As I was blogging, the pan pipe music, I have a Dream (ABBA) was playing on the Rhapsody player that comes with my new computer. That tune was part of a nice collection of stuff my brother left with us after his visit here in May.
I have always enjoyed listening to music, much more than vocals. Often I would always gravitate toward the Instrumentals section while browsing in a music store. That “taste” was cultivated when I was still in Primary (elementary) school back in Malaysia during the days of the 45 and 33-1/3 rpm records. Those rich sounds made when a stylus touches a groove on a rotating black, thick record, hence the name turntable for the whole contraption (for those who may have not been born early enougth to know what it looks like, see image below gotten from here), had accompanied me through various moods, including studying for exams. I found that I was able to better focus with the melodious sound spiraling in the air.
Then the cassettes with the associated tape deck made their debut, which seemed to demand more maintenance, especially the tape head where deposits tend to adhere. Armed with a cotton swab, dipped into some alcohol solution, I used to brush the tape head to remove the deposits, which compromised the sound quality. Sometimes even to the extent of damaging the head because of my unrestrained cleaning operation, applying a tad more pressure than necessary.
Consistent with the pace of technological progress, compact discs was ushered in, together with the then ubiquitous Sony Walkman. I still remember my first Walkman, bought in Japan’s famed electronics center, AkiHabara, when I was attending a two-month training in Japan, courtesy of Japan International Cooperation Agency, aka JICA, in early 1985.
Japan was the first foreign country I visited, discounting Singapore a trip to which does not qualify as “crossing the ocean”, as the locals liked to taunt those going overseas. It was also the first time I was on an international flight. My stay in Japan also marked the first time I ever visited a World Expo, then held in Tsukuba. As event unfolded later on, I, together with my family, also made it to the subsequent one a year later, this time in Vancouver, Canada. But I digressed.
Then from the analog sound the journey of music moved on to the digital format of today. Midi, MP3, wma, and what have you, played on a computer, through a set of Altec Lansing speakers, like I was listening to Kissing Goodbye by Jacky Cheung just now, one of my wife's favorite vocal singers.
While I love listening to music, I’m not as feverishly engaged in this hobby as others who are best described as aficionados, spending big bucks on the best sound set money can buy. I believe in moderation, in all aspects of life. So Rhapsody it is, right now it’s a whistling tune of Ritchie Ren’s Heart Too Soft …