Thursday, January 3, 2008

Musing about music

2007 is the third year I've put together a year-end mix CD. Back in December of 2005, Melissa and I received a mix CD from our friend Dave Zartman. This was a tradition going back a few years, maybe back to high school, when he and another friend of ours, Shane Larson, used to exchange mix tapes. I enjoyed that CD, but didn't think much of it. Until a few days later, anyway, when I started to obsess about it. Obsess.

I started making lists of what I had been listening to over the last year. Thankfully most of this music was on our iTunes which made gathering it fairly easy. But after gathering it, I didn't want just to burn it to CD and pass it out. I think I've mentioned before that I'm something of a design dilettante; so I designed a complete CD package, complete with photos I'd taken, and I wrote extensive liner notes. It only took me a couple of weeks, and it was loads of fun.

In 2006, my friend Justin Nitz was nice enough to let me use one of his illustrations called “Robot Luv” and I designed all the packaging around it. This was the first year that I knew I would put together a CD at the end of the year and so I was aware of the music to which I was listening in a way I'd never been before.

Now it's something I think about throughout the year as I listen to music. Doing these CDs just adds a level of awareness to listening to music. I'm no longer thinking about whether or not I like it, but do I like it enough to include it on the year's playlist; what would I say about it in the liner notes?; how would it fit in with other songs that I'd chosen?

Until a few years ago, I was never very mindful of music. I liked it or I didn't and that was pretty much it. I think the thing that made me start to pay attention was meeting so many musicians while living in Portland. Seems like half the people I knew up there were in bands. It made me aware that there are people actually creating this music. It gave me a more personal connection to the music they made. That connection continued once I moved to Salem since Melissa seems to know the entire Salem music scene ( a scene that seems to be garnering attention outside of the city finally). Musicians are great, enthusiastic lovers of music, of course, and they want to share with you what music they love, which is a great way to be educated, and to get recommendations, too.

Anyway. Tomorrow I post the actual playlist and liner notes.

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