Saturday, 1 December 2012

A Taste Of..

well.. it turns out my eldest is a fan of contemporary Icelandic folk.. Today she introduced me to the music of Of Monsters And Men - very nice too.

I have paused to reflect a little on musical introductions.

In our youth, my brother and I perused the record collexion of our father, elements of which helped inform our musical tastes. It worked out quite well - in the very late 70s to mid 80s when we were finding our way, Dad's LPs stretched from the earlyish 60s, through the 70s to a few then contemporary discs; acknowledging some overlap, Simon and I almost divided the collection in two, excepting a few stragglers. The music we discovered from then has remained with us since. My brother finds himself a lifelong fan of the more 60s based music, such as The Beatles, the blues, and rhythm and blues (hit, as they say, it..); I took more from the second half of the collexion, with such diverse elements as The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, ELO, Supertramp, 10cc - basically the building blocks of a life spent in the environs of progressive rock.

I have three children, and (sadly) do not live in the same house as them. For one reason and another it is highly unlikely that they will give much thought to looking through my LPs. Even were we to share accommodation it would still be an improbable proposition. From what I see there may be a few reasons.

My favoured format is not so common these days, my children are growing up in a culture where their jukebox is based around YouTube and other related phenomena. Whilst they know what to do with a CD, mostly, it seems that they would rather not.
My LPs are at least two formats old. They are not an instant medium. Whilst they offer a degree of random access, it is less than their successors. As we choose to label each successive generation with having shorter attention spans than their forebears there seems to be the expectation that the labels will be correct, and so allow technology to close the gap on desire and gratification. To my children, such ancient tech as the vinyl disc now seems a more than slightly alien concept, and less attractive as a route to music than the click of a mouse.

As an aside, I do question some of the short attention span claims; many youths over the last 15 years seem to be able to handle long films and lengthy series such as LOTR, Harry Potter and Twilight..

A second reason is that my favoured music is further removed from the present than where my adventure began. In the 80s when we were plundering Dads LPs, his collexion was taken from the culture and time he lived through, which was a still a recent memory. A fair swathe of the music was still played on the mainstream radio, maybe not on the hippest shows, but since it was, at the time, between 5 and 20 years old it wasn't so far out of reach. Some of the bands in Dad's collexion were even still making music.

My LPs represent a similar length of time as my father's, but offset by 5-7 years, from ~1968 to ~1983. My taste has never been immediately contemporary, and as such is less representative of 'my time' in the way that Dad's was of his. I do not have anything by Wham!, Duran Duran, Bros, Bryan Adams [errr, OK, I'm getting a little sketchy.. Since I didn't really pay any attention to what was hip after about 1983, I have little idea whom to list here!]. My children are unlikely to encounter the artists whose albums I possess anywhere other than my record collexion, so there isn't the same draw of 'Dad, do you have anything else by..'. It is not the case that there are vaguely familiar names as it was for me.

I believe there may be other factors of perception at play, along with standard generational differences, but they're probably not worth investigating at this point.

This is not to say that I cannot make small suggestions here and there to maybe help my offspring along the way in their journey of music. They may find my record collection irrelevant, perhaps artefacts of an increasingly lost time; but I hope I might be a relevant signpost here and there.

Having listened to 5 tracks from Of Monsters And Men, I was able to suggest some items from Laura Viers 'July Flame' album which were not poorly received. Perhaps in time I might be able to drop in some Fleet Foxes, then maybe a hint of CSNY, Joni Mitchell and Creedence ClearWater Revival.. Well, might as well try make the best of it - I know she'll never go for Genesis or Gentle Giant!

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