I recently scored a bunch of 70’s Arista Braxton LPs on eBay. I have been reading George Lewis’ AACM book, and it put me on an eBaying spree because that seemed like the easiest place to find some of this stuff.

I’ve found myself in the middle of the LP vs. CD “discussion” on several occasions. I haven’t had particularly strong feelings one way or the other, although I usually come down on the side that realizes that we are stuck with newer technologies, so we might as well deal with it.

I must admit, however, that opening the box of 4 different albums and giving them each that first listen, sure was fun. Yes, LPs sound different than CDs, and yes the liner notes are in a cooler format, but the thing that struck me the most about the LPs is that they make you listen differently. They change the listening ritual.

You can put a CD on and leave it. You get up to 70 minutes of music, with no further action, and when it is over, it just stops. You can hit shuffle in iTunes and have music for weeks with no further action required. You have to pay attention to an LP. You can’t go much more than 20 minutes without having to do something to make the music continue, or even to make it stop. I have found that this keeps me from letting the music become sonic wallpaper. I like that. Just sitting and listening, and maybe looking at the nice sized photos on the large jacket.

I’m not going to start releasing my stuff on LP (yet), but I might come down on the other side of the discussion next time.