21 April 2012

Needle to the Groove

I did my Record Store Day shopping a day early to beat the crowds.

Actually, that's a lie. I'd lost track, didn't realize that RSD was today, and just happened to hit a local spot yesterday. I have hadn't much reason to keep track of such stuff, lately. It ain't in the budget like it used to be. Which is neither here nor there, because I was majorly spoiled what what Chicago had to offer in that category, and the ones in my current locale simply do not stack up to what I'm used to. The Delmark-affiliated Jazz Record Mart, Dusty Groove, plus innumerable second-hand spots scattered about the city...it all made RSD a bit pointless because almost every Saturday (or Sunday) was a record-store day. What little shopping I've done for music since I moved here has mostly involved buying gifts for other people. It isn't uncommon for me to spend an hour or more in a place and leave empty-handed because I didn't encounter the temptation to make a purchase.

But yeah, it all comes down to my being irredeemably "pre-digital" when it comes to be attached to music as embodied by a physical object -- especially wax. There've been plenty of testimonials written on the topic already, so I see little reason to go into it at length. Chalk it up to my suffering from some unshakable case of old-school geezer commodity fetishism. But yes, kids -- vinyl does sound better when played on a half-way decent system. Warmer, richer, more "organic," whatever, etcetera, blahblahblah. But mainly I find the physical aspect results in a different relationship with the music itself -- from the large-format packaging (including liner notes with some genres), down to extra manual effort involved in de-sleeving, cueing, lifting and flipping. It leads to a more intimate relationship with the music, if only because the format involves a more linear and durational experience with the act of listening.

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