My Digital Music Collection is exactly what it says on the box. A list read out by New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based sound artist and podcaster Allanah Stewart: "of all the albums I have on my computer at the moment."
In this piece Allanah's voice, recorded simply in a room in front of the computer screen, turns the data of titles into a kind of wonky conceptual sound poetry, in which the names of obscure, fetishistic experimental music albums from New Zealand's underground history bump up against more commercial releases, in a surprisingly intimate self-portrait.
Making a gently humorous case for the continued role of the DJ as loving listener, nerd, selector and collector in an age where automated-playlist bots increasingly program our listening spaces, and celebrating the role of the peer-to-peer file share in independent radio, My Digital Music Collection humanises the algorithm, returning lists of data back to a resolutely analogue, and radiophonic, voice.
"I have loads more digital music files in my life than I do physical releases. Unfortunately I don't have enough of an income to keep up with the speed that I find new music and I don't think I ever will. There's so much good stuff out there to explore. I remember when I first started downloading music, when I was 11. My username on Napster was "Hellokittyfanman" and people would tease me on the chat rooms because they thought that I was a "man" who enjoyed hello kitty. But I was just kid that happened to be a hello kitty fan, man. These days I spend a bit of time roaming through Soulseek. I like digging through peoples files and just downloading stuff cause the name sounds cool. I suppose that trading files online has become my version of a record fair. I can find super rare rips of stuff without having to pay someone hundreds of dollars for a damaged tape that was originally sold for 3 bucks or something. It definitely removes the exclusivity of the whole process, though some might say it also removes some of the romance." Allanah Stewart
Allanah Stewart is an artist from Aotearoa/NZ, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. As well as her work in various experimental music projects, she is the presenter of a monthly podcast radio programme called Enquiring Minds, hosted by Noods radio, which explores experimental music and its many crossovers. She recently finished a Master of Arts Therapy, and believes in the power of the arts. Dissecting drums, recording silly things, making music and eating chocolate keeps her going.