Christ T-T has a nice little post on the Morning Star about his love for the LP as an artform.
In my eyes, the album can’t die. I’m one of these people, you see, who can rarely just listen to a single on its own. Rather, I have to listen to the whole album, or occasionally mix, it comes from, especially if it’s a much loved collection of music. It’s the context, a record’s situation among other pieces of music and relation to other lyrics and songs that draw me to this kind of listening experience.
I think this in part stems from my DJing and the approach I take to it. While it’s great to be what I call a party DJ, just dropping tune after tune and playing to a lustful audience, I get more of a buzz from longer, drawn out sets. The kind where you get locked in a groove and the intricacies of an individual record interplay with the intricacies of the set as a whole and the smallest and subtlest shifts in direction carry more weight than they would do taken individually. In short; where the set is greater than the sum of its parts.
That’s not to dismiss these ‘party’ sets. I’ve played/experienced many sets that have been exactly like that and enjoyed them immensely, but it’s also nice to ‘go deep’ and enjoy the more thoughtful sets that, to an extent, ask something of you as part of the audience and these I find more rewarding.
It’s the same when I come to listening to many of my favourite albums, whether that be The Mars Volta or J Dilla. Much of the pleasure comes from being told a wider story and seeing the role of the individual track as part of a greater whole. And this is the key. It only works for albums that really are bloody good, otherwise those stand out singles stick out like a sore thumb and the other material acts like a weight around the neck. So, as long as musicians keep on telling fascinating stories in long form, the LP will never die.
Photo by Orin Zebest