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Music Libraries on the Go

January 23, 2010

My old computer never agreed with iTunes, and I’m not a huge fan of Apple products, AND I frankly don’t like the wheel buttony thing on iPods, so I never got one.  But I caved and got one during the holiday season.  Since then I’ve been on a slightly fanatical mission to rip all of my music and organize it so I know exactly what everything is.

This is a pretty monumental task.  So big, I briefly considered using the Naxos Rip service.   Time/money/time/money, etc etc.   But I’m not going to, because its really exciting to rediscover all sorts of music I haven’t listened to in years.  Classical, punk, jazz, ‘unclassifiable’ (actually the genre listed for the Tom Waits albums I had on my hard drive).  You never stop liking the music you listened to in high school, even if you believe it to be, well, awful.  So I’m finding some old gems mixed in with my stacks of orchestral romantic music.  Funny, these days I think Berlioz is about as over the top as Operation Ivy.  Let’s just say I liked an unabashed display of emotions when I was 17.  Unique, I know.

I have to say, having almost 2 months worth of music in my pocket is pretty friggin awesome.  I’ve always been a big fan of programmed  music.  I like someone selecting my music, whether its me or someone else.  The Smart Playlist is a nifty tool in iTunes.  I currently have a few playlists set up that select for me hour long queues of a single genre comprised only of tracks I’ve never heard.  Once I get a good percentage of my music rated, I’ll be setting up playlists of my favorite tracks that I haven’t heard in a while.

Another thing – If your musical tastes are anything like mine, determining genres for music sucks.  There’s no way around it.  How much 20th Century music exists in that no man’s land of jazz/classical/pop that you can’t quite put a finger on.  Its no big deal unless you’re doing something like smart play lists, and then its like “Why’s John Zorn’s Kol Nidre in my Jazz queue?  This is all wrong!”  And it ruins everything.  Or not… I’m just saying – I want my cake and to eat it too.  I love genre bending but I want to put everything in a nice pretty box.  I mean… what the hell am I supposed to do with the Ebony Concerto?

Also, just shuffling all my music is an interesting experience.  Like I said, I’m used to dialing in my music selections to fit my mood.  Depressing, melancholic, exciting, aggressive, etc. etc.  Sometimes a track will come up that I associate with one of these specific emotions, and after a few hours of listening, I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster of sorts.  The power of music becomes much more intense when you lose control of what direction its going in.  I wish I could say that more elegantly, and I wish I could attribute that power to something other than a little hard drive with an audio jack, but I can’t, so it’ll have to do like that.

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