Wednesday, November 23, 2005

 

Blown away so far

I want to thank Jenna and Jim for some great music. I don't have too much to expand on the great insight from the other posts, but I do want to touch on a point from one of the posts, narrative. Since I've gotten these CDs I've been thinking intently on my contribution to the club and i was curious if either contributer would like to share their process with us. Did you pick songs along a theme? Were they certain songs you felt people had to hear to know your musical taste? Or did you want to expose people to music they normally would not hear? For me, both contributors have really expanded my music universe and my wife and I listen to the CDs over and over. Thanks again all!

Comments:
I had a hard time figuring out how to start. Eventually, I decided to simply set my iTunes player to shuffle and let it play while working on my computer. Whenever I would hear a song that I wanted to share, I would move it to a new playlist. After a few days, I had several hours worth of songs. Then I had to figure out how to pare down the list. First, I thought of trying a theme (travel, movement, the southwest, home, etc), but of my list of songs, I couldn’t find enough to fill a whole CD plus there were a some song non-English songs that I wanted to include but I wasn’t entirely sure what the songs were about. So I started shortening the list by throwing out songs that were by well-known artists (i.e., noU2), songs that were too long, and songs that sounded too familiar (or uninteresting). I still had way too many songs after this step. The next step was to reduce the number of songs from a single group or genre (I’ll explain the three appearances by Calexico later). During this process, a certain mood or “aura” started to reveal itself by the songs that were being chosen. By this point, I had the list down to almost one CD’s worth of songs. Now, I had to choose which of my children I loved more than others. I did this by loading the playlist onto my iPOD and living with the songs for a couple of days. This process revealed some songs that I couldn’t stand to listen to more than four or five times a day. So those went. Also, there were songs that didn’t fit the overall mood of the CD so those had to be cut. This process was difficult with many of my favorite songs left on the cutting room floor. With the list down to a manageable level, I started to worry about the order. I focused on how songs fit with the song before it and the song after it. The final order isn’t perfect but it is pretty good, in my humble opinion.

So, Calexico. I started listening to Calexico many years ago while living in the Chicago area. About three years ago, I moved to Tucson where they are based. [As a side, John Coinman (Long Hot Night) is also from Tucson] I have had the chance to see them in concert at some very small venues many times since moving here. I love the texture of their songs. They have the ability to play many different styles so I felt that the three Calexico songs on this album were okay. The two founders of Calexico are Joey Burns and John Convertino. The dirty little secret of this November CD is that these two guys (and in some cases, others from the group) are involved in four of the other songs on this CD. They make one of the B’s and the C in the group ABBC, they are a part of the Giant Sand group that recorded “Shiver,” they played on Neko Case’s CD (recorded in Tucson), and they played in the Los Super Seven group on the latest CD and Joey Burns co-wrote “The El Burro Song.” Whew, I’m glad to get that off of my chest.
 
Jim,
Even though you didn't intentionally give your mix a southwest theme it certainly has that nice feeling to it. Excellent job! I listened to it over and over again while cooking for a houseful over the Thanksgiving weekend. Thanks for helping me through the prepping of many pounds of stuffing!
MMM
 
" After a few days, I had several hours worth of songs."

This made me laugh.

I love love love your cd. I listen to it all the time.
 
just wanted to give some insight as to how I got my cd together. I did start out with a loose theme. Which later got overshadowed by just putting on what I liked. The theme was "family" and family dynamics. that was why i had started out with "where is amila". I had just spent many weeks in eastern europe with my mother and well, we can just imagine.
The nuts and bolts of compiling for me went as follows
went through itunes and pulled out every song I thought might work. this gave me (like jim said) days worth of songs. Then started editing out. Did not want to repeat but having just discovered eva cassidy and being totally mesmerized, I decided to go with two. Then it was hours of seeing how things matched up with one another, back to back. Flow was important and there was a lot of tweaking involved. I think Jim and I probably had what seemed like very similar approaches.

With that said, i still have jims cd in the stereo at work. It has amazing staying power and never seems to get old.
 
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