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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Listen with Patience

Ideas and Opinions | Milo

In this piece I am looking to describe the joy I experience whenever I listen to music, as well as how I listen to music. Milo out.

You can grab one from Amazon or Urban Outfitters
It's the day after boxing day, and it's roughly six or seven o'clock in the evening. I am sitting on my bed. On the floor sits a Christmas gift, a turntable that is conveniently shaped like a suitcase. I'm not sure I will ever need to take it with me, nevertheless I feel like there's a cheesy poetry to a music player shaped like a suitcase, after all music does take you places...

Still with me? Good. Anyway the first time I tried to use it to play a vinyl, I couldn't get it to work.I read through the manual before embarrassingly searching: How to play a vinyl using a turntable on Google to no avail. I was both comforted and cringed by the number of videos and articles written about the subject, but was mostly dismayed because none of the information helped. I bailed, and left it for a few days.

Once I returned to the task, it was a simple matter of flipping an innocuous switch on the side to get the machine to work. A switch, I might add, that was not mentioned or fucking highlighted in the instruction manual. Nevertheless I managed to get it to work, and was rewarded by my first experience of the warm, soporific thrum of vinyl music.

Swans 1
The first vinyl I listened to was Swans: Love of Life
The introduction to this piece might come across as being long winded, uninteresting or incredibly anticlimactic. "Great," you might think, "you managed to get a turntable to work. Big deal Shit-lock" and to you I would agree, it's not a miracle and it's not a big deal. But I wanted to use an exaggerated introduction, and a somewhat ponderous pace, to better illustrate how I enjoy my music.

As the needle spun and the music jerked to life, I found myself pacified and enraptured by the sounds coming from the kitsch little box. Moreover there was a childlike, boyish joy to be gained from simply watching a vinyl spin. There's a stupid wonder in it, a silly delight much like the smug satisfaction gained from saying "I told you so." Yes it's a simple, silly pleasure gained from patience and pausing ones own business to listen entirely to the business of another.

I listen to music, always and in all ways. I listen to it when I'm writing, when I'm playing video games, when I'm jogging, and when I'm on the bus. Indeed if I'm the only one in the office at work, I'm playing my music there as well. Due to my constant submersion in the aural, I am melodramatically surprised whenever I meet other people who are not similarly knee deep in music.

Nice stack
Pictured: Musical "debators" (from American Psycho)
For some people music is merely background noise, and for others it's a distraction. On the flip side for some people music is an excuse to have a "technical" discussion, it's a chance to talk about tempo, chords and decibels. It's a chance to debate the merits of pop music, and to rain down judgement on the poor taste of others. Lastly there are people like me.

Whilst I frequently listen to music as background noise, I will also devote an hour of my time to listen to an album from start to finish. Moreover I could barely tell you what a chord is, don't really know what a riff and could easily mistake a treble clef for some sort of foreign currency (although what a politically charged mistake to make! Right, right I'm being cheesy again, sorry). What I do know, however, is that with time and patience comes great rewards. Music can steady your breathing, arrest your thoughts and take you into a timeless space. It can make your daily tribulations more interesting, as it can make your routine happenings cinematic. Moreover it can also instruct you about yourself, as the strange daydreams and mental escapades a song takes you through, is as good a mirror for the self as a diary.

Really it doesn't matter whether you listen to, whether it's One Direction or Oren Ambarchi, and it doesn't matter whether you purchase vinyl records from niche stores or stream on Spotify. But whatever you do, if you do not do this already, try to listen to your music with patience. See if it fits.

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