Sonata for Jukebox Quotes

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Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears by Geoffrey O'Brien
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Sonata for Jukebox Quotes (showing 1-8 of 8)
“The age of recording is necessarily an age of nostalgia--when was the past so hauntingly accessible?--but its bitterest insight is the incapacity of even the most perfectly captured sound to restore the moment of its first inscribing. That world is no longer there.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears
“Yet the laboriously sought musical epiphany rarely compares to the unsought, even unwanted tune whose ambush is violent and sudden: the song the cab driver was tuned to, the song rumbling from the speaker wedged against the fire-escape railing, the song tingling from the transistor on the beach blanket. To locate those songs again can become, with age, something like a religious quest, as suggested by the frequent use of the phrase "Holy Grail" to describe hard-to-find tracks. The collector is haunted by the knowledge that somewhere on the planet an intact chunk of his past still exists, uncorrupted by time or circumstance.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears
“Scattered among these things are reminders that sound once existed: a metronome, a drumming pad, a guitar pick, a trumpet mouthpiece, a music stand, a tuning fork, a block of rosin...The older instruments bear the marks of those who have already played them, the scuffs and bites and dents that are the mysterious scars of sound. In their midst the house hangs, tenuous and enveloping, a sounding board waiting to be struck.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears
“Christmas is the marriage of chaos and design. The real sound of life, for once, can burst out because a formal place has been set for it. At the moment when things have gotten sufficiently loose, the secret selves that these familiar persons hold inside them shake the room...An undercurrent of clowning and jostling is part of the process by which we succeed finally in making our necessary noise: despite the difficulty of getting the words right, of getting the singers on the same page, of keeping the ritual from falling apart into the anarchy of separate impulses. From such clatter--extended and punctuated by whatever instrument is handy, a triangle a tambourine, a Chinese gone--beauty is born.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears
“To attempt to describe how music pervades and flavors a life feels a little like an invasion of privacy, even if the privacy is my own. Listening to music,...is finally the most inward of acts--so inward that even language, even the language of thought, can come to seem intrusive...After all these procedures the unbreachable mysteriousness of music remains intact. The book can never be more than an interruption. Afterward, the listening begins again, to generate, in turn, other and completely different books.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox
“The question of what exactly we remember when we listen to old recordings, or whether it can be called remembering at all, becomes less and less answerable over a lifetime.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears
“Sound is the most absorbent medium of all, soaking up histories and philosophical systems and physical surroundings and encoding them in something so slight as a single vocal quaver or icy harpsichord interjection.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears
“I learned that the day "The Viper's Drag" slipped from between my fingers. But whatever might be lost or broken or forgotten is nothing compared to the miraculous rebirth that occurs every time the needle hits the groove. Here is Fats Waller Himself, not dead but present, so present that he overwhelms the well-ordered precincts of the living room. The sound sprawls. What vibrates here has more life than any room.”
Geoffrey O'Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears

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