July 25, 2012

Slow Listening

Mike Norris, aka Fort Romeau, recently wrote a feature for FACT Magazine "on the need to rethink our approach to music consumption", which is a subject close to our heart. Though I think Norris once again falls prey to the notion that internet engagement does not have analogs in the experience of "analogues"; vinyl, cassettes, etc. I think what he describes as "slow listening" can be achieved in effect by a more active engagement with your music; vinyl offers some avenues for that and so does digital music. They're different; the internet allows direct contact and the physical format allows a personal experience. Ultimately, the personal experience is the yield from both experiences, so to that extent I think discussions of "vinyl" are unnecessarily skewed. Nonetheless, Norris shares a significant perspective:
"Listening to vinyl records on a turntable gives you a fuller, richer and more enjoyable relationship with Music. Just as Facebook has made it easier to catch up with people anywhere, anytime, few of us want to forego physical interaction completely, just for the sake of convenience. It may require more effort, but it is more rewarding by virtue of requiring more from us as people." -Mike Norris
Our contention is simply that the effort for one is not greater, just that the vectors for effort in the one case have not been adequately explored, categorized, and integrated into our collective experience. It's all about communities - one day a group of cyborgs with instantaneous recall will wonder at the shallow experience of information codified in books and vinyl, but we aren't crafted that way, and so for most of us vinyl and books do force an experience that when sought through the internet is still ambiguous. In any event, read Norris' lovely essay here.

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