Monday, April 20, 2009

NEWS: Thoughts on Record Store Day

Thoughts on Record Store Day by Tom Moon, author of 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die:

"The scene: A well-stocked record store. You are one of maybe six people browsing. It’s a rainy day, and you’ve ducked inside armed with just a few things you intend to check out. After a few minutes you begin to pay attention to what’s playing, and after a few more minutes, you find you have to know more about the music.

"You ask. The clerk – ideally one who’s not as famously snobby as those immortalized in Nick Hornby’s novel (and subsequent film) High Fidelity, but instead a music lover with broad taste and a generous disposition – slides over. In the terse code that passes for conversation among music geeks, she conveys the basic information. It’s all you need. Your curiosity has been activated. Something about this music has slipped past your armor, and as you listen, you sense that these sounds could be vital to your future well-being. You snag this and return to hunt down what you came in for. And then you overhear two people talking about a guitarist whose work you know – turns out he’s a sideman on a record you didn’t know. Off you go, on another tangent, about to encounter another bit of amazingness. You walked in looking for one thing, and just through an offhand mention – “So, you’ve never experienced Fela before? Right this way….” – an entirely new world has opened up.

"Of course it’s possible to have similar encounters via the Internet. But the web, with its endlessly cross-referenced and utterly logical stepwise connections, misses that essential human element. There’s not much in the way of thoughtful curatorship happening at the Genius bar: Input some touchstone recordings, and it will spit out a string of utterly plausible recommendations. It’s coldly digital, a seek-and-find mission with limited potential for serendipity. Encountering music in a record store can be quite different – haphazard and at times random, a tour led by those who, by virtue of their employment in these temples of sound, have heard tons of stuff and can make some connections for you. No search engine or software application can replace what they know. Nothing, in fact, can replace the electric experience of discovery that happens in a place where people gather, in real time, to share music and seek out the next obsession."

I couldn't have said it better. So I didn't try. Here's the original.

Go HERE to check out a video from The Devil Whale's set at Slowtrain on Saturday to celebrate Record Store Day.

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