Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oftentimes -- or every time it happens -- when i receive some unexpected amount of money, I have a tendency to spend it on some superfluous item. Maybe it's a few extra hours got added on to my paycheck, or perhaps I got some money back from the school for having a loan that was way too freaking big. Who knows. This shit happens.

Typically, as is perhaps predictable, this superfluous spending goes to support my *ahem* slight addiction to music, be it a new album or some rare collectible piece of work with alternate booklet design or something fancy, or (less often) some sort of new music hardware update. Like some headphones or speakers or whatever.

This time I got both. Got a few extra bucks I wasn't necessarily expecting and decided to make a couple purchases with it. Here's what I got...

Lupe Fiasco's "The Cool"
This one falls under the category of 'old favorite' (albeit maybe not that old). If you noticed from my first post, I've already got this album. The difference here is that this one (which I ordered a couple days ago and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of) is vinyl. I fucking love vinyl shit. What's great about the recent emergence of vinyl as the "cool way to listen to music" is that all of the stuff I listen to is now available in this format. It used to be that I was limited to minor-label punk, hip-hop singles, and classic rock albums from the thrift store to spin on my bunk-ass Goodwill-purchased record player. Now that this stuff is cool again, I've since been able to find whatever I want, plus buy myself a decent player for it. I love it. Ok, now to the second purchase...

Lupe Fiasco's "Daydreamin' Part 01"
This one's also on vinyl, so all the same joys apply. However, since this one's a single, that means I've got a lot more greatness to expect. First, alternate covers. Fuck yeah. I'm a collector, and a dorky one at that, so this shit gets me every time. Check out that anime-lookin Lupe and his walkin' project building. Priceless. Second, Hip-Hop singles tend to come with instrumental and A Capella tracks as well. This only serves to further stoke my dreams of learning to scratch on some decent tables and have all kinds of funky shit to mix. Believe me -- I started buying records well before I ever bought a decent enough turntable on which to enjoy them. In a similar vein, I've been buying singles for the past year or two, which is long before I'll ever have a couple of DJ tables on which to actually get solid use out of them. I'm giddy as shit.

Ok, now with this in mind, let's move on to the final purchase...

Skullcandy Ti DJ Quality Stereo Headphones
Ok, so if you've been following along, you see where I'm going with this. These things are gonna kick ass. Once they get here (which is estimated to be around 2/25/09 according to Amazon), I'll post an actual review. But for now, lemme just point out some specs. See that headband? Yeah. That's fucking fur. (Not real fur, that's cruel.) For the pleasure of sound they pack 41mm titanium drivers, a frequency range of 100-18,000 Hz, a 3 meter chord so I can run all around my room and not need to carry a damn thing with me to keep listenin, and some soft leather touch ear cups so my precious little head don't get uncomfortable while I'm rockin out. And the coolest thing about it is that this particular design of this particular model is something of an oddity. It isn't listed on the Skullcandy site. In fact, the designs they post are quite different -- they lack the faux fur, the intricate stitching on the top of the band, and the sleek black/silver color scheme. Consider this the fancier, cooler looking cousin of the already badass Ti Headphone. Plus, since they're DJ quality with titanium drivers and a crazy frequency range, they promise to sound as nice as they look. More on that though when they arrive.

Anyways, if you're still reading on after this long rant on the shit I bought but don't even really have yet (cause it's in the mail, and USPS better not fuck my shit up), then I've got a final thought on which to wrap up. Note the title of this post "The Effect of Purchasing Power on the Love of Music" -- that's what this is really about. I love music, always have. When I was six I used to rock out on a hand-me-down tape deck with the only two tapes I had (The Clash self-titled and The Cars greatest hits) all day, every day. Clearly, I'm a lo-fi kinda guy and I can handle a shit quality system as long as the music makes up for it. However, since I'm now no longer six years old and have a job and the ability to decide on what I'll spend the income from said job, my love for music has only increased.

With every new setup you try out, you can catch slight little nuances and effects from songs you perhaps thought you knew front and back. Take 'Rock the Casbah' by The Clash. The first time I heard that album (Combat Rock) was on a tape deck -- a different one than the afore-mentioned hand-me-down, but a tape deck nonetheless. I loved it for its energy and beat. Sometime later I heard it on CD. This time I noticed a ton of weird sound effects and even some background vocals that didn't quite come through on tape. I loved it even more! It was like finding a whole new song. Consider it similar to watching a movie you own and have seen a hundred times, but on the 101st time, you catch some little reference you didn't quite notice the first few times and a whole new level of enjoyment arises. That's what happened. Then I caught 'Combat Rock' on vinyl. When you hear an album on vinyl (especially one that originally came out on that format), you hear it in a different way. It's warmer, somehow more personal. The music is good enough to carry you away, but the occassional pops and the slight static if you listen close enough pull you back down and give it a more personal feel. There's just something...romantic about those sounds. So listening to Rock the Casbah on vinyl opened a whole new door entirely to the song. This was what the band wanted to be heard. You can still catch the little sound effects and hidden vocals mentioned before, but they're once again subtle. So hearing them is even more enjoyable. Not to mention the visual effect of watching the record spin and the levels jump, or the act of flipping the record over and being able to reference Side B to Side A (or C or D if the artist is that hard working!). That alone makes your listening experience into two or four wholly different ones.

Maybe I'm crazy or hopelessly romantic when it comes to this art form, but music like this, in various formats, sometimes with different cover art, or bonus tracks, or liner notes, or whatever, gets me every time. It evokes an excitement for me rarely achieved by other pleasures in life (save for a select few that achieve an entirely different level of emotion...but we won't go there). So having this new music coming, with new headphones on which to listen to it (!) is like Christmas or something. But this holiday season, I can sit alone in my room and truly enjoy the gifts, instead of ducking around 50 crazy aunts and uncles with plates full of food and bad senses of humor. Ya dig?

Alright I'm spent.

-Mike-

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