Listen to the music: Oo, sha sha

9 12 2013

Back in the day, when you had to flip your disk over to hear all of the music, I was a big fan of making compilation tapes.

I’d have the tape set, my finger on pause, as I set the needle on the album, then let go of pause and let the music move.

I was pretty good at this, too, getting the timing just right: You don’t want the songs on top of one another, but neither do you want so much space that you think “dead air.”

CDs made things easier, although sometimes the fade-outs were instead cut-off (esp. with early cds), and once everything went bit, all I had to do was line up the song list on CakePro and let ‘er rip.

(Of course, I first had to transfer my music on to my hard drive, which was a huge pain in the ass and which I am nowhere close to being finished doing—because, of course, I can’t do it the easy let-’er-rip way. That’s a story too boring to tell.)

Anyway, I identified with that guy from High Infidelity (and I only saw the movie, didn’t read the book) on the care required to craft a decent compilation tape. You had to mix up the mood, let the speeds and sounds rise and fall, and the first and last tracks had to be perfect.

It’s no surprise, then, that I looked kindly upon compilation cds. Okay, yes, it seemed like cheating to buy a disk loaded up by someone else, but at their best they could introduce me to sounds and musicians I didn’t know.

Or, in a soundtrack like Crooklyn, they play like a best-of music candy dish: almost every song a Snickers or Butterfinger or BabyRuth, with the worst mere candy corn.

Soundtracks can be hit or miss. While I think Crooklyn (at least the vol. 1 that I have) is deliciously chewy, others can be merely thrown together, too slick, or compiled with an eye toward sales rather than an ear toward the movie.

Sometimes that’s good: a lousy movie might still produce a decent soundtrack. I never saw or wanted to see Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, but I picked up the cd somewhere along the way, and while it ain’t great, it’s not as bad as I’d guess the movie is.

Wim Wenders’s Until the End of the World soundtrack is great—and it introduced me to Nick Cave!—but I’d heard the movie was only so-so. Wings of Desire is a beautiful, beautiful movie, but I wasn’t impressed with the soundtrack when I first listened to it, twenty or so years ago.

In any case, the grandaddy soundtrack for me is The Big Chill. I no longer have a copy (probably got rid of it in a fit of “uncool” purification of my collection), but in college my dorm-mates and I bonded over Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and Smokey Robinson.

Buncha white kids groovin’ to the sounds of Motown. A cliché, I know, but ya gotta start somewhere.

~~~

141. John Coltrane, Blue Train
142. John Coltrane, Soul Trane
143. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
144. Crooklyn
145. Cuba Eterno
146. Sheryl Crow, (eponymous)
147. D’Angelo, Voodoo
148. Terence Trent D’Arby, Introducing the Hardline According to
149. The Damned, Best of
150. Bobby Darin, The Ultimate Bobby Darin
151. Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain
152. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
153. Miles Davis, In A Silent Way
154. Dead Can Dance, Toward the Within
155. Dead Can Dance, spiritchaser
156. Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
157. Dead Man Walking
158. Death in Vegas, dead elvis
159. Des’ree, I Ain’t Movin’
160. Ani DiFranco, Not a Pretty Girl
161. Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood
162. Dixie Chicks, Home
163. DJ Micro, Out Through the Input
164. DJ Spooky, Optometry
165. DJ Spooky, Songs of a Dead Dreamer
166. DJ Spooky vs Twilight Circus, riddim clash

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3 responses

9 12 2013
dmfant

it may be a bit dated these days but Until the End of the World is one of the best films I have seen.

9 12 2013
9 12 2013
absurdbeats

Huh, maybe I’ll have to check it out. There are plenty of movies I like that the critics haven’t.

And no, still not a capitalist; just not sure what (better) comes next.

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