Our Exquisite Replica of Seventeen Year Old Ears

This morning I tooted a flippancy:

Make a mixtape from when you were seventeen.

Happily, it was picked up by some good people as a neat challenge. Seventeen is a tricksy time of life to pinpoint: an age of leaving immaturity, delusions of adulthood, tastes developing but still relatively primitive. Mismemory will con you into thinking your seventeen year old self had the tastes of your fourteen or twenty year olds. Both. I initially fell into that trap.

Tom has done a good YouTube two-sider.

Kars has gone to Rdio.

Aden has some slices of ’93 hip hop.

[edit] Kim has recreated a particular moment in time, here. The original inlay.

Here is mine, over on the Spotify channel.

At seventeen, we had recently achieved internet in our home. I spent all possible hours on pre-lawsuit Napster and audiogalaxy grabbing anything I had spent years reading about but not being able to afford. This helped accelerate my journey away from skapunk and bad metal.

Sadly, it is missing Shellac’s Watch Song from 1000 Hurts. 1000 Hurts and the Melvins Trilogy are the albums that I listened to on repeat during that year, identifiable marks in the sand for my tastes.

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Mount Eerie presents…

Phil Elverum has made a visual playlist of videos and music that are good reference points and (possibly) inspirations behind the newest Mount Eerie albums, Clear Moon (released end of May) and Ocean Roar (September).

It’s an interesting mix of a lot of things I’m interested in: Pacific North West music (Eric’s Trip, Nicholas Krgovich, Earth), ’80s UK goth type acts (This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins), ethereal soundtrack music (Popul Vuh), a good dose of Black Metal, and a lot of natural landscape fantasies.

It’s great that artists can make these kinds of context documents for fans: to share actual inspirations that can be in some way experienced, understood and add value to their own creations.  These things used to be limited to the ‘thanks’ section of LP inlays, where I would see which bands, record labels and — occasionally — authors, artists, books and films would be referenced before going into town and spending money on one or two of those things.

Anyway. Enjoy the playlist, and pre-order the LP.

Finished. It’s finished. Nearly finished. It must be nearly finished.

Last week, Marie and I posted the last entry to Playlist Club, a 51-track compilation featuring an appearance from all the contributors of the last year. It was the end of a year-long project, and it wasn’t an easy thing to do. As I said over on PC:

Hopefully, you’ve found one or two new songs or artists that you hadn’t heard before, or rediscovered some forgotten gems, and that we’ve done our bit.

Our time is up now, kids. These 12 months — and the shedload of songs, stories and elevenses they have brought — have been a lot of fun, but it’s time to move on. A year seemed about right, and there are lots of excellent new ways of discovering music that have popped up since we started (a favourite of which is This Is My Jam, say hello & hai! ), and perhaps our purpose is served.

The other side of that, is that it got a bit tiring. I have endless respect and admiration for the people behind the 365, curating a person to contribute every day, needs full-time editors. Marie and I jumped in head-first without really thinking it through. I’m glad that we did it, after calling her on a flippant comment, but harrying people every week — with occasional anxiety about missing our set publication time — came to be a bit of a drag. When people are dead into it, they are dead into it; when they’re a bit lackadaisical, it’s a bit frustrating. Of all the weeks, we only missed one day (cheers, Brandon) and had a couple of late shows. Not bad, I think.

Anyway, so the ending of it. We’d got tired early December, but decided we would stick with it until there was a natural moment to break it up. A whole year, 52-weeks, seemed as arbitrary as it did good, so we decided that mid-February would see the end of Playlist Club.

It seemed so final. We’ve got a real URL, a proper logo (thanks Kipi), shiny badges (shout if you want one) and a massive stack of people who still wanted to contribute (sorry, pals). We’ve put in many hours to this thing, often with minimal reward, but it was a fun thing.

Importantly, it was a thing, but its life had run and we put it to bed. I thought that maybe we could just tweak it, make it a monthly thing and lighten the burden on us, but it would just slowly diminish and lose any lustre that it had. This way, it may be a bit disappointing to a few people now — but we’re not disappointing everyone for a long time.

It was good to do. I’ve been thinking about endings, off and on, for a while now. There seems to be a disjunct between ending Real things and Digital things, even if they’re not that different. In the ‘real world’, it is easy to put things to an end. Artists end their own stylistic periods, musicians kill off personae/bands (“Mount Eerie is a new project. The Microphones was completed, or at least at a good stopping point. I did it because I am ready for new things. I am new.“), narratives are drawn to a close (Gold Blend couple) and we all sup the last of the tea.

I’ve noticed an odd trend of the concept of time in Digital. In ‘the past’, time has been planned, forward. Things plotted against and things made to arrive on a certain date, for a certain reason. An ad campaign would have its lifespan for as long as it could afford screenspace, newspaper ads, or billboards, or backs of buses. The product was locked into time and – because of that – had to end. Digital has given the illusion that time is some how more real now. Things are always on and always available, Day V Lately from the Yellow Pages campaign could be, right now, looking for his record in Vinyl Tap — so he will tell you about it, right now.

But what happens when he definitely is not?

He gets busy, doesn’t have time for us any more. Takes a break. Or goes on holiday:

It might be a bit facile to pick two fictional characters from ad campaigns, but they’re indicative of the difficulty in letting go. There’s the illusion that they could always come back, but there’s a slight hint of desperation — if what we’ve got lined up doesn’t work out, we’ll be back.

There’s no desire to sever the ties, but I think that’s important for getting on with new things.

Dropping balls.

I don’t use Google Chrome.

I’m told I should, but I don’t really want my entire internet experience mediated through Google (despite perversely sitting here using a MacbookPro laptop and Safari browser).

However, Google Creative Labs are doing some fantastic things to demonstrate the capabilities of their browser.  I’m feeling lucky