This is a requiem for the late nights we spent rewinding, replaying, and studying a VHS copy of The City of Lost Children until the image began to fall apart. Tonight I’m craving the kerchunk of a rewind button and the ritual of scotch-taping the edge of a cassette so I could record layer after layer until the music began to bleed together like the sound of memory. There’s something profound about playing a song or an image until it erodes.

I miss the days of finite collections with borders. I remember buying records that I hated when I brought them home, but I played them anyway because they were all I had. I’d listen until I understood the album on its terms, rather than mindlessly playing whatever suits my current mood. The endless churn of the digital jukebox brings to mind Adorno and Horkheimer’s prophecy from 1944: “the freedom to choose what is always the same.”

Strange how the digital world demands and destroys our attention at the same time. Maybe there’s no turning back. The value of any collection is not the record sleeve, book, or commemorative spoon, but the memories these things conjure. Given enough time, all objects shift from nostalgic landmarks into memento mori.

Oliver Blank – Echopraxia

Fin | 2020 | Bandcamp

A remarkable new album of orchestral drift from my friend Oliver Blank that sounds like an elegy for all kinds of things.