Go Deeper

We Raid James Sugg’s iTunes Library

Posted July 12th, 2010

The pounding of hammers competing with the pounding bass of pump-up music can be heard coming from the Live Arts Studio next door all week. That’s because Charlotte Ford ‘n’ crew are rehearsing and building their set (a submarine the color of a Tiffany’s box) for CHICKEN, which will premiere in the Live Arts Festival in September. I’ll admit that I tried to drown it out by plugging into my iTunes. And guess what popped up on my shared networks? None other than the iTunes library of local hero James Sugg, Chicken’s sound director. (You may also know him from his acclaimed work with Pig Iron or his cover spot on American Theater Magazine.)

Having access to someone’s music library is kind of like being in that old MTV show Room Raiders, but without the black light to search for suspicious stains. Usually you only get a glimpse of someone’s music tastes when they DJ a party or take their iPod along on a road trip, and if you’ve read/seen High Fidelity you know the importance of peering into someone’s soul via a perfectly selected mix tape. But those are edited situations, and now I aim to find out what you can really tell about someone from exploring their music library unsupervised. Well…

>>James has a pretty dense collection of classical music, from Bach and Debussy to Ravel and Glenn Gould, which suggests a conservatory-trained ear. A look into his bio confirms that he has a degree from Oblerin Conservatory.

>>He has popular tastes (Regina Spektor, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Girl Talk), but he’s also got quite a penchant for the obscure. What, you haven’t heard of Taraf de Ha├»douks, the most prominent post-Communist Romanian troupe of l?utari? This might explain where he gets the unique chops to earn four Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Sound Design.

>>James has a pretty decent amount of tunes, specifically 12463 songs, or 30.6 full days of music. That may seem like a lot, but take for comparison that I have 80.2 days, and add on the fact that he has mostly full albums, as opposed to a lot of random singles. These two pieces of information suggest that James is the stand-up kind of guy who actually pays for his music in this day and age of unlimited illegal downloading.

For that, James, we salute you! But can you explain the Genesis?

–Ellen Freeman

Photos from Wikimedia Commons.