Digging without Context

Big_StacksBig_Stacks "I don't worry about hittin' power, cause I don't give 'em nuttin' to hit." 4,670 Posts
edited May 2012 in Strut Central
Hi 'Strutters,

As those who know me here know, I'm hardly the guy to bash newbies for their naivete; however, the Philly International Records question posed by BallzDeep brought to mind an issue I've wondered about for some time. I admit that it's a loaded question, but how do people seek out records in particular genres for which they have no context or experience? For instance, how do you search for soul records without any exposure to soul as part of one's life? I ask because for virtually all the musical genres I seek out, I have had experience with them as part of my life. As I kid, I grew up listening to oldies, AM gold, R&B/soul, and jazz radio stations, received exposure to various musical styles via my dad, uncles, friends, etc., thus informing my choices of the records I seek out.

Is digging without context difficult and akin to searching in the dark? Does this invoke dependency on lists, FAQs, sample credits, etc. to find records? Does this invoke search for and finding raers without having classic recordings in the collection. Please inform me. Thanks!

Peace,

Big Stacks from Kakalak
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  Comments


  • HumanacatHumanacat 177 Posts
    There was a good discussion on here a while back about accumulations versus collections in the record game. I know for sure I have an accumulation but I have this warped fantasy that one day it will be collection. Taking my self diagnosed untreated ADHD to my collecting played out something like this-
    -as a young child I am fascinated by elo and beach boys records my dad has, always asking him to play them
    -growing up disconnected from music for a time because my brother was a jungle/techno dj and I wanted to be so different I went in a classic rock direction
    -I briefly thought about collecting records when I was 13 or so 1994~95 but changed my mind (That's my brothers thing OOOF)
    - high school I get into tribe, de la soul, roots, gang Starr (better late than never) this mixed with prior classic rock interest, dad's 45s, and seeking out the sources of samples leads me into a frantic jazz fascination, which yes included scouring Internet lists and asking many people for recommendations at local stores (usually a good look and solid way to build a collection)
    - in my college years I befriended several eclectic djs and started digging with them which catapulted my addiction and fascination with several genres! At a record store about 7 years ago a random guy tells me about soul strut and j lurked for a while then joined. Since then I take recommendations from everywhere and try to never pigeonhole a genre group or label due to my frequent sonnings over the years.
    - I wouldnt change anything though and I keep looking forward to that day the accumulation becomes a collection!

  • Otis_FunkmeyerOtis_Funkmeyer 1,321 Posts
    All you need are ears and taste.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    "I took Gym Class with a Black Dude"

    "My mom played Thriller all the time!"

    "I never had a Green Apple Now & Later"

    "Juice is a great Blaxploitation film."

    "What's there to do in Harlem?"

    "I teach at an After-School Program that helps teen learn by going out in the field and Digg for Soul rekkids!"

    "Black People w/ Afros are cool!"

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Take that blatant randomness to Waxidermy.

  • Otis_FunkmeyerOtis_Funkmeyer 1,321 Posts
    I guess what I'm saying is, I didn't need to hear Harold Melvin before I was able to form an opinion on whether or not I enjoyed listening to Leroy and the Drivers. I can usually tell in under 10 seconds if I like a song or not.
    I listen to music blind as much as possible. One thing I do is load up my iPod with a maybe a thousand of the 30,000 mp3s I've downloaded from soulseek, soulstrut, etc.. over the years and play it all on shuffle. Then, as each song comes on, without looking at the artist or title, I decide what star rating to give it based solely on how much I enjoy the way it sounds. When I find a five star song, it gets added to the wants list. As a result, just about every record in my collection is there because it represents my taste.

  • finelikewinefinelikewine "ONCE UPON A TIME, I HAD A VINYL." http://www.discogs.com/user/permabulker 1,416 Posts
    Is it digging out of context when I like a lot of odd psych & krautrock and discovering black sabbath s/t & Jimy Hendix' Electric Ladyland through the Soulstrut Top 100?
    If so, I'm guilty.

  • mannybolonemannybolone Los Angeles, CA 15,025 Posts
    Stacks: how is it different from learning something new? Like, for example, an academic discipline? Or a language that no one in your family speaks?

    Maybe you start with the canon. Maybe you start anywhere, arbitrarily and then begin to pick up more bits and pieces before it snowballs.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    I don't understand these new-fangled dudes who are all up on the raer before they've even heard the standards.

  • tripledoubletripledouble 7,636 Posts
    it all came out before they were born. whats there to understand?
    in the end its just music, its not like they were the losers that didnt get invited to the cool philly international parties back in 1977. raers have been getting new exposure so its out there as much as a bill withers album. theres no set curriculum to this shit thank god

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    I guess Im just from a generation that was lucky to have a big ass record stores where i could check out some weird ass UK Electronica or stuff that i can only read about.

    Now cats have to rely on the internet so I can understand.

  • finelikewinefinelikewine "ONCE UPON A TIME, I HAD A VINYL." http://www.discogs.com/user/permabulker 1,416 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    I don't understand these new-fangled dudes who are all up on the raer before they've even heard the standards.

    I don't know if this was directed at me, I hope not. But anyway I'll show you why I'm not so experienced in classic rock and metal as I should.

    because I had/have prejudices against the isht crusty old records collectors like he pull out of the crates at fleas next to me:



    Furthermore I never wanted to hear music by bands people like this sport on the shirts or cut-offs



    Call me superfical, if you want to. Hopefully my character will mature so that I'll be totally open minded, upright and tolerant one day.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    Furthermore I never wanted to hear music by bands people like this sport on the shirts or cut-offs


  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    If the shoe fits.

    Not sure where you live but you shouldn't have to go to secret squirrel conventions and dig amongst worms for common shit like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Beatles, Black Sabbath, etc. records. They should be way more readily available than that. I mean, if that is your only in, to deal with Crusty McRusty, in order to even just hear stuff that I'm fairly certain gets played on the radio still and at the least is extremely accessible by way of Youtube, then yeah, I would dread that too.

    But c'mon, try to see the forest first, then focus on the trees.

  • finelikewinefinelikewine "ONCE UPON A TIME, I HAD A VINYL." http://www.discogs.com/user/permabulker 1,416 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    If the shoe fits.

    Not sure where you live but you shouldn't have to go to secret squirrel conventions and dig amongst worms for common shit like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Beatles, Black Sabbath, etc. records. They should be way more readily available than that. I mean, if that is your only in, to deal with Crusty McRusty, in order to even just hear stuff that I'm fairly certain gets played on the radio still and at the least is extremely accessible by way of Youtube, then yeah, I would dread that too.

    But c'mon, try to see the forest first, then focus on the trees.

    WTF? Do you think I would participate for ages on this board if I don't know classics from Marvin, Stevie & the Beatles?
    My knowledge and interest in classic rock and metal might be limited, but I'm not a complete dumb ass.
    I'm always happy to explore music, I dismissed for some reason that I can enjoy now.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Well then, what I'm saying doesn't apply to you.

    But yeah, there is a shit-ton of amazing classic rock out there just waiting for you to eventually enjoy.

  • DJ_WubWubDJ_WubWub 874 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    I don't understand these new-fangled dudes who are all up on the raer before they've even heard the standards.
    Major

  • HorseleechHorseleech 3,830 Posts
    DJ_WubWub said:
    HarveyCanal said:
    I don't understand these new-fangled dudes who are all up on the raer before they've even heard the standards.
    Major

    Sorry, but this concept is way outdated at this point.

    To somebody in their 20's, the 70's was a past century and there is no reason why they would (or should) look at it the way I did growing up then.

    At this point Boscoe is as much on the radar as Donny Hathaway, maybe more, and that's the way they are going to come to it.

    tripledouble said:
    theres no set curriculum to this shit thank god

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Horseleech said:
    DJ_WubWub said:
    HarveyCanal said:
    I don't understand these new-fangled dudes who are all up on the raer before they've even heard the standards.
    Major

    Sorry, but this concept is way outdated at this point.

    To somebody in their 20's, the 70's was a past century and there is no reason why they would (or should) look at it the way I did growing up then.

    At this point Boscoe is as much on the radar as Donny Hathaway, maybe more, and that's the way they are going to come to it.

    tripledouble said:
    theres no set curriculum to this shit thank god

    Okay, if your only life experience is the internet, then sure. Otherwise, the wackness.

  • asstroasstro 1,754 Posts
    I agree with your original point Harv, but at this point the internet is the way most young people experience and learn about music. It doesn't matter if us older heads think it's inferior or not, the cat is out of the bag. If you are 18 and learning about music the obscure stuff is probably easier to find online than the "staples". Blogs post way more rare music than stuff we consider the foundation, so I can see where someone who didn't know one from the other might skip steps we took for granted. As long as they go back and fill in the holes in their knowledge before they consider themselves some kind of authority on music, I don't have a problem with it anymore. Times have changed.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    " I own ? of all Hip Hop!"

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    asstro said:
    I agree with your original point Harv, but at this point the internet is the way most young people experience and learn about music. It doesn't matter if us older heads think it's inferior or not, the cat is out of the bag. If you are 18 and learning about music the obscure stuff is probably easier to find online than the "staples". Blogs post way more rare music than stuff we consider the foundation, so I can see where someone who didn't know one from the other might skip steps we took for granted. As long as they go back and fill in the holes in their knowledge before they consider themselves some kind of authority on music, I don't have a problem with it anymore. Times have changed.

    I disagree. I know plenty of young people who buy records, who are even into rare records, who fully recognize that being able to talk about Boscoe and not Curtis Mayfield, would have them alone in a room trading emails with twerps. So yeah, I guess I am saying that if your only cultural interests come to you by way of the internet, STICK YOSELF!

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,517 Posts
    Great question Stacks.
    For me, and you, in the preitsallonline world, digging with out context was a problem.

    I bought my first record when I was 5 but didn't start accumulating until I was 23.

    Even before I started accumulating, back in 7th grade, it was the library.
    The way I would enter a genre was comps.
    John Hammond's 4 lps of gospel music was something I was not going to hear from friends and family. Yeah, I'm white.
    Comps of Folkways, Arhoolie, Yazoo, Prestige and Nonesuch opened up worlds for me as a kid.
    I learned about soul, jazz, country the same way.

    As for Harvey's point. Yeah. It freaks me out that someone would know the rare stuff but not the common.
    I have plenty of holes in my knowledge but the way it is skewed with some people is weird.
    But then how did they learn the rare with out the common?
    By picking up comps and reissues, the same way I started.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,517 Posts
    batmon said:


    "I teach at an After-School Program that helps teen learn by going out in the field and Digg for Soul rekkids!"



    I wish more people would just tell kids they will help them and then turn around and do nothing.
    Lets kids know they are worthless and shouldn't try anyway.

  • ElectrodeElectrode Los Angeles 3,073 Posts
    "Back in my day, I had to walk 50 miles up hills of broken glass and swim across swamps filled with crocodiles just to get to school"

    "You can't be a real movie lover unless you watched my favorite film when and where it was originally released in theaters and you were the first person in line"

    "u sound younger and more open minded"

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    LaserWolf said:
    batmon said:


    "I teach at an After-School Program that helps teen learn by going out in the field and Digg for Soul rekkids!"



    I wish more people would just tell kids they will help them and then turn around and do nothing.
    Lets kids know they are worthless and shouldn't try anyway.

    Dude its a joke. Why so sensitive?

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,825 Posts
    I'm surprised at some of the bitter response to the "context" argument in the PIR thread.

    To me, the context gives me fascinating detail into times (and places, and cultures, etc) in which I didn't live. It helps me enjoy the music because I understand a little better what the artist's point of reference is.

    Likewise, when I listen to a rare disco record, or a rare harmony soul ballad, I absolutely am glad that I have heard Harold Melvin (for instance) because it gives a counterpoint - e.g., this is what was charting at the time, this is (probably) what the artist was trying to sound like.

    This thing used to be about understanding, excavating, and reevaluating the past, all of which might give us insight into the present. It's still about that for me, but it's kind of wild to see the unbridled me-first feeding frenzy the internet has created. Do not want

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,517 Posts
    batmon said:
    LaserWolf said:
    batmon said:


    "I teach at an After-School Program that helps teen learn by going out in the field and Digg for Soul rekkids!"



    I wish more people would just tell kids they will help them and then turn around and do nothing.
    Lets kids know they are worthless and shouldn't try anyway.

    Dude its a joke. Why so sensitive?

    No problem. I was joking too.

  • Fist off let me say I am really enjoying reading peoples perspectives.
    Secondly: This vvv
    To somebody in their 20's, the 70's was a past century and there is no reason why they would (or should) look at it the way I did growing up then.

    At this point Boscoe is as much on the radar as Donny Hathaway, maybe more, and that's the way they are going to come to it.

    Lets face it. Record collecting and obsessing over old artists and genres is, at its heart, a nostalgic endeavor. As such, claims to authenticity are easy to come by and near impossible validate. Each generation explores the past with their own lens and participates in a process of filtering it to fit their current tastes and context. And so on and so forth. An example of this being the relative absence of ballades in the repertoire of "revivalist bands".

    That being said, understanding the larger context is essential for finding records and creating new material as well(for the musicians on the board). Otherwise you are just caught in a self indulgent pursuit of obscurity for obscurities sake, not the discovery of new takes on familiar ideas. I think this is especially true with soul because the personalities, history, and social context are so ingrained in its sound and meaning.

  • JroamJroam 257 Posts
    After a "taste" is acquired, the blind buy might could lead to awesome finds. is this still digging without context because all of my "big" record finds are without context beyond a hunch based on obvious elements.

  • JroamJroam 257 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    I don't understand these new-fangled dudes who are all up on the raer before they've even heard the standards.
    IVE HEARD THE RARE AND THIS IS AWESOME ESPECIALLY IN COMPARISON TO MOST THE BIG BUCKS STUFF OF SIMILAR STYLE
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