I’d long suspected that part of my enjoyment of music was based in nostalgia when I read Theodore Adorno’s 1938 essay ‘On the Fetish Character in Music and the Regression of Listening’. There’s little I could add to Adorno’s commentary of how ‘the familiarity of a piece is a surrogate for the quality ascribed to it’. Although good stuff can definitely become hackneyed, a great work doesn’t diminish in quality by being well known and loved and therefore perhaps we can be excused for revisiting the comfort of the known.
There have been periods of time where my listening habits have been predominantly retrogressive in nature. It’s difficult to surmise why, but I think seeking out new music takes energy and you have to be in the right frame of mind, open and inquisitive. Furthermore, it’s no revelation that you’ll likely have to work through a fair bit of material to find something you connect with, does anyone have spare time to expend on this endeavour?
Still, there’s nothing quite like finding a new album you can devour, get to know every nuance of until it truly inhabits the realm of the familiar. Then you get to start all over again..
Recommendations have long been the way of spreading buzz about new music, particularly within scenes. I still use forums / blogs for getting (at least) information about decent releases I may have missed.
We live in a post-whatever utopia where artists can output directly to whoever may be listening. Do we, as music listeners, take advantage of this or do we continue awaiting the third person endorsement? Currently, I’m getting a real kick from exploring the artists on Soundcloud. I’m unlikely to stop finding music in the old fashioned ways but through Soundcloud and the like I am accessing output that is intensely idiosyncratic and fascinating – sometimes like a train wreck but frequently because of its unfiltered and singular intent.