Sunday, 6 May 2012

Jake Shears buys music like we buy music

Jake Shears' post a couple of weeks ago really struck a chord here. He's put down exactly how we feel about spending time with music.

He brings out the joy of all-you-can-eat consumption through subscription services and the web:

Every week I scour all of the new releases again like I used to do in a record store, piling them up and going through them, keeping the ones worth a second go and releasing the ones that didn't quite catch my ear. I also get to see what other people are listening to and have discovered some incredible records by folks like Young Galaxy, Ford and Lopatin, Kurt Vile, Real Estate, and Scuba. And I love making playlists of new stuff and have a list going for every season, that I'm adding to and pulling from, so it's an always a constant work in progress. Once I'm ready to start a new one, I leave the current list as is and don't touch it again. It's a great diary of what I've been listening to.
He compares this to his passion for vinyl:
I started buying vinyl more and using turntables in my house. I found it really relaxing and contemplative when I just wanted to take some time on a particular record...when there's an album I really like, I still head to Rebel Rebel in the West Village and buy it on vinyl. 
He doesn't expand on this, but WE KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN JAKE. At LIFB we stream music all day long, and sometimes have the Hype Machine Top 50 on at the same time just for kicks. But we also aim to buy at least our favourite album of the year on vinyl each year (amongst a tonne of other records that otherwise would stay in the Age Concern 75p box forever). In 2011 it was Bon Iver's Bon Iver, in 2010 it was The National's High Violet... we haven't got 2009's Miike Snow yet, but did manage to find 2008's Elephant Shell by Tokyo Police Club recently.

And that's the crux of it: it doesn't matter that there were at least four other albums released in 2011 that could have taken the place of Bon Iver, this isn't about being completist; equally, it isn't about buying the vinyl in December as a prize for making an end of year list; it's about a physical object that shows something we thought was good.

You're never going to be able to listen to everything. This realisation hits everybody at some point. You're not even going to be able to listen to everything worth listening to. One reaction to this is to retreat to the old ground of listing and ranking, subdividing time to listen to music that is worthy - that's the easy way out. The better reaction is to try and achieve a zen state where as long as what you are listening to feels good, then you are not wasting your listening time. And, occasionally, even if you think it's terrible and the person in the car with you thinks it's good, that can be a worthy listen also. A martyrish listen. Well done you if you've got there, we haven't.

We have an image of being old, instructing children to pick a record they like the look of to listen to while they play. As snazzy as cover flow looks, it just doesn't fit into that picture. That's why we're going to keep buying important records on vinyl. Not all of them, and not a set number from different genres and sub genres, but just at least one a year that we like. That's enough.

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