Author Topic: the concept of "the album"  (Read 5281 times)

Anglican

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the concept of "the album"
« on: June 24, 2008, 12:53:59 PM »
OK, this may be a little silly and a bit obvious, but here goes anyway. For the longest time, I had grown accustomed to listening to ambient music using either iTunes on a PC or via a little iPod Nano I carried to play in my car, piped in through the ancient tape deck. The nature of those two music delivery systems encourages excess: load up a million songs and cycle through them. I found that I often clicked "shuffle" and let it play.

That's fine, and I still listen to a great deal of music that way, especially while sitting at my desk during the workday. But just recently I finally got a car with a CD player in it. (I know, I know, but remember I was a poor grad student for so long.) And having a CD player at hand of course encourages full-album listening. And lo and behold, I feel like I'm experiencing the ambient classics for the first time.

Just a weird observation. Take it or leave it.

APK

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 01:10:47 PM »
Yep its a big difference, having a CD player ... especially if you also have good speakers in the car.

On a longer trip I enjoy choosing what CDs to take along. And its chance to get to know an album as a whole.

The best ambient albums are, I think, like good books. The tracks have a deliberate order and sense of development and the music builds on itself.

The ipod approach is too much like radio soundbytes. Music as candy.

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Altus

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 06:27:10 PM »
I use the shuffle feature, however I use the "album shuffle" feature so the albums are kept intact.  That way I can give listen to music and let the player choose the next album for me.
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jkn

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2008, 09:38:53 AM »
I'm a big believer in listening to albums instead of tracks.   Even when I'm listening to mp3's on my laptop - I tend to listen to an album instead of shuffling tracks. 

It's interesting how a track can have an entirely different meaning in the context of the songs that come before and after vs. just listening to the one track on it's own.   It's almost (but not quite as bad!) as soundbytes on a newscast of someone talking or a political speech - or jumping into the 8th episode of a tv series without seeing the first ones - or reading the middle of a book. 

Of course, some music is truly just singles and always intended that way - just as some tv shows are meant to be stand alone.   But I really love an album all the way through - where you know the artist put a lot of thought into what order the songs should be listened in.

Ambient music is especially geared towards "album listening".   

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LNerell

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2008, 03:03:08 PM »
Right not I'm listening to Temps Perdu? on my ipod through a nice little stereo setup at work (B&W monitors, NAD amp, all UCLA recording studio discards). Most of the time I listen to complete albums, sometimes on long roadtrips I will make a long playlist (hours long), takes me back to the days when I use to make compilation cassettes for such trips. The only time I use shuffle mode on the ipod is when I am driving to work and I have no idea what I want to listen to, and then I usually switch to an album once I hear something that peaks my interest. Just my two cents.
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sraymar

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2008, 03:27:00 PM »
Intersting how this topic covers listening to non-linear music in a linear fashion. I always thought of track placement on my CDs just as important as putting sections of my tunes in just the right order of a tune. Its an art.  8)

My only mp3 player are the media players on my PCs but I still don't use the shuffle feature. Might give it a try some time though.

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judd stephens

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2008, 11:29:24 PM »
I like the random feature when I'm familiar with the cd's; I've already know it in its "linear album form", forwards and back, so it's cool to break it down into individual pieces of randomness.  Sometimes it's fun to have cd's with similar themes- sometimes not- just depends on what you want.   I like Echoes and Hearts of Space as they pretty much do a good job with the art of programming music. 

One drawback is you can't have cd's with continous flow tracks on random (like a lot of Robert Rich), unless you aren't bothered by the sudden cutoff of sound...

Chad Hoefler

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2008, 08:09:46 AM »

Ambient music is especially geared towards "album listening".   


Agreed.

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2008, 11:00:11 AM »
To me, ambient music is so oriented toward the establishment of mood, atmosphere and flow, that the idea of skipping from tune to tune, and artist to artist, would be a bit disruptive as a listening experience.  "Track shuffle" is for pop music, not ambient or classic, in my opinion.
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2008, 04:22:34 PM »
To me, ambient music is so oriented toward the establishment of mood, atmosphere and flow, that the idea of skipping from tune to tune, and artist to artist, would be a bit disruptive as a listening experience.  "Track shuffle" is for pop music, not ambient or classic, in my opinion.

Agreed...with the exception of a well-sequenced sampler CD.

jkn

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2008, 06:08:44 AM »
"well sequenced" is a key ...  a great mix - whether techno or ambient or pop or whatever - there's another art form altogether.   :)
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

ffcal

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2008, 10:01:14 PM »
I prefer listening to CDs as a whole in one sitting, though that's not always been possible.  Even when I am on the go, I prefer not to use the shuffle feature on my Nano.  That's probably why I always find it hard to listen to single artist compilations as a piece--they tend to end up sounding like a disjointed collection of tracks to me (though there are always exceptions, like Dylan's Biograph box, which I thought was sequenced particularly well).  I remember an interview with Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout a while back, where he mentioned the importance of track sequencing to his "Jordan The Comeback" album.

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Re: the concept of "the album"
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2008, 03:29:54 AM »
Yeah, albums as a whole are how I like to listen too. Even if I put my CDs onto my ipod I still listen to albums and not single tracks randomly. Either that or tracks mixed together to my liking.