Thursday, January 22, 2009

Work-Free Zone

I've been following Michaelangelo Matos' Slow Listening Movement blog with sympathy. Anyone who is on a significant number of PR lists eventually accumulates so much new music that it becomes a burden that only other music writers can appreciate. One side effect of those stacks is how they affect your listening habits in ways that can become burdensome. Because of OffBeat's focus on Louisiana music, it dominates my listening and there's no joy in yet another CD by an identity-free jazz/funk combo or trad jazz revivalists remaking the most obvious songs in the New Orleans repertoire.

The concept is to spend more quality time with the music, which I appreciate because much of what I listen to is shaped by what I'm doing. I tend to check out DJ mixes, jazz, dub and electronica when editing because the lack of vocals - or their de-centralized position means they don't interrupt my train of thought. Music that makes me notice it through that process gets a second or third listen. I often listen to CDs I'm trying to review in the car because it's the least multi-tasked listening that I do in a day.

That means, though, that most of my listening in a day is work-related, and the wall of CDs go largely untouched. I finally had to make certain decisions about listening to keep from losing the fun of music in the work. I only listen to music that has no work attached to it in the house. Still, there are limits to what I listen to at home because my wife can't stand Motorhead - and I married her? - and drone-oriented music. The only place I can hear Alan Vega next to the Undertones next to the Stooges and John Barry is my iPod, which I declared a work-free zone.

... and while writing this, I've been checking out Zu's Carboniferous, which ends up as annoying as most Ipecac releases. Free jazz squeaks and squonks tied to metal crunch and fidgety beats just aren't that much fun, no matter who plays them.

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