The Perspective of an Expert


They're scared of changing you. Not that you will lose or gain, not that you will grow or that they'll inadvertently destroy some base level instinct that must be protected from the elements, they are scared they will be held responsible for opening your own box of pandoras.

In terms of writing reviews, and getting cash money, you need to grow your equipment vocabulary. Pick something you love about the music you love listening to, and listen to see if it is communicated to you differently through different circuits. I have always believed when JA, or AD, or BJR refer to a reference disc, that they are referring to both an audible soothsaying potential within the music, but also the ineffable ability of a component to hold true in SOUL!

Example: The speakers seemed to be slightly to middlin' strange in the way I was hearing them play my favorite disc of Husker Du's, and I had an eerie feeling in the back o' my skull that I was listening to a power trio slammin' in the wrong dance hall, so I fired up Sarah McLachlan's "Fumbling" which I know was recorded by voodoo witches at dusk, to check if the superb truthfulness of her glottal accents was there. It weren't, thus I began to examine more carefully the speaker's ability to show me everything in its right place.

You choose X, and listen to see if X remains unaltered. If you think X might be altered, you seek confirmation through a range of experiments, trying to zero in on why X seems altered.

Craft, art, love, pain, loss, skill, technique, soul, skill, doing, being, are all wonderful, but they're all just a part of a relationship with a subject matter. Every problem, every opportunity, has an intrinsic requirement component. I can't rebuild an engine without a torque wrench. It simply doesn't matter how much I know, love, or sympathize with that exhaust manifold, I still need the right tool to address it in the way it deserves. New approaches to problems are wonderful, but do you really BELIEVE, have faith in, the idea that learning which strings in which order make which chord would fundamentally harm your style? It could change it, it might change it, but will that change be harmful?

What you do have, in terms of writing about audio experiences, at this point is a wonderful lack of being like everyone else. People are justifiably scared that you might lose that unique voice within the closed world of circuit reviewing. I am scared you might lose it. But I doubt you will. Listening to a metric buttload of gear, and deciding that certain sounds, the ability to faithfully reproduce the parts of music you love the best, and being able to explain those differences to me in a literate and entertaining fashion doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would change you at a fundamental level. It seems, in fact, like it would make you more of what you already are.

I train people to drive, amongst many other odd jobs I get paid for, and I spend most of my training time not teaching people the fundamental physics of driving a large vehicle versus a small one, but that there is a mental, or even philosophical, difference between driving a car, and driving a bus, or a semi, or a tractor, or a motorcycle. If they lose part of their innocence, and sense of awe, in the process, I hope they gain the perspective of an expert, able to discern between right and wrong, better and worse, in a meaningful way. It's a bargain I have made several times. I can bumble through the technical parts of playing almost any instrument you can name. I learned how to learn. I choose not to apply that to learning to play guitar, and instead, let my want of a technique drive me to learn it, rather than my ability to learn a skill be the only reason I did.

If you take the time to define your own perspective on "good," then everything else is just framing your perspective.

The opinions, as always are not those of management, but rather mine alone, at least partially influenced by a beer named after a meerkat.

Keep on fighting the good fight, don't take any wooden nickels, and to hell with whatever shows up in your email. (What could those guys know anyways?)