Drums are clunky and clumsy to sit down to. Bits are threatening to fall over, poke your leg, clatter and clash in a big noise. But once I do sit down, it feels like a beast is at my beck and call.
Everybody has something that eases their mind. Different people are affected by different things. Some friends have told me surfing does it, others running, others fine art and drawing. We are all so different, but everyone has something they absolutely love and fall into so deeply that they don’t even notice time passing, or tiredness, or anything else but the task at hand. I have a few things. Golf. Motorbikes. Fly fishing. Music.
The problem is, I stopped playing drums. I got busy. Then I grew older and got REALLY busy. And then I forgot what it felt like to sit at the very bottom of a song and push the other instruments forward. Control the tempo and the sound. For me, there is really nothing like it.
My friend came to town the other day and we met up at a guitar shop. He wanted a Fender to pass on as a family heirloom. I tested some out with him, and I played drums as he strummed the blues. I remembered that great feeling all over again.
When I was a boy, my mother used to sing in a choir. She would go to evening practices and perform classical pieces such as Handel’s ‘Messiah’. At the time it was not so obvious what the appeal was. I could see how the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones had an effect, but the slower and more formal music seemed all too stuffy, dull and boring. My friend and I were once dragged to a concert which we filmed, adding a tagline to the video which read “Party Time” sarcastically. We were bored boys.
Nowadays I am just beginning to understand the appeal of classical music. It can be magnificient. Uplifting. Lush.
One thing it requires is patience. If you can turn on a piece of classical music and just sit still and listen, before you know it you are loving the feelings, emotions, harmonies. Like a painting laid out infront of you it becomes the only thing that you have in your head. Sometimes it takes away the rest of the world. These moments are just lovely and unique to the genre for me.
I have just found Spotify’s Classical section and highly recommend the following playlist:
Picture my panic. It is Saturday evening, the kids are all asleep after a hard day without their mother, who’s away this weekend. Just when I thought I could relax and stream some music, the power went out. Got to love Eskom and African power utilities.
So I went into scramble mode…my phone still had battery, but no data left to download or stream anything. Dammit.
My laptop battery is dead. I was beginning to lose hope, and then I spotted the iPad.
A quick startup showed full batteries. Now was there any music? Only one album downloaded: Radiohead ‘In Rainbows’
That’ll do pig….that’ll do. My brain is heaving a sigh of relief as Thom Yorke groans in my ears.
On a side note, how does this band get away with such ridiculous music? It strikes me they are impossible to cover….They are the only band that could ever play these arrangements and sound any good.
I set up my third (I know!) Amplifier today in the man cave. It is the only Grade A amp I own and it is now doing the LP player duties. This means my streaming amp has been relegated to an “Input AUX” on the class A amp. Audio talk, but it got me thinking about priorities.
If you have many responsibilities in your life, and you are struggling to handle all the input signals and get all the outputs you want – then maybe you need to focus on the quality / important inputs and relegate the other stuff. Sort out the important things first and only then look to do anything else.
At the moment, my life is a list of important things and little time for recreation. Being conscientious and organised about priorities is perhaps one of the hardest things for me, but when I do it, it reaps instant rewards.
In the audio analogy, I sorted out the wheat from the chaff, the high res from the low bitrate, the analogue from the digital, the good from the crap – and this means I am now experiencing the best audio source (LP’s) through the best amplifier, and the others are taking a back seat for another day.
It’s not much of an analogy, but the bigger point is that life is about options and sacrifice. You have to choose your sacrifice. Choose it wisely and complete the plan. Then reassess.
Although we often think of the word “stereo” relating to music, what it actually means is “relating to a three dimensional effect”. We smell in stereo.
From my great new book:
“Though humans’ nostrils are only about two centimeters apart, this is sufficient for people to detect slight differences in the concentration of a scent cloud, and thus provides information about the scent’s location and source.”
Humans can be trained to track scents like dogs, and when they do, they zig zag across the trail, just like dogs, chasing the higher chemical concentrations to the smell’s source.
It makes me think that Perfume and deodorant are to scent what headphones are to music – giving our brains close proximity to the pleasant sensations….and all of it in stereo.
It blows my mind how much we take our senses for granted. Smell, sound, touch – all of them have a huge impact on our enjoyment, health and peace of mind.
So says my new book, and who am I to argue with that? 😉
2. Q Acoustics 2020i – the best speakers i have at the moment. Linked to my TV they are probably underutilized (Much like my Onkyo amp) but I love them, especially when they are playing an LP. Q Acoustics 2020i review | What Hi-Fi?
3. Audio Technica M50 – Oldest set i own and still working perfectly after 11+ years. Very nice introduction to good headphones. Ridiculous cable. Best for the home studios Audio Technica ATH-M50 review | What Hi-Fi?
4. AKG Y50BT – these are incredible sounding for a great price. Best for commuters. Be warned – young children are prone to destroying the Earpadding…which is replaceable from Chinese ebay merchants for a low fee. https://www.whathifi.com/akg/y50bt/review