I realized that more I go then more rarely I have needs to return to my music collection. Having thousands LPs, well, over a thousand CDs and over a hundred of FM recordings I more and more feel that collecting the better performances does not attract me as it use to be.
It always has been a mystery to me to learn about the reasons according to which I pick the recordings that I’m wiling to play. I would like to share some observations and patterns that I was able to be observe with myself lately.
1) Casual Listening. This is mostly FM, CDs or Digital recordings, practically never records. It’s hard to say when this listening takes place. Mostly when the FM programming that did not attract my attention or when I do something else. Interesting that when I work sometimes from home (write code) I quite sensitive and demanding to sound quality and sometimes I had some phenomenal listing sessions, while I was completely submerged into classes/methods building. If I do Casual Listening and do not write code than I run mostly my “table radio” without any problems or worsening of my listening experience. I run “big system” during the Casual Listening only if I do “Records Pooling” (more about it later).
2) Dedicated Listing. Sometimes, not frequently, I develop craving for a specific peace or for a specific performance. I pick one well-selected recording and literally convert it into a listening ceremony. I well-burn my systems, I shut down my telephone, I set up the ashtray and Cohibas at the convenient distance, I might even to dress up (means do not listen in underwear) and then I spend a wonderful “loaded” hour or two way “out there”. This probably the only moments when I feel that accumulating the music collection was not worthless. Audio-wise it happens only with context of my large playback and while I there demand that everything should be “perfect” (not annoying) audio-wise (frequently deep nights)
3) Raw Pooling Listening. I do it for years. I buy records or CDs that do not follow the Targeted Listening (more about it later). Those bought record I seldom listen right the way (if I do, then they were the Targeted Listening). I mostly dump the new records (or CDs) into a pile of other records that I bought before and did not hear as well. Then, sometime in a month or two, when I forget what in that big pile, I go to this “pool” of the “raw records” and pull of the pile a record without looking at it’s jacket. Looking at the groove it is simple to detect what cartridge it would need to play and then I play the record, trying to relate to this recording. This process of “relating” is the most interesting to me, as I like to think about the musical things. It is fascinating to cruse around the minds of unknown performers and unknown compositions discovering new things about them and new things about myself. Sometimes I recognize the performances. In some instances the “secretive randomness” creates own listening “events”… Audio-wise the Raw Pooling Listening might take place on any equipment. I many instances if I feel that it was necessary I move the recording from any environment to the “big systems” and the ceremony might get upgraded in to the Targeted Listening.
4) Targeted Listening. This is perhaps 70% of my listening. Sometime I develop an interest to a very specific performance, fact, person, peace, instrument, idea, program, event, techniques or even musical phrase. Usually it comes from learning about some events, intellectilizing the facts or by feeling some associations with an object of interest. Once again: knoing “what”, “who”, “when” and “under which conditions” I like to think about “how”. This is purely hallucinative music and I begin to think about it long before I get the recording. In some instances it is a recursive process and I knowing the pieces I try to visualize the “conditions” and the framework of circumstances. This is all in my mind and during this stage I more involved in inner-or out researching the subject than actually listening. Here is where I can go and buy some crazy recording for unreasonable amount of money but all I would be interesting in there would be just a single relevant to me cut or even performed phrase… During my Targeted Listening stage the playback system is 70% not even turned on and when I play it then it might be absolutely on any system, including the best and including the worst. The alternation of my “hallucinative music” by means of different playbacks is what I call the Real Audio.
5) Audio Listening. This is poorly technical listening when I experimenting with audio. This listening is absolutely disassociated from any musicality. In past I used musicality to assess audio capacity of playbacks but with years I have developed listening inelegance that enables me do not do it anymore. I taught myself how to do purely audio listening using my invention: “ The Associative Patterns” and this really enables me to understand what exactly to listen while I am listening and evaluating the Sound. This Audio Listening still require the “content loaded music” but I while I do my Audio Listening I do not listen Music. Also I do not listen for that crap that people believe us orthodox high-end audio assessments are all about. Once again, I feel that Audio and Music are different entities and while Music does not need audio, the Audio is completely encapsulated and self-contained domain of interests.
This all boils down to the fact that I perfectly comfortable if I have less records but instead have a chance to access all that I might need, for instance renting the records. If I begin to “collect” music now I would own much less recordings…
A long time ago I proposed an idea of Collaborative Listening Circles. The Collaborative Listening Circles imply a group of people who exchange in circles for instance 5 unique CDs from each person and provide their listening feedbacks into a centralize collaborative engine (with web access) but within a framework a very specific format (I have semi-developed this framework). With time, by analyzing the musical progress of the participating individuals from the Circle and correlation it with details of people’s audio installations it might possible to abstract very objective picture about the performance of audio elements. It was long time ago. It was before I lost interest to audio individuals… Nowadays I play those games with myself….
Anyhow, if you care about the subject then feel free to share yours listening habits.
Romy the caT
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche