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Happy new year!

It’s been just about a year since the relaunch of EAR/Rational Music. I’ll freely admit that during 2017 I did not focus much on EAR/Rational Music, in part due to a great deal of work-related travel, and in part due to the declining health of my parents.

For 2018 I plan to return to biweekly updates and regular ordering from my distributors. Even so, I will still be doing a fair bit of traveling and therefore you should expect delays. Items which are in stock will be shipped as promptly as possible, and if I am traveling, I will let you know when your order is placed.

I thank you for your patronage and I wish you all the best for 2018!


P.S. You can get to the shop here or by using the menus above.

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Old vs. New

Unearthed a bunch of cassettes of a radio show I engineered on KCSB from 1990-1993. These were the days before MP3s, so these cassettes are the only record I have of that show.

The funny thing is that the only cassette player I have is in my 15-year-old Subaru. The 5-CD changer in there gave up the ghost long ago, but the trusty cassette player still works.

I was listening to one of the shows today and I couldn’t identify one of the songs, so rather than waiting for my co-DJ Elisa and I to identify the song, I used Shazam on my phone–moments later Siri told me the song was From My Mouth by The Essence. The fact that I was using Shazam to identify a song from a 23-year-old cassette was amusing. I’d imagine people probably do that all the time when they run across old cassettes containing unknown gems, but it was a first for me!

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Reorganized the Menus Again!

Did a bit of reorganization of the menus…

New! – New items can now be found via this menu.

Buy – This menu collects all of the items we sell in a single menu.

Sale Items–displays all sale items on a separate page.

Gift Cards–can be purchased by pulling down the Buy menu.

Carpe Sonum–our label’s releases can be accessed via the Our Label menu.


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PayPal Added as a Payment Method at Checkout (BUT Read This…)

I’ve added PayPal as a Payment Method at Checkout, but please don’t select it unless all of the items in your order are in stock. If there are some backordered items, just choose “Offline Payment” and I will send you an invoice when the order is ready to ship.

Note that the shipping calculator often overestimates, so if you do pay via PayPal, it’s possible I will send a refund for the difference.

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Welcome to the EAR/Rational Music reboot!

We’ve been away. We’re back. With a searchable site and shopping cart. Read the story below. Or just shop.

EAR/Rational Music was born in 1992. Since before the web, really. The site owes its existence, in large part, to Rob Vaughn, a fellow nm-list member, who, in 1991, was having difficulty locating some Delerium CDs. I was living in Santa Barbara at the time, and knew my local shop (Morninglory Music–RIP) stocked them, so as a fellow music lover, I bought them and shipped them to Rob. After doing that, it occurred to me that providing music for folks who were having a difficult time finding it was a worthwhile pursuit, so in 1992, EAR/Rational Music was born.

Those were the days of 14.4k modems and dumb terminals and the “shop” consisted of a makeshift desk (a hollow interior door), a bunch of CDs in piles on top of that door, and a terminal and modem. Orders arrived via email. Invoices were literally written up in a receipt book. For years, checks were the only method of payment accepted, typically after the order had been received by the customer. Yes, I got stiffed a few times.

We didn’t have a website until the end of 1996. No online ordering, but you could browse the catalog. By 2000, we began accepting PayPal and email ordering became automated.

By 2003, we had a newer website with a shopping cart, courtesy of Mat White, and EAR/Rational moved into a small custom-built barn in the backyard. That site lasted until 2014, when it started to crumble due to outdated PHP code. I could’ve learned how to update the code. If I’d had the time, that is. Instead I thought it was time to try something new. That thinking eventually culminated in this site, with the help of Harald Lapp. In actuality, “help” is an understatement–Harald did this. And for that I’m thankful beyond words.

Please know that EAR/Rational has always been a hobby, something that consumed the “spare time” while in graduate school or working full time. Keeping everything in stock was too costly, so instead, orders were collected from customers, items were sourced from distributors on as regular a basis as possible, and eventually orders were filled–mostly. The toughest part of running this business is not knowing when releases are no longer available from our distributors. Sometimes they make a point of announcing that something or other is gone for good, but most of the time, there is no way to know a prized CD or LP (or book or DVD) was no longer available until we tried to order it.

So yes, we’re back. With the same ground rules as before–some items are in stock but many aren’t. Because of this, the shopping cart does not collect payment info. Instead, you will receive an invoice via PayPal (or Flint if you prefer, but note that you need not have a PayPal account to pay via their website) once the order is complete and ready to ship to you.

An additional ground rule–I now have a day job that I love. The job requires a great deal of travel–pretty much every other week. Most trips are three-day jaunts to San Francisco (and occasionally other U.S. destinations), although the job took me to India twice in 2016, and will do the same in 2017. So, if you order something that’s in stock when I’m out of stock–er, Colorado–then there will be a delay before your order is shipped. That may well change this summer. I plan to clean up the garage (current home of EAR/Rational) and my kids will be looking for something to do. Something that pays, I mean.