Saturday, April 11, 2009

Honor Thy DJs

As friends know, I still make mixtapes (more precisely, mix-cds), probably an atavistic adolescent impulse. Some of the music comes from the several thousands of LPs lining a wall chez Helmut. A lot of it comes from the pre-digitalized music collection on an external harddrive that's nearly bursting at the seams. And a lot of that pre-digitalized music comes from converted analog LPs and 45s that I've gotten from all sorts of different places on the internet.

In my view, this is the very best thing about music on the internet - the ability to discover, unveil, introduce, share, and preserve music that might never have been digitalized by professional archivists or record companies or anyone else. Sometimes this music comes from an obscure vinyl pressing of only a few copies. I have one tune for which there are only two known physical copies.

Whether they view it as their goal or not, many people are out there preserving music which would otherwise be lost to history because it doesn't fit the market, and often never did. What does sell on the market is obviously not identical with what is good and valuable (unless one maintains the questionable view that value is determined by market popularity which is in turn a function of individual and collective democratic free choice). Music is an area where that point is made strikingly clear, even if a lot of the obscure music posted is not shared because it's thought to be "good" in any regularly used sense of the term. Sometimes it is simply worth helping it to exist and continue to exist.

I want to honor a few of the best of these explorers and preservationists who share discoveries from the unknown and forgotten corners of music, sometimes new, sometimes old:
Thanks, folks, from a fan.
Image above from With Comb and Razor.

Update: ...and on the right-on suggestion of a commenter (although I never said the list was comprehensive), I should also add 20JazzFunkGreats. For a sample of their handicraft, check out their recent track by Lucci Capri (April 17th, 2009).

Evan at Swan Fungus has also come into his own, moving away from the drone/post-rock aesthetic that dominated the early days of his blog and into a more catholic aesthetic. I think he got a girlfriend. Check out this awesome recent discovery (for me, at least) that he offers up.

Update (about 9 months later): Lovefingers and DonnaSlut have shut down operations. The tunes they've uploaded are still available, though, and there's a treasure trove to go through with both of them. Lovefingers also posts mixes by top and up-and-coming DJs.

I need to pay homage to a few more music blogs sharing great music and informally acting as archivist-anthropologists:
Thanks for the music.


MT said...

Cool. You're honoring us as well with the compilation. I feel karma oozing out my ears.

Comb & Razor said...

Thanks a lot for the shout-out!

mersenne_twister said...

hel-loooo! thanks for the love, it's incredible to be on the same list as UbuWeb. cheers!

Anonymous said...

don't forget 20JFG!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the Dandellions are Awesome and Precious!! The Swan Fungus is definitely in love.

Georges said...

Thank you very much for including on this fine list, we are honored to figure alongside incredible people such as the guys from Mutant Sounds.

Happy to know you like our selection, we'll keep on sharing our finds!