Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Before the great sleep, my mind tells me it is awake and that it is ready to conquer anything I should throw at it. What you see are the feeble attempts at capturing that, mostly unsuccessful. Try as I might to capture the mood, they are often escaped. I can only hope they intend to visit someone else's dreams.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Back when I was learning how to become both a collector and a snob, I had invented several now-ridiculous rules regarding how and when it was ok to consume an album. Recalling them brings waves of embarrassment, but I would be remiss to not offer one example -- that the album is, minimally, a work of art, and one that demands utmost attention. Being lyrically minded, this in particular meant hanging on every syllable, parsing every intonation, decoding every reference, and of course, collecting the best turns of phrase for a purpose I knew existed, even if I didn't know what it was at the time.

It may not surprise that this meant a great many albums were purchased on the advice of my guides and teachers, but were listened to once, and shelved after I had concluded that they required a mood or point of view that I did not possess at the time of listening. Not wishing to disrespect the artist, I of course did not want to project my own deficiencies onto their work -- thus, they were saved up for a time when I did have the means to fully understand them.

That time is now, apparently. Whenever I encounter one of these albums from nearly a decade ago, collecting dust but always a reminder of a certain failure in my appreciation skills, I now see it as a challenge that must be bested -- my credentials depend on it. Having taken up a few of these challenges now, I am very pleasantly surprised to report that the value and merit of these works is largely unaffected by the hang-ups I've imposed on it. How blessed I am that great, and even good art, doesn't have an expiry date.

A corollary is that another class of albums -- those I saw something powerful in, but consumed only a few times in fear of the power overwhelming me -- are also ripe for rediscovery. I'm now starting to think that some of them may even be as good as I remember wanting them to be. On the one hand, this is all great news. On the other hand, I worry what this says about the hundreds of carefully considered records I've conquered over the past few years. Might the day come when I decide that I never really listened to them in the first place? But I shouldn't be surprised were this to unfold. I've always believed that my tastes were well-formed and my own, even when they were wildly changing; as Lou would say, belief is never sure.