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  • richardmitnick 2:58 pm on May 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hearts of Space, , , , , , , Zune   

    The Road to Digital – Are You On It? 

    The Road to Digital – Are You On It?

    I have not written here since March 2010. This blog has always been issue oriented. Since the advent of WQXR and the re-birth of WNYC’s 24/7 New Music stream as Q2 there have not been for me any real issues.

    I started a new blog, “MusicSprings” because there were and are subjects of a singular nature about which to write, artists and composers, musical events, albums, and the like.

    But, now I have an issue: Going all digital, for music an video.

    This started about two years ago. I ripped all of my CD’s to .mp3 at 320k. I ripped all of my DVD’s to .mp4. I found new and loving homes for the physical media. I also found new homes for most of my sound equipment. The rest of this has taken some time.

    I think that this started when WNYC tossed out day time music on FM.

    I used Public Radio Fan and Shoutcast to find new sources for music “on the radio”. I gravitated to three stations: KUSC, Los Angeles; WCNY, Syracuse; and WCPE, Winston Salem, NC. KUSC got most of my attention. I also took subscriptions at home and at work for streams in especially New Music at Live365 I use Winamp for streaming audio, with the stations listed, and also WPRB and WBGO.


    Finally, one of my favorite of all time music sources, Music from the Hearts of Space was kicked out at WNYC. So, I took subscriptions at the web site.

    Today, I have 396 gigs of music and video. I keep everything on three 1 TB Western Digital Passport external hard drives. Three drives for three computers. And for redundancy. Hard drives break.

    For video, I don’t want to watch on the computer. So I have a Western Digital WD-TV HD Media Player, to which is attached a fourth WD Passport, with all of the .mp4 videos.

    I also have four 120 gig Zune .mp3 and .mp4 players: Classical music and Spoken Word, Jazz, Rock, and video.

    Last and probably least used, but very useful in a pinch, is my Roku HD-XR Player for streaming movies (wirelessly) from Netflix.

    So, what do you think? Did I jump off a bridge? Too early? I gave away thousands of dollars worth of physical media and equipment. There is no going back. But I welcome all opinions.

  • richardmitnick 4:51 pm on March 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hearts of Space, , , , , ,   

    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space 

    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space

    I think that it is time for a new look at Hearts of Space. Hearts of Space, Music From the Hearts of Space, HOS, whatever one calls it, is the creation of Stephen Hill. HOS has been one of the singularities in performing what I see as the mission of Public Radio in music: to motivate the listener to spend money to support the artists and composers whose work we cherish. I thought about that last word, “cherish”, and I think it is the correct word to express how I feel about the music I love.

    Stephen started with Program 001, “First Flight” one January 1, 1983. There are now 903 programs in the Archive. I can listen to any program I want any time I am near one of my computers. I have subscriptions to HOS both at home and at work.

    But, it was not always so. I am going to quote directly from the web site. No one tells the story better than Stephen. I have done some editing to help readability. I hope that Stephen will not mind:

    “HEARTS of SPACE began as a San Francisco late night radio show in 1973, went national on Public Radio in 1983 and to our eternal amazement, grew to almost 300 stations. We started an independent record label in 1984, ultimately releasing almost 150 albums…

    “HEARTS of SPACE grew out of [Stephen’s] fascination with space-creating [Stephen is actually an architect], ambient and contemplative music. Beginning in the early 1970s, [he] hosted a weekly late-night radio program on KPFA-FM in the San Francisco Bay area. What began purely as a labor of love eventually became the most popular contemporary music program on Public Radio. Over the intervening quarter century, Hearts of Space evolved into a multifaceted music and broadcast producer encompassing radio syndication, a record company, and an Internet music service…

    “In January 1983, after ten years evolution as a local program, Hearts of Space began national syndication to 35 non-commercial public radio stations via the NPR satellite system. Hosted by Stephen and original co-producer Anna Turner, within three years the program signed its 200th station and became the most successful new music program in Public Radio history, as well as the most widely syndicated program of ‘spacemusic’ — a tastemaker for the genre…

    “Now in its 26th year of national syndication, a one hour program airs weekly on over 200 NPR affiliate stations, including three of the top five U.S. radio markets and a majority of the top fifty. The program is also heard nationally seven nights a week at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s ‘Spa’ Channel 72…

    “Internet streaming began in 1999 on pioneer webcasters NetRadio and WiredPlanet as well as Public Radio sites, and evolved in 2001 into a full blown subscription service offering on-demand access to the entire Archive, now over [900] programs created since 1983…

    “From the beginning, the program’s success has come from consistently high production quality and sensitive, knowledgeable music programming. The program has defined its own niche — a mix of ambient, electronic, world, new age, classical and experimental music. Artists and record companies around the world recognize Hearts of Space as the original, most widely heard, premiere showcase for ‘contemplative music, broadly defined’…

    “Quality crafting is the keystone of the HOS experience. After a brief intro, each one hour show is an uninterrupted musical journey, designed to create a relaxed but concentrated ambiance. Slow-paced, space-creating music from many cultures — ancient bell meditations, classical adagios, creative space jazz, and the latest electronic and acoustic ambient music are woven into a seamless sequence unified by sound, emotion, and spatial imagery…

    “Old as they are, contemplative sounds continue to evolve. [Stephen] says “What’s now being called Ambient music is the latest chapter in the contemplative music experience. Electronic instruments have created new expressive possibilities, but the coordinates of that expression remain the same. Space-creating sound is the medium. Moving, significant music is the goal…

    “The ancient resonances of drums, bells, and flutes, the exotic tones of gongs and gamelans, the digital sounds of the Ambient frontier; in its third decade, Hearts of Space continues to deliver the best of the contemplative sound experience, with spacemusic from near and far out….”

    O.K., that is the voice of Stephen.

    What has HOS meant for me? First, as indicated by this weblog, music is my passion. Classical music was my father’s gift to me. He thought that he gave me a business, and, yes the business made me more than comfortable. But, the business is now history and my passion for music has not only never ceased, but it has grown. I have ventured farther out than my father ever did or imagined was possible. My particular tastes include a great many late 20th century Classical composers and Jazz. And, what I heard on HOS.

    HOS took me to the cutting edge. I learned about not only “space music”, but also a great many composers in genres with which I was not familiar. Celtic, Asian, Middle Eastern, just to name a few. There are programs designed to fit the seasons of the year. I must interject to be totally accurate that I have also learned a great deal from John Schaefer at WNYC . But John, equally deserving of efforts here, is not the subject of this post.

    If you would like to see the material presented, visit the HOS web site. Along with the archive of programs, there is also a library of complete albums which Stephen has arranged to be available for your listening enjoyment. Check out the play lists for the programs and take a look at the albums.

    So, what is it like to listen to HOS from the web site these days? Well, it is a far cry from days gone by, when on the FM broadcast one might also hear the interference of a jet plane flying overhead. The olden days of the streaming audio were not too shabby. The music was streamed in a Windows Media format, 64kbit for broadband and 32kbit for dial up. I was fortunate that by the time WNYC forced me to the greater pleasures of HOS streaming audio I had broadband. The 64kbit stream was pretty darned good. I always measured the quality of the broadcast on FM by the incredible presence of the short silences between pieces. There was nothing like it anywhere in broadcast radio. The broadband stream was just as clean and bright.

    But, there was no resting on laurels. There is now an incredible flash player. The new web site is beautiful, a work of art filled with works of art. Newly added is an image gallery where one finds images that are appropriate to some of the programs.

    The weekly program is available for free on Sundays. So, if you are interested, give HOS your ear on a Sunday, actually, several Sundays, to try and measure for yourself if this programming and music can be of value to you. If you like what you hear and you want to subscribe, there are several plans at varying prices.

    One warning: if you are ever hooked, you will never go back.

    I hope that you will listen, and then subscribe, and, finally, complete the mission of Hearts of Space – as I define it – by buying the work of the artists and composers you like in whatever format you choose from what ever vendor you choose.

    • Eric 3:18 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to hear you really enjoy Hearts of Space! Have you ever enjoyed any of the music from Hearts of Space Records? We released some of the great programs from the show as well in the “Best of Hearts of Space” Series (http://www.valley-entertainment.com/artists/best-of-hearts-of-space-series.html).

    • richardmitnick 3:50 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to make your acquaintance. I have listened to albums from the HOS web site. I have been a “fan” of HOS so long, I go back to probably PGM 15. If you know the folks at HOS, you can ask about me.

    • Leena Rogres 10:53 am on February 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program from #1 to #936. It is pure joy to cycle to the top of the bluff and with my Bose unit (fully charged) watch the mad world below.

    • Septer McNamaste 3:36 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program braodcast.

  • richardmitnick 12:02 am on June 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hearts of Space, ,   

    Constant Stillness – The Music of Arvo Part 

    Constant Stillness – The Music of Arvo Part

    This is how I remember the title of Hearts of Space program #375. Now, the web site says it is a mini festival.

    Here are the words of Arvo Part about his music, in the period of his “tintinabulation”. Almost all of this is, I believe, in Stephen’s spoken introduction; but it is not is the text copy of the playlist. So, I found it in Minimalists by K. Robert Schwarz (Phaidon Press, London and New York, 1996, pg 215). But, I am reprinting it from a web page titled Biography:

    “…The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity. What is it, this one thing, and how do I find myway to it? Traces of this perfect thing appear in many guises – and everything that is unimportant falls away. Tintinnabulation is like this. . . . The three notes of a triad are like bells. And that is why I call it tintinnabulation.

    I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me. I work with very few elements – with one voice, with two voices. I build with the most primitive materials – with the triad, with one specific tonality….”

    I cannot find it in print, but Stephen found it and quotes Part, about Te Deum describing “…delicately removing one piece of time, one particle of time out of the flow of infinity. I have to draw this music gently out of silence and emptiness….”

    You can read tons about Arvo part in Wikipedia, or, just look at the biography web page, or, hey, buy Schwarz’ book.

    I never tire of Part’s work. Stephen has brought a good deal of it into H.O.S. John Schaefer has brought much of it into WNYC on New Sounds.

    Here is my library, courtesy of Amazon:
    De Profundis
    De Profundis
    I Am The True Vine
    I am the true vine
    Kanon Pokajanen
    Tabula Rasa
    Da Pacem
    Da pacem
    Orient and Occident

    Part’s music is based in the liturgy of the Orthodox Church. But, Part’s remark about delicately removing one moment out of the flow of infinity might well describe the feeling of the Jewish Sabbath. We are fortunate to be able to do this once a week, every week. But, listening to Part, we can do this at any time.

    You can check out Part’s music at Hearts of Space with a simple subscription.

    Now, I must say, what prompted this was my hearing the music of Nico Muhly on David Garland’s Evening Music program at WNYC tonight. I was in the car, and I only heard smidgens. But Nadia Sirota knows Muhly well, and interviewed him for WNYC’s homophony celebration, a celebration of the contributions of gay and lesbian composers. I think also Philip Blackburn might be a fan.

    I bought three of Nico’s albums in .mp3 at Amazon. I have been listening while I write. I am really enjoying the experience.
    Here is what I bought:


    don't remember

    speak volumes

    So, yes, it is late, but this is about all I did today.

  • richardmitnick 11:37 am on May 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hearts of Space   

    Kudos To Stephen Hill and Hearts of Space for the new Enigma Mix 

    Kudos To Stephen Hill and Hearts of Space for the new Enigma Mix

    Stephen promised and he delivered. Program 876, based around the new Enigma CD, “Seven Lives Many faces” is an absolute delight. I am endlessly fascinated by Michael Cretu and Enigma. While I did immediately buy the album in mp3 at Amazon, still, as usual, the Hearts of Space mix is better than the original. So, this is this week’s program, go to the Hearts of Space web site and check it out, free, if you wish, on Sunday, the free option day for the program of the week.Enigma

  • richardmitnick 2:57 pm on May 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hearts of Space, , ,   

    Hearts of Space Gave me a New View of Jon Hassell 

    Hearts of Space Gave me a New View of Jon Hassell

    Hearst of Space

    One April 24, 2009, Hearts of Space presented Program 873: “More Ambient Cool”. The first offering was by the trumpeter Jon Hassell, “Last Night The Moon Came Dropping its clothes in the street”, from a new album of the same name.

    Last Night

    I really liked the piece. I have previously had very little contact with Mr Hassell’s music, I think just the albums “Fourth World, Vol.1 Possible Musics” and “Power Spot” back in the cassette days. Let me tell you, I had no idea then what was going on.

    Now, with Stephen Hills introduction, I had an inkling of an idea of Mr. Hassell’s influences. You can read all about Jon Hassell in Wikipedia.

    I also found an interview of Mr Hassell which was done at WXPN, Public Radio at The University of Pennsylvania.

    What I came away with, after Stephen’s interview, the Wikipedia article, and the interview was pretty much to take the advice that Philip Glass gave about listening to Einstein on the Beach: don’t try to bring too much into the experience, just let the music play over you. If you like it, then, well, listen on.

    So, I got myself a bunch more albums and I am now thoroughly enjoying the music of Jon Hassell thanks to the gutsy play of Stephen Hill to include Mr Hassell’s work in the HOS orbit. Mr Hassell is also included in PGM’s 845 Summertronica; 731 Magic Realism; 696 Possible Musics; 563 Fascinoma, actually a Hassell title in itself; 498 Vernal Equinox; 455 Equator; 250 Liquid Desires; and a couple more.

    Stephen and co-Producer Steve Davis must have really liked the album Maarifa Street/MagicRealism 2. It powers much of PGM 731 referred to above.

    Since I am recovering from pheumonia and have some time, I decided to take Mr Hassell for a You Tube ride. I found a five part set of videos of Maarifa Street. You Tube now offers a higher quality video with decent sound. These videos can be downloaded in mp4 via a bookmarklet in either IE or Firefox. I got all five parts. Then I merged them into one seamless 58 minute video For this work, I usually use AVS Video Editor 6 from AVS4YOU. But the software told me that I needed a Quicktime plug in. I do not have or want Quicktime, so, instead, I used ConvertXtoDVD3 from Avangate. This gave me a DVD which I then ripped back to mp4 with ImTOO DVD Ripper Platinum from ImTOO. All in all, a fair piece or work. But it was worth it. Mr Hassell is seated with the trumpet, there are several other players, not much movement, and all of this really big music is coming out.

    Here are a few of the other albums I got. They were chosen at random, so there is no claim here to their relative importance.

    Fourth World Vol 2Maarifa StVernal Equinox

    So, thank you to Hearts of Space for bringing a new musical influence into my life.

  • richardmitnick 9:22 pm on April 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hearts of Space, , ,   

    Innova.mu at Live365 and Music From The Hearts of Space 

    Innova.mu at Live365 and Music From The Hearts of Space

    There are two music sources to which I have not paid enough attention at this site. They are in many ways very similar. Both will cost the listener some money. Both are quite inexpensive on a monthly basis. Both have a number of pricing plans to fit one’s budget. Both will provide a playlist, which enables the listener to buy the music that he or she likes.

    They are different in what they present.

    Hearts of Space is a music service that originated for transmission on Public Radio. It is heard on over 200 stations around the country. But Stephen Hill and his cohorts have created an independent music service which is available by subscription via the internet. The producers present an hour long themed mix built around a subject or featuring the music of a specific composer. There are over 800 programs in the archive available for listening. There are so many genres represented that I cannot count them. I think that it is safe to say that HOS presents, to borrow a phrase from my beloved WNYC, “over 500 years of New Music”. Stephen introduces each program and at the end provides details of the music. There is always a text playlist with complete disc information. If the listener does not want to choose, there is a “radio channel” which presents a revolving list of about 25 complete programs. There is actually a “free” service of the current week’s program available on Sundays. There are several payment plans to fit your listening needs and your pocketbook. I am fortunate to have a registration at home and one at work.

    Hearts of Space has also obtained the rights to present complete albums buy various composers for the listeners pleasure.

    If you have visited the site in the past, but not recently, you will be blown away by the new graphics and tools at the sight, The new Flash player is extraordinary.

    I highly recommend this site. Hearts of Space has given my wife and I much pleasure for over twenty years.

    Innova.mu is the producing arm of the American Composers’ Forum, St Paul, MN. Innova provides a nourishing environment for new composers and musicians. I have heard Innova artists presented on WPRB on both Classical and Jazz programs, and at WNYC-FM’s Evening Music and on wnyc2. The best way to hear the artists at Innova is via the five streams at Live365 They are piano, minimalism, saxophone, sonic, and electroaccoustic. You can listen in the player provided by Live365, or you can save the streams as bookmarks in iTunes or Winamp. You just pick which you want after you register and pick a payment plan. You can only use the one registration on one computer. So, if you are like me, you will have a registration on your home computer and one on your work computer. While you listen, you can keep up the web site of the stream and see a rolling playlist. This way, you can know exactly what you like and, maybe support the artist by buying the music.

    Also available at the Innova site, especially for nut jobs like me, are over seventy interviews conducted by the chief impresario at Innova, Philip Blackburn. In two groups, “Measure For Measure” and “Alive and Composing” Philip interviews young and youngish composers and musicians about what it is like to try and practice their arts while keeping it all together in life. These interviews can be downloaded in .mp3 and put on your mp3 player. You can take them to Europe, or to the dentist.

    Innova is one of the most important links in the chain of New Music, using Live365 to put the musicians and listeners together.

    Live365, by the way, has thousands of streams in an uncountable number of genres, all available to you for the same small monthly fee. You can preset one or a thousand. Along with the Innova streams, I have saved several other New Music streams, and, yes, two very mellifluous Goth streams.

    I highly recommend Innova to you for your musical pleasure.

    Both Hearts of Space and Innova will really add to your existing musical inventory and knowledge.

    • Stephen Hill 7:41 pm on May 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Richard, for the very kind review of Hearts of Space. We are “recovering” radio producers who are trying to take full advantage of the new opportunities the Internet offers.

      A few details Richard didn’t mention….

      Though we are obliged to charge for our full service access plans (we’re far too small for advertising), we do have a section with several hours of free content for those who have not heard the radio program and want to get an introduction to our music.

      We also offer the latest program free all day every Sunday after a free 30 second registration process.

      Our “Radio Channel” is a non-interactive service with a continuous stream at a reduced subscription price. We now have an intelligent algorithm that chooses programs from the entire 870+ show archive, rather than the previous rotating system of 25 shows Richard mentioned.

      Finally, though for organizational reasons we divide our music into some 30 sub-categories, all of it falls within our overall concept of ambient, space and contemplative music from all eras and cultures. If you are attuned to this kind of sound, you will find HOS a unique resource.

      :: Stephen Hill, Producer
      Hearts of Space

  • richardmitnick 6:09 am on March 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Hearts of Space   

    Eleni Karaindrou on Classical Discoveries 

    Eleni Karaindrou on Classical Discoveries

    Kudos to Marvin Rosen for being brave enough to play film music by Ms Karaindrou on his Classical Discoveries program at WPRB.

    I first learned of this composer by hearing her work on Hearts of Space, thank you Stephen Hill. I heard PGM 416, Ulysses’ Gaze, the film score for the movie of the same name. The violist is Kim Kashkasian. There are several other programs based upon Ms Karaindrou’s music. They are well worth the listening.

    Eleni Karaindrou

    Very often, I prefer Stephen’s mixes to the original works.

    WPRB, Princeton, NJ

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