Tuesday, 06 September 2005

From an email exchange with a friend about an upcoming show:

In an interesting bit of syncronicity, I’ve been working on a CD sampler from my music collection. As yet unnamed, it will showcase artists and songs I always play for friends when we start talking music. Stuff I’m excited about and think they should check out.

Most of my friends, save for a handful, have fairly unvaried musical tastes. They like what they like and don’t have much cause to experiment. There’s nothing wrong with with that, but I’d find it boring. Another way to put it is that I’m always looking for something new and they have lives.

In the sampler series, I’ll undoubtedly toss in something familiar here or there. Perhaps a Tears for Fears or a Jack Johnson track (but none of the radio singles), but most of it won’t be so familiar. You could say I’m trying to do for them what Northern Lights (Twin Cities record store) did for me in the 80’s. A way to expand their musical horizons and experience something outside the little box they currently live in.

So far the first draft is nearly 23 hours of music; 317 tracks. However, there’s some bloat in there too. I started with artists I wanted to feature and added whole albums, sometimes whole catalogs, worth of stuff knowing I would remove most of it later.

I figure I’ll have about 3 CDs worth (3 hours or so) by the time I’m done. But that means I really have to start culling the list. Whittle it down to the tracks that will actually make the series. That means grouping the tracks, building sections of the playlist, and removing anything that just doesn’t work.

Even though it’s the hardest part for me, it starts with auditioning every nominee and cutting the obvious chaff. I came to a group of Adrian Belew tracks on the way to work this morning. One of my favorite artists, it just so happens he’s playing a show in town this weekend (the original subject of our email exchange and hence the syncronicity.)

Barrelling down the highway at 70mph, I was treated to “The Lone Rhinoceros,” “Burned By the Fire We Make,” “Old Fat Cadillac,” “Inner Revolution,” and “The Momer.” Singing along at the top of my lungs, I was actually having fun!

Then I arrived at work.

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