Henry: Portrait of An Audiophile (Killer?)
Henry Rollins has a column in LA Weekly and in it he talks about things such as the importance of music and the pleasures of vinyl records. Henry, you see, is an audiophile (and an Einstürzende Neubauten fan as illustrated by that tat on his right shoulder).
Wonderful readers, pardon me while I wax euphoric about the simple and complete joy of listening to music from a vinyl source.
As I write to you now, I am listening to a pristine Canadian pressing of Television’s absolutely perfect Marquee Moon album. It is, to me, as good as music gets. The title track is one of the best things ever committed to magnetic tape. While the recently remastered CD version is excellent, there is but one way to truly enjoy the utter magnificence of the songs contained on this album and it is from the LP. Those of you who know what I’m talking about know exactly what I mean.
Yes, yes, y’all, it’s not hipster, elitist hype — vinyl sounds better. Much better. There is actual music in those grooves. Technically speaking, there is no music whatsoever on a CD. Lots of information but no music. Digital technology has made great strides to deliver a series of numbers to be read by a laser to emit that which is doing its damnedest to replicate its analog and sonically superior master. There are some very good CD players out there that sound incredible. I recommend the Rega Isis valve version, but even that cannot capture the full-bloom soundscape of your turntable interacting with an LP or single.
As an LP spins, your needle goes on the musical journey with you, traveling great distances as it deftly picks up the analog information and delivers the sonic message to you in real time. Vinyl is the people, a CD is the man.
Sitting in a room, alone, listening to a CD is to be lonely. Sitting in a room alone with an LP crackling away, or sitting next to the turntable listening to a song at a time via 7-inch single is enjoying the sublime state of solitude.
Vinyl takes me to a very ecstatic place. My favorite day of the week is Friday. It’s a throwback from school and how much I hated it. I would sit in class all day long on that day, knowing that if I could somehow get through this oppressive, time-suffocating hell, I would eventually be able to go back to my room and put on Zeppelin’s IV. Do you know what I mean? Well, you should.
So, before your ears are too far gone, show them you love them and get a turntable plugged into your system immediately. Get some good records and get down with it! To those of you who never stopped playing albums or, like some people I know, absolutely refuse to listen to music from any digital source, I salute your purity. I fall woefully short in that department and listen to digitally processed impostor sounds on a daily basis. But whenever I can, it is vinyl all the way.
I recommend reading all of Henry Rollins’ thoughts as he’s a thoughtful guy. And just in case you’re thinking – ‘so he owns records, that doesn’t make him an audiophile’, Henry also owns Wilson loudspeakers:
Hours later, there I was, sitting happily in front of my Wilson Sophia 3 speakers, soaking up every drop of this exquisite album. It was a perfect experience.
Product placement par excellence. You gotta problem with that? Talk to Henry.
Photo by Ken Mierzwa