12 January 2009

Twelve Records

The fact that I am stubborn is why I get through weird experimental projects that end up being torturous. So to break things up a little, I will now tell you about a project in which I failed. I don't think I mind too much, though, because it was fun while it lasted (read: not torturous).

Last January, I did something I had been wanting to do for a long time: I bought a record player. One of those suitcase types that comes with a USB cable for digital conversion. I only allowed myself to buy it on one condition: to temper the danger that I would end up spending all of my money on records, I would only be allowed one record a month.

November vinyl

What this ended up doing was that I put a lot of thought into which one I would buy each time, combing through every single one at my local record store (sometimes many times in that month) to find the perfect one. It became a carefully thought-out ritual rather than an impulsive one. I took everything into account, too – not only the music, but also the cover art (more to inspect and notice on such a big sleeve), the mood I was in at the time, the weather outside, what I had just eaten, what I was thinking about that day.

– Aside: There is a one second shot in The Crow where the girl (Sarah) sifts through her records in a crate, several rings on her fingers. I think about that every time I look through records; it almost looks like she is playing piano. –

June vinyl

I started noticing a habit: each time, I would put the record on my bed and take a picture of it. So I started throwing them into a set and thinking that they might look good as a 2009 calendar. Eventually I kind of abandoned that idea because I wasn't bouncing-off-the-walls-excited about it; I actually never decided what I would do with the pictures, or even if the pictures were my intended end product of this whole thing.

August vinyl

Anyway, here is where I failed: I didn't buy twelve records... I missed September and October. This is for two reasons: 1] I got three albums on vinyl for my birthday in September, which took up a lot of beautiful listening time for a while; 2] I wasn't inspired enough during the 4 or 5 times I went into the record store in those two months. I was really beating myself up about this failure until I thought back to last January; I remembered that I initially had the "one a month" idea so I could save money. So why spend money on a record just to fill a quota, when I may not even adore it?

May vinyl

Even still, I would have really liked to follow through on this project and have a complete 12 records that would be reflective of my year of careful vinyl consideration. It's okay, though, I love the ones I ended up with, and I'm also delighted to see that these pictures represent a kind of gestalt-y snapshot of what my life was like at various points of 2008.
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