How Songs Become Old Friends

Posted: December 4, 2009 in Music, Rant, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some tracks just resonate with you. These are the ones that get stuck in your head, or you find yourself quoting lyrics from them, or — the most telling tale — you keep playing them over and over again because they move and inspire, as Landmark Education would describe this feeling. That’s why I make “compilations” of tunes every year; even the year I said I was going to stop making compilations, I made a compilation. I just didn’t make physical copies with custom covers and inserts and liner notes, which takes hours and days and months to perfect, in 2008 or — most likely — in 2009. I give them away for free because they’re my way of communicating. It’s a way to say something along the lines of “here’s what I played for myself all of this year; hope you like some of it” in a palpable format.

What’s a real trip is letting this sink in: I have been making these compilations every year for 12+ years now. That is just a count of the official, main compilations; sometimes more than one disc, but always tuned to fit on an audio CD (OK the Old Skool Hip Hop McGee Mix can’t, but there are always exceptions). There are adjunct comps, live mixes, bootlegs, extra cuts that couldn’t quite make it, times I didn’t record while spinning to an international audience on the Mordenkainen’s Parlour stream, and practice stuff — some of which I recorded and some of which I didn’t.

When engaged in the constant act of choosing music you like for 12+ years on a day-by-day basis, you know what you like and what you don’t like. Everybody does that. That is why everybody is a DJ. The crucial difference is that I recorded it. This fact sets me apart from the rest of the amateur record-scratchers and mix-tapers. Why don’t you go pull out one of your old mix tapes or CDs, or an old .m3u playlist and try to understand what you were thinking about when you felt passionate — or bored — enough to actually press the record button and pick some songs in a particular order. Or did you give them all away to potential booty calls?

Songs become old friends when you play them enough. Ensconced between the lyrics and the bassline, the drums and the swells, a personal soundtrack has embedded itself into the fabric of the music. Playing certain tracks is evocative to you in a way that nobody else is going to get just like you. Sharing these particular musical missives with others is, I believe, a fundamental art form. That’s why I do it.

So when I spend hours listening to my compilations, in order or on shuffle play, it has become something akin to going to church. The best way that I can be a Shaman for everyone is to bring something back; that is certain compositions of music, perhaps in a certain order. I love these sermons. Because I recorded them myself of myself in space and time. When I press record, I realize that it is a positive, creative, wonderful thing that I have the cojones to take a deep breath and go live for posterity.

Comments
  1. […] goes along with my theme of Press Record; it amazes me that we — Galstefus, actually — spent the time to actually record what we […]

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