Tuesday, 21 June 2011


We all know the displeasure and cynicism that comes from having access to everything all the time, the ennui and jadedness, the burnout from digital music overload. I often try and burn FLAC files to CD, nerdily making compilations, somehow trying to recapture the thrill of earlier music times. It always fails.

Surely this is partly because the CD is dead, an ugly, plastic, jagged thing too easily replicated to possess any intrinsic value. My CDs were stored in cardboard long boxes, artifacts from CD store days, stacked on top of one another in the corner of the living room, the corners covered in dust and cobwebs, difficult to find anything, harder to take out, and too numerous - and unappealing - to choose from. Sunday evening I selected a random bundle and stored them conveniently in a cupboard near the stereo, hauled the rest to the shed, and feel a whole lot better.

As a further tool to aid more concentrated listening and appreciation of music we decided to enforce some restrictions: vinyl only, 14 LPs a week (or until we grow properly exhausted) (I still listen to the ipod to and from work). So far it's been great. Here's what we chose for week one:

Waylon Jennings: I've Always Been Crazy
Waylon always sounds the same, which is alright by me. This was good.

Astrid Gilberto: The Astrid Gilberto Album
I know this album intimately, as I do the image on the cover, which I fell in love with when 20 years old.

Bartok: String Quartets 3 and 4
The cover I have is betetr than this, but couldnt find it on the interweb. More dissonant than I recalled, and for our conservative daily tastes, but the famous pizzicato movement is wonderful.

Brahms: Clarinet and Horn Trios

Various: The Bristol Sessions
Yet to hear but missus found annoying, even in small doses. She used to love this stuff!

Coleman Hawkins: At Ease With Coleman Hawkins
We listen to this often already, easy indeed.

Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye: Diana and Marvin

John Field: Nocturnes
Not the edition pictured, ours is by Veronica McSweeney on a weird Irish label Ceirnin somethingorother.

Julius Steinhoff: Where the Wild Things Are
Attempt to squeeze deep house into my partner's listening. Figured this ought to go down better than most.

Lyle Lovett: Pontiac
A side ok, B side less so. The most memorable first song "If I Had A Boat", the hhit I guess, is about riding a pony on a boat, with the line "Just me upon my pony, upon my boat" in the chorus.

Michael Hurley: Armchair Boogie
An old favourite.

Oneohtrix Point Never: Returnal

Strauss: Four Last Songs
Found an A5 lyric sheet inside, which revealed the last songs to have been mostly penned by Herman Hesse. Everyone probably knew that, but I didn't.

Still a few days to go before we refresh but already we're finding the practice of listening to music much more pleasurable. My partner is even more disenchanted by CDs and digital music and even wants to start buying records again! My craving for the new remains, but I'm more interested in buying vinyl too. Looking forward to the weekly chanegover, which alone brings freshness to a potentially stale collection.


  1. Two albums a day? How did the playlist actually play out? Did one or more get more playtime? Did you choose them all in advance and lock the rest of your collection in the cupboard? Advice please for a fellow vinylista.

  2. Owing to our calm domestic lifestyle John field's Nocturnes got the most airtime, Coleman Hawkins a close second. Lovett was a surprise hit - really like that Pony Boat song. Bristol Sessions didn't take, heard a few tunes but that kind of early scratchy country doesnt suit our present circumstances. Same for the Bartok, but the pizzicato movement in the fourth was well received.

    We've since slackened, still on all-vinyl, but now dip into the racks. I'll try and reinstate the restrictions tonight.