I have a few Slacks (as in chats, not pants) with #music and #jams channels where I feel obligated to post music I find good. I love sharing music. It’s why I got involved and loved my years on WUVT and WMUC DJ’ing, why I have always had a side-‘job’ as a DJ, why I made mixtapes in high school and recordings of my sets to share.
This was going to be a tweet thread but turned into something longer. So as a peek behind the scenes, here’s how’s my workday sonic rotation works!
The Sonic Atmosphere
There are a lot of times I have nothing playing, but I am listening to what’s around me, inside and out. Often I go on listening walks for both meditation and exercise. I might even pick up an instrument in my studio and play a bit.
Do I have it on vinyl?
If I think of something, like a style or a specific artist, I will first check the stax of wax. It could be anything from Zappa to John Cage or Autechre to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
Is it easily accessible vinyl?
This is actually a requirement of the previous item, except that it will depend entirely on the artist or piece in question. If I have a hankering for an original UK release of an early ’70s Jethro Tull album, I’m gonna have to hit the big shelves.
Do I want random play?
Then it’s to iTunes, hit random, ~2600 albums worth of tracks can show up in any order the pseudo-random (it plays repeats a LOT) algorithm chooses. The fun part here, of course, is family members experiencing the avant-garde nature of a huge swath of my collection (e.g. Merzbow’s 13 Japanese Birds: Karasu just came on random followed by a track from Funky Desert Breaks).
Do I want a specific artist or style not on vinyl?
Self-explanatory I think. If I have the artist on vinyl, that wins. If I don’t have it, I check my digital collection. Very rarely I will come across something I know I have somewhere in 500+ CDs but not on-disk and I’ll take that chance to rip it.
Do I want a specific artist I don’t have or want more of?
The first place I check is <them>.bandcamp.com, then a Discogs search. YouTube helps with more obscure stuff, too. Pro tip: if you’re sharing music, check if it’s on Bandcamp first! Tracks are all embeddable.
On the BBQ porch with only an internet-connected streaming device?
That’s easy: Somafm. My go-to is Cliqhop or Groove Salad(s). Drone Zone is always great too, and some of the loungey stuff is great dinner music. I also never miss Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
What I don’t do?
I don’t buy streaming services. I donate to Somafm, I use my own collection. I won’t bother listing them, but there are some I won’t even use embedded. I’m pretty firmly on the David Crosby and Marc Ribot side of this argument.
Easy enough, but I do have a huge collection to my advantage. I understand that streaming services are very easy for a large majority of people to be exposed to new music, but this is why I share. Hit me up on twitter if you want some more music suggestions!