Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The 100 Greatest Recordings Ever

“His intensely obsessive ongoing project documenting the bands and musicians he listens to, has developed an avid following of art collectors, curators and music fans around the world”. This is what Matt Distel wrote for a exhibition announcement in Cincinnati in 2009, exaggerating my profile to attract visitors to his gallery.

That “intensely obsessive ongoing project” is called Top 100, and evolves around a yearly list of 100 recordings based on a ranking system I use in which recordings are awarded points on a weekly basis. The Top 100 is now in its thirtieth year and for the occasion I figured I’d up the obsessiveness by another degree or two. I compiled a list of 100 recordings that played a significant part in those 30 years: The 100 Greatest Recordings Ever. The list consists of all the old numbers 1 (and the new one as well), all songs that accumulated more than 100 points in those thirty years, and then a bunch of recordings subjectively selected because I felt they needed to be part of the list. The order in which the recordings appear is also subjective. The list is similar, but far from identical, from the list Continued Count, that is a simple and objective list ordered by accumulated points that I’ve kept up to date in all those years.
And it would be very unlike me if I weren’t to make illustrations for every entry in this new The 100 Greatest Recordings Ever list. So I started with a brand new sketchbook at number 100, watercoloring my way all the way down to number one.

Compiling the list and illustrating it meant for me in many cases revisiting music I hadn’t heard for a long time. Reading up on musicians that I used to follow closely but didn’t keep track of any more. I hadn’t been following their music let alone keeping up with the facts of what happened in their lives. In the case of Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed (who happen to be right beside each other in the list) I found out that they got married. They’re both musicians whose music I used to follow closely and whom I both saw perform live . In many cases I illustrated recordings with images of the musicians in question many years older than when they recorded it.

Over the next few months I will forward all 100 Greatest Recordings Ever.

All drawings are 10” x 8”, the materials used are ink, watercolor, ballpoint pen, and pencil, and all are from 2012.

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