Jessel's Music Collection
During my recent vacation in Ontario, last holiday season, I had the privilege to visit the music archives of my friend Jessel Baltazar. Spending hours in the basement of his house, in the city of Mississauga, was not enough to feast on his impressive collection of CDs and vinyl records as well as books and Star Wars action figures.
Jessel was kind enough to give me copies of as many CDs as he could share with me. And believe me, a month would be insufficient to copy everything!
He also lent me a number of books and a handful of DVDs to watch while I was there in the province.
You might be surprised but, yeah, that was our first time to see each other. I’ve known Jessel through a Yahoo group, from common friends who are also deep into Alternative Rock / New Wave music. As I have proven time and again, my love for New Wave music continues to give me good friends. His family—wife, Maan, and daughter, Jaina—was very warm and accommodating as well. They would even pick me up at my relatives' house most of the times I went to their house.
Jessel also took me to a one-man Star Wars show, which was something new to me. He would even have toured me around downtown Toronto but, as always, Time got in the way.
Here is a partial list of the albums Jessel gave me.
The Apartments – A Life Full of Farewells
Aztec Camera – Love
Balloon – Gravity
Benny Profane – Dumb Luck Charm + Trap Door Swing
The Big Dish – Swimmer
Bill Pritchard – 3 months, 3 weeks, and Two days
Bill Pritchard – Jolie
The Bloody Marys – Sixteen Hail Marys
The Bølshøi – Giants and Friends
Bradford – Shouting Quietly
Camouflage – Voice and Images
Cleopatra Wong – Egg
The Colourfield – Virgins and Philistines
The Coral – The Invisible Invasion
The Desert Wolves – Pontification
The Dylans – Spirit Finger
Friends Again – Trapped and Unwrapped
Gene – Libertine
Gene – To See the Lights
The Hollow Men – Cresta
James – Stripmine
The Katydíds - The Katydíds
Lowlife – From a Scream to a Whisper
The Lucksmiths – Warmer Corners
The Moss Poles – One Summer / Shorn and Other Tracks
The Ocean Blue – The Ocean Blue
The Ocean Blue – Beneath the Rhythm and Sound
The Pacific Ocean – Less than the Needle, More than the Shotgun
Revenge – One True Passion
Senseless Things – The First of Too Many
The Spent Poets – The Spent Poets
Steve Kilbey (of The Church) – Unearthed
Mere staring at Jessel’s collection is definitely enough to make the eyes of an Alternative-music lover turn shiny and round like a pair of vinyl records.
Here, snapshots of only a small percentage of the treasures a music archaeologist can find in Jessel's secret vault (most of the records below are in vinyl format):
Benny Profane / Peter Coyle (of The Lotus Eaters)
The Desert Wolves
The Lotus Eaters
The Pale Fountains
...and more The Smiths!
The Wallflowers (UK)
Y Kant Tori Read / Graduate (the first band of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith of Tears for Fears) / Metro Trinity / Skyray (solo project of Paul Simpson of The Wild Swans) / The Moss Poles / Blue in Heaven / The Fun Boy Three
...and our very own, Filipino music: Lokal Brown, 10 of Another Kind, Identity Crisis, The Dawn, NU Rock The Album, Dear Cory, Ethnic Faces, Ocean Zoo, and my childhood favorite Lea Salonga.
Spending time in the basement of Jessel's house was a truly fulfilling experience, especially that, like him, I'm a true fan of Alternative Rock music. I'll certainly go there again the next time I have the chance to return to Ontario.
Despite my considerable knowledge in Alternative Rock and New Wave music, after having had the chance to peek at the vast music collection of my friend Jessel, I realize once again that exploring any genre of music is, indeed, a never-ending journey. Just like Life.
. As I end this article, Mike Scott is crooning on my media player:
I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hand
I had flashes but
You saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon....