… I am reminded that records give me the rare opportunity to listen and do nothing else. I don’t think I’m particular in this. With most of what I do during the day—read, write, or work—music plays in the background on my phone or computer from a digital library. I don’t know half of what’s in that vast library. It’s not in my hands; I never hold it and I don’t have a visual connection to it. If I really want to read about the recording or artist, I could read a digital booklet, but I don’t. Records obligate a different kind of attention. There’s nothing random about them. They wear out. They’re too fragile to be played without listeners.– Colette LaBouff , “The Long Play,” http://www.themorningnews.org/article/the-long-play.
Sit Down/Listen Up grows out of the simple recognition that while we are all so fortunate today to have instant access to just about any music ever recorded, we also find ourselves more removed from the music than in the past. Music has become something to have on in the background or dip our toes into on streaming services and home music servers. Such a superficial relationship with such a powerful, nourishing component of life robs us of being able to be moved in a way only great music can do.
So the contributors to this project are regularly going to do just what our title says: Sit down and listen up to a recording all the way through and write about their connection to it, either now or in the past. While the exercise will surely help our contributors connect in a way they have not in some time, our hope is that it will also inspire our readers to unplug for an hour every week (or more often!) and just go where the music takes them. Unlike competing publications, our main purpose is not to get readers to buy lots of new music, but instead to help them gain new perspectives on listening to music new and old. As much as possible, we want this site to be a forum for thoughtful reflection and discussion where music lovers of all generations can share and learn.
There is no one specific musical focus to this project. Contributors are free to delve into whatever genres they choose and can stick with one or flit from one to another. So in any given week, readers might find articles on rock/pop, classical, jazz, reggae, dance, indie/alternative and a host of other types of music. If we are doing our jobs, readers will be motivated to listen (or re-listen) to the titles we cover.