Too many music: dedicated to failed experiments.


Too many music: dedicated to 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 have a “confused” moment, smugly asks “even the country?” The maverick pianist died calmly, “I said all kinds of things.”

Me too. Some people say that we are living in the golden age of music, just one click, we can visit almost every ever music clips, and in 1955 to hear an automatic music jukebox is less than the cost of a single songs so much. But I began to feel that as the new technology encouraged unprecedented access, it jeopardized my ability to criticize.

Streaming has become the main way to listen to music: in 2016, streaming media has exceeded physical media and digital downloads, making it the biggest source of music sales. There are many valid complaints about music, which is dominated by streaming media. For example, in many of the musicians’ arguments over Spotify, a typical iteration is that the artist is the only known axis in the food chain. This argument is often based on the concept of economics, intellectual property and ethics. From a larger discussion lost a radical idea, perhaps this is the biggest consumer is doing damage, and this kind of wealth may reduce listening experience, fans into documents and expert into dilettantes. I don’t want my music to be determined by a series of intuitive algorithms, not that I want to experience Jamaica with a comprehensive trip.

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 that music playlists are everywhere, in part because the supply exceeds my most unsatisfactory requirements, and all music becomes Muzak. To try to experience all this, I quickly approached the saturation point and numbed me. As a person who still legally believes that music has the potential to transcend life’s mediocrity, disappointment and even pain, this is something to be concerned about.

Like many people of my age – I’m 39 – I used to study and collect my records and tapes. I read the lyrics and thanks list. I know that every song on every album is the same, even the songs that go back to the depths, like the second side, the fourth side. Music is religion, myth and history. These narratives are just as important to me as music. I study clans, develop affinity, and obsess over myths and details. If you are the kind of person who recognizes the vintage and the country of origin through a cork, this initial stage obsession will be familiar.

My familiarity with any album is almost inconsistent with whether the album was purchased separately or with several other albums. For example, the album that was received as a Christmas gift was faster and more rigorous than the one that made money with snow shovels or rakes.

Today I know a lot more than my favorite album of 1990, which was released last year.

This fact bothers me, I want to do something. But first, I need to try to isolate when – why – the way I listen to music is first changed.

* * *

In the early ’90s, I found myself accustomed to the activities of any music fanatic who needed to form a habit. In high school, I started several bands, started volunteering at university radio and got a job at a local record store. I met other musicians. I wrote music comments for magazines and newspapers and started my own label. Not long after, I was familiar with the unwearied and/or low-paid fringe benefits of the music industry: brochures.

At the end of the week, there was more music on my desk than anyone could have heard a century ago, and it didn’t cost as much.

And then the Internet.

As the audience, critics, record company boss, the old record stores and professional musicians, I has been the company for many years and illegal download of the economy, the voice of the moral and aesthetic, witnessed their destructive power. But I will admit that 15 years ago, when the point was Shared into my life, I couldn’t get rid of its siren song. Remember the look of astronaut Dave Bowman in the 2001 space Odyssey “star gate” sequence? That’s how easy it was for me, in the nonfiction of 2001 or so, to discover how easy it was to download mp3s.

Shortly after we bought our first desktop computer, my girlfriend downloaded the file sharing program Audiogalaxy. In a strong bordering the anesthetic deli jump disease of lack of sleep, I downloaded the years cataloging and net to chat 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 esoteric record I could think of challenging Audiogalaxy, but it couldn’t get stuck. That’s great. I missed several shifts in the record store and lost some nights of sleep. I stayed indoors and had to remind myself of regular meals. Only in retrospect can I see my obsession with music – once the inappropriate logo, world of warcraft or Internet porn.

When the hearing fails, the other point to the point plan Soulseek to replace the position; Same dealer, different street corner. I have been buying physical media several times a week (this habit has continued to this day), but many of these treasures have now been ignored for months. Quickly 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 added up the time I spent organizing and organizing digital data on my hard drive, and I kept a lot of records, CDS and tapes in countless hours. My collection began to feel like an albatross, and ironically, it was entering my leisure time. On New Year’s eve 2013, I made a resolution: “save less, listen more.” Like most resolutions, this was almost forgotten in the first week of February.

Then one day, a revelation: I thought, it’s no longer difficult to hear all the music I’ve accumulated, but it’s impossible. I mean, in mathematics is impossible: I calculated, 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 die before I can all the way through. That means I have my own record today, and I will never hear it again. This is a sobering thought. In David Foster Wallace (David Foster Wallace) 2001 short story “good Old Neon” (Old Old Neon) in the end, the narrator to recognize “a person realized can see everything will go beyond his state”. I put myself in this state with a whim.

What did I do after taking some time to reflect? I bought some records. I did not calculate as strictly as I had said, but rather an ironic palliative, as the narrative might lead to. Instead, I did this just because it was part of my daily routine. Obviously, I need to make some changes.

I’ve concocted a bold experiment: all year 2017, I’ll only listen to one album per week.

I decided to do the experiment, because I have a close close listening and concentrated meditation for a long time and works of art to romanticize the process, I tried to meet to reactivate the ritual function. I know that it takes discipline to “teach” and redistribute and redistribute the fledgling artists, but I believe the results are worth the sacrifice.


One album per week. No exceptions. Avoid other music as much as possible, but don’t be so tough that you become intolerant of your friends and family.

Each week’s album must be your own physical “hard copy” form, because experience must involve the interaction of the entire object. You will read the liner notes and lyrics and participate in the works of art. Know the names of band members. Learn the name of the producer. Where is the album recorded? What time of the year? Can you hear this music?


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