When you order from Neil Young’s webstore (fulfilled by Warner Music Group), you may never receive your package

NY/WMG is currently 0 for 3.

I purchased an LP box set and a single LP from Neil Young’s site in June. The items shipped in late July and early August.

The box set immediately disappeared in UPS’s oddly-named “Mail Innovations” maelstrom.

The replacement shipment was, finally, after much back-n-forth with customer service, sent in mid-August.

That shipment bounced around from Southern California, to the midwest, and then to (yes) Dubai UAE. Don’t ask me why.

It sat in Dubai for nearly a week, cleared customs, and landed in Kentucky.
Then it was sent to fucking Canada.

I still don’t have the box set. By now I assume it’s in shreds from going to the other side of the world and back. Reopening the ticket with WMG resulted in a reply, 3 days later, that the issue is “escalated.”

What passes for “customer service” at WMG is a very weak joke. Today I told them to credit my card, or I’m going to file a chargeback.

Another LP order has been sitting at UPS depot in Fontana, California for about 20 days. Similar “servicing” from WMG on that one, too.

I regret ever giving Neil Young’s mailorder site my money.

It won’t happen again.

Sakamoto’s Last Playlist

Today, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s management posted the playlist he requested be played at his funeral.

Ryuichi Sakamoto (January 17, 1952 – March 28, 2023)

A train of thought stops all along the way
From start to goal
Easy to understand….
Thatness, thereness
A deep blue rush in time.

My tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto can be found on Part-Time Audiophile.

Sayonara, Ryu-san.


End-of-Year Best-Of List on Part-Time Audiophile

It’s been a long time. Here’s a few of my favorite things from 2022.


Happy New Year!

Dustin O’Halloran with Clarice Jensen, Yuki Numata Resnick, and Margaret Hermant

I can’t recommend buying physical formats from Deepchord / Echospace

I’ve been a fan of the Echospace collective for at least ten years. Its music kept me semi-sane during frequent BART trips into SF, especially the portion when the trains clattered and screeched under the bay.

In mid-May of this year, the label offered a DVD packed with .wav files entitled Sequential Space. It promised shipping by May 28, with delivery by the end of the first week of June.

By the second week of June, nothing had arrived. I sent an inquiry to the label via Bandcamp.

No reply.

I opened a dispute with PayPal, requesting a new ETA from the label.


Bandcamp suggested I escalate the issue.

I did.

Today, over six weeks since I ordered the item, and nearly a month after the DVD was due to arrive, PayPal managed to wrest a refund from Echospace.

At no time did the label answer any of my politely-worded requests about the status of the order. Availability of the DVD format has been removed from the album’s Bandcamp page (although it is still described in detail), with no explanation.

The Emperor Has No Pajamas

I haven’t written or edited a onesheet in years — and it’s not something I particularly miss — but this one stands out.

I must also declare I haven’t heard the LP in question. However, a onesheet is supposed to make one curious. This onesheet makes me… well, the opposite.

(Additional disclosure: I used to work for Revolver USA, and one of my jobs was to send stuff like this back to the label, with a scrawled suggestion to rewrite…or, at least tone it down).

In a milieu that’s ordinarily dripping with lazy hyperbole, glib, empty rhetoric, and outright nonsense, the verbiage in this example is some of the most vacant claptrap I’ve witnessed in years.

Not sure what Spiritual Pajamas is thinking, here, but, apparently, this is the kind of approach that sells in Big Sur (and beyond) in 2022…most likely to people who’ve never heard Terry Riley’s A Rainbow In Curved Air.

It’s times like this when I’m especially happy I’m a gardener and landscaper, and not a marketing hack.

Things I Liked During 2021

Poppy Ackroyd "Pause"Poppy Ackroyd Pause LP/FLAC (Fatcat, UK)

Maya Beiser Maya Beiser x Philip Glass FLAC (Islandia Music, US)

Jacek Doroszenko Infinite Values 2×10″ lathe cut/FLAC (Time Released Sound, US)

Dreissk Seiche mp3 advance (n5MD, US)

Hawthonn Earth Mirror LP/FLAC (Ba Da Bing! US)

Haruomi Hosono Medicine Compilation From the Quiet Lodge 2xLP (Epic, EU)

Cassandra Jenkins An Overview on Phenomenal Nature LP/FLAC (Ba Da Bing!, US)

Clarice Jensen Ainu Mosir FLAC (FatCat/130701, UK)

Clarice Jensen Identifying Features EP FLAC (FatCat, UK)

Robin Wall Kimmerer Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants book (Milkweed Editions, US)

K. Leimer Found Objects CD (Palace of Lights, US)

K. Leimer Mitteltöner72 CD (Palace of Lights, US)

K. Leimer Music for the Open Air Soundcloud stream (Palace of Lights, US)

Loscil Clara LP (Kranky, US)

Dustin O’Halloran Silfur LP (Deutsche Grammaphon, Ger)

Daniel O’Sullivan Electric Māyā: Dream Flotsam and Astral Hinterlands LP/FLAC (VHF, US)

Ocouer Connections 2xLP/FLAC (n5MD, US)

Max Richter Beethoven – Opus 2020 FLAC (Deutsche Grammophon, Ger)

Stray Theories This Light FLAC (n5MD, US)

A Winged Victory for the Sullen Invisible Cities LP, FLAC (Artificial Pine Arch Manufacturing, EU)

Various Artists Colliding Wind (Concentric Records, Italy)

An open letter to my ol’ bong buddies at Darla Records Mailorder

Dear Dudes,

Salutations and felicitations from N. Cal. Sending only the choicest of vibes to my pals nigh unto Oceanside. I hope you’re getting some time away from the distribution grind this weekend to hop some mackable swells?

Gotta say, you and me been through some seriously tribulational life experience in this biz we call music, right? And you’re still at it. That, alone, earns you some legit props from me and my ilk. Color me erstwhile, but I totally value the oppo to urge you to keep on flying the flag, o my brothers and sisters.

Oh, and while I got you here — I wanted to know if you could, like, y’know, do me a solid?

Got some sides from you today, for which I am, ordinarily, most stoked. As you are more than aware, you’re the sole US connection for Crepuscule, Les Temps Modernes, and Factory Benelux, three of my favorite import labels. I think we can both agree that overseas shipping costs sucketh majorly, and having stuff show up in one piece is a better bet from a US address.

So what I guess I’m saying is the mailorder wonk in me honors the mailorder wonk in you. That sort of thing.

I was, however, a tad bummed this pm when I opened your cardboard LP mailer (see photos) and found you’d stuffed it with, well… trash. We both been doing that mailorder thing for decades now, and you and I know that crumpled-up paper doth not constitute effective packaging, especially when Cali’s seeing temps in the mid- to high-80s. Great surfing weather, yeah, but it’s hell on vinyl, especially when the discs aren’t adequately el securedo en el boxo.

Luckily, Kate grabbed the box from the hands of the postal employee before it could sit on our front porch — southwest exposure, since you asked — yet one more reason why I love the lass.

Just glad I forked over the $9.45 for priority. I mean, media mail would’ve had this chestnut bouncing around hot postal vehicles for at least twice as long, and the precious object might’ve showed up a limp biscuit of forlorn former-playability. And nobody wants that, right? You don’t have to answer, man; I feel you grokking me.

Anyway. I got a line on 12.5-inch square cardboard flats that my brethren on Discogs seem to dig, and are willing to shell out extra for. Three or four of those cradling the Durutti Column relic would’ve shut me up pronto. I can connect you direct to the source; just say the word.

Hoping this doesn’t derail your stoke this fine weekend, but I figured that some direct wordage among brahs is always worth its weight in vibe.

We good?

Groovy. See you at the beach.


One Year

In early March 2020, I traveled to the Mono Basin for a solo retreat. As I drove east, then south, news stories on the radio about COVID were reaching what seemed like a crescendo.

The rental was offgrid. No TV, and only satellite internet. I’d download (slowly) news-update podcasts, and periodically sit in my truck out in the cold, heater blasting, listening to CNN and NPR on SiriusXM.

I tried to work on music. Attempted to write. And read.

During my six-day stay, the news became more frightening. Trump claiming everything would be fine. Then the news about lost opportunities getting the virus under control due to CDC chaos and botched testing rollouts.

The mantra: flatten the curve. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Socially distance.

The second portion of my trip was to Independence, the Inyo county seat. I stayed in a double-wide AirBnB on the Paiute reservation just north of town.

The first morning, I was awakened at 5:45 by someone’s muscle car. I’d slept maybe five hours. I struggled from bed, got dressed, made coffee and a sandwich, and drove south to Manzanar for the first of two days of work.

In the parking lot, no one shook hands, although it had been months since we’d see one another. We smiled wanly in the 7am chill, stamping our feet and talking about COVID. Less than half the volunteers had shown up.

We tried staying six feet from each other, but it was difficult while digging with a partner in 8 x 8-foot plots, and manning two-person sifting stations. I was the only person wearing a mask, and it was mostly due to the dust.

On the way out, I stopped at the visitors’ center and bought some books. There were tiny origami birds on the counter. The woman at the register urged me to take one.

“They’re free.”

I got back to the rental and switched on the TV, but the news was disturbing, so I turned to a channel airing The Andy Griffith Show, The Twilight Zone, and Carol Burnett reruns.

I ate something. Made a stiff drink.

Then another.

The phone rang. It was Kate.

“I just went to Safeway. There’s pretty much nothing left on the shelves, and the lines were the longest I’ve ever seen. I turned around and came home. I wanted to have food for you when you got back.”

I looked at Whole Foods’ delivery page on Amazon as we spoke. We put together an order. The site was slow, and I had trouble getting the order to submit. Finally it went through, but it wouldn’t be delivered for two days.

We talked about my day at the dig, then my plans for day two. The conversation didn’t take long. I told Kate I’d return early. I had more N95 masks in the truck, and rubber gloves, and hand sanitizer. I promised Kate I’d use them when pumping gas.

That night I messaged my friend, Roger, and apologized for missing the second day.

The next morning I packed up and headed north. I stopped at Manor Market in Bishop and bought ice, and filled two coolers and a shopping bag with food.

(In the coming weeks, carloads of people from Tehachapi, Bakersfield, and LA would follow, and do the same, bringing the virus with them, and emptying the shelves of every grocery store on 395).

I began the 7-hour drive home.

It was Friday, March 13th, exactly one year ago. When things got weird.

I still have the origami bird. It’s been riding with me in the truck for the past year.

It’s faded, and somewhat rumpled. When I drove with the windows down last summer, it nearly flew out the window more than once.

Maybe I should let it go.