There was a time in my life, my teens, when, as is appropriate for a teenage boy living in the American suburbs, rock music was extraordinarily important. I spent a fair amount of time immitating heros on a drumkit in my basement. Later, as an undergrad, I read a lot of philosophy and critical theory trying to figure out if people writing about music in magazines were making any sense. Of course, as one ages, things come in and out of focus, and the kind of things that previously seemed undeniable are now mostly just kind of the stuff that makes up the history of who you are. Rock music doesn't do the same things it did for me when I was fifteen, and that's a relief. Because I'm not fifteen anymore.
I discovered about a year or so ago that the music I was listening to most was the kind of stuff that made the most sense for the environments in which I often found myself: hunched over a computer at home, staring at a different computer at the office, reading a magazine on the subway, drifting off aboard an airplane, or staring out a hotel room window. And this music is what I can only broadly kind of define as "ambient."
Another thing I discovered over the course of a year, downloading and listening to some two-thousand odd tracks or so, is that I really didn't have the vocabulary to speak intelligently about what I was listening to. I didn't even have the basic facts. Who were the artists I was listening to, when was the stuff made, and where did any of it fit in the grand narrative of 21st century music? At best, this makes it difficult to answer the "So what kind of music are you listening to lately?" question, but at worst it makes it nearly impossible to do all the things that makes listening to music so much fun: recommending a record to a friend, discovering connections between artists, or just generally yelling at someone regarding the superiority of record X over record Y in a bar. That's the kind of stuff I like to do.
And so it seems like the best way I can get over this anonymous download-and-listen pattern is to write about what I'm downloading and listening to. I've been writing off and on on the web since before there was anything called blogging, and so the web seems like the natural place for it.
My intention here is not to provide expert commentary. Because I'm not an expert. What I would like to do is simply talk about what I'm listening to. This is mostly a selfish excercise. I want to have a relationship with the music I listen to that is a bit more like that fifteen year old self in the basement. If a reader or two takes a look at some of the stuff here and has an easier time wading through the enormous amount of choice out there, that would be fantastic. Even better, maybe some readers will contribute to the discussion.