A couple weeks ago I received an email from a woman who works for Naxos USA(not familiar with Naxos? Neither was I..click on the link before reading on). She asked me if I would be interested in reviewing some of their music titles and posting said reviews on Amazon and iTunes, as well as my own blog. I think she mentioned something about being on their street team. I imagined me going door-to-door peddling Dvorak and Vivaldi concertos, and handing out pamphlets to local symphony performances. Turns out , it really just means listening to music Naxos distributes and giving honest reviews of those albums for free. The music would be sent to me via USPS in any format I preferred. Vinyl was included in the options. I asked if I could keep the music, or if I needed to return it. I could keep it if I wanted. So, essentially, they’re paying me in classical vinyl to write reviews for them. Hell yeah!
Today I get home and there’s a box on the front porch. I exit my car after a good workout with the treadmill and some free weights and low and behold it’s a box from Naxos! I got in and they had sent me two vinyl and a cd. I had filled out a little questionnaire last week, letting them know my favorite composers, artists, genres, Stooge(Iggy, of course), and what I would prefer to receive. You can get up to five albums a month, but I thought I’d start out with three. You know, see how it goes. Well, the albums I got varied quite a bit. The first was an avante garde classical album called Schooldays Over by Chris Campbell and Grant Cutler. It’s a little over 20 minutes in length with 7 tracks at 45rpm. I’ve listened to it twice and I really like it. It’s very modern classical mixed with some avante garde pop songwriting. You’ll be seeing a review very soon. The second album is a reissue of a noise rock classic(?) from 1969 by the band Cromagnon. The album is called Cave Rock(it was orginally called Orgasm…the most painful orgasm I’ve ever heard), and one listen through I can see why this band is so obscure. I’m sure the whole no-wave, noise rock, industrial movements were greatly influenced by this record. I can think of another movement I thought of while listening to it. Look for something on this one, too, in all my snarky glory. Finally, they sent me this little shiny disc folks call a “compact disc” called The Jazz Experiments of Charles Mingus. It’s Charles Mingus, so I think that’s a start to it being something good.
Even though there’s no cash involved with this little gig, I’m looking forward to the challenge of reviewing music that isn’t necessarily in my wheelhouse. I mean, the whole reason this very nice young lady at Naxos got in touch with me was because of a review I wrote on an album by Daniel Wohl, a modern classical composer she saw on Amazon. That randomness…that mere click of a mouse got me connected to this little writing gig. It’s that sort of randomness that is enlightening to me, and even a bit overwhelming at times. “Right place right time” can easily turn into “Right place wrong time”, or “Wrong place wrong time”, or even “Right place wrong pants”. I think you know what I mean(if you don’t, the exit is that way). My point is that we’re all connected by random clicks and wrong turns. Wrongs that end up being rather right. This whole blogular world is something that was built out of randomness. “Hmm, I wonder what this guy’s like”, or “Hey, I like that album, too” became these amazing relationships I’ve built out here in the great binary code storage points known as “blogs”. I’ve grown to love this world we’ve all created together here, and I see that it’s only going to keep getting better.
You know what? I feel like I’ve already hit the big time. You’ve all made that possible. I’m just some guy in a woods in a cornfield spewing and spitting his love for music and beer and family and whatever else wants to escape my head. Everyone reading these words make it exist outside my noggin. You make random thoughts not so random. So thanks.
Now, onto some John Coltrane and a veggie pizza.