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5/04/2006

Something I wanted to point out the other day to Nick Southall, whose article on Stylus this week has given me the biggest surge of Sty-pride (TM) I've had in a while:

Monitor choice is also interesting. Quite deliberately Eno has chosen his own hi-fi system to be of average quality so that he can check-out his studio tapes on the sort of system most people will actually be listening to the final product on. Monitors, therefore, will follow the same philosophy.

"The monitors that I've most often found appealing to me are Lockwood's with Tannoy Reds. I find that a lot of the newer monitors with horns and whatever are very exciting to listen to but are also very tiring when you have to monitor on them for ten hours a day." (From an otherwise-mysterious 1975 piece called Eno: This studio is a musical instrument, which you can find here.)
The last time I had an "indulgent" hi-fi experience was actually in college with Another Green World; I just finished my last class, and I celebrated by lying on my back with a Bass in my hand, staring at the sun; I was wearing headphones and had set up speakers in the corner of the room. It was ridiculous, but memorable, I guess.

Anyway. Interesting that he uses the word tiring--the idea that the "quality" music listening experience is more difficult on the ears after a while. I know what he means from personal experience mixing bands that I've been in; I always find that the music revealed itself better to me while in the car the next day, just playing it on my factory system. Of course, there's that old "culture industry" argument that the steady stream of "thoughtless" experience is actually more work for your brain, the "worn grooves of association" or whatever they were hammering on.

Geeta responded in part by talking about bursts of J-Pop v. the experience of getting into songs that wind on longer and longer. Well, it was interesting, I was talking to Simon the other night about wanting to go to some of the Derek Bailey shows at The Stone and I'm sort of realizing my own small rebellion to the ambient iPod issue--I want to hear music made by people in space. It could be short, it could be long, but it has to be alive. I saw We Jam Econo--the Minutemen documentary--last night, and had sick desires to join that fray. Sick because that fray is gone now (spacey old Watt driving around in his van saying approx. that "it's ridiculous because it was so hard to be in a band then; now it's so easy and so few people do it"); the uncompressed, undiluted experience is sort of charming, a relic, documentary-able, etc. Feeling hopeless in all this, really.

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