Streamed or Spun?
We’ve been very busy putting Sonos into all of our homes for guests to enjoy. Those unfamiliar with this leap in technology probably won’t have music stored on your phones anyway, but it allows you to play your own music lists from your iPhone, or similar device, wherever you are, by using an app you download. It also allows you to stream music from specialist sites such as Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music, as well as radio stations.
The Sonos strapline is ‘All the music on earth in any room of home. Wirelessly’. Guests of Grand Chalet will no longer be restricted to the half dozen CDs left behind, which include the Grease compilation and Best of Elvis – although there are worse ways to see a New Year in.
One chalet owner I know takes total delight in using his Sonos system to pipe yodelling music into the guest rooms before the ski lifts open. I got him back with Eye of the Tiger an hour earlier the following day. What snowboarding powderhound doesn’t want to wake up channelling Rocky Balboa?
Spotify streaming on Sonos can introduce you to the new and reacquaint you with the old, as I discovered when my office companion backed up Ice Ice baby to Jump Around. Apparently they are on a playlist suggested by Spotify called ‘One Hit Wonders’. Spotify changes its suggested playlists by the hour. I am currently listening to the ‘Transportative Tropical House’ list and fancying myself in Ibiza. With my 20 year old body. It’s great for people who don’t want to allocate time to staying cool and relevant or, more accurately, are neither cool nor relevant.
It’s good fun seeing what is possible, even for a technophobe like me. One downside is that if the only person with the app on their phone decides to leave the premises with the music still playing it is tricky to control. I first discovered this as the cheerful opening chords to Lily Allen’s ‘F.uk you’ song came on as I was baking with the kids. I nearly fell over in my haste to power the system down. That was the moment I decided I needed to move with the times and install the app.
It is also entirely feasible to, without permission, hold your dinner party host’s music hostage if they have Sonos and haven’t added a security setting by using your own app on your own phone. Oh the fun to be had. Cue ‘You’re so vain’, ‘Sexy Eyes, ’ Chas and Dave’s ‘Rabbit’ and ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’…yes really. I am sure there are wittier songs to jump to, however wit often exits the room after too many glasses of wine.
The thing is, it’s not great for anyone prone to meerkating or musical one-up-manship, which can often happen at a party. In fact, the knowledge that you can swiftly end one song that is not floating your boat and move on to another can become quite tiresome.
And then this happened.
Three fully integrated Sonos systems later and we fall in love with the romance of an old fashioned turn table and an elegant drawer of vinyls. It was housed in a custom built cabinet at luxury Hawke’s Bay holiday house Millar Rd, with another one of Greg Collinge’s artfully put together collections, this time vintage vinyl. There is a certain gravitas – the welcoming crackling – of vinyl that digital technology can never match. Candlelight, an open roaring fire and a bottle of red wine matched with great company, and vinyl. We were utterly seduced.
There is something mesmerizing about spinning vinyl that chills people out. It’s rather tricky to skip a track on a record. You simply have to go with the flow and enjoy the music and so the emphasis shifts to choosing really great albums rather than great tracks. This sparked a debate in itself, as to whether it has changed how artists now produce music and compile albums. Has an art been lost? Or have we all acquired musical ADHD?
Immediately on return, we purchased a record player and set about building our own collection. Husbando decided they must be seminal albums – no greatest hits in the collection. On starting to build the collection we discovered that maybe we are slightly late to the party. It’s a rather expensive business and there is no guarantee that your record is not scratched to distraction when you order it. I suspect there are some reputable specialist dealers out there among the high volume traders who have never actually tested out the records. We just need to find them.
I remarked that it’s a shame Amy Winehouse never released on vinyl as her voice is so perfect, only to be told you can buy pretty much anyone on vinyl these days, including Justin Bieber.
On our list so far:
Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
Nina Simone, Pastel Blues, Sings the Blues
Beach Boys, Pet Sounds
Billie Holiday, Lady Sings The blues
James Taylor, Sweet Baby James
Nick Kershaw, The Riddle
Jimmie Rodgers, First Sessions
Air Supply, Lost in Love
Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman
Elvis, Elvis Presley
Stones, Exile on Main Street
David Bowie, The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars-
The Cars, The Cars
Credence Clearwater, Green River
Aretha Franklin, Lady Soul and lady Sings The Blues
Dire Straits, Love Over Gold, Brothers’ in Arms
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of The Moon
Bob Dylan, Blonde on Blonde
Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
John Lennon, Imagine
Prince, Purple Rain
Queen, A Night at the Opera
Michael Jackson, Thriller
The Eagles, Hotel California
Otis Reading, Dock of the Bay
Any further suggestions?