Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

Virtual Thrift Store CDR’s….a history

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Between Spring 2013 and December 2017, I made a series of compilation CDR’s with assemblages of obscure music and radio ads and home acetates and various other sound sources. Each was given a title and unique packaging. I believe that there were eventually about 350-400 of them. I’ve never taken the time to count them.

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Most come with a cover that lists the tracks (although some are meant to be cryptic as to source material, which might keep the listener anchored to “reality” more, and thus have no track listings, usually these are the furthest-out and most eclectic with the highest percentage of “found material” and not actual records) and usually also has label shots or original artwork of some kind, and each runs between 35-70 minutes. The material is sourced from internet MP3 blogs and is assembled to resemble “finds” from a day of junk-store record shopping.  A particular comp may have vanity lounge LP cuts mixed with raw 1940s country acetates mixed with Spanish 60s ye-ye rocknroll mixed with radio commercials mixed with Bollywood soundtrack cuts mixed with 1920’s spoken word mixed with 60s soundalike budget cover versions mixed with song-poems etc etc etc.

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For the last few years, Chris S. has been reviewing one per week as the final item in his weekend post at BLOG TO COMM…

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I usually made about 5 copies of each. Chris has a copy of MOST of them, but there were some that were primarily small-label or custom-label country that I did not give him. There are still maybe 10 or 15 CDR’s which are in my garage with track listings scribbled on pieces of paper, for which I have not yet made covers. I’ll get around to those as I find them. I lost the original documents for all of those in the massive data crash that hit KSE at the beginning of December 2018, so unless we would resort to scans of the original covers, no reissue of these in their original form is possible.

Some of you reading this may own one or two–hope you have been enjoying them!

For me, it’s what’s playing on the radio in Shangri-La!

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I’m very proud of these, and I hope someday that they could be made available via streaming online, but I’m not the person to do that. Maybe someone can pick up the baton from me somewhere down the line…

I’m backing them up gradually to Taiyo-Yuden quality CDR’s, which are supposed to last for 50-70 years, so I can use these as the soundtrack of my retirement years!

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They utilize the same collage aesthetic that I use in my poetry, and I can promise you that putting one of them on will take you to some alternate universe…. a place where Dora hall is a superstar, budget label LP’s are treasured, locally-made ads for small-town shoe stores or grocery stores are the only advertising you’ll here, Vitaphone sound-discs are the technological innovation of the day, and the sports scores are twenty years old and for local teams you’ve never heard of. A world that might be a bit fuzzy and off-putting, but a world that’s never cruel.

These 350-400 compilation CDR’s were great fun to make and have put a smile on the face of many who’ve heard them. The period in which I made them, though, is now past, so they belong to yesterday (or to the Akashic Records, if you’re so inclined) but they can still enliven tomorrow…and I hope they will.

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Maybe someone I gave one to who did not want it will give it away, and it will find its way to a REAL junk store! Now that would be the perfect closure to this project….

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