"Wisdom is organised life"August 22, 2007
Well as I have been sat about waiting for news on the employment front, and as it hasn’t stopped raining again in days I figured it was about time I sorted out my office / listening space at Pinnell Towers. A good clean up, clear out and reorganisation has been badly needed for a long time, and so over the last couple of days it finally happened. Seven full refuse bags of junk went out, (mainly remnants of my last job, so nice to clear it out of my life) and a few hundred CDs that I haven’t listened to in years were boxed up and moved into one of the spare rooms here, joining other similar boxes from past clear outs.
It always feels great to do this, kind of a purge of my musical interests as much a belated spring clean of the room. Its interesting that whilst going through old CDs you manage (or at least I do anyway) to find discs that you have absolutely no recollection of owning before, and other long forgotten articles suddenly feel like they need to be played. I somehow managed to relocate the stereo (just out of shot in that photo unfortunately) without ever switching it off, so as these CDs leapt out at me demanding to be played in a last gasp attempt to save themselves from being boxed up, I had an ongoing soundtrack to the process.
Amongst the semi-forgotten items I played was the Revenant compilation from a few years back of old 78rpm records by The Stanley Brothers, old-time bluegrass music from the forties and early fifties. Played loud yesterday morning as the wind and rain whipped against the window this sounded good. I have several of the early Revenant compilations of early American music, and with the majority of them I tend to find the music refreshing to hear every now and again, almost cleansing the aural pallete, but this isn’t music I can listen to for long, repeated listens tend to annoy me after a while.
Another CD I unearthed that had somehow escaped my main collection by accident was a recording of Feldman’s Triadic Memories by Jean-Luc Fafchamps on the Sub Rosa label. Finding this was like receiving a new Feldman disc in the post, as I had no memory of what it sounded like, as it was probaby one of the first Feldman CDs I bought. Listening through though I found it quite disappointing, the piano sounding very bright and closely recorded and the playing a little stiff, lacking the richness and flow of the Tilbury or HinterhÃ¥user versions I own.
I also played a CD that I often seem to discover whilst tidying up the shelves and I can never resist playing as it always seems to make me smile. Jim O’Rourke’s Halfway to a Threeway EP is the disc in question, and the title track in particular, a tale of one man’s search in vain for a mÃ©nage Ã trois. I was never a big fan of O’Rourke’s later song-based material. Whilst his arrangements and musicianship were quite beautiful his voice was so terrible it rendered most of the material unlistenable, so I have always preferred his work with other vocalists, Edith Frost’s Calling over time a real favourite. Halfway to a Threeway though is just hilarious, a few minutes of silly dark humour, but it always tickles me.
A good sort-out like this is always good for the spirits, and today I set about clearing out my iMac hard drive of old audio recordings and ensuring my iTunes files are all nicely labelled. A little sad I know, but this kind of thing is addictive to me, and the sense of a job-well-done at the end is a nice one.
Interesting things to spot in that picture; (click on it for an enlarged view) a well worn early edition of Cardew’s Treatise poking out from the shelf in the foreground, a Professor Yaffle figurine sat atop the rarely used Windows PC Monitor, (Professor Yaffle is a longtime mentor of mine) and the small silver UFO flying just above his head. Bored? Me? Never!