Introducing Airspace Records

The Airspace is getting into music, and we’re taking it seriously. Since our inception as a publication, we have been dedicated to providing the best and most relevant content in culture, technology, and scholarship. A massive component of the coverage we do is dedicated to music and the community that fosters the musicians, engineers, and producers behind the sound. This is not a reflection of our specific interests. It’s a reflection of the orientation of culture—the tendencies of human nature.

As an independent online publication, it was a logical next step to start working with the musicians we were covering. Today, we’re launching Airspace Records, our independent music label under The Airspace.

Rock stars in mansions are no longer the backbone of musical endeavor. In the last 15 years, the world has experienced an independent musical renaissance that challenges our definitions of sound, melody, genre, lyricism, and storytelling. The population has access to the universal tools needed to create, record, produce, and distribute music. The result has been a waterfall of musical risks: some astounding successes, others glorious failures. Airspace Records intends to seek out the individuals who take those risks, triumphant or tragic, in a bold attempt to create something new and unheard. We work individually with our artists to help them find their unique voice and provide them industry standard services while respecting their musical integrity and vision.

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Dapper Disputes: The Declaration of Internet Freedom

Dapper Disputes is a feature where editors at The Airspace debate the merits and purpose of relevant issues in culture, technology, and scholarship.

On January 18th, 2012, Internet powerhouses like Wikipedia, Reddit, and Google halted their normal operations in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP acts that were sitting in Congress–pieces of legislation threatening the equality and neutrality of the Internet. The blackout was a pivotal moment for the online community. It proved that web pervades life to such a severe degree that those who built and control the Internet can effectively sway policy. Even though SOPA and PIPA were killed in Congress, countless new acts keep popping up, each with different levels of severity, but all directed at regulating the Internet.

The strongest defenders of Internet freedom haven’t stopped working since the January blackout. Academics, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and online denizens first met at SXSW 2012 to casually talk about Internet policy. Since then, the group has worked to coalesce a community of like-minded people supporting Internet freedom. Led by Josh Levy, of Free Press, and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, the “Declaration of Internet Freedom” is the result of the groups cumulative effort to issue a standard protecting the web. At 105 words, the “Declaration of Internet Freedom” outlines five tenets for a free internet: Expression, Access, Openness, Innovation and Privacy.

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Kickstart It: Stefan Loble’s Miracle Pants and His Vision for Online Apparel

Stefan Loble wants to liberate your life by changing your pants. It’s an idea that’s wild enough to work. Loble recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to springboard his apparel company into business. He has one flagship product and a promise: to eliminate the time we need to spend caring for our pants, so we can go follow our dreams.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Stefan Loble about his Kickstarter project, and his goals to start an apparel company.

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For A Better Internet: The Airspace Welcomes Michael Ferguson

Even at the recommendation of someone I completely trust, I was reticent to let Michael Ferguson work on The Airspace. This gut feeling was predicated by the fact that Michael is a roommate of Airspace senior editor Eric Harsh. They had been living together for some time, The Airspace had been operating for a couple months, and yet there hadn’t been a thread connecting the two until April. It took only a brief conversation with Michael to change my opinion entirely.

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Kickstart It: Touch the Temp with the Cryoscope Thermal Display

Robb Godshaw believes conventional temperature measurements like Celsius and Fahrenheit are arbitrary and difficult to translate. Using the assistance of crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, Godshaw hopes to upend convention with his touch based weather forecaster, the Cryoscope. Using a thermoelectric Peltier heating and cooling element, the Cryoscope can recreate any current or future temperature conditions from around the globe. Instead of mentally calculating what 67 degree weather might feel like, the Cryoscope allows you to feel it with the palm of your hand.

I recently had the chance to talk with Robb Godshaw about his Kickstarter project, the Cryoscope, and his goal to raise $80,000.

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Watching The Thrones 04: Episode 4 ‘Garden of Bones’

Blake Graham and Eric Harsh briefly discuss the major events of “What is Dead May Never Die” before tackling the nuance of “Garden of Bones.” This episode is full of non sequitur laughs and hate for the child-king Joffrey. We touch on Robb Stark‘s poor exit strategy, the struggles of the small people, Melisandre’s demon child born in a cave, Tyrion’s ability to maintain the better hand, and Dany’s attempts at strength.

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Turntable 101: Needles, Arms, Motors, and Grooves

Happy Record Store Day. Go out and buy some vinyl to support the real industry of music. Go right now then come back. Okay, you’re back now with your copy of “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends” or something equally awesome. You pull out the 12 inch slab, spin it around, and admire the vinyl microgrooves. Buy the disc, take the ride. You head over to your turntable, which you call a record player, that appears to be made my Fisher Price. It’s got some rad knobs, a sweet plastic housing, and you’re pretty sure you saw a DJ with something like in a movie from the 90s. It’s connected to a receiver that belonged to your parents, and that’s connected to speakers that your Grandpa owned before your Dad took them to college and spilled beer on them every weekend during his six year stint at education. You pop the record on, sit back, and comment to your girl/boyfriend (or maybe just to yourself) how much better vinyl sounds than digital. You immediately drown in the sludge of your own smugness.

What you’re listening to doesn’t sound better than a digital file. I 93 percent guarantee that. Your turntable is cheap, light, and imprecise in every possible way. Your speakers likely have diaphragm issues and need to have some rotten foam gaskets replaced depending on when they were made. Your amp might be okay. (They age well and the technology hasn’t really changed much in the last 40 years. In fact, older amps are better because newer ones are over-priced and plasticized to support ridiculous home theatre set-ups.) But it’s not your fault your set-up is awful. You’re trying your hardest with your limited resources and understanding of the technology. Rest assured, the rumors of vinyl sounding better than CD, Tape, MP3, and FLAC are completely true.

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420, the World, and, like, the Universe, Man

Many people assume they know where 420 comes from. And depending on their sources and current state of inebriation, the stories can become twisted and wild. “It’s the number of chemicals in marijuana,” “It’s the police code for people smoking pot,” “It’s a reference to a Bob Dylan song,” “It’s the essential number that binds the universe together,” “If you play the Barney theme song backwards he repeatedly says ’420,’” “It’s the distance from the sun to your heart.” It’s nonsense, mostly. But don’t tell the adamant and stoned that. Conspiracies and gobbledygook are soooooooo convincing to the baked.

If you manage to get a word in because your friends are busy philosophizing over blades of grass or the taste of soil, this is the story to tell.

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Watching The Thrones 03: Episode 2 ‘The Night Lands’

In the third episode of Watching the ‘Thrones,’ Blake J. Graham and Eric Harsh analyze the second episode of season two: The Night Lands. The plot picks up with more logistical layout, but takes time to focus on some characters. Tyrion Lannister begins to flex his muscles as hand to the king proving he doesn’t play by the rules like Ned Stark did. We touch on the Theon Greyjoy‘s trip back home, Stannis Baratheon‘s strange relationship with Melisandre and Jon Snow‘s encounters beyond the Wall.

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Truth in Words, in Rhymes, in Notes: An Interview with Nate Ruess of Fun.

Blake J. Graham had the opportunity to interview Nate Ruess of indie rock band Fun. The following article is a profile of Nate Ruess as constructed from his conversations with Blake J. Graham.

On an all but normal evening in 2011, Nate Ruess arrived early at the Bowery Hotel on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He sat at the bar, downed a couple drinks, and waited nervously. Having spent ten years writing and performing music with various punk bands, a popular indie-rock group named The Format, and now as the front man of power-pop trio Fun., Ruess has encountered many people and products of the music industry. But on this night he’s getting silly drunk to calm his nerves and loosen up. For Fun.’s second album, Ruess devised an album seismically different from Fun.’s previous work. “I remember telling the guys in the band, the record label, and our manager ‘oh, it’s going to be like a Fun. album but it’s going to have breakbeats,’” Ruess told me. He intended to fuse his theatrical indie pop-rock sound with hip-hop aesthetic. To do it, he wanted the best producer in the business. He waited in the Bowery Hotel’s bar for producer Jeff Bhasker, the man behind the gilded stars Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Drake. Bhasker had already cancelled multiple meetings with Ruess, but serendipitous conditions aligned and he agreed to give Ruess 10 minutes of his time.

Aided by a slight sense of inebriation, Ruess talked freely with Bhasker about the concept of Fun.’s upcoming album, dropping huge hints abut the band’s desire to work with him. Bhasker took interest. He had been in the studio working on Beyoncé tracks that day and decided to invite Ruess to his room to show him the songs. With the power of drunk-logic behind him, Ruess decided it was only proper to show Bhasker what he had been working on. He sang the chorus of an unfinished song that he had written only days prior. Bhasker was impressed. That night they recorded the hook for what would become Fun.’s breakout single “We Are Young.”

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