I Wanna Be Literated! 115

I Wanna Be Literated! 115

Monday, 04 July 2016

A critical evaluation of The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa by Evan Eisenberg.

See if you can process this statement: the Recording Angel reads like I wished I would sound when I talk about music. In other words, this book is a complete nerd-out on music but at an in-depth academic level. We never find out just what Eisenberg’s background is in music (is he just a fan?), but he sure knows how to put his sentences together. The Recording Angel is chock full of observations like: “Music would not be a thing. We have let it become a thing because we all know that things are more dependable than musicians, or social life, or the Muses. Clarence puts it well: Records are inanimate until you put the needle in the groove, and then they come to life” and “People inclined to such observances may also observe taboos. If a record has its special place in your life, you don’t cheapen it by playing it at random.”

Yeah, that’s it, that’s what I’ve been trying to say all these years.

It’s for that reason, as a music lover, it’s fascinating to read Eisenberg’s take on music, how we captured it on records, its impact (like making a record of Jazz music), and the significance that has had on our music listening and obsessions. And as fascinating as that is, reading Eisenberg as he unloads on and on into the sky, he occasionally goes into the stratosphere and we lose our place and our perspective on what he’s trying to tell us. Also, Eisenberg frequently talks too in-depth about genres I just don’t know too much about, like classical music. But god damn it, as a music lover, there is too much gold in this book to ignore – and it’s worth getting lost sometimes in our quest for it. A very impressive book.



The Recording Angel: Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa by Evan Eisenberg is out now. Buy it here on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Recording-Angel-Records-Culture-Aristotle/dp/0300099045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467604420&sr=8-1&keywords=evan+eisenberg


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