Too much music?

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings' started by Kattefjaes, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    This is an interesting read:

    https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2018/01/16/578216674/too-much-music-a-failed-experiment-in-dedicated-listening.

    Edit:


    Incidentally, the KLF's Bill Drummond said something similar about the inescapable ubiquity and availability of music a few years ago, around the time he was doing "the seventeen". Sometimes there's wisdom in his strangeness.

    Us old gits who got into the habit of going to record fairs and crate digging in backstreet stores have an attitude a bit like that of a rescued street dog around food. The modern world can leave us gorged and faintly nauseous, not really enjoying any of it quite as thoroughly as we once would.

    I'm finding myself happier with a middle ground, gating music into my own pool of content, and seasoning it with external sources to help me find new things to add in future. Less bloating and nausea, and more chance to listen quietly and deliberately- even if it isn't with the single-minded obsessiveness that I had as a teenager.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  2. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I sympathize with the feeling that motivated the author to try his experiment. It's too easy to move on to new music without giving your existing music a deep listen. Some of my favorite albums are albums I didn't enjoy initially but only came around to later after repeat listens. I think I've become less adventurous and patient in my listening, but that could just be age.

    I think the author's experiment was too austere and as a result, his conclusions from it's failure too extreme. I don't think we have to give in entirely to the fragmentation of our attention, with music or reading or anything else. Attention is extraordinarily valuable and not something to be given away no matter how difficult it is to hold on to these days.

    Personally I have a folder a playlist of new music in foobar with albums I've acquired in the past month or two. I listen to those more than all my other music until I'm tired of them. Then in the next few months I make a new playlist of new music. It is a fight to resist the urge to hear something new on your music discovery site of choice. I remember back in the day you could go to some CD stores and they would let you listen before you buy. That's how I view the internet, except it's as though you have a store in your home.

    One change I would really like to see is the inclusion of liner notes in all digital album purchases from all sources. This would bridge the gap between music as a physical and digital object. I would like to see all DAPs and music playing apps include a feature that would allow you to easily read liner notes while listening to an album. What I've missed most in my transition from CDs to FLAC over the years is being able to read and see whatever the artist or label wanted me to know about or associate with the music. More than missing music as a physical object, I think I've missed the visual and knowledge associations I made with my music by reading liner notes.
     
  3. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Yes, JRMC has a "Recent Albums" view out of the box, which is very useful for keeping track of what you've added. Sometimes, when stuff is just thrown into the pool, and I'm listening to my DAP on the move, it can be hard to remember exactly what I have forgotten- if that makes sense.
     
  4. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    When listening digitally, my strategy is to mimic listening to physical media. So, it's always a single album from beginning to end. I set foobar to find the next album randomly, but am not too strict about this. If it pulls up an album I'm not in the mood for, I have no problem skipping it without beating myself up for it.

    Every new album that I obtain gets at least 1 listen from beginning to end before it joins the rest of my collection.

    This helps ensure that I dig deeper into the music I have, and also keeps me in the mindset that listening to music is the same as reading a book or watching a movie. I'm here to be fully absorbed.

    I also do my serious listening (a.k.a. not at work) with my eyes closed, unless I'm digging through lyrics, looking at the album art, etc. Google Chrome and everything else is completely closed.

    Of course, this isn't always realistic. I have two kids, after all. So when I know I'm going to be distracted, surfing the interwebs, writing a test, etc., I just set it to shuffle and forget it.

    As with everything, balance is key.
     
  5. skem

    skem Friend

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    I remember when I was very young and poor and owned exactly one CD; something I just found on the street. I listened to it over and over and came to love it despite it being nothing like the music I had liked before. Now I find I dislike (on first listen) almost everything different. Why? Too much choice, I suspect. I like @skyline’s idea of listening to new music all the way through. Maybe a policy of one album out for one album in would also be a nice way to treasure the colection without losing touch.
     
  6. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I think for many of us it’s more of a time issue than anything else. I don’t get to sit and listen to music nearly as much as I would like, and most of my listening is done in the car to and from work these days as it’s one of the few places I’m guaranteed an uninterrupted 30-60 minutes.
     
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  7. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Yeah, I do a lot of listening on my commute, and a lot of my reading, too. That's why springing for a WM1A seemed like a reasonable move- I am getting my money's worth out of it, I reckon.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  8. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Great thread idea! I too struggle with "The Paradox of Choice" (see book by Barry Schwartz) - too many options makes us anxious and paralyzed. Essentially, when I can't figure out what to listen to, I tend to give up and do something else. The most successful method I found with balancing the notion of seeking out new music in this modern streaming world is going old school with radio. This is why I like Spotify so much, among other things, the radio features are excellent. The best internet radio station for me is SomaFM. I just wrote a recommendation for their Jazz channel in the Jazz nuts thread. There is something wonderful that occurs when you don't have to choose what to listen to and just sit back and enjoy.
     
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Radio Paradise is great too, as @sorrodje recently learned. I also recommend X-Ray.fm.
     
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  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I wish I had a commute that I could do by public transit so I could use my ZX2 and Andros more often. I just have to listen to the crappy stereo in my car, but it’s better than nothing!
     
  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    The thing I like about physical media is that it's a nice passive way to share and discover music. My intro to music was just looking at my parents CD rack and picking whatever there was. My dad had a lot of 60's compilations and my mom had some classical stuff in there too. Whenever you go to someone else's place they usually had a stack of CDs somewhere too that I always asked to flip through and then talked about.

    Now with all media on a computer it's not the same. Everyone has their own profile and music isn't so readily sharable. I mean you can share it, but it needs to be configured and everything. You could have some sort of central media PC, but most people just keep their stuff on their own device. I can count on one hand the people I know that have setup a media center in their home. But literally everyone I knew when I was younger owned a few CDs and a CD player.
     
  12. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    I’ve never gotten out of the habit of listening to an entire album all the way through. Old vinyl habit I suspect. I tried playlists once digital music came on the scene, but just never found it compelling. It was like listening to a classic rock station in the car. Great while your stuck in traffic, but not ideal listening, at least for me. At home I find myself picking out a CD I haven’t heard in a long time. Then sometimes spending a week going back and getting reacquainted with it. Not on constantly, I listen to other albums in between. Last night I happened upon RCA Living Stereo’s Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition with Fritz Reiner and the CSO. The house was dead quiet. Turned the lights down low, closed my eyes and just listened. I ended up listeing to it four times in a row. Fantastic album. I had forgotten have much I enjoyed it years ago an discovered some new sounds I hadn’t heard before. Steaming is just not my thing. Convenient at work. I like the physical medium and liner notes much more.
     
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  13. beyerdramatic

    beyerdramatic Rando

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    I usually carry a notebook around to write down what I like most about a certain record. Not really music criticism, mostly trying to explain why I like a song or an album so much. There's always this temptation of writing more about what you should like than about what you actually like, after several notes you can see that quite clearly. Personally, it takes me around 10 plays to start writing, and about 3-4 more to write something I'm really satisfied with. I think the exposure to a vast quantity of music is generally a great thing, it makes my life more varied and more fun.
     
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  14. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    This article was lomg, but I like it.

    This guy is kind of like me. He's 39, I'm 41.,He worked in a college radio station, I was the Station Manager of my college radio station. We are also both musicians.

    The note about the age is not about midset, but more about growing up in a vinyl tape world and by the time to buy our own music with our own earned money, it was CD's. Then further adulthood and mid-20's seeing that turn into an online experience then to extended it to streaming 10 years later. Ever since we've discovered music it has gone from vinyl to streaming. And in the process we miss the experience of the absorbing all of it, instead just falling in,love with the discovery.

    I too might not be able to tell you song titles, but I knew the track numbers by heart. With an iPod, I quickly forgot those track numbers and quickly learned what metadata is and why its so important.

    I do miss reading the liner notes about where it was recorded, who recorded it, who produced it, who mastered it, and the crazy inside jokes that you could only imagine why it was so funny.

    I still am an album listener and still don't understand why Spotify and Tidal don't list Artist's albums in chronological order. I am starting to enter the album file name in this way in my collection (1991 - Ten, 1993 - Vs, 1994 - Vitology, etc).

    I like @Skyline 's album shuffle idea. I can't do song shuffle for very long - too random. Most of the time I only have time to sit down and listen to one album, so I also can't leave this up to random chance.

    I also still find it funny this idea of an "album". The term came from a set of 78's in a bonded folder kind of like a probably, but with record sleeves. They were the box sets back in the 30' s, 40's, and 50's if you will. The 33 1/3 or LP was designed for long play songs or classical movements, which are about 23 minutes. However, it was cheaper to make a whole collection of songs on one LP from an artist so the idea of "album" carried to the LP. Then Frank Sinatra took it to the next level in 1959 with his Come Fly With Me album, which is so a concept album. It was so popular, the Grammy committee had to create a new category, Album of the Year. He lost to Henri Mancini, but this was likely due to the snobbish comitte who had to vote classical. Sinatra did win one year later in 1960 with Come Dance With Me. And that is how the modern album was born.

    (sorry for any typos. I tapped this out on my phone)
     
  15. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I almost exclusively listen to albums. I buy (CD and online) around 10/month. Sometimes listen to a classical composition within an album when using Roon at home, as my DAP (QP1R) does not make that easy. Jazz, world (Mali, Iran, Maghreb,...), medieval, Renaissance, baroque, 20th-21st century "classical." Roon's "Discover" feature reminds me of albums I had not listened to recently. On the DAP, I have to scroll annoyingly until I hit something that seems a fit for the circumstances. I don't worry about the "forgotten" albums in my 1200 album/boxset collection, because sooner or later, through search or chance, I'll bump into an old favorite and revisit it with surprise and delight. IOW, don't overthink it, randomize, and enjoy, whether it is John Luther Adams, Toumani Diabaté, Jordi Savall, or Monk. You'll be happy anyway.
     
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