I’m taking time out from my busy writing schedule to do – well, more writing. I like to listen to music when I write. Doesn’t much matter what, because I don’t really hear it anyway, so I use a Napster app on my computer (Napster is sadly legal these days and thus requires a fee). But what is it with these digital music files?
I’ve been known to enjoy a bit of prog-rock from time to time; half an hour or more of musical delectation which requires an attention span that the young of today clearly find unattainable. Genesis, Yes, Camel, Soft Machine, Led Zeppelin; I’ve got them all on vinyl and have been to see most of them at the sadly missed Glasgow Apollo. But trying to listen to this music digitally is driving me nuts. The modern media, unlike its vinyl and magnetic tape forebears, seems to be incapable of recognizing a segue when it sees one. So, for instance, Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, which should be listened to in a splendiferous seamless whole, pausing only to turn the record over mid-way, is rendered a stuttering stumbling nonsense that is unlistenable to.
But it’s not just the concept album that is in jeopardy. This afternoon I decided on some Mozart as my working music, but it keeps stopping and starting abruptly in a manner Wolfgang most certainly did not intend. It’s the files, I’m told. The digital media sees music as a series of files and, accordingly, pauses between them. Surely it is not beyond the wit of all these juvenile tech wizards to figure out a way to make my music play like music. Or is it some terrible conspiracy by the acne ridden to deprive us of one of the few enjoyments left to us in our dotage?