Thursday, 18 September 2014

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Racks - 5 Essential Music Box Sets

Box sets are big, stupid and outmoded. Right? Not in the homes of a generation old enough to have bought LPs first time 'round and when the CD box sets started coming collect them too because many contained previously unreleased tracks. And besides, what else were baby boomers going to spend their money on? 

Box sets were exciting for others too, of course, myself included. But to confess that is also to confess to being of certain age, probably. Do kids buy box sets? No, surely not. Many can be downloaded anyway. I'm not precious about sleeve notes and packaging, but they're seen as a bonus by some. 

A box set signifies the old world, the last hurrah of music companies still creating cash from the vaults. Pony-tailed executives rubbing their hands with glee as yet another take of a track is dusted off - ''The suckers'll lap it up!". 

Yet there's something appealing about these digital dinosaurs. They sit heavily (literally) in a world where music is weightless. They defy this anti-gravity world of one-click access and the virtually invisible file storage system where recordings exist in name alone (lost amongst all the others). Almost every day I catch sight of the boxes below. Admittedly this is because I no longer have a large CD collection.

So here are some of my favourites.

Bernard Parmegiani - L'Œuvre Musicale (INA)

Acousmatic/electronic/tape genius. An infinite world of sound.

 Miles Davis - The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia Legacy)

Of the many Miles Davis box sets, this is the one I play most often. Electric voodoo. 

Various ‎- Popular Electronics: Early Dutch Electronic Music From Philips Research Laboratories (Basta)

Tape/electronic genius.

Ornette Coleman - Beauty Is A Rare Thing: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (Rhino Records)

Arranged as the sessions were recorded. It's Ornette Coleman.

Duke Ellington - Anniversary (Masters Of Jazz)

13-disc epic feast of Ellington. A gift (from myself) that keeps on giving.

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