People buy more records than they can listen to. They stockpile what they want to find the time to hear. Use- time and exchange-time destroy one another. [...M]usic is no longer heard in silence. It is integrated into a whole. But as background noise to a way of life music can no longer endow with meaning. - Jacques Attali
This quote is taken from an article “Looking at Records” by Philip Auslander (link), where he quotes Attali’s paper “Noise: The Political Economy of Music”. Auslander’s paper speaks about the commodification of music, and how the simple act of viewing a record, or looking at it is what the consumer derives pleasure from. I see this all the time in people of my generation, especially with vinyl records coming back into popularity. As no one has the time to listen to all the music they own, we begin to stockpile. And continue stockpiling for the sheer enjoyment of the view of our stockpile. I know countless times I have compared the size of my iTunes library with a peer, and felt that satisfaction when my number was much larger than theirs.
But just because you have all this music stockpiled – does not mean it gets listened to. Maybe you put it on, and go make dinner, just to have something on. And this is when the music loses all meaning.
I am guilty of doing this all the time. I just put on my music, get busy doing something else, and forget it’s even on. I want to begin trying to actually listen to my music more now. Focus on what about it makes me happy and what I enjoy about the piece.
One thing I’m going to try to do is consider all musical entities a “piece”, instead of a song. Even the shift in a title changes your perspective on the art form. It takes it out of the realm of casual, passive listening and into that of active, critical listening. I think popular music in general has turned into more of a hobby/craft for some people and has lost it’s creditability.
From studying at a music school, I’ve begun to gain a new respect for the process of composing and creating a piece of music. And it’s a “piece” – not a “song”. A part of a whole that may be an album or a symphony or an opera. Moving farther in my career, dreaming of being a recording engineer, I am hoping this change in mindset from “song” to “piece” will help me gain a further understanding of my art.
I urge you to do the same. Give your music the listening it deserves. Don’t just place your music on in the background, to consciously listen and be actively involved in your own musical indulgences. I’m interested to see what others will find when they start to critically listen as well.
Here’s a Matthew Good track that I’ve been listening to a lot lately to get you started.
This is absolutely heart-warming and incredible.
Miracle Of Science of the Day: 29-year-old Sloan Churman was born deaf. She has worn hearing aids since she was two, “but hearing aids only help so much.”
Eight weeks ago, she was fitted with an Esteem “hearing implant.” Here she is turning it on for the first time.
It also gives me hope that if one day I lose my hearing – I can regain it!
If Banksy taught me anything, it’s to not really like Mr. Brainwash in his movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop” (if you like graffiti and haven’t seen this movie already, go do that), I really like this piece.
Mostly because the guy in the chair is the guy from Dolby or Sony or some other company that I don’t know the name of right now that is all about their great sound systems, it’s a nice juxtaposition of graffiti with sound and music. The idea is retained but the source, in this case music, is replaced with spray paint. It’s clever.
Anyways. I just like this. I hope you do too.
I really want to see a video or hear a recording of this! This is from the 63rd international Cannes Film Festival. Something about Sound of Noise. What’s even cooler is that the drumset on the far left – is the same as mine! Except for the extra tom. But you guys don’t really know what that means. Still – Awesome!
So I am busy doing some ‘studying’ for my listening to music class. Which is really just sitting here and being on the internet while I listen to some odd, and modern, and terrible music. All in preparation for my first of two finals on Monday. Not that both finals are on Monday, I just have two, and one of them is on Monday. The other is on Saturday. It’s in computer science. In case you cared.
Life for me has been rather peachy lately. I’ve done the more ‘partying’ in the last two days than probably all year. On Thursday after work, I came home and had some wine and drinks with my roommates. And yesterday I went to a friend of mine who I used to live in residence with and played poker. It was a $5 buy-in, and I thought I had a pretty good chance going in. I ended up placing third and a hand that I played right. I just got beat by a pocket pair. Unfortunately. Other than that, the night was good. We had to cab home because the stupid buses don’t run past 11:30 here. (That’s a little bit of an hyperbole, it’s more like 11:35.) We cabbed downtown and tried to catch a bus, to no avail, then we managed to meet up with some guys my friend knew, so we shared a cab with them, all the while talking very loudly with the cabbie about hockey and politics.
Thursday was a crazy adventure of it’s own. I had to go downtown to work. This involves me bringing: a recording box, 100 ft cables (x 2), two microphones, two microphone clips, a microphone bar, and a microphone stand. Well first, I take a bus down there, lugging all this equipment, then I get to the church, to discover that I can’t get in for another half hour. So with nowhere to go, and a big tub full of recording equipment, I head to the place where all the crazy’s go. McDonald’s. I essentially sat there for 20 minutes just watching all these 16 year olds come in with their 25 year old boyfriends and socialize. It’s so odd. Once I did get in, I start setting up, and realize that I don’t have a microphone clip. Just one, for two mics. Great. I made a few calls, with no success, so I decided to wait that one out and focus on my other stuff. Well that didn’t go so well either. The recording box I was using decided to not work for me. At this point the choir started showing up…
Now side-note: Everybody I have ever met has known That Guy. He’s the one in the class who seems to know everything about everything and feels the compelling need to tell everyone else what he knows. Well in my case, there were TWO That Guy’s in this choir. Both of them are in my recording techniques class and definitely wanted to help me out with the problem. Now, to make this simple, the recording box has one cable that goes from the box to the computer. So you can’t really screw that up. But nonetheless these guys were crouching down, trying to figure out what’s wrong with the cable, jiggling it, plugging it in and out. Even though it really wasn’t their job and they just wanted to be the hero. So ONE guy, who just so happens to work at a music store, get’s on the phone with his boss or someone, and starts asking what the problem is. By this time we’ve acquired a small congregation of onlookers trying to see why the recording guy is fucking up.
So when another member of the choir arrives, who is another recording tech, I ask him for his advice, and he said we should go get a new cable. But since he needed to be there with the choir, he gave me his car keys to drive back to the school. Which was quite a shock for me, no one has just given up their car to me for something like this. I thought maybe he’d drive me or something. But that was fine. It was the first time I’d driven a car in almost 4 months, but it’s just like riding a bike. Or so I’ve been told. (Thanks Dad)
Eventually I get back to the church with what I needed. And when I did get back, the other recording tech guy came in with a brand new box. Apparently he had gone to Long & McQuade and picked up a whole new rig. Anyways, the stuff eventually worked and the show went fine.
Goodness that was a long convoluted story.
Umm…Trying to remember what else is happening around here. Girlfriend and I are back together. We’re working things out, and going to try long distance over the summer. And see how that works out and then make a call then. (I think? Right Girlfriend?) She always searches my posts for mention of her name. So here it is! LOOK HERE GIRLFRIEND. Hi .
So, my second year is done. And after all these thoughts of switching schools and dropping out, I think I’m deciding to stay here. It just means less courses each semester. I feel like I’ve been doing better in most of my courses this year. We’ll see after I get the marks back. I’ve definitely become accustomed to getting B’s and C’s now. It’s not great, but I feel I’m learning it and still enjoying myself without pushing it to the breaking point.
The whole housing/living situation is getting pretty interesting here. My one, more well-off, roommate’s parents were here over easter. And it’s look like they’re going to buy us a house to live in next year. This is a crazy idea to say the least – in my opinion. I am perfectly fine living wherever and I feel like a house would be a little over the top. I have made this clear to these guys and I’m considering other options for living. Girlfriend and I still want to live together, and hopefully that can happen if I make lots of money this summer.
Well I guess I should get back to ‘studying’. I leave you with one of the pieces of contemporary music that I really like.
Here’s a new song for you. I was listening to the Weakerthans “One Great City” before I recorded, hence the title of Winnipeg. Hope you enjoy.
Here’s a really cool video I found a few days ago. It’s pretty nifty. Shot in all one fluid shot. This guy is pretty talented. Albeit, it’s just loops.