43. Absence Number 3: Virtuous Reality
Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Does anyone remember album liner notes? In the not too distant past, before streaming when albums were king and you could hold an album or CD in your hand, recording artists and/or people designated by the production team used to write very illuminating commentary which was included as part of the album package. There were also pictures, lyrics, bios, credits and sometimes even artwork included in the album package testifying to the multifaceted reality of the production process leading to the final product. And some albums were based on a unifying concept with a relationship to the songs. The important thing is that the album as a cohesive whole got the same attention as each song. Now as streaming users, we are being conditioned to ignore the importance of all the above except for each single digital song recording. The irony is that singles were actually the most popular recorded song format before albums.
In the streaming format we are not informed about who played bass, who the recording engineer was, why a song was written, where the music was recorded, or what jokes were cracked during the recording session. We don't need to know who arranged the music, who the songwriter's influences are, or even who wrote the song.
Life is hard, and we have eagerly and understandably been escaping reality in different ways for as long as we've been around using entertainment and recreational activities of many kinds. The difference now is that we are escaping reality using computers, phones, TV, and virtual reality devices to such a degree that the boundaries between what's real and what's not are becoming increasingly blurred and exploited by retail tech, data collectors and others. Witness the blurred boundaries between news and entertainment.
The third song on my latest album The Presence of That Absence, a funky number called Is What Is was written about the presence of the absence of so many important and valuable aspects of reality. The most important aspect of reality being us. We have to be real to keep it real. As the song's last line says,
Is what is, is what's true, unless you stop being you.