Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Comment Elevation

In the previous post Bill and I have been discussing the legality of raiding the library for music. It looks like it probably isn't legal, and that I'll have to dump my files. (But not until I've listened to them once. That's why I checked them out.)

Bill suggests the following: Use the library to experiment with music, not necessarily to create a massive library of songs you'll never listen to.

Actually, that's the intent. I've recently decided to broaden my listening habits, and I'm going back to what I loved best when I was much younger. But the old European music has a vast catalogue, and that doesn't include the multitude of recordings for most of the more important works. (I'm also experimenting with other types of music, and have also decided to mine some of the old veins a little more thoroughly.)

This is the method I've chosen for my exploration. First I do a little research to find something that looks interesting, and then try to find decent recordings for listening. If I can't find exactly what I'm looking for (in terms of performances) I broaden the search a little. If I can't find any of the best know versions of, say, Bach's Cello Suites, maybe I can find a fairly decent version I managed to find a more recent performance that's received mixed reviews. So I check it out and give it a listen.

Now that I've done that, I can decide if I like the music. In this case I do, so I now I listen to the recording for more detail. The mixed reviews in this case seem to be warranted - it's not bad, but it doesn't seem to fully rise to the occasion. So now I'll buy the Pierre Fournier performance from iTunes. (That is considered to be one of the best performances on "phonorecord".)

On the other hand, I've tried listening to Husker Du's New Day Rising on two occasions now, and it hasn't done a thing for me. (This one was a pure impulse choice. I just happened to look down and see it in the stacks.) I'll give it one more chance, but so far I'm not getting what all of the fuss was about. I expect to have a similar reaction to Kraftwerk, but they'll get their chance soon enough.

There's also the question of changing tastes. When I was younger I loved Pink Floyd. But I'm older now and I haven't been able to get into it. At one point I had all of their albums from Roger Water's tenure with the band, but that was on cassettes which have long since disintegrated. Currently I only own Dark Side of the Moon. Do I want to get anything else? Well, The Final Cut wasn't that good the first time around. And The Wall? Ugh, I can't stand that when it comes on the radio now. But what about, say, Meddle? Or even Piper at the Gates of Dawn? Well, the library's got Piper! We'll see how that goes.

Finally, browsing allows for impulse acquisitions. I've been hearing of the movement for more historically correct performances (meaning instruments, arrangements, playing styles, etc) of the old works from Europe, but I haven't really heard any of the actual performances. But I see a couple of albums by Musica Antiqua Koln, so I pick them up on impulse. I haven't gotten to those yet, but I am really looking forward to it, especially Biber's Harmonia Artificiosa.

Sorry for rambling on like this, but this is really a rambling on kind of thing I'm doing.


bill said...

Oh, congrats on the new iPod! Should have said that earlier. Some people dreamed of flying cars, I dreamed of being able to carry all my music with me all the time. I'm happy--the flying car people must live a life of disappointment. (programming note: I think I'll be digitizing vinyl by the end of the month.)

I enjoy listening to classical music, but never know what to buy. Should I focus on the composer or the performer?

We have the DISH network and part of that is a bunch of Sirius music stations. The songs get labeled title/artist, except for classical which is title/composer. That isn't helpful, sure Allegro A from Symphony Bflat sounds great, but maybe that's because the Fussybutt quartet performed it instead of 4guyswithagrant. So I don't buy a lot of classical music.

If I'm listening to the oldies station (80s new wave) and Devo's version of "Satisfaction" comes on, it doesn't list as:

Rolling Stones

So why does classical do this? This isn't just to complain about Sirius. This has long been a complaint about audio labels and mp3s. No one has figured out the best way to do this.

bill said...

On borrowing from the library.

After the Joshua Bell story I checked out a CD of his from the library. He's good, but he also bores me. Maybe I'm just not a violin person, because I think I probably would have walked past him, as well.

Icepick said...

Actually, I've had the iPod since December. I just haven't posted much about it, although I expect that to change.

Incidentally, I picked up "Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo" recently. Not bad, but their version of Satisfaction is definitely the high point.

Icepick said...

I plan on addressing the rest of your comments this evening. I've been thinking about some of these topics, and I'm just going to expand it into a post.

justkim said...

I want flying cars! I was promised flying cars!

On the other hand, caterwauling along with my iPod is the only thing that gets me through my commute. It's amazing how much fun I can have knowing that no one will make faces at me when I do opera voice.

P.S. bill, I'm sorry I missed you a couple of weeks ago. Maybe next time.

bill said...

Do y'all have differing iPod behavior? The Wife listens mostly by album, while I almost always listen by shuffle. I set up a playlist that excludes Christmas songs and books, everything else gets thrown into the mix. My shuffle play (8321 tracks out of a total of 9749) is my radio station. Otherwise, I don't really do much with playlists or song ratings. Whatever pops up is good, unless it isn't, then I skip it.

justkim said...

I have set up several playlists, and I pretty much listen to just those. Some are favorite songs by a particular artist. My favorite playlist is "Songs I Love to Sing" which is mostly showtunes and old jazz/pop standards, with some pop/rock thrown in for kicks. I've got about 500 songs in that list, and I re-shuffle it everytime I update for new playing orders. I am also trying to go through a playlist of things I've added in the last several months but haven't listened to yet. That one I've set up to play by albums, start to finish, so I can get a feel for how it's set up.

Since I listen to a lot of cast albums, I do listen to whole albums start to finish before I select favortie songs to add to the playlist.

I have a lot of songs rated, but I've found it's hard to keep up with. I do use my "most frequent" because that seems to have my most favorite songs on there. Go figure.

I have't tried audiobooks. I do my reeading at home on evenings and weekends. The car is for music.

Icepick said...

Sorry, I really do want to post on this tonight, but I'm too tired to make any sense. Tomorrow then!

bill said...

I think someone is stealing ideas from your comment section: iPods and flying cars