Words: Katie Thomas
Last month, Shawn Reynaldo used his newsletter, First Floor to ask: are journalists consuming electronic music incorrectly? He admitted that sometimes he listens to music, especially promos, on his laptop speakers.
Techno Twitter was up in arms. How dare journalists (who have, one tweet read, “only one job”), be so dismissive as to listen on tinny laptop speakers? Don’t we realise that electronic music is too detailed and too low end-focused to appreciate in this way? Are we all really that lazy?
No, is the straight answer. Let me level with you – sometimes I listen to promos on my tinny laptop speakers. Sometimes, god forbid, I even listen to promos through the one-eared headset that I have at my desk. The desk at the part-time job I slave away at so that I can, you know, sustain myself as a journalist.
In defence of every journalist that dares to admit such an irresponsible way of listening, I pose the idea that, like DJs and producers, we too have a pretty fine-tuned ear. We know what we like and we can tell pretty quickly (even through laptop speakers!) if this is a track we’re going to dedicate more time to.
If I want to spend more time with a release, and if I’m going to cover it in some way, then you can rest assured I’ll use my best headphones to appreciate the intricacies in the track as best I can. And yes of course it would be better to experience dance music in the space and atmosphere it was built for (i.e. a club). But I’m sure I’m not alone in this when I say, I can figure it out. I’ve had enough formative, transcendental even, experiences in the club in my time. I can listen to your new EP at home and imagine how it would feel to hear it on a dance floor, on a proper system, with the energy just right.
Lest anyone forget, please, we all live and breathe music in the same way. We’re all in this for the same reason – because we fucking love it.
Katie Thomas is Festival/Clubs Editor for London in Stereo, as well as a regular contributor in both Berlin and Bristol.