Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rather Smart

Having been forced entirely against my will and better judgement to acquire a smart phone (if that's what they still call them) I find myself, sadly, beginning to come to terms with the thing. I'm still not completely adjusted to the horrors of WhatsApp, which insists on keeping me more in touch with the world than I really want to be, but there are bits of the phone I actually find useful.

In no particular order of merit these are: the thing that counts your steps; the QuranExplorer App; the QiblaCompass; and the headphones which are surprisingly comfortable and let you listen to iTunes stuff close up, as it were. In fact, it was through the last of these items that I made quite a remarkable discovery today when listening to Gentle Giant's excellent album from the early 70's Acquiring the Taste.

This was the one GG album I owned on vinyl. I bought it on spec and, for some mysterious reason, probably my extreme musical naivety as a teenager, I was sort of disappointed with it, though I played it often enough to become very familiar with its contents - those being the days when I was so poor and albums so expensive that it was imperative for me to always get my money's worth. More recently I downloaded it on iTunes and was delighted at just how fresh and adventurous and imaginative it sounded. The very off-centre, unconventional nature of the music speaks to me today more than it ever did in earlier years.

The thing is though, that until today I'd only listened to it played through our stereo system from an iPod. This afternoon I listened to it for the first time on the headphones played from the phone and picked up on some glorious layers of detail in the sound and arrangements I've just never heard before (more than 40 years late - think of it!) To mention just one: there's a counter harmony on the vocals towards the end of the brilliant opening track Pantagruel's Nativity that just blew me away, sending shivers not just down my spine but down both legs and into my ankles. A reminder of the joys of close listening to music that requires it; and with that I'm off to don the headphones and enjoy another 40 minutes of bliss before bedtime.

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