16 February 2011

making new music

I returned from England a couple of weeks ago with, among many things, a great deal of new music. It came in the form of mp3 and wma files stashed on my external hard drive. This trove came from a friend I visited in Birmingham. He lives in a ninety room mansion but curiously confines himself to a single suite positively brimming with CDs and vinyl.

He and I have exchanged music for years. To sidestep any legal difficulties I prefer to think of it as storing backup copies for personal use (three thousand miles away). Luckily for me he has other friends who are equally acquisitive on the music front and are just as keen to keep copies somewhere safe and sound. This arrangement makes for a vast reservoir of music into which I can occasionally dip.

Usually these exchanges take place under plain brown cover through trans-Atlantic correspondence but this time, after two flights and a two hundred mile drive up the M5, we could hook up USB-wise in person and plunder each other's external hard drives with abandon. The result of this debauchery was a horde of around ninety albums. Plus of course an interesting and entertaining couple of days during my three week trip back to England.

Extreme Virgo tendencies won't ever let me leave it at that. Oh no, the harvest was just the beginning. Now the online work would begin in earnest. First a quick sampling to identify candidates for burning to CDR, then a tidying up of "tags" to be sure all tracks are properly labelled with title, band, album, genre and year. Next comes the job of burning to CDR, a big task but worth it for those albums which I will want to hear on my hi-fi.

Temporary labels adorn the pile of discs at this stage while the printing phase swings into action. This is a time consuming but vital part of the exercise if the CDRs are to be protected for storage on my shelves. Google Images is a happy hunting ground for the cover art and sites like Amazon provide track-listings which I can either copy and paste or transcribe. I paste the images and data one by one into an MS Word template I made many moons ago. Each gets printed on white cardstock.

Next out comes the guillotine and I do some trimming. I've done this so often now that I can slip the card in out and bring down the guillotine arm almost before the card has stopped moving. Swivel it round ninety degrees and slice off the excess, repeat twice more then cut around the folding tabs. Folding each tab is a long process with a batch this size but makes the gluing stage easier.

The tabs are brushed with a glue stick then the whole template is folded into its final shape, a slim CD-sized sleeve. While the seams dry I start on labels for the discs. These I form from a homemade template in DesignPro Lite. I keep the labelling simple just band, album title and year. I pick a background colour to match the cover art and print off the labels, two to a sheet.

I apply the self-adhesive labels with a trusty Fellowes labelling device which emigrated from England with me years ago. Finally I slip each CD into its new case and there it is, a stack of music to play on the hi-fi.


Russell 'C.J.' Duffy said...

Man alive you have a regular 'cottage industry' going on there!


This morning (18.02.11) Robert Plant was on the Chris Evans show of Radio 2. Great bloke (Plant)who spoke lovingly of Zep but focused more on his current work. he made mention of Buddy Miller, the guitarist if Band of Joy, who has on his laptop some 120,650 albums!!

I reckon you need to make friends with him!

Perfect Virgo said...

Name that cottage and I'll build it!

I'm lagging behind Mr Miller at a mere 1,400 albums. Got his phone number?!

PS: I didn't imagine for one minute you thought Chris Evans was a great bloke ;)

Russell 'C.J.' Duffy said...

Sadly, I had to sell many of my old LP's. I have never had as many CD's as you (maybe 600 to 700) but I had at least 1,000 old LPs.

Me jealous? NEVER!

Perfect Virgo said...

Russell - Don't we always kick ourselves for seling cherished things. I only ever had about 50 vinyl albums and still have about a dozen.

CDs are less tactile and the print is infuriatingly small even with reading glasses but they are more convenient. Purists say the vinyl sound is more real but of course LPs don't last like their digital cousins.

S said...

Happy for you and *salivating* at the same time! This post is music to my ears...imaginary, b/c I don't have access to such a glorious treasure trove of delight, but I'm so grateful for a friend who has burned much music for me.

This Virgo adores how you organize, color the labels, and this entire post. Oh, I can envision you two, exchanging music files. Ahhhhhh!
And no doubt, your young kids will grow up with a superb appreciation of this art form.


Perfect Virgo said...

S - Two little girls are growing up in the daytime here to the backdrop of my eclectic tastes in music. Even when they are tucked up in bed at night I can re-enter the world of grown-ups (through my headphones).

Oh the joy of creating cases and labels, cataloguing and filing new acquisitions like these is all part of the Virgo experience!