The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, February 25, 2008

Let's get Small

2-25-08 Let’s Get Small

In 1990, I moved to England for an undetermined amount of time. I had to take my music with me – so I made a ton of C-100 (or was it the short-lived C-110?) cassettes of all of my favorites. I played very little of those cassettes; mostly what I did with them was tape over them when something that interested me came on the radio!

I remember whenever I went to Australia / New Zealand or Europe – I made hoards of cassettes to take with me, and ostensibly listen to in my (cassette) walkman – sometimes I would actually get to listen to cassettes on the plan (or train) – riding through Holland (on the way to Germany) listening to “Tinseltown Rebellion” by Frank Zappa; on the plan to New Zealand, with Japan’s “Gentlemen Take Polaroids”.

Even these days – I try to ‘take it with me’ – whenever the GF & I go on a trip (that lasts more than a weekend), I make several minidisks to listen to – usually a ‘various artist’ set. We even have a little tiny speaker system, for use in hotel rooms – aah, Augustus Pablo in a hotel room in Pacifica, CA; an ‘easy listening’ compilation (60 or so tracks) in a hotel room in Portland, OR.

Let’s play a game: You get what you want, whatever it is – the only catch is that you have to change everything to get it. You can have a new house – but you have to make the stack of music you take with you into the new house as small as possible. I do not do MP3’s; so my best compressed music is MDLP2 with the Sony minidisc; 160 min of (near) CD-quality audio on one disc (roughly 4 albums per disc). Following this approx. rule, my 7,000 (approx.) CD collection fits onto 1,750 MD’s. THAT’S WAY TOO MUCH! AND I understand the laser will eventually die, in my MD players.

So we move on to what takes up the least space – CD’s in envelopes (damn the jewel box!). Not sure how many sq. footage 7,000 CD’s would take up, when put into library envelopes (or if all were kami sleeve – little paper album cover – CD’s). But it’s certainly not space efficient, huh? And no thought given to taking any LP’s with me – when I moved to England, I didn’t take any vinyl with me – didn’t want to carry it! (I remember the cassettes I made were heavy-ish).

I suppose I could try condensing my CD collection – onto CD-R’s. Locked in to 80 minutes each; at least the sound quality is acceptable. Mm…CD Singles vs. multiple CD sets – some stuff, only 1 or 2 cuts needed; other things – full 80 min. discs to reproduce. Could I fit all that I wanted into a standard storage carton?

You can’t take it with you, when you go…but I’d like to! Storm the gates of heaven / hell! Play ‘em Motorhead! Erik Satie! Hermeto Pascoal! Jimi Hendrix!

I am not the ‘small mobile animal’ that I once thought I was – I have an absolute ton of stuff – books, records etc. Guess I’m not having to move anywhere anytime soon. But when am I going to realize that I shouldn’t even try to take it with me everywhere?


Anonymous Jim Donato said...


Seeing that microcassette reminds me of A Clockwork Orange. Weren't we all supposed to be using those by now? Oh wait! that might have been DAT [already long abandoned]. I know I had to abandon MY DAT deck - the @#$%^&* Sony transport had a logic breakdown and refused to load or unload tapes after a certain point. And let's face it; helically scanned magnetic media just isn't made to stand up to serious replaying anyway!

8:58 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

I never did DAT. Straight from cassette to Mini-disc.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

I never did mini-disc. Since it was optical, it was attractive but unaffordable for a few years. By the time I had cash to spend on a new format, CD-R was in my hands. I figured, why bother with another incompatible, proprietary Sony format when I can make a compact disc, the lingua franca of music carrier mediums?

I can't believe that Sony finally backed a winner in Blu-Ray, though I have absolutely no interest in HiDef format DVD. But if we mortals knew fully well the machinations of that battle, well, our souls may well be rattled to the core!

5:13 AM  

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