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coverpic flag Mare Smythii - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 50 - 11/11/00

To your ear the cardboard
- headphone records

Me and my headphones go way back. Well, not these headphones on my head right now. Not exactly. I mean, how many have I gone through? 8? 9? I should say ... Me and the Experience of Headphones go way back. Ever since my first pair of Koss HV-1's, I've thought it to be a more personal listening experience; nothing seperating you from the music but a bit of foam.

Z'ev the sound sculptor said, "With recorded Sound, the speaker cone is all you hear, and all you hear is cardboard". And I say,"Sometimes the closer to your Ear the cardboard the better."

Those old Koss models were the "on the ear" (supraural) style. They had a thick layer of foam that went flush against your head. Kind of like sonic earmuffs. Before that most were of the "cup" (circumaural) variety and surrounded your ears like Elton John and Kiki Dee.

Of course, some records are better headphone records than others. My old Koss' were raised on early Pink Floyd and later Beatles. Tommy Bolin. Walter Carlos. Focus. I even liked Uriah Heep back then, though I'm loathe to admit it. Thought they were trippy. Really heavy and heady, but with pretty harmonies.

They were definitely headphone material.

Man, The Orb would've blown my mind back then. Or Future Sound Of London. Or Pole. Or Rachel's. That's the kind of stuff I've got my Sony's phoning nowadays. It almost seems that the whole IDM ("Intelligent Dance Music") movement is about satisfying headphone geeks like me.

As ever, I love those quick pans and the playing of the field. Punching it left and right and the slow fade in. Lots of lots of delay delay...

Just don't try to talk to me when I have them on. I probably won't hear you and even if I did I'd answer in much too loud a voice and everyone would laugh and I'll wonder for a second why and then laughing take them off to hear you better.

And I don't want to take them off.

Heck, sometimes? When I don't want to talk? I use headphones as a way to retreat from people. Like on a train. Or a plane. It works, they actually leave you alone.

You can just close your eyes and maybe they'll think that you're sleeping.

Just be careful when the side is over and you've got to put something else in.

Remember those giant egg shaped living room chairs that you actually sat "inside" of? And they had a little stereo in there and speakers on the inside of the Eggs' walls? They made them for a while a while ago.There might still be some around somewhere ...

And those old Koss HV-1's of mine? You could swivel the ears and lay them flat and I would, face up, under my pillow at night. And put on some Brian Auger or Jean-Michel Jarre. And just lay my head down. I thought that was pretty cool.

Because after a while that cardboard gets a little uncomfortable.

Copyright © 2000 Alice Kenner e-mail address

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