I spent June 2013 to June 2014 listening almost exclusively to the jams of Jim Guthrie. At first this was concentrated research, me working at being attentive and critical with work I'd had my feet up on for all my adult life. But over that year, listening to Jim's music daily became a sort of version of the physical, spatial work routines I've had in the past: getting up and going to some particular desk, cafe, or bar to start, carry on, or complete that day's work. So, in some regards, Documenting Perks Part 2 is, for me, a little version of the room I wrote Who Needs What in. An ode to that room, if you will.
More importantly, though, this is a mix for you – whoever you are – meant as a companion to the book that I wrote while in the room that is also the mix. If you follow me...
Interviewing Jim for the book, we sat down for two chats, in September and November 2013, which shook out to roughly eight hours of yakking. Otherwise, we carried on either pointed or casual back-and-forths over the year. In addition to that, I dished with with about two dozen of Jim's buds – more than a few of whom had to be nixed from the book for space reason – accruing thoughts, feelings, and memories of the guy, all of which added up to about two days worth of material. With a man's life/career in my hands, I wanted to be as thorough and accurate as I could. The thing is, as much as you can know a person through the things they say, do, and think, I did my limited damndest to create as accurate a Jim analog as I could in the book you've ideally bought, Who Needs What. Of course, like the finest Tussaud recreation, even the most accurate copy will fall short. You can hang out in the uncanny valley of it and mostly just admire the resemblance or – if you want to be a jerk about it – nitpick the inaccuracies.
But if you throw on this mix, Documenting Perks Part 2, while you go about reading the book, my hope is that a little actual life will come into the eyes of the copy I managed. The flesh might seem a bit more flush, the jeans more naturally distressed. I'm not suggesting my golem Jim will come to life and do your bidding or anything, but ideally it'll enliven your experience and your impression – your Jimpression, rather.
As I did with the book, I tried to reflect 20 years or so of Jim making music, but also tried to reflect Jim himself. Locating the creator in the creation can be dubious, often fruitless work, so I would never want to suggest that listening to Jim is the same as knowing the guy. But as someone who had listened to an embarrassment of Jim Guthrie leading up to chatting with him, I was impressed by how much Jim in conversation is like Jim in composition, and hopefully this mix evinces that. Across these 23 tracks you'll get the melange of the high- and low-brow humour, the intelligent curiosity and curious intelligence, the thoughtfulness and impulsiveness, the sarcasm and the earnestness, and the seemingly bottomless warmth and generosity that seem to be simultaneously at work in the guy.
Organized chronologically, hopefully you'll get a sense of how these qualities matured from Jim's first tape in 1995, Home Is Where The Rock Is, to Jim's most recent album, Takes Time. We begin with a kid who's only had a guitar in his hands for a year or two and end with one of the most highly regarded musicians of his generation. Throughout all of the work, though, from the most scrappy to the most deft, is a common, sui generis spark. Whether directly infused or inadvertently pollinated, Jim's all up in this work. In this career-spanning collection, you'll be able to hear the shift from a personality making music to a personality made of music.
At the very least, just enjoy inhabiting this music, this place that it equals, as much as I did – as much as I do still.
LISTEN HERE: http://www.invisiblepublishing.com/jimguthrie