From connecting with family members to influencing their research at IUPUI, music has played an important part in the lives of IUPUI staff and faculty members.
With Record Store Day sweeping into Indianapolis record shops on Saturday, April 13, we wanted to know what some of your favorite records are and why.
Jordan Munson, Department of Music and Arts Technology
“OK Computer,” Radiohead
A senior lecturer in music and arts technology, Jordan Munson teaches synthesis and sound design classes while leading the student performing group Electronic Music Ensemble. He also oversees the performance studios’ use within his department.
Radiohead’s epic 1997 release, “OK Computer,” directly influenced his professional aspirations. The record was groundbreaking in terms of the possibilities of electronic music and recording studio experimentation. Munson has pursued electronic music since then, creating for IUPUI and his solo performance work.
“It was influential in recording and production and all of these things I think about all the time now here at IUPUI,” Munson explained. “It was an interesting turning point. This was a milestone in terms of albums, production and concept.”
Check out Munson’s new, original music live at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Indy CD and Vinyl’s Record Store Day celebration.
Carolyn Springer, Herron School of Art and Design
“Kind of Blue,” Miles Davis
For most of the 21st century, Carolyn Springer’s academic work has focused on color and design. She has worked as an adjunct instructor since 2005, primarily teaching color theory in the elective arts program.
Color is her thing, so it’s fitting that Miles Davis’ legendary “Kind of Blue” would resonate so much with Springer, an Indiana University alumna. After all, the record’s compositions include “Blue in Green” and “All Blues.”
“It has this warmth, even though it’s ‘Kind of Blue,’” Springer said. “The rich tones … it just felt like it was inside my soul.”
Jasdeep Bagga, School of Science
“Chunga’s Revenge,” Frank Zappa
Jasdeep Bagga is the webmaster for the School of Science, developing and upkeeping sites for the program’s nine departments. Before he became adept at coding, he was putting the needle to the groove on an impressive record collection.
Bagga goes by the nickname “Jazz,” which is also an ingredient in the eclectic sounds of the late Frank Zappa. Bagga was a freshman at IU Bloomington when he first dove into the discography of the man who composed such works as “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama,” “Dirty Love” and, of course, “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” He took a music history class that focused on Zappa’s music, career and life.
“The music blew me away,” Bagga remembered. “I did this crazy deep dive of Zappa, fell in love – and there was no going back from there.”
John King, Department of Media Arts and Science
“Copper Blue,” Sugar
A lecturer in media arts and science, John King has collected music since his teens, but the 1992 album by noted alt rockers Sugar has stuck with him through the decades and format changes. It’s the only record he has several copies of; he first bought it on cassette, then CD, then LP – and then all of the reissues, international pressings and promotional copies. When he was a high school student, King said, “Copper Blue” was one of the first albums recommended to him that went beyond pop or classic rock radio.
“My buddy Ryan said I would like it because it was so loud and distorted,” King recalled. “After I bought it, I kept going back to it so many times. There were certain songs that spoke to me lyrically. To me, there isn’t a bad song on the album or one I skip every time.
“Today, when I see it in clearance bins at Half Price Books or something, I’ll get it and then give it to people: ‘I got this for $1. Here, take this.’ I feel like I am rescuing it from oblivion.”
King, who teaches video production, scriptwriting and digital storytelling classes, believes vinyl records still hold a place in modern music consumption. You can listen to Spotify, but holding an LP still strikes a chord.
“The tactile, the idea of holding it your hand – there are marks of character on it,” King said. “I like that there is a loud pop on this record between tracks. You get another copy, and it’s not going to play like that. There’s a significance to ‘This one is mine.’”
Mandy Porter, Division of Student Affairs
“Tapestry,” Carole King
The soothing sounds of “Natural Woman,” “I Feel the Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” echoed through the Porter household near Portage, Michigan. Mandy Porter, the IUPUI coordinator for student success and outreach, said she grew up in the “CD era” and consumed music accordingly. But her parents’ massive collection of LPs always fascinated her. The old records have become an anchor to childhood memories of her home. She also had to listen to her dad explain – at length – the superior sound of vinyl over CD and digital.
Porter started buying current acts like Adele and Sam Smith on vinyl, but she always went back to those old tunes from “Tapestry,” which has sold 25 million copies and become an iconic title in 1970s soft rock.
“Just listening to an album my mom listened to when she was my age,” Porter explained, “brings me back to multiple times in my life and my mom’s life. Hearing music the way she heard music is relating to my family.”
Photos and photo illustration by Tim Brouk, Indiana University