The good old turntable

Publish date 24-05-2021

by Mauro Tabasso

Today on the net, a very fashionable topic is personal growth. The video courses and the "coaches" are more numerous than the peppers harvested in August in Carma¬gnola (a town in the province of Turin, known for its famous "Festival" of the tasty vegetable). After all, how could one miss the "27 rules for not getting it on" or the course "Get smart in 12 moves", or even the master class "Forget yourself and become intelligent".

I know a lot of intelligent, yet asymptomatic people. It is not difficult to meet someone who is clinically silent, one who (by definition) is convinced that he is healthy and is therefore inclined to feel more and more robust (intelligent) than you. Not that I am this chess champion, this monster of decryption, this guru of the calculus of derivatives. However, with that little bit of salt in my noggin I try hard to exercise common sense, that arcane, rare and lost criterion that helps you to put yourself in the shoes of others to ask you what their point of view, the perspective, could be. from which they observe, in order to question yourself and your view of things, in the hope of improving both.

To implement this process it is vital to learn to listen, and in terms of listening, music always has something to say. I pride myself (immodestly) in having always been a good listener, but over the years, the haste (and the fury) to do, run and jump, I have lost some of my ancient predisposition. I am partly finding it thanks to the colorful lock downs of this surreal period. In March 2020, for example, when I went to visit my mom, I remembered my old stereo that lay in cellophane like a mummy in her attic. I took it down, I cut the bandages, dusted the furnishings (the discs), gave it an oil and put it back to spin. What magic !!! I had forgotten the warmth of vinyl, the "toc" of the stylus, that fat and analogue "paste" that the turntable, through the amplifier, spits out of the speakers. I remembered why I loved listening to music so much. It was cool because it was like going to the gym, swimming pool, or running.

To listen to a vinyl you have to prepare yourself. You have to clean it, maybe even wash it, you have to wipe it with a carbon brush or with the special antistatic liquid. You have to take care of it, prevent it from stabbing; then you have to calibrate the arm of the turntable, clean the needle ... And after you have lost that quarter of an hour good for making coupons, you can't listen to it on the 15 euro bluethoot headphones ... nano always better than the mobile phone. So you sit there and listen, you find that 20 minutes to follow the facade of a record you forgot. And it's worth it, it's a completely different music.

The piano has the pedal that makes that muffled noise, the guitar has the strings that sizzle, the violins have the bow that "scratches", and the voices are there, right there in front of you ... They are (as well as sounds) sensations to which the fabulous digital music has unaccustomed us. But it is musical, real, alive, throbbing like a person who speaks to you at that moment because she has something important to tell you, or just to entertain you, but with whom you have a relationship. This is the life we ​​are made for, not the one filled with online calls to which we are also getting used to. It is a life that I will certainly rediscover, but in the meantime I begin with music, (only) the one that does not sound asymptomatic to me.

NP Febbraio 2021

Mauro Tabasso

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