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4) Musicians like to play music / Audiences like to hear music

Gas Giant
Gas Giant live in Newcastle. Me enjoying it not pictured.

This might seem a rather stupidly obvious thing to say — but the more I investigate the online music environment, the more I realise it’s about promotion and distribution on the one hand, and about discovering, downloading, storing, organising and sharing on the other.

While we’re busy doing all this, we sometimes overlook the important bit, which is to put the laptop down and go to a gig — or to sit on the couch, pick up a guitar and play — or turn on the stereo, relax with a cup of tea and just listen.

As consumers and producers of music, it’s quite refreshing to just step back and remind ourselves what it is we like about the stuff so much. Even better when those types of people are in the same room together and that thing is happening unmediated by tubes and wires.

Like the record, the mp3 is not the music. It’s just a souvenir of the music that you can buy and sell. The music is the experience — whether a recorded one or a live performance. It’s sound moving through the air.

We spend so much time working on the mechanics that we often forget about the simple pleasure of playing and listening to music.

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Gas Giant are an instrumental post-rock band from Edinburgh and were one of my ‘discoveries’ of the tour around the UK I did recently. I’ve befriended them on MySpace and bought their CD. If the idea of the Cocteau Twins without vocals appeals, you might enjoy them too.