I can trace this back to certain very specific events this year:
- Attending the New York Audio Show and hearing the vinyl edition of the Talking Heads "Remain in Light" at Classic Album Sundays.
- Skipping out on "Lincoln" in the movie theater to watch "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."
- Seeing Sigur Ros in concert, and seeing Muse and Steven Wilson in short order.
- Buying a digital copy of the book, "1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die" by Tom Moon.
- Watching the play "Once" on Broadway.
Of the five, the first one is certainly the most influential because it's gotten me back into vinyl after I'd lost my entire collection in the fire of 2005. As you know, I've bought a new turntable and I've started collecting records again, although the turntable has developed a problem so I'm bringing it in for repair on Friday.
What's important to understand, for me, is that this is not about analog vs. digital so much as the importance music plays in life. Everyone knows I'm a nut for movies, and I certainly haven't abandoned them. Times Square Movie Club is still alive and well. But slowly I've been exploring new music, and when I say new, I mean new to me, of course. It's harder without a guide like Tara, but it's just as rewarding. She gave me a good start on the right path, because before she came along, I really didn't know good music from bad, and I hadn't been exposed to a lot of good music at all. I was a musical idiot, so to speak. And I still have a long way to go.
But now I try to spend at least a couple hours each day listening, really listening to music, along with my usual diet of TV, books and movies. That means focusing on a one-hour sound recording the same way you focus on a two-hour movie or two chapters of a book, without distractions. Some of this is done on the train, but that almost doesn't count since it's earbuds and there are plenty of distractions.
I'm also buying a ton of music too, new and familiar things. I'm going through used record stores and shopping online. Here's some of the records I've recently bought:
- The Band - The Band (LP)
- The Band - Music from Big Pink (LP)
- The Cure - Disintegration (LP)
- The Smiths - Singles (CD)
- The Smiths - The Queen is Dead (LP)
- Alanis Morrisette - Jagged Little Pill (LP)
- Radiohead - My Iron Lung (LP)
- Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (SACD)
- Mannheim Steamroller - Fresh Aire V (LP)
- The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (LP)
- Maurice Ravel - Un Coeur en Hiver soundtrack (CD)
- The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (LP)
This last one, the Beatles record, was one of the first rock records I ever listened to, since it was one that I used to check out of the public library and it was just about the only popular music available at the library. The first record I ever owned was Shaun Cassidy's Da Doo Run Run (which gives you an indication how old I really am) but I consider my first record that I actually bought with serious intention to be Hall & Oats' H2O (that record was still in my collection that was lost in the fire). The challenge of listening to Sgt. Pepper is to try and approach it with fresh ears, to listen as if the music was recorded this year, and not continuously think about all the music that has been influenced by it over the decades since it came out.
I love being passionate about music again. I hope you are as well. Music and magick are alike in many ways, but the most important, primary way is that they both require you to make space in your life for them or you risk losing your connection to them.