Monday, December 23, 2019

Altar, iPhone vs Android & Clean Festival Posters

Weekly Update 2019-51: Spotify's Altar playlist curates those good-good Soundcloud electronic sounds, my latest leap across the line between iPhone and Android and a well-organized music festival poster (almost) offers more hype than any band could.

Music: Altar
Since May of this year, Spotify has really stepped up its electronic music game with a curated playlist called Altar. Digging into some of the indie pits more commonly found on Soundcloud's dubhouse and trance, Spotify is finally starting to scratch my itch for weird, genre spanning electronic music. Updated weekly with over six fresh hours of sound, I am really enjoying the collections.

The playlist was launched in May with a curation takeover by Four Tet during its first two weeks. I try to make a point of following musicians I like, and absolutely adore the ones that take the time to create playlists of what they listen to. Even after the Four Tet takeover, Christie Driver-Snell, Editor for Dance Music at Spotify and her team continue to produce a great playlist that keeps me in touch with my Soundcloud years.

I was finally able to enjoy myself at this year's holiday party since I didn't have to perform. So instead, I got to hang out and get wine drunk with Matt while we tried to locate all the finance people to brush shoulders with to better secure him an interview in their department. We also took some fun photo booth photos with my development team:

I couldn't believe Adrienne was doing coatcheck at the party totally by chance?!

Early the next morning came our most current estate sale, spanning two days of giving a beautiful collection of corningware to a good home (among other items). As always, no one can ever imagine how much stuff you can store in a small home until it's all out in the open and individually priced. Considering this, I think we managed to rehome quite a good amount of items.

Ray showed up for a visit! Here's my dad drying the snow out of his hair with paper towel. BFFs!

And in between, we celebrated Larissa's birthday with some Cosmic Bowling. She believes that there are two kinds of bowlers: those who start out poorly and get better as the night progresses, and those who go the opposite way. I am definitely in the latter. But at least I wore the right pants (totally by chance!)

The holiday festivities continue on with a mini Christmas party with my band, and the secret santa gift exchange at my work.

My family is celebrating Hannukah early before my sister dips to Sudbury, only a day early. And we'll reunite on the last day of Hannukah when she gets back so it all works out.

I'm hoping to hang out with Emilia and attend Kensington Market's Winter Solstice Parade this year, making it a yearly tradition. They burn a nice, big effigy of something different every year, and I must say I am quite drawn to the watching of something big burn to the ground (in a safe, controlled environment).

And gosh darn it, I am going to finally catch up to my blog schedule in the last gosh darn week of 2019. This is my plea to myself.

Random Thought:
It's been two or three weeks of using an Android phone (the second time around), and I have to say the transition has been pretty seamless. The only thing I still can't stand is the fingerprint sensor being on the back of the phone, having to pick it up to unlock it gets old quick. But my battery lasts two full days on one charge which is amazing, and my camera is fabulous - specifically at night which I love.

So many people gripe about the issues and differences between iPhone and Android, and having now used both I think they really aren't as different as people may think. Maybe it's because I had already grown accustomed to Google apps like Keep, Photos and Maps on my iPhone, but it didn't take long to get used to the Google Pixel at all.

My only disappointment is the fact that while Android boasts customizability to an extent that Apple shudders at, not everything can be customized to the degree that I would prefer with a visually analytical mind. Apple (mostly) makes everything pixel-perfect, but nothing can be customized. It's quite a crossroads.

Read my 2016 post on my first foray into Android, why I ultimately switched back to iPhone. Now, three years later, I guess Android finally stuck.

Inspiration: Outside Lands Festival Poster
I'm trying to keep tabs on the evolution of typography through music festival one point, they were the most exciting thing I'd read all year - now I read the news. I last spoke about them at some length in a post from 2016, and I've recently found one that's doing something different.

The hierarchy is so strong, I really have to hand it to Outside Lands' graphic designer for creating what may be the cleanest festival poster I have ever seen. Undoubtedly, the bar on clean is set quite low as most festival poster designs fall within one of two categories.

The first involves pushing the experimental type style evolved from the 1960s psychedelic movement. While low on legibility, it does evoke a certain beauty.

This is a real festival poster. Where to...begin?

The second, less excitingly, recreate the classic "wall of text" that is extremely low on readability but at overall glance gives that good-good feeling of a festival with "so many bands I love, I can't keep track and I'm delightfully overwhelmed". That's the feeling you want to evoke while looking at a festival poster to make it memorable enough to get viewers to actually purchase a ticket. 

Okay, so now you've seen what else is going on in the music festival poster design world. So back to the Outside Lands poster.

The first thing I notice is that it's more mobile friendly than the other two posters. The typography is bigger (and doesn't bother with more than two levels of hierarchy with bands, which is respectful to musicians and their fans) which also reduces visual clutter. It reads like a fancy spreadsheet and I have mad respect for that. Scan across to see more bands for this specific day, or scan down to skip to the next day.

The white on navy blue is such a freakin' breath of fresh air, finally a poster that looks sharp and passes accessible levels of colour contrast for my poor, screen-burned eyeballs.

Though as I mentioned earlier, this bar is set so embarrassingly low that I would like to get on the lookout for a poster that does an even better job of information design and accessibility. Hey, maybe I'll find something worth attending in the long run.

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