Remember that time when 30 symphony orchestras, 29 conductors and 9 pianists got together to perform The Rite of Spring? We don’t either, but we’d like to imagine what this meeting of minds and talents might sound like. Stitched together from 46 different recordings – a grand total of 64 musical cuts – Q2 Music presents the iconic “Augurs of Spring” performed by as many ensembles and soloists as could be squeezed into 3 minutes and 19 seconds.
Today I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness from beginning to end. The two-disc album has more than two hours of music spread across 28 tracks. This album was one of the musical staples of my college years. I bought a second-hand copy of it on my way freshman orientation and listened to it throughout my undergrad. The album has some amazinghits, some strange lyrics, some hidden gems, some bad songs, and even one that can only be described as musical malpractice. When you listen to the full album you get everything the band had to offer at one particular moment in its history.
Listening to a band’s playlist or radio station on services like Pandora and Spotify will get you the hits from throughout their career. However, you will miss out on the many songs that make a band what they are. I don’t listen to many to albums from beginning to end anymore, and I don’t know many people who do. In this age of Spotify’s smart playlists, themed radio stations, and algorithmic DJs, you can listen to hours of back-to-back hits. But I think I’m missing out on something important when I listen that way. There is a lot of value in hearing a full album in the order the artist chose.
There were so many albums that defined my teens and early 20s. I think it might be time to go back to listen to my favorite bands’ albums in their intended order. Playlists give me the hits, but I feel like I’m missing out on the depth and variety of music that my favorite musicians have produced over the years.
You might want to try it too. I am certain that there is more to [insert your favorite band name here] than their “best of” compilation would suggest.
The albums Through You and Through You Too are incredible works of remix art. The two albums consist of video songs made up of clips from unrelated YouTube videos. Somehow Kutiman–the man behind the music–manages to bring the seemingly random videos into coherent original songs that have enough of a unified sound to go together on an album.
The YouTube clips Kutiman used in his songs come from guitar instructors demonstrating riffs in their basements, members of a brass ensemble rehearsing in a hallway, a kid’s recording of her piano lessons, a high school string quartet practicing in a kitchen, lots of teenagers singing a capella into their computers’ web cams, and many other sources. Kutiman even made the intro video for Through You Too by combining clips of other people talking.
The links at the top of this post are for the two Through You albums, but Kutiman has more of his creativity and talent on display on his YouTube channel.
O proud left foot, that ventures quick within Then soon upon a backward journey lithe. Anon, once more the gesture, then begin: Command sinistral pedestal to writhe. Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke, A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl. To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke. Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl. The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt Verily, I say, ‘tis what it’s all about. — by “William Shakespeare”
Brechlin wrote this for the Washington Post Style Invitational contest.