RIP: Collin Anderson, TMT writer

RIP: Collin Anderson, TMT writer

Earlier this month, we reported how TMT writer Collin Anderson and his partner Rachel Firak were involved in a serious car accident in New York that left both in intensive care. While Rachel is slowly healing from the accident, Collin was unfortunately unable to recover and passed away last week at 26.

Needless to say, the TMT staff is heartbroken by the news. Collin — writer, musician, and friend — was an integral member of the team: not only did he contribute impeccably clever, soulful reviews with a unique, writerly sensibility, but he was also one of the primary conversationalists behind the scenes, initiating thoughtful discussions about everything from our rating system to our pseudonyms to our usage of neutral pronouns. Talking with Collin about such topics was always a pleasure too, because he was as passionate a reader of TMT as he was a writer. He knew the site intimately, attentive to the details only the most hardcore of readers would notice. In fact, before we officially took Collin on board back in 2009, he astutely guessed in his application that TMT must have an internal message board and a music-sharing system in place, just by noticing how an album that was never reviewed on the site had made it onto one of our year-end lists.

It was clear then, and it is crystal clear now, that Collin always wanted to encourage more music sharing, more exchanging of ideas, more communication in general. It was never about the ego for Collin (he changed his TMT moniker from his real name to unicornmang two years after he was hired, in part to avoid the ego), and it was not even necessarily about “the music,” per se. What drove Collin here and allowed him to so easily befriend anyone he talked to was his desire to facilitate discussion, to encourage us to learn from each other, to use our resources to build a stronger, more vibrant community.

We are honored that Collin chose to share his life with us. His influence on us both individually and as a whole will continue as we go forward, with Collin having permanently infected us with his charming inquisitiveness and the goodness in his heart.

We love you, Collin. RIP.


Today, Tiny Mix Tapes posts Collin’s last review (which was submitted days before the accident) and a tribute mix. We will suspend posting anything else today in remembrance of Collin. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Here is a eulogy by Tim Terhaar using Collin’s own words:

This is an old story. Originally emanated from a single speck of dust. But it’s worth exorcizing all of your predictions. Urgency is the central thing — bread-breakingly stirring. Sound in print breathes life into an invisible community.

A review constituting a small miracle, like a brick wall over and over, waiting for the other shoe to drop. The paraphernalia of stories untold are tied to his limbs with strips of ribbon. I am still quite actively searching, not recovered.

Missing the mark, to be human. Hitting dead ends is another question. But the termitelike “now” is certain, the only umbrella before the torrent.

It’s miraculous that we still somehow walk away from a pileup in love with the textured thicket of machines. A lot of us have been preparing emotional space for… it’ll remain impossible to say. This complete indeterminacy, somehow more prominent the deeper you dig.

Always familiar but unforeseen, something that’s already there leaves you floored, hungry. Clues to an invisible structure live and die, and you’ll both just sit there. But you know what this sounds like already.

This is where the guts thing comes back. Let’s just cross our fingers in hopes that their brains aren’t as permanently cooked as this fractured narrative. Amoebic diligence past being able to do anything about it — score for the machines. This empty dread when the buzzing naughts are left on too long without feedback.

There’s a strange peace in asking the right questions. Mash-up, alien, or oblivion? There’s a piece of you that will stop. This unnamed “you” plays time like an accordion. To construct something, intent on a cut-and-paste asymptote.

Believing in people is harder than believing in unseen unity. “Infinite reserve of uplifting hurt” loses meaning, leading into nothing in particular. You know what we like to do with serious things. Sing her syllables like Shaker exsufflations.

How damned deliberate, like a hornet struggling for life. We’re talking primordial soup in a panic almost too protracted to witness, the only humanity we’ve had to cling to so far being minutes from vapor. Suddenly a cavernous silence, the type you might imagine before being hit by an oncoming train.

Worm through your day-to-day, then quickly gather dust. Emotional tug will still be there for us when apostles break down walls. Rolling down the windows might well be a therapeutic issue.

Don’t screw around with your certainty. His projected project like another piece of debris more permanent than himself. Otherworldly flotsam. A certain tired humanity filled with some creeping sense that something’s on its way and may never arrive. Cleft mumble, unspoken floors. Apparent silence.

There’s no easy word for how contagious woes punch straight through where they need to. Grief straddles the line between the human and the chemical. We should be thankful he dwelt long enough to make no bones. I don’t know which side of the skull I’m on.

There’s only, it seems, one thing left to love: this solitary, fractured record. A claustrophobic aluminum halo. A brass rubbing of some ineffable, powerful yet stationary force. Sitting in the corner gathering dust, messing with the guts — they do go on forever.

Some days I can stare into smoke for hours. Less an act of investigation and more an act of prayer. The actual visceral experience of one person’s diminution. The world lost a warm and honest person.

Go out the window. Step in the glimmering bear trap. Split your heart, replete. Imperfect until it becomes perfect. No matter how many bizarre directions this relationship takes, it all comes together again on a couch in Syracuse.

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