365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

T-shirt #97 - KRAFTWERK

T-shirt #97 - KRAFTWERK - What albums do you listen to the most?

Grading Robot is still under the gun, hammered and harried, and so another short-ish posting.

Okay, it was not really shortish, looking back. But the original concept intended it to be short.

UPDATE as of 1401.13, at work on a post about Cocteau Twins, I had to update this post. I dropped Indigo Girls from my top ten and inserted a Cocteau Twins album, which is surely more accurate. I might question having a Kraftwerk album in my top ten, and I think I only included it because this is a Kraftwerk shirt. Still, it's reasonably accurate. I listened to the Trans Europe Express album a lot. I added some more Cocteau Twins albums in the later lists but held off from adding all of them, though they do all rank on the most listened to albums over many of these choices. But I wanted some variety.

I already wrote about Grading Robot and Kraftwerk in T-shirt #36 and how I saw them in concert in 2005. So, I am not going to expound on the joys of Kraftwerk or electronic music today. Grading robot must be robotic.

But today seems like a good day to make a list. This is the list of  the albums that I have listened to most often in my life. Is this the same as favorites? Maybe. Not examining that question right now.

I am not ranking this list because it would take longer, though the first album may be the number one most listened to album. I am going to sort the list into tiers and provide a few explanations.

I made a first attempt at this list with T-shirt #35.

The main rule for this list is that I can only choose full albums that I have listened to in their entirety over and over and over. Listening to individual songs, select tracks, does not count.

I am going to forgo the italics for the titles in the list for ease and speed of recording this data.

I have no method of counting, so this list has been assembled by memory alone. Here's the first ten that occurred to me. These may not be the MOST listened to albums. They were just the first ten that came to mind.

TOP TIER - first ten
  • Vangelis - The Soundtrack to Blade Runner
  • Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
  • David Bowie - Low
  • Laurie Anderson - Mister Heartbreak
  • Cocteau Twins - VictoriaLand
  • Pink Floyd - Animals
  • Donald Fagen - Morph the Cat
  • King Crimson - Discipline
  • 10,000 Maniacs - The Wishing Chair
  • Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express
I would say that it's accurate that the soundtrack to Blade Runner has been the main music that I have listened to the most in my life--as I described in T-shirt #61.

As I wrote, I did not rank these albums, but once I purchased a five disc changer, the Donald Fagen (of Steely Dan) solo album Morph the Cat became a daily listen. Literally, for almost three years, I listened to that album EVERY DAY. So by sheer repetitions alone--though it's only been out since 2006--I have listened to it hundreds of times. In fact, I decided to put it on right now. Ahhhh, bliss.

Other albums were in rotation at different times. I remember a couple of years of listening to Laurie Anderson's Mister Heartbreak every day, though probably not quite EVERY DAY like with Fagen's album.

People who know me will not be surprised to see Bowie in this list. Though despite the album I listened to first (Scary Monsters) and the album that made me fall in love with him (Ziggy Stardust), over the years, I have found myself going back over and over to Low more than any other album. Same with the choices for the Indigo Girls, 10,000 Maniacs, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd in this first ten (remember, may not be a top ten).

Though I chose another Kraftwerk T-shirt for the number of times I have listened to Trans Europe Express,  I got the idea for this post when I put on Eno and Byrne's seminal masterpiece My Life in the Bush of the Ghosts yesterday in the car.

TOP TIER - second ten (okay eleven...)
  • Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas
  • Indigo Girls - All That We Let In
  • Tracey Thorn - Out of the Woods
  • Brian Eno - Another Day on Earth
  • Sade - Love Deluxe
  • St. Germain - Boulevard
  • Portishead - Dummy
  • Stereolab - Dots and Loops
  • Radiohead - Kid A
  • Steely Dan - Aja
  • The Jam - All Mod Cons
Many of these albums were in constant rotation even before I got the five disc changer, and they could just sit in the player, repeating, for weeks at a time. 

Both the Brian Eno album and the Tracey Thorn album were on a daily rotation during work for a year or more.

TOP TIER - the remainder
  • Talking Heads - Remain in Light
  • Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll
  • Tori Amos - The Beekeeper
  • REM - Reckoning
  • Indigo Girls - Rites of Passage
  • Roxy Music - Avalon
  • Kate Bush - The Dreaming
  • Joni Mitchell - Mingus
  • Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega
  • Bjork - Homogenic
  • Rickie Lee Jones - The Magazine
  • Martha and the Muffins - This is the Ice Age
  • Innocence Mission - Innocence Mission
  • Machine Love - Supermarket Vamps
  • Style Council - Our Favourite Shop
  • William Orbit - Hello Waveforms
  • Genesis - Trick of the Tail
  • Peter Gabriel - Security
  • Sigur Rós - ( )
  • David Sylvian and Robert Fripp - Gone to Earth
  • Robin Guthrie - Angel Falls/ Carousel
  • Cocteau Twins etc. - Moon and the Melodies
  • Milt Jackson Quartet (1955)
  • Suzanne Ciani - Pianissimo III
  • David Sanborn - Close-Up
  • Spyro Gyra - The Deep End
I am sure that there are more albums that I would put in a top tier of most listened to albums if I put more thought into it making this list, but, like the first twenty, these are the first ones that I popped into my mind as I took little breaks from being grading robot yesterday to assemble the list. It was a nice diversion.

If you do not know some of these albums, I recommend them all (obviously). Long suffering Tori fans should listen to The Beekeper, as I might argue that it's her best, or at least prettiest. I am a fan of soft jazz. Sometimes, I will load up all the Sanborn and Spyro Gyra and spend days listening. However, these two are the ones I have probably come back to most often, even though Spyro Gyra's The Deep End came out in 2004. Some people may complain that soft jazz is very close to muzak. I don't care. When I am hard at work and must concentrate, these days, I prefer SILENCE, but when I need to fill space with background sound, I go for pretty, melodic, and lyric free music. Among the best for this kind of music from the list are William Orbit's Hello Waveforms and everything by a great San Francisco based electronic jazz group called Machine Love.

I know I have mentioned Machine Love on this blog somewhere. If there was a handy search function (I guess I could use Google but I am lazy....nah, nada), anyway, I did a whole blog entry about this great group in my other blog.

  • Erykah Badu - Baduism
  • Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
  • Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
  • The Clash - London Calling
  • Devo - Are We Not Men?
  • Bowie - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
  • Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • Gary Numan - Telekon
  • Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
  • Ani DiFranco - Revelling/Reckoning
  • Beth Orton - Central Reservation
  • Lori Carson - Everything I Touch Runs Wild
  • Liz Story - Speechless
  • Joy Divison - Closer
  • Joni Mitchell - Hejira
  • Joni Mitchell - The Missing of Summer Lawns
  • Joe Jackson - Night and Day
  • Japan - Tin Drum
  • Jane Siberry - The Speckless Sky
  • Haircut 100 - Pelican West
  • Everything But the Girl - Everything But the Girl
  • CSN&Y - Déjà Vu
  • The Buggles - Living in the Plastic Age
  • Bryan Ferry - Bete Noire
  • U2 - October
  • OMD - Architecture and Morality
  • Thievery Corporation - The Mirror Conspiracy
  • Straight Ahead - Look Straight Ahead
  • Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus
  • The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
  • The Jam - Setting Sons
  • The Style Council - Confessions of a Pop Group
  • The Style Council - Cafe Blue
  • Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
  • Rickie Lee Jones - Flying Cowboys
  • Rickie Lee Jones - Pirates
  • The Psychedelic Furs - The Psychedelic Furs
  • The Police - Synchronicity
  • The Pixies - Doolittle
  • Paul Simon - Graceland
  • New Order - Power, Corruption, and Lies 
I know. The list is getting rather long. But I also know that some of my readers like lists and may go trolling for new music or old music that they have forgotten existed.


Back to Grading Robotics.

- chris tower - 1306.26 - 8:59

PS: Today is my father's birthday. He is turning 78. This blows my mind. Happy Birthday Dad. Thanks for being so kind and patient as I inflicted so many of these albums on the walls and rooms of our house (or outside as we worked) over the years.