I recently re-discovered a passion for vinyl. It happened in a very roundabout way. I live in a very modern home that is wired top to bottom with state of the art technology. There are speakers in every ceiling that stream every known platform of music. Super cool. I can turn on whatever I want in whatever room or rooms whenever I want without really ever buying an album. I don’t even have to get up. All from my phone. I can even control whats playing in my house without even being home. Alice in Chains in the master bath? No problem. Beethoven Symphony no. 7 in the kitchen? Done. Yeah, its awesome and the kid in me never would’ve dreamed something like this would be possible. So, technology is amazing. Agreed.
After attending a Roger Waters show one night, I came home inspired. I wanted to listen to Animals all the way through. I sat down on the couch and opened up an app on my phone and began to type in what I was looking for. Sure enough it came up. Animals. Got it. Play. I began to notice that the experience was a little strange. For starters, the music was coming out of the ceiling. It hadn’t occurred to me before but I realized that our ears aren’t designed to listen to sound coming from above, unless we look up. Our ears face forward. Ok, no problem, I mean, I can still hear it. Moving on. Lyrics! Lets read along. I then went over to Google and searched for lyrics and began to read. Texts were coming in, I’d occasionally check some social media pages (I am a struggling addict). I was pretty distracted. Art. Back to Google, “Animals art” search. Wait, these are drawings of actual animals. “Animals art Pink Floyd” search. HERE we go. Hmmmm a little small on my phone but I get the idea. Fuck, he is singing again. Back to the lyrics page. It became frustrating. I put the phone down and decided to just listen. Listening. “Man, this DOES sound a little thin. I don’t remember this being so thin and airy sounding!” Maybe its because I am listening to a streaming mp3 coming at me from the ceiling! : (
Now, I am just in my head. What started as an attempt to listen to an artist’s work has now become a frustrating experience. Why hadn’t I noticed this before? It occurred to me. For many years I have been guilty of playing music as background. In the car driving all over city, around the house when people are visiting, in the morning when I am getting ready for the day… It had been YEARS since I just put on a record and listened to it, as a fan.
I began to reflect on my earlier days, when I had albums and collected music. I longed for all of it. The time, the memories, the music, the passion, the SOUND. I missed coming home with a new album that I PURCHASED and playing it… Sitting on the floor with the album art and reading along with the lyrics, if they were included. I missed handling the disc with care, as a precious piece of art that can be easily damaged. Holding it, connecting with it. No texts. No screens. No distractions. After all, these artists cared about the track listing and sequence. They knew at some point we would be getting up and turning over the disc. There is a reason why this album was made this way. I missed the whole experience. Time to bring this back into my life. (more to come)