Album or shuffle?


Albums. Do they really matter any more? With digital music stored in separate tracks, hasn’t the ‘shuffle’ function left the album as a rather pointless relic? Steve Rowlands thinks so and his compilation on Amusiana follows the ‘shuffle’ approach. Free download.

Perhaps it’s just a function of growing up with albums and vinyl that leaves me with an abiding affection for the album form. I also suspect that it’s the trainspotter in me that loved spending ages working out the perfect order for the tracks on the next cassette to send to D. Or perhaps it’s the cricket lover that is happy for things to unfold over days.

Whatever, an album can be more than the sum of its parts. However, Steve Rowlands think that “The shuffle feature on ipods and other digital music players, has changed the way we listen to music, in a good way.” His Amusiana label provides evidence of this with its There’s A Bit Of Flim Flam In This compilation. Nothing taken too seriously here. The blurb says “Temporary obsessions free from materialistic myopia, asservations of an undue quantum of absurdity, with a scent of gentle levity and a short between the earphones, another flirt with the frontier of sanity, with no concern for genre limitation.” It’s actually a rather good album and weirdness and a laid back approach give it a rather good coherence. There’s a track for free download, which is 20 minutes of space dub.

Space Turbulence (free download)

There’s A Bit Of Flam (clips)

As as aside, in the 90s, Steve worked with Kevin Walsh in Full Moon Scientist, a dub-tinged break beat and drum & bass outfit who were on Leftfield’s Hard Hands label initially. What I hadn’t realised was that Kevin had been guitarist in the Boothill Foot-Tappers in the 80s, which reminded me, in turn, how much I liked their cowpunk hit Get Your Feet Out of My Shoes (1984). Here’s a video for the track taken outside Wandsworth Bus Garage. Kevin sadly died from cancer in 2008 .

~ by acidted on January 3, 2014.

5 Responses to “Album or shuffle?”

  1. There are enough good albums being made to suggest they’ll survive. I don’t know if thats how they get listened to though- do people put them on an ipod and then shuffle them anyway.
    Enjoyed the Boothill Foot Tappers

  2. Albums are put together to reflect an artist’s overall vision and work from a certain session/time period/career point. There are plenty of albums that, without the right sequencing from one track to the next, would lose their overall cohesion and “listen-ability” as a whole (David Bowie – Low, Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures, The Cure – Faith, MBV – Loveless, etc etc etc). Artists used to plan albums to be listened to as a complete story, not a snapshot of sound. Listening to songs in my iPod on shuffle is like walking over to my bookshelf and reading a single page out of one book and then picking up the next one to read a single page, then the next one and so on. The “art” of making an album seems to be evaporating since the format of LP>CD>mp3 is making that an obsolete chore. Which is a shame, as the experience of taking the time to sit and listen to, and become engrossed in, an entire (well thought out and sequenced) album front to back, is something that the “shuffle” experience negates in its basic nature …

  3. […] more evidence of my fragile mental state. This is a post about Full Moon Scientist, inspired by yesterday’s post on Amusiana, run by Steve Rowlands who was half of FMS. Plenty of free downloads […]

  4. […] in the leftfield and doesn’t care about convention. This is about the new compilation from Amusiana, who believe that a shuffle approach to albums is the new track listing. Despite that there’s […]

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