Thursday, November 19, 2009

A listening crisis

I never thought I'd say this, but I think I might have too much music. I currently have three main modes of listening which roughly fall along format lines. There's the Great Listening Project (compact discs), research for my radio show (digital/internet), and what I simply want to listen to for pleasure (vinyl). There's overlap obviously, and primarily in that I'm buying cd's under the pretense of it being for the show, and then listening to them for pleasure.


I feel like I've actually hit a point where I have more music than I have time for. In other words, my addiction to obtaining new music seems to have gotten out of hand, and it's due to the confluence of three forces.

First, my re-discovery of the beauty of vinyl has led to an enormous amount of record shopping. A large part of that is because I work in a well stocked record store, but even beyond that I've picked the thrift store habit back up. And when I see a sign that says "Records: $1 each or 30 for $20" you bet your ass I'm buying 30. The result being that I still have several Randy Newman, Duke Ellington, and Enoch Light records that I haven't even touched yet.

Then there's the radio show, which I feel deserves the majority of my attention. In doing this show and focusing on Classical music of the last 30 years I've put myself in a position of presenting a music that I was not all that familiar with before hand. This means I'm constantly learning new names, listening to works on websites, buying new cd's, rifling though the library at the station, etc.. Just last week, for example, I probably loaded about ten discs from the station library onto my hard drive, set aside a dozen lp's to listen to, received one disc that I bought online, and contacted several composers asking for music for the show. Additionally, I'm planning on ordering two or three more discs this weekend.

Third is the temptation of the internet. It's far too easy to grab a discography of, say Slayer, simply for nostalgia's sake, but how long is that then going to just sit there un-listened to? And this extends to "research" for the show. Sorry, Famous Name Composer™ I need my fifteen bucks more than you do. (If it makes you feel any better, Famous Name Composer™, now that I have 27 of your discs on my hard drive I'm sure to play you on my show with some regularity.) But again, when am I going to get around to listening to it all.

Finally, (yeah, I know I said "three forces") for approximately 40 hours every week I'm forced to listen to pop garbage that I would even know existed otherwise. One of the results of that is I often sit in silence after work, cutting into what would normally be listening time.

And this isn't even taking into account all of the music that I would like to explore simply out of my own insatiable curiosity. The Rough Guide to Africa & Middle East that I have on right now as Official Project Listening is reminding me that I need to explore various World Musics, and every time I go downstairs and my roommate is listening to some wonderful piece of music I'm reminded of how vast the Classical Cannon is.

So there's my crisis. I have no solutions or potential answers, except maybe relinquishing all obligations (other than my show) and just dedicating myself to sitting in front of the stereo for ten/twelve hours a day. Which sounds like heaven to me, but I suppose I still need to eat.