Year-end round-up let-down

I always enjoy reading best-of-the-year lists and thought I’d add to the glut. But looking through my music collection I realized how few new releases I bought this year. I simply can’t make a best-music-of-the-year list because I hardly heard anything released this year! A strange statement for a musician to make, but here’s why.

My music buying habits usually follow two, possibly contradictory patterns which I’ll call direct-from-the-source and bottom-feeding. Direct-from-the-source is from the artist herself. Go to the show, listen to the music, talk the artist, buy the CD. Or when I’m on the bill, I’ll often get another artist’s CD by trading one of mine. With the birth of my son at the end of 2006, I’ve attended and played far fewer shows than usual in 2007. Hence, fewer 2007 CDs to hear.

Bottom-feeding is my tendency to scour the used CD racks. Since moving from Austin to Albany, though, my selection of decent used CDs has plummeted. Luckily, there’s, my single biggest source of CDs for 2007. Of course, bottom-feeding results in far fewer new releases, though I picked up a handful at Amoeba Music in Berkeley.

So, I’m a cheap-skate and a shut-in. But I’m a music loving cheap-skate shut-in. A glance back at those iTunes stats shows I added over 9 days of music to my collection during 2007, and that doesn’t include some of the CDs I acquired but plan to trade away. I listened to more music than ever this year–apparently most of it was “The Song of the Long Tail.”

Those iTunes stats revealed another trend for 2007. If 2006 was the year of the music blog (keep ’em comin’ destination: OUT, Music for Robots, fluxblog, End(-)Of(-)World Music, UBUweb) then 2007 was the year of the free album. Radiohead’s In Rainbows was the most visible here, though I have yet to download it. I did enjoy albums from eDogm and insubordinations and free music standbys such as Steve Coleman and Bob Ostertag. Amiestreet was another reliable source for free or almost free music. And the great aggregator remains Free Albums Galore.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to make more of my own albums available online for free. You’ll hear about it at the Field Guide when I do. And another resolution? How about I get out a little more in 2008?

Stockhausen Remembered

Karlheinz Stockhausen died last week. A sad day for electronic music. (And they don’t seem to be making megalomaniac artists like they used to…but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.) I remember hearing pieces such as “Gesang der Jünglinge”, “Kontakte”, “Telemusic”,  “Mantra”, and “Stimmung” for the first time and their impact has certainly continued.  Create Digital Music has put together a nice obit with links to other memorials. See ya in your helicopter in heaven, Herr Stockhausen.

Maps at

I’ve been intending to write about since this blog went live. The full story will still have to wait, but I decided there’s no better angle for it than as full participant. I’ve been downloading music at amiestreet since last Spring. Now I’ve finally posted some tracks of my own. My CD Maps is now available. Download it, recommend it, watch your street cred soar. (More on that later…)

Or listen right here.

Albany Sonic Arts Collective

There’s a new group coalescing in the Capital District: the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. You can view photos from the first event held at the Upstate Artists Guild. I’ve added the group to the Field Guide blogroll so you can stay up to date on future activities.