traumatic harmony
the pataphysical study of randomized sound
listening to music in the post-college radio world

it's been almost 2 months since I bid farewell to college radio. in real terms, two months really isn't that much time. sure, it's 1/6th of a year, but let's be honest, I've been through a lot of sixths of a year in my life. in those two months, I've noticed a subtle yet profound change in the way that I listen to music or at least approach listening to music. I'm not sure if it's necessarily better or worse, but it is different, and I kinda like it.

in my four years of involvement with wprb, I pretty much transformed from a typical high school classic rocker to a somewhat mainline indie rocker (including a really embarassing article about that transformation in the 2002 wprb program guide that I'm sure you can find somewhere on wprb's website) to a fairly skeptical indie rocker to whatever strange catagory my tastes fall into now (eccentric? music snob? indier-than-thou? snark? "a bit stranger"? who knows). it's a long way to travel in four years; lots of music has gone through my ears, some has stuck, a lot of it hasn't. and therein lies the problem with the way that college radio made me listen to music. in the constant quest to find something different, there's no time to actually sit back and reflect on what you've found. I look back at old playlists and see bands that I don't even remember playing, much less hearing. I don't regret any of it, and wouldn't change a thing about the way I conducted myself as a disc jockey, but I can't help but feel like I stopped actually listening to a lot of things.

the other day I was in a coffee shop reading, and in the background came built to spill's album keep it like a secret. it was one of the first "indie" records I ever listened to in the summer before I my freshman year of college. it lived in my cd player almost non-stop for a good few months and I probably knew it inside and out. I haven't listened to it since probably spring 2002, but there it was. and I knew every nook and cranny of the songs, even though I hadn't devoted any mental energy to that record in 3 and a half years. when I look back over college, there are very few records that have come into my possession between 2002 and 2005 that I can safely say the same thing for. yeah, I'll recognize a cd as being by so and so and have a general idea of its contour, but I won't necessarily be able to know just what's coming next. and while this may be more a testament to the nature of built to spill's songs than anything, the fact remains that as a dj and music director of an edgy college radio station, I forgot just as must music as I discovered, reviewed records I couldn’t identify if you played them for me now, downloaded more mp3s by obscure folks than I'll probably ever have time to listen to, and bought records that I still to this day haven't put in my cd player or on my turntable. let’s face it, once I got deeper into the recesses of college radio, I stopped really listening to records.

and that has been the biggest revelation for me in these past two months - that I can actually absorb a record, that some (but by no means all) of the things I wrote off before actually have some merit, that the quest for the ultimate obscure, while a fulfilling end, isn’t all there is to music. that said, I still have really weird tastes in music, and that’s not going to change. I’m not about to jump on the pitchfork hypewagon, nor am I going to abandon john cage, the revolutionary ensemble, racebannon, gang gang dance, dalek, the bunny brains, late coltrane, or any of the other insanity that I enjoy, but being able to view records as records and not as pieces of an intricately constructed radio show has made my ears happier than they’ve been in a while. listening to music should never be constricted to just a handful of songs or albums, but it should also never go by so fast that there’s no time for contemplation. 
Dan! You have a blog! A throrough and thoughtful blog! Danger Doom! I can't imagine a better use for The Internets.
I know what you mean, Dan. But I find as I get further and further from the show, and have more and more things demanding my attention in my life, I still listen to singles more than albums. I wish I had more time and ability to absorb a record, but I often find myself listening to new mp3s, fooling around with, or tuning in to wfmu or wprb over my itunes or just going out to the occasional show instead. I know you won't let it happen to you, Dan, but I'm worried about getting more insular in my relationship with music, as move from regularly sharing and presenting to just consuming, mostly.
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Location: Durham, NC

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Albums/Things of the Moment

Gal Costa - Gal
X - Los Angeles/Wild Gift
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians
The Factums - The Sistrum
The Dark Knight
Jay Reatard - Matador 7"s
Sub Pop Singles Club III
Mississippi Records
Byard Lancaster

Radio Waves

lexicon devil
agony shorthand
keeping score at home
something I learned today
deadly tango
her jazz
strange reaction
god and a bottle in me
in case of mishaps
20 jazz funk greats
funky 16 corners
moon sash
mental archipelago
crud crud
just for a day
little hits
everything is fire

Odds and Sods
my old wprb playlists
my reviews on dusted
dusty groove

August 2002 / September 2002 / October 2002 / November 2002 / December 2002 / January 2003 / February 2003 / March 2003 / April 2003 / May 2003 / June 2003 / July 2003 / August 2003 / September 2003 / October 2003 / November 2003 / December 2003 / January 2004 / February 2004 / September 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / July 2008 /
all posts before december 2004 are old wprb playlists. I wish I could say I've been blogging that long, but that's simply not the truth.

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