I'm not exaggerating when I say that Second Life has profoundly influenced my first life. In some ways, you'll just have to take my word for it, because I'm not going to go into all those details. But there's one thing that has struck me recently that I can talk about.
Recently, I started DJing. I now have a regular Monday night gig at the Velvet. I turned down another regular weekly gig because of time constraints and conflicts, but I hope I can land more jobs anyway, even if they are irregular ones. I have such a good time putting song after song in a particular order into a stream for people to listen to and dance to.
I am a semi-retired musician in First Life. I have been interested in music for almost as long as I can remember. Recently, however, I had kind of fallen away from music. I got into that mode where you say that there's no good new music, and I listened only to old favourites.
Even before I started DJing, however, I was listening to various other DJs on SL and being exposed to new music. As a result, I started paying more attention to what I was hearing on the station I listen to most often, a "modern rock" station in Victoria, B.C. When I wanted to DJ, I looked for more sources for music than the large but still limited CD collection I share with my SO. It's a lot harder to find legal digital music than I thought, at least in MP3 format rather than iPod or WMA. Still, I started to find sources and to hear things I'd previously been ignorant of.
In the process, I have become aware of quite a bit of new music. I knew there was good stuff out there, but I wasn't always finding it. DJing has been instrumental in reviving my love of modern music and in leading me to new music with which I was previously unacquainted.
Which leads me to Bloc Party. I can't remember how I first heard about them. I think it was in the process of finding new free music, and I was probably interested in the description of the band. I downloaded "Banquet" and was totally taken by the song and the sound. I decided I had to have more. I bought the A Weekend in the City CD at a store downtown and ordered the previous Silent Alarm CD from Amazon (the record store had only a remix).
I like Silent Alarm. "Banquet" is certainly a stand-out track from the album, but there are several more good tracks. Overall, the band were still finding their way.
But with the release of A Weekend in the City, I think Bloc Party have created an astounding achievement. I can't remember the last time a disc—the whole disc, not just a song here and there—has so captivated me. Some bands have a great sound. Some have great songs. Bloc Party puts them both together, and that is the hallmark of a great band. Song after song on A Weekend in the City just draw me into a different world, a world I find fascinating. I can't think of a weak moment on the entire disc, but when we get to "Kreutzberg," then things really get moving. "I Still Remember," the second single from the album, is just astounding. It's a happy, poppy, driving melody, but the lyrics are all about a love that never happened but should have. The juxtaposition is devastating. And by the time we get to "SRXT," well, it's best if you're not driving while you listen. This is a song about suicide, and it's masterful.
Some CDs grab me right off the bat, but the appeal wears off. Some grow on me. A Weekend in the City has done both, and I find that remarkable. I haven't run into an album so evocative in a long time. And without SL, I might never have known about it.