Thursday 19 February 2015

Forgotten musical experiences

Our children may never know the connection
The single/EP
Remember sifting through the new single releases - or even delving into the really old ones for recently-discovered artists - and scouring through the variety of mixes on offer?  Obviously, the mixes still exist - well, nowadays there are a few hundred more for every song than there used to be - and at least there's less of a gamble involved now.  You could pick up a single with 4 remixes on the CD (including instrumental and acapella, oh yes!) only to spend your £3.99 and get home for them all to sound awful.  Even the vast amount of EPs only exist as online compilations nowadays and fairly rare to find as hardcopy purchases anymore (which unfortunately does make more sense).

The mixtape
There was a time when creating a mixtape was one of the most affectionate and intimate things a guy could do for a girl.  The picking of the perfect selection, the arrangement, and the fact that you HAD to sit there while each song played in its entirety, all meant something.  Nowadays, she just sits at the PC, clicking and dragging what she wants for her MP3 player - no fancy mixtape titles, no personalised enscrawled message or doodles on the inlay card... Now, fellas have to start visiting perfume shops again for gifts!

Music shows
Not just the specialist music shows like Yo MTV Raps but also the ones like Ozone and Top of the Pops - regular Thursday night programming completely out of the window.  Remember watching MTV or VH1 for hours and hours with the hopes of catching the Michael Jackson video you've only seen the last 30 seconds of but every one at school has been talking about for days?!
Special mention to those who made a point to stay in recording their favourite songs from Capital Radio or Radio 1's Top 40 countdown on a Sunday afternoon - thinking about it, that was probably the unsung beginnings of music piracy (oo-er!).

Categorising your music
Still a fetish for music fans - even in the electronic age - but the age-old technique of how you, as a music fan and enthusiast, categorise your music collections seems to be a diminishing one: alphabetically? by genre? be record label? by year?  This is one of the cool updates for electronic devices as you're free to indulge those petty bugbears by tagging genres (or creating your own?), composers, etc.

Hidden tracks
Another casualty of the MP3, but remember how your mind would be blown by those additional seconds of silence at a song's completion only to reveal another song with the same track number?  "What's this!?  There's no mention of this hidden song on the inlay card - it's as though it doesn't exist!?"  Although it still does happen, it's a completely irrelevant and unnecessary practice, particularly if you digitise your music and can see the song length at the outset.
The Beatles' track 'Her Majesty' off the original pressings of their 1969 album, 'Abbey Road', is considered the first hidden track in recording history - A vinyl record may be double-grooved, with the second groove containing the hidden tracks.  Placing the song as uncredited after a song is the most popular method of hiding a track on a CD, but there are also countless instances of albums containing a song in the pregap - meaning that the CD would need to be manually rewound to actually be able to hear it.  Even digitising the CD won't reveal the track.  Just think, how many CDs you may currently own that have had tracks you never knew existed!?

Music shops
Although music stores still exist, they are significantly harder to come by nowadays.  Oh the bliss of rifling through music stores for new releases, and even in the larger HMVs, trying to sift out the CD/artist you were looking for amongst the variety of music genres they were likely to be placed in: Is Prince rock, pop or r&b??!!?  But with the revelation of vinyl sales having increased massively in 2013 and 2014, this may be a tradition we can hold on to for just that little bit more.

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