Come On, Let's Go.
20Apr/101

Ur-hip

Moments into my senior year of high school, 9/11 quickly transformed cell phones from contraband into fashionable calculators, with the ubiquity to match. There was another revolution taking place, however. Portable music formats were still legion. Those of us who couldn't afford CD (and, later , MP3 CD) players still carried tapes. Flash-basedMP3 players were just coming into vogue. Quickly, the former - maxing out under a gig - would be replaced by the hard drive-based players, pioneered by the iPod. MP3 CD players vanished around the dawn on the hard drives, along with the minidisc's use as a casual music player.

Now here's a look at where all this history began, courtesy of the 1960's sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. As an aside, Maynard G. Krebs, the cool cat with the air-bongos, was the first counterculture character (broadly stereotyped, natch) with a regular role in a television show. The actor, Bob Denver, would also go on to play Gilligan in Gilligan's Island.

Back on topic, the ill-fated minidisc had one unbeatable feature: lighting quick seek times. The times yielded at least one artifact taking advantage of the feature. Gescom, formed of artist Russel Haswell and half of Autechre (Rob Brown, specifically,) released an album entitled, appropriately enough, Minidisc. Composed of 45 quick compositions in 88 tracks, the album would be played on random/shuffle, creating new chaos each time. It wasn't spectacular in any iteration, but if I could backhandedly compliment it, the mediocrity really had nothing to do with experimental distribution. It was a genuinely interesting way to take advantage of a trivial (from the everyday point of view) feature and create a continuously unique composition. This is both representative of the music itself, and my issues with it:

   

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