Today I listened to some music while working out in the garage. That happens to be where I keep my stereo (not enough room in the house). I recently picked up the album Crime of the Century by Supertramp. That I referred to it as an album tells you right off how old I am. I remember when that album came out on a Criterion Collection special high quality vinyl. This was back before there were CDs.
The music is deep, and highly polished. It is prog rock, meaning that it reaches back into the classic music closet for ideas as opposed to the blues, jazz, or country closets. So odd meters, odd chords, actual counter melodies in the bass line, deep meaningful lyrics, etc. But there is more to it than that. I have Rush albums from that time, and they are good, but not this lush. Yes albums from the same era are wonderfully complex, but not as commercial. Not as slick. These are albums in which a lot of time was painstakingly put into the craft of recording and producing high quality music. In today’s digital world, where recording is so much easier, I wonder if something is being lost. I can’t think of a modern CD which was written/produced like this album. I don’t think anyone builds songs like this anymore.
Listening to it today brought me back to summers in Clovis. Driving around in Carl Christenson’s car, music blaring. I discovered this album, and this type of music in high school, back when I was VERY ERNEST about the world. It was impossible for me to listen to the music and NOT talk about it. I had to point out every cool part, every interesting note. It seems very compulsive to me now, but I suppose at the time that it was just our way of working out our intellects. Finding something we could be adult about, and hammering away at it until we appeared practiced and urbane.
I’m older now, and really don’t have much time to just sit and listen to music. I tend to use music as a tool, either to set a mood for writing, or to help be focus on retouching. Rarely do I take the time to just listen, letting the lush orchestration flow over my ears. So today I cleaned out pool equipment that has been sitting on my workbench since last fall when we put away the pool, and enjoyed Supertramp, followed by Ambrosia’s self titled first album. The only one in my collection that is missing from that time period is Dark Side of the Moon, which is sitting in my Amazon shopping cart, waiting for me to make the purchase.