Saturday, January 26, 2008

Vinyl vs CDs/MP3s continued

I have long been a big proponent of listening to entire albums(at the very least for the first listen, to give all of the material a fair shot) and fervently practice this is my daily life. Most of the time, the individual songs that make up the whole of the album have a continuity and, perhaps even, coherence to them, making a larger single work of art out of the many(atoms beget molecules and so on). However, in the hustle and bustle of the regular workaday or running errands(see distractions), this continuity is often interrupted, severed as it may be. This has become particularly more frequent with the advent of portable listening devices, starting with the Walkman, then the portable CD player and, now, the mighty iPod/MP3 player. I say this, because when carrying your music with you wherever you go, you open up the listening experience to higher chance of interruption(i.e. running into a homey on the street, answering your celly, etc.). I absolutley LOVE my iPod and guard it like a mother Polar Bear does her weekling cub, but it has forever changed the way in which I listen, for better and for worse. For the better because I am able to carry a small library of my favorite shit to thump in the car, while walking to get coffee and riding my bike. For better because, when I do need to hit pause, I can just as easily start right back up where I left off or clickwheel my way back to the beginning of a song or album, whatever my pleasure. But it has changed my listening approach for the worse for one extremely significant, sometimes saddening reason. The frequency with which I listen to full albums has been drastically reduced, particularly on work/errand days. There may be some extenuating circumstances here. For one, I do not have a stereo in my bedroom at my current house; my stereo is in the living room(mostly for logistics room itself is small) and, thus, I only listen to music on my 'Pod while in my room(I also LOVE headphones, but that is another subject...), which lends itself to an isolationist sense about me(don't have a problem with it, just a fact). Music should often be socially enjoyed, but this is not always possible in a shared living space...back to the headphones or no tunes at all if I'm hangin with roommates(who don't listen to music nearly as religiously as I do...then there are issues of taste and mood...on and on and on, to the break of dawn).
So, to bring this back to the discussion of vinyl(analog) vs cd/mp3(digital). This is one(of many) advantage and benefit to the procuring of and listening to vinyl. I find it nearly impossible to listen to vinyl and not listen to an entire album. This is even more true since I long gave up my feeble atttempts at DJ'ing(I even gave one of my tables to a friend who didn't have a vinyl record player, though Iplan on getting another soon), so my focus in the format is to listen to entire albums. I still struggle to make more time for this kind of listening(for many reasons that are and are not in my control due to shared living) and have resolved to also utilize my 'Pod for entire album listening on a much more consistent basis.
By the way, before I kick off, I just thought of something. As for the continuity arguments, the 'Pod can be just as effective when listening at home. Maybe even more effective, because I never have to get up and flip the record(I know there's a little record inside there!!! I guess the iPod gremlin just flips it for me!?), therefore representing a much truer sense of continuity.

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