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May 3, 1999: breathing the cold black space



I read on smarry's web pages about his experience with not liking this album at all and then later coming back to it and thinking it was awesome.

I am (was?) in the first stage, but sounded very similar to his perspective, so I decided it was time to give it another chance. A lot of people I know whose tastes often connect to mine seem to like it, but I've never gotten into the genre.

The things is, I tend to like an awful lot of music. I just have to be exposed to it for a sufficient peroid of time that it creeps into my consciousness.

Now I offer a theory to explain some cases of interest and disinterest:

I think that if the music isn't just crap--if the artist involved invested real creativity, real artistry--it's likely that I'll be able to appreciate the music on that front, regardless of type and genre. The problem is that to appreciate artistry, I have to give the music my attention. Too often, if somebody gives me some music to listen to, but which I don't have any "reason" to want to listen to, I view listening to it as an obligation or even a chore. I eventually succumb, put it on, and treat it as background music while I do something else.

Now, when I worked in an open pit with shared music, I would often hear things that I came to enjoy and bought for my own collection--from great alternative pop by Belly to out-there rock like Think Tree to Lisa Germano's very creepy and odd-production-valued Geek the Girl.

The important revelation on smarry's pages was that he called U.F.Orb ambient. Ambient music, in the sense that Brian Eno proposed the term, doesn't intrude itself on your consciousness. While Eno claims to have intended that the music should be background music, I find that it tends to be too unobtrusive. I get to the end of the album and can't recall having heard anything that I'd want to hear again.

The trick, then, is to listen to it, actively. Bring it to the foreground. That requires a time investment, though. I can't just put it on and expect a cool hook to reach out and grab me the way I can with non-ambient music.

I have U.F.Orb on headphones now, which forces me to be more aware of it even though I'm writing this entry and mudding at the same time. Ten minutes into it I already appreciate it more. I'm not about to say it's great, or that I'll listen to it a million times more in the future. But it already seems a lot more likely I will listen to it again, even more carefully.

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attribution dammit: Let's Take a Trip Together Morphine