keyboard but he does not come across as a professional singer, at least not to my ears. That only adds to the authenticity of his lyrics: “Sweet leaf of the north / You go back and forth / A little brown star / To guide us on our way.” This is an innocent little ditty, almost like a child’s bedtime story, yet it speaks to all ages.

Have a listen to number three on my Recommended Songs list and your heart will hang on to this song just as that little leaf hung on to Artistik’s wiper.

Three questions for Mik:

PS: We know the inspiration behind the lyrics, but how did you come up with the music?

MA: The music for Sweet Leaf came from me practicing a little riff on a Yamaha keyboard I’d just acquired for nothing. I don’t play piano so when I managed to find a few chords on the instrument I was very happy. The tune came before the lyrics, I think. It took me a little while to coordinate singing and playing at the same time. 

PS: My takeaway from this song is fight hard to hang on. This applies to many things in life but especially the pandemic. Do you think so?

MA: The song is just about the epic struggle of the little and the seemingly powerless against the rough, hard world. We all might feel small and anonymous but can stir others in a good way by enduring. 

PS: What did you think of Iggy Pop’s endorsement?

MA: A year in and I still find it hard to believe Iggy called it his ‘Song of the decade’. He was from another planet as far as I was concerned so him registering his approval of me and Jonny [Flockton, guitarist] was such a glorious treat. 

Trivia (supplied by Artistik): Who’s tour bus did Artistik get escorted off of? Kid Creole.



4. Windborne: Diamond Joe (self-released)

Windborne’s “Diamond Joe” in the ether (net).

Windborne’s music is framed in traditional American folk, but they weave in world music from Quebec, Bulgaria, Corsica, and the Republic of Georgia, creating a rich, musical tapestry. The group has existed in various iterations over the last decade, but are now four: Lynn Mahoney Rowan (vocals, percussion), Will Thomas Rowan (vocals, banjo, pandori, chonguri), Lauren Breunig (vocals), and Jeremy Carter-Gordon (vocals, banjo, bass). Their voices blend as smoothly as milk and honey and fall on the ear just as sweetly. Though New England-based, the group has toured throughout the US and Europe and also teaches workshops.

Windborne’s recently concluded Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for their new album, Of Hard Times and Harmony, raised close to $35,000. Diamond Joe, however, is taken from 2015’s Lay Around That Shack, and is an a cappella song showcasing the group’s powerful harmony. As the group expounds on their website: “Versions of this old prison song have been sung by everyone from The New Lost City Ramblers to Jerry Garcia. Our arrangement is based on the John Lomax recording of Charlie Butler.”

There is something simple and pure about folk music. It cleanses the musical palate and soothes the soul. Let Windborne’s healing voices gently wash over you like their name implies.

Three questions for Windborne’s Lauren Breunig:

PS: How did Diamond Joe come about?

LB: We started singing Diamond Joe in 2013 as we prepared to go on tour with American Music Abroad (AMA), a program run by the U.S. State Department that sends bands to different parts of the world doing cultural diplomacy through music. In early 2014, we spent a month touring in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, as well as Angola in southern Africa, doing concerts, workshops, and community events to share our love of American folk music. Our album Lay Around That Shack (which features Diamond Joe) grew out of that tour, because we actually had to develop a bunch of new repertoire in order to do a whole concert of American folk. Our concert programs have always featured American and English folk songs, but prior to AMA probably half of any concert would have been music from other parts of the world with traditions of harmony singing–Corsica, the Republic of Georgia, Basque country, and Quebec, to name a few. One of the really delightful things about getting selected for AMA was having the excuse to look back at our roots and dive into our own musical histories. Diamond Joe is a song that we learned via Village Harmony, a singing camp we all attended as teenagers (which is also where we were introduced to singing traditions from places like Corsica and the Republic of Georgia), so there are a lot of special connections with it.

PS: When you recorded Diamon Joe, were you all singing together in the studio like you would in a live performance?

LB: Diamond Joe is on our CD Lay Around That Shack, which was our first studio album. We recorded with Alan Stockwell of Black Mountain Audio, who we’ve known for many years, and who has recorded a lot of a cappella folk music, so we knew he could capture the kind of sound we wanted for Windborne. He has a home studio setup and was able to create booths for each of us but keep us all in the same room so that we could still tap into that feeling of singing together onstage, which is so critical to our music. It still feels so different, though, to go from singing onstage–where we are just inches away from each other and totally keyed into the group blend–to singing across the room from one another, trying to balance the audio editing needs of reducing bleed and our performance needs of being able to really connect as a quartet. We just finished recording our upcoming album, Of Hard Times & Harmony, with Alan–it’s our third recording project with him, and while we have been really happy with each album, we have also altered our setup each time to keep searching for that perfect sound that captures the vivacity and life of a live performance. We are so grateful for Alan’s skill and patience, and can’t wait to share our latest record with the world! 

PS: Does singing a cappella present more challenges than being accompanied by instruments?

LB: It certainly presents a unique set of challenges! The biggest one is staying in tune, both with each other and keeping the song as a whole from going sharp or flat. There also isn’t anywhere to hide… without instrumental accompaniment, our voices are so exposed, so if you’re having an off night or your voice cracks in the middle of a song, it feels way more noticeable. However, one of the things I love about harmony singing is the sensation that what we’re creating with our four voices is so much more than the sum of its parts–it is truly magical to feel our voices intertwine and resonate when we hit a chord just right. 

The major benefit of being a vocal band is that we can travel super light! When we’re touring on the east coast or Midwest and don’t have to fly and rent a car, we can fit the four of us and all our luggage, gear, and merch into a Prius, which is a bit of a point of pride for us. 

Trivia (provided by Breunig): “We write all our own arrangements (with the exception of some of the traditional music from Corsica or Georgia), but we don’t actually write them down until long after we’ve set our parts. By the time we put a song in front of an audience, the arrangement has been very carefully crafted, and it’s only then that we might think about notating what we’ve created. It’s also a big piece of what makes Windborne sound like Windborne–the arrangements we write as a group sound very different than what any of us might compose individually if we were to send one person off to write the harmonies for any given song.” 



5. Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Flying Dutchman Productions)

A ‘Revolution’ for Como Audio’s Musica.

Gil Scott-Heron called himself a “Blues-ologist”. Some called him the black Bob Dylan. Many consider him to be the first rapper. He was born on, of all days, April Fool’s Day in Chicago in 1949, received a Master’s Degree in creative writing from John Hopkins University, and taught at Washington DC’s Federal City College for several years. In the early to mid-2000’s he served a couple of stints in prison for drug possession and violating a plea deal. He died in 2011 at the age of 62 and was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award the following year.

Scott-Heron was mainly known for his spoken word performances, but this musical masterpiece merged his blunt poetry with a funky soundtrack. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised contains many now dated references (Nixon, Xerox, Green Acers, etc.), but Heron’s basic message, unfortunately, is just as relevant today as it was when he first recorded it fifty years ago: “There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on the instant replay…Women will not care if Dick got down with Jane on ‘Search for Tomorrow’, because black people will be in the street looking for a brighter day”.

If I am not mistaken, I first heard Scott-Heron’s “Revolution” when I wasin college, but I had not listened to it since. I suppose the current political environment motivated me to rediscover it. The song will not change the world we live in, but it will make you think about the world we have created.

Trivia: Scott-Heron’s grandmother knew the neighborhood junk-man and was able to rescue a grand piano destined for the junk heap for her then seven-year-old grandson. Her motive was to get him to learn Hymns.



6. Polina Kasyanova: Mr. Sandman (digital release only)

“Mr. Sandman” from the live album “12” released in 2012. Image from bandcamp.com

Moscow’s Polina Kasyanova was another happy accident. I had been researching the song The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot, popularized by Nat King Cole in 1953. It is a depressing tale about a child without a father who does not get any gifts for Christmas. Definitely not a track to include on your festive Christmas party playlist. I stumbled upon Kasyanova’s tender treatment of the song in her lovely music video posted on Youtube. I emailed her asking if the song could be purchased and received a personal reply from her in the negative. This led me to search other songs she had recorded that I could purchase. I ended up buying her unique cover of the classic hit Mr. Sandman (popularized by The Chordettes in 1955) from her live album from 2012.

Interestingly, her band for this album featured two acoustic guitars, a double bass, and a kazoo! Feed your ears something a little different this New Year with Kasyanova’s acoustic version of Mr. Sandman.

Three questions for Polina:

PS: What club was this performed at?

PK: It was one of Moscow’s oldest music clubs called Rhythm ’n’ Blues Cafe, which was one of the most common clubs for me to perform at that time. The album is called Douze, which means “Twelve” in French. It consists of 12 tracks and [was] recorded in the year 2012.

PS: Why did you decide to cover Mr. Sandman?

PK: Hard to remember the cause, but it sure is the song to cover, beautiful and immortal.

PS: When and why did you learn to play the kazoo?

PW: I believe it was one of my musician friends who gave me my first plastic kazoo as a present with which I totally fell in love at first sight. Later I discovered they can be made of different materials, so that I have had quite a collection of all sorts of kazoos, smaller, bigger, wooden, plastic, steel, etc. but I rarely play them now.

Trivia (supplied by Kasyanova): Kasyanova prefers instrumental music to vocal music and male voices to female.



7. Tessa Violet: I Like (the idea of) You (TAG Music) 

“I Like (the idea of) You” from Violet’s “Bad Ideas” album.

This is a fun song from 2019 I discovered by accident. I was watching some music videos on Youtube and on the right-hand side of my computer screen was an image of a gaggle of young women dressed in black tights. Naturally, this caught my attention. I clicked on it thinking it was probably a lame exercise video. Instead, what greeted my eyes were groovy dance moves from the 1960’s and a fresh pop tune by Tessa Violet. I Like (the Idea of) You is a single from Violet’s 2019 album, Bad Ideas. In a Build Series NYC interview, Violet said this video was her tribute to Nancy Sinatra’s video of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ from 1966.

From my optics, Violet looks, sounds, acts, and writes younger than her thirty years. She also sports bright yellow hair, not that I would ever hold that against anyone. She spent time in Hong Kong and Thailand as a model when she was younger, but is originally from Oregon, having eventually moved to New York. Got all that? At the age of 20 she won $100,00 in a Youtube contest for receiving the most comments on her video submission. Violet has left her vlogging behind in favor of crafting her own blend of indie pop music.

In addition to writing and singing, she plays piano, guitar, and ukulele. Her lyrics will not give Bob Dylan a run for his money, but sometimes you do not want to listen to songs that contemplate the complexities of life: “I know I shouldn’t be guessing, but you’re impressing me / And I can’t help reading into what you’ve been texting me / I keep repeating, repeating the way we shouldn’t be”.

Unfortunately, my three mini-interview questions were met with an inexplicable and impenetrable wall of silence, so I am unable to provide any first-hand insight from Violet herself. That aside, I Like (the Idea of) You is a super-spreader of fun and I highly recommend you repeatedly expose yourself to it as I have done.

Trivia: According to tvtropes.org, “in the music video for ‘Crush’, Tessa wore a vintage sweatshirt that had Cyrillic writing on it, and she found herself turned into a meme on the Russian-language internet, with Russian-speaking fans declaring her their queen. Most of the top comments on Tessa’s music videos ever since have been in Russian, leaving English-speaking fans bewildered. The level of interest was so great that she added a performance in Moscow to her tour.”



8. Professor Longhair: Hey Now Baby (Tomato Records)

Professor Longhair’s “Hey Now Baby” reproduced in hi-fi stereo on a Como Audio Musica.

I am a big Beatles fan, and back in 1988 I saw a picture of Paul McCartney wearing a Professor Longhair t-shirt. I did not know who Longhair was, but if he was good enough for McCartney, by golly, he was good enough for me. I later learned McCartney hired Longhair to perform for him at a private party. Straight away I bought a couple of used Longhair records from a local record store, and after listening to them, wondered how I ever managed to be on this earth for so many years without knowing about this fantastic music.

Longhair (born Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd)had little formal education and enjoyed only one commercial hit (Bald Head) during his entire thirty-two year career. At one point he was forced to take a job as a janitor to support himself. His New Orleans blues music earned him a posthumous Grammy and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame, The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His calypso-mambo-rumba piano style was as distinct as his whistle and seemingly strained voice.

Forty-one years ago this very month, “Fess” (short for “Professor”) as many called him, died in his sleep in New Orleans from a heart attack, about one month after his 61st Birthday. Hey Now Baby is taken from the album Rum and Coke from 2002. It is a fun song I recently reconnected with, with lyrics I can personally relate to: “You know very well, I love you / Follow you all over town / You run around telling people, baby / That I was your clown / Why darlin’, tell me why, honey child / You told everybody baby, that I was your clown.”

Good music makes everything better, and I triple-dog dare you not to feel good while listening to this song.

Trivia: Longhair found a discarded piano in a junkheap and despite missing several keys, patched it up enough to be able to learn to play with help from musician friends Stormy Weather and Sullivan rock.



9. Paul Hardcastle: 19 (Chrysalis Records)

A Como Audio Musica playing Hardcastle’s “19”.

I have left perhaps the most interesting song for last. Believe it or not, this is a dance song about the Vietnam War and PTSD. No, 19 is not some obscure novelty tune from the 1970’s. If you like C-Jazz (Contemporary Jazz), or are a Vietnam War history buff, or served in Vietnam (or any war or conflict for that matter), then I call your attention to this epic piece. I first heard it a few months ago on a smooth jazz Internet radio station I was playing on my Musica and ended up buying the track.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Hardcastle, who turned 63 early last month, saw an ABC television documentary in 1984 about the Vietnam war and was inspired to write this song. The song’s title came from the statement in the documentary’s narration by Peter Thomas that the average age of a soldier in Vietnam was 19.

Besides featuring interview clips with soldiers and snippets from period news reports set to an electro-jazzy beat, the kicker is the sampling of Thomas saying “Nu-Nu-Nu-Nineteen“ (you will recognize Thomas’ voice as the narrator of the original Forensic Files series). Sampling was still in its infancy when this song was recorded back in 1985, and nothing quite like this had been done before in a song, certainly not within the jazz realm. The song proved very popular, becoming a top single in more than a dozen countries including the US. It was released in five languages in addition to English. According to Hardcastle’s website, to date the song has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

One would think a song about the Vietnam War and PTSD would be downright depressing. On the contrary. 19 is fascinating, and the beat is, dare I say, infectious and danceable. Although the subject matter concerns a war that ended more than forty-five years ago, the music holds up very well today. Some Vietnam veterans have credited the song for acting as a kind of musical therapy for them.

Should you decide to buy 19, I want to caution you because there is a plethora of iterations. In fact, I am not aware of a jazz song that has so many variants…Welcome to Hell, 30th Anniversary, Industrial Mix, Destruction Mix, The Final Story, and others. I bought the version from Hardcastle’s “The Very Best of” compilation because most of the alternate mixes run almost as long as the war itself. The link I include at the end of this article is for the version I purchased which times out at 3 ½ minutes. I also included a link to a wild video of a game show contestant lip-synching the song. It is must-see TV.

Three questions for Paul (graciously facilitated by Paul Jr, a musician in his own right):

PS: Sampling was relatively new back in those days. What gave you the idea to use the technology?

PH: “I think seeing a Fairlight in a studio, and was amazed at the possibilities in mixing it with Dance music.”

PS: Is it true you ended up having to pay royalties to Peter Thomas?

PH: “Yes, Peter Thomas was well looked after lol”.

PS: After the success of “19”, did you hear from, or are you aware of, Vietnam veterans who said your song helped them?

PH: “Had least a few thousand letters from Vets thanking me for highlighting their plight and 19 was played at their March through Washington.”


Trivia (supplied by Hardcastle): “The original voices were recorded onto a Betamax video tape !!! and most of the song was recorded in our front room.”


Streaming Music Files

Once you have purchased and downloaded music to your smartphone/tablet/computer/MP3 player, your Como Audio music system gives you a couple of different wireless streaming options. When I stream my music from my Motorola smartphone, I usually use Bluetooth, but when I am streaming from my HP laptop, sometimes I use UPnP (Universal Plug n’ Play) instead of Bluetooth. Here I will describe both streaming options as well as Spotify Connect.

Bluetooth streaming in the aptX audio codec.

Bluetooth

If you have music files, you can stream the songs to your Como Audio music system wirelessly via Bluetooth. Moreover, if your source device (i.e., smartphone) supports aptX audio, our models will de-code that codec automatically for even better, CD-like sound quality. Simply place your Como Audio model in Bluetooth mode, open Bluetooth on your source device, and pair and connect the device to your Como Audio music system. Then, start playing your music. You will see meta data (if embedded in the file) like artist name and song title, but not album artwork. Just press the “i” key on the remote control to cycle through the available meta data. The advantage of Bluetooth is quick and painless setup and very good sound quality, especially with aptX audio. The drawbacks are is it has limited range (about 30 feet) and can have trouble going through solid objects like walls.

UPnP is accessed in the Music Player menu after the setup is completed.

UPnP

Another wireless streaming option is UPnP for PC’s. Apple, as usual, goes their own way and does not support UPnP, though there are third party programs you can purchase as a work around. Just Google “Apple UPnP”. UPnP technology uses Wi-Fi which many audio enthusiasts believe sounds better than Bluetooth. Unlike Bluetooth, UPnP has a greater range since it uses your Wi-Fi network, and it will usually show album artwork (if the artwork is not high resolution) in addition to meta data. Everything has a down side, and the downside to UPnP is the involved setup. You will find detailed UPnP setup instructions in the Comprehensive manual on our website starting on page 38.

El Ivory on Spotify.

Spotify

If you subscribe to the paid premium version of Spotify you can search for the specific songs on my Recommended list and stream them wirelessly to your Como Audio music system. The sound quality will be superior, and album artwork and meta data will be supported. Simply select Spotify in the source menu of your Como Audio music system, open the Spotify app on your smartphone/tablet/computer, connect to your Como Audio model, search for the song or artist in the Spotify app, and start streaming. If you use the free version you can search under the artist’s name but not be able to zero in on a specific song. If you own our top-of-the line Musica and subscribe to any of the other supported premium streaming services such as Amazon Prime Music, you can access these Recommended songs through those services as well.

Plug Me In

This article concerns wireless streaming of music files, but you can go old school and playback your music files by connecting your source device using an audio cable from its headphone jack to your Como Audio system’s Auxiliary input if wireless is not your thing or your device does not support Bluetooth or UPnP.


R.I.P. 2020

As we very happily slam the door firmly shut on 2020, here are a few of the very talented artists from the music world we lost last year, some owing to the cruel pandemic:

Helen “I Am Woman” Reddy (78), October 25, 1941 – September 29, 2020. Photo from Helen Reddy Official Fan Page on Facebook.

Lyle Mays (66) (Pat Metheny Group) “after a long battle with a recurring illness.”

Jimmy Heath (93) from natural causes.

Barbara Martin (76) (The Supremes)

Kenny Rogers (81) from natural causes.

Bill Withers (81) from heart complications.

John Prine (73) from complications related to COVID-19.

Little Richard (87) from bone cancer.

Bonnie Pointer (69) (The Pointer Sisters) from cardiac arrest.

Vera Lynn (103)

Charlie Daniels (83) from a stroke.

Trini Lopez (83) from complications related to COVID-19.

Ian Mitchell (62) (Bay City Rollers)

Ronald Bell (68) (Kool and the Gang)

Tommy DeVito (92) (The Four Seasons) from complications related to COVID-19.

Ellis Marsalis Jr. (85) from pneumonia brought on by COVID-19.

Lee Konitz (92) from pneumonia brought on by COVID-19.

Mac Davis (78) following heart surgery.

Edie Van Halen (65) from a stroke (with cancer and pneumonia as underlying causes).

Joseph Shabalala (79) (Ladysmith Black Mambazo)

Spencer Davis (81) (Spencer Davis Group) from pneumonia.

Charley Pride (86) from complications related to COVID-19.

Chad Stewart (79) (Chad & Jeremy) from pneumonia.


Happy New Year from all of us at Como Audio. Be it Bluetooth, UPnP, or hardwired, enjoy the (new) music.


Next Tech Rap: FAQs Part 3

General Manger Peter Skiera lives in southern MA, worked in radio broadcasting throughout New England, and also worked for Cambridge SoundWorks, B&W Loudspeakers, and Tivoli Audio for 15 years before joining Como Audio in 2016 as Vice President of Product Development. If you have a comment or would like to suggest a topic for a future Tech Rap, Peter can be reached directly at pskiera@comoaudio.com

Links:

Caro Emerald

Ele Ivory

Mik Artistik

Windborne

Windborne’s new CD

Gil Scott-Heron

Polina Kasyanova: 1, 2

Tessa Violet

Professor Longhair

Paul Hardcastle 19

Paul Hardcastle website

19 video

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