Friday, February 12, 2010

beloved thing

I bought an iPod. Now pigs will fly.

A couple of months ago I suddenly noticed one of my colleagues’ ipod Nano. So sleek, so simple and nice to look at. Started salivating with pure design lust. Then I started perculating the idear—I’m always complaining (in my mind, if not out loud) that I can’t listen to music at volume any more. Either I’ll be waking up the girls, or distracting Anette from work or reading. But I still really really like having a Relationship with a piece of music. This is so delicious: giving some sounds—weird, spooky, lush, whatever-- your pure attention, your brain. Listening with all of yourself. And finally I put two and two together, and determined to buy myself a new toy. This I deserve.

Last night I snuck over to the mall, and lingered over a display case at Saturn for awhile. Like a sign from God, one of the sales clerks paused behind me and asked if I needed any help, which never ever happens at that place. So I asked a couple of guilty, perfunctory questions, and one hundred and fifty Euros later, I had become one of those people who walk around plugged in 24-7. Without even knowing it, I bought the exact color and model I’d seen on my colleague’s desk.

And it’s so fucking cool.

The first thing I listened to on it was a basshead stoner techno masterpiece I only discovered last week: Burial’s Untrue. The second thing I listened to was a record that’s almost forty years older: Fairport Convention’s lesser known electric folk jewel, Full House. They both sounded sooo...good.

I listened to Burial last night as I creeped around my neighborhood taking photos of the snow and brutalist architecture. It was the perfect soundtrack: dark, paranoid, lost, sad and mysterious, with a low-end that I can feel in my chest. It’s amazing how headphone music can re-contextualize the everyday and every-night landscape. Billboards look more poignant or tragic, shadows more sinister, street lights even harsher....

This may become my latest, greatest disease.


Ed Ward said...

Two things:

a) You shoulda bought a Touch. It's multidimensional, because you can play games and stuff on it as well as listen to music.

b) Just remember: the venue in which musical appreciation happens is not the center of your skull. While some of the electronic stuff, and, I guess, pretty much all the dynamically-challenged pop music of today is engineered that way, it's still a good thing to listen to music in an open acoustic space.

Lynell said...

I love my Nano! I go for long walks sometimes in the morning and listen to music in a way I rarely do at home. I love to read your writing about music, even if it's through the i-pod wonderment filter!

Kat said...

Welcome to our world. . . it's just like getting that first Walkman, isn't it? I have very fond memories of driving the freeway in San Antonio listening to the live Talking Heads cassette. It felt very futuristic. Now, I walk around Town Lake plugged into my own little world of PFunk and Nelly and The Jam. It's the best. Enjoy!

ken said...

In response to Ed Ward, David Byrne's latest entry in his blog is about a talk he gave where he suggests that context determines the type of music that is created. So rock music is loud to be heard over the drunken fools at the bar at CBGB's while Gregorian chants are harmonically simple because they were mostly performed in stone cathedrals, which have a long reverberation time.