Come to a Listening Party

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Tired of only listening to what the herd thinks is best? Every
3rd Wednesday of the month from 7PM to 10PM your local
Independent Media Center located at 202 S. Broadway Ave.,
Urbana, IL 61801 (the old downtown Post Office) will help
you break from the herd and invites you to bring a specially
burned CD or custom iPod mix (carefully chosen beforehand)
and either something outstanding to drink or something
rather delicious to eat. We will provide the outstanding
audiophile-grade speakers that, when played at high volume,
will shake the walls and rattle the windows and peel
back your skin without getting all distorted and annoying,
loud enough that the sound they produce will easily prevent
all discussion until the given song has ended and everyone
can breathe again and grab another drink and say, Wow,
what the hell was that? (This someone, obviously, also has
very understanding neighbors.)
It is called a listening party. It is a loosely directed but
passionately devised gathering held purely for the love and
discovery of music. New music. Old music. Loud music. It
is about quality. It is about range. It is, perhaps more than
anything else, about surprise. In other words, you do not
bring some common hit song to the listening party, some
standard tune that everyone’s heard a million times by an
artist that makes most people wince. In other words, you
bring something interesting, unexpected. It can be a mainstream
band, but the song should be sonically fascinating,
well recorded, and somehow unique.
The event moves in rounds. Everyone gets to play a single
track in each round. The fun part: You do not announce your
song. You do not let it be known whose tune is coming up
next. You let the music speak for itself. You let the surprise
happen. You get to test your musical knowledge, also how
well you know the other participants (”Dude, I knew that
Nina Simone techno remix was yours”). This is part of the
adventure. After each full round, a short break for more pizza,
drink refills, smoking, chat. Rounds progress. Themes
emerge. Moods shift and ebb and flow. Amazing synchronicities
and juxtapositions occur. You discover songs, new bands,
maybe entire genres you never knew existed. Your tastes
expand, your musical horizons broaden. This is much of the
point. It’s chaos theory with a soundtrack.
The event is free and open to all ages. We ask that you
give a donation when we pass the hat/jar/cup/whatever
around each night. Bring an open mind, bring music, and
if you are bringing children know they may get some exposure.
Drinks and food may or may not be present depending
on if we (that includes you) bring any. Be prepared to
socialize and network with people with a passion for
music, art, culture, and our local community.

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