Tabs Out | Theo Krantz – WinAmp Selections

Theo Krantz – WinAmp Selections

11.23.22 by Ryan Masteller

I think it’s only fitting that I end my long-ass hiatus with a thing about a program on a long-ass hiatus, or at least on a long break from a public eye fascinated with other, more versatile media playback software (being Steve Jobs’s sole heir, while a formidable existential position, does make it easy for me to say “Apple whatever” whenever anyone asks my preference). [Ed. note: Ryan is not actually Steve Jobs’s sole heir; please direct any legal enquires to Delaware Dan Incorporated LLC.] I think it’s also fitting that I use the term “long-ass” twice in the first sentence of the first thing I’ve written for Tabs Out in a year and a half. Make that three times in the first paragraph. There’s just something about “ass” and “Tabs Out” that’s so complementary.

There’s nothing ass-related to Theo Krantz’s “WinAmp Selections,” an ode(-ish) to the third-party music-playback program once ubiquitous for Windows machines and now once again available for them after falling out of favor like an aux cable and an iPhone. As a Jobs, I had no idea that Windows was even having any of these problems, but I don’t really care too much, clouding on my focus on anything not me-related. In fact, I had to google the thing, which returned responses like “Does Winamp still exist?” and “Is Winamp safe?” But I like Krantz’s spirit, completely ignoring the second question and blasting the first with a hearty “Suck rocks!” in order to dutifully produce introspective beauty from the elusive software. Yeah, he uses Winamp in his composing and recording process! Like a modern-day Brian Eno but better, Krantz doesn’t stop at “startup sounds,” instead expanding his palette to the two-, three-, and seven-minute marks (seven seconds, Eno? Really?). 

But these compositions are, in the artist’s own words, “three tracks about loneliness, flights of fancy, and unease,” not paeans to computers at all, or their softwares, or to anything other than what Theo Krantz was thinking and feeling at the exact time he laid these tracks to Winamp (or used Winamp to lay these tracks to ProTools – what do I look like, a music expert?). And we’re able to feel along with the artist in being lost (that’s the vibe at least) in a crowd, while chugging mirrors (you know you want to try it), and … not turning (the track is called “no turn,” I got nothing to add). It’s all delicate and vulnerable, and isn’t that how we all kind of feel at this point?

Well I don’t. Not me, not the only surviving great-grandnephew of Steve Jobs. I don’t need nobody.

Check out this short run cassette, limited to a scant 20 copies, on Santa Fe’s Cry Like Donna.