Critical Zero

The online refuge of Andy Pearson
He’s been gone for a while, the posts are gathering dust...



12th April 2010

Music gets me through the day. It helps me focus, reduces distractions, allows me to plough through boring tasks and lets me head-bang whilst I code.

Over the years I have amassed a fair collection which is now stored completely digitally and continues to grow as I discover new records.

I’m showing it off over there in the right hand column, isn’t it pretty? You should probably ogle over it at full size.

Vital Statistics

Currently clocking in at 8.7 days worth of audio. Spread over 296 albums and taking up 14.52GB of hard drive space. It’s backed up via Time Machine and online to BackBlaze1.

Play List

My collection is built using a Smart Playlist in iTunes. Although it already has a music section it’s far too broad and can include all manner of media. Instead I had to put together a rather hotchpotch set of rules to filter out all the noise. You can see it on Flickr if you’re interested in how it works.

Album Art

You might be able to tell from the screenshot, I am a little nutty when it comes to album artwork. I systematically went through and ensured every single album has artwork. iTunes already does a good job with this, but where the album wasn’t in the database I had to trawl the internet for suitable artwork, when I couldn’t find any I made it myself.

Stolen Sounds

I purchased the majority of music in my collection, since 2007 I have spent almost £1000 in the iTunes store. Before then all the music I owned was on CD. Some of the music you see here was borrowed from friends and family, ripped and returned.

There are also roughly five albums that were acquired illegally via Bit Torrent. This is always a last resort, for when I can’t purchase the record online or on the high street, and when that has been the case for a long while. Others were already completely out of print. This is not justification for breaking the law, but it is the truth.

Recommend a Record

I’m always on the look out for new music, and I always like to broaden my horizons. Although not everything is to my tastes I like to think I am open to pretty much anything.

With this in mind, if you have the time take a quick glance at my collection, see what I’m missing and suggest something fresh for me to check out in the comments. Go ahead and post up your own collection somewhere and I will do the same.

Hopefully with your help I can expand my collection even further and take my musical tastes in new and interesting directions.

  1. I wrote previously about BackBlaze, and it’s still a fantastic, affordable backup solution. 

  1. trovster

    12th April 2010

    I thought my collection was extensive and this makes it seem a little excessive, although I do listen to the majority of it (not all it has to be said). I have tried to prune it down a few times, creating playlists of unlistened or only listened a few times, but it rarely helps to chop it down by much. My iTunes music collections runs at over 25 days and takes up over 50% of my laptops 100GB HDD!

    As for recommedations, just check out my profile, I’m sure there is some stuff on there you’ll love as we have a similar pop-punk to punk-ska tendencies.

    (BTW the ordering of your collection by album name seems a little strange to me and confused me a little when I browsing through looking for stuff, until I realise it wasn’t by artist.)

  2. Andy Pearson

    12th April 2010

    Damn! That’s ALOT of music. The obvious question of course: is it all legit? (You’re more then welcome to protect yourself by ignoring this question).

    Second question, how’s the artwork looking? If it’s not all present and correct then you need to get a bit more obsessive ;)

    I always work by album, and if I ever have it another way it confuses the hell out of me! I’m used to browsing the album list on my iPhone (in portrait mode only) so I get used to the visual pattern of artwork.

  3. Joel Helin

    12th April 2010

    Very inspiring! I love seeing other people’s music collections. You’ve got some golden things in there, but alot is missing. ;-)

    I’d recommend Mew, Phoenix and Johnossi.

  4. Dean Harris

    17th April 2010

    Interesting collection you’ve got going on there. To be honest, most of that is stuff that I’ve listened to in the past (although not all of it), but have moved on to heavier, and, dare I say it, largely more substantial stuff.

    Much like trovster, I’ve got a library that runs for 23 days, weighing in at 9691 songs, split over 819 albums, and taking up 51.18 GB of space on my hard drive.

    As far as recommendations go, given the amount of NOFX you’ve got in there, I’d recommend some Pennywise, some Bad Religion, then maybe something like Face To Face, or Social Distortion – good, enjoyable punk. I’d really like to suggest some heavier stuff, but looking at the heavy stuff in your list, there’s not a whole lot I’d recommend other than more slipknot or maybe some Killswitch Engage, some Mudvayne, or even some All That Remains.

  5. tgpo

    19th April 2010

    Give Dillinger Four a try. They’re the only current punk band worth listening to.

  6. caroline

    18th May 2010

    I’d have to second the comment. I have some issues with how the site works, but the feature I love about it is the ability to see my friends’ music libraries, listen to some of the things they’re into, and see if it works for me. I’m at

    I also tend to sift by album – I spotted Pennywise from the mini view easily.