THOUGHTS: Cold Mornings and Warm Vinyl

There is not much in life better than waking up on a cold morning, pouring a cup of coffee and cuing up the turn table. Something about the cold in the air mixed with the crisp warm tone of analog sound. My selection this morning was Iron and Wine’s 2005 EP, Woman King, a six song collection of Sam Beam’s lyrical poetry and soft voice mixed with intricate guitar work and a range of sound that I will argue rivals most albums produced in the last several years.

My topic today, however, is not my man crush on Sam Beam, but my love of the sound that only vinyl can bring. I am not a hipster audiophile who pays thousands of dollars for a turntable or fifteen bucks a foot for speaker wire, but I am someone who takes the sound of music seriously. To me, listening to an actual record goes beyond the convenience of an mp3 to what I believe is a superior and irreplaceable sound.

Vinyl simply forces you to become intimate with what you are listening to. There is no passiveness when it comes the listening experience. Waking up and thumbing through the plastic sleeves on the shelf, deciding which album fits the mood at that moment. Watching the large scale album art flip by, waiting on the moment at which you realize, yes that’s it! Pulling the cover out of its plastic sleeve and then sliding the record out, flipping it over, blowing it free of dust and placing it on the turntable. The arm of the table slowing coming down to produce that familiar warm crackle that always sounds the same no matter the album. Then finally you are able to sit back and enjoy your morning selection. From selecting what you want to listen to, to flipping to side B (b-sides have been lost in our modern digital world which is a real shame: more on that in another blog), to eventually putting that record back in its perfect spot on the shelf, records force you to become an active participant in the listening process. You become, for just a few minutes, intertwined with the experience, temporarily lost and consumed by the moment sonic bliss.

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