To listen to Whiteout Conditions, the newie from New Pornographers, I click once in Spotify. Five decades ago, I’d have gone into the city, headed down a dingy alley, bought a round slab of vinyl that rustled when I removed it from its sleeve to place on my turntable, before finally dropping the stylus on its first groove. Am I nostalgic? Not at all – the music is the music.
With apologies to Philip K. Dick, few of us think robots will ever really appreciate being transported . . . transmuted by music. When was the last time you swooned over a song? Me, I’ve diligently tackled 33 albums so far this year, and only once or twice has that feeling, the one I recall from age fifteen, consumed me. I selfied one such moment.
I recommend trying your own variant of this Big Year. What culture do you really love? Do you bemoan lack of time to attend to it? Well, just make yourself tackle a book, an album, a painting, a movie, each and every day. No exceptions.
Me, I’ve stuck to my Big Year. Every day of this 2017 so far, I’ve listened, quite carefully, to a new album. Each album gets three listens. I’m at 28 albums for the year so far, and the effect on my love of music has exploded. 28 albums isn’t many but it’s many enough to have me pretending I’m an “expert” on the current music scene. I’ve a passionate interest on what is out there. Scouring the world’s record shelves (these days, digital lists) is a wondrous pastime, hearing fresh, inspired rock music inspires me daily.
My tastes are inevitably rather narrow (but more fulsome than many people’s, I’d wager). I have tried to branch out, though old favourites do recur. I strive to “go young” with artists.
As an example of what a roving ear can hear over a quarter year, take a look at my 28 albums on the Pinterest board I’ve set up.
What is the next sizzling sound, the next lingering lyric? Well, this NYT playlist (“25 songs that tell us where music is going“, image from the article) is wonderfully presented but, like all such curations, very much aligned to specific tastes. For me, too much rap, soul and grossly popular. However, I’ll take a look at Kongs, Church of Misery, Mica Levi & Oliver Coates, and . . . I think that’s about it, a miserly haul indeed. You might extract more and if so, how wonderful!
Let’s be succinct. For my Rock Music Big Year, daily album immersion is now a routine and enriching habit. Can I say I’m tapping the Zeitgeist? Maybe. I run, cycle or heft weights daily, routinely, for the Fitness Big Year. If I’m still well shy of the three annual goals (1,000 kms, 5,000 kms, 100 gym visits), a restorative dose of variety in Sydney has eased my anxiety. What about the Writing Big Year? I missed some early morning alarms in the Sydney week but forgave myself because I worked so intently and diligently. Every month, week and day looms large but every day, week and month witnesses major progress. A book surfaces!