Why I Love Mechanical Music

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Real mechanical music has the ability to get people to camp out, around the fire, so to speak. Music is unique in that it stokes so many physical, mental, and emotional triggers. It’s impressive experiencing the human mastery of a mechanical instrument, emulating nature at it’s core. Most commonly via musicians performing live, there’s something about the mechanical experience of music that makes people stop and stare – and most importantly, listen. Today, I feel like have to acknowledge vinyl playback as a mechanical live performance, as it seems to have the same effect on the community.

I was at a few casual gatherings this past week, where my friends’ teenage kids had turntables and a bunch of their parents’ old records – we actually hung out together, with the kids and parents picking records, talking about the music. I was most amazed that the kids had the interest and patience to listen to their parents’ music – you tell me the last time you saw teenagers willingly hanging out with a bunch of crusties, let alone talking about the crusties’ music. The live performance of music has the ability to bring people, young and old, together – they forget their cultural differences. Do you think it’s because that performance is mechanical in nature?

This new revival of vinyl has gotten me thinking – do people actually view vinyl playback as a live musical performance? They sure seem mezmorized in the same way – much like they would be at a concert. Would that explain the attraction to vinyl playback? Is it a chance to mechanically experience your favorite artists in concert, with your friends and family? I know that this mechanical music experience thing must be real, as it has extended beyond the hipster-clad big city, to the no nonsense small mountain towns of Montana – with new vinyl-only stores opening like Spanky’s and Gus, Old School Records, and the upcoming vinyl nights at the Tupelo Grille bar, mechanical music seems like it’s on the move.

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