Build your own Spotify-like music streaming solution using mpd

Since I distrust centralized services such as Spotify that can delete content you love at any time they like, I’ve always bought my own music and have a huge collection. But there’s no denying that streaming music to any device or location is a useful feature. You still don’t need Spotify for that, thanks to the FOSS community you can build your own Spotify-like streaming system, and this guide shows one combination of software to accomplish this.

The goal: Stream your music collection from your own PC (or NAS or whatever storage you have) to any web browser, mobile phone and desktop clients.

The method: A little Linux magic involving the following components:

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Vintersorg's new album: Jordpuls

Wow, finally a Vintersorg album in Swedish again! And what an album!

Vintersorg is full of energy on this new release, and the tracks go all over the place. You will hear Borknagar-style confusions of guitar noise, you’ll have upbeat folk-inspired sing-song tracks like Klippor och skär that make you feel as if Vintersorg’s now-disbanded folk band, Otyg, were alive again.

Here, have a listen!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiDqwY8Sjtg&w=425&h=349]

None of the songs ever get boring, but some people might think it all sounds a bit chaotic. Quiet passages, walls of noise, clean singing, growling, folk melodies, black metal, synthetic harps, genuine violins; all in the space of 3 minutes. Don’t worry one bit if you’re able to pick out the structure in Borknagar songs, though. People who can make sense of Borknagar will find Jordpuls easy listening of the Tom Jones kind.

Obligatory buy links:

Jordpuls at Amazon Germany, Jordpuls at Amazon UK (with MP3s), Jordpuls at Amazon USA (with MP3s).

New black/doom metal discovery: Dekadent

I only just discovered Slovenian epic black metal band Dekadent. They play very powerful, evocative, pompous and epic black metal with a touch of doom and, weirdly, many happy passages but always with growled vocals. The music has a very large feel to it, they create big warbling soundscapes and then tear them down with walls of noise.

I don’t know any other band that sounds like this. Some people call this sort of stuff “post-metal”, but let’s not get overexcited here.

Here’s a clip from a slower song, “Raided”, from the album “Venera: Trial & Tribulation”:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VFfuySQG2I&w=560&h=349]

And here are some links to buy this shit from Amazon:

Dekadent: Venera: Trial & Tribulation

Dekadent: Deliverance of the Fall

Dekadent: Manifestation of Seasonal Blee

Album recommendation: Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini

From the band you could call “the U2 of Norwegian black metal” comes Axioma Ethica Odini. It has everything you’d expect from modern, avant-garde Scandinavian-style black metal, although one of the later tracks (Night Sight) sounds awfully Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin, and they should perhaps leave that kind of stuff to Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin.

Here’s the title track, Ethica Odini. Very repetitive, happy, poppy, sort of slow:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U1h5PJua7M&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]

And this is Lightening, the finishing track:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8iCxMTzRGI&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]

Angry Metal Guy gives it 4/5
About.com gives it 4.5/5
Sputnikmusic scores it at 5/5
Metal Hammer (Germany) gives it Album of the Month and 7/7

And I’m pretty happy with it, too!

Fantastic oriental-style Israeli black/death metal

Amazon helped me find Melechesh, a wonderful band from Israel. The songs are poppy, light-hearted (for black metal) black metal, with a lot of oriental influence.

Here’s an example from an older album:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfegItscO3g&fs=1&hl=en_US]

But check out this shit from their very latest album, The Epigenesis:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDP81Pfla-M&fs=1&hl=en_US]

Rocks my balls off right now. Listen from 0:48 for some tight Egyptian-style stuff.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v36L4X0xs8E&fs=1&hl=en_US]

And that rocks them back on.

m/

Apple steals/is inspired by FOSS music client's icon, uses it for iTunes

Well, not exactly.

But maybe you agree that the new icon Apple uses for iTunes looks a bit like the old icon that we’ve been using for Ario for quite a while. Ario is a client for MPD, the Music Player Daemon, something vastly more open and superior than iTunes. We are superior, I say!

Here’s our Ario icon:

And here’s Apple’s iTunes icon:

Strange “coincidence”, eh? And Ario’s only been out since 2007.

Good quality music from your PC, Mac or NAS: Music Streamer

If you think music sounds good from your PC audio outputs, you are wrong*.

Most PCs come with onboard audio circuits that, at best, sound weak. As if you’re listening to your music through balls of cotton in your ears while the neighbor’s kid is marching up and down your living room shaking a bowl full of glass shards in rhythm with the music.

But there’s a cheap way out of that. The Music Streamer by High Resolution Technologies. It’s an external USB sound interface with a very good D/A converter. This is a semi-audiophile device, several levels above consumer-grade stuff from e.g. Creative. Yet it costs only about the same as your average USB audio interface these days.

This isn’t made for 5.1 surround sound gaming, it only has two analog RCA (Cinch) outputs to hook up to your amp. Of course you can also play games in stereo on it and watch films. Both sounds crystal clear.

I’ve hooked mine up to my Synology NAS (it’s plug and play) and I’m running mpd on it, so now I can listen to my collection of FLAC audio without even switching on the PC, and I can remote control it from any Android phone, a web interface or dedicated clients like Ario or ncmpcpp.

Best purchase of the year! I’m yet again discovering new aspects of albums I’ve bought 15 years ago and have heard over a thousand times. This thing reveals more detail in my music than my CD player. It’s nearly the same sensation as I had going from shitty speakers to semi-audiophile shit.

I bought the small version for CHF 120.00 (around USD 120.00), but if your ears are good enough to hear it and your equipment is good enough to reproduce it, you can go up to USD 900.00 on one of the higher-end models.

(*Okay: If you’ve hooked up some external D/A converter via S/P-DIF or TOSLINK you can get as good or better quality. But then you wouldn’t be reading this, would you?)

Mongolian folk rockers Altan Urag coming to Geneva

Nice! They’re finally visiting Switzerland 🙂

Mongolian folk rock experts Altan Urag will be at the ISM, Rue de Lausanne 45-47, 1201, Geneva, playing a concert on Saturday, June 5. 2010, 20:00. If you don’t remember Altan Urag, they’re behind part of the Mongol soundtrack, for example, with songs like Xöx Tolboton. In Mongolia, I think they’ve already released six albums, but none of them seem to have made it to the European market. So Geneva will be a chance to buy the CD(s) and get autographs.

More info: http://www.wmasm.ch/1altanurag.php