The Pondering Grapefruit
a blog of moments and musings
About two weeks ago I got a record player. It was a basic vintage style wooden one manufactured by 1byone products which I got from Amazon. A friend had given me a $20 Amazon gift card, so that sealed the deal for me. I have to come to terms that this has officially established me as a hipster, but I love the record player enough that I can accept that (though I do think the more correct term, as opposed to hipster, would be an audiophile). In short, it is one of the best purchases I ever made.
When it arrived I immediately went out to a local store to get some vinyls. I wanted jazz and classical songs and found many gems. In the past two weeks I've collected the following LPs:
Aside from the enhanced sound quality (which I will get to in a second), I love the covers. each one has such a unique art and design that matches the music it contains. You see that with the impressionistic painting on Debussy's album, with the dynamic brush strokes of Lionel Hampton's figure--he looks like he is shouting, and he indeed shouts a lot in the album. In addition to the art, I also really like the descriptions of the artist and music in the back. By collecting records, you get more than just music, but also a comprehensive understanding of the history and essence of that artist and musical style.
The musical experience then becomes so much richer. I also appreciate that the vinyl itself has physical separations between each song. You can see when one song ends and the next begins by the smooth separations on the disc. I think it is quite wonderful that space can symbolize sound, much like how visual representations in sheet music correspond to sounds. It makes me think of how music is so much more than just pleasant sounds, and how it can be appreciated in many forms: visual, physical, sensual.
Getting a record player has opened my eyes more to how music nowadays has evolved from the original vinyl. Album covers, though they are smaller and often seen in digital formats, still try to match the style of the artist. Even the gaps between songs are done in tradition to the separation of songs in vinyl. A lot of artists now record albums without spaces between the songs, simply because they can. Ironically, listening to old records has given me a better understanding and appreciation of modern methods of listening to music. I guess this is why history is important, because everything has a history.
Last, I just want to talk about the sound. I remember when I got my first exposure to record players at Harvard's radio station, WHRB. During my training to become a jazz DJ I was told that records have a much richer sound quality because the music comes directly from grooves. In other words, it is a more direct translation that is closer to the plucking of an actual instrument.
I would agree. The album I put on was Art Tatum, and I could definitely hear the difference. It was as if I was listening to a live performance. The music had such a multi-dimensional quality I felt like I could touch it. I was so happy, my heart was pounding so hard I thought I was going to get a heart attack. I've only had that feeling a few times before, and that was while reading Kalil Gibran's The Prophet and when I met my boyfriend.
It is nice to know that you can buy things that make you happy, that happiness can be so easily attained with simple purchases.
About this Blog
I have no idea how to describe what my writing is about. I just write. I post when I can, which can be weekly or monthly depending on where the universe is taking me. As for the Grapefruit, my Vietnamese nickname, Buoi, means grapefruit.