Playlist: Nicholas Szczepanik

Nicholas Szczepanik is a sound artist currently living and studying Sound in Chicago, Illinois. He has released a number of recordings through Unfathomless, Small Doses, Test Tube, Ruralfaune, Sentient Recognition Archive, Goat Eater Arts, and Basses Frenquences. Throughout 2011, he will be self-releasing a limited, subscription-based series of twelve new recordings titled Ante Algo Azul, with unique handmade packaging accompanying each of the twelve discs. His newest album, Please Stop Loving Me, was released yesterday on Christoph Heemann’s label, Streamline. For more information, visit

It may not come as a surprise that my music has an emotional attachment to memories I have from childhood. The memories that have influenced my more personal pieces are not the most lighthearted ones to share, but that's precisely why the pieces were created: it allows me to break free from them and let them go; it's a very much-needed sentimental release.

I grew up with a crazy, but loving family and while we are all different and going our own ways, I also share many great memories with them. Some of the strongest memories involve one thing in particular: cartoons. Don't get me wrong, I still watch them now and there is much animation I find utterly inspiring (not to mention Carl Stalling's scores!), but for me there is nothing quite like those Saturday mornings, laughing away with your family. Therefore, rather than sharing my favorite records or books, I decided to seek out and share the cartoons that I loved then and still love now.

This isn't about nostalgia or a longing for the past, rather it's simply a reflection on some of my brighter memories; a collection of some of my favorite outstanding animated shorts that will hopefully, at the very least, make you smile.

(The playlist is by no means comprehensive: initially, I had a huge list, but then I realized how overwhelming it would be, so I managed to cut it back to 10 that are streaming in full.)

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery

This might be my favorite Looney Tunes cartoon ever. Daffy Duck is my favorite cartoon character and he's particularly imaginative on this one. The way he's waiting for the mailman to arrive for the new comic book reminds me of how I feel some days when I'm waiting for a new record.

Owl Jolson

Another personal favorite. I can still remember asking my mom to sing the "I love to singa" song and she would sing it to me and poke me in the side and smile at me while I giggled away.

Red Hot Riding Hood

This is one of those cartoons that made my brothers and I tilt our heads when we first watched it. It was so unbelievable and "grown-up" that it confused us, but we would watch it over and over again. When Red Hot Riding Hood replies to the Wolf's proposal seemingly sexy, but yells "NOOOOOO!!!!" with such masculinity, we laughed so hard.

Duck Pimples

"A woman speaks. AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" Classic! One of my favorite openings to any cartoon. Still makes me laugh every time. This is such an absurd, disorienting episode that happens so quickly and is over before you know it.

Duck Amuck

Another one of my all-time favorite Looney Tunes shorts. It's so incredibly creative and twisted. Daffy Duck's attitude and personality is utterly inimitable.

Skeleton Dance

Oh, Carl Stalling, you are a genius and an inspiration. My 3 brothers and I used to try to dance to the same choreography the skeletons do and it always made my sisters and mom and dad laugh and shake their heads. We'd do the same thing in the other early Disney cartoon, "Haunted House", too.

Ali Baba Bunny

"Open... Duh, open..... Duh, uh open, uh Sarsaparilla? Uh, open Saskatchewan? Duh, open Septuagenarian? Eh, open uh Saddlesoap? Uh, o-open Sesame?"

Puss Gets The Boot

Jerry is such an instigating jerk in this short which is exactly why I love it so much! There's so much chemistry between Tom and Jerry and I always found the depiction of the woman oddly intriguing.

Donald's Lucky Day

"Are you still alive? If so, consider yourself lucky!" This superstition-themed short featuring a younger, outgoing, and clever Donald Duck and an adorable black cat was a childhood favorite. I always find it humorous now because my father is deathly afraid of the number 13.

Hair-Raising Hare

"My, I'll bet you monsters lead innnteresting lives. I said to my girlfriend just the other day, Hey, I bet monsters are innnteresting, I said." Looney Tunes doesn't get much better than Bugs Bunny as a beautician. And when he's able to scare Gossamer off by having him look at the audience? Brilliant. Chuck Jones remains a master.


Anonymous said...

i'm amazed at how detailed his childhood memories are, mine are nowhere near as detailed..i hardly remember television, guess i played outside alot :)

Anonymous said...

I have plenty of memories of playing outside, but with those it's a bit more difficult to make a playlist. ;o)

Krumbled Kookie said...

I'll never forget about the Bugs Bunny Ali Baba cartoon. I think of it all the time; not sure why, but I love it.