By Geo Ong
Last week, in my introductory article on my other job as a music gatherer, I spoke a bit about my efforts in balancing responsible consuming with art collecting. I’ve always been somewhat of a collector. When I was a child, I had a pretty impressive collection of action figures; come to think of it, my desire to ‘eclecticise’ my collections dates back that long ago as well. I got much enjoyment from mixing universes. GI Joes would wage war against Dr. Doom. Iron Man and Spawn would team up against the Joker. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would give Spider-Man and Hulk Hogan a lift in their Turtle-Copter (which, of course, shot whole pizzas from a missile-launcher).
My music collection is growing to be just as eclectic. Lately, in my searches, I forgo genre and instead conduct searches by name recognition. Just like every other art form, music has a rich history, and there are gems to be found in any genre, from any decade. Furthermore, I’ve discovered that certain things I enjoy in music are often found across genres. For example, I’ve listened to punk for years because of its attitude. Imagine my surprise when I discover that songs by Bessie Smith, Prince, and Fiona Apple have just as much attitude (sometimes differently, sometimes similarly) as songs by the Clash and the Misfits. My love for piercing vocals can be found in songs by Janis Joplin and Kate Bush just as I’ve found them in songs by the Blood Brothers.
Last February I wrote a short article on what I’ve come to call ‘eclecticising’. The practice is still in my head, and I am still trying to figure out how to explain it. Everybody who listens to anything, whether they are huge music fans or simply want something on in the background, find out about music in different ways. (I will go more in-depth about my specific ways in the next article.) But what is common is perhaps the very human impulse to stick with what you know you like. In reference to music’s rich history, the amount of art available can be almost devastatingly overwhelming to sift through, especially if you are actually, physically sifting through, such as in a music shop. (I’ve been back in Los Angeles for the past week, and yesterday I visited one of music collecting’s meccas, Amoeba Records. The two sensations I felt actively throughout was heavenly euphoria and the irresistible urge to curl up into a ball in the corner.) But widening the scopes of you antennae, however much, can make the difference between finding what you are looking for and finding what you never knew existed.
Artist: The Shangri-las
Song: ‘Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)’