Burn Your iPod
I bought the CD version of Ummagumma (You-mag-un-muh) today for reasons both practical and sentimental. Red Silo ( a band I am in with Elijah Bak, Miriam Davidson and her little brother Lorne) is covering the song "The Narrow Way, Part 3" at an upcoming show on June 7th, which is the practical side of this purchase. The song is pretty simple, but Roger Waters had some nice touches he was doing on bass. Sentimentally, Ummagumma was a cornerstone album from my teen years.
I had started listening to Pink Floyd around Grade 9 (1984-1985) and really got into them. My Mum married a total scumbag in 1986. He was a creep, but he did have a great record collection. Among his records was Ummagumma, a strange double album by Floyd consisting of an experimental studio album and an overdubbed live album. It also had two different great album covers. One cover features the father of a certain modern day movie starlet. He was one of Floyd's roadies and contributed the wild laughter on Dark Side of the Moon.
A few friends have iPod's of assorted types and they are pretty neat. The fact that you can store so much music and not have to carry around CDs or cassettes is a big bonus. But the iPod lacks a certain something. Perhaps it is just too convenient a format, making music more like a disposable accessory than an experience. I used to lay on the floor listening to Ummagumma on headphones for hours at all hours. After that might come John Coltrane, The Police or a soundpage out of Guitar Player magazine. (usually "Easter Sunday" by Robert Fripp)
Having to flip sides of a record or cassette was always considered to be a downside to the format, I thought so. Everyone loved CDs because you could listen to an entire album, usually, without having to change anything: multi-disc players took away even more of the hastle, just settle in and the music flood on by. These days I am beginning to think that inconvenience and limited space of the vinyl and cassette formats - except in the cases of, Baroque, Classical, Chamber music, etc - are their upside.
Not everyone is going to agree with me and that is fine. For some people music isn't an experience, it is an accessory that makes you feel good, that makes you seem hip or is simply something to help pass the time away. For me, music is about the experience to be had from it and the best experiences have to be worked at and don't come easily. Music seems much more special on these limited formats - like gold on vinyl and like silver on cassette.
Good grade vinyl, despite its fragility, still has the best fidelity overall. Just check out a copy of Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and compare it to the other formats it has been released on. Vinyl is inherently superior in this regard and really doesn't degrade as quickly as so many people believe. Cassettes are great for their versatility. Mixed cassettes have always been much better than mixed CD's. The tighter time limit really forces you to think about the music you are putting on, what is you really want to hear or express to someone. Cassettes also allow for some really creative people to cut loose. Ken Goudswaard and I did a fake radio station once called KILL FM 108.9, "The Rabid Pit Bull of Radio". Hard to pull the same thing off as easily on CD and kind of pointless to do on an iPod.
I dunno, I just hate to see music become so disposable and the iPod is so vast it just seems to render music as just another comodity, like toothpaste or toilet paper.