Focused my listening over the weekend on a single album which I played three or four times. The disk in question was Van Der Graaf Generator's Do Not Disturb. My reason for playing it somewhat obsessively was the reverse of what you might expect. I enjoyed listening to the album when I got it in December, but it didn't figure as one of the out and out favourites amongst the various CDs I bought around that time. And then when I first played it on arrival back on these shores I found it actually a bit of a drudgery to listen to. It was as if I had somehow got turned off the sound world it was offering.
But here's the thing. When a band has given you so much pleasure over the years, and most of all in the last three years, and helped educate your ears in the process, it's difficult to give up on something by them without a fight. So I committed myself to the closest possible listening - and it worked. In fact, I realised very quickly that it was precisely because I hadn't listened hard to material that demanded hard listening that something had broken down. Last night, listening to the last three tracks as I took to my bed, it was difficult to figure out how I had somehow created barriers for myself for music that just had to be what it was.
I've just re-read Peter Hammill's illuminating journal entry on the album over at Sofasound with a distinct sense of relief that I haven't allowed my dull ears to let me down - not this time, anyway.