Sunday, 24 March 2013

Listening - 25 March 2013

Oddly traveled to work by work car this morning and listened to 45 minutes of Per Bojsen-Moller's Curator's Cuts 28 for Little White Earbuds, burnt to CD for the car stereo. Was good, with slow tempo, calm tones and regimented 4/4 suited to Monday morning's headache and sluggishness. Had zero interest in music at this hour but this helped bring me round. Good start with Madteo:

Much as I enjoyed it I'm not sure I'll bother hearing the rest of this set. Had burnt this to soundtrack a long road trip and figured the air-break tracklistings to be useful, but now that the trip is over... interest has waned.

Listened to no music at my desk, as usual. Tried unsuccessfully to play a few things on the portable digital music device while walking about at lunch but headphones were stuffed (dodgy work in-ear cheapies). Heard snippets of R.E.M. from their I.R.S. Years, skimmed through Autechre's Chichli Suite and Lee Perry's Disco Devil but all sounded too shit to bother with.

This is the problem with portable music all too often, along with the interface being too user unfriendly to engage with, and yet for many (including myself) this is the primary means of listening to much music. And this is a factor in commencing the Listening Series, to try and bring some sense of active engagement to these driftless and passive and largely (presently) unenjoyable activities.

The weekend's listening highlight was several airings of the Delos CD Perchance to Dream to soothe a sick child, played through the living room stereo at modest volume. This was acquired through warehouse in Soho Square, where masses of abandoned Delos and Hanssler CDs were stored. My daughter calls it "the magic CD" and isn't the only one:
Just last week my nephew Karl sent me a quote from Danielle, a friend of his from school days, about her experiences with “Perchance to Dream” and its sequel:

“I had something I wanted to share with you should you ever pop up on my radar again. So, through all of these years, I never forgot that I had the opportunity to meet your Aunt Carol and how cool I thought it was that she’s a concert pianist.

“I thought you might like to know that in my son’s 5-1/2 years on this planet, he’s probably gone to bed at night fewer than thirty times without listening to one of her CDs. I would say that Nicholas is likely her biggest fan. I forgot to bring the CDs with us to Hilton Head last week and heard an earful because of it! I’d better get that stuff on my iPod STAT.

“I purchased “Perchance to Dream” first when I was going through a particularly rough time in the early 90s and was looking for something to help me relax (short of fist-fulls of Xanax!). I liked it so much that I purchased “Such Stuff as Dreams,” too. When Nicholas was born, I was looking for something other than Disney to play him at bedtime. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Anyway, the next time you speak to her, let her know her #1 fan is a 5-year-old boy in metro Atlanta. She might get a chuckle out of it.”

Perchance to Dream: A Lullaby Album for Children and Adults is the only CD I own to feature contrasting covers for adults:

... and children:

Listening Series - Introduction

This is an attempt to start a new series here, based on documenting music listening in an attempt to slow down the deluge of random data passing through my head without proper digestion. Partly inspired by the Slow Listening Movement, which I vaguely attempted 3 years ago before promptly giving up only to follow, before giving that up too, the Listening Series will provide a space to document specifically what music I've listened to, but also and perhaps more importantly where, when, how and why I listened to it. There might also be a 'what did I think of' aspect too, but reviewing is not the main aim. Rather, this is a space to record and question the nature of my listening habits, as habits - in the bad sense - they seem to be.

I had a wave of ideas about this over the weekend which seemed grand and important and valuable, but these petered out to seem trivial and dumb, so the form of this will likely develop over time. Ideas thus far have included:

- documenting all music heard over a particular time frame (day / week / month)

- imposing restrictions upon listening habits (medium / genre / artist / label)

- recruiting others into the above concepts and documenting their findings

- devoting each morning's listening to critical attention and documentation

- random jottings of some or all of the above (present and likely resolution).

Like Slow Listening Movement, My consumption pattern of acquisition versus listening has gotten way out of hand. The acquisition side isn't likely to change, based as it is on both boundless curiosity and unfounded anxiety over available digital music becoming unavailable, but perhaps the reception can. We'll see how this proceeds, but like many things the first step is often the hardest.