Monday, September 20, 2010

Music Appreciation Is a Lost Art

As Gavin Harrison, wunderkind drummer for Porcupine Tree, says in this final part of a wonderful interview, there's so much music out there, really listening to and absorbing an album has become a lost art. Aside from the fact that listening to music has moved from being a main activity to secondary activity, it's just so hard to focus with all of that choice, and it's so hard to stay focused with new material being produced and pushed at us all the time.

I own 626 albums. Do I know them all intimately? Of course not. How can I possibly? And then there's the new albums being released every Tuesday and the back catalogs of bands I love that need to be completed and the ever-present impetus of capitalism and marketing telling me to buy more more more.

I'm a real music lover, but in retrospect I've become the kind of music lover that seems to yearn for quantity as much as quality, if not more so. Gavin Harrison is also a real music lover, but he covets quality over quantity; while the rest of us kids are busy running through the candy store trying this, that, and the other thing, Gavin will sit there with the bowl the brownies were made in and lick it absolutely clean.

It's time I started appreciating the music I already have. So I've given myself a homework assignment. Starting immediately, I'm going to restrict my active listening collection to a size that I can more easily absorb.I'm going to listen to that list and only that list for the next 4 weeks. Sound good to you? Sounds good to me, too.

Of course, any decision about how to do this is fairly arbitrary, right? On my desk I happen to have two brand new albums that were released this year that I've listened to hardly at all. Maybe once. So why not start this experiment with the new stuff? That's the stuff that I've heard the least of, that's the stuff I've had the least chance to absorb, that's the stuff with the most fresh meat to suckle off the bone.

So, I just wrote a search query in foobar 2000 to reduce my library to the albums I own that were released in 2009 or 2010. This is still a fairly daunting list at 28 albums, but it weeds out 95% of my collection. For the next 4 weeks, my music collection is effectively reduced to this delightfully weird and eclectic list:


Want to join me on my quest? Want to really get to know and love your music? Leave a comment, let me know what you'll be listening to for the next 4 weeks.

1 comment:

Marion said...

Send me the 30 Seconds to Mars album and the Disturbed album and I'll be happy to join you in your experiment. ;)

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