Classics in the Wild — Haruki Murakami

“Music, like writing, is a mental journey.” — Murakami

Famed novelist Haruki Murakami weaves music into every element of his life. An avid jazz and classical collector whose 10,000 plus LPs line the walls of his home office in Toyko, Murakami listens while he works, mostly to a pair of Tannoy Berkeley coaxials. When it comes time to wind down and concentrate on the music he switches to a pair of horn speakers salvaged from Peter Cat, a jazz cafe he opened prior to his life as a writer.

In classic Japanese fashion he listens in the nearfield; JBL D130’s in a backloaded bin handle the low end, a pair of 2440 AlNiCo compression drivers firing through a HL89 horn / lens combination grace the mids, with the whole stack topped off by a 2402 tweeter. Analog duties are taken up by a Thorens 521 and Ortofon SPU GE.

Murakami’s love of vinyl surfaces in his writing, perhaps nowhere so beautifully as in this quote from the novel South of the Border, West of the Sun.

“Shimamoto was in charge of the records. She’d take one from its jacket, place it carefully on the turntable without touching the grooves with her fingers, and, after making sure to brush the cartridge free of any dust with a tiny brush, lower the needle ever so gently onto the record. When the record was finished, she’d spray it and wipe it with a felt cloth. Finally she’d return the record to its jacket and its proper place on the shelf. Her father had taught her this procedure, and she followed his instructions with a terribly serious look on her face, her eyes narrowed, her breath held in check. Meanwhile, I was on the sofa, watching her every move. Only when the record was safely back on the shelf did she turn to me and give a little smile. And every time, this thought hit me: It wasn’t a record she was handling. It was a fragile soul inside a glass bottle.”

(H/T to Michael Lavorgna of Audiostream for surfacing this gem)

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