Remote Listening Sessions

The Last Word by gww

I’ve known my friend Gordon for about 20 years. We grew up together in Michigan, learning guitar, pirating dad rock off Limewire, making fires on his back patio, and having band practice while his mom made brownies upstairs.

Gordon has an encyclopedic knowledge of music, and I’m a primary beneficiary. Our musical tastes have changed over time, but our passion for music and its role in our lives remains significant. There’s also a fair bit of overlap in our tastes, but this is mostly because he consumes a lot more music than I do.


Today is Gordon’s birthday, and we spoke on the phone last night. Many of our conversations center around music — what we’re we’re making and what we’re listening to, sharing more artist and record recommendations than there is time in the day to listen. But this time we tried something different — we took turns suggesting a track, listened to it at the same time in our respective homes (we share similar listening set-ups, centering around these opinionated, magical horn speakers), and came back to discuss. We repeated this act five or six times.

Experiencing music together is a rare treat, since Gordon and I haven’t lived in the same place for twelve years. Nothing had stopped us from trading tracks like this before, in a sort of distributed listening session. Something about doing it this way felt special, set apart during this period of life, especially. Maybe because it was his birthday, or because of the broader physical isolation we’re experiencing in quarantine. I’m not totally sure. But I’m glad we started now.

Here’s the playlist, with a track or two missing because they’re not on Spotify. I hope we can keep it going, maybe open it up to a wider circle of friends someday, if anyone could stomach our excessive opining.

remote listening session playlist 4/30/2020

Published by Jeff Ong

I'm a designer, programmer, and artist based in Brooklyn, New York. I work at Automattic as a design director, using code to push and scale design.