Throwing Darts At Music…

Throwing Darts…

The older I get, it seems, the greater the stakes with each decision I make.  So, I don’t throw too many darts in my decision making these days.  I did though, a couple weeks ago, throw a single dart at an album cover that caught my eye, an EP by the Nebraska band, Bazile Mills.

There was something about the aesthetic of the album art which caught my eye.  A friend, a music promoter in the Midwest, had posted the EP on his business’s social media page.  I honestly knew nothing about the band or what genre of music it was – I had no idea.  My only safety net was that it was being promoted by Widmest Productions, the enterprise of a friend whose musical tastes and my own often cross paths.

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Rather than check out Bazile Mill’s music on Spotify, YouTube, or Soundcloud, I purchased the EP based solely on the cover art, and the recommendation of my friend.

A few days after I placed my order online, the EP arrived.  Opening it, I was struck by the quality of the packaging.  I say that because startup bands and early releases often default to lesser packaging due to the cost of production.  I hadn’t even heard their music yet, and I was already impressed.  A crisp lyrics sheet accompanied a vivid blue disk.  The t-shirt I ordered along with the EP also impressed me.

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Proof In The Stylus…

Unpackaged, I placed the disk on my turntable, lowered the stylus to the vinyl, and held my breath not having any idea what music lay ahead.

The first track, Personal Concierge, went from reeling me in, to stopping me in my tracks.  There’s a tempo about the song that pulled along the physical me, as the lyrics picked away at the thinking me.  It was one of those rare songs that got me to like it – immediately.

The next two tracks, Spirals Out, and We Are Mistfits (Just Like You) also have tempo that resonates within the senses, and lyrics which tug at the mind.

The final track, We Are Here, has a different feel to it than the previous tracks, but is just as sincere.  Musically, it has a tempo which more allows one to digest the song’s lyrics while listening.

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Mixed Thoughts On The Experience…

I’ll never presume to know or suggest what a lyricist is truly thinking when they share a thought, a moment, or a series of actions by placing them into a song.  We are free to interpret them as we can.  I found the lyrics to all 4 songs worth pondering – again and again.  That’s what a good lyric should do.

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Last week I threw a dart at an album cover.  I hit a bullseye, but I recognize that it was my bullseye and might not be yours.  I do recommend this EP though, for anyone who appreciates mindful music. The 4 songs of Where We Are by Balize Mills provide a wide enough target with the scope of its 4 songs, that anyone throwing a dart will score at least a few points and probably more.

Lastly, I am reminded that within all the structures we keep in place and move about in order that we keep ourselves safe, it’s nice to throw a dart from time to time to keep things fresh.  Or, to take a left where I generally take a right.  Be well…  rc

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Analog Cabin…

Love In Decay…

Digital music, without me ever realizing it, has eaten away at my love of music.  I don’t think digital music did this intentionally.  It was just another cultural subsystem, doing what systems have done to societies for years; taking mankind on rides that humans can barely see and rarely control.

As vinyl gave way to CDs and then to digitized files, as speakers gave way to earbuds, and as collecting the finite gave way to downloading the infinite, my pallet for music has deteriorated without me realizing it.

To keep me hooked though, digital music has regurgitated bits and pieces of what I once loved, and sold it as the only nutrition I would ever need – much like orange juice concentrate would improve the state of hand squeezed orange juice back in the 1960s.

Because of this process, my love of music has been neglected and misfed for decades.  Like other aspects of my life left to neglect, my love of music is reawakening…

The Paycheck Process…

The system was simple.  From the age I began to work, 15, until CDs choked vinyl out of the music retail scene, I would direct the $1 line and the $.00 lines of every paycheck I ever eraned toward buying vinyl.

Example:  If my paycheck for being a sandwich maker in 1978 was $42.73, $2.73 would go toward music.  If my paycheck as a Coast Guardsman in 1985 was $419.38, $9.38 would go toward music, and so-on.  And for years, that was the most important product from any paycheck.

Through this process I accrued a catalog of albums ranging from Herb Alpert, Aztec Camera, Molly Hatchet, Joe Satriani, Steely Dan, Lee Ritenour, The Fabulous Poodles, Mental As Anything, and on and on.

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Not saying I’m proud, but I once owned their entire catalog…

Eventually though, turntables became scarce, new music was released on CD only, and my record collection became boxed and stored where it remained until my daughter graduated from high school in 2008.  At that time my daughter, who was raised on punk and classic rock, asked if she could have my albums.  She sensed a comeback that I didn’t buy into.  So the albums became hers.

In the meantime, the infinite Spotify and decent earbuds became my music only source.  With so much to choose from, I spent more time assembling playlists than I would ever spend listening to them.  And all of this became tedious and secondary.  I might still be in-like with music, but the love was gone…

What Goes Around (and around and around)…

With the advent of social media, and a growing outrage over the poor quality of digital music, the demand for vinyl now swells.  Much new music is released on vinyl, and buying a turntable is as easy as buying fresh oranges.

As I have witnessed this, it’s occurred to me to begin the process all over again; if a client pays me $1188, then $8 would go into a vinyl fund.  Starting from scratch though, has seemed too daunting.

Earlier this week I was searching Amazon for a vintage style radio for my studio and ran across one with a turntable onboard.  I figured, why not…?  Maybe it will inspire me to find a Herb Alpert album in good condition, or the soundtrack to Brigadoon.  But it didn’t end there.  Twenty-four hours later, and under the influence of inspiration, I purchased a console stereo for my living room.  Now what to do about the necessary vinyl…?

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To arrive this Friday…

Shortly after I purchased the console stereo, I asked my next client if, by chance, he had any old vinyl.  I was floored when he told me he was in the process of cataloging several hundred pieces to sell on eBay.  Quality be damned, I’ll be picking them up later in the week.  The symmetry of my designed universe never lets me down.

Lessons In Love And Appreciation…

This isn’t about the quality of music for me so much as it’s a romance thing.  It’s about the act of removing the disk from the cardboard jacket and running the Discwasher over the album.  This about placing the needle gently onto the glossy rim and waiting for my soul to rise…

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It’s a romance thing…

Once again I want to listen to and to appreciate albums as bodies of work.  The most soul-smothering problem with playlists on digital music is this:  You take just a piece of the painting and line it up beside a piece of another painting. You may create an interesting mosaic, but the point of each painting has been lost.

Through digital music I have lost my love of music, and that’s 100% on me.  I guess it’s time once again for me to learn the lesson I seem to keep on needing to learn; that when you truly love something, you don’t box it up and put it away, because you’ll probably never take it out again.  And even if you do take the box out of storage, what’s in the box will remember how you treated it.  Love what you love, and love it with passion – always.  Be well…  rc

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Aerosmith.  The Sgt. Pepper remake movie may have sucked, but the soundtrack had one great cover.  Enjoy…