Listening To Records

Last weekend some colleagues and I rented a house in Brighton to attend a conference and explore the town.

In the end, the house was so great we ended up enjoying time there too - heading back after the pubs closed to listen to music and drink whisky.

It was the perfect atmosphere for listening to music: log fire, candles, wooden floorboards, old sofas and armchairs, as well as great company — and most of all, an old turntable with a pile of great albums on vinyl.

We listened to Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and a few more that we discovered in the pile.

I don’t want to come over all hipster here, but there was really something great about listening to albums as I’d discovered them back when I was a child.

That ‘something’ is not just about the sound from vinyl, which does add a certain romanticism and a seemingly richer, dirtier, less ‘perfected’ sound, it’s also listening to an album as a whole rather than tracks in playlists.

It’s all I can do now to stay away from Ebay and resist buying an old turntable. I’ve only just whittled down my CD colection by ripping it all to digital - I don’t want to accumulate piles of records again.

With every technological advance we do seem to give something up. Some human element, some emotional connection.

But then we gain so much else - convenience, portability, choice, savings, discovery and much more.

So am I going to buy a turntable? No. But tonight I’m only going to listen to whole albums from beginning to end, as they were created for me to enjoy.

Photo credit: Scott Akerman

Written on January 25, 2015