In the age of instant consumer-driven everything, I thought it might be nice to honor the artist community by giving them the floor. If you can get past the hipster induced eye-rolling and assumption that vinyl is popular because people with beards and lumberjack outfits who take pictures of their food and Instagram concert photos while not actually engaging in the actual present experience of them, have dictated vinyl as the pseudo-ironic medium for music, you may find the treasure it is to give up control to the artist that vinyl records provide.
As a creator and a lover of music, I have experienced the advent of new self-guided musical tools like Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and iTunes. They have had a tremendous impact on the amount of music and that music’s accessibility to the masses even if our place in musical history has more in common with the food buffet on a cruise ship. That is to say, “It’s not that it is all great, it’s just that there is so much of it.” The ability to pick and choose the songs and pull the art out of its intended context has had some devastating influence on the perceived value of music. And it has created a substantial amount of noise. So how do we remove some noise?
I think the act of putting on a record is a focal practice. It fosters focus and can be part of a contemplative experience. Why? Contemplative disciplines help us extricate what is and what is not, what should be and what should not be in our control.
For roughly 40 minutes, we can relinquish control and let our experience of music be more connected to the artist’s vision of how they wanted their collection of songs to unfold.
It is part of the culture of Blood:Water to honor the storytellers in Africa. We sit and listen to our partners or community members tell their story the way they want to tell it, forming creative solutions that unfold the way they need them to unfold.
We share that part of our culture in the way we listen to artists. The songs unfold and the narratives evolve. The tone and dynamic of the complete work becomes clear and the experience of loud cacophony and minimalist simplicity draws us in to a complete picture. And all we have to do is place a fragile cylinder on the player and place the needle down at the beginning and be willing to listen. We value this experience.
I mention this because I thought about another way you can help us at Blood:Water.
I ask the question of all the artists I highlight on Music Monday, “What is one of the greatest songs ever written and recorded?” What is it for you? What record expresses something true about life in this world? Would you share that with us? Help us build our vinyl library here at the office. Send us an album you love… write us a note and tell us why the songs matter.
Come to Nashville and visit us. We can listen to it together.
B:W Vinyl Project
P.O. Box 60381
Nashville, TN 37206
Happy Monday! -Dan