Sunday, February 28, 2010

The point

A phenomenon I treasure, experienced twice this weekend: when a piece of writing about music sends me scurrying, more or less frantically, to listen. It's like a command. Two CDs I'd had for ages, lying amid the innumerable stacks in my room, and to which I'd never paid ample attention. Two writers, persuading and prepping me. Thanks to Alex Ross, I dug into the stark but inviting Xenakis Percussion Works, and thanks to Howard Mandel, I spun Ornette's fantastically exuberant Friends and Neighbors. Reminders that, yes, there is a point to this endeavor, and the point is to point, to make a case for why, even in the midst of info overload, you should really take a minute to check this here thing out. Ross puts it as succinctly as it could be put when he titles his forthcoming book Listen to This.

1 comment:

jake said...

Not sure if you take requests, but I'm interested in how you approach big sets of experimental music like the Xenakis or Braxton/Morris stuff you've been listening to lately.

I was intrigued and impressed that you called out disc four of the Braxton box for special mention. Does that mean you'd listened to all three before it?

If so, how's that actually work: Do you tend to listen on headphones or speakers? Can you do anything while you listen? If not, how long can you sustain that concentration? How many times do you have to listen before you feel comfortable making a judgement?

I ask because you, like the critics you praise, have that rare ability to convey enthusiasm and inspire it in others. Regardless of how it gets done (and obv feel free to ignore all of the above or respond only in your head), keep it up.