Tuesday 6 November 2012

I'm a Heavier Dude Than I Used To Be

I've been making compilations for my own amusement on one format or another for over 40 years and have long regarded them as aide-mémoires or audio diaries - a reminder of what I was listening to at a certain point in time and, by extension, what was going on during that period of my life.

It started when I was ten or eleven, on my Dad's old reel to reel tape recorder, then on my own cassette player which I received for my 12th birthday. The cassette compilations continued on various upgraded bits of kit for 25 years, which is why to this day, after several big clear-outs, I still have a large number of them to sort through.

There then followed the short, glorious reign of the mini-disc. I loved the format. The editing facilities were worth the price of admission alone. You could play around with the running order and insert or remove tracks from the middle of the disc, all this and there was no tape to twist, stretch or snap. They were brilliant - and tailor made for the pedantic compilation maker like myself! The mini-disc, however, was quickly superseded by the CDR and, in the blink of an eye, by anonymous files on a computer.

I liked the idea of a snapshot of time - be it a 60 minute cassette or 70 minute mini-disc/CDR - and when I physically stopped 'creating' compilations in favour of dropping MP3's into a monthly file on my computer I found that, a) I would sometimes end up with 50, 60 or 70+ tunes and b)...I'd never listen to them! So a couple of years ago I started making little 8Track playlists online. Around 30 minutes of music that I'm currently grooving to - perfect. Back to my original premise, a simple audio diary. (And to Mrs S's delight, they take up no physical room in the house!)

I've been a bit lax lately, but I'm going to get back in the habit of putting together and posting the occasional 8Track playlist. There are around 35 earlier compilations here if you ever find yourself in need of half an hour's worth of aural distraction. Maybe one day, if I'm able to figure out the technology involved, I'll digitize and post a few of the really old tapes.

(While we're on the subject, you should also check out Singing Bear's regularly updated and always fascinating Grooveshark playlist over at Grown Up Backwards.)

Moon Duo - I Can See 
Rasha - Azara Alhai 
Stealing Sheep - Rearrange 
Billy Bragg - Old Clash Fan Fight Song 
Gregory Isaacs - Ba Da 
Cheek Mountain Thief - Showdown 
This is the Kit - Sleeping Bag (The Resident Cards) 
Pete Seeger & Lorre Wyatt - Fields of Harmony


Anonymous said...

I cannot wait dig into some of your collections. Thank you! Thanks for the plug, too.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that, sir. Was particularly taken by This Is The Kit and Stealing Sheep. That riddim on 'Ba Da' just won't lie down! Wonderful. I was also intrigued to hear old Pete Seeger sounding amazingly like Tom Waits! Great song, too. Thanks and keep them coming.

The Swede said...

Thanks for listening Singing Bear. I just find the Pete Seeger track ridiculously moving. I've been enjoying your latest Grooveshark playlist this very afternoon - it's a killer!

C said...

So nice to know the day of the 'comp' is not dead is it?!
And you are only the third person I know to have used mini-disc. The other two are Mr SDS and the good friend of his who introduced him to it... Mr SDS still uses it for editing and loves the fact that you can even change the speed of originals if they're running too fast or whatever! (Too techno for me...)

The Swede said...

Girl(or boy)friends, parties and car-journeys. As long as they exist, there'll be people making compilations!

Blimey, Mr SDS's mini-disc player is clearly a higher spec than mine - vari-speed? I'm jealous!

Old Pa's Corner said...

Well I have been doing compilations since the early seventies and still have some of the cassette and as you say a great snapshot of what you were into at the time. I now do Best of the year which I take from all the fav tracks of the year....Shellhunter and Flycasual do the same and we play our best ofs at Chrismas and New year if we are together...it has become a annual tradition.....will play the list later as have to go out....mini disc sounded great...never used them

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