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A gentle reminder to smell the flowers

It did not occur to me to touch that disc which had been sitting on my various racks for 20 years or so. The various CD racks have come and gone. AND The disc travelled with me as i moved house over the island but i have never since once opened it to truly sit down to listen to what the artiste and producer had wanted to convey.

It is this present bout of gastric flu / food poisoning (till now i am not to sure what it is) brought me to this – with tons of work left undone in the office. including Gopalan Nair’s appeal requiring my attention soon.

I am face to face with the system in an empty room. My favourite IMF Reference Standard Professional Monitors, my naim CD player and amplifier on a rack in between.

Taking a pick at random out of a number of 600 or so sitting in the dust, I decided to give that disc, bought on an impulse due to strong recommendations in audiophile magazines,  a chance after 20 long years.

Reference Recordings RR-31CD, Jim Brock’s Tropic Affair – a 1989 Reference Recordings audiophile issue was my pick.

The choice did not disappoint. It is filled with a number of sonically powerful tunes. But sonically powerful tunes are not what you would be keen if you had been running to the toilet for the past 8 hours.

I was in search of something soothing, something enchanting. Enchanting tunes being what i was looking for, straight out of the jewel case, track 4 “Anya” is Enchanting. So haunting, so sensual and so melancholic.

It reminded me of the melancholic theme in “Bitter Moon” by Vangelis. Haunting is the word to describe it.

I remember a time, after my grandmother’s death. No one wanted to really occupy the room. Then one day in the midst of some life upheaval, something prompted me to clear the room of its clutter and dust, spending an entire day scrubbing the room, i finally made it a tiny sanctuary with the relevant and necessary additions.

There it was, i had a little back room all to myself, small but carpeted (now that’s important for audio). With this pair of speakers, a different set of amps, a shot glass of coffee liquor, a different companion. Tunes from this pair of speakers are nonetheless just as satisfying.

Subsequently in the hustle and bustle of life following as i was then a newly qualified lawyer, the room fell into neglect, misuse and disrepair. I probably recall clearing out the speakers finally in march of 2004 – luckily the termites did not get to them.

I also recall that being less than fully satisfied with the sounds it was producing, i had in the years thereafter in my long and unfruitful chase of audio perfection completely neglected the most important essence of it all – enjoying the music.

Now that is not to say that the present state of the system is not what i wanted. I do want it this way and in this manner. But it is certainly not what i envisioned. When i first laid my hands won this pair of speakers in 1997, kindly sold to me by a late audiophile Uncle Yong, i have never imagined that i would be cavorting with naim amplifiers with it.

Now that i have made the discovery of a lifetime. Track 4 “Anya”, i am probably going to put it on repeat until my family begs me for mercy. Like my younger borther would put it, i would really know how to spoil a song by overplaying it.

Well its not everyday that you discover a gem in your belongings do you?

And besides, we only live once – don’t we?

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September 9, 2008 - Posted by | audiophilia, Life

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