Too many music: dedicated listening failed experiments.
In Charlotte Zwerin’s 1988 film “Straight, No Chaser”, Bob Jones, the road manager of Thelonious Monk, tells a story about Monk appearing on television in the late 1950s. The monk was asked what kind of music he liked, and he answered “all kinds”. The interviewer, hoping to “get into trouble”, asks smugly, “even the country?” The maverick pianist mused calmly, “I said all kinds of things.”
Me too. It is said that we are living in the golden age of music, just one click, we can access almost all recorded music, and cost less than 1955 years to hear the song on the jukebox. However, I began to feel that when I was coupled, my enthusiasm for music had threatened my ability to deal with it as the new technology encouraged unprecedented access.
Streaming has become the main way to listen to music: in 2016, streaming transport exceeded physical media and digital downloads, making it the biggest source of music sales. There are many valid complaints about music world dominated by streaming media. For example, many musicians reject Spotify’s argument that a typical repetition is that an artist is the only part of the food chain that gets a normal shaft. This argument is usually based on the concepts of economics, intellectual property and ethics. More discussion lack is a radical idea, perhaps is the largest consumer is suffering damage, and such access may by converting the fans to file member and experts into the separator to reduce listening experience. I don’t want my music to be determined by a series of intuitive algorithms, rather than I want to experience Jamaica with a full package tour.
A few years ago, I began to notice that my brain no longer kept the name of the song. I tried to remember the labels, the assembly and the names of my favorite band members. Part of the reason is the ubiquitous music playlist, in part because the supply exceeds my most insatiable requirement, and all music becomes Muzak. To try to experience all this, I quickly approached the saturation point, which made me numb. As a person who still believes that music has the potential to transcend life’s mediocrity, disappointment and even pain, this is worrying.
Like many people of my age – I’m 39 – I studied my collection of records and tapes. I read the lyrics and thanks list. I know that every song on every album has a title, even those that go back to the deep pit, like the second one, the fourth. Music is religion, myth and history. The narrative is as important to me as music. I studied the clan, developed affinity, and became obsessed with myths and details. If you identify a wine harvest year and country of origin by a soft sniff, these initial stages of infatuation will be familiar.
My familiarity with any album is almost directly proportional to whether the album is purchased separately or in bulk with several other albums. For example, an album that is received as a Christmas gift is faster and more severe than the album purchased with a snow shovel or rake leaves.
Even if from adolescence to adulthood, this kind of mania of time also is less, but I continue to enthusiastically pursue new music, and my most peers and peer excavator out and develop other interests. I can’t understand why a friend who loves the Sonic Youth album doesn’t want to have all the other Sonic Youth albums. I don’t understand those who claim to love stone, but can’t tell you the year RON wood replaced Mick Taylor. When someone told me they were “not really paying attention to the lyrics,” I would stare at them as if they were just dipping a snickers bar into a jar of mustard. I didn’t feel like the guise of alienated, but regarded them as further affirmation to my own uniqueness: those it doesn’t matter to music and I have nothing in common, they are separated from the real life of entertainment, rather than a way of life itself. When you are young, there are very few things that make you care about a thing, not just the feeling that you are the only one who really CARES about it.
Today I know a lot more than my favorite albums I released last year, in 1990.
This fact bothers me, and I want to do something about it. But first, I need to try to isolate when and why – first listen to music.
* * *
In the early 1990s, I found myself accustomed to any activity familiar to any music enthusiast who liked to get used to it. In high school, I started several bands, started volunteering at university radio stations, and worked at a local record store. I met other musicians. I wrote music comments for magazines and newspapers and started my own brand. Not long after, I began to learn about music’s low-paid, low-paid job: a copy of the promotion.
Table to any at the end of the week, I would have more music, more than a century ago people can hear music are all well in five secondary attack, and all these need not spend a dollar.
And then the Internet.
As an audience, critics, the record company boss, the old record shop staff and professional musicians, I often with economic, moral and aesthetic reasons for claims against the company and illegal downloading, witnessed their destructive power. But I would admit that 15 years ago, I couldn’t resist the siren song when the point-to-point file sharing entered my life. Remember the look of astronaut Dave Bowman in the 2001 space Odyssey “star gate” sequence? That was me, in 2001, when it was not fiction, that it was easy to download MP3 players.
Shortly after we bought our first desktop computer, my girlfriend downloaded the file sharing program Audiogalaxy. In strong bordering the anesthetic deli jump disease of lack of sleep, I downloaded the years of writing and cataloging trawl with others and talking with others every private news/geek/garage/psychology/folk/make up/punk records musicians and collectors. I plugged into the search engine the most obscure record I could think of, but it couldn’t get stuck, so it challenged Audiogalaxy. That’s great. I missed several shifts at the record store and lost a few nights of sleep. I stayed indoors and had to remind them to eat regularly. Only in retrospect can I see my obsession with music – once the proud badge of failure, world of warcraft or Internet porn.
When Audiogalaxy disappears, another point-to-point plan is replaced by Soulseek. Same dealer, different street corner. I’ve been buying physical media a few times a week (this habit has continued to this day), but many of these treasures are now being ignored for months. Soon you’ll be able to communicate music with friends via Dropbox and Yousendit. Podcasts and playlists, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Music is everywhere on music every day. Music per minute.
Stumbling over the unopened LP package and the small tower of the factory sealed CD, I realized that I had become reckless and unneeded. I spent a lot of time sorting and sorting out the digital data on hard drives, and I kept a lot of records, CDS and tapes. Ironically, my collection began to feel like an albatross and was entering my leisure time. On New Year’s eve 2013, I made a resolution: “save less, listen more.” Like most resolutions, in the first week of February, most people were forgotten.
Then one day, a revelation: I thought, it’s no longer difficult to hear all the music I’ve accumulated, but it’s impossible. What I mean is mathematically impossible: I calculate if I live another 40 years, and every minute spent over the next 40 years – that’s not sleeping, don’t eat – listen to my music collection, I will I can all the way through. That means I have today’s record, and I will never hear it again. This is a sobering thought. At the end of David foster Wallace’s 2001 short story “good old neon lights”, the narrator realizes that “a man realizes that everything he sees goes beyond him.” I put myself in this state at will, in a lump sum.
What did I do after spending a few reflective moments to estimate this dismal logic? I bought some records. As the narrative might prescribe, I did not have an ironic palliative to the grim calculations I had just done. Instead, I forced myself to do such a careless thing because it was part of my daily routine. Obviously, I need to make some changes.
I cooked up a bold experiment: for the whole of 2017, I would listen to an album every week.
I decided to do the experiment, because I’m close close time, art concentrated meditation for a long time the day of the romantic, and I have tried to reactivate this meet ritual function. I know that it will take discipline to “teach” and get rid of the new version of the artist, but I am sure the results will be worth the sacrifice.
One album per week. No exceptions. Avoid using music as much as possible, but don’t be so tough that you become intolerant of your friends and family.
The weekly album must be your own physical “hard copy” form, because experience must involve interaction with the entire object. You will read the liner notes and lyrics and participate in the works of art. Know the names of band members. Know the producer’s name. Where is the album recorded? What time of year? Can you hear this in music?