Saturday, March 11, 2006
music and life
And yet when we moved into our new place, I half-heartedly hooked it back up, and then I needed to borrow the line conditioner for the TV, so basically the system has been just taking up space for almost a year.
What a waste! How could I abandon my love this way?
I realize now that I was doing the thing that I find so distasteful in others: trading convenience for quality. I've got my iPod and I just load that up with music, and I can listen for weeks without having to do anything but hit play.
But the difference between an iPod and a finely tuned hifi system is the difference between a McDonald's Happy Meal and a meal prepared by a gourmet chef in a 5 star restaurant. The iPod fills a hole. It's good for background noise, blocking out the distractions of the world to make whatever else you're doing a little more pleasant.
And that's what music has been to me for more than a year now. Just background. Not something I really listened to.
While rearranging the apartment, I hooked the stereo up properly and I remembered my lost love. With a good system you can hear the things that are lost, like John Coltrane taking a quick breath between notes, or musicians turning the pages of their sheet music. Things that remind you that these aren't just notes, but they're real people playing them on real instruments. You hear the size and shape of the room the music was recorded in. You hear heights, depths, resonances you never knew were there.
Now that my system is back together, I find myself doing something I haven't done in a long time: listening to music. I mean really listening. Eyes closed, doing nothing but sitting back and really hearing the notes.
Of late my morning routine has been to drink my cup of coffee listening to music while Dash keeps me company. It is a great way to start the day!