Tequila or bourbon is the issue at hand. Unlike the unwashed masses I have a specific, perhaps even OCD routine for my dedicated listening sessions. It starts with a great deal of internal debate over listening to something new or pulling out something familiar. This part is likely to remain in the back of my brain, hidden right behind memories of my mother insisting I get a perm when I was 8. The close geographical relationship of these two polar opposite, cognitive processes somehow seems to balance that area of my cortex, keeping me from collapsing into an even more incoherent lunatic. They keep the loony on the path so to speak.
Today I decide on a new release from Donald Fagan called Sunken Condos. I haven’t read any reviews of this album but always look forward to the relaxing flow of Fagan records. Mixed with extreme care, all of Donald’s work is as close to recorded perfection as you can get.
I decide I am in a bourbon mood and pour a couple fingers of the dark liquid into my glass. I have already moved the hi-res digital files onto my main system and decided to skip the headphones today. I call the dogs that run and bounce around my feet as I move across the house. I open the door and plop down into my chair, placing my drink carefully into the cup holder.
I pull the Logitech Harmony One remote out of its charging base and hit Jukebox. The Emotiva USP-1 preamp jumps to life followed a split second later by the twin Emotive XPA-1 mono-block power amplifiers. The dogs settle in next to me and I locate the new album within J Rivers Media Center software and click play. In the next second the laptop, running on battery power to limit power interference, sends its flow of ones and zeros to the Schiit Audio Bifrost digital to analog converter, which decodes the digital signal and passes on the analog wavelengths to the preamp.
The Magnepan 1.6 QR speakers jump to life, their nearly six foot long, paper thin ribbon sending the first guitar note into the air. One of the dogs takes up her preferred spot in my lap as I take my first sip from the glass, close my eyes, and begin to meld with the music.
I do understand how very strange all of this may seem to most people. Music is supposed to be in the background, it is the soundtrack to your day, thumping away while you do laundry, drive, shop, party. For some it is how we release the tension of the day, much the way my wife must work out every day to keep from becoming a nasty version of Dexter.
How do you relax? What is your relationship with music?