There was a time when music listeners would treat the mere existence of recorded sound as a miracle.
It takes months, even years, at a stretch for musicians to nurture and present an album to the world. From melodies to the bridges to rhythms, their struggles seem to be never ending while being on the lookout for perfection - in a bid to etch the album in our hearts forever.
When the wait for our favourite musicians to release an album finally ends, we end up cherry picking three, maybe four, songs from an album of eight or ten and play them on repeat until we find three other songs from another album to latch on to.
We play the songs while we are scrolling through social media, getting house chores done, running errands, commuting on busy roads while horns blare and engines riot - stowing away the other tracks in the folds of our favourite ones, forgetting about them entirely.
But this was not always like so. There was a time when music listeners would treat the mere existence of recorded sound as a miracle. Vintage photos of couples showing them gathered around sound systems as if it were the fireplace - the hearth of the home.
Deep listening - a phrase coined by the late experimental composer and teacher Pauline Oliveros, defined it as "radical attentiveness" and wrote, "I differentiate to hear and to listen. To hear is the physical means that enables perception. To listen is to give attention to what is perceived both acoustically and psychologically."
The Rolling Stones caused a riot in 1969 when Mick Jagger was confronted by an angry fan who screamed "I hate you", then punched him on the face. If Mick can get punched on the face by a fan, the least we can do is commit to deeply listening to a full album.
I am an audiophile. When I listen to my favourite artists, music transports me to a world where it is only me and them. Echoes by Pink Floyd can do just about that. But do I feel the same when listening to whole albums? Not necessarily, as most of us are only partially tuned in when it comes to listening to albums, and not singles.
But there is still time to reconcile with your lost attention for your favourite artists. Start off by putting away whatever unimportant thing you are doing and cue up an album you love. Next, get comfortable. If you plan to divulge on your first session of deep listening on your speakers, place yourself between your sound speakers. Prefer headphones? Lock yourself up in your room and plug it in your phone or laptop. Dim the lights to create a blissful ambience and shut the curtains. Mindfulness is essential.
Now that you are all settled in, close your eyes and make a pact with the voices in your head to not utter a word until the album is finished playing, as this is when we start to draw a line between stillness and the tunes of Fleetwood Mac.
Do not turn the volume up to full. Set it a few notches below the full volume bar. The point is to listen with your ears in the same way you watched Sacred Games. Now, play the best version of your favourite album. You do not need the most expensive and highly rated sound system, or that one incredibly pricey earphone your friend goes on and on about, to enjoy a good song. Your average Joe sound device should get the job done if the song is of 320kbps bitrate, allowing you to fully immerse in the experience.
Your brain needs to focus on every wavelength of the sound. Savour in the backing vocals, the harmonisation, the sweet string arrangements, the thud of the drums, the sudden crossfading - dunk yourself in the musician's craftsmanship and allow your soul to get lost in a world where nothing but you and the music exist.
A gentle slap on the tambourine, the precisely plucked-string accents, a dead-on strike on the kick-drum; re-engage with your inner self with the organised noise made by a masterful soundsmith and recorded when the virus speeds through our cities, but resonating anew.
If not for the parasitic recipe for destruction, none of us would have been here - locked up in our homes, endlessly scrolling through webpages and Netflix has nothing new to offer, while public events are a distant dream. We are trapped.
So, give up. Let go. Things may be falling apart but there is still music - to transport us to a place immune to anything nature can throw at us.