Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Conceit

Last night I did it again.  I cracked open a beer, turned the lights down, the volume up, and picked up my phone.  It was time to kick out the jams.

One of the most used apps on my phone is iPeng - a well-designed controller for Logitech Media Server that allows me to quickly browse the music files housed on the server in the basement (I'll save discussion about the network, computers and audio gear for later posts).

A lot of people have bemoaned the fact that their relationship with music becomes a lot more transactional when it's digitized and streamed.  And I can understand this - the fun of random discovery that comes from digging through a wall of jewel cases, the ritual of cleaning the stylus and the record are gone.  You don't have 144 square inches of album art to peruse.  Internet access means that no obscure fact about the band remains a mystery for very long.  When you have 50,000 tracks at your command, it is impossible to have an intimate relationship with all of them,  And yet . . . I find that I listen to more music than ever and, in doing so, I dig further into the remote corners of the library. And I think this because random discovery is not gone, we're just using a different kind of metadata.

So on this particular night, instead of browsing by artist or by album, I chose year - which turned out to be the coolest thing ever.  Instantly, my preferences, likes and dislikes had an arc and a context.  And the musical structure underpinning the ebb and flow of my life was laid bare.

This, then, is the conceit of the blog.   Every week or so, I will again turn the lights down and the volume up.  I will pick a year at random and see what there is to unpack. Then I will blog about it. This is definitely a personal thing and your mileage will vary, but you might find something you really like.  I know I will.