Saturday, 25 January 2014

The end of the Crimson King

Every so often, while looking through the CD collection for something to listen to, I realise just how many of them I no longer play and decide it's time for a bit of a cull.
Reasons for an album not being played any more can be pretty varied. Sometimes it's just that I've played it to death and now hope I never hear it again, like Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged Little Pill', but that's more commonly caused by someone else playing it to death. Over the past few years a number of my CDs have been snaffled by the boy and then played on repeat for what seems like weeks on end before I can stand it no more and have to liberate them SAS style from his clutches to preserve both my sanity and his stereo's continued functionality. The Sisters Of Mercy's 'Floodland' album is one example of this, but luckily (because it's one of my favourite albums) I managed to secure its release before any lasting damage occurred.
Some CDs were quite simply a mistake in the first place, and I wonder what on earth posessed me to buy them. I can only assume that at the time I bought the CD single of 'The Key, The Secret' by the Urban Cookie Collective I must have been either ill or unknowingly tripping on some mad hallucinogenic.
From time to time I still fall into the trap of buying an album based upon the fact that I like one particular track and mistakenly assume that the rest will be of a similar standard. I suspect pretty much everyone has made that mistake at some time or other. I loved 'Cornflake Girl' by Tori Amos but the album turned out to be so damn annoying after a couple of tracks that after a couple of attempts it was abandoned on the shelf. 'The Court Of The Crimson King' by King Crimson is a superb prog classic, but listening to the rest of the album is like wading through treacle - a bit like early Pink Floyd when they sounded suspiciously as though they were playing under the influence of questionable and possibly illegal substances. However I know some people who really like PF's distinctly psychedelic phase, so that's clearly a matter of personal taste...
My tastes have been know to shift occasionally, for varying durations, resulting in the occasional oddity like Carter USM's '30 Something', but for the most part my tastes just expand in various (often unrelated) directions.

The best music-related discovery I've made lately is the website Grooveshark which has enabled me to be able to listen to an album before committing myself to buying it and risking making yet another silly mistake. Combining this site with information on Last FM is great for finding similar artists to those you're interested in and for introducing you to music you wouldn't otherwise have known existed.
Last weekend saw a trip to HMV in Cambridge where I took out my list of twenty or so albums I was going to search for. That's a lot of albums I know, but previous experience has shown that HMV will typically only have ten percent of what you are looking for. On this occasion I managed to pick up 'Night Visions' by Imagine Dragons and 'If You Wait' by London Grammar, which was at least some result, but I had to resort to an Amazon MP3 download to get 'Destination Zero' by Elusive as the only physical copies available seem to be imports costing about 70 quid. Obviously that wasn't going to happen so despite not being ideal, at £5.99 it was the only option.
Inevitably though, there will always be music that is little more than a passing fancy that will be consigned to the charity shop or the back of some dusty shelf to only be discovered again when you're packing up to move house. But there will also be some that you never tire of and will probably end up buying again every time a new media format comes along.

 Imagine Dragons - Demons