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Robert Crumb on His Insanely Heavy Record Collection

Over at Discaholic Corner, excellent Interview with Robert Crumb on his multi-ton collection of old 78s (more than 6,500 of them, and that’s with constant pruning!

Unfortunately, the site design is so horrible that the article is almost unreadable, but worth it.

Just last night, though, Aline, my wife, made a big Indian dinner for us and eight friends. She makes great Indian food. She suggested that after the meal we all retire to my office and listen to some of those wonderful Indian 78s that I got from the Shah Music Centre in Delhi. I played what I consider some of the most powerful of those records. Aline likes them very much, but a couple of the other women present just wanted to talk, and they involved her in conversation. Their voices just drowned out the music and I wasn’t about to turn up the sound and make it harder for them to talk, or tell them to be quiet. One friend simply fell asleep in his chair while the music played. Others picked up magazines off the coffee table and flipped through them. A vexatious situation, but what can you do? You can’t expect them to have the deep appreciation for the music that you have. You have to consider where they’re coming from, the kind of modern, commercial music they’re used to hearing, the unfamiliar, esoteric strangeness of this old music… Like I said, I mostly enjoy listening when I’m completely alone. I sit on the wicker couch that faces my old hi-fi set up, often I close my eyes while listening. It can be a profound aesthetic experience, if one isn’t too distracted thinking about other records one needs to acquire, stuff like that.

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5 Comments
  1. rinchen permalink

    Very funny take on the seeming futility of sharing with others, the pleasures of solitude, and the compulsiveness of hearing something old something new. I can relate! Just this morning i heard about a OOP CD of Don Cherry playing stalactites and just “had” to find that recording. I did! Come on by and listen to it sometime. I promise not to care if you talk over it.

  2. Scot Hacker permalink

    Is he using real stalactites as instruments? Sounds fragile… but also delish!

  3. rinchen permalink

    Hermeto Pascoal y Grupo playing stalactite:

  4. Scot Hacker permalink

    Rinchen, this is *amazing* . I never would have expected what is essentially rock to have these kinds of tonalities. Also surprising though is that when you visit caves, you’re almost always asked not to so much as touch the formations that have taken sometimes millions of years to create themselves – I wonder how this cave is different. Still, SO beautiful.

    What is the connection between this and Don Cherry’s thing?

  5. rinchen permalink

    Haha, I’m guessing b/c Hermeto y Grupo are in Brazil they’re not so concerned w/ breaking a few stalactites (which are stone after all) for the sake of music.

    The Don Cherry cave recordings were made in a cave in the U.S. I haven’t received the OOP CD yet, i’ll share more when i do.

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