I have an ingrained habit when I’m listening to music that I’ve already decided I want to write about, probably not that different from anyone else who scribbles their thoughts about music for public dissemination: I make notes to myself as I listen (not the first time I listen, but the times after that). In my case, my notes take the shape of messages to myself, like one side of a conversation, or like a memoir — messages from a self that’s caught up in the immediacy of what I’m hearing to a future self that’s more considered and more calculating about how to express those thoughts to others.
The future self tries to turn such notes into something readable, and more reflective. On his best days, that future self tries to avoid the kind of track-by-track reactions that are there in those past messages, for fear that tedium would otherwise overcome the reader. The future self often fails in the effort to pull everything together in a way that’s concise and thoughtful; and even on the best days, words and phrases from the past self who was carried away by the songs survive.
But this time, for the first time I can remember in the 9 1/2 years I’ve been messing with NCS, I decided to just give you my notes, slightly cleaned-up, but still essentially the same words that poured out when I let this album rush through my head the second time I heard it. Why did I decide to do this, at the risk of losing all of you?