Friday, February 23, 2007

Listening Project(s)

Last July I was looking over my 1200+ cd collection and realized that I owned discs that I didn't even know what they were, discs I had forgotten I had, discs I had never listened to, and discs that simply hadn't been listened to for many years. So, I decided to attempt to listen to them all, in alpha-chronological order. Seven months into the project and I just hit "D." (As I write this I'm listening to Miles Davis ~ Miles Ahead) My current estimate is that this will take me three years to complete. Many interesting things have happened as I've inched my way forward in this project. There's the re-evaluation of artists: "I can't believe I used to like Anthrax!" " Why don't I have more Add N to (X)?" There has also been an educational aspect to the project. I've always been pretty good about keeping chronological order within artist, but this has made me take the time to research and re-organise my collection. And in the process of doing that I've learned numerous things about these musicians. Also, hearing an artist develop over a period of time has been fascinating to me, but more on that point in a bit. The biggest change this listening project has brought about is it has created a whole new way of life (or at least listening) for me.

"What is this guy talking about?" you may ask. Well, I have decided to primarily eliminate what I'm calling "choice based listening." I have decided to set up multiple listening projects, in addition to the main one mentioned above, and virtually all of my listening will be one or the other of these projects. Each project will have its specific guide lines (ex: my car listening is all local, Rhode Island, bands in alpha-chronological order). I will be allowing myself up to five albums per week that are not part of any given project. This creates a space where I can listen to new discs and accommodates those times when I just have to listen to Charles Ives or Sol.Illaquists of Sound. I will also have some degree of "choice" regarding which project I listen to at any given time, but not as to which album is next in its particular queue.

So, here's a run down of my current and proposed projects:

The Main Project: is the one mentioned above. Listening to my entire CD collection in alpha-chronological order. (begun 7/15/06)

Leonard Cohen (completed): This project was done with my roommate Christopher. We listened to all of Cohen's albums in chronological order. I'll post on this later...

Elvis Costello: Again, this project is with Christopher. Listening to Costello's catalogue in chronological order. Currently on Armed Forces.

Local (RI): As mentioned above, all of my car listening is dedicated to local bands from Rhode Island (with some southern Mass included)

Classical/Opera (chronological): This one is a beast that will require some serious research before it can get underway. Christopher has a 400+ disc classical & opera collection that I'm planning to organize chronologically. Gregorian Chants to Pierre Boulez. wOOt! wOOt!

Bob Dylan: I've never liked Mr. Zimmerman, however I've heard tell that some people do. I feel that if I'm going to undertake all of these projects I owe it to Bob to listen to his music, although I must say, I'm not quite sure why.

My Vinyl: Can I really make it though nine Jackie Gleason Presents albums?

iTunes: currently 37.5GB worth of music. Alphabetical by song perhaps?

After all I've said so far, I will simply end with this statement:
This blog is dedicated to chronicling my listening projects. Enjoy!

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