Well I have entered a new era, or according to some, gone a little retro, as I took the plunge and bought an old record player. I know it may sound silly given all the advances in sound technology, however, and this has been proved several times, the sound quality of a record is second to none. With the right sound system behind it you might as well have booked the band to appear in your living room. I struggled with tapes, they were just too sensitive, and CDs were not that bad at all. The digital download delights of today are great, given that you can clean up tracks, remaster and enhance them. But do I really want this sort of sanitisation?
There is something exceptionally special about the ritual of playing records, a learnt behaviour, even a tradition. I took a copy of The Oscar Peterson Trio's Canadiana Suite out of its sleeve and that smell, a mix of cardboard, plastic liner paper and vinyl transported me right back to childhood listening to my dad's records.
It is those first few crackles. I love these moments, the quiet before the band strikes up. I just love listening to jazz this way, it is almost like it is supposed to be.
The deep throb of the bass and how it locks with the drums are usually what catch my ear first, being a bass player myself.
These are the backbone of any good band. If you don't have the groove being created by the rhythm section it does not matter how technically gifted your guitarist or stunning the singer is.
To my mind this is how whisky works, especially blends. Recently I have tasted some impressive blends, and blended malts, that show off the art.
Watching John Ramsay at work as he made Journey's Blend solidified this idea. You have to have backbone, the dependable, unwavering and solid malts, or grains, which provide the platform. Then you can have your slightly more bridging whiskies providing the middle ground, the piano in musical terms. Finally come the ever so delicate whiskies to provide the top notes to the blend.
I think over the festive season, which by the time you read this will unfortunately be a distant memory, and into January I am going to try more tastings to music. The link is there in the craftsmanship of the two disciplines and I want to explore it more. See which whiskies enhance the listening pleasures and vice versa. Do you have any favourites already? I would love to hear them, and I will let you know how it goes.
Just on the subject of readers participating more in the magazine, the box on this page is open to you as well. Let me know your current tipple and what you are looking forward to. Don't forget a picture and we will feature you.
Our current tipple
Current tipple of choice: Longrow CV
Most looking forward to: MacPhunn 18 Years Old
Annabel & John Marsh
Current tipple of choice: Kilchoman
Most looking forward to: Penderyn