Listening.

Feb. 15th, 2005 01:17 pm
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I've been starting to wonder if I would have been better off if I'd never started buying music.

Music wasn't really that important to me when I was little. My fellow students in elementary school were stunned that I didn't have a favorite radio station. I did listen to KJR, some, and I enjoyed music, sure.

(I even once turned two speakers facing each other, with just enough room for my head between them, and stretched out on the floor and listened to the stereo, a little too loud, for a couple hours or so. By the time my parents caught me, it was too late -- I was half-deaf for three days.)

It all really clicked for me one Christmas, when my parents gave me a tiny portable radio with headphones. I was entranced by it, and started tuning around to find a radio station to listen to.

This was the beginning to the 80's, and KUBE 93.3 was playing the beginnings of New Wave. I fell in love with it. I started buying tapes and 45's, cataloging my favorite bands, my obsessions. Music wasn't just something to listen to -- it was something to line up on a shelf, something to hold on to and own.

It got worse in the days of Napster and Audiogalaxy. I could never just enjoy a song any more -- if I liked it, I had to know what it was, I had to have it, to listen to it again, play it for my friends.

It bothered me to listen to radio stations like C89.5, where I really liked the music, but where they rarely mentioned the artist and title. How was I supposed to reach out and grab hold of it if I didn't know what it was? I couldn't appreciate the song I was listening to right then -- I was too busy thinking about the next time I was going to hear it.

I don't know what's changed. I don't know how I've started to let go.

Part of it was listening to C89.5, actually -- listening to live DJ mixes, accepting them as ephemeral, enjoying them anyway even though it would be impossible to hear them again. Part of it is just trying to let go in life in general; to live in this moment instead of the next.

I listen to all kinds of music now. I still listen to C89.5, I listen to KEXP, and they play all kinds of great music, and I may never find out what half of it is and I may never hear it again. But why should I care when I can just listen to the radio again and hear more great music tomorrow?

I've been trying for years, to borrow an image from Crowded House, to catch a deluge in a paper cup. Lately, I've been trying to just stand still, face upward, eyes closed, and let it all wash over me. Wash me clean.

End.

Jan. 20th, 2004 01:36 am
icebluenothing: (Default)
I'm a few weeks late posting this, but:

If you haven't been listening to The End lately, you should give them another try.

I still remember how much I enjoyed The End back when they first started. They were full of life and fun. I still have a T-shirt, from back in those days, bearing their original logo. It's nearly worn out.

Somewhere along the line, that verve dwindled away, and they started playing corporate, computerized playlists full of indistinguishable grrr-arrgh Linkin BizKorN stuff. Ehh. I still listened to it, sometimes, when I couldn't find anything better on the radio, but my heart wasn't in it because their heart wasn't in it.

The only thing that was any good any more was their lunchtime all-request show, where they played a lot of excellent older stuff, and I kept wondering why, if that's what their listeners were requesting, they didn't get a clue and just start playing that kind of stuff the rest of the day.

They finally did. Not long before Christmas -- The Stranger had an article about all the whys and wherefores, but I can't find it on their website -- The End changed their format.

I've been hearing The Cure, REM, the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Postal Service -- all kinds of good stuff from all over the map.

I couldn't be more happy with it. I actually get excited now, when I get in my truck, to hear what's going to be on the radio next. I haven't felt like that about radio in years.

The DJs are clearly into it, too. They're thrilled. It shows in how they talk about the music they're playing.

Which brings me, finally, to this week's installment of, that's right, Tunes for Tuesday.

---

DJ Harms played this one night a couple weeks back. Something he was clearly personally enthusiastic about. It was then that I finally keyed in that now, finally, the music I was hearing wasn't just some committee-approved pablum -- there was a real person on the other end of the radio who was sitting around playing records he thought we might like. I was overwhelmed at that realization, seriously almost near tears over it, and then I heard this:

The Polyphonic Spree - Light and Day.mp3

Turn your speakers up for this one. The Polyphonic Spree are a band with about thirty members at any given time, including a ten-person chorus, and a bunch of other people playing damn near every instrument you could think of. They pack themselves onto stage wearing white robes, and -- Well, yeah, they're clearly quite mad. And wonderful. This song is the purest distillation of joy I've heard since The Beatles. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Music.

Nov. 28th, 2002 12:09 am
icebluenothing: (Default)
You know -- "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2 is, in my opinion, a perfectly decent pop song. Nice instrumentals, decent vocals, I even occasionally get a little misty-eyed at the Martin Luther King Jr. part sometimes if I'm in a particularly emotional mood. I like it just fine.

But do I really need to hear it three different times on three different radio stations in a 24-hour period? I am out of line for considering that further proof that modern radio is just a vast cultural desert?

There are thousands and thousands of bands out there. Why can't I be amazed every single time I turn on the radio? Why can't it bring me great new music all the time -- picked for me by a real human DJ who actually cares about what he plays, instead of pre-packaged and pre-assembled by some computerized demographic statistics program?

I know, I know. Because that wouldn't sell as much soda pop.

---

On the bright side, I happened to wander by Aurafice tonight, not knowing that [livejournal.com profile] seelenschwester had brought dozens (hundreds?) of CDs for sale at the ridiculous price of one dollar each, and mix CD-R's for free. I walked away with four albums and five mixdiscs for the price of a cup of coffee. Schweet.

107.7.

Jul. 6th, 2002 04:22 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
Hey, remember when The End used to not suck?

Well, this weekend they're doing a "Super Hits of the 90's" weekend, which sounds vaguely stupid, but they're spinning some great tunes. If you're in the Seattle area, you might wanna check it out.

C89.

Jun. 9th, 2002 08:51 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
So I'm actually home, for once, on a Sunday night, and plan on being here all evening, which means I could listen to C89.5 FM's "On The Edge," their weekly goth/industrial music program. Cool. So I finally bite the bullet and install RealPlayer so I could listen to their stream, and of course it promptly vomits unwanted advertising crap all over my desktop after trying to trick me into giving them my credit card number, and other such typical shit that makes me remember that dealing with RealNetworks always, always makes me feel like I've just spent nine hours trapped in a phonebooth with an unwashed pimp. But anyway.

So I go to launch the stream, and am mortified to discover that the link I have on seagoth.org is apparently out of date. So I go to update it, and -- hmmm. The link on C89's web site is broken, too. The hell?

Eventually, I end up just listening to the show on my analog streaming media player.

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