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I think I’m about to go download-only in my music consumption.  I’m drowning in CDs, here in my office in the back of Ellis Castle.  And, frankly, a lot of them got ripped for the one or two or three really good songs on them and then got tossed in a pile.

Today, I discovered two things.  One, my old Emusic account still works, and they had the piece I heard in a Second Life DJ’s set the other week (“The Sins Of Megalopolis” by Black Lung).  Within a minute of thinking of the thing again, I had it to own.  I like that kind of velocity.  Two (and the link will turn up in the auto-dump from later), I found that Brad Laner‘s releasing his new album as download-only.

Add to this the fact that my local mail loses a fuck of a lot of parcels, and I’m thinking it’s time to trade from plastics to bits.  Aside from my occasional shipments of Finnish music, which is bastard impossible to find unless I use Fonal or one of the few specialist distributors of that peculiar strain of Suomi tribal psych-folk I love.  (And the packaging of those things is just beautiful.  Not something you can say about most CDs.)

So my project for the next fortnight is tracking Emusic releases against the weekly releases of a decent indie record store like Piccadilly Records (who are an excellent store, but are having great problems getting deliveries to me).  It’s time to just start backing up mp3s onto CD-RWs that I can sleeve and book, so that these shelves full of jewel cases don’t crack and crush me to death.  And in any case, I am a busy man, and cannot always wait for the post office to send me a parcel full of cracked jewel boxes several days later.  It is time I received my music instantly, and stored it on minimally packaged discs and in various forms of drive.  Because this is teh futur3 zomg 11111! etc etc, you know the drill by now.

No theme to what I’m listening to today.  I’m mostly listening through stuff I’ve been sent or found through the Hype Machine last weekend.  Like “We Do Not Fuck Around” by Viva Voce, which is kind of gentle and subdued, but I love the structure (give it a couple of minutes to get going).  “The First Vietnamese War” by the Black Angels is a rolling, stomping thing with the doomy growl of Sixties psych-rock.  “The Dying Hour” by The Clauberg Opera I talked about the other day: it stabs the experimentalism back into post-rock and digs an escape tunnel out of the dead end that subgenre ran into a couple of years back.

(All mp3s are provided for review purposes only and will be deleted in seven days.  Contact the writer if you need them removed.)

Published in music


  1. I just have to say digital is rapidly growing in appeal for me as well. I had mostly stopped listening to music although there is a large number of CDs, cassettes, LPs and 45’s among the hoard here at my fortress of solitude. Just recently though, I started to avail myself of iTunes.

    I resisted the app for a long time even though several client sites have embraced it wholeheartedly. I’ve slowly been loading favorite songs from the selection of CDs into the music library and have to say it’s like having a wonderful radio station when I put the thing on shuffle and am regaled by a litany of favorites.

    Now the next vehicle I am looking to purchase will have a jack for the digital music player I want to purchase – infinitely easier than carrying a CD wallet around with you!

  2. Michael V Michael V

    There’s one thing that’s kept me from going all-download. Maybe I’m just some kind of crazy music elitist, but I’ve yet to purchase an mp3 that sounds as good as an mp3 that I’ve ripped myself from CD. I can totally hear the difference between 128 kbps and 192 kbps. 192 sounds SOOO much better, and yet everyone seems to insist on doing 128.

    So I buy CDs, rip them, and put them away in storage.

  3. Jason Jason

    Deep-linking = not cool

  4. I am a bit torn over this. I have hardly listend to a physical CD in over a year (unless I am stuck somewhere where neither the iPod works or there is no PC around), but at the same time I like the idea of buying a physical product.

    The Quality isn’t so much of a concern to me as FLAC or ALAC provide ample ways of preserving the quality, but there is just something missing not having something shiny in my paws.

    Backing up though is an issue, I have over 350GB in Audio files, and even backing it up to DVD is a nightmare, if the disks ever go I am F***

  5. jwz jwz

    If you do your backups to CDRW, then in a couple of years, we’re going to be reading an entertainingly flesh-rending post from you wherein you discover that your entire music collection has vaporized.

    The only way to actually preserve files is to always keep them on a live file system. If it’s on a shelf, it goes bad. You won’t know it’s bad until you need it. If it’s connected to a computer that you actually *use*, then you will know that it has gone bad *before* you need it.

  6. Chris Chris

    Had to recently turn to digital as local record shop closed down, don’t trust mail and don’t drive… poxy sticks :P

  7. I’ve gone almost completely digital in the last year, special ordering only a few import prog discs. But I burn my own discs rather than go with flash-style playback, mostly because I hate tracks by different bands coming up at different volumes and equalization.
    I still break out the vinyl when at home.
    I agree with the commenters above that the two concerns are bitrate and long-term storage. I spend an hour a week archiving, which is about the same I used to spend cleaning my vinyl.

  8. Jason Jason

    My mistake about the deep-linking part, though still it’d be interesting to know which mp3 blogs you’d found the songs from. Never mind.

  9. The Black Angels piece is from their own site. (As with the others, I’m hosting it myself rather than linking to their hosting.) The Clauberg piece is from their own MySpace page. I lost my note as to where the Viva Voce came from.

  10. Mmm, that Viva Voce track sounds like a blend of Pixies and Harvey Danger…

    I like physical media, and I don’t notice a difference between –alt-preset standard MP3 and originals, but the quality iTunes seems to offer isn’t very attractive. Still, there are better services out there, and it’s useful for stuff that hasn’t had a CD release / everyday listening. The discs can be de-cased and walleted.

  11. crosshatchr crosshatchr

    just bought it this week, and i already love the black angels. their record attracted me with it’s op-art on the stands, but the format made it worth buying. double vinyl gatefold is worth my dollars in a downloadable world.

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