Photo by Akshay Chauhan on Unsplash

Ok, I’ll say it right away, I’m not a big fan of listening to music on Spotify or on YouTube.

Mainly, it’s because I have to know what to look for. If you type, say, « jazz » into Spotify, you get the most generic search results, there’s rarely anything truly interesting that pops up. It can, of course, but you do need to begin with something, and my problem is that I have a terrible memory for names. This has always been an obstacle for me. I remember faces, but matching the face with a name, or worse still, a song with a band or musician, is a hurdle that I always struggle to get across.

So how do I go about solving this? The old fashioned way. I go to a music store and I peruse its selection. Granted, there aren’t too many of these around anymore. The big stores still exist, but in the big stores, you can’t always listen to the album before you buy it. In the little ones, on the other hand, you can ask the shop assistant to play it for you. You can also ask them for a recommendation, if they know anything about music, which seems, unfortunately, to be less and less frequent.

That’s ok though, because, as I said, I like to peruse the selection. I go through each record, one by one, and I look at what strikes me as interesting. The more records I buy, the more different names sound familiar. For example, if you read the information on the sleeve, you find out all sorts of things about the artist. This is how I found some pretty sweet music. For example: Jimmy Smith, Mama Estella Yancey, Sonny Rollins, or Rhoda Scott. Some of these names were vaguely familiar to me, and if the record wasn’t too expensive, I’d buy it on a whim. Usually… often, I sniff out some great things; sometimes I’m disappointed, because what I found isn’t to my taste. But that’s ok too, you have to take chances sometimes, even if it means wasting a few euros on something you don’t end up enjoying.

So, if you have a music store near you, one of those used or old fashioned ones, go on in and choose something at random. Go with your gut, and see what you come out with. Leave your selection in the comments and let us know if it was a yay or a nay. (If there isn’t anything close to you, or if it’s closed, try your local library, they often have music as well as books, and could potentially also be a treasure trove of interesting sounds!)

Glossary

generic regular/mainstream

matching put one thing with another, like two colours that look good together

hurdle an obstacle

peruse browse or look through something

record an LP/Vinyl

strikes me hits me (makes me think)

sleeve here, the cardboard package the LP comes in

sweet cool

to my taste something I like

take chances take risks

random arbitrary

gut your instinct

yay or a nay good or bad

treasure something very valuable

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