The modern appeal of the vinyl record isn’t simply nostalgia or irony. Hipsters don’t collect records just to spend money and decorate their apartments. Rather, vinyl emits a different kind of music than a digital file. The relatively small sound and the clicks and fuzz is like the dust in a column of light and the ambient traffic sounds as you wait for your egg to whiten in the pan and suddenly you stop thinking. The medium calls attention to itself with its grit, and the music remains separate from the listener, in its own location, hanging in a cloud around the speakers that produce it. Sometimes you want to disappear into art and sometimes you don’t. You want Edith Piaf to sit in her corner and sing about your coffee and your kitchen. You want Seu Jorge to look down from his crow’s nest. You want to keep Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin at arm’s length. Just as eroticism is about the smallest distances, there’s pleasure in the space between your thought and your music. The record collector knows this.
In Defense of Poor Quality Audio