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The Search for Perfect Sound

Now hear this: the ephemeral and unquantifiable essence of music

Violet Lucca talks to Sasha Frere-Jones about the signs and symptoms of audiophilia. Frere-Jones explains how Spotify Wrapped, yearly best-ofs, and other attempts to quantify and rank music have disfigured the listening experience. He criticizes the assumption underlying audiophilia: that there is a Platonic ideal of what an album is supposed to sound like. Instead, Frere-Jones compares audiophilia to addiction in its obsession with re-creating a certain prior experience—in this case, a certain sound—to the detriment of new experiences. The podcast ends on a personal note, as Frere-Jones reflects on his need for vibey spaces during the pandemic. “Corner Club Cathedral Cocoon” appears in the December issue.

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December 2022

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