09. August 2017 · Write a comment · Categories: Comment · Tags:

Michael Howell is Hifi Pig’s latest sometime contributor. In the first of his ‘semioccasional’ articles he tells us how he came to love music and what it means to him…there’s a few recommendations in here too. Music means different things to different people.

To some it may be an enjoyable background noise, or to some the meaning of life itself, or a little bit of both and a whole lot in between.

I read a while ago that “Audiophiles” didn’t actually like music, they just obsessed with feeding their components new material to extract more noise. I’m not exactly sure where I stand with any of the above really, I do believe though that it is a little more complex than even the most cynic of critics can try to make us believe.

“I’m not in love” by 10cc (1975), still to this day grabs my attention every time I hear it. Whether that be on the radio, or a Marvel movie soundtrack.

I heard its overlapping background vocals for the first time when I was four or five years old. The memory of which, pins me to a summer day in my parents front room, playing with my toy cars on the thick pile carpet. This song was hardly pushed through a “reference” system at the time by any means, it was through my father’s mono Sanyo radio cassette player. Being not even the size of an iPad, and 70’s technology (don’t kill me for that last remark – but size efficient high-end music reproduction was not a thing yet).

This tiny source of our radio entertainment (our larger stereograms radio had broken I believe) didn’t impede our love of music. However, my father’s love of football (soccer) put a serious downer to any musical frivolity every Saturday evening.

He would listen to that day’s results coming in from our regional radio station, and this would be our litmus test for his mood for the rest of the evening. It was always funny to hear my dad shout at the radio, even more amusing when his call would be taken by the local radio station, and you would hear his voice echoing through the house. I’m not sure what everyone else though of “Dave from Great Barr” blasting into their living rooms, but to me it was always something to laugh about.

So, when I heard “I’m not in love” by 10cc quite a few years later, I again was seeing a younger version of myself, enjoying warm rays of sunshine heat up sections of the carpet in my parents from room. This time though everything sounded cleaner, more distinct, less cluttered, hmmmmm I thought.

I will fight the urge to compare my current system to that of my brothers (to which I heard 10cc played through that time), but the enjoyable part about this all is that I can still play the track and still be the young child playing, and enjoying the sun.

In my personal experience, with my love of music, and its reproduction, I can say that having both of those qualities has opened me up to appreciating far more music than by having one of these qualities alone.

I cannot talk for everyone’s experiences, but music helps me to remember my life, and new musical discovery, by its side effect, helps me to make more memories.

Not that music is purely about remembering events in life, far from it, I’m certainly not the only person to lean on music to help convey one’s feelings at any given time. Bad day at the office? maybe you reach for calming classical pieces, some select Swedish death metal. It’s whatever floats your boat.

Which brings me to Soundtracks, yes, Soundtracks.

My oldest son is discovering music, something which I have steered clear in being an influence with. There is usually a chorus of people telling me to “turn it down” or “turn that off, yuk”.

Being a family of nerds brought the “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1” soundtrack to fill our main room not too long ago.

It contains great hits from time gone by (10cc being one of the artists in the compilation), I would play a few Doors tracks, along with Talking Heads, then he came to me and asked how to make a playlist. I wanted to hug him, but that would have seriously scarred the moment for him forever.

I have found a goldmine of great tunes that I had maybe heard once or twice in my life, some were completely new to me.

A few of these Soundtracks are “Forrest Gump”, “Baby Driver”, and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 & 2”, are to name but a few.

So if I do have a single recommendation, it would be to discover the great tunes that are compiled in movie soundtracks.

Quinten Tarantino movies have some fine Soundtracks, just be careful of the colorful language sometimes found between each song.

Michael Howell

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