"Cans" is music speak for headphones. Clouds is music speak for a coming disaster. I am trapped in a headphone galaxy fallacy and have been for almost a decade. So are you. Well, most of you. A storm is coming, and the Clouds are ugly. The entire music listening experience has been evolving in tandem with shrinking systems and the manipulating manic-ness of multi- tasking..(anybody out there still have floor speakers or even GASP! a receiver?) The devices that the actual music is stored on and "played" get smaller. Soon you won't even be able to touch them. Time and space have collided and music gets ditched. Pitched into the black hole and replaced with consumption and coercion, and now the Cloud. Why oh Why?
Let's look at the reasons. Well isn't the reason for ditching one product for another pretty much the same across the board? " This one's faster. This one's smaller. I've got to get rid of all of this to make room for a pack n' play. The dog chewed through my Infinity woofer. The neighbors complain every time I put an album on at noon, at 3pm, at 8pm. All of my friends are doing it. I want to have all of my songs available all of the time attached to my soul and flickering by in clear digital filofax next to my cortex, a slave to the vertex perplexed. I want the fucking cloud to hover over my head like a supple storm coming, raining songs I don't need or won't listen to, so I can pluck them out like soundbites and instantly shape my soundtrack for the following five minutes until it shuffles on to the next mood. I don't have the time to put a cassette in and press play ( 4 seconds), I don't have the time to turn the stereo on and put a cd in and press play (3 seconds), I don't have the time to plunk the needle down delicately after sliding out this album from a clean sleeve and softly placing it on the record player (11-15 seconds). Look at that slim shiny thing that fits in my pocket and does everything but wipe my ass.
Remember this...You can only listen to one song at a time.
You can't multitask music. You can multitask while listening, yes. Cleaning, commuting, working out, fucking, thinking, writing..etc. Bullshit distractions that break up the purity of the experience. Our lives forced into a Steve Austin/Jetsonic landscape of get it done yesterday and fill the left over space up before your friends and neighbors do. Keep the kids occupied. keep the bluetooth humming. But what about merely listening? Does anybody just plain listen to music anymore? As a stand alone activity? People read books to read books. People watch movies to watch movies. Seems like its been downgraded to a supplemental activity hitched to the teet of the daily grind. A soundtrack to our lives, a fucking movie trailer rather than a listening experience.
And now a cloud??? What is it? It's yours, you own it but it's not really there. You can't see it, but you can ask it to do things for you. "Open the pod door Hal." "Play Get off of My Cloud from Decembers Children(And Everybody's)." Put everything you begged for, bought, borrowed or stole on it for a nominal fee. Give somebody else at Google or Apple or Spotify your entire musical LIBRARY, your entire musical life to hold on to for you. So you can not only clear your room, and clear your head..you can clear your HARD DRIVE too. More space for multi- tasking. Pay for your own digital ether.
And I'm stuck between these two worlds. I have friends who fit into some of the above and I don't know what to do with them. I get it. I may be waxing nostalgic, but I would like to enjoy the lost art of reaching out and touching something gently, maybe a button, maybe a cd, maybe the arm of a stylus...and getting some live loud music slammed back into my face through speakers! Bud out! That Buzzcocks song suddenly rises to my sonic surface - "
Then it looks so real I can feel it
And it feels so real I can taste it
And it tastes so real I can hear it
And it sounds so real I can see it
So why can't I touch it?
So why can't I touch it?
Yes vinyl junkies and purists will always be around. but Jesus, it's almost like subscribing to an outsider- like existence to claim to still use anything for listening to music that's not stored in a hard drive and plugged into your ears. DJ's excluded I guess, but for the most part even the days of the milkcrate have been replaced by the mac.
Last night, I looked at my milkcrate full of dog-eared vinyl and my old pioneer turntable sans stylus. I looked at the piles of plastic islands made of compact discs, my drawers full of cassettes meticulously pieced together as pre- digital mixTAPES. I plugged my ipod into my stereo feigning progress in a retroactive way, and played the freshly downloaded deluxe version of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
I laughed. I cried . I looked outside and it was overcast.