Friday, August 8, 2014

Acquisition vs Assimilation.

As I've been lamenting on all the social medias and my YouTube videos, all I can think about recently is the radio station. I seem to only have enough room in my greyspace to concentrate on the thing that is enjoyed by the least number of people. I've been very lazy about writing. I haven't done it at all since the last blog entry which was the first time I'd written...

Excuses aside, I still have my regular amount of philosophical thoughts. I usually babble them on my radio station now or to my Michael and my friend Lindsey instead of writing about them. I'd like to say that this will all change from now on, but likely it won't.

My year isn't going as specifically outlined by me in my little year goal notebook. Instead of ALL the writing I had planned I've started a YouTube channel and a radio station. I'm allowing myself to "go with the flow". I've given myself permission to focus on the creative projects that I want to focus upon, which don't involve writing right now. I still plan to undertake NaNoWriMo in November and generally write my face off as the months get colder...

but this summer I've been listening to music.

Listening to music is my favorite pastime of all time. I've been on vacation this last week and not having the money to GO on vacation, I've mostly stayed in playing Animal Crossing and listening to my iPod on shuffle. I "discovered" several gems shuffling my entire music library. That wouldn't have been possible 15 years ago. The way I enjoy music now is different than the way I enjoyed music then.

The difference, I now realize, is acquisition versus assimilation. Pre-iPod (2001) I would get a new CD once or twice a month and spend the entire time between each CD purchase pouring over the sounds within the newly-bought album. I'd memorize the lyrics and burn the images from the artwork into my brain. I had the time and space to integrate the new music into the rest of my collection. I had the time to get to know the music and where it fit into all of the many music schemas within my mind. All I had was the music I had acquired slowly over the years, and maybe the radio...or whatever mixes my friends made me in the spaces between new CDs.

Now my attention is severely fragmented by the paradox of choice. I listen to Spotify. I listen to Songza. I listen to SomaFM. I acquire new music from Freegal (free library service--not available in Joplin, but in Kansas City) and Google Music weekly, sometimes even daily. I don't acquire new music because I'm sick of what I have already amassed, but simply because I can. I can have so many tracks that I forget to listen to albums I've had for years. I have albums I have NEVER heard in their entirety. I'm ashamed to admit that. Truly ashamed.

Lately I've been researching shoegaze, listening to Pale Saints and Slowdive and Lush and My Bloody Valentine. I thought I would make a mix for my radio show, but it wasn't coming. It wasn't coming because I was listening to the tip of an iceberg of a genre of music I wasn't already intimately familiar. I was seeking the kind of knowledge I only have of music I've known since the days of Assimilation, while in the midst of the distractions everywhere in the Age of Acquisition. I haven't had enough time with shoegaze, but I was assuming I could bang it out really quick.

I don't yet know how I'll do this, but reconnecting with my music library over these past few vacation days has convinced me I simply MUST take more time to assimilate sound. I will never be able to hear every new album from 2014, but that old Delerium record is sitting within the folds of my iPod needing just as much validation as anything in my "recently added" playlist. I have almost 10,000 songs in my digital music library. If I listened to each one of them, I would probably decide I didn't like at least 5% of them.

Doing the weekly radio show (every Friday from 7-11pm CST here) has opened Pandora's Box/The Tree of Knowledge for me. Until I started the radio station at the beginning of July, I hadn't sat still and listened to my music for four hours at a time since the Age of Assimilation. I needed it. Immersion into sound helps me sort out my emotions. It is assimilation that calms me into knowing myself, not acquisition. You can never hear it all, especially when you're clicking through to the next song before you've ended the one currently playing. Radio is reconnecting me to what's been within reach all along, and I am grateful.