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Music. Lots of music. Music on cassette.

I have cassettes. Lots of cassettes. Fewer now, though. Some time, probably just over 10 years ago, I spent a long time listening through almost my entire cassette tape collection and got rid of a bunch of stuff — I was living in a studio apartment, I could especially do with having Less Stuff — and this summer I started another re-listen. Slowly, slowly, I've gotten rid of a lot more, surprising myself sometimes with what I dumped. (I finally realized I didn't need my tape of the Good Morning, Vietnam soundtrack, though there are plenty of good songs. WHICH I CAN FIND ON YOUTUBE.)

For now, I've stacked the Cassettes To Keep on my desk, next to my TV/DVD player. I didn't add to it for months, but finally got around to digging through more. I'm aiming to get what was two boxes' worth of cassettes to one box. (There's one whole other box I finished going through earlier this year, so really I'm going from three boxes to two.)

Some tapes are dubs, off of CDs, LPs, or the radio. Eighties represent in that case! I also have a lot of cassettes bought used, back when I went to used music stores far more often than now. (I could rectify that. Crossroads Music, which was on Hawthorne Blvd. for decades, just moved to 12 blocks away from where I live.) Now I'm thinking back to early 1996, soon after Alicia and I had started dating: we'd gone to a small music shop in Eugene. After we left, she said she would never go with me to a music store ever again, because I took so long. (I did get better, more focused, and we eventually did go to music shops together later.)

I probably don't have anything breath-takingly obscure; my tastes didn't quite allow for that. I do have the tape version of the short album Oingo Boingo 4-Song EP — containing "Only A Lad," "Violent Love," "Ain't This the Life" and the band's first-ever song "I'm So Bad" — and I love how what-it-says-on-the-tin that title is. And in a nice little bit of symmetry, I have the tape of Oingo Boingo's final studio album, 1994's Boingo, which I'd already bought on CD but which I bought used on cassette because that was the only official release of their nasty song "Helpless." I was being a little more thorough.

Plenty of this is duplicated elsewhere, but I still can't bring myself to get rid of certain tapes, especially some of the compilations people did for me back in the Nineties. Mainly film scores, as I was collecting them damn aggressively back then. A British film music fan I knew from online sent me a tape of the uncut DeWolfe library music that was used in the fun score to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Oh, yeah. I'm keeping that.

One genuinely rare tape I have was a gift from composer Michael Kamen. Also in early 1996, after I'd interviewed Kamen (!) over the phone about his work on the scores to Terry Gilliam's Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, he sent me a dub of some of the music from the Baron Munchausen scoring sessions. Raw takes, some practice playing, some full-force orchestral chaos, all pieces of what became one of my favorite scores ever, for one of my favorite films ever. And I got to hear a little bit of the behind-the-scenes work that score needed. (In the phone interview, Kamen talked about how difficult and frustrating that job was — he worked on and off for over a year, starting before the film had started shooting, under far-from-ideal circumstances and improperly budgeted. He was proud of the work, but still a little frustrated by it, for a bunch of reasons I won't get into here.) So there's another audio piece of the Eighties, in a box in my room.

If I'd gotten into 8-tracks, I could have so many audio pieces of the Seventies, too, but I never collected to them or listened to them. And, when in the future I once again hook up my record player, I could listen to more audio pieces of the past. (I have a lot of LPs. That'd be an even longer blog entry.)

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