Today, for me, being a ‘Novo nomad’ is about a mindset and an emotional freedom. Today, I am not embarking on physical movement; I am opening my mind and challenging my soul. Today, I am conducting a self-experiment and vagabonding the world through music. And, thanks to the record player and vinyls that are situated in each StayNovo apartment, I have unlimited freedom to travel while staying inside of my Bowery street one-bedroom digs.
Why do I feel that I can achieve this emotional escape through the sounds that come from a record player specifically, as opposed to listening to music on Youtube, Pandora, or Spotify? It is because for me, vinyls are kind of like a time machine; the sounds elicit a sort of nostalgia even if you were not born during the era that the artist was popular and even if you have never attended one of the artist’s shows; it’s an immersive experience. Is it wrong, wanting to be at home with a record collection instead of socializing on the colorful streets of the East Village beneath me? Today, my answer is “no”. The record collection that the Novo group possesses exhibits a whole world that is nicer, dirtier, more violent, more peaceful, more colorful, more dangerous, and more loving than that of the world outside from the walls of this apartment. There is history and geography; there is poetry and countless other aspects of life that one can find through music.
Today, I am putting a vinyl record on to experience it. The Bee Gee’s Gold album, released in October 1976, will be my musical tour guide into the Saturday Night Fever era.
The sound: Whether or not vinyl sounds better than its digital counterpart has been a widely debated discussion for about as long as the mediums have coexisted. However, to me, there is no disputing that listening to a song on vinyl is a wildly different experience than listening to the same song digitally. Vinyl offers a warmer sound that truly fills the room; one that tells you secrets and offers a richer story more than CDs/mp3s ever could. Vinyl is more dynamic; the whirring of the album on the table, the occasional scratch; it makes the music a uniquely personal experience. Here, in this moment, as I turn the record over to Side 2, I welcome the emotions; the sounds of joy, love, and hope- life’s ingredients filtered through the sounds of the treble and bass clef.
The experience: Is it the smell? The memories? The distinct audio quality? When you’re listening to vinyl, you’re experiencing the moment in your home (for us Nomads, a StayNovo apartment). You select an album. You put it on the record player and drop the needle. Then, you are off; from the very beginning, the very first circular rotation of the record, your attention is captured and you are entranced into a mindful listening experience. Kind of beautiful, right?
An added bonus to note is that listening to vinyl is more of a social experience. The record library is not trapped in my phone or computer. For us Novo Nomad’s especially, we can visit The Salon, scan through the record collection that embellishes the walls like a beautiful library of books, and select the artists, the eras, and the music that feels right in that moment. At The Salon, we have the option to play the record of our choosing right then and there.
Another part of the vinyl experience relates to the album’s cover art. The images and designs, whether faded or fresh, often provoke a powerful consciousness and connects us listeners with the music and the artist; the era.
NOVObility: Some people fantasize about what you get when you hold a record in its cover sleeve; the tangibility. When visiting The Salon, or within your own StayNovo apartment, you are able to embrace the work and the emotion that each and every album contains. And let me tell you, it all feels so right. From the feel of the cover in your hands, to the smell, to the warmness of the sound, and the cracks that inevitably come after heavy use; it is all evident to the owner; it all is unique for us Nomads. All of these aspects are a combination of an unmatched musical experience.
Being a NOVO Nomad, I love that I have an exclusive opportunity to appreciate an extensive collection of art and history through music. It is an engaging experience; it is a soulgasmic moment when you are able to share music with a friend, a partner, or a fellow Nomad over a bottle of wine and above a turnable; it has become some of my favorite memories.
And as I drop the needle onto side-two of the Bee Gees’ album, I am off into the moment dancing beneath a metaphorical disco ball in a sequined bell-bottomed suit forever pointing to the sky.