pinkie pie

mendel


Rich Lafferty's Journal

(mendelicious mendelusions)


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recalibrating how I enjoy music
devo, music
mendel

I'm listening to Sigur Ros' ( ) right now and it's bringing back some memories. This and Cat Power's You Are Free remind me of sitting at my desk on a rainy spring day in Ottawa, kind of lonely, not long before I met nyxie. (In fact, now that I think about it, it was this particular night I'm remembering.)

2001-2003 was sort of a musical awakening. In high school I listened to Pink Floyd, hair bands, and jazz, and in university I listened to the music I had to listen to for classes, for the most part. But in 2002 sometime I picked up a White Stripes CD and then started following musical links from there and ended up sort of catching up on all the music I would've liked in high school if I'd paid attention, and all the music I would've liked if I'd gone to high school in the early 80s, and so on.

And then at some point after that it sort of stopped. It wasn't just because I met nyxie because she and I found lots of great music together in 2003. But some of my passion dried up and I've been thinking lately about what changed, and I've come up with a lot of things.

(The numbers beside them are the amount from 1-10 that I think they contributed to the current situation.)

  • I used a desktop computer with good speakers then. Laptops, on laps, aren't very good at playing music. (9)
  • As great as the Squeezebox is for playing music, it's not very good for "listen to this one thing quickly". (8)
  • Similarly, I got rid of my dedicated CD player to use a PS2. Having to turn on the TV and get a controller in order to listen to a CD provided resistance. (7)
  • The music industry moved emphasis from albums to singles and I'm an album kind of guy. (3)
  • I was an OiNK's Pink Palace member and lost track of why I was there, spending more time ripping and seeding and building ratio than I did enjoying the music I downloaded. I still find gigabytes of FLAC-encoded albums that I downloaded but never listened to. This is why I didn't bother signing up at any of the sites that replaced OiNK. (10)
  • But I never started buying music again either. (8)
  • Not driving anymore means that I didn't have the opportunity for some dedicated listening-time on the commute. (8)
  • While I used to enjoy reading Magnet magazine, a lot of the music in it was hard to find in Ottawa. (5)
  • Other people started calling me an indie rock snob, a hipster, etc. and I bought into it, and got thinking about indie rock like a critic instead of like someone who enjoys rocking out to it. (9)
  • I never really got into Pitchfork and music blogs, mostly because I was never reading them somewhere where I could play the included tunes. Ditto for MeFi Music, incidentally. (4)
  • nyxie does get some responsibility; partly because suddenly I had something else to occupy my time and attention, and partly because I wasn't living alone anymore. It's probably not a coincidence that I discovered Woodhands while I was living alone in Toronto a year ago. (6)
  • iPod loading is slightly inconvenient compared to iPod Shuffle loading, and I'm not a big "walk around the city with headphones" person for no particular reason. (6)

I really want to fix this because I used to get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I was brainstorming on that too, and came up with a bunch of things I want to do:

(This time the numbers is how much benefit I'll get with the least effort.)

  • Acknowledge that this is a hobby and it's okay to dedicate time to it. (7)
  • Spend some of that time loading up my iPod. (10)
  • Make it easier to just throw on music at home.
    • Get a CD player where I can just drop in a CD and go. (5)
    • Run a cable from the living-room stereo around to the couch so I can plug my laptop in. (8)
    • Keep headphones beside the couch or beside the bed. (6)
  • When other people recommend music,
    • Concentrate on it like I would a book they recommended. (8)
    • Assume they're saying "I like this and I think you would too" and not "I'd like your thoughts on this music". (8)
  • Give myself a monthly music allowance and spend it in person locally, for rock and pop at least. Probably at Soundscapes. Classical music I don't mind ordering online, since I don't find L'Atelier Grigorian's store very useful for browsing in anyhow. (10)
  • Keep a list of CDs I want to buy. (9)
  • Talk about music more with people who get excited about it. (8)
  • Find a magazine (maybe Magnet, maybe one of the others that have popped up? Paste? I accept recommendations here!) and read it carefully. (5)

And now that I've written it down I have more reason to do it! So let me start here: what awesome music have I missed out on in the last five or six years?


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I'm not sure where your musical tastes run, but in my world, the top three bands/singers I've gotten WAY into in the past five or six years are the Mountain Goats, the Avett Brothers, and Jackie Greene. I won't spend a bunch of time trying to tell you who/what they sound like since you have the whole internet at your disposal to do research. :)

The Who's Endless Wire. If you are a Who fan. I'm a huge fan. This is the 2nd best who album since Quadrophenia.

Metallica's Death Magnetic. But make sure you listen to a fan remastering.

... but this probably isn't what you're looking for...

Headphones. Get good ones. Really good ones. Don't skimp unless you'll only use them once in a great while.

Great headphones can be as good or better than sitting in a room with good speakers. And they can be so anywhere. I have found having great speakers in my pocket to be quite liberating, and has helped me follow through on a decision I made some time ago to listen to more, and more often.


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