I bring a peculiar and extensive set of biases to the table, of course. It hardly bears stating that this is but one man’s opinion, blah blah, and that my pedigree, such as it is, is spotted. But in the interest of moderate transparency: ex-record store employee; community radio host; infrequent concert-goer; music list junkie; subscriber; father and rapidly aging curmudgeon.
What you’ll find here is an extension of (and labour-saving alternative to) the annual Dopey Ding CD compilation and liner notes. A Dopey Ding, for the uninitiated, is a compilation CD of the year’s best songs as seen by the compiler, usually accompanied by a list of the year’s best albums. That Dadaist name is a remnant of my days in music retail, coined by a co-worker, with the crucible of long hours and late nights/early mornings that is the only constant of the holiday season probably contributing to his grasp of the nonsensical. The DD compilation serves as a personal statement of taste, and a jumping-off point for fervent debate among fellow music geeks. Every December the CDs begin to circulate, traded and shipped between an ever-growing cadre of friends, even though I’ve long since moved on from the record store. I have, in years past, made an effort to put together not only a CD and a best albums list, but an extensive commentary on the music contained on the CD, as well as year-end lists for several additional categories. I have designed, printed and assembled these unasked-for musical polemics and handed them out for several years now. But this year, owing to many time-limiting factors, not the least of which is the summertime birth of a beautiful daughter, I have decided to keep the physical object simple - to all but eliminate the need for scissors and rulers and glue that had become a holiday tradition - and to instead use this blog as a way of sharing the thoughts on music that I so blithely and big-headedly assume anybody cares to read.
So, 2006. I partially adopted the new model of music consumption, taking out a subscription over at eMusic, but I continue to buy CDs, too, because I remain fond of the traditional tactile relationship between a collector and his collection, to liner notes and photos and the simple act of tearing cellophane off a new acquisition. I have also become a frequent visitor of several MPfree sites, notably Destination: Out (more on that in a future post). Files are compact, convenient and sexy, but I remain somewhat ambivalent toward them. My PG fantasy still involves a shopping spree at a crowded, dusty, well-stocked record store.
Regardless of the format, some of my final picks will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, while others might prove a little leftfield. It becomes hard, even in this era of near-limitless access to new sounds, to find time and patience for new things when some of your old favourite artists continue to put out music. But there’s also nothing quite like stumbling onto something new, and I’m happy to say I did my share of that in ought-six.
So here at the newly-minted This Is Our Music, you can expect to find lists, commentary and random thoughts on the year in music, as seen by your host. I hope anybody with a concordant or dissenting opinion will feel compelled to weigh in with comments. Over the next couple of weeks, posts will cover the following categories: