Friday, January 26

Slow Music

Over at Pitchfork, Mark Richardson has an interesting piece about difficult albums. I'm not sure I've ever had any "project" records, but I do think it's important to give music more than one listen before making up your mind, and to come back a few years later to music you initially passed on. I despise olives, yet about once a year I'll try one just to see if my taste has changed. One bit of the essay in particular caught my attention:

"I've had many of these "projects" in my life, albums that I didn't enjoy at all the first few times through but kept anyway, hoping that someday they'd eventually click. It's a tough notion to hold on to, especially now. There are so many records competing for attention, and so many are potentially appealing on first listen. But it's important, I think, to not give up on difficult albums."
There's so much of everything, not only records. An internet friend (i-friend, e-friend?) of mine recently wrote, "It's like a never-ending stream of music if your ears are to the ground, you know?." Do people even have time to work at liking an album? How many times should you listen to something before giving up? Hurry, CDs and MP3s are piling up! Perhaps someone needs to start a Slow Music movement similar to Slow Food.

Mark's request to "not give up" stands in direct opposition to the 2006 best-of lists that are still trickling onto the internet. These lists--more this year than ever-- started appearing back towards the end of November, so that means about two full months spent attempting to tie up the previous year's music. It's hard for me to read this as anything but a desperate attempt to get a grip on what stays and what can be forgotten. Music listening becomes reduced to an exercise where your goal is to sort discs into "keep" and "trash" piles.

I think it's about time to take my copy of Autechre's Confield down from the shelf and give at go with my new headphones.

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