Dear John,

Are we on the same planet, or do I have brain damage?

I thought that the reason the audio arts were the most significant new art form of modern civilization is because it permitted us to create an entirely new relationship to music; one that is denied us in a live concert. The function of a great audio system is not the reproduction of a live music event in our living room, because that is the expectation of an existential pauper. The existential breakthrough made possible by the audio arts is ...our home is the only place where we can commingle the ecstasy of music with the ecstasy of palette, eyes, nose, mind and spirit, and only the audio arts makes this possible.

I will give you a concrete example if you will bail me out of jail, John: While waiting for the concert in row F/seat 20 of Lincoln Center to begin, I get a massage with hot coconut oil so my body is properly "in tune" and most receptive to the music. I then light my French bee’s wax candles because I don’t think music should be listened to with electric lights. Now, sitting naked in my seat, I take out a fine bottle of French champagne, and I dip thin slivers of mango into it and suck on them during the opening passages. Then, as I begin to surrender to the deep rich journey of the music I light my Cohiba cigar so I can accelerate my receptivity to the melody. I am now so moved by what I have just heard, I stand up and shout out, "Maestro, that was so great could you just replay those last ten bars for me so I can hear them again". Soon, not only can’t I stop my foot stomping, I need to get up and dance and conduct the orchestra myself, so, I do what I do in my living room. By the end of the third movement by girlfriend, who is also sitting next to me naked, is so aroused that she pounces on me, and by some miracle of miracles we climax, just as the music climaxes.

I would like to suggest that what I am describing is an extremely common occurrence in the living rooms of Stereophile readers, and explains (1) the existential limitations of live concerts (2) why audio technology is such a significant new art form. What other art form, from poetry to sculpture, or, what other technology, from hair dryers to computers, offers us this possibility of commingled pleasure?

Yet, when I examine the exclamation of the keepers of the audio broo hah, ha, the President of Trade Associations, and especially the management and directors of The Academy of High End Audio Self Congratulations, I can not discover one clear simple public statement about the unique benefits, and again, I mean the expanded possibilities for heart and soul, made possible by our community of audio artisans.

Should we be doing a better job at communicating, to real humans beings, the joyful physicality of expanded musical relatedness possible in their homes, or should I be increasing the frequency of my electric shock treatments?

Dr. Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg

Guildmeister, The Triode Guild


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