Friday, June 26, 2009

Thinking about Thoughts on Music

Before thinking about today's big news, and the start of Glastonbury 2009, I'd already been thinking about the wider aspects of performance music thanks to two items that very recently came my way.
The first may seem almost inconsequential as it was just a flyer in an album I received...

You can probably see why this appealed to me - and what a great way of making buying physical music more appealing - though I had just bought this, Iamsound IAM024, and imported it from the US anyway unaware of this bonus. The album is Dance Mother - Telepathe on 12" vinyl and the best thing, apart from the fact it is available on vinyl at all, is that doing so is not prohibitively expensive.

I am also reading a book that is proving much more fascinating than I expected it would be. It is a question that lies behind all music, recorded music and live performance, although it is predominantly concerned with the former.
What do we mean when we say "That sounds really good." and why?

If anything that is only an easy question: Is it possible to find answers, or even gauge trends, in a topic so obviously fraught with individual tastes and tolerances?

How do I know if the CD I am listening to now even sounds the same to you as it does to me, regardless of whether it is to your liking or not? It could have been a book of untold ennui but, as I got a free copy to review, I decided to take the risk.
I have only read about half of it so far - at nearly four hundred pages it is no light-weight matter - and the further I get the harder it is to put down. It is factual and sometimes analytical but only because the topic requires it to be thus at times; at others it is reminiscent of a detective novel in search of those responsible for the way in which the story unfolded and what the influences and motives were, or in some cases, might have been.
I am finding it enlightening and simply fascinating. It is certainly not necessary to read it to enjoy recorded music but will it increase my enjoyment of recorded music?
My answer is that it is probably too early to tell really but it is unlikely to do any harm. It is already making me think about the whole process in a different light.

You can find many blogs that discuss the merit of Dave Sitek's production duties on various albums of late, and one of those is that by Telepathe that I mention above (and helpfully I've recently seen them play live, for comparison). Reading the book and listening to this and (other) albums might inspire some to write a PhD thesis. Count me out, I'm too old for that kind of thing now, but tell me about it and I'll gladly read yours.

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