The Vinyl Craze
Trusty old vinyl record
I am an audiophile, technology is kind of my thing ... especially music equipment. I have this knack to go all out when it comes to speakers, headphones, earphones, CD players, surround systems - you name it - whenever I hear that a certain brand (mostly Bang and Olufsen or Bose) has come up with some exciting new gadget.
I have lately developed a fondness for good old vinyl records for no particular reason, I admit it and trust me, having no reason to love or like something makes it a bit more mysterious and appealing. Anyway, If I were to articulate this fondness, it would certainly be linked to the lack of authenticity that is spreading like wild fire; music seems far, cold, and overly electronic to the extent of losing its healing powers. I am not speaking as a biased, classically trained musician, but as a music production enthusiast who has dabbled in that field for years until he was able to create tracks and covers of his favourite songs.
Why vinyls? The answer is downright simple yet multi-layered: I just love the idea of feeling the music physically present on that black disk, I love the vinyls' vulnerability, bendiness, shine, and shape. I love the pops and cracks, the warmer sound and the frequencies that echo through the house spreading a different feel than that of HI-FI CDs no matter how well mastered tracks are. You can rest assured that I have an iPod classic with my entire music library ready to be played at any time, an iPhone with regularly updated track-lists and whatnot. Yet, my newly developed love for the classy vinyl records goes beyond just wanting a new experience, but also rediscovering music as it was first heard in times past.
This is the way music is supposed to heard, this is the way music actually exists in the world in its organic way. I first bought Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas vinyl record and A Capitol Christmas from Amazon, in time for the holiday season, and prior to me receiving those records, I honestly felt a bit scared that this experiment and search for a remedy to my nostalgia would end up on a disappointing note. There I was slicing the thin coat of nylon and grudgingly setting one of black disk on the turntable. It might seem a bit too dramatic, but for a music lover and musician such as myself, failing to reach healing through music can prove to be quite anticlimactic.
And, success! The whole experiment proved to be a an amazing amalgam of warmth, beauty and genuine art that was once recorded with real instruments, real natural frequencies that have long gone with the digitisation of our favourite melodies. It is a marvellous thing to listen to singers creating emotional ripples with voices so true and so far from being corrected digitally. It is equally beautiful to hear the pops and cracks, which make you feel like curling up under you blanket and sip some coffee while resting your eyes from all those screens around us. I am in love with vinyls, with the imperfections and with all that shows me art in its raw, unedited form.
Later on, I purchased a couple other holiday-themed vinyl records and dug up old dusty ones from my parents' attic, only to find my need for authentic content even more fulfilled. With this in mind, I might as well entirely shift away from writing on a computer to actually inking some paper, the old fashion way, and go the whole nine years with a nice fountain pen (or a feather if I found any), nice acid-free paper and black pigment. It's just a simple story that I am sharing here, one that seeks to point out the different between what once was and what has become of music.