With a return to buying vinyl I thought I’d look at cassettes again and I found these on eBay.
Since going along to Rough Trade East for record store day 2013 I’ve been thinking a great deal about formats. There are the obvious ones, vinyl, cassette, CD, digital, all of which I’ve owned stuff on over the years. However, it’s the characteristics of physical formats that I find most interesting and thought provoking, so I thought I’d write something about it.
There’s no doubt in my mind that digital music is incredibly convenient for a lot of my own listening needs. I love using spotify and I’ll often buy music digitally simply because of its convenience. However, remembering a love of vinyl has made start to question my buying and listening habits for the first time in many years, and made me remember some amazing releases in a variety of formats that are more art objects in some cases than just releases.
I’ll start with some tape …
I’ve been a big lover of cassettes since I was in my teens and I still love the idea of the cassette, but I haven’t bought a cassette release for years, or at least that was true until a day or so ago. I still have a handful of cassette releases, but none are as beautiful as the first edition of the Unknown Public, which I only bought on cassette by accident. I’m glad I made the mistake though, it was worth it.
Unknown Public was meant to be a monthly music magazine with a release of a selection of new musical works around a theme. I don’t think it ever became monthly and struggled to even be quarterly. However, every issue was worth a listen, and I’m glad I collected them all. Looking back they’re each a unique object that is more than just the music it contains.
CDs have a bad reputation, but here are a few examples that redeem them
So, the humble CD has had a bad reputation for a while, but I have some nice examples of CD releases that show what can be done with a simple CD release. Here’s David Sylvian’s Manafon boxed set and Amplified Gesture film.
In the case of the Manafon limited edition set I think that the object itself is almost more beautiful than the actual music, although I do like some of the album, and the DVD of the film is a great insight into the process that Sylvian and the other musicians went through to produce the album.
And so to some vinyl …
There are some wonderful things on vinyl, and I have a few. This was something I realised that I had never listened to until I bought a new turntable the other day.
So, where does this lead? It’s certainly made me rethink how I buy music and how I think about what is important to me in terms of objects that are music. I’ve found myself considering which format to buy things when they’re are options available.
Formats are important, in some ways they add something to the music itself, make it more enjoyable in many ways. I’m enjoying discovering them again, and I hope to even find a few more to explore. One thing that it very interesting is the rise of cassette labels again, but that’s for another post I think.
An absolutely amazing night out at the Roundhouse. O.M.D. were completely amazing, and John Foxx and the Maths supporting set was brilliant.
After listening to the chronicles 2 I listened to this hour long story. It’s a full cast production and it works really well. I think that of the Blake’s 7 big finish productions pieces I’ve listened to, this is one of the best so far. I really enjoyed the story and I’m hopeful that it’ll lead on to something interesting.
The last of the stories in this boxed set. It wasn’t bad, somewhat intricate and starring Servalan. In fact it was quite a complex story, and, as with the others in the set, a big improvement on the first box set I got. Still, overall the stories lack something. Perhaps the kind of overall texture that you get from a Doctor Who Big Finish story. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Blake’s 7 was always more stark, minimal, and maybe that’s how it’s being played.
Whatever the case, this was a better listen than last time around, so I’m glad I got it, and I might give the first box set another listen now.
I listened to this on Spotify and was really impressed by how good it was. Very well produced synth pop music. In many ways what you’d expect from OMD. So I played it for a few days and now I’m starting to move on again. I’ve probably over listened to the Metroland remixes and had enough, for now anyway.
So i makes me wonder what is it that gets us to obsessively listen to something for a while, a few days usually in my case, and then move on. Of course, it could just be me, but I don’t think so. I do know that a few of my friends are like this too. It comes in cycles usually. I’ll listen to something intently for a while then put it down, then in a few months or years I’ll come back to it and rediscover just how good it is. I suppose that’s the thing with ‘pop’ music isn’t it.
I had a 40 minute drive to do (each way) today and realised that my iPod was completely out of charge, so I had no choice but to take a couple of CDs with me for the journey. One of these was Nine Horses ‘Snow Bourne Sorrow’, which, in hindsight, as it’s been a snowy day, perhaps wasn’t such a good idea.
Anyway, I listened to Snow Bourne Sorrow on the way home, and I was so pleased that I did. It has amazing songs, but most of all I was impressed with the quality and poignancy of the lyrical content. I’d forgotten these songs, and they deserve a listen quite regularly. So I think a Nine Horses re-listen is on the way for me very soon.