How I enjoy music

May 01, 2010

Abstract #2

Yes, I’m an avid music fan. I’ve learnt to love music since I was a little kid seeing my Dad playing Brazilian music (Forró, Chorinho, Samba, Bossa, Jovem Guarda, and others) every week in a bar/restaurant in our neighbourhood in Salvador. Since then, I’ve been the singer of a garage rock band called Precários (during my teenage years), percussionist and drummer in a few bands until 2006, and listened to a quite diverse range of genres. Here are some quick facts about my music habits which roughly describe how I enjoy music nowadays.

I listen to Jazz most of the time. Neo-soulAcid Jazz, and Brazilian music comes next in my daily playlist – intertwined with the new stuff I end up finding on the way. I’m not really a mainstream guy and usually like more niche stuff. But I can enjoy some mainstream things too. A side note: it’s really nice to not be in the mainstream wagon because your favourite albums tend to be much cheaper (especially the old jazz stuff).

I rarely buy CDs. I only do it in specific cases. i.e. when I find a nice record shop (see below). I buy albums in digital format (MP3) most of the time.

I prefer to listen to the whole album first. I don’t like to buy specific tracks only. In my opinion, an album is a cohesive piece that is better enjoyed as whole. It tells a lot about the musical phase of the artists and their influences. Listening to a track alone is like hearing only one part of a longer story. There are exceptions of course.

I’m ok to pay for music. May sound silly to say that but this is not necessarily true for a lot of people these days :-P So, yes, if the price is not abusive and it’s music I’m interested in, I’m ok to pay for it.

I focus on quality, not quantity. This is actually one of the reasons I pay for the albums I really care about. It’s a way to slow down a bit and take my time to enjoy the stuff I have in more depth. I see people downloading a huge amount of albums from internet (e.g. the whole discography of artist A and B) just for the sake “having” them. They rarely listen to everything they download. After an album passes my initial gut test (i.e. sounds interesting, causes some reaction, etc), I listen to it several times to dissect it into the smallest details. I have a lot of fun doing it! For instance, this is what I did with my favourite version of So What and other tunes.

I discover new stuff through the web. Duh, who doesn’t? I’ve used mp3 stores (7digital, Amazon, Ubuntu Music Store, and others), subscription-based stores (eMusic), and streaming services ( and Spotify Premium). To find new stuff to listen to, I usually follow a process of researching, sampling, and acquisition. Nowadays I use a combination of related artists listings from, Wikipedia articles, and reviews from specialised websites (such as AllAboutJazz) for the research part; and Spotify for continuous sampling. If I decide that I really like the album or artist, I eventually buy the MP3 albums from Amazon. Nothing new here I guess.

I love independent record shops. I haven’t found my favourite/official one in London yet. Suggestions are welcome. Back in my Finnish days, I found a really nice record shop in Helsinki, where I would go every other week. Local music shops are really nice to meet other music fans, get good suggestions for your next album, etc.

Now, let me get back to this cool Myron Walden album I just found out about.

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